Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

How to Fail at Flirting

Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2021)
One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university's chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she's finally living again.

271 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 1, 2020

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
6,207 (22%)
4 stars
12,372 (44%)
3 stars
7,557 (26%)
2 stars
1,544 (5%)
1 star
364 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,557 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
July 12, 2022
Well written, with characters that were easy to care for, and an exceptional number of dad jokes; How to Fail at Flirting is yet another lovely book I’ve come across on my recent romance kick.

Starting with the relationship at the forefront of the novel: Naya and Jake’s compatibility was apparent from their first meeting, and I only rooted for them more as time passed. Not to mention, the amount of communication and support between them was a breath of fresh air (yes, the bar is THAT low after some of the shit I’ve read). There was plenty of sweetness and support than between them (a solid amount of steaminess too, js) and I vibed hard with the goofy nerd dynamic that they shared for the majority of the story.

I do think this book has the possibility of disappointing some readers in the same way that Beach Read by Emily Henry did, in that it isn’t constantly adorable/fluffy/aww so cute like the packaging and marketing may suggest. So let me be clear, despite this being categorized under the contemporary romance genre, this delves into a fair amount of serious subject matter. Naya is struggling with the aftermath of her previous relationship, all while her abusive ex is still present in her professional life. There are some scenes that are particularly difficult to read (flashbacks are present), and the last 100 pages really reach peak heights of emotional intensity. That said, I really admired Naya’s determination as she moved toward her happy ending, and watching as she regained stability and confidence (both romantically and not) was really rewarding.

Overall, I think this was a super strong debut & I will be ready and (im)patiently awaiting the author’s 2021 release!!

cw: domestic abuse, blackmail/revenge porn, gaslighting
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,315 reviews44.1k followers
August 1, 2021
Wow! I was hoping to read a feel-good romance but I have to admit the last third of the book was full of high tension, angst with action packed thriller vibes: I already ate my fake nails I provided to use during my tense readings and I jumped up and down, screaming ; “atta girl!”, cursing for the bad guy of the book, breathing heavily, drinking my whole glass with one gulp, getting more tipsy and agitated! Well, thankfully conclusion was relieving!

I think I truly enjoyed this book: Firstly I loved heroine: Naya deserves to call as ‘heroine” because she was survivor of an abusive relationship and after ending that part of life, for 3 years she has been having a secluded, introverted life style, wearing shapeless, old school clothes, focusing on her work at university (yes: she is an inspirational, overachiever math professor), not dating anymore. And now her job is at risk, her department already landed at university’s chopping block. And the abusive asshole she’s dated: Davis is hired at her workplace.

Her only and so likable best friends Felicia and Aaron (who are also coolest couple and interesting fact Naya had one time bad date experience with Aaron but thankfully he decides to date with Naya’s bestie Felicia and now they are happily married with children.) tell her she is living lay low after she’s been traumatized by Davis whoshallnotbenamed. She needs to be back in the game, taking risks, loosening up, starting to enjoy her life. So Naya takes the challenge and makes a list: including accepting a random stranger’s drink offer, kissing him, having one night stand, learning new stuff, being bolder, braver, broadening her horizons kind of things( especially at the bedroom)

She accepts to meet with Aaron and Felicia at the bar but she is being ditched by them (Aaron’s excuse : accompanying her mother who hurt herself at the pole dance class was brilliant and yes, it was real) And guess what: her phone call with Aaron and her reaction to his story attracted attention to the charming guy who is sitting next to her.

They start a conversation, sharing some not so funny jokes. ( Yes, we have a charming, likable, completely hot hero with the worst sense of humor and no ability at any kind of sports and he is one the %1 living breathing organism who didn’t watch “Star Wars” : That’s a first.)

They share their names: The charming guy introduces himself as Jake. He came to the city for attending wedding ceremony and business meeting. Naya insists they should not share any information about their jobs or their last names. ( She only shares her second name Michelle)She tries to keep it cool, re-learning the basics of flirting but her one-night stand ended up with vomit, humiliation and heartbreak! Yes, poor girl drank way too much she could handle.

But don’t worry: Our charming, sexy hero already got her number and kept texting her to go on a proper date. Their casual, no strings attach relationship slowly turn into intimate, emotional, intense one with their sizzling chemistry. BUT : Yes: here are the struggles they have to face: Jake is one of the partners of the account firm that evaluating the departments of the university she works. Yes: I can hear you scream: “conflict of interest!” Naya may lose her job she has been working so hard and she also has risk to lose her reputation she rebuilt after the destruction whomustnotbenamed ex created. But she cannot help herself because she already starts to fall for Jake even though they didn’t put a name or any label to their relationship.

Do you think there is not enough angst thrown at our faces? Well, whomustnotbenamed started sending threatening messageS to Naya and of course Jake’s ex involves into the game. So let’s keep our fingers crossed and say prayers for this cute couple to win the fight against all these obstacles!
It was one of my fastest reading and especially the author’s approach to the abusive relationships and Naya’s way of fighting against it, her bravery, inner struggles were well-written. Only thing bothered me was Jake’s relationship status and Naya’s way of accepting everything he can give without demanding more because she deserved more but her insecurities and trusting issues overshadowed her judgment about herself. So I wish Jack’s relationship status could be different and he may have come clean without putting Naya in a heartbreaking situation.

So I’m cutting only star and giving four meaningful, high tension, though provoking, inspirational, well-deserved stars. I’m looking forward to read more works of the author.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this meaningful ARC in exchange my honest review.

Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.5k followers
December 26, 2021
my feelings were really complicated until the 90% mark and now i’m firmly in the camp of reaaaaally not for me. there’s definitely important messages here, it’s certainly not a bad book.

just personal preference but i don’t like on page abuse, especially in romance. the abuse is from an ex and it is stated in the description that this will be a theme. i thought i could get through it but the tone was so overwhelming. which is a shame because the romance was so charming but the looming threat of the ex made me anxious while reading.
Profile Image for emma.
1,871 reviews54.8k followers
December 14, 2022
Call me crazy, but when I read a romance I'm reading it for romance.

I'm not looking for in-depth character explorations, or background family and friendship dynamics, or stellar themes, or even fantastic writing. Although those things are a real treat and it's a nice pleasant surprise for all of us when they arrive.

And separately, I am not looking for Clichéd Tragic Backstories, or People Being Mean To Each Other, or Very Upsetting Content. And I do not want them and if they are there I will be unhappy.

In other words, I just don't want domestic abuse to be actively happening in my romance novels. Personal pref.

More power to anyone who is looking to get into that topic, or similar topics, in their content, but if I'm trying to read about a nice happy fluffy new relationship, and instead am getting very triggering content about a very horrible past one (that is not really in the past at all), I'm not into it!

Even when protagonists are overcoming the trauma of abuse, that's a great plotline for me. That works. But when the abuser is an actual character with dialogue who we're meeting multiple times in the present? ...No. No thank you.

Doesn't mean it's a bad book. But it is definitely not for me.

In other thoughts:
- This was a bit smut heavy for me. I don't mind smut but I like when there's a romantic component outside of it. A sex-only love story is a snooze!
- I felt like. Happy for these people? As if I knew them? Without being invested in their story or really it being a romance that worked for me. So that's nice I guess

Bottom line: The quest to find a romance I will actually like continues apace!


it feels like it's been 97 years since i last read a romance.

let's find out if that was for the best.

update: it probably was.

review to come / 2.5 ish
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.5k followers
January 17, 2021
This book was a little slow to start for me, but WOW did I enjoy the payoff! I struggled with this one in the beginning because I felt like the characters had SO MUCH chemistry, but the first few sexy scenes between them felt really forced and awkward to me. However as the story went on and we got to learn more about Naya's past abusive relationship and see the way that Jake responded to her needs, I ended up really enjoying this one and I cannot wait to read more from Denise Williams in the future!

TW: domestic abuse, emotional manipulation, gaslighting, revenge porn
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,129 reviews13.8k followers
June 30, 2021
4.5 Stars

TW for abusive relationship

This book was so good! From the start I loved how awkward and honest Naya and Jake were with each other. They just had genuine fun together and their initial meeting was so cute. Then, things became a bit forbidden and I loved the strain it put on their relationship. I will say, the ending became a lot more serious and emotional as Naya had to confront her abuser. Naya was such a relatable and strong character and I really loved her! I can't wait to read more from Denise Williams!
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,130 reviews3,715 followers
December 6, 2020
Now that was exactly what the doctor ordered! A true rom com that left my heart aflutter.

Naya (like a Papaya) swore off men three years ago after an abusive relationship that nearly cost her well...everything.

While out for an evening with her two best friends, they compose a little list for Naya. In particular, things she can to do to help her climb out of her dating rut. All in, Naya takes this list to the next level and conquers the entire list...and then some!

All it takes is a second look from a sexy man sitting on the next barstool over and sparks fly...and the heat is on!🔥 🔥

This book delivered so much more than I was expecting. The romance was white-hot and off the charts. The comedy was fun and had me smiling throughout. And naturally there were the obligatory obstacles that our couple had to overcome...but isn’t love worth that?💁🏻‍♀️💖

Can’t wait to read more from this very talented author!

A buddy read with Susanne

Thank you to Elisha at Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
465 reviews1,121 followers
February 7, 2021
A very steamy, and fun rom-com, which also tackles serious issues, including gaslighting and assault

Dr Naya Turner's friends want her to get back out, and live her life again, after she has been recovering from a previous relationship, which was abusive. When they make her a fun list of things to tick off, Naya meets Jake at a bar, and they hit it off. Will Jake help her tick off the items on her list, or will her past come back to haunt her?

I am going to preface this review, with a warning that this book is not what the cutesy cover and synopsis suggests, so if you're looking for a fluffy romance, this definitely is not that! I'm not sure why publishers are misleading readers like this, as this isn't the first time recently that I have been caught unawares! Don't get me wrong, I really liked this book, it had many great things going for it, and was carefully done, but it definitely was not the fluffy read, which I was aiming for after my last dark read! I also think that it should come with some trigger warnings for abuse at the start, which is why I included it in my headline. The author does write a great note at the end, including some numbers to contact if you are facing abuse, but I feel that this should be placed at the start of the book. Additionally, this was also a very steamy read, so if you're not into spicy sex scenes, then this book might not be for you!
With that out of the way, I did really like How to Fail at Flirting: sexy, heart-warming and emotional - the perfect romcom for 2020! It was steamy, full of fun banter and corny jokes, and had some lovely supportive friendships. Both Jake and Naya, had some great friends, who looked out for them. And you all know, that I like my romances to be sexy, which this one definitely was 🔥🔥🔥

I really liked Naya, she was fun, intelligent, funny and awkward! She was self assured in many ways, but lots of damage had been done by her abusive ex-boyfriend, and it was hard seeing her go through that, both in flashbacks, and because he still wasn't fully out of her life. I really rooted for Naya, she was trying so hard to move on, and yet hadn't dealt with her past, suffering from PTSD I think. I did feel a sense of impending doom whilst reading this, as I could tell that there was going to be some kind of confrontation, and it was difficult reading about that. I did like her and Jake together, and how safe he made her feel though, and that she felt comfortable enough to have fun, and to try new things. I loved seeing Naya's growth, and to see her reclaiming her life.

Jake was adorable! Romantic, funny (kinda), gentle and hot, he was a genuinely nice guy, but also had his flaws and a past. I wasn't sure at first, when another obligatory obstacle was introduced, but I really warmed to him, and thought Naya and him were great together. Insta-love is a big no, no for me, but the way these two characters met, felt more like insta-attraction, which definitely does happen, and has happened to me! Y'know, when you meet someone who you think is so ridiculously hot, that you get tongue tied?! Someone who you have instant chemistry with! So it worked for me.

I would say that the first half was a little bit slow, but it picks up, and is worth sticking with I think. I got it for 99p on kindle, and believe it is still at that price! This was Denise Williams debut, and I am looking forward to The Fastest Way To Fall about Naya and Felica's personal trainer!

I would recommend this to anyone looking for an emotional, heart-warming and hawwwt romance abut a survivor, as long as you're aware that it has dark themes🔥🔥🔥🔥
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,639 followers
September 10, 2022
The blurb, title and cover present this as a frothy romcom, which...no. The romance part is unquestionably delightful with a thoroughly charming hero, heroine finding her confidence, sweet relationship with jokes and consideration. It's well written and zizzy and I was enjoying it immensely. But there is also a huge plotline about her abusive ex which involves sexual assault, revenge porn, verbal and mental abuse, and physical violence, and he is an on-page active and increasing threat. It's very well done but it's presence means this is in no way a romcom and I don't know why publishers behave like this. (Of course I do: it's easier to sell a romcom than a stressful story about a heroine coping with aggressive abuse. IMO this does book and author a huge disservice, not to mention the readers, but as long as a publisher makes money, eh.)

If you want a book that handles the aftermath of abuse and coping with the return of a vile ex, and softens it with a thoroughly lovely and positive romance, this would work perfectly. I needed escapism, and am really not in the right head place for immensely stressful, so DNF at 59%, having checked reviews to confirm the abuse plotline was looming larger. This is no reflection on the quality of the book, which I would have wolfed down in the appropriate mood, and I'll be looking for more from the author, while not trusting the publisher's blurbs further than I can throw them.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
December 13, 2020
Review posted on: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Boy oh Boy! Talk about Risque!

I’ve always considered myself “a details girl” but after reading “How to Fail at Flirting” I have decided that there are certain details that are better left to the imagination!

If you’re the type of person who likes to read super sexy, hot, fiery romance novels, this book might be just what you’re looking for.

If however, you’re like me and you prefer women’s fiction where the romance ‘fades to black’ - you might want to steer clear of this one.

Naya Turner’s life has become monotonous and boring, that is until she goes out one night to a bar to meet her friends and they fail to show up. That night she meets a gorgeous stranger named Jake in town for a wedding. The two immediately hit it off, in and out of the bedroom.

What started off as an opportunity for Naya to try something new, becomes something else entirely, something she didn’t bargain for, but wouldn’t trade for anything.

While “How to Fail at Flirting” is full of sarcasm, witticisms and romance, the “fiery details” missed the mark for me.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey and as you’ll see from her review, she prefers her romances hot and fiery and I prefer romances that fade to black, which made this an extremely funny buddy read, if nothing else.

A huge thank you goes out to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group for the arc. Elisha - Kaceey would like you to keep these fiery romances coming, while I’d prefer mine a little tamer! Baaahh!.

Published on Goodreads on 12.6.20.
Profile Image for Mrinmayi.
155 reviews579 followers
Shelved as 'willsacrifice-maryams-soul-for-this'
December 17, 2020

I am this penguin 😤

And I feel attacked after reading the title of this book!!
I have my OWN guide for How to fail at flirting !!
I am a PRO at bad flirting!!
And this book basically summed it up lmao

Don't do this creepy thing girls!!

This meme "speaks" to my soul😂🥺🥺
That's why I am gonna stay single forever xD
BUT I need to read this book asap!!!!!
Something tells me that it is gonna be hella relatable !! #singlepeopleunite #single4ever #awesomelife #stilllonelytho #fictionalcrushoverrealcrush
Profile Image for Anu.
365 reviews889 followers
January 29, 2023
You know the song My Junk ? I don't know why, but this book immediately reminded me of it. Except, love the song, hated the book. I always feel a little guilty for hating #ownvoices books, but this was bad with a capital B. Maybe this is just me, but I felt like Jake(?) was somewhat of a white saviour. It's very likely that this is a case of me, not you (you being the book).

I generally feel like the quality of chick lit has gone way, way down of late. I think the last good chick lit I read was The Hating Game . Maybe this has something to do with the writers being asked to churn out multiple books a year, or maybe I'm just older and more jaded. For one, I find myself hating more and more the whole "I need to look perfect, if I don't whatever will he think" attitude a lot of these (strong and independent) fictional women have. I'm a firm believer that if someone expects you to look perfectly groomed all the time, they probably don't deserve you. Also, who has the time. Maybe it's me, but if you feel more comfortable in a cardigan, wear a fucking cardigan.

I abhor the trope of the "best friend" who keeps encouraging the main character to look sexy and have casual sex when the latter does *not* want to. I don't think that's particularly supportive. I've also come to the realisation that if the book has, I don't know, a hundred sex scenes and everyone has multiple orgasms every single time, I tend to tap out. It irritates me. Not because I'm a prude, but because at some point, these sex scenes start being fillers more than anything. Naya may have failed at flirting, but so did this book.

I hated how Naya was written as flawed, but not really flawed. Kind of like the people whose answer to "what's your biggest fault" is "oh, I don't know. That I work too hard, maybe". It just really grated on me. On the other hand, Jake had literally no flaws. He was an angel on earth, put to rescue and protect Naya. I can't fucking stand that. I get that books, especially in this genre are supposed to be unrealistic, but in this case the other part of the storyline kind of defeats that purpose. Which actually makes me more mad. I just wanted some humanity from Jake. I am usually not one for misunderstandings that are blown out of proportion for climactic reasons, but dammit, that probably would've saved this book.

I also think that the book should come with a trigger-warning , mostly because the blurb reads like a happy-go-lucky romance, and the book (especially the last quarter of it) was anything but. Not that I have a problem with difficult themes or conversations, but if I wanted to read a book about difficult themes and conversations, I would read a book about difficult themes and conversations. I don't like being cheated. Knowing me, I usually forgive bad stories if the writing is excellent. But alas, the writing was mediocre here, at best. That didn't help.

I entirely understand the purpose of chick lit (and it's why I read it) - it's supposed to be unrealistic and tropey and ridiculous. But it can be all that, and still be good. This was decidedly not.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,210 reviews19.7k followers
January 28, 2022
I can see myself rereading this book and falling in love with it even more.

This is somewhat of a painful story to read. It’s not as light as the cover or title might make it out to be.

Our heroine is very much suffering from the after effects of an abusive and narcissistic relationship. It came across too well in the writing. You know that it is written well when it makes you uncomfortable and your insides flinch.
Not that anything explicit is described at first, but you can sense this through her mannerism. From the fact that she’s unable to open up, because she holds herself back, because she’s been beaten down to the point where almost anything is a red flag in her eyes. She’s unable to make the distinction.

She meets Jake at bar and they hit it off. Like really hit it off. And you see sparks of her personality coming out throughout this novel as she interacts with Jake, as she tries to fight back against her ex, as she tries to live her life, but she instinctively reels it back again. It’s habit. She’s broken.

As aware as she might be in some capacity, she’s still not very much aware of how much this past relationship shaped her present life. It’s suffocating to go on this realisation with her.

I loved this. I loved how it ended and how it all came together. And I think Denise Williams just became an auto-buy author with this book

4.5 🌟
Profile Image for Jessica.
326 reviews391 followers
December 1, 2020
How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams is the perfect mix of rom com and serious issues.

Naya and Jake’s relationship starts as a cute romance, but serious issues are presented in How to Fail at Flirting. Naya’s last boyfriend was abusive. The abuse effects Naya’s ability to become close to Jake. Will Naya’s past break up her and Jake?

The characters in How to Fail at Flirting are great. Naya is such a fun character to read about. The story is told from her perspective. The reader gets to see how self-assured she acts, but then sees all the insecurities she is thinking in her head. Jake is always looking out for Naya and trying to make her laugh. Both Naya and Jake have great friends that are overprotective of them.

I recommend How to Fail at Flirting to fans of Jasmine Guillory. How to Fail at Flirting is a mix of The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover.

Thank you Edelweiss and Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group for How to Fail at Flirting.

Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,607 reviews5,994 followers
February 8, 2021
*Warning. I giffed the hell outta this review.

My perverted self is going to admit something. I overlooked this book until someone was talking about how smutty is was. That jumped up and called my name!

I'm blaming the no shame part of my make-up.

It has a plot though! Naya is a professor of somekinda teaching thing. I'm gonna admit that some parts of the book bored me and that was one.
I was like a kid eating cheetos people! I wanted what I wanted.

Where was I? Oh yeah..her friends decide she is kinda a stick in the mud and challenge her to complete a list.

She meets Jake. Who turns out to be Mr. Perfect.
I'm serious! The guy does no wrong.

Some stuff happens like they tend to do in romancey type books. Including some relationship abuse history if you are triggered by that.
But guess what happened?!!!
Mr Perfect showed up in some dreams of mine.

I should give the damn thing five stars but I ain't. 3.5 stars for the boring parts.

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,921 reviews33.1k followers
May 9, 2021
3.5 stars

This was a fantastic debut novel. There was a lot to love about this one. Though it started out a little slow for me, and there were some issues I had with parts in the middle, overall I liked it a lot and would definitely read more from this author. Her writing was wonderful and I thought she handled some of the difficult topics in this story well. If you’re looking for a story that is fresh, flirty, and fun but also delves into more serious topics, give this one a go.

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrators: January LaVoy
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 9 hours and 5 minutes
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,024 reviews15.7k followers
December 6, 2020
sweet and steamy. Humorous and cathartic. Authentic and raw. Denise Williams hit me right in the feels and the funnybone with this evocative story. Naya is a survivor of an emotionally abusive relationship learning to flirt and trust again. Armed with a list full of things to do to reclaim herself Naya meats Jake at a local bar. she flirts, she lets him buy her a drink, she gets kissed and she’s determined to have a one night fling. However, the fates seem to have other plans for Naya and Jake. There is a lot of chemistry between these two and they are both thinking this could be something more. But, there is a big unexpected roadblock that could change everything. Is Naya willing to risk her career that she has worked so hard at, the one thing she feels confident about for love?

This was the perfect blend of humor and heavy subject matter. Naya was a likable relatable character I felt a connection to. Jake was a genuinely good guy, nice but not clingy. The corny puns between these two were hilarious and cringy. i’m not often a fan of Instalove, but it worked with these two. Jake really new how to reassure Naya, intuitively. as a survivor of an emotionally abusive marriage myself I thought the subject matter was handled extremely well. The gaslighting, the manipulation, the undermining, hard things to get over. Naya is an intelligent, confident, strong woman who found herself in a bad situation. It always is very cathartic for me to read about characters like this in books takes away the stigma of being a victim of abuse. Jake was such a safe place for Naya. I kept thinking please please do not let our girl down. Now I will say Jake was not perfect and there are some hiccups, but I think those hiccups helped Naya grow even stronger. A beautiful love story that tugged at my heart.

this book in emojis 👩‍🏫 🍷 🍦 🎂 ��� 🏀 🧀

*** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for Samantha Young.
Author 101 books25.7k followers
June 23, 2020
How to Fail at Flirting delivers on every level. It’s funny, sexy, heartwarming and emotional. With its engaging, loveable characters, fresh plot, and compelling narrative, I did not want to put it down! It’s in my top reads of the year for sure!
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,868 reviews2,246 followers
September 27, 2023
4 stars!

After being in a rut for a long time, Naya’s friends convince her to have a night out and get her out of her routine. While at a bar, Naya meets Jake and the two of them have chemistry right away. What was supposed to be a one night stand might actually be something else, but both Naya and Jake have issues from their past preventing them from moving forward.

Wow I enjoyed this way more than I expected to. Honestly, it was a delight to read. Sometimes romances lately are too corny or too cheesy but this one was just right. I loved reading from Naya’s perspective and her banter and jokes with Jake. Williams is a great writer and the words just flow across the page and I was sucked into the story of these two strangers falling in love so easily. And I am lucky, because Williams’ second book recently released! So I can get on that right now.

If you’re in the mood for a fun and sweet romance that won’t give you toothache and tackles serious issues with grace, this is the one. I’m really glad I gave this debut author a chance.
Profile Image for Jess Owens.
325 reviews4,560 followers
August 4, 2022

CW: Domestic violence— mentions of and on page

This started a bit slow for me but wow I loved the relationship and how it grew between Naya and Jake. It felt so real. Their conversations 😭 and their big argument had me so nervous even tho I knew there would be an HEA. Also I envision Lee Pace as Jake 😏
Profile Image for Brandice.
914 reviews
February 18, 2021
I loved How to Fail at Flirting! After a terrible relationship, Naya (like papaya) Turner has buried herself in work, avoiding dating and frequent social interactions. There are rumors of forthcoming cuts for her department at the university where she teaches. She agrees to her friends’ suggestion to enjoy a night out on the town as a distraction from work.

While out, Naya meets Jake, a handsome stranger in town for a wedding. He buys her a drink and they hit it off. Naya has successfully completed a fun, no-strings-attached outing. Or so she thinks...

Naya and Jake grow close and build a relationship but she stays a bit guarded and reserved, remembering awful parts of her last relationship. They also realize their careers have some unexpected overlap, another factor that makes Naya cautious.

Though a bit predictable at times, I appreciated that How to Fail at Flirting also had some depth, delving into the serious topic of abusive relationships, as well as the often relatable topic of balancing work and personal life. I really liked Naya and thought Jake was the perfect book boyfriend, something I don’t say often!

I listened to about 60% of the audiobook on a recent road trip and liked it so much I knew I’d want to own the book. I finished reading the physical book but the audio narration was excellent. How to Fail at Flirting was great, so glad I read this one!
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
635 reviews579 followers
December 10, 2021
This was very serious, like, way too serious and home hitting for my taste in romances.
But it is a good book!
Review to come.

Our reading club 1st pick for December.
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,073 reviews10.5k followers
November 5, 2021
I can't believe I haven't read this sooner! This was a fantastic debut – I loved the writing, and both the characters and story were solid. This is very much NOT a rom-com though, as it deals with heavy subjects like abuse, domestic violence, gaslighting, and assault.

Naya has been recovering from her previous relationship and wants to move forward in her life. She makes a list of things to do in order to reclaim herself and while at a bar, she meets Jake. He happens to see her list and offers to help her complete it. I loved these two together! They were so sweet and I felt the connection between them from the very beginning. The romance is slow but heartwarming. I'm really glad I finally read Denise Williams and can't wait to read more from her.
Profile Image for Ⓐlleskelle - That ranting lady ッ.
998 reviews828 followers
September 10, 2020

So I just finished THE book . 5 stars, definitely recommend! One good thing in 2020! Finally!
Yes, THE book, because unbeknownst to the author this feel good romance felt like it was written just for me!

Let me share with you all the reasons "How To Fail At Flirting" should be on y'all TBR lists.
☑ Nerdy hero and and even nerdier heroine
☑ One night stand turns into something more
☑ "To Do Lists" addiction (Naya is a closet BUJO addict!)
☑ Steamy and playful love scenes
☑ Long distance relationship
☑ Texting
☑ Flirty banter and silly jokes are the bestest combo
☑ Cheese puns FTW!
☑ Star Wars references
☑ Hero gifts the heroine STATIONARY 💜 *husband material here!*
☑ See my last point one more time. STATIONARY YOU GUYS.

I love my meet cutes in romance and well, if you start off by hooking up with a stranger at a bar because your type A personality demands you check off items on that To Do list burning a hole in your comfiest cardigan's pocket... then you've got my full undivided attention and my best highlighters ready to be uncapped! Let's do this, Naya!

But in all seriousness, this book had me smiling all throughout, I didn't want to stop reading but at the same time I tried so damn hard to pace my reading because I didn't want it to end! The author made it so easy to fall in love with her characters, Naya and Jake. They're both so complex and real, you just want to make them your own. The care given to the character's development was remarkable with fully rounded mentions of past relationships, upbringing, work, co-workers, friends.

Watching Jake and Naya attempts at seducing each other was endearingly adorable and I was here for all the awkward little moments. The chemistry on page kept me engaged and fueled my romance reader heart. I'm not going to lie, the author had me wishing with anticipation for the smallest touch, brush of fingers, flex of hands... Gah. I could even feel the way Jake was staring at the heroine, I was this much invested in their unfolding relationship. There was anticipation building and the delivery was PERFECT. "How To Fail At Flirting" was STEAMY as hell and I loved it.
The banter was ON POINT, 100% my kind of humor, the puns were of a masterful brilliance because they were so silly! I absolutely adored the dialogues, so engaging!

This was a really happy place read for me even though it deals with heavier themes like past emotional and physical abuse, digital harrasment, which made for a really emotionally balanced story in the end, bringing just enough conflict to keep their unfolding romance captivating without dipping into silly drama.
The cast of supporting characters was diverse too, I adored both Jake and Naya's friends, they made them shine even more. Naya was an amazing leading character and I absolutely adored her but seriously we need to talk about Jake and probably make a list of all the things we loved about him. Alright, maybe another time!

I didn't mean to write such a long review, and I must apologize because the book doesn't actually come out before December 2020, but I'll be sure to remind you to pick this amazing romance in a few months!
(or you can preorder it now https://amzn.to/3hmi03g or add it to GR https://bit.ly/3kb1JQJ)

More reviews and book talk at :

You can find me here too ☞
Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews892 followers
December 6, 2020

AUTHOR: Denise Williams
SERIES: Standalone
RELEASE DATE: December 1, 2020
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
THEMES & TROPES: Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse
RATING: 4 Stars


HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING wasn't the fluffy read I expected. There are some serious themes that warrant a trigger warning like domestic violence and and emotional abuse. I didn't see that in the book's blurb so here's a heads up for those who need them.

I loved Jake and Naya's connection although it was pretty instant. Their cheesy jokes and sweet togetherness was fun but I do think it lacked a little depth. The author focuses a lot on their physical attraction that was definitely on the sexier side. There was a good amount of steam but I think it could have been a little less bedroom scenes and a little more emotional bonding. Still, these two were cute together and it was easy to love and root for them.
Every time I woke up with him, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was waking up to myself a little more.

Here is something that I'm not happy to mention because I don't pretend to know how an abuse victim feels like and how they should react. When Naya's tormentor comes back into her life and sends her threatening messages she doesn't confide in anyone until 80% in. This highly intelligent woman was scared yet she didn't talk to anyone about it. I get the guilt and shame and like I said, I don't know how realistic this would be but it did feel wrong that she waited for it to escalate.

I enjoyed this story immensely, I laughed, there was suspense in the last couple of chapters that had me on the edge of my seat and I felt for both Jake and Naya when their relationship was tested. I loved seeing Naya find her power and stand up for herself.
I wanted to be kissed like that again, like I was something special, something wanted, like I was … someone.

I adored Jake, who was simply a decent man who wanted to be there for Naya. The writing is very crisp and engaging, I easily connected with this author's style and I'm definitely going to read more stories by Denise Williams!
No, this is something special. It was the special I had no idea how to handle.

Profile Image for Brittni Kristine.
185 reviews123 followers
June 13, 2021
Big ew on this one. It was skating by at 3 stars until the ending, where our hero did not even sort of come through for our heroine when she was clearly being demeaned and eventually assaulted by her abusive ex. Maybe it’s for someone but it’s not for me.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,557 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.