Take a Hint, Dani Brown: Illumicrate Exclusive (The Brown Sisters, #2)

by Talia Hibbert

4.27 of 5 stars 11 ratings • 6 reviews • 42 shelved
Book cover for Take a Hint, Dani Brown

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Take a Hint, Dani Brown: Illumicrate Exclusive (The Brown Sisters, #2)

by Talia Hibbert

4.27 of 5 stars 11 ratings • 6 reviews • 42 shelved

'Talia Hibbert is a rockstar! Her writing is smart, funny, and sexy' Meg Cabot

One of Oprah Magazine's 21 Romance Novels That Are Set to Be the Best of 2020

USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him 'rescuing' her from their office building goes viral - perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory and Helen Hoang!

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown and an occasional roll in the hay to relive all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits...

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues her from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it's an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae - and Zaf is begging Dani to play along.

Dani's plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. But grumpy Zaf is secretly a romantic - and he's determined to corrupt Dani's stone-cold realism. With every fake date and midnight meeting, Dani's easy lay becomes more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? 

Or is the universe waiting for her to take a hint?


Praise for Talia Hibbert:

'The perfect combination of hilarious and heartfelt, comforting and caressing your soul, Take a Hint, Dani Brown is an unforgettable game changer of a romantic comedy . . . the holy grail of romantic comedy perfection' The Nerd Daily

'Funny, deep, and romantic as hell. Will leave you smiling for days' Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

'Tender, joyous, and hot as all get-out, this is sure to make readers swoon' Publishers Weekly (starred review)

'Funny, sexy and intensely romantic' Lucy Parker, author of The Austen Playbook

'Clever, sweet, sexy and brilliant' Carrie Ann Ryan, New York Times bestselling author

'So so so so good' Andie J. Christopher, USA Today bestselling author of Not the Girl You Marry

'A pure exuberant delight. I loved this book... Exactly what a romance should be' KJ Charles, author of Proper English

'[An] awesome book, so full of heart and warmth and feels!' Charlotte Stein, author of Never Sweeter

'A magical friends-to-lovers tale . . . this tale will appeal to all contemporary romance fans, including those who enjoy British romantic comedies' Booklist (starred review)

Exclusively in hardcover, with sprayed edges, and signed by the author.

  • Publish Date August 2021 (first published 23 June 2020)
  • Publish Status Forthcoming
  • Publish Country GB
  • Publisher Little, Brown Book Group
  • Imprint Piatkus Books


Avatar for bookwormreflections

Take a Hint, Dani Brown is a fake-dating, banterful, sweet boy, strong girl DELIGHT.

If there’s one thing I love in books, it’s a voice and Talia Hibbert has it in spades. I absolutely adored the relationship between Dani and Zaf, Dani and her sisters, Chloe and Red from the first book... everything!

This is a heartfelt, hilarious journey that tackles themes of mental health, grief, and making time to feel joy.

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jamiereadthis 3 of 5 stars
This is the kind of romance that used to make me feel broken. It should really work for me— the woman who’s romance-averse; the guy who likes her for her mind— but even flipping the gender stereotype script isn’t enough, so once upon a time, I’d be left wondering why I just didn’t get it and didn’t want something like it. That list of books is loooong; hence what I dubbed the romance project a few years back, the determined effort to read until I worked out what did work for me.

Now, hurrah, I know I’m not broken. It’s just liking a different flavor of ice cream. I can enjoy the story without wondering what it says about me, or wanting what it offers, or better yet, worrying about what’s normal and what’s not. It’s fun, and there’s some great banter, and I love what it does with both sports and anxiety, and if it’s your flavor of ice cream you’ll find it smoking hot.

I was set to praise it too on the lack of possessiveness, but then Zaf did get all possessive and growly, which couldn’t be shown as a flaw because he has zero flaws. (This is one flaw with the book.) Le sigh. And I do get how that’s a popular flavor of ice cream, but I don’t care how many puppies and kittens you cuddle, growl “mine” at me and you’re out the door, buddy. So let’s say I knock off some points for that, but I’ll add some back for the narration, which was nice enough that I’d seek out Ione Butler so she can read me more books.

In sum. I love the genre. I’m happy I can like books like this one without stressing over why I’m not hot and bothered. It’s just one template of very, very many for what love, sex, and relationships look like. And for those who read it and find themselves represented— rock on.

P.S. Fair warning, the next thing I’m going to start pushing back on, after possessiveness, is the ingrained belief that you can’t care about [insert passion here, usually a job] unless you work around the clock and stress yourself sleepless to prove you are a Good Person. Even when that plot exists, like it does here, so people can show they care, I’m ready to get past that step and not even validate it as a thing in the first place. Like Schitt’s Creek and homophobia. Instead of responding to it, make a world where it doesn’t exist. Take a nap! Read twenty Nap Ministry posts. Even in books, the grind is exhausting.

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jojo_k 5 of 5 stars
Banter between Dani and Jef was so quirky and funny. Loved so much how Jef was so sweet and caring, I just love reading their interactions every step of the way.

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3 star

Take a Hint, Dani Brown is my second read by Talia Hibbert, I binged this series during the weekend. I definitely might have the unpopular opinion, but I didn't love it as much as I hoped. I did like it a lot better than the first, but there were a few things in the book that didn't sit well with me.

I liked that there was a friends to lovers and fake relationship trope going on. Like the first book in the series, there's a role reversal, which is an aspect I've been enjoying with this series. I'm used to the hero being the commitment phobe instead of the heroine.

Talia definitely has a way with all the witty banter between her characters because that's been something that I've really enjoyed with her books.

The romance is definitely really sweet and it's so easy to fall in love with Zafir, he's a bit of a grump, but an absolute teddy bear. I was so nervous for him throughout this entire books because of Dani's issues with having a relationship.

The one thing that didn't sit well with me was the Muslim representation especially with the nicknames. With having family friends that are Muslim, I know they wouldn't be a fan. I can't speak for everyone,but that was just how I felt.

I wish I could have liked this a bit more, but it was an OK read for me.

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This is my first novel by Talia and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT! It went on my list of fave reads of 2020 and a 5-star! You know how picky I am assigning those two classifications to a book, so yes, this book was that good!

"Oshun, I need a regular source of orgasms."

One of my top three favorite tropes is fake-relationship, and even better when they're already friends! This trope came about when there's a drill happening where Danika works and she ends up being stuck in an elevator. Zaf, the security guard managing this drill notices Dani never made it out. He goes in all macho-man, acting as if this was a real thing. He saves her from being stuck and proceeds to pick her up bridal-style and carry her out of the building. What they don't know is they're being recorded, and soon after, they go viral.

She found herself wanting to kiss the broad curve of his nose. In a purely abstract manner, of course. In reality, Dani would never do something so pointless. Faces were for sitting on, not for kissing.

Dani is dead-set on no relationships. From her experience, she's a robot, incapable of loving, tending and caring for someone else. So this fake-relationship which could possibly come with orgasms is just what she needs. What she didn't count on was how understanding, loving, and accepting Zaf is.

"When you ask me things like that, Danika, it makes me think someone hasn't treated you right."

I adored Zaf so freaking much! He had me swooning throughout the entire novel. I think what helps is that he reads romance novels (I'm such a sucker for men who read them and aren't ashamed of admitting it) because he totally knew what he was doing. Zaf melted my heart. He has such a caring nature. He even has an organization called Tackle It to help young kids. Zaf is also special in my eyes. He shows so much vulnerability throughout the story, sharing his grief and anxiety. Even with his own stuff to deal with, he's still patient with Danika and supports her.

When the video goes viral, Zaf's family sees this as a way to bring attention to his organization. This is where we get introduced to his family, which I also adored! His niece, sister-in-law and friend are so amazing and supportive and motivate him to possibly fake-date Danika, the girl he's been crushing on for a while. I just love how Zaf is such a grumpy to everyone, except Dani. He basically melts at the sight of her.

"I'm the catch of the century on paper, if not in reality, [...] No one's going to believe you've been blessed with my affection if you stand there glaring at everything like the world pissed on your pillow."

The author definitely brought the diversity to this one. We have Danika, a black, bisexual, and curvy PhD student, and we have Zaf, a British Pakistani Muslim, who's a former Rugby player. Not only is it diverse, but I LOVE that Danika loves and accepts herself. She's the kind of confident I wish to be. She totally owns her body and her beautiful.

"For future reference, there's never any need to emphasize my attractiveness. As you say, it's already an established fact."

There's so much more I'd love to say about this novel, but I'll probably spoil it. This book definitely will live in my heart. There's so much to it: the diversity, family, friendship, acceptance, learning to take care of oneself, being open, mental health, etc. It really packs it all and flows so smoothly. Talia Hibbert has made me a convert. I now want to read everything she has ever written!


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Danika Brown knew what she wanted and what she didn't want. She was looking to become a star in her field, and though she didn't have time for feelings and attachments, she still had "needs". She thought Zaf would be a suitable friend-with-benefits partner, but this hopeless romantic may end up being the one, who worms his way into her heart.

I fell in love with the Brown sisters, when they were first introduced in Get a Life, Chloe Brown. Each sister was so wonderful and unique, and it was such a treat getting to know Dani better this time. Watch out! Because Dani Brown is a force. I couldn't imagine how I would handle meeting Dani in person, because I was fully enraptured by her on page. She was brilliant and driven, and wholly her own woman. She had a way with words, and often had me laughing up a storm.

And, then, there was Zaf. My goodness! Talia Hibbert writes THE BEST heroes. On the surface, Zaf was this built-like-a-brick house former rugby star, who commonly wore a scowl. But, underneath, he was a sensitive man, dealing with anxiety and grief. He read romance books, doted on his niece, and quietly started a foundation to teach boys about mental health issues, while combating toxic masculinity.

"Sweetie, are you crying?"
"No," he said. "I'm leaking masculine pain from my eyeballs."

The beauty of this union was that they both were so good for each other. He was supportive and encouraging of Dani's career aspirations, while she helped Zaf embrace his pain and grief. I relished those deep and tender moments, which Hibbert gave us in between the fantastic banter and steamy scenes. Zaf and Dani had an undeniable attraction and passion for each other, but they also had something that went way beyond that. I had zero problems with this ship, and I was cheering for them the entire time.

Overall: A funny and witty romance, which made me laugh, smile, and swoon.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.