Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2) by Talia Hibbert

Title: Take A Hint, Dani Brown
Series: The Brown Sisters, #2
Author: Talia Hibbert
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: June 23, 2020
Genre: Romance
Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕(5/5)
Content Warning: *highlight to view* {death of a loved one (recalled), abandonment (recalled), discussions of general anxiety disorder}

I really enjoyed my first taste of Talia Hibbert’s work with Get a Life, Chloe Brown… so when I got the chance, I immediately dove straight to the second book in The Brown Sister series: Take a Hint, Dani Brown.

BLURB

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani 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. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.
Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?
(via Goodreads)

THOUGHTS

Take a Hint, Dani Brown centers around the 2nd Brown sister: Danika Brown, as she helped her friend (and co-worker and crush, and potential f* buddy and a lot of things) Zafir Ansari, by being in a fake relationship with him to help boost his sports charity, after the two of them accidentally became viral on the internet. They fake date, it was all fun and games… then feelings happened and everything starts to go haywire.

While I have to admit that Dani already captured my interest from her brief cameos in the first book, reading about and exploring more of her character in this book was an absolute delight. The first time I met her, I already felt like she will be the Brown sister whom I would like the most – and I wasn’t wrong (Eve is still in contention for this part, but I highly doubt it). She is driven, knows what she wants and how to get it, and very unapologetic in her sexuality. Although she does have some insecurities here and there, but she learned to own it – and, now, confidence is one of her biggest assets.

Putting golden frames around my scars, that’s who I am.”

Zaf on the other hand is an ex-star rugby player that decided to take a step off from the spotlight after a traumatic event affected his life, and turned it on its head. General anxiety disorder was explicitly talked about in this book from Zaf’s perspective. And honestly? I loved how Talia Hibbert have treated it (and even the discussion around grief) very tastefully. Yes, it was a big part of his life, but she showed through Zaf that it could be managed. That you’re not less of a person because of it and you can definitely get through it if you have a solid support system. There was one scene in this book where Zaf had a sudden panic attack prior to going on air on a radio talk show with Dani. The change in Zaf’s external demeanor was so subtle but Dani still managed to catch it and she made it really clear that it’s ok to cancel if it is what he wants. I honestly almost teared up when I read it because, experiencing anxiety – social anxiety – to be exact, I can’t count how many times I wished someone bothered to be observant enough to sense my discomfort and treat me that way. A simple “are you ok?” goes a long way. But I digress. I really loved Zaf as a character, this romance-novel reading sports-head – that worked his ass off weathering his trauma and using his experience and platform to help others (kids in particular) just like him.

Reading this was such a lovely ride. This book was definitely more steamy than Get a Life, Chloe Brown (I think?), and the chemistry of the MCs with each other is just through the roof. I guess one of the things that I appreciate the most about Talia Hibbert books (from what I’ve read so far) is how she writes conflict in her stories, in a way that it’s not really something external, but something that both of the leads need to work on within themselves to resolve. It’s very straightforward, but she keeps surprising me in every turn – turning established romance clichés on their heads. Dani is a commitment-phobe, Zaf is a hopeless romantic. And despite differences, they were able to compromise and meet half-way. And I was so here for all of it.

OVERALL

“What you get out of being loved, it’s supposed to be worth the compromise. When it’s good, it makes you want to compromise.”

Take a Hint, Dani Brown is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read recently. I saw parts of myself in both Dani and Zaf and reading this book has been a treat to my heart. Talia Hibbert continuously raises the bar by writing male characters that were so amazingly in touch with their emotions – and Zafir Ansari, this wonderful human being, is a gift. Dani is an intellectual bisexual witch (literally) and she is (personally) one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever read in a romance novel ever. I liked Get a Life, Chloe Brown so much… but this one? I absolutely love and adore.

Honestly, this is such a simple story. But the amount of emotional connection I had with the characters and the story made such a difference. So take my recommendation with a grain of salt – but I would like to think that without this, this would still be a story worth reading and worth recommending. So… enjoy some swoony and steamy romance your way through Take a Hint, Dani Brown. Sometimes we just need a love story to brighten our days up and then some. 💛

Additional note:

“At the time, it was romance novels that reminded me. Since you’ve never read one, that probably sounds weird. But it’s all about emotion, Dan—the whole thing, the whole story, the whole point. Just book after book about people facing their issues head on, and handling it, and never, ever failing—at least, not for good. I felt like my world had already ended unhappily, but every book I read about someone who’d been through the worst and found happiness anyway seemed to say the opposite. Like my story didn’t need to be over if I didn’t want it to. Like, if I could just be strong enough to reclaim my emotions, and to work through them, maybe I’d be okay again. That’s kind of what inspired me to, er, keep going. To make good choices, even when feeling better seemed impossible.”

Yes to romance novel appreciation! This kinda reminds me of January’s attitude towards love stories in Beach Read. But while she treats it as an escape more so than other things, Zaf finds hope in these stories. And I think that is a very beautiful thing.

RATING

QUOTABLE QUOTES

“The thing about mental health was, you couldn’t take a course of antibiotics and be magically healed. Some people’s brains just thought too much or felt too much or hurt too much, and you had to stay on top of that.”

“Sweetie, are you crying?” “No,” he said. “I’m leaking masculine pain from my eyeballs.” LOL

“He always stumbled over that part. Not because it hurt—although it really fucking did—but because it seemed so…small. So simple and flat and anticlimactic a phrase for something as monumental as death. You told people ‘they died,’ and hell was folded up inside those two short words. Some people got it. Some people didn’t.”

THIS.

“Anything you want to do, you can. Hurdles were made to be jumped. Glass ceilings were made to be smashed. But all that can be exhausting, so make sure you care for yourself too. There’s great value in the things that bring you joy.”

I honestly wrote this in my journal as a reminder to myself.

GET THE BOOK >> Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound

About the Author

Talia Hibbert is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.

She writes steamy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include makeup, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm. Talia and her many books reside in the English Midlands.

Author Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


Find me elsewhere: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | YouTube

Care to buy me a Kofi? CLICK HERE.

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Auditor by profession and a 'round-the-clock geek 🤓 from the 🇵🇭. I'm a coffee-holic INTJ with an unhealthy obsession with books and stationery. I word-vomit over at Twitter and posts book pics at Instagram: @pagesandcc . I also blog at https://pagesandcoffeecups.com/ .

3 thoughts on “Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2) by Talia Hibbert

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