How to Fail at Flirting

Denise Williams

Quick Synopsis

Professor Naya Turner is a bit too tightly-wound and stressed. After her friends’ make her a to-do list to step outside her comfort zone, Naya meets a handsome stranger in the bar… who may just destroy her career.

Publisher’s Synopsis

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.

Book Review

How to Fail at Flirting is a debut romance novel with a tightly-wound professor who is relationship-avoidant due to her past. But this all changes once her friends push her out of her comfort zone and she meets a charming man in a bar.

If you love romances filled with realistic awkwardness, corny dad jokes, and caring men, look no further than How to Fail at Flirting. I found these things aspects of the story endearing, and they increased my affection for the characters.

What I really appreciated about How to Fail at Flirting was Denise William’s depictions of real life. This is not a romance that is all butterflies and rainbows. The protagonist, Naya, still carries the emotional scars of an abusive relationship and must face her ex that hurt her both physically and emotionally. Naya also struggles with being taken seriously as a professor due to her looks and age. I think Williams did a fantastic job portraying these aspects of Naya’s life without trivializing or sensationalizing them. In the end, Naya was very relatable and her experiences true-to-life.

How to Fail at Flirting does not skimp on the steam. There are some detailed scenes that will make you sweat. I did feel like there could have been more romantic chemistry built in beyond the clear physical attraction. I find that this is a common problem with many romances for me. I have an expectations that there should be both romantic and physical chemistry. Often, authors focus on the physical over the emotional, presumably because it is easier to depict.

Overall, I enjoyed How to Fail at Flirting. I would recommend it to those who enjoy steamy romances that incorporate real life issues. I am looking forward to reading William’s second novel, The Fastest Way to Fall.


Overall Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 4 out of 5.

How to Fail at Flirting



Publication Date
December 1, 2020


Storygraph Rating
3.87 stars

Goodreads Rating
3.83 stars

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