A little romance for the #allthebookreviews duo!
Thanks to Avon Books for the free early copy in exchange for my honest review
FIRST COMES LIKE – Alisha Rai (Released February 16th, 2021)
The author of The Right Swipe and Girl Gone Viral returns with a story about finding love in all the wrong inboxes…
Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast.
There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is.
The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her…
When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?
Chandra’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars
What an absolutely adorable story!! This time of social media, catfishing and sliding into people’s DMs calls for a story like this and I’m always SUPER happy to see ethnic representation within reads. Not only because it’s nice to see different faces on covers but also learning about these cultures through these joyous stories. I am forever grateful for authors like Rai who fight for diversity within the genres that they write.
Let’s talk about our protagonist, Jia. A makeup influencer who, while internet famous, isn’t as well known as the Bollywood star, Dev, who she’s been communicating with via social media for a while now. Imagine the surprise when she runs into him face to face just to realize he has no idea who she is… what.. is.. happening? This is a fun, FUN, fake relationship trope that I always have enjoyed. I mean, we all know how this will probably play out but I didn’t foresee that big of a jump from the get go to the end. WHAT! 😮 But it works here. It absolutely works.
I especially love that Jia uses ice cream for comfort when she’s depressed (oh hi, me too). I understand that feeling Jia has when it feels like you’re not going to make your parents proud until you meet that certain mold they expect from you (hi fam!). I especially understand when she over analyzes what’s happening and her mind jumps to worst case scenarios because HELLO, I date so I get it. 🤣 But what’s great is how much the families are incorporated within this story – from the parents to the aunts, grandparents, nieces, cousins, etc. YES YES YES. Family loves you in spite of and BECAUSE of all sides of your personality.
My only tiny issue may be that I wish people would stop calling women spider monkeys when they jump on their men – this reminds me always of that scene in Twilight.. gah. And I truly wish that all women could have their first time be as good as Jia’s.. (Ahem). But these are stupid little nits when the main focus of this was not so much the physical relationship, but the true respect and time they took to get to know each other (though still an incredibly fast timeline from beginning to end).
I don’t know about y’all but I think we need more stories like this one. My first Rai but definitely not my last
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
I’m not normally the biggest fan of romance novels but I decided to give FIRST COMES LIKE a shot – never hurts to branch out on occasion, right? This is the third installment in the Modern Love series by Alisha Rai and I really enjoyed it! I liked that this wasn’t heavy on the steam as it instead dealt with the topics of virginity and marriage as opposed to the physical aspects of a relationship. I loved seeing our heroine, Jia, sticking to her religious beliefs and staying true to herself. It seems like there are so many romance novels out there where caution is thrown to the wind and characters will just abandon their beliefs for a new relationship. I would love to see what Own Voice reviewers think of this novel and the depiction of Muslim culture, as I feel like I got a good glimpse into it. If you’re wanting a sweet romance novel that’s light on the steam, then I highly recommend this one!