First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

Monday, February 22, 2021

by Alisha Rai
Series: Modern Love #3
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: February 16th 2020
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷1/2

Though I vastly prefer Alisha Rai's Forbidden Hearts series because it plays more into the tropes I like, I have been enjoying her Modern Love series. First Comes Like was the book that I mostly had my eyes on because it focuses on Jia, who was a major secondary character in Wrong to Need You. I really liked what Alisha did with this book. For me, she delivered with a character-driven slow-burn romance between two likable characters. 

I've always liked Jia, who is now a beauty guru and influencer, from the start. Being inside her head only made me like her more - she's a ray of sunshine and pure goodness. She has built this amazing lucrative career for herself, but in some departments, she is a bit naive. Cue: her being catfished by and falling for someone pretending to be Bollywood actor, Dev. When she meets him in person and realizes the truth, she is completely mortified, but she handles it far better than I would have. There are so many layers to Jia's characters including her faith and her fears that she isn't living up to her family's standards. I can't speak for the Muslim or hijabi representation, but a lot about her relationship with faith, in general, felt raw and honest to me. Dev was also an easy love interest to warm up to. I have a soft spot for single parents in romance novels and Dev in First Comes Like is raising his orphaned niece. He's incredibly responsible and has very strict priorities that he tries not to waver from. It was sweet seeing him try to be a father-figure for his niece while providing her with a comfortable and happy life even if it means having to play a Hollywood role he wasn't particularly passionate about. He was willing to do anything for his niece and damn if my poor heart didn't swoon over that. 

As I mentioned, the romance here is a slow-burn one that starts off with a fake dating relationship followed by a lovely friendship. There was something about their evolving relationship that made my heart happy - it was a story of two people finding kinship and comfort in each other. It was also refreshing to see a romance where the steamy moments were not at the forefront. Not that there's anything wrong with sex, but some couples do abstain for a variety of reasons and we should see that in romance books from time to time. I thought Alisha handled it very sensitively. My only complaint would be that I wished some of the events towards the end of this book had occurred earlier - Jia and Dev get married. The ending felt a little rushed and I would have liked for it to have been extended because this was also when the families of both characters become heavily involved in the plot. You all know how I'm a sucker for some good old family drama!

First Comes Like is what I would call a soft romance with plenty of tender moments between two characters who are slowly learning to get to know each other. Based on some of the reviews I've seen, it's not the book for everyone, but it ended up working for me. I look forward to seeing what Alisha has up her sleeves next.

CW: catfishing, mention of death (Apologies, I forgot to take content warning notes when I read this book so this list is not comprehensive)

Relationship disclosure: None



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Have you read any books where the characters do not have premarital sex?
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