Cover Image: First Comes Like

First Comes Like

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Member Reviews

Jia and Dev are both really great, both of their perspectives are fun to read and they each have compelling problems. Dev’s issues with his family are intense and his feelings about loss are dealt with in a really complex way. While a lot of romantic heroes are shaped by tragedy, Dev finds a healthy way to deal with his losses and makes the people he loves his priority. He’s also not afraid to watch YouTube videos about makeup, and supports Jia unconditionally. He puts Jia first, and tries to make things as easy for her as possible, which really wins him points. In terms of their relationship, they have the same level of fame, at least in the US, which means that power imbalance isn’t a factor. Readers might be wary of the famous-dating-non-famous trope, but in this case they just reach different audiences, and both are independent and capable of making a living. Neither is particularly star-struck by the other. Their age difference is also reasonable, he’s a little older than her, but they’re both successful and know what they want from a relationship. The only imbalance that might bother readers is that Jia is sexually and romantically inexpeirenced, while Dev has had relationships and liaisons in the past. While it is realistic for a religious woman in her late twenties to wait for intimacy, it does seem very zero-to-sixty in some ways. Jia claims to have never been attracted to a man in the way she is attracted to Dev and never to have been tempted sexually before meeting him. This seems a little weird considering she isn’t exactly cloistered - she lives independently and went to college, even to medical school for a while. The idea that she never met anyone that she was interested in sexually from her teen years to her late twenties just seems a little unrealistic. 

Jia’s issues with her parents also seem a little glossed over in the book. She has the reputation in the family as being a flighty character, despite all of her decisions leading to success. All her relatives treat her like an unruly child, despite her being a self-reliant woman. It’s really infantilizing for them to get on the phone to “discuss” her actions and tell her how she’s doing everything wrong in her life. This is excused by saying that they love her, and they do threaten people on her behalf, but they still act as though Jia can’t run her own life. Dev stands up for her with them, but he shouldn’t have to - they should value her regardless of a man telling them she has value. Jia also describes her family as “not too conservative”, but her parents both complain about how their daughters didn’t have arranged marriages.     

While the story is really strong from the beginning, the end is pretty anticlimactic, and doesn’t feel as polished as the rest of the book, leaving a lot of threads unresolved. There is also a secondary character who is introduced for a single scene and is totally forgotten after that. The catfishing also seems a tad out of character; Jia, while fanciful, is timid about being involved with men. The messages between Jia and Dev get really romantic, and it seems odd for her to allow it to continue considering her inexperience and discomfort with dating. The beginning is also vague and a little murky; if a reader hasn’t read the previous books in the series, jumping in with this one might be a little rocky.
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I reviewed this title for Booklist. Thank you for sending it to me! I love Ailsha's books, and I like this one even better than the previous. Jia was always a favorite of mine for doing her own thing, and to match her with this actor prince was too much fun.
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3.5 stars. This was a sweet story about Jia and Dev. They were nicely rounded out characters that kept my interest throughout the book. However, I think I would have liked to have seen a little bit more drama.  It'd have been nice to see them struggle a little more on their journey to their HEA. I also would've liked some more interaction between Jia and Luna. I felt empathetic for Luna's struggle with feeling like she was just a nuisance. (I did appreciate the scene where her and Dev confront this insecurity of hers though). It was completely understandable when she felt reservations about having Jia enter the family when she herself felt like a new member still. Having Jia spend more time with her would have made sense at that point.

Things that I loved about this book were the Jia's friends and Dev's interest and respect for Jia's work. It was endearing seeing him watch all her videos and purchasing her recommendations for himself. And Rhiannon and Katrina are always fun to read about, but I also liked the bonding that Jia and Lakshmi did. It's always great when writers break through the "enemy/bitchy female" trope, and show you the person beneath. 

Jia and Dev offer up a sweet low-angst read for those fake-dating trope lovers!
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There has finally come a day when we can read a fun, (like, actually) contemporary romance novel featuring a strong female Muslin Hijabi lead and a hot Indian man. 

Jia Ahmed is a beauty influencer, too busy defying her family stereotypes and being awesome to be in a relationship. But then she falls in love with a man who slid into her DMs - an ultra famous Hollywood star Dev Dixit. Only he didn't, as someone catfished that woman using his name. And so a major drama ensues with all its craziness, online and offline. 

Woah! You're telling me we can have people of color star in a book about fame and influencers?! This was just wonderful and I loved these characters with all my heart. To me, this is an indicator of an excellent romance: rooting for both of the main characters and wanting them to get together real bad. And what's more, there are some important topics handled with lightheartedness yet proper attention and seriousness: catfishing, racism, mental health (panic and anxiety), grief and family conflicts.

This may have been my first book by Alisha Rai but it will not be the last! Gosh, I can't remember the last time I had this much fun with a romance book, but this one gets a huge YES from me.

*Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I’m so glad I finally got to read Jia and Dev’s story.

While I did quite like this book, it fell a little short compared to the others in the series for me. I think it was because a lot of it was stressful? Or maybe I wasn’t a fan of the cat fishing trope...not sure.

Regardless, I adore Jia and am envious of how self assured she is. She’s so unapologetically herself and I’m super jealous of it. Dev, while kind of naive in the ways of many kinds of relationships, was very sweet and always meant well. It was also nice to see the male lead not be stereotypically muscly etc for once. 

All in all a good read! Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
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It's time for another Alisha Rai review! I have thoroughly enjoyed her books. The characters in this series really jump off the page and have full lives outside of their romances and jobs. The friendship of the women in the books has only gotten more enjoyable with each book. 

First Comes Like is the third in the series, but you definitely don't need to read the others before you jump into this one, although I greatly recommend you do cause they are amazing. This books follows beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed's story as she meets, fights, and then meets again a famous crush who catfished her!  
For me, this book was a little harder to get into both Jia and Dev's personalities left me feeling confused from time to time and I honestly wasn't sure where the story was going. 

Overall, I liked the characters and their story was interesting but it felt a little flat to me, almost like it wasn't done. This book was just an ARC i got from NetGalley so it's possible there are some changes coming but realistically this one wasn't my favorite of the series. I thoroughly recommend the first two and if you enjoyed them then you'll want to get to know Jia more. I found some of the COVID references to be kinda funny, but I'm not sure if I was reading into that or if it was intentional.
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I was so excited to read Jia’s story (she’s a hijabi - yay for representation) but I could not get into this story at all and it took me so much longer to read versus other ARCS that I’m able to breeze through in a couple of days. I just couldn’t connect with the characters at all and felt like the plot  was all over the place at times. The first two installments were much better.
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This book was the perfect escape. It was lovely and fun. It was my first book by this author and I will definitely be on the look out for more!!
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I really wanted to love this book because I fell in love with Jia from the very first page and I have been a fan of Alisha Rai for a while. I loved how it took her work seriously and just her personality in general was so charming. But I felt like the pacing was so so off in this book. I totally lost interest but the mid-third. I think it was in part trying to keep the initial romance relatively conservative, which I totally get and respect, but it just... it felt like it had no stakes to me, they were barely in a fake relationship for any amount of time. The cuts between scenes were jumpy. While Dev and Jia seem like a great couple, the speed of their relationship was unearned.
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First Comes Like is the story of two people finding love on the internet, albeit differently than either of them intended. It is a sweet, funny book with winning characters and a decidedly unconventional love story.

Jia Ahmed is a YouTuber and beauty influencer who started out making videos in her bedroom. Going against the grain, she quit medical school to make makeup content online and moved across the country to LA. Jia is pretty successful, but she’s starting to feel ancient in the online space, where teenagers have millions of followers and she’s an outlier at twenty-eight. When her numbers start falling and the sponsors stop flowing as freely, Jia feels like she’s lived up to her reputation as the family failure. The last thing she needs is to experience the humiliation of being catfished by an Indian soap opera star.

Dev Dixit is one of the remaining Dixits - a family of Bollywood royalty, famous, rich, and attractive. Following the premature death of his brother, Dev moves to the US to make a fresh start, and gets a job on an American show. He has to build a stable life for his niece with the help of his maternal uncle, a widower. Dev isn’t exactly looking to date, but when he meets Jia he wants to make an exception - until she acts as though he’s wronged her in some way. Then he needs to know what happened, and how he can see her again.

Jia and Dev are both really great, both of their perspectives are fun to read and they each have compelling problems. Dev’s issues with his family are intense and his feelings about loss are dealt with in a really complex way. While a lot of romantic heroes are shaped by tragedy, Dev finds a healthy way to deal with his losses and makes the people he loves his priority. He’s also not afraid to watch YouTube videos about makeup, and supports Jia unconditionally. He puts Jia first, and tries to make things as easy for her as possible, which really wins him points. In terms of their relationship, they have the same level of fame, at least in the US, which means that power imbalance isn’t a factor. Readers might be wary of the famous-dating-non-famous trope, but in this case they just reach different audiences, and both are independent and capable of making a living. Neither is particularly star-struck by the other. Their age difference is also reasonable, he’s a little older than her, but they’re both successful and know what they want from a relationship. The only imbalance that might bother readers is that Jia is sexually and romantically inexpeirenced, while Dev has had relationships and liaisons in the past. While it is realistic for a religious woman in her late twenties to wait for intimacy, it does seem very zero-to-sixty in some ways. Jia claims to have never been attracted to a man in the way she is attracted to Dev and never to have been tempted sexually before meeting him. This seems a little weird considering she isn’t exactly cloistered - she lives independently and went to college, even to medical school for a while. The idea that she never met anyone that she was interested in sexually from her teen years to her late twenties just seems a little unrealistic.

Jia’s issues with her parents also seem a little glossed over in the book. She has the reputation in the family as being a flighty character, despite all of her decisions leading to success. All her relatives treat her like an unruly child, despite her being a self-reliant woman. It’s really infantilizing for them to get on the phone to “discuss” her actions and tell her how she’s doing everything wrong in her life. This is excused by saying that they love her, and they do threaten people on her behalf, but they still act as though Jia can’t run her own life. Dev stands up for her with them, but he shouldn’t have to - they should value her regardless of a man telling them she has value. Jia also describes her family as “not too conservative”, but her parents both complain about how their daughters didn’t have arranged marriages.

While the story is really strong from the beginning, the end is pretty anticlimactic, and doesn’t feel as polished as the rest of the book, leaving a lot of threads unresolved. There is also a secondary character who is introduced for a single scene and is totally forgotten after that. The catfishing also seems a tad out of character; Jia, while fanciful, is timid about being involved with men. The messages between Jia and Dev get really romantic, and it seems odd for her to allow it to continue considering her inexperience and discomfort with dating. The beginning is also vague and a little murky; if a reader hasn’t read the previous books in the series, jumping in with this one might be a little rocky.

First Comes Like is a quick, sharply-written read about finding love in unusual circumstances. The main characters are charismatic and sympathetic, and while it isn’t perfect, it’s a really enjoyable book.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent bookstore
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The third installment to the modern love series by Alisha Rai was so wonderful and cozy to read. This book was infused with pop culture and social media easter eggs to the point where spotting references became quite an enjoyable scavenger hunt for me.

I loved Jia and Dev. Both of their lives in the limelight had different origins and the way that affected their demeanor was really interesting especially when they started to interact with each other. I really appreciated how Jia’s faith and practices as a muslim woman were a relevant part of her character but not the sole defining characteristic. Her faith wasn’t an internal struggle but a part of her being, as natural as breathing. Dev’s innate understanding of her boundaries as a muslim woman were super wonderful to read too. The lack of physicality through the majority of the book really made the emotional bond between the two leads shine through and made me root for them really hard. Dev and Jia’s families were also great secondary and tertiary characters. Their shared values as people who care about family made their bond more realistic. Dev’s dedication to his niece and his contentious relationship with the rest of his family was relatable as heck. Same with Jia’s role as the rogue, independent, and impulsive daughter. The aspects of brown families who are overly invested in the marital status of their offspring was comical yet depressingly realistic.

My one issue with the book was the intimate scenes at the end of the book. I was torn between feeling like I was invading a personal moment for a muslim woman and also chastising myself for expecting all romances representing muslim women to be PG13 all the way through the end. This book respected the major cultural aspects of Islamic courtship through the entire book so it wasn’t so much an issue of misrepresentation as much as it was a question about whether a non muslim author has the right to cross a line such as this in a book. As a non muslim myself, I cannot say whether it was appropriate or not. 

Aside from that, this book was an overall delight and I found myself unable to put it down. I kept sneaking my phone out to read at the worst possible times because it was SO GOOD.
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This book was not for me. I want to be respectful of the fact that it's probably a lot to do with cultural differences. I don't mind slow burn because something is building between two people bit I felt absolutely no spark between these two. The hero was such a dud. And the heroine seemed to lose her spark when she was with him. This was my least favorite of the series so far.
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This series is so swoony. ❤ While I've found each book to be so different, Ms. Rai has done a great job with each one.

What I loved about this book:

1. This was such a sweet fake dating romance with little angst, but a lot of awwww moments. Jia is a Muslim heroine that's struggling with her self worth and her opinionated family's acceptance of her job as a makeup influencer. Dev is also the "black sheep" of his family and trying to pick up the pieces after the loss of his brother and grandfather even though he had a strained relationship with both. Jia and Dev original meet after a mysterious catfishing incident, but decide to fake date after a "scandalous" leaked photo. Everyone can tell they're developing real feelings, but they are both too afraid to tell the other person.

2. I absolutely love when an author has guinine characters that evolve throughout the book. Jia is a makeup influencer when most of her family members are doctors, including her twin sister. As she struggles with her families opinion of her and her career you really get to see her grow and mature. She is such a great character that I've rooted for the entire series.

3. My favorite part of a romance series like this is that you get to see where your favorite characters are now and swoon over their relationships a second time. In this book you'll get to see where Rhi/Samson and Katrina/Jas are now and how their relationships have evolved.

What kept me from giving this book 5⭐?

There were few moments of a lack of communication that frustrated me, but my biggest complaint was that I wanted more of their relationship. I know there is room for their relationship to grow in future books, but I loved their story so much I wanted to read more about it now. 😂

This slow burn sweet romance is sure to leave you smiling once finished, I highly recommend you read this amazing book.
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First Comes Like soon became my favorite of Rai's Modern Love series. I loved the slow burn between Instagram influencer Jia Ahmed and Bollywood star Devanand Dixit. Jia is seemingly catfished by Dev in Instagram DMs and as they begin to uncover what happened and how they have to also pretend to be in a fake relationship to appease Jia's family. Slowly but surely they come to know each other for real and I loved that neither one compromises their values or their dreams while helping the other achieve their goals. 
Wonderful book!
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I really enjoyed the book! I’ve read the first book in this series and look forward to reading others.
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When Jia gets an invite to a party to meet the TV star who slide into her DMs, she's not expecting him to have no idea who she is! Dev Dixit is an Indian soap star who recently moved to Los Angeles after the death of his brother. He's puzzled when Jia, the beautiful YouTube star approaches him and seems so upset that he doesn't recognize her. Slowly, a catfishing scheme not of his doing is unearthed, and Dev will do anything to get Jia's forgiveness, including posing as her boyfriend to appease her parents. Quickly, the two being to develop real feelings for each other. At First Like is fun, smart and sweet, and a great exploration of modern dating.
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Loved loved loved this book! It’s my first by Alisha Rai and I’m so glad it was this specific one. My favorite thing by far is the complicated happy ending; talk about real. Full review up on my bookstagram.
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First Comes Like
A Novel
by Alisha Rai
Avon and Harper Voyager
 You Are Auto-Approved
Avon
General Fiction (Adult) | Multicultural Interest | Romance
Pub Date 16 Feb 2021   |   Archive Date 13 Apr 2021

I wanted to like this.  I have heard about the author but this book was not the one for me.  Thanks to Avon and Harper Voyager as well as NetGalley for the ARC. 

3 star
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I wanted to love this, because I've really enjoyed the other books in the Modern Love series. But....I just didn't.

I'm trying not to be an ass about this, because I know the main arc in this mirrors life for a lot of people in the world. But the innocence of it was grating for me (just kiss already? Like, once?) and the sex itself, once it happened, was like...nothing. It wasn't well-written, it didn't feel passionate, it didn't feel real...it just felt like, well, this is a romance novel so I better say something about it. Honestly, I think I would have liked it better sans sex!

All that said, I also found the main hero fairly cardboard, and the best parts of this were def. the families of both main characters which is....not good. You're supposed to root for them, and I mostly just wanted to see Aji and Luna and Adil Uncle interact with Jia's family. Just...not great for a romance novel.

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the ARC.
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I really enjoyed this novel! Jia & Dev were both soft and cute main characters. I love their small moments where they just got to know each other and be cute. 

My main issue was the last ~25% had too much plot that we got less cute moments. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the way everything panned out so I was left a bit disappointed. 

Overall, book two is my favorite in this "series" by A LOT. But I love the diversity and the STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS that are all so unique.
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