Cover Image: First Love, Take Two

First Love, Take Two

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Writing a book often takes months and years of hard work, and i genuinely do not mean to come off as harsh when i write my review. Thank you to Forever Pub for an ARC of this. I expected to like this book as much as I did The Trouble With Hating You, but it fell felt for me. Without spoiling anything, here are the things I’m not a fan of: Daniel and Preeti’s relationship was more of an idea and a concept of their past rather than something tangible in the present. It felt like Daniel was a concept instead of an actual character, and as the reader I didn’t get to connect with him in the present. He was more a figment of Preeti’s thoughts, and in the present I genuinely didn’t see why he was so important to her. The concept of the story was promising but it could’ve been executed in a better way if the book was told through flashbacks, too. Another issue of mine was the way that the story essentially revolved around racism and I definitely feel as though all the issues brought up were not resolved. The writing was frustrating at times because it took away from an important situation and confused me in multiple places. There were also multiple scenes in which Preeti was,essentially,cheating on her fiancé and they made me so uncomfortable. My last problem was that most of the characters were very indecisive, pushy, obnoxious, and I disliked them intensely. Preeti’s entire story revolves around her learning from her past, but when it came down to it she hadn’t learnt her lesson or tried to be better. All in all I was disappointed by this, but I do definitely appreciate the issues that this book talked about; racism in Indian communities and the phobias surrounding anxiety.
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As I was logging finishing "The Trouble With Hating You" into my Goodreads, I saw that Preeti's story was coming out. I ran straight to NetGalley to see if I could get approved for the ARC so you can imagine my delight in continuing in the girls' journeys through Preeti.

All-in-all, I have mixed feelings about this one. It was definitely a step-down from Liya's story but the manner in which some heavy themes (e.g., mental illness, racism, cultural norms) were dealt with really pleases me. It is refreshing to deviate from the stereotypical romance and walk in the shoes of a POC protagonist living in a less than perfect world. The inclusion of these themes did not feel token, and again, I was impressed with their inclusion in the plot.

Since I was so pleased with the underlying themes, it makes it soooo frustrating that I didn't love Preeti herself. She's a quirky doctor but also comes across really immature in how she handles being around Daniel and the way she talks about some things. Perhaps its my own bias and schema of doctors, but it felt inconsistent. Since I read both books back-to-back, I was disappointed in the departure of the dual perspective approach. I would have loved to get a glimpse into Daniel's thoughts about Preeti and his family. We know he and Preeti loved each other years ago but I didn't leave feeling like I knew why they still love the current version of themselves.
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I realized after I began that I haven’t read the first book, The Trouble with Hating You,  so I wasn’t as connected with the events or relationships as I would have liked but so am definitely going to read it now. 

Preeti is finishing her residency and trying to find a permanent job placement, apartment hunting as well as trying to figure out if she wants to be engaged with someone arranged by their families. She doesn’t feel any sparks or closeness with him and, in fact, isn’t over her ex, Daniel who she jilted without explanation six years ago. When forced to spent time with him in closed proximity and her avoidance tactics stall out, she has to come to terms with her past in order to decide what she wants in her future. 

This book included a MC with touch aversion and talked about stigmas surrounding anxiety in society, professions and certain cultures. It also dealt with issues surrounding interracial couples and blatant racism.  While the book was trying to show Preeti’s growth and reaction to things, I felt like it told us she was changing but didn’t really show us. 

While I enjoyed the book, I wish we would have had more of Daniel’s POV. This was definitely more Preeti’s book and, while I did like her, I wasn’t as convinced of the soundness of the relationship. The lack of communication on many parts really bothered me. The descriptions of religious and family culture were really interesting to me and did make me more understanding about Preeti’s actions. 

This was an enjoyable, quick read and I’m sure of you’ve read and loved The Trouble With Hating You, you will enjoy being back in this world with these characters. 

Daniel’s grandparents made this book for me!!  Absolutely loved how open and kind they were.  Also, I adore a food centric book and this one delivered. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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What a heart warming book! I love how Sajni Patel touches on topics of racism and the stigma around mental illness. We also see an inside look on the relationships and differences between desi immigrant parents and their children in regards to traditions on family and marriage and how toxic it can be sometimes.

I loved the tension between Preeti and Daniel after not seeing each other for six years! You can truly feel the heat between the two whenever they were alone in a room together. I also loved how Preeti eventually found her voice and strength to stand up for herself and her family. You see her character development from the beginning of the book as this flighty, meek person to becoming this strong, communicative, stand-up-for-yourself woman!

I will say that the beginning of the book threw me for a loop because of the issue that Liya was dealing with. Not sure if that was mentioned in The Trouble With Hating You which carried on to this book, but I was lost as to what they were referring to since I haven’t read TTWHY yet. They made so many vague references to it and I had no idea what they were talking about so my curiosity was distracting me from being completely immersed in this book. Also Preeti’s lack of communication skills in the beginning really was frustrating to me but that only makes me appreciate her growth that much more.

Overall this was a great read, finished it in a day because I couldn’t put it down!

Thank you NetGalley and Forever Pub for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
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First Love, Take Two is a beautifully written novel which encapsulates the reader in a world of culture, tradition, food, love and finding ones place in that world. It is a story with deep characters and a wonderful and emotional storyline. Sajni Patel has written a heart-touching novel that touches on real life issues amongst many communities and does so in a way that feels safe to read about.

First Love, Take Two follows Preeti Patel a young Indian doctor who is trying to finish her residency and find a job. She is also trying to fit into her families religious and cultural traditions as much as possible. And also not fitting in where it was ok with her parents, which doesn't go over well with her aunties. Preeti is also in an arranged relationship. Unhappily though she won't fully admit it. Preeti is put in an awkward situation when she is culturally forced to move out of her current living situation. 

Enter Daniel. Daniel is a sexy, fit, talented, intelligent and wealthy architect and businessman who graduated from Harvard (and Rice). Daniel is also Preeti's ex and her new temporary roommate. Daniel is also not Indian and does not share the same religious or cultural background, which played a part in their break-up. 

How will Preeti and Daniel survive as roommates? Do they still have romantic feelings for once another and if so how do they overcome them? Does first love, take two work?
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I was pleasantly surprised by First Love, Take Two. Going into it, I wasn’t sure to expect and the first few chapters didn’t exactly wow me. I’m not South Asian, but I don’t particularly love stereotypical representations of any race and Preeti, who’s about to finish her residency, seemed exactly that. However, Sajni Patel definitely makes me eat my words. Preeti isn’t afraid to stand up to her aunts for her friends and family, all while dealing with what is probably untreated anxiety. 

The romance is also incredibly riveting if I do say so myself. Patel had me wishing I could find a Daniel of my own, especially one so supportive. The major conflict between Preeti and Daniel is definitely a clash of cultures, both ethnic and class wise. And the resolution to the story is one that’s incredibly realistic in my opinion which only makes me root for the couple even harder. 

It’s a minor thing, but there’s one plot point involving one of the best friends, Liya, that isn't really resolved, so if the author ever wanted to write a sequel… hint hint wink wink. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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First Love, Take Two is a perfect example of what a romance story should be. Sanji Patel has you longing for more. The characters and storyline are adorable, quirky, intriguing.
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I couldn’t even get past Chapter 3….

I had to go back 3 times to make sure I didn’t accidentally start in the middle of the book. I was so utterly confused by this setting and the introduction of characters.
 Who was Daniel?? Liya? Is she in an arranged marriage or just a culture advice?
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Ok so I am literally the world's biggest fan of The Trouble With Hating You, and so I had high expectations for First Love, Take Two and I was not disappointed. Every aspect about this book is perfect, from the plot to the characters.

This book follows Preeti, a to-be doctor who is trying to fight cultural racism within her traditional Indian community. Daniel, a Black man, and Preeti dated for a while before she left him for no reason. This book shows their relationship rekindling and is so fun and romantic.

This book tackles issues such as racism, cultural expectations, mental health, touch aversion, and brief mentions of miscarriage beautifully. As someone who has undergone similar cultural issues, this book almost brought me to tears with the plot. It shows Preeti becoming stronger over time and tackling all these issues.

This book has definitely become one of my all time favourites. Sajni Patel's eloquent way of writing made me read the whole thing in one day because I could not put it down. Everyone should read this book right now. 5/5 stars.
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I liked this book, but I didn't love it quite as much as I thought I would. I am a big fan of the forced proximity/only one bed trope, so I was sold on that front. I enjoyed getting to know Preeti's community (both the good and the bad aspects) but I think there was sometimes a little bit of a disconnect for me. I'll note that I'm a biracial black woman, so that is the perspective that I'm seeing this book from. I just found myself getting incredibly frustrated with Preeti--I understand being young and breaking things off for the wrong reasons. I understand her anxiety. I was just so so frustrated with the way that she broke up with him as soon as she encountered antiblack racism in her community AND THEN totally ghosted him and never gave him any reason at all why she left! And years later she's still rationalizing leaving him in that way and for those reasons. I also didn't totally feel the chemistry with these two...a lot of second chance romances alternate present day with flashbacks, which I find pretty tedious unless it's done well. I appreciated that this book didn't constantly send me into the past, but I felt at times that it was a little too focused on present conflict. Because we were always in Preeti's head, we don't really see what Daniel loves about her or why he still feels the way he does after all these years. We see Preeti's struggle between a relationship she thinks her parents want or need her to be in, and guilt about Daniel, and her avoidance with talking to him. The book largely circles around those conflicts without really showing us why they initially fell in love or how that love has sustained without talking for all these years. That made it hard for me to feel strong chemistry between them.
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I absolutely adored the author's previous novel, The Trouble With Hating You, and so the moment I learned of her upcoming sequel, I knew I had to read it. And it was a good one. After wanting to be a part of Liya's badass girl gang from the get-go in TTWHY, I'm so glad we get to see her best friend Preeti find (or re-find) love. This read picks up pretty soon after the last ended, but from Preeti's side. She's been finishing up her residency, overly stressed with work and job hunting and managing her traditional family and community. She's desperate to find a new place to live, and the only option she has: Her ex. Her ex-boyfriend is none other than first-love Daniel, who's good-looking, confident, supportive, a good cook, and basically perfect. Or he would be if their families approved of the couple. We've got a second chance romance and a forced proximity trope and ooh boy, was I so excited for that.  Much like her last book, this read has such quick and witty language that pulls me in from the first chapter, Preeti is such a vulnerable and authentic main character and this book is a quick read yet plenty swoony for a romance novel. Their relationship in this slow-burn story is basically the premise of Olivia Rodrigo's "1 step forward, 3 steps back." And that ending: Completely precious.
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Thank you to Netgalley for letting me review this book! Let me just say I read this in one day, so that pretty much says a lot about how much I enjoyed it. The story was easy to get into and Daniel and Preeti were everything. I loved how the author explained and understands the effects of mental health and I liked how the character written depicted that. Though this book was corny at times,  I would still read it again and I suggest everyone picks this up for when it comes out on September 21st! 3.5/5 stars. :)
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Patel's second book in this series was an absolute delight! I love the way Patel infuses real life challenges in a rom-com type story. I was eagerly flipping through the pages to see how the story would unfold. I do wish we got more flashbacks into Preeti and Daniel's story. The present day scenes were so cute, but it did feel a little bit of a disconnection, as opposed to book one where we follow Liya's story from the start. And this is the first time I'd encountered the term touch aversion. I didn't realize it was a thing and it makes so much sense. Very cool to see it explored in the context of a romantic relationship. A lesson to trust your instincts and where you feel at ease. Hoping for more great books from Patel!
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After reading The Trouble With Hating You earlier this year and falling head over heels in love with it, I was so incredibly happy to receive this book as an eARC. Literally made my whole miserable week and I read it in a day. Then I reread it. Whoops! Also if you haven't read the first one in this series I highly recommend it as there is a decent amount of overlap and details that could ruin the first book.

Before I go too much into the details of love and meh about this book I just want to let you know why I adored this book as a whole and why Patel will be an auto-buy author for me. These books are heavy. There is a lot more in this book than meets the eye when you look at the cover or even read the synopsis. This book covers racism, familial expectations, cultural identity, and mental health in depth. The characters are put through the wringer. Patel does not hold back on them. It was the same with <em>The Trouble With Hating You</em>. This is why I adore Patel's writing and story building. It's not for some, but if you are capable of making it through those topics then these books could easily become favorites of yours. The way Patel writes relationships between friends, family, and lovers is amazing

Preeti: I really enjoyed her as a MC. Yes I got annoyed with her at times, but the way that Patel has written her to be multilayered it works. I found her need to put her family and Daniel before herself to be incredibly selfless and made me like her even more. Her struggles were so real. I really felt for her. Overall she was a wonderful MC that I couldn't help but to root for!

Daniel!: You sweet bean. If anyone is looking for a perfect example of a cinnamon roll hero here he is. I mean the man can cook, love his family, flirt like crazy, help make presentations, but also has a chip on his shoulder to make you swoon! Ugh. Love love love him!! Plus I thought he was the perfect opposite to Preeti.

Plot: I'm a sucker for second chance romance with an aspect of forbidden romance and interracial/cultural couples. Obviously this book was like catnip for me. The plot moved the book along so well but didn't sacrifice fully creating all of the characters. Patel went there with the themes of the book and thus that trigger warning should really be acknowledged. There weren't petty issues between Daniel and another man or Preeti and another woman beyond a little jealousy but it didn't become half the book.

One thing that really confused me at the end of the book was the timeline. So it's supposed to be three weeks of Daniel and Preeti living together in the apartment. And they broke up over six years ago destroying a four year relationship. Right? Well then their actions throughout the book of Daniel being incredibly flirty and then very upset was strange. As was the speed of the relationship. Not spoiling anything, but the end seemed FAST for everything that went down in the book!

Long Story Short
Do I recommend reading this book? Yes!!! Read <em>The Trouble With Hating You</em> first, but then read this one. Read both of them. Get prepared for the next books from Sajni Patel. I adored reading this book. I think it took me an hour ranting to my mother on the phone about how good it was. There's nothing else I can really say about this book than what I've already wrote. Just go read the book!!</p>
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*review based on ARC via Netgalley*

Wow. I absolutely adored this book and everything in it. Preeti herself is an absolute badass woman, and I really enjoyed seeing her overcome her struggles and work through her feelings in a healthy way. Daniel is perfect and I think I love him just as much as Preeti. The way he so clearly worships the very ground she walks on made me swoon. I'm so glad the author included those cute little domestic moments between them because they were my favorite part. Aside from the romance being 10000% perfect, I loved the friendship and familial relationships as well. Preeti and her parents have such a loving bond that I was moved to tears towards the end when her father spoke to her about the situation (you'll know what I mean when you read the book!). The ending was absolutely perfect and a satisfying conclusion to Daniel and Preeti's story.
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Okay, so this was my first romance novel in a very long time and let me tell you that I absolutely loved this book. 

The premise is about second chances and standing up to your family/society for your choices. We follow Preeti, a chief medical resident, who is about to become a fully fledged doctor, and she broke up with the love of her life 6 years ago. Now, she’s looking for a roommate and guess who, it’s her ex, Daniel Thompson. 

We get to see both of them fall back in love with each other, and it was done so beautifully that I wanted them to forget the past, kiss and make up. Both Daniel and Preeti’s characters complement each other and I loved their interactions. The book also explores the nature of how difficult interracial relationships can be, with families interfering, societal norms, and cultural differences. 

There’s always the dreaded question that all immigrant Indian children, including me, have heard: “What will society think?” And let me tell you that it’s bullshit and that you should stand up to your choices and go for what you believe in. Sajni Patel explores that aspect of Desi culture really well, and I felt connected with Preeti. She was in no way a perfect character and that’s okay, because perfect characters are boring. 

Daniel was also a great character, he has his own battles to fight and decisions to make. I wish we got to hear his side of the story. He supports and loves Preeti so much, it makes me want a Daniel of my own. 

I was so engrossed in the book that I finished it in 2 days. It was a quick read and left me craving for more Romance. I’m definitely gonna pick up more books by Sajni Patel. Please check this book out! :)
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Thank you, Netgalley and Forever at Grand Central Publishing, for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I loved The Trouble With Hating You and was very excited to see Preeti and Daniel's story coming out in September 2021. First Love, Take Two did not disappoint. I laughed, I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and could not put the book down. Sajni Patel created a loveable relationship between Preeti and Daniel while covering important topics such as mental health stigma, anti-blackness, and toxicity between generations. 

This is a second chance romance. I liked that Patel wrote a book that did not need flashbacks to Preeti and Daniel's first relationship. In most second chance romances, authors rely heavily on flashbacks to push the narrative and allow the readers to fall in love with the characters and story. That was not necessary for First Love, Take Two. Preeti and Daniel's chemistry leaps off the page, and the tension between the two is incredible. Daniel is incredibly supportive of Preeti's mental health journey and has definitely become one of my favorite romance heroes. 

I really liked that Patel did not shy away from writing about anti-blackness found in communities of color. Books with black characters often write about racism found in white communities, which is valid, but racism and anti-blackness can be found in communities of color and perpetrated by others who experience racism themselves. 

I rate this book five stars, and I absolutely loved the book. It's one of my new favorite romance books.
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I really enjoyed this book! I thought it was going to have a dual POV like in The Trouble with Hating You, but this one was only one POV. I don't like dual POV books very much, so I think I like this better than Sajni Patel's first romance. I thought the characters had great chemistry and I liked how they both had a life outside of their romance. I'm a sucker for the one bed trope and these two are LITERALLY FORCED TO LIVE TOGETHER! In terms of sexual content, this book was PG, which is a little disappointing since it is an adult romance, but that's my only complaint. I did really like how the author emphasized issues in the South Asian community like anti-blackness and refusal to seek help for mental health problems. The discussion around anxiety was really honest, authentic, and important. As a South Asian who struggles with anxiety myself, I saw my concerns about seeking treatment reflected in this book. I also really liked how Preete, the main character, stands up to the racist aunties. Many times in the South Asian community we never say the word racism or examine our brown skin privilege. This book is cute and fun but also delves into some really serious conversations. I can totally see this being a book club pick for my South Asian bookish creators book club.
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First Love, Take Two by Sajni Patel- 3 

Content warnings: heart-attack(mention), racism, anxiety, depression, talks of complications of pregnancy and cancer. 

Honestly, when I finished reading this book I was conflicted. I didn’t know what to rate this book, I didn’t know what to talk about this book. 

Preeti, is a final year resident and when she needs a place to new place to stay, her friend offers her a place, the only obstacle, her roommate is her ex. 

So as an Indian, I kind of liked how Sajni shed light on the fact that for the older generation how important the society is, like it’s an integral part in our cultural things like ‘oh what will people say’ and Priya who had an interracial relationship, it’s more of a taboo. I liked Daniel’s character and how supportive the side-characters were, especially the parents, I mean yes to more supportive parents in south-Asian books. Another thing I liked, the representation of aunties, we all have people like them in real life. I appreciated the open discussion of therapy and anxiety and of course how sweet Daniel was when he helped Preeti and also played a guitar once. This book also deals with touch aversion, my first book with this theme and the way it dealt with the issues were beautiful. 

Now, I wanted Daniel’s POV, I wanted to know more about him and his issues and his feelings because at first, it was a little difficult for me to connect with Daniel’s character because of the inconsistency of his feelings, sometimes he would be hurt and sad over their break-up and the other times he would be flirting with Preeti. Honestly, I found something missing in this book, I’ve come to terms with the fact that Sajni’s style isn’t really type, like its too juvenile and her characters are adults but the way they are written is too childish and predictable. 

Overall, it’s a fun book and for those looking for a second chance romance and a good Indian representation could try reading this book.
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In First Love, Take Two, Preeti is in the process of finishing her residency and finding a job but she is having to juggle her traditional family, an unwanted engagement, and her own overwhelming anxiety. To make matters worse, she has to room with her ex for three weeks. An ex that she never fully got over and who she never gave a reason for why she broke up with him. 

This book was so heartwarming. The relationship between Preeti and Daniel is something everyone should aspire to. Preeti managed to learn from her past mistakes and actually communicate what is going wrong. I love that this book didn't shy away from talking about racism and how women can sometimes be seen as objects to be talked over and made decisions for. Sometimes I wanted to scream at her family to actually listen to what she is saying instead of spewing vicious words. Also, I appreciated the discussion about how seeing a therapist or getting medication for anxiety shouldn't be seen as something to hide or be shameful of. I wish we could have seen some things from Daniel's POV because it would have been interested to see how he felt during his own family's drama. All I know is that now I want a Daniel because he is perfection. For me, this was a 4/5. 

If you like second chances, women who stand up for themselves, or a man who plays guitar to help with anxiety, then this one is for you. 

I received a digital copy of this book free from Netgalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.
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