Cover Image: The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos

The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos

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Member Reviews

The Five Stages is Melissa’s adult romantic comedy that shows a lot about Filipino culture and deals with family expectations.
As Evan meets Dalisay and immediately jumps to ask her out, he discovers that she is not easily won over. We then get to unveil and experience the five stages of Filipino courtship with Evan, where sparks will fly, frustration will be in the air as well and they’ll have to find a way to see and get what they truly want amidst what tradition may say is right or wrong.
As soon as I started this book I was hooked. The characters are sweet, fun and they make you want to spend time with them to see what they’re up to. It also helps that there’s a dachshund in the book, my favorite ever.
It was very fun to read about every characters reactions as the five stages actually happened. Following tradition, it was interesting that there weren’t much interactions between the main characters on certain settings but I feel like that led to there being some very cool secondary characters. I was veeery interested to learn so much about the Filipino culture from this modern point of view, as well as discover how many similar things we also have in Colombia, ranging from food to celebrating holidays.

I feel like at certain point I was feeling like some scenes were cut short, where I would have loved to see our characters interact much more, or it is implied that they did interact more but we don’t actually “see” those moments, out of which there are a couple at least that would have been very sweet to read.

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Thank you NetGalley and Union Square & Co. – A subsidiary of Sterling Publishing for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Melissa de la Cruz delivers a cute, if predictable love story with The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos, whose primary story revolves around a man named Evan Saatchi who meets his match (in more ways than one) in the Filipina Dalisay Ramos, a hardworking journalist who just moved to San Francisco from Manila.

Those who love side characters and charming Lolas will surely enjoy thus story about tradition, following your heart, and learning when it’s time to stand up for what’s right despite your upbringing.
Those with Filipino family or friends will be very familiar with undercurrents of pakiramdam and how this clashes with Evan’s blunt American sensibilities. Couples with one half from the Philippines and the other born in America will especially see themselves in this book, just as I saw myself and my partner in it at times with the differences and conundrums Dalisay and Evan faced. I only wish I had understood better about these cultural values when I was going through it clueless, much like Evan starts clueless and over time learns about Dalisay’s culture. These things don’t suddenly go away once you step off the plane.

The reason for the low rating?

This is another book that isn’t for me. I would have enjoyed it better if the characters had a greater range of expression beyond smiling. I was both pleasantly surprised and a bit disappointed by how the queer facing family/culturally inbred homophobia line made the side characters so much more interesting to me than the main characters. I'd also enjoy a bit less predictability, but this also came off cute at times. So…

Truthfully, I don’t know if I’m someone who can handle pure romance. Perhaps I’m just meant for romantasy? This is why I would still recommend it to people who love a beautiful sweet ending, great side characters, and a strong Filipina character, infusing the whole story with Filipino values, not just sprinkles.

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This was such a fun read and I absolutely loved it! Melissa De La Cruz is one of my favorite authors and getting to read this book was such a treat! Dalisay was such a great character and I really enjoyed her development throughout the novel and how she wasn’t afraid to advocate for herself when necessary. I also loved how tradition and culture was a big part of the narrative of the book and how it wasn’t made out to be odd or unusual but something to be proud of and something to celebrate. Would highly recommend this book!

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I received an ARC of The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos and was delighted to read a contemporary romance with a Filipino FMC.

As a Filipino, it was lovely to read about my culture in the book and the struggles we often faced navigating our way through life whilst trying to keep our parents happy and sticking to tradition.

Dalisay and Evan are a sweet couple and I adored how Evan tried his best to follow the traditional way of dating a Filipino girl. Their instant connection was unexpected and i was hoping for a slow burn romance.

In saying that, the story is fast paced and the 5 stages felt rushed and happened almost straight away. The timing of events that occurred threw me off, but watching Dalisay and Evan fall in love with the support of Dalisays family made up for it.

Overall an enjoyable read.

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I was full on ready to give this book 4 stars because it was such a fun romcom buuut... the third half of the book kind of ruined that for me. I hate a third act break up and it just feels like a waste of time. (My opinion!) However, I do think that so much of this book is worth reading. I loved learning about the Five Stages and all of the Filipino traditions. I did not know anything about that and that was so fun to read! I think a lot of people will love this book so please don't let me review persuade you not to!

I loved the found family that they had and I wish we could've gotten to know Nicole even more. I would've loved to watch both of the sister's navigate their love stories! I did love that this was a dual POV. I am starting to think that is the only way I will devour romance novels.

There were parts of this book that felt like it did not flow well but overall I think this is a solid summer read and it comes out July 9. :)

Thank you NetGalley and Union Square & co for an ARC for my honest opinion!

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If you are an avid Romance reader, you need to pick this one up. It has everything a romance novel should have, a hot sweet guy, a cool lady with her huge family, a whole bunch of neat friends who help the couple at times when they are being too stubborn. This book was definitely a rollercoaster, so be ready to finish this book in one day like I did. You will not want to put it down.

Part of a series or Standalone: Standalone

Genre: Romance

Tropes: Tradition, family is everything, co-workers, prove your love, hopeless romantic, Fish Out Of Water

Things I liked: Dalisay's family wasn't perfect, but they loved each other. It was really nice to read about such a large family that actually loved each other and cared for each other.

Evan was really sweet. He also was a whole person, I enjoyed learning about him while Dalisay also learned about him. Sometimes, it was sad that his inner monolog was so negative to himself at times, but this also made him really relatable. He always did his best, and we were rooting for him the whole time.

Things I disliked: The pacing of the book could have been better, at times I was confused since we got through the five courtship stages so quickly I think the drama of this could definitely have been drawn out more.

Extras: Evan and Dalisay's POV

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The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos is a cute romance with a unique twist.

I enjoyed the cultural themes, how engaging the characters felt and the playful plot. A standout read for a person who only started reading romance novels in 2024!

This book has it all, if you ask me!

4.5 stars!

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Early copy review:

I absolutely loved the author's note and the foundation of the story. I was very excited to read a story about a Filipino girl being courted by an American guy according to her traditions. I love traditions and culture, being from a background rich in them. The first 50% of the book had me hooked and smiling so big. It was the best part of the book.

The MMC Evan is so sweet and kind. He is amazing. He made me smile a lot and made my heart flutter at times. The FMC was okay, and I wanted to like her for following her culture and traditions, but I did not like her because of her behaviour.

Evan would move mountains for this girl, but Dalisay sometimes did not even speak properly to him. I would have liked it if she had at least tried to do something for him.

After around the 50% point, I lost interest in this book because what mainly interested me was over. It felt like another story or episode of the same story, beginning from there. After 65%, I just skimmed through it to find out what happened.

Overall, it is a decent book, and the first 50% is worth reading. Evan is great, and he deserves to be read about.


I received this book as an ARC, and I am very thankful for it.

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I've fallen off reading rom-coms a bit in the past couple of years because everything has been feeling very low-effort and repetitive to me. This book, while not flawless or an instant favorite, does feel like a bit of a breath of fresh air in the genre. I love the way Melissa de la Cruz captures Filipino culture and the idea of structuring a book around the Five Stages is certainly unique and not something I've ever seen done before, which really helps elevate this one. While I wish the romance felt a little more realistic (this is very much a lust-at-first-sight situation that doesn't really seem to develop much further beyond that despite the book wanting to convince us these two are soul mates) the writing did not err on the side of cringey like so many recent rom-coms unfortunately do, and it kept my attention the whole time. Would make a great beach/pool read this summer season!

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Very interesting and funny story. Quick read and fast pacing. The main characters were easy to love and has a good development
All in all 5 stars :))

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This book is a perfect cross-cultural workplace romance! I absolutely love Dalisay and Evan as a duo! The family dynamics and variations of relationship expectations gave so many amazing moments throughout this read! I absolutely loved this story in general! The only thing I’d warn readers about is a homophobia trigger warning (improves throughout the story, but is not sensitive to this in order to provide cultural norms).

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The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos by Melissa de la Cruz didn't quite hit the mark for me. On one hand, I was really intrigued by the whole premise of Evan trying to win over Dalisay by going through these Filipino courtship traditions. But on the other hand, there were some aspects of the book that just didn't quite work for me.

Let's start with the positives. I actually thought the characters had some good chemistry, especially Dalisay. She's got this sweet, quirky vibe that made her really endearing to me as a reader. Plus, I loved seeing the diversity in the book – it's always cool to see different cultures represented in stories, you know?

But here's where things get a little dicey. The writing style just didn't click with me. It felt kinda choppy and disjointed, which made it hard for me to really get sucked into the story. And the pacing? Yeah, it was definitely off. I felt like things were dragging at times, which made it tough for me to stay engaged.

Now, don't get me wrong, there were definitely some moments that I enjoyed. I found myself cheering Dalisay on from the sidelines, hoping she'd find her happily ever after. And I appreciated the way the book explored themes of tradition and family expectations.

But overall, I found The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos to be a bit of a struggle to get through. It might still be worth checking out if you're into slower-paced romances with cultural elements, but for me, it just didn't quite hit the mark.

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"The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos" by Pauline Angeles is a delightful and romantic novel that explores the traditions of courtship in the Philippines. Evan Saatchi is smitten with his new co-worker, Dalisay Ramos, who has just arrived in Manila to lead their travel app's Asia division. However, when Evan asks Dalisay out, she rejects him for his cheek.

Evan soon learns about the Five Stages, a courtship ritual that lovers in the Philippines have performed for generations. If he wants a chance with Dalisay, he must go through these stages, which include servitude and even singing. When Dalisay challenges Evan to complete the stages, the game is on.

As Evan attempts to win Dalisay's heart and the bet, their courtship turns into a sizzling secret. However, when modern love and family expectations collide, Dalisay and Evan must find a way to carry on a rich history into a shared future.

Pauline Angeles has crafted a charming and romantic story with well-developed characters and a plot that keeps you engaged until the end. The exploration of Filipino courtship traditions adds a unique and captivating element to the story, and readers will find themselves rooting for Evan and Dalisay as they navigate the challenges of their relationship.

Overall, "The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos" is a must-read for fans of romance and cultural fiction. Pauline Angeles has created a beautiful world that celebrates tradition and modern love, and readers won't be able to put the book down until they've discovered whether Evan and Dalisay can make it work.

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I'm always looking for reads that highlight Filipino culture or have Filipino leads, so I was excited to read this one. Unfortunately, this was a did not finish for me. I couldn't get in to it. Maybe the writing style wasn't for me. From what I read, however, I do appreciate how de la Cruz highlights the Philippine tradition of "pagligaw" or courting, and the characters seem to have good dynamics.

Just because it wasn't for me, doesn't mean other won't enjoy this read. I'll plan to give it another chance in the future.

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In "Five States of Courting" by Dalisay Ramos, I embarked on an emotional journey alongside Evan and Dalisay as they navigated the complexities of love and tradition. Be aware: this review might contain details you'll consider spoilers.

While the instant connection between the protagonists initially caught me off guard, I found myself drawn into their gradual blossoming relationship and the endearing romantic moments scattered throughout the story. The narrative's use of a third-person perspective felt impersonal, but that did not bother me as much as I thought it would.

However, the novel did stumble in a few areas. The handling of time within the narrative was sometimes unclear, and the sudden breakup in the third act felt somewhat forced and disrupted the natural flow of the story. Additionally, the five-month gap left me feeling a bit perplexed, and there were moments where the writing felt rushed, preventing me from fully savoring the nuances of the plot.

Overall, "Five States of Courting" provided me with heartwarming moments of laughter and genuine romance, despite its shortcomings. With a bit of fine-tuning in pacing and character development, I believe the book has the potential to become an even more delightful read.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the ARC of this book.

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Melissa de la Cruz always writes a great story and this had the romance element that I was hoping for. It has a great character development and that they worked with the romance. The romance was realistic and worked with the theme of everything, it had a strong plot going on and enjoyed getting to read this.

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The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos is a full of Filipino inspired dynamics! I love it. Its fun, its authentic and the characters are so relatable. I can’t help but cheer Dalisay on the sidelines. She is sweet and she has her own quirks. The food references are insane and makes me feel homesick!
Thank you Melissa dela Cruz and Netgalley for the advance copy for review.

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Sadly, I had to DNF. I just can’t bring myself to read a book that is written in third person. This makes me really sad because I was so excited to read it.☹️

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