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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 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? 


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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 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? 

30 review for First Comes Like

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    ***ARC provided through NetGalley*** This installment in the modern love series was very cute, just the right vibe to brighten up the dreariness of January. Like with the previous books, I love Alisha Rai's strong female lead and the attention that she places on sisterhood (blood-related or not). I also found the dynamic between Dev and Jia very sweet, with all the drama that they faced being in different parts of the entertainment industry. There was one thing that made this work a bit less for m ***ARC provided through NetGalley*** This installment in the modern love series was very cute, just the right vibe to brighten up the dreariness of January. Like with the previous books, I love Alisha Rai's strong female lead and the attention that she places on sisterhood (blood-related or not). I also found the dynamic between Dev and Jia very sweet, with all the drama that they faced being in different parts of the entertainment industry. There was one thing that made this work a bit less for me than the others, and it took a second to pinpoint. Just a few too many references to current events, in my opinion. The other two books have walked the line between incorporating modern elements while still managing to maintain the escapism that many readers look for in the romance genre. In First Comes Like, with the various mentions of COVID and a side character who clearly embodies a famous TikTok dancer, I felt that the author's focus on relevance detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story. (cw: grief, loss of family members, panic attacks, mentions of dieting/diet culture)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Warda

    Please don't let the Muslamic aspect to this be butchered. Please don't let the Muslamic aspect to this be butchered.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I think Jia’s story was the sweetest, most lighthearted and well written one of the series! Ms. Rai adroitly and gently handled the sensitive issues like beliefs, conservatism, tradition, religion, grief, abandonment, self respect. Without provocation and trying to give political, social messages, she drew the line so professionally for giving us a unique romance and meaningful, motivational, poignant family bounding story with lovely characters. Both Jia and Dev were decent, genuine, adorable I think Jia’s story was the sweetest, most lighthearted and well written one of the series! Ms. Rai adroitly and gently handled the sensitive issues like beliefs, conservatism, tradition, religion, grief, abandonment, self respect. Without provocation and trying to give political, social messages, she drew the line so professionally for giving us a unique romance and meaningful, motivational, poignant family bounding story with lovely characters. Both Jia and Dev were decent, genuine, adorable MCs from the beginning and even though their love story seems like moved a little faster, it was not another example of haphazard, abrupt insta love. They clicked together as soon as their eyes met. Their chemistry was so obvious. Both of their family members’ involvement into their relationship, the misunderstandings, class differences, inheritance problems, being legal guardian of his deceased brother’s niece and past family resentments are also well told, emotional. In my opinion, they were the most entertaining, heartwarming parts of the book. The quick and brief summary of the story: Jia Ahmed knows the secret of being great makeup artist and tells her secrets on her videos effectively which makes her one of the greatest influencers. But now she’s getting closer to 30 and feeling old for this job, dreaming of starting her own makeup products business and she has been also chatting with Bollywood star Dev Naik for months and she’s charmed by his lyrical messages. She thinks it’s time to meet him in person whether he suspiciously cancels their recent meetings at last minute emergencies. But Jia is invited at the same party he attends and she’s determined to surprise him by facing him in front of the crowd. But as you may imagine their first encounter doesn’t go well as she’s planned. It’s obvious she’s catfished and Dev Naik has no idea who she is. But Dev couldn’t forget their encounter. He feels like he’s enchanted by her beauty and as he sees her walk away upset he wants to make sure she’s all right by using his contacts to reach her. They both finally find out the catfishing schemes is connected with Dev’s recently deceased brother. Dev wants to compensate the humiliation his family caused to her and then the paparazzis catch them together. Their pictures are all over the tabloids! Unfortunately both of their families see those pictures. Jia’s reputation at the stakes and Dev’s acting career can be ruined by rumors which gives them a idea to solve both of their problems: fauxmance! Acting like fiancees help the families stop worrying and Dev gets rid of being criticized by conservative and traditional audiences. But of course a few dates later their blossoming romance kills any chance to have fauxmance between them. Overall: it’s easy, fast, entertaining feel good read! There is no unnecessary drama, cliffhanger, angst, extreme circumstances. It’s natural, genuine, heartfelt family bond, sisterhood, friendship and love at first sight novel! I’m giving four vivid, traditional, smiley, sweet stars! This series is getting so much better at each book. Special thanks to NetGalley, Avon and Harper Voyager for sharing this lovely reviewer digital copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts. I enjoyed it sooooo much!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    2.5 stars At the beginning of this book, I was loving the relationship between Jia and Dev. Jia is a beauty YouTuber and she's catfished by someone pretending to be Dev, the son of a famous Bollywood family. Jia decides to take the steps to meet him in person and he has no idea who she is. They're photographed together, though, and Jia's family think she's hiding a boyfriend from them, so she asks Dev to fake date her to get her family off her back. This set up sounds like strong bones for an am 2.5 stars At the beginning of this book, I was loving the relationship between Jia and Dev. Jia is a beauty YouTuber and she's catfished by someone pretending to be Dev, the son of a famous Bollywood family. Jia decides to take the steps to meet him in person and he has no idea who she is. They're photographed together, though, and Jia's family think she's hiding a boyfriend from them, so she asks Dev to fake date her to get her family off her back. This set up sounds like strong bones for an amazing romance, but this romance was just too slow moving for me. Nothing actually definite happens with our couple until almost 80% and even then, I didn't really feel the depth and chemistry between Jia and Dev. They felt like friends who cared about each other, but decisions they made did not make sense to me. Then, there was some miscommunication thrown in at 90% that really frustrated me. They never just talked to each other about how they were feeling or what they wanted and would instead talk to friends and family and then make decisions. I'm not sold that they even really loved each other. There were also a few things thrown in that felt very unfinished, like a girl Jia meets at her work studio and aspects of Dev's niece. There wasn't much to the plot and it lacked any sort of romantic connection between the main couple. This book very much peaked at the beginning and then I lost any investment in the relationship. Thank you to LibroFM for an early listener's copy and Avon for a physical arc copy of the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    menna

    THE COVERRRR OMGGG IM SCREAMING AAAAAAAAAAA A MUSLIM HIJABI MAIN CHARACTER!!!!! I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR JIA'S BOOK SINCE FOREVER THE COVERRRR OMGGG IM SCREAMING AAAAAAAAAAA A MUSLIM HIJABI MAIN CHARACTER!!!!! I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR JIA'S BOOK SINCE FOREVER

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    *sigh* This was sadly disappointing. I read the first book in the series and loved it. I saw the premise of this: Pakistani Muslim hijabi beauty influencer heroine, Bollywood movie star hero, plus fake dating? Sold! And I think the beginning of the book was great. I really like Jia as a strong female lead with more traditional ideals, and I like the idea of featuring a more culturally traditional couple as well. But it mostly ended up being really...bland. By the end of the book I believed the c *sigh* This was sadly disappointing. I read the first book in the series and loved it. I saw the premise of this: Pakistani Muslim hijabi beauty influencer heroine, Bollywood movie star hero, plus fake dating? Sold! And I think the beginning of the book was great. I really like Jia as a strong female lead with more traditional ideals, and I like the idea of featuring a more culturally traditional couple as well. But it mostly ended up being really...bland. By the end of the book I believed the characters cared about each other. But love? Ready for marriage? ehh....not so much. I struggled to buy it or see them having much chemistry. And not because they were waiting for sex, because that can still be written with plenty of tension. In this case there was inner monologue where they are thinking about the attractiveness of the other person, but it always felt kind of forced. And this KIND OF has fake dating, but doesn't really do anything with it. I think this could have been a much more interesting book if they had been pushed into a marriage of convenience earlier on and then had to work out how to come together and love each other after the fact. Instead it takes FOREVER for anything to really happen between them and by the time it finally does I didn't really buy it anyway. Which is a shame because the story and characters had so much potential. I do think the author works hard to be culturally sensitive and thoughtful in navigating issues of culture, tradition, and sexuality. I do like Jia as a character. But I didn't particularly like the book. I received an audio review copy via Libro.FM. All opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    Happy to say that this series gets better with each book! I loved Jia and Dev's relationship, I thought the pacing was really well done and both of them didn't take 100 years to go after what they want which is a huge pet peeve of mine in books. thanks to Libro.fm and Harper Audio for an ALC of this book Happy to say that this series gets better with each book! I loved Jia and Dev's relationship, I thought the pacing was really well done and both of them didn't take 100 years to go after what they want which is a huge pet peeve of mine in books. thanks to Libro.fm and Harper Audio for an ALC of this book

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maëlys

    ☆ 3 / 5 ☆ The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1): 5 / 5 Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2): 4 / 5 “It was weird, to feel like she’d connected so deeply with someone she’d never even been in the same room with.” This was a really sweet book but it lacked tension and it was sometimes hard to get through because it felt like not much was happening despite the premise. Jia is an influencer trying to get her metrics back up, Dev is an Indian soap opera star, and they’ve been dming for a little while. Or so J ☆ 3 / 5 ☆ The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1): 5 / 5 Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2): 4 / 5 “It was weird, to feel like she’d connected so deeply with someone she’d never even been in the same room with.” This was a really sweet book but it lacked tension and it was sometimes hard to get through because it felt like not much was happening despite the premise. Jia is an influencer trying to get her metrics back up, Dev is an Indian soap opera star, and they’ve been dming for a little while. Or so Jia thinks. On the day she finally gets ready to meet him it turns out she’s been catfished. Despite the circumstances of their first encounter, Jia proposes a fake dating scenario to Dev after the press releases a photo of them that elicits concern from her family. As time goes, however, they both wish the relationship wasn’t so fake afterall. “You don’t have to be close to someone to miss them. Or miss what they use to mean to you. It’s part of being alive, I suppose. To miss people, or to even miss missing people. Grief is like that sometimes. Like a bubble that gets big and small.” The premise sounded so exciting and amazing, and I have to say I went into it expecting a lot so the way the trope was executed was a little disappointing to me. It all started well with their meeting and discussion of the fake dating arrangement: Jia’s parents set a date to visit and the publicity could help them both. However, we never see them having to act “being together”. Jia’s parents meet Dev once they’ve confessed their feelings for each other and they never do anything for the press, on the contrary they try to stay hidden from the public. I wouldn’t say the fake dating has no impact on them because they do have some insecurities about it but it kind of fell flat. I think that overall the book lacked tension, and there were some wild plot points thrown in there but I never felt on the edge of my seat or any real angst. Jia’s and Dev’s relationship was very sweet and there were lots of moments that made me smile, but again, I didn’t feel a great deal of chemistry between them. I will even say that I thought a story between Jia and Lakshmi would’ve been so much more interesting and I found myself way more invested in the three scenes they had together than the actual romance of this book. “Too much. That’s not an insult. Would you rather be too little?” I really did like the characters though! Jia’s perspective was very interesting as an influencer who’s been around a few years and is seeing these very young people thrive on different platforms (tiktok seems to be alluded to) and trying to not feel down about her own numbers, especially after her break. Her career choice also hasn’t pleased her parents and she feels the pressure of wanting to impress them and for them to be proud of her. She’s always felt like “too much”, too ditzy, too impulsive, especially compared to her other sisters who have become doctors and settled like it was expected of them. Dev also hasn’t entirely lived up to people’s expectations. Instead of following in the footsteps of his ultra-famous Bollywood family to act in huge movies, he’s turned to television and soaps. While his career was still highly successful in India, he decided to move to California after his brother’s passing. He’s also now become responsible for his niece, Luna, and his brother’s crushing debts. I really loved his relationship and dynamic with both Luna and his uncle Adil. The three of them have become a little family of their own with their ups and downs but lots of love. Dev is truly trying his best when it comes to Luna, especially as he’s not fully aware of how his own brother treated her. She seems to have some unpacked trauma and abandonment issues but we can see throughout the book that she feels secure in her uncle’s love for her and that is everything. “This was what happiness felt like. No, wait, even more specifically: this was what a family felt like.” Alisha Rai also proposes a different perspective than most books here with a muslim and demisexual heroine who wants to wait for marriage to have sex. This is always respected by Dev as he’s always attuned to her needs and wants, and never portrayed as something she should be pressured into. Something unexpected is that I think there were some covert COVID references throughout this book. Jia is said to have been ill and had to quarantine from her roommates, her sister also got sick with lasting effects impacting her lungs, there’s talks of better work-from-home programs, and Luna also takes ill at some point. It’s never confirmed and the world isn’t affected by it beyond these few mentions, but I thought it was pretty relevant. Overall this was a sweet book and although I wanted more from it, I still enjoyed it a lot! Youtube ☆ Twitter ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    3.25 sweet romcom stars Meet Jia, an influencer known for her makeup and beauty videos, she’s Pakistani, Muslim, and wears a hijab. She’s also a little bit in love with a handsome Bollywood star Dev, thanks to the romantic texting they’ve done for the past year. Once she sees that Dev will be in the US for filming, she finds a way to “meet” him in person at a party. Imagine her shock when he says that he has no idea who she is! Soon the whole catfishing story comes out and Jia is devastated. Later 3.25 sweet romcom stars Meet Jia, an influencer known for her makeup and beauty videos, she’s Pakistani, Muslim, and wears a hijab. She’s also a little bit in love with a handsome Bollywood star Dev, thanks to the romantic texting they’ve done for the past year. Once she sees that Dev will be in the US for filming, she finds a way to “meet” him in person at a party. Imagine her shock when he says that he has no idea who she is! Soon the whole catfishing story comes out and Jia is devastated. Later Dev wants to apologize but paparazzi discover them and soon an elaborate “fake dating” storyline spins out of control! How long will it stay fake? The sweet romance is a bit far-fetched, but this made for a great escapist read and I love the diversity in characters. Family means a lot to these two and that was a welcome change from some other books I’ve read recently! This is the second one in this “Modern Love” series that I’ve read, still need to go back and read #1. Thank you to Book Club Girls Early Reads/Avon Harper Voyage for the copy of this one to read and review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ⓐlleskelle - That ranting lady ッ

    A muslim heroine with a hijab on the cover, online flirting, poesy wooing, catfishing and fake dating with an international Bollywood superstar? I know I've had a less than stellar experience with the first book of the series but this one has me so EXCITED! Fingers crossed and bring on February 2021! A muslim heroine with a hijab on the cover, online flirting, poesy wooing, catfishing and fake dating with an international Bollywood superstar? I know I've had a less than stellar experience with the first book of the series but this one has me so EXCITED! Fingers crossed and bring on February 2021!

  11. 4 out of 5

    On the Same Page

    ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is an #OwnVoices review. If you're a Muslim hijabi (like me), you've probably been eyeing this book with mixed feelings. If you've read any of Alisha Rai's books before (like me), those feelings have probably been veering more towards dread than optimism because Alisha Rai usually writes deliciously steamy romances, which doesn't jive when your heroine is Muslim. Let me put your mind at ease: it's a pretty good b ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is an #OwnVoices review. If you're a Muslim hijabi (like me), you've probably been eyeing this book with mixed feelings. If you've read any of Alisha Rai's books before (like me), those feelings have probably been veering more towards dread than optimism because Alisha Rai usually writes deliciously steamy romances, which doesn't jive when your heroine is Muslim. Let me put your mind at ease: it's a pretty good book. On the day Jia Ahmed meets Dev Dixit, she feels nervous. It's not that she lacks confidence--she's a YouTube influencer, and she and Dev have been DMing for months. But he's been avoiding her requests to meet, even though they're finally in the same area, and so he's not exactly expecting her. But Jia has connections, and it's easy to wrangle an invitation to the party he's attending. But when they meet, Dev doesn't know who she is, and Jia's heart shatters. Dev has no idea who this woman is, but he can't get her expression out of his head. When he finds out how they're connected, guilt drives him to meet with her again. And when the paparazzi turn an innocent picture into something else and Jia comes under fire from her family, he's happy to play along with her fake dating plan. Anything to spend more time with her. Okay, so first things first: the representation. I really loved that Islam was just everywhere in this book. It was part of Jia's identity and not just an off-hand mention of "oh, btw, she's Muslim". There are numerous phrases used throughout like "inshallah", "mashallah", "assalamu alaikum", and it's not translated or explained or obfuscated in any way. It just is. It's always difficult to talk about how accurate a representation is because, as with most things, it's kind of subjective. The way I practice Islam isn't the way everyone practices Islam, and there should be room for multiple viewpoints in literature. That said, I want to summarize briefly what the representation was like for me. Things I loved: * Jia wears a hijab * She gets up for morning prayer. High five! * She doesn't drink * She doesn't date * There is no premarital sex * She prays to God to help her with things Things that missed the mark: * There is some hugging before they get married and an almost kiss * Dev isn't Muslim How I practice Islam leaves no room for marriage to someone outside of the religion, and any touching that's not, like, "I'm about to fall on my ass CATCH ME" or something more serious than that is also a firm no-go. This is why I'm rating the book 4 stars instead of 5, but others will feel differently about those things than I do. With regard to the plot and the characters, I thought it was pretty cute and lighthearted. The conflict mostly arises from lack of communication (of course...🙄), but not about the issues where I was dreading it. I found myself pleasantly surprised at several points where I was expecting a confrontation and instead, everyone acted like mature adults. Dev chewed. The canvas had been painted all blue. That was it. One shade of blue. “It’s a commentary on climate change.” “In favor of or against?” “Yes.” He wasn’t sure, but he was pretty sure Jia’s cough was stifling a laugh. Both Jia and Dev are total cinnamon rolls. Jia records herself little affirming messages on her phone, which is the most adorable thing ever and I wanted to pinch her cheeks every single time. Dev is sweet and extremely proper and aware of what would be crossing a line when it comes to Jia and their relationship, and I loved how, even though he isn't Muslim, he still has respect for Jia's faith and isn't trying to pressure her into anything. Their relationship is a very slow burn, which not everyone will like, but since the one thing I really hoped to find in this book was no sex before marriage, I was ecstatic. I also loved both Jia's and Dev's families. I have no idea if there are more books planned, but I did get the feeling there might be room for a couple of books for Jia's sisters? So maybe there'll be one with two Muslims at some point.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dania

    *ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Before reading: That hijabi heroine on the cover 🥺 Hope this doesn't suck. I hope they standardized the changes of the cover to not show her collarbone, too. After reading: Oh no. Oh man. This kinda sucked. *2.5 stars ⭐️* Likes: Firstly, I did not find any glaring problems concerning the Muslim representation. Disclaimer: I am Malay Muslim, and cannot comment on the Pakistani-American (heroine Jia) or the Indian ( *ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Before reading: That hijabi heroine on the cover 🥺 Hope this doesn't suck. I hope they standardized the changes of the cover to not show her collarbone, too. After reading: Oh no. Oh man. This kinda sucked. *2.5 stars ⭐️* Likes: Firstly, I did not find any glaring problems concerning the Muslim representation. Disclaimer: I am Malay Muslim, and cannot comment on the Pakistani-American (heroine Jia) or the Indian (hero Dev) rep here. ❗️Also, Muslims are very different around the world and I am from a different culture entirely to Jia, and culture influences Islam in a community a lot, so my Muslim experience is different from hers.❗️ ✨Jia is a practicing Muslim: she prays, doesn't drink and it's not shoved in your face which I liked. It was just a part of her and her daily routine, and it's refreshing to see myself represented in that way in a female romance lead. ✨I liked how Dev was always very respectful of Jia and in their marriage, especially because he comes from a different culture. ✨I liked how they didn't rush intimacy until near the end. I know not a lot of people were fond of that, but I do know it's quite realistic for a lot of Muslims where I'm from. Disikes: My main problem with the story is that it kinda lacked... charm. Chemistry. Fun. The fake-dating aspect was alright, but the overall romance was so... tame and lackluster. Just plain boring. Also, a TikTok dancer was in this and it felt weird. Could've left that out lol. There were a few sweet moments here and there, but seriously not enough for good chemistry. It wasn't fun, or had funny banter. The relationship between the MCs wasn't passionate; they didn't feel like friends, honestly, maybe a bit more than acquaintances I'd say. Also, Jia had some strong insecurities, but they were never given proper backstory or any build-up. It was all tell and no show from the beginning and I couldn't relate to her at all aside from that she's Muslim. Dev's story was more interesting since he's a bit of a single dad and has custody of his biological niece. Overall/TL;DR: Very underwhelmed with this. Wished that Jia was a more interesting character in terms of personality and backstory. I just wanted more oomph to their relationship, pre-marriage. Audiobook was not good (1 ⭐️). ~~~ I did read the e-galley while listening to the audio, and... audio was a bad choice. The female narrator reading felt like a text-to-speech function. The male narrator was OK, but not enough for me to like the audio, unfortunately. Unpleasant experience. *Audio listened on Scribd

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarmat Chowdhury

    *Received an arc from working at Barnes & Noble which was provided by the publishing company, Avon Books* I have heard about Alisha Rai, and her series of romance novels that star POC leads and feature South Asian leading ladies, featuring social media to add to the tropes implemented in these New Adult romance novels. First Comes Like takes the Desi serial tv tropes, the allure of Bollywood, Beauty vlogs, and two unique romance main characters to create a book that showcases themes not generall *Received an arc from working at Barnes & Noble which was provided by the publishing company, Avon Books* I have heard about Alisha Rai, and her series of romance novels that star POC leads and feature South Asian leading ladies, featuring social media to add to the tropes implemented in these New Adult romance novels. First Comes Like takes the Desi serial tv tropes, the allure of Bollywood, Beauty vlogs, and two unique romance main characters to create a book that showcases themes not generally seen in romance. While the arc did not include some needed editing from a narrative and grammar perspective, the biggest disappointment for me stemmed from the disjointed narrative surrounding Jia and her family, especially regarding her Muslim identity. Granted, as a practicing Muslim man it’s a touchy subject potentially to talk about the portrayal of a Hijabi romance character, but for a book that goes out of its way to showcase that the main character wears the hijab, I saw that Alisha Rai had really missed the mark when not only writing this character as a Pakistani American Muslimah. In no way am I saying that all hijabi women, even those of the Desi diaspora, are monolithic in their approach to the hijab, but the way that Rai wrote Jia surrounding her Muslimah identity was......non existent at best. While I understand that a romance novel, especially for an American audience might not include the nuance we might find in other genres (and I did appreciate the removal of an Islamaphobia/terrorism related subplots for Jia) it played for me that Jia and her hijab was just used to showcase that Jia was going to be different then the other characters that Rai had in this series of books. Jia discussing her thoughts on drinking amd sex alone did not make sense for someone that is portrayed wearing the hijab on a daily basis - especially in an age where there is a broad spectrum of women in social media who have successfully made careers while also wearing the hijab. While how the hijab is worn and their religiousness might not come into question (nor should it) the hijab represents a more orthodox approach to practicing Islam in the public eye - and is usually coupled with the more orthodox views surrounding premarital sex and drinking. Rai did a better job showing this delineation with Jia’s sisters Sadia, Noor and Ayesha - Muslim women of varying degrees. Coupled with the one mention of Jia praying (again, minor details that seem random to me to only mention once in the entire narrative from Jia POV), not to mention the blasé approach of Dev being Hindu and Jia Muslim (folks, no matter how modern the family, that will ALWAYS PROVIDE A POINT OF CONTENTION WITH SOMEONE). Compare Jia and her portrayal with Ayesha from Ayesha at Last, Zayneb from Love From A to Z, and the Binat sisters from Unmarriageable for both the hijab and Pakistani identity, and Jia seems two dimensional in comparison - a weak character because of the inclusion of the hijab as a prop in her storyline. I liked Adil and Luna, along with the parents of Jia (and her sisters) as characters, and I appreciated that Dev was a good male lead that was a Desi man (and I loved the reference to Saatiya the Star Plus serial and Gopi washing her husbands laptop in the narrative) So much room for potential and representation, really missed the mark.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Rosenblit

    In recent years, Alisha Rai has become a must read romance author for me. Her modern love series (The Right Swipe, Girl Gone Viral and now First Comes Like) are some of my favorite romances and I look forward to each new release. Following Rhiannon & Katrina's stories in the first two installments, we now move to Dev & Jia. If you've read the first two books, you might be expecting a ton of steam in this one, but this deals with the issues of virginity and marriage, so it is light on steam. This In recent years, Alisha Rai has become a must read romance author for me. Her modern love series (The Right Swipe, Girl Gone Viral and now First Comes Like) are some of my favorite romances and I look forward to each new release. Following Rhiannon & Katrina's stories in the first two installments, we now move to Dev & Jia. If you've read the first two books, you might be expecting a ton of steam in this one, but this deals with the issues of virginity and marriage, so it is light on steam. This was a very tender story and gave me a lot of insight into Muslim culture - now of course, this is not something I have first hand experience with, so cannot opine on the accuracy, but I did love to find a Hijab wearing heroine in this! I will definitely be eagerly awaiting Rai's next installment. Thank you to Avon for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Alisha’s romance novels have a special place in my heart, so I was already excited for the release of this trilogy finale. And then when I got the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour, I was ecstatic. And this book lived up to all my expectations. Jia is such a wonderful character. As a South Asian woman, I personally know how hard it is to defy our parents’ expectations from us and carve our own path, so Jia choosing to be a beauty influencer with an ambition to do more is really very admi Alisha’s romance novels have a special place in my heart, so I was already excited for the release of this trilogy finale. And then when I got the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour, I was ecstatic. And this book lived up to all my expectations. Jia is such a wonderful character. As a South Asian woman, I personally know how hard it is to defy our parents’ expectations from us and carve our own path, so Jia choosing to be a beauty influencer with an ambition to do more is really very admirable in my eyes. Dev on the other hand is an Indian soap opera star trying his hand in American television, but I loved how down to earth he is and knows what his priorities are. Even though their relationship takes a very unique and slightly unconventional path, I loved the bond they formed with each other and they just felt perfect for each other. Her impulsive nature and his steady supportive calm are great complements and i thorough enjoyed reading about them. The friendships that have developed throughout this series and fully in display again and I can’t describe how much I love all these brilliant strong women Alisha has created. We get to see some fascinating older women too in the form of Jia’s mom and Dev’s grandma, and it was such an overall excellent ensemble. The plot is entertaining and sweet, the pacing is just fast enough for us to want to know what’s gonna happen next already, and the characters are so lovable. I also loved that Alisha decided not to go with unnecessary break up/make up subplot because I was really dreading that third act which has become so predictable. But Alisha never disappoints and I should have just trusted her writing. In conclusion, this is a very lovely romance with a sweet couple and full cast of supportive side characters. If you have enjoyed any of Alisha’s novels previously or just like romance novels with smart heroines and nice heroes, this one is perfect for you. I can’t believe this series is already over and I can’t wait to see if Alisha will write a spin-off with Lakshmi’s story next.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    ebook Giveaway Win!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lacey (laceybooklovers)

    This is more of a 3.5. Not my favorite of the series but still good. I wish we got more at the end though!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Antonella

    definitely my favorite book in this series!! I loved the slow burn and how the author dealt with all aspects of the story but I wish we had more time with the main couple being in a relationship

  19. 4 out of 5

    nick (the infinite limits of love)

    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 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

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mjspice

    *looks at cover* *reads summary* Lemme just sit right here. *looks at cover* *reads summary* Lemme just sit right here.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

    4.5 stars Oh that was so gooooood!!! 😳 RTC

  22. 4 out of 5

    mindful.librarian ☀️

    3.5 rounded up (free audio review copy from Libro.fm) Here’s what made me stick with this audiobook instead of DNF: * The crossover of the Modern Love and Forbidden Hearts series - I loved all of those other books and kept aching for MORE MORE MORE of their characters and was excited every time they appeared * the way Rai incorporated the lasting trauma of COVID without ever actually ever mentioning COVID. It’s hard to make stories undated and I think Rai did that here - anyone who lived through t 3.5 rounded up (free audio review copy from Libro.fm) Here’s what made me stick with this audiobook instead of DNF: * The crossover of the Modern Love and Forbidden Hearts series - I loved all of those other books and kept aching for MORE MORE MORE of their characters and was excited every time they appeared * the way Rai incorporated the lasting trauma of COVID without ever actually ever mentioning COVID. It’s hard to make stories undated and I think Rai did that here - anyone who lived through this will know she’s referring to COVID but anyone who didn’t won’t immediately place the book in 2020. What made me want to quit: * The narration just didn’t work for me at all - so breathless (if that makes sense) * the romance and catfishing and all of that - I just feel like the whole story would have worked better with no catfishing and I struggled to understand much of the motivation for all of the charades. * I kept finding myself wanting more of the roommates and family members and less of Jia and Dev I adore Rai and will continue to read everything she has written - this once just wasn’t a favorite of mine. If you haven’t read her work before, do her a favor and start somewhere else!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    Truthfully, I loved the drama. The story starts off super strong with Jia getting into a swank Hollywood party to meet this guy she’s been chatting to online; a famous Bollywood star that came from a famous Bollywood family. The only sad part is that he had no clue who she was when they finally meet. It’s only until later that we realize who was doing the catfishing, but I loved that their meet cute wasn’t anywhere near cute. And I’m glad it worked out for them. I loved both Jia and Dev as a coup Truthfully, I loved the drama. The story starts off super strong with Jia getting into a swank Hollywood party to meet this guy she’s been chatting to online; a famous Bollywood star that came from a famous Bollywood family. The only sad part is that he had no clue who she was when they finally meet. It’s only until later that we realize who was doing the catfishing, but I loved that their meet cute wasn’t anywhere near cute. And I’m glad it worked out for them. I loved both Jia and Dev as a couple and as individuals. Jia was this average human who made a living being an influencer on YouTube. I related a lot with her internal struggles to figure out what it is she wanted to do as she “aged” out of the social media game. I sometimes feel like one of the influencer elders not because I’ve been doing this for a long time, but because I’m older than average. She seemed super kindhearted and willing to help someone out without hesitation; someone that you want as an influence in your life. Dev is similar. I loved that he came from a famous family who struggled through all the lights and glam of Bollywood. It was interesting to see his family dynamic especially since Dev doesn’t seem at all similar to the rest of his family. While his brother and cousin are doing all the “bad boy” activities, Dev seems to be the one that’s professional and has his head on. For me, that’s my trope. I like a man who can take care of things. But what I also loved is that we got to know his brother and cousin a little bit more. While they may seem like bad boys, they did open their hearts to Dev’s niece, Luna. There was also a lot of discussion on grief. It wasn’t too bad and it doesn’t keep you away from experiencing the light-heartedness of the story, but the way that it affected Dev’s life was interesting especially when he’s taking care of his niece. I think my only issue was the ending. I felt like a lot happened that could have spread across the novel than be truncated to the last 50 pages. That’s not to say the book was paced funny and felt slow, it’s just that many of the events within the final pages felt like they could have been explored more if given the space. I also thought there were too many tropes. First, it was the catfishing. Then it moved onto a fake relationship. Then the relationship turned real. And then we’re getting married. And then there’s Dev having his grandfather’s will that stipulates he needs to get married before he inherits his money. It truly felt like I was reading a drama where one issue would resolve and then surprise! There would be another issue ready to go. If the book was longer then maybe there would be a more natural progression of these tropes throughout the story so that it didn’t feel like we were jumping all over the place. Overall, this was such a cute book and something that I really enjoyed reading. I loved getting to know the characters and reading the adventures they had together.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ezinwanyi Chinyere

    3.5 stars I liked Jia and Dev but this story moved at a slower pace and lacked the angst level like the prior two books in the series. They didn’t have a hot chemistry. It was more mellow and chaste. It’s pretty straight forward a catfish story turned fake relationship. At first glance, Jia seemed like she was kind of weak but she really had a subtle inner strength. Yes she craved her family’s approval but she still went about life doing the things she wanted. Dev was a good guy who took in his ni 3.5 stars I liked Jia and Dev but this story moved at a slower pace and lacked the angst level like the prior two books in the series. They didn’t have a hot chemistry. It was more mellow and chaste. It’s pretty straight forward a catfish story turned fake relationship. At first glance, Jia seemed like she was kind of weak but she really had a subtle inner strength. Yes she craved her family’s approval but she still went about life doing the things she wanted. Dev was a good guy who took in his niece but had a moral code that set him apart from some of his other family members. So when these two began their journey together, it just felt more like friends and very little heat. But they’re going to be great because they got to know each other before taking their relationship to the next level. It is a good read just not as good as the first two books.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Thank you to the publisher for the eARC! This book follows Jia. She goes to confront Dev at a party and finds out she had been catfished. One thing leads to another and they develop a friendship that turns into a fake relationship that moves towards something more. I enjoyed getting to know Jia more and seeing how she approaches life and love. I liked how Jia and Dev complemented and supported each other despite the way their relationship starts. This was a lovely third story in Alisha Rai’s Modern Thank you to the publisher for the eARC! This book follows Jia. She goes to confront Dev at a party and finds out she had been catfished. One thing leads to another and they develop a friendship that turns into a fake relationship that moves towards something more. I enjoyed getting to know Jia more and seeing how she approaches life and love. I liked how Jia and Dev complemented and supported each other despite the way their relationship starts. This was a lovely third story in Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bookphenomena (Micky)

    First Comes Like was the clashing of two people, two cultures, two faiths, all in a romantic context. It was ambitious plan that worked. Added to this was a faux-mance storyline, catfishing, fame and fortune. I thought it was a clever plot. I don’t think I’ve read a Hindu/Muslim romance before (probably shame on me for not searching this out) but it was nice to see and interesting to read this level of heat in that context. Alisha Rai executed this with careful handling and sensitivity to the pro First Comes Like was the clashing of two people, two cultures, two faiths, all in a romantic context. It was ambitious plan that worked. Added to this was a faux-mance storyline, catfishing, fame and fortune. I thought it was a clever plot. I don’t think I’ve read a Hindu/Muslim romance before (probably shame on me for not searching this out) but it was nice to see and interesting to read this level of heat in that context. Alisha Rai executed this with careful handling and sensitivity to the protagonist Jia’s beliefs (I think, but I can’t currently see any own voice reviews and I’m interested in their take on this). I’ve been waiting for Jia’s story for rather a long time, since she was introduced in a previous series by the author. There was a lot less of the three friends living together in this instalment which I missed. I essentially liked both the characters but I didn’t always feel their chemistry. The plot line was predictable but still good. The narration was enjoyable in the main, I liked both narrators but didn’t enjoy when Dev’s character did Jia’s dialogue, his female intonation really didn’t work for me. I also wanted to feel a bit more from Dev’s character but in some ways, he was a little emotionally rusty and that facet was part of his development in the story. This series has been generally enjoyable for me and while this one didn’t blow me away, I still appreciated the journey and especially the cross of cultures and faiths. Please check out some own voice reviews on this book. Thank you to LibroFM and Harper Audio for the early audio copy. You can find this review on A Take From Two Cities Blog.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Saniya

    trigger warnings: death of family members, drug and alcohol mention, cheating spouse mention, car accident mention, catfishing, sex and nudity, panic attack, estrangement from family mention, racist microaggressions, grief, anxiety 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 trigger warnings: death of family members, drug and alcohol mention, cheating spouse mention, car accident mention, catfishing, sex and nudity, panic attack, estrangement from family mention, racist microaggressions, grief, anxiety 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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Reviewed for Wit and Sin Can catfishing lead to love? It can when in the hands of talented author Alisha Rai. First Comes Like starts off with a modern problem and turns it into a sweet romance. Dev and Jia’s story is an excellent blend of modern and traditional that shines thanks to its incredibly charming leads. Jia is easy to adore. She’s a social media influencer and beauty expert working toward getting her own makeup line one day. Jia’s family may say she’s “too much” but she’s exactl Reviewed for Wit and Sin Can catfishing lead to love? It can when in the hands of talented author Alisha Rai. First Comes Like starts off with a modern problem and turns it into a sweet romance. Dev and Jia’s story is an excellent blend of modern and traditional that shines thanks to its incredibly charming leads. Jia is easy to adore. She’s a social media influencer and beauty expert working toward getting her own makeup line one day. Jia’s family may say she’s “too much” but she’s exactly right as-is. Jia has a bright personality, a kind heart, and a quick mind – she’s a true triple threat you’d absolutely want as a friend in real life. When she learns she’s been catfished by someone using soap opera star Dev Dixit’s social media account she’s mortified. Between worrying what her family will say when they find out the truth and the paparazzi sticking their cameras into her business, Jia needs a quick fix and it’s Dev to the rescue. Dev is a total sweetheart. He’s got a heart of gold and a sweet, protective, and supportive nature. Dev is raising his niece in the wake of his brother’s death and it was lovely to watch him with his family. Dev isn’t perfect but he tries so hard to do what’s best for the people he loves. It’s a testament to Rai’s talent that he doesn’t come across as too perfect. If a fake romance is what it will take to solve Jia’s problems than Dev is happy to help. And the more time they spend together the clearer it is that the two of them are simply meant to be. Because Jia and Dev are such likeable characters it’s easy to fall into their romance. There’s an easy chemistry to them that makes the pages of the story whizz by. I liked how they simply clicked on every level, appreciating and supporting each other at every turn. There’s not much drama and very little angst in First Comes Like and that was fine by me for the most part. I do wish there had been more to the story at the end to see Jia and Dev grow more as a couple. Things felt left up in the air with their lives and professions – likely by design – but even with this issue I was still confident Jia and Dev would be able to navigate whatever obstacles came their way. First Comes Like is the third book in Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series but it can easily be read as a standalone. I was delighted to revisit Rhiannon and Katrina and the strong female friendships in this book made my heart sing. I also adored Jia and Dev’s families. The dynamics can be messy, but there is love there that radiates off the page. And it would be remiss of me to talk about this book and not note that Rai treats Jia and Dev’s religions, cultures, and traditions with respect, making the characters and the world they inhabit feel all the more real. I’ve adored every book in the Modern Love series and First Comes Like is no exception. FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I made it like 64% into this and am stopping, and it has nothing to do with the romance, but because an interaction between the heroine and a side character really irritated me. This was likely an excuse, the romance was progressing at a snail's pace and I wasn't particularly feeling it, plus the writing around COVID was WEIRD. I do not envy any author for choices they are currently making in contemporary romances, whether to explicitly include it, explicitly exclude it, or find some middle way, I made it like 64% into this and am stopping, and it has nothing to do with the romance, but because an interaction between the heroine and a side character really irritated me. This was likely an excuse, the romance was progressing at a snail's pace and I wasn't particularly feeling it, plus the writing around COVID was WEIRD. I do not envy any author for choices they are currently making in contemporary romances, whether to explicitly include it, explicitly exclude it, or find some middle way, but I also have a feeling that I am going to be rejecting a lot of contemporaries for this reason in the next few years. As a side note, my journey with Alisha Rai over her last two series is FASCINATING. I loved, loved her last series and started this series thinking she'd be an autobuy author for me for awhile, despite the elevated price point, but by this third book I waited for the library to give me a copy and I didn't even finish it. That's...something. Authors are, of course, perfectly within their rights to change their focus and write about whatever they want, but it's interesting to see such a wide shift happen in real time like that and not really have the author acknowledge it? I'd be curious to know if she's publicly commented on it or even if she thinks these books were very different. Because they were.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Addie Yoder

    I loved the resolution of this story and the HEA, but whew. There is a lot going on. I think every trope in romance was used to make this book. It was good, but had so much going on that it was hard to fall into the story and really enjoy the characters and the romance.

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