Earlier this year, I picked up DATING DR. DIL by Nisha Sharma on a whim and adored it. So when the sequel TASTES LIKE SHAKKAR became available for request on NetGalley, I requested it so quickly that I may have injured a finger in the process. (I didn’t actually, but it was real fast!)
Bobbi Kaur is intent on taking over her family’s event planning business and her best friend Kareena’s wedding at the prestigious Messina Vineyards is going to prove to her uncle that she deserves it. The only problem is that someone is out to sabotage the wedding - cancelling cake orders and leaving threatening notes. As much as she hates it, she must work with the groom’s best friend Benjamin “Bunty” Padda to suss out the saboteur and make sure the wedding goes off without a hitch. But as they work together, they can’t deny the chemistry that flies between them, even after their disastrous first meeting just under a year before. As their feelings progress, they have to wonder - what happens when the saboteur is caught and the wedding is over?
Wondering what the saboteur was going to ruin next as well as trying to figure out who they were was such a fun element to the story. It gave the same feel as a cozy mystery while in the midst of a romance without any of the murderous high stakes. A fun way to add a little extra flare to an otherwise regular contemporary romance!
The tension between Bobbi and Bunty is absolutely delicious. It’s immediate from the very beginning that the two have insane chemistry and their banter when they supposedly hate each other just aids in proving that chemistry exists. The romance is a slow burn that builds slowly but deliberately, causing even a hater of slow burn romances like myself to eat it all up.
One of the things that didn't vibe with me was the resolution of the issue that caused the third act breakup. It took up a lot of headspace throughout the story because it was one of the biggest reasons Bunty was spending so much time across the country and not allowing Bunty and Bobbi to spend time together. When Bunty drowns in his misery with Deepak and Prem, his eyes are opened to what he did wrong and what he needed to do in order to fix the problem. And then it is suddenly resolved, mostly off page, and basically was not even a huge issue when he finally confronted it which felt sort of anti-climatic to me. I'm not going to complain too much about the idiot man figuring out he was being an idiot and solving the problem, but I think I just expected it to be a bit more explosive than it actually ended up being.
On the other side of the spectrum, one of my favorite aspects of the book was Bobbi’s body positivity and Bunty not giving a crap about “traditional beauty standards” (aka the lies that society and the media have forced down our throats) - it was such a beautiful breath of fresh air. Portraying body positivity in books is not a new concept, but it takes a whole new shape when presented in the context of the Asian community and specifically the South Asian community in this case. While I haven’t struggled with my body image as much in recent years, Bobbi’s unwavering acceptance of her healthy, curvy body was a welcome reminder that what we think of ourselves is more important that trying to fit into someone else’s mold.
TASTES LIKE SHAKKAR is the second novel in Nisha Sharma’s If Shakespeare Was an Auntie trilogy and it is available now. Make sure to pick up your copy here as well as the first book in the series DATING DR. DIL while we all way for the conclusion (presumably Veera and Deepak’s love story?! Fingers crossed!) of the trilogy.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."