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Accidentally Engaged

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Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall--with hopes that Reena will marry him.

But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.

As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.

357 pages, Paperback

First published March 2, 2021

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About the author

Farah Heron

12 books733 followers
Farah Heron is a critically acclaimed author of romantic comedies for adults and young adults filled with huge South Asian families, delectable food, and most importantly, brown people falling stupidly in love. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two children, and a rabbit named Strawberry. She recently adopted two cats, who are now in charge.

Farah’s debut, The Chai Factor was named one of the summer’s best books by The Globe and Mail, and was praised in Book Riot, Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Bustle and more. Her next release, Accidentally Engaged, was listed as a best book of 2021 in Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, NPR, CBC Books, Kobo, and more. Her young adult debut, Tahira in Bloom, was recently released, and was praised as one of the best rom-coms of the year by USA today.

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5 stars
2,259 (19%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,971 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,194 reviews40.5k followers
December 12, 2021
Yessss!! I can honestly announce: we have another winner! This is entertaining, laugh out loud, sweet, emotional!

There is desi wedding, Indian family traditions, noisy parents, vivid characters, lots of yummy foods, a yummy hero with sexy British accent and natural, strong, easily likable heroine!

There are also so many secrets, gossips, dramas but the way they’re coming out is also smart, absurd, enjoyable! Angsty parts don’t tear your guts, thankfully they were well balanced. And conclusion is sweet like dhokla ( I was curious about that Indian desert since I watched Three Idiots)

Reena Manji , 31 , hates her job, is amazing cook, once upon a time a successful food blogger after being sabotaged by her own little sister. She is so pissed off the nonstop intrusions and prying of her family. She wants to be independent, making decisions freely without expecting their approval.

But when her hottie new neighbor Nadim with sexy British accent appears at the hallway with his gorgeous posture and flirty manners, she hardly resist his charm till she learns he is the guy works with his father and he is also the arranged husband they expect her to marry!

Hell no! Even though he is hot as hell, he is sweet, he is great listener and he has great hands to massage her scalp and he is also talented to give fantastic foot massage!

Again hell no! But when they were both drunk, he was so entertaining to join her to shoot a cooking video together which goes viral and they become finalists of a cooking show Reena wants to attend!

Now she has second thoughts because that competition is for couples! She knows she can win it! If she asks nicely to Nadim to pretend like her fiancée throughout the competition she can win the scholarship of the baking school she can hardly pay with her regular pay checks !

Guess what? Nadim says “yes” and they are perfect pretending couple in front of the cameras so nobody needs to know their secret! But when Reena has the noisiest family on the planet , she may realize nothing can stay secret in the family including Nadim’s grandiose secret which can change their blossoming intense relationship.

Overall: I’m rounding up 4.5 stars to 5 I laughed so much till my cheeks hurt like hell but it’s truly worth it stars!

I love Manji family and their scandalous secrets and I loved the chemistry, romance between Reena and Nadim. And I’m a true lover of great food! So this book was like heaven to me!

So much thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing/ Forever for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Dani.
573 reviews164 followers
November 3, 2021
TL;DR: Might be a good POC book, but the Muslim rep is NOT it.

DNF-ed/skim-read after 55%
This was a bust, unfortunately.

The good:
I can’t speak for the Tanzanian-Gujarati representation, but the foodie in me loved the baking and traditional food aspect. It made me search the dishes on Google and learn about the big population of Gujarati people residing in Tanzania, which I did not know.

The bad:
I am not unfamiliar with people who have different lifestyles, though I am a practising Muslim. I have Muslim friends who do drink/gamble and do other things that Islam technically forbids, and everyone is entitled to do what they want so long as it’s through their own free will. BUT…

I am NOT a fan and do not appreciate how the publishers slapped a ‘Muslim rep’ sticker on this and called it a day. When you clearly promote a book with Muslim rep, I go into it expecting a somewhat accurate Muslim/Islamic experience, but all the characters in here (except for the heroine’s parents) were drinking/mentioning alcohol every 2 pages, and it was just so shoved in your face that ‘Oh hey! They’re Muslims, but they drink! And have premarital sex! Oh and yeah, they drink, remember, don’t forget that!!’

Also the fact that the MCs "respected Islam but..." and then moved on to say how much more 'forward-thinking' they were. Their superiority complex was insufferable.

At the end of the day, this might be a good POC book, but I can see the rep to be quite damaging to practicing Muslims, IMHO.

This review by Suraya is the probably the closest review accurate to my own thoughts.
(alternated between e-arc and audio listened on libby)

*ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Tina (Trying to Catch Up).
2,450 reviews1 follower
March 3, 2023
This is a Fake dating Romance/Chick-Lit. This is a cute and funny book. This book is about the two main characters family setting them up to be engaged, but they become friends over cooking foods from where they come from. I really love this book. The two main characters are magnetic and they fit together so well. Their is so many cute and funny moments in this book. This book had me totally pulled into it, and I did not want to put this book down. This book is beautifully written and entertaining. If you need a cute and funny fake dating romance with great characters then this is the book for you. I am very lucky to win a Soft Cover Copy of this book from a goodreads giveaway, and this review is my own honest opinion about the book like all my reviews are.
Profile Image for Azanta.
186 reviews285 followers
March 6, 2021
I really, truly had to force myself to get through this book and I wish I DNF’ed it. It was not for me but if you’re looking for a light-hearted rom com with all your favorite cliches and no other plot other than the MC drooling over men explicitly, this is for you. These are not the type of romance books I read so I was not expecting to not like this book at all. My first and most immediate turn off was the ridicule of Islam. Saying over and over that you “respect it but...” does not make the ridicule okay. Islam is not a culture - it’s a religion that is practiced by billions of people. It’s not strict customs and traditions that force people to either choose fun or a cult. Again — these are my opinions and mine alone because I practice Islam but those who don’t might enjoy it. This is not good Muslim rep in anyway which is so disappointing because it’s counting as an OwnVoices novel. Anyone who praises this book for Muslim rep is wrong, especially if they’re not Muslim.
Profile Image for Jessica.
325 reviews365 followers
March 3, 2021
Accidentally Engaged is a cute romantic comedy about a Muslim woman that fakes an engagement to enter a cooking contest for couples.

Accidentally Engaged is cute, funny, and entertaining. Reena is passionate about baking bread and is always cooking. Reena’s parents want her to marry a nice Muslim boy and are always trying to set her up. Their newest option for her is Nadim. Reena and Nadim are both different than their parents realize. They both are passionate about food which causes them to quickly bond. They are very cute together and have great chemistry while filming the cooking show. Reena has no interest in marrying Nadim. There are family dynamics throughout Accidentally Engaged. Reena has a strained relationship with her sister that her sister is trying to fix. Their family is not honest with each other which lead to some entertaining revelations. Reena is a strong, independent woman that doesn’t live by her parents standards. She moved out of their house without being married and continues to defy their expectations. She isn’t satisfied with her career in finance and has to decide if she’d rather do something else. Nadim is always looking out for Reena and is very caring. There are many funny moments throughout the book. I learned some about the Muslim culture. Reena and Nadim are constantly cooking and talking about food so Accidentally Engaged makes the reader hungry. I recommend Accidentally Engaged for fans of cute romantic comedies and own voices romances.

Thank you Forever and NetGalley for Accidentally Engaged.

Full Review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,074 reviews13.3k followers
March 28, 2021
This book just wasn't for me. I wasn't a fan of the characters or the romance or how everything was closed door. It seemed like the author had really good ideas, but certain points were very hurriedly introduced or dropped in and nothing was actually fully developed or fleshed out (her mental health, her sister's old relationship, her mother's secret, her father's secret...). The same thing happened with the side characters too. Things would just be added in and then nothing really happened after that. I also really didn't like how there was a lot of miscommunication. It was clear that Nadim had a secret and even asked Reena not to look into it, so she didn't. And OF COURSE that ended up being the major conflict at the end. And instead of asking him about it, she agonizes over it and refuses to talk to him. And then they just randomly get back together at the end without any real work or build up. I just really wasn't a fan of this one.
Profile Image for dana sun.
141 reviews45 followers
July 4, 2021
I am not South Asian or East African so I will not speak on how that aspect of the character’s identity was represented in the book. Please look for other ownvoices reviewers if you want that perspective.

I picked this book up specifically because it was ramadan and for this month I wanted to stick to reading books about Islam or that have muslim representation. Now don’t get me wrong this book did have muslim representation... it was just horrible. Allow this book to serve as a reminder that not all ownvoices books have good representation because this was a trainwreck. My first red flag when we met Nadim and he offered her beer in their first meeting. Islam was ridiculed over the course of this book and I lost all hope that it could possibly get better twenty pages in. The whole “yeah i respect it but...” made it even more irritating and harder to deal with. This book had characters that spoke of Islam as if it was some kind of primitive way of thinking and that by drinking alcohol they somehow set themselves apart. There are almost two billion people who follow this religion and this book mocked it.

I went into this book expecting something like You Deserve Each Other but halal. I expected it to represent muslims and have characters that reflected islamic values and, with the exception of the protagonist’s parents, I didn’t get that. Other than the fact that both main characters identify with Islam all we see from them about the religion is them belittling it and the author setting them apart from other Muslims because they have sex and drink alcohol. Rather than a “not like other girls” trope I saw an “I’m not like other Muslims trope”. That’s the best way in which I can sum up how I felt about this book.

Other than my obvious issues with the Muslim representation in this book I also had an issue with the plot... it just didn’t do it for me. The plot was everywhere and made no sense. There wasn’t a clear way where one thing led to the next.

Nothing felt well developed, including the characters. Other than his ethnic and muslim identity (as well as a foot fetish) we really don’t see much of a personality from Nadim. I had a similar issue with Reena, but you would have to swap out the foot fetish with baking because that’s all we got from her. But don’t worry they’re not like other Muslims so it’s fine
Profile Image for Suraya (thesuraya).
567 reviews144 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 9, 2021
i understand that there are tons of non-practicing muslims out there, so this book may serve as a representation too, in a different way.

but im sick of authors who flaunt the “Here’s a Muslim rep book!!!” card but depicts everything that Islam clearly forbids. This book has it all, pre-marital sex, alcohol, gambling, all the while still flaunting the “I live in a Muslim household” setting.

I’m not implying that all practicing muslims are good; there are tons of practicing muslims that are doing all kinds of terrible things, too. But i just figured that if you are a Muslim, and have the chance to bring the religion topic forward, why not do it right?

Profile Image for human.
640 reviews986 followers
Want to read
November 21, 2020


i see desi wedding, i smash that mf want-to-read button
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
April 21, 2021
4.5 stars, rounded up.

Accidentally Engaged , Farah Heron's new book, is a fun, sexy, sweet rom-com about trying to make your own way despite what your parents want. (Like that's easy?)

Reena’s parents want what’s best for her, and in their eyes, finding a man for her to marry is best. Sure, it’s not worked any of the previous times they've tried this, but it looks like this candidate, Nadim, definitely has his pluses—he’s handsome, he has a great body and a sexy British accent, and he loves food as much as she does. (Of course, his negatives include the fact that he works for her father and lives in her apartment building.) But she flat-out refuses to be with anyone her parents set her up with, no matter how good he may look.

When Reena learns about a television cooking competition open only to couples, she starts to think things through. An avid baker always looking to perfect her bread recipes, winning this competition might give her that chance. So what would be wrong with asking Nadim to pretend to be engaged to her for the sake of the program, as long as they keep it a secret? (It turns out that's not the only secret she's keeping, and Nadim has secrets of his own as well!)

Ah, dear fellow rom-com readers, what happens when secrets are kept in a story? And what happens with fake engagements? Yes, you know, but Accidentally Engaged is a delicious, sexy, romantic one, full of family dysfunction and yummy-sounding food! I couldn't resist even though I knew where things would go.

I loved this book. Don’t read it on an empty stomach, especially if like me, carbs are your spirit animal, and/or if you love Indian food. And maybe it was just me, but for some reason the title of this book had me singing the Counting Crows’ Accidentally in Love . (Sorry not sorry if that gets stuck in your head, too!)

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
2,039 reviews320 followers
May 5, 2021
Be forewarned

Do not, and I repeat do not read this unless you have snacks and food next to you or you will be sorry. This book had me craving for freshly baked sourdough bread and Indian food. Be prepared to laugh, swoon, and whet your appetite. This is a fun one!

I loved the chemistry between 31 yo Reena Manji and her new neighbor Nadim who was not only gorgeous but also speaks with a sexy British accent. It was almost love at first sight until Reena finds out that her father is setting her up with Nadim for an arranged marriage.

Reena’s career was spiraling down and recently losing her job, she takes interest in joining a couple’s cooking show where the grand prize could send Reena to cullinary school. In a funny turn of events with some alcohol involved, Reena and Nadim end up making and sending a video of them cooking to the show and gets accepted. This leads them to a dilemma that in order to remain in the show, they must pretend to be a couple.

I loved this sweet story, and getting to know each member of Reena’s large family. there were plenty of funny moments and opportunity to learn a lot about the Muslim culture.

I give it all the stars for a fabulous read full of romance, sizzling hot chemistry, amazing characters, and lots of delicious food! This was so entertaining, with great dialogue and the pacing really kept me turning those pages.

I really enjoyed this read.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 58 books8,102 followers
March 9, 2021
Absolutely gorgeous. A hugely enjoyable contemporary with two real, flawed, super likeable characters, conflict rooted mainly in human absurdity, and great food.

What I loved is the very human flaws on display. Reena feels like a failure, won't confront her problems, is prone to jealousy and blaming other people. Not very attractive traits, but extremely relatable ones, which makes it all the more uplifting as we see her sort herself out. Nadim is kind of easily swayed, letting his life be dictated by others. They both have a lot to work on, and they do, and it makes for a hugely satisfying read because the fantasy is so grounded in real feelings, including the bad ones.

Lovely supporting cast, fluent writing with that elusive trait, readability, and a terrific joyous romance which feels like it was massive fun to write. A pleasure.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
March 9, 2021

Loved this book! Such a feel good story packed with humor, friendship, family, and calories! I seriously defy you to read this and not crave bread! Reena does not like her job, isn’t thrilled with her love life, and most of all is tired of her meddling family. Her parents have really outdone themselves this time they have moved her latest potential husband into the apartment right across the hall from her. There is no way Reena is going to date this man much less marry him. Even if he looks like an Indian Captain America, has a sexy British accent, and shares her love for everything food. Then one drunken night Reena and Nadim accidentally enter a cooking contest meant for couples. And so it begins! Reena and Nadim pretending to be a happy loving couple on television and trying to resist one another in real life.

This book was such a treat! Reena and Nadim were both great characters with such lovely personalities. The Romance was sweet and steamy both in and out of the kitchen. They both had some pretty complicated family dynamics and expectations and I liked getting a peek into the Muslim culture. The secondary characters were spectacular, colorful and caring. A fantastic book that I cannot recommend highly enough.

This book in emojis 🍞 📹 🍞 🐐 🍞 🦶🏽 🍞 🥚

*** Big thank you to Forever for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for mish ♡.
106 reviews220 followers
December 11, 2021
it's vERY much like me to put off reviewing something until like 6 months later but, it was an arc so it has to happen

nOW. i'll start off with what i didn't like, let's get the bad out of the way first i guess :/
➼ i HATED the muslim-rep in this book. there's just no other way to say it. it struck me as odd and annoyed me several times throughout the book and i came on here to see a couple muslims expressing their thoughts on it as well.
more specifically, i felt as if the author was going out of her way to make the MC and the love interest some type of quirky muslims. now omg my vocabulary is FAILING me right now but by that i mean there were way too many attempts to make it seem like "I'm Muslim but I'm not like other Muslims. I don't do ____ and also I do ____." like seriously. nothing wrong with a non-practicing person, just like how there's nothing wrong with being a practicing Muslim as well, but I just feel like Islam and it's rules, just as a whole was being disrespected.
also, why ..? make the book revolve around muslim rep if it was just going to be like this. honestly wouldn't have been feeling like this if they mentioned characters to be muslim in passing but bc it was brought up constantly, and the novel marketing around the rep and all, going out of the way to mention that they do things sO differently, it just made it worse. oh yeah we drink, constantly, and oh my! gambling in the family. i'm so uncontrollable, i hate everything my parents do and tell me to do. okay miss rebellion. we get it. like i hardly gaf anymore.

basically, if it's this type of representation:

➼ not only that, i feel like culture and religion was mixed up sometimes, which can go downhill reallll quickly because again, a lot of ppl are in the blind about it, making it easier to fall prey to assumptions and stereotypes.

➼ i feel like the way her south asian family was portrayed was..... eeermmm. let's just say it was every quality that wasn't so great that was highlighted. especially as her family was made out to be this crazy, overbearing, obsessed family. like the MC is definitely that brown girl that made hating her family a personality trait. (fair enough to have family issues, trust me i have them too, but when complaining and hating about it becomes 85% of your personality......)

noW i'm angry at myself with reviewing this 68565 years after having read it or else i could be more specific and quoting the exact things that rubbed me in the wrong way and how she was aggressively annoying.

aside from those issues i had with the representation, there was not much about this book that was compelling. i could genuinely have left it and not been bothered so i'm not exactly sure why i didn't dnf it (probably the "my fiRST ARC, free book!" dragging me along). put me through the worst reading slump i've had in a WHILE, like read a TOTAL of 4 books in the comingthree months after i read this...
➼ miscommunication trope <<<
they didn't even communicate for a better part of the book to the point where it became irritating and left me bored with it. not to mention it led them and the romance to become flat and therefore me -> disinterested

things i liked
well after that hell of a rant that just dragged out all the hate in me now i forgot what i was supposed to say here, oops
➼ i liked that the writing was simple and straightforward i guess (it made getting through the book just a little bit easier)
➼ the scene when they filmed the audition for the couple cooking show was cute

uh thats it

well uhhh this combined with a new semester of school may have just put me in a slump for the entire january and the next month. how fun :)
and now i hAVE to write a review about it too :(

waiiittt cause i just got my first arc OMFGg

Profile Image for Christy.
3,809 reviews32.3k followers
May 2, 2021
3 stars

What happens when you become fake engaged to the person your parents are trying to marry you off to… but you decide to keep it from your parents? That’s what Reena is dealing with inAccidentally Engaged. When she learns her new neighbor, Nadim is who her parents want her to marry, she is not happy. She’s in her thirties and not looking to be set up. Nadim is attractive, charming, and friendly and they become fast friends, but that’s all.

Until she needs a partner for a cooking contest she’s getting ready to join Baking is her passion and she could really use the prize, so Nadim joins in. He’s a great sport about it all and their chemistry is off the charts. You can tell there is more there, even if both aren’t willing to go there yet. There are a lot of secrets between them building up and I just knew when things came out, it would be a bit of a disaster.

I think this book had so much potential, but certain things felt… underdeveloped. I don’t love when so many things are introduced, but then not fleshed out. Still, I enjoyed this authors writing style and there were a lot of things I loved in this. I think the idea of the book was fantastic, but the execution lacked a bit.

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrators: Soneela Nankani
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 11 hours and 8 minutes

Profile Image for aarya.
1,247 reviews
March 6, 2021
2020 Winter Bingo (#SnowInLoveBingo❄️): Hot Beverage

“You checked all my boxes. Even the secret boxes no one knew about. I could barely breathe that night when I found you sitting outside my door barefoot with a bag of bread. You were prickly and so independent, but I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. You feel like home.”

This was such an emotional read and (not to get too cheesy!) felt like home in a lot of ways. I related so much to Reena's messiness and deep-rooted insecurities. I did think Nadim needed to be developed as a character a bit more — we never see his pov, and I never rooted for him the way I did for Reena. Some things I really liked:

- The drunken scene that doesn't lead to dubious consent! I super love this plot choice in modern contemporary romances, and it was adorable to see how their drunken shenanigans progressed the food competition plot.

- Family secrets! Reena's family felt hypocritical... and also familiar. It was hilarious how all their secrets intersected and ended up not being a huge deal. I also liked that Reena's family was interfering and a source of stress, but not toxic to the point where I wanted to Reena to disown them. I feel like fictional families are usually either end of the spectrum (nightmarish or angels), and it was nice to see a flawed family that ultimately had each other's backs. I was relieved that Saira and Reena developed a a healthier dynamic as the book progressed (I was concerned that it would just be fighting and snide remarks the whole time).

- Foot fetish! No, I will not elaborate. 👀

- A bleak moment that happens at 70%?!? Be still, my fluttering heart. The end conflict and resolution are paced really, really well (the book still managed to shock me at the end!).

- So happy to visit Duncan and Amira from THE CHAI FACTOR again! Even when Reena was at her lowest, I was never *truly* worried for her because she has an amazing support system in her friends and family.

FYI: there are no on-page explicit sex scenes. The characters do have sex, but the book chooses to skip over the scene itself. I think it fit the romance, but go in with those expectations!

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,186 followers
August 21, 2021
3.5 stars

I loved the Asian/Muslim representation in this book! The plot was just kind of a mess.

Accidentally Engaged is about Reena Manji, a single woman who doesn’t love her career but loves baking bread. Reena often hides things about herself from her family fearing they will judge her or not support her. So when she loses her job, she keeps it a secret from almost everyone in her life. But when her friend urges her to join a cooking competition online, Reena finds herself roping her hot downstairs neighbor, Nadim, into helping her. The only problem is, her parents want to set her up with Nadim and Reena doesn’t want to date a man they’ve chosen.

There’s a lot of layers to this book and I very much appreciated that aspect. We have a great main character Reena, who wants to be a good daughter but also wants to be able to make her own choices in life and to follow her own dreams. My favorite part of this book was how Reena navigated the complicated relationships between her and her sister, and her parents. It’s not something you see a lot in romance novels and I thought it was really well done. I also loved all the food descriptions, this book made me really hungry. And the best part about the food was the author stuck to the cultural roots and didn’t try to “colonize” it by making it appeal to western standards. I wish I could eat everything they talked about in this book.

What didn’t work for me was there didn’t seem to be a consistent plot. Things kept getting brought up at some points and forgotten until others. The first half of the book seemed to focus on the cooking competition and then was added almost as an afterthought at the end. The plot was actually a little bit chaotic. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the romance, mainly the very abrupt use of fade to black which took me out of the story completely many times. I liked Reena and I liked Nadim, but their romance was a little bit cheesy which isn’t my preference so it didn’t quite work for me (but other readers may love that!).

I’m really glad I read this book and I will definitely be trying more books by Farah Heron in the future!
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,018 reviews10.1k followers
April 10, 2021
3.5 stars. This was very close to a 4 but the second half wasn’t as fun as the first half was. I really enjoyed the cast of characters and would’ve loved if we got more of the baking competition.
Profile Image for Lily Herman.
543 reviews572 followers
January 24, 2021
Ack! Okay! Well! I'm already feeling very chaotic about this rating and review! Let's dive into it!

There's so much to love about Farah Heron's Accidentally Engaged. Reena is such a fun and unique heroine, Nadim is both lovable and mysterious, and the entire Manji family is a damn trip. Plus the food descriptions in this book not only made my mouth water but also made me decide that bread-baking will be the delayed quarantine hobby I take up next.

I think where things got a little hinky is that there's just too much going on in this novel. Reena and Nadim's parents setting them up! Reena's relationship with her sister Saira! Reena's past failed relationships! The cooking show subplot! The foot shenanigans! The secrets that Reena's family is keeping from her! The secrets that Nadim is also keeping from her! The list goes on and on.

The book is just shy of soap opera-levels of drama at the end, but the problem is that I don't really know if that's exactly what Heron was going for. I would've loved if there'd been fewer subplots with a little more depth added to the remaining ones, especially because there were some really important topics that could've used more exploration, like mental illness and treatment.

This is definitely one of those times where half stars would be useful, because this book teeters around 3.5ish stars for me.

Content warning: Disordered eating, mental illness, mentions of infidelity
Profile Image for La Crosse County Library.
555 reviews142 followers
April 20, 2022
A secret relationship, family secrets, and descriptions of food that will leave your mouth watering? Sign me up. Accidentally Engaged tells the story of Reena and Nadim, a couple in a complicated relationship.

How do you balance a real relationship with a pretend engagement for an online cooking competition all while hiding all of that from the parents who set you up? For Reena, this seems perfectly logical. Her love life doesn’t need help from her parents, especially when her supposed future fiancé is entangled in the family business.

This book had me coming back for more! I was so invested in how Reena and Nadim would figure out their personal and professional lives and how exactly their lives would piece together with one another's. Reena and Nadim seem so well suited to each other, but with familial meddling, secret histories, and one very complicated relationship, is the whole thing just a recipe for disaster?

Oh, and one thing’s for sure, when you read this book make sure to have some snacks handy. The romantic tension between Reena and Nadim is nothing compared to how the food is romanced. Warm bread with thick crusts, spiced curries, and pan-fried potato bajias. Each description left me hungry, and, quite honestly, it was almost like I could smell it cooking in the next room.

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Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.2k followers
May 8, 2021
Fun, sweet, and entertaining!

This was such a cute, uplifting story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Would definitely recommend and the audiobook was great!
Profile Image for Trisha (semi-hiatus).
243 reviews126 followers
March 12, 2021
Blog Review: https://trishadoeseverythingbutstudy2...

I received a free e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

Unfortunately only 46 pages of this book was available for reading but those 46 pages really impressed me!

One of the first things I like about this is her Gujarati heritage....because I've lived in Gujarat for most of my life so I just really loved the small nods to the culture...a puri chhole here, a dhokla there..

Another thing I loved was the sourdough bread...my mother has picked up this skill and I've been with her all, or at least most of the way....so I was really really enjoying the sourdough jokes and all of that!

I love the arranged marriage/fake marriage thing this seems to be building up to, because you just know, that's what going to happen and I, for one, can't wait to read the rest of this book!

I really loved this preview and I will definitely be reading the rest of this book when it comes out! Or when it's available to request!
Profile Image for Sarah Adams.
Author 11 books9,757 followers
March 22, 2021
I loved it! This book felt so fresh and easy to read! It felt like a hug! And the characters were super lovable!

Content: Closed-door(ish) romance...nothing graphic, adult language.
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,817 reviews170 followers
February 27, 2021
Sweet, humorous, and sassy!

Accidentally Engaged is a fresh, flirty, heartwarming tale that takes you into the life of Reena Manji, a hardworking, young woman of Indian heritage who endeavours to do whatever it takes to change all aspects of her humdrum life, including faking an engagement with the man her parents have promised her to and whom she refuses to marry in order to enter a coveted cooking show contest specifically for couples.

The prose is heartfelt and light. The characters are kind, supportive, and eccentric. And the plot is a push-pull tale of familial responsibility, intrusive parents, witty banter, tender moments, goals, expectations, secrets, friendship, chemistry, introspection, honesty, and love.

Overall, Accidentally Engaged has everything you look for in a rom-com as well as the added bonus of a touch of culture, traditions, weighty issues, and delectable goodies. I enjoyed every delicious minute that had me smiling, laughing, and definitely making too much homemade bread.

Thank you to Forever and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
March 13, 2021
Farah Heron has only released two books and she is already one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. Farah's debut, The Chai Factor, is a work of art, and I was eager to pick up Accidentally Engaged. This book was just as joyful of an experience as The Chai Factor. You can tell that this story is a project that Farah Heron put all her heart into and I'm grateful that she decided to share it with readers.

At the center of Accidentally Engaged is Reena, a South Asian woman who is a little disgruntled at how her life is turning out to be and the pressure of her parents' expectations. She has a career in finance that she absolutely despises. Reena's true passion lies in cooking and baking, especially bread-baking. At the same time, her parents are trying to set her up with a "good Muslim boy" and their latest target, Nadim, also happens to be Reena's new neighbor. An opportunity to make her dreams come true arises in the form of a cooking contest, Reena and Nadim team up and enter a fake relationship. This not only provides her with a much-needed reprieve from her stagnant life, but it brings her a new friend and maybe love into her life.

I really like how Farah Heron writes her female protagonists. They are all such normal characters and it's easy to relate to them. I really adored Reena and related to her a lot. Both her connection and her discontentment with the South Asian community she grew up in rang a chord with me. Reena loves her culture, which the author weaves into the story really beautifully through the food and traditions, but there were also parts of it that she found suffocating. I like that Farah didn't shy away from showing the complexities and ups and downs of what it's like to grow up to South Asian immigrants. Reena's identity isn't the only layer of her character I liked. She starts off the book accompanied by low self-confidence and unhappiness at certain aspects of her life. We see a lot of her growth throughout Accidentally Engaged and it's very satisfying to someone who is rooting for her.

As much as I liked Reena, it was Nadim who stole the show for me, and admittedly, it's for a very selfish reason. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nadim had grown up in Tanzania. I think a lot of people are under the impression that there are no South Asian communities in Africa. I grew up in one of these big communities myself, so this book feels like the only representation I will ever see in a romance book. If I seem protective towards Nadim, it's because this is the representation of my dreams. Anyways, Nadim is an actual angel who oozes sunshine! He is a sweetheart, knows how to lay on the charm, and is gentle. I liked that his personality was in contrast to Reena, who is a bit of a grump. They balanced each other out really well and I could see why they started off as such good friends.

If you enjoy the fake relationship and friends-to-more tropes, I think you are going to have a grand time with Accidentally Engaged. The progression of their relationship is fun! The two get close as they shoot for the contest from Reena's kitchen and as Nadim falls in love with her cooking, he slowly finds himself falling in love with her too. Honestly, they were precious together and they also had me laughing quite a few times. The cooking show scenes, in particular, were terrific because they not only show just how much chemistry the two share but also just how comfortable they become around each other as they film more episodes.

Accidentally Engaged is a beautiful book that explores love, family, culture, and cuisine within a South Asian community. It's rich and complex and doesn't shy away from showing both the ups and downs of growing up in the desi community. Just make sure you have a snack while reading the book. You're going to need it. I loved this book and I hope you will too!

CW: mention of depression and anxiety

Relationship disclosure: Farah Heron and I are mutuals on social media.
Profile Image for RateTheRomance.
775 reviews120 followers
March 7, 2021
It was hard for me to imagine loving a book that was based around a potentially arranged marriage, but ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED is amazing.

Reena is a 32 year old single woman whose parents are constantly trying to direct her life, her career, and her relationships. When Reena meets her new hot neighbor, Nadim, she is intrigued...until she realizes he is the man her father has planned for her to marry. Suddenly Nadim is the enemy that she can't stand, but needs help from to make her dreams a reality...as long as she can remind him daily that she will NOT be marrying him.

Reena and Nadim are so absolutely swoony! I just adored each of them. Reena with her sometimes cranky attitude and Nadim's good-natured charm. Reena is a self-taught baker and the food descriptions in this book will have you drooling! I had to stop reading a few times in order to make and consume some sourdough toast with fresh butter.

I loved that this book tackled really difficult family relationships. Farah Heron managed to incorporate cultural complexities within those family relationships with universal complexities that every reader has likely experienced. And those relationships improve as family secrets come out and as the members of Reena's family try and change the patterns they have fallen into. The author has managed to keep these changes authentic and true. I especially appreciated the story including Mental Illness and Therapy for more than one character.

The steam is this book is hot even without going into descriptive detail of the sexual encounters. This book is a PG-13 read and still feels incredibly steamy.

I loved this look into a culture different than my own, into family relationships, family secrets, beginning to heal, and learning to let go of the expectations that are forced onto us. All of this happens while a beautiful love story is unfolding that will have you swooning and cheering for a happily ever after. This is such a great book!

TRIGGERS: Strained family relationships, pressure to marry, emotionally distant parent, child sent to boarding school, clinical depression
FEELS-O-METER: 2/5 *Some drama, but still a light read*

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

BUY IT HERE: https://amzn.to/3kXLkkc (aff.)

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Profile Image for JenReadsRomance.
295 reviews1,482 followers
February 5, 2021
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the romance between Reena and Nadim a lot! I loved her as a character, I just thought she was so...real. I don't know how else to describe it, her fears and worries, her desire to please her family, her desire to have a different career than the one that seems "safe."

One of the things that I think it does really well, superbly even, is explore how complicated family dynamics STAY COMPLICATED through adulthood. I think a lot of romances tend to discuss family of origin issues as part of the romance. I like this! It makes sense, because as people fall in love and think about bring a partner into the family, or the new family they are making as a couple, complicated questions about family bubble up. And I think the way Reena both learns more about her family and the way things work, the complex dynamic with her sister -- all of this moves forward, but it isn't *fixed.* and I thought it was just brilliant.

I'll be honest. There was way too much cooking shit in this book for me. I just don't enjoy cooking at all, and all the details about sourdough starter or whatever! The only part about the sourdough starter that I liked was when Nadim was babysitting it and couldn't throw it away. That was telling me something about him, and I liked that, because my actual interest in the mechanics of bread making is less than zero. I know a lot of people like all that cooking shit, but I absolutely power skimmed over so much of the food and meal preparation. I understand Reena wanted to be a chef, and it's heroine only POV, but sometimes the food and cooking felt like more of a character than Nadim really did, and that to me is why the book is 4 stars instead of 5. Food can't be more of a main character than your hero, no matter how much I enjoyed the book. I wanted more about him, and less about bread-making. Perhaps others who don't have such antipathy for cooking won't feel the same way.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,473 reviews496 followers
September 26, 2021

For some reason, I feel like I have read a ton of books by Farah Heron, but Accidentally Engaged is only my first! There is just something about her writing that made me feel like I was coming home, and it really helps that it was freaking hilarious. I loved Reena and her outrageous family, and her spark with Nadim was completely off the charts even when Reena didn't want it to be. There was tons of humor, some tearful moments, and lots of drama all rolled into this wonderful story. This is in the fake engagement trope which is a trope I seem to enjoy quite a bit, and it was fun to see Reena realize how much she actually liked Nadim by the time we get to the end of the book. You don't read this because you want to be surprised, but you read it because you love seeing characters getting their HEA's, which is one of the reasons I loved this book and why I love Hallmark movies.

And while I sing the praises of the book, I also need to be singing the praises of the audiobook which is narrated by Soneela Nankani. Nankani is an AMAZING narrator and the absolute perfect choice to voice Reena. Between Heron's writing and Nankani's narration, I was practically crying because I was laughing so hard while listening to this. But don't worry, Accidentally Engaged may be cute and fun, but it also has plenty of heart to it and there are definitely some tearjerker moments that I didn't get from laughing. It was the perfect blend of funny and serious, and of course who doesn't like learning about the making of bread? I loved that aspect of Reena's character and her cooking made me want to eat! There was also the relationship between herself and her parents and sister which totally had me in tears at the end. If you are looking for a sweet romcom that you never want to quit reading, Accidentally Engaged should be at the top of your list.
Profile Image for Ashlee » libraryinthecountry.
774 reviews644 followers
May 19, 2021
This book was so charming and delightful, I really enjoyed it! I loved the situation these characters found themselves in and just everything about this book was something to love. Great chemistry, laugh out loud humor and banter, supportive friends, well meaning and lovable family members, and lots and lots of bread making.

Truly, I loved all of the characters in this but Nadim stole my heart. I’m excited to read more from this author!
Profile Image for Hannah B..
795 reviews1,067 followers
October 26, 2022

I was really having a good time at the beginning; the writing, scheme, and rakish hero made it feel like a regency romance. Then they had sex behind a 12-inch thick CLOSED metal door and I got miffed and the plot kinda nosedived.

It got too long towards the end and then it was suuuuper speedy in regards to the cooking show and relationship, you know the things that really mattered.
The closed door killed my buzz and I just can’t do anything about how that impacts my enjoyment of a book 🤷‍♀️ especially when it happens at like 45% so I can’t even get through most of the book hoping it’ll be steamy.

I liked how her family aired all their secrets and became more empathetic and understanding. I had a fun time seeing that progression, especially with Saira. I expected myself to be very annoyed with the family but they definitely grew on me. I was most annoyed with Reena not communicating with Nadim and just pushing everything until March 31st. At one point she was like “This [relationship] was real. No matter what he said.” And I was like girl??? I must have heard you wrong because you’re the only one denying this here?? It got tedious.

I don’t think this is part of a series but the side couples got so much detail about their issues and relationships that it makes me think the author was referencing other books? If not it was doubly weird. I just felt like I was missing so much of the story because I was being told not shown a lot of stuff. (Just checked and Amira had a book in 2019 but they’re not listed as a series. Sucks to suck for the others lol.)

I also don’t always need dual narration in a book but I’m just not that connected with Nadim. He’s hot, has an accent, and likes feet but that’s about all I can say about him. He did buy her a cute and thoughtful gift though which is my KINK.

A note about the feet: I liked when he was like “you’re killing me smalls” every time she was barefoot because it was obvious he was referencing her feet and she didn’t know. (I’m a sucker for that kind of trope, well it’s never really been feet but here we are. He actually did it again with her scent smelling like home and it being the ylang-ylang perfume!)

My final thing is how do you have a cooking show where no one actually tastes your food to know if it’s good?? Fan voted is odd. Idk there may have been judges in the end but I’m not sure? The cooking show also got a sad, very rushed ending given that it was on the back of the book (making me think it would be a huge part of the story). Maybe more of a traditional cooking competition would have been more in depth and impactful.

I’m glad there are recipes in the back because I was definitely inspired to bake and cook after reading this! I enjoyed parts of this one but the whole just wasn’t entirely for me. From how Reena talked about sex, I was hoping we’d get some on the page cookin. We didn’t even get a baguette description.

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 🌶🌶*/5

*Because at least the book called it fucking at one point but still. If you’re gonna fuck against a door, LET ME IN. KNOCK KNOCK BITCH.

✨This book was provided by the publisher but all opinions are honest and my own.✨
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