the steps to falling in love | the five stages of courting dalisay ramos by melissa de la cruz

by - 8:00 AM

Hello there! Today's the release day for Melissa De La Cruz's new rom-com The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos! A heartfelt and adorable story following an American editor who falls in love with his new Filipino co-worker and discovers there's more to dating than just asking a girl out and he'll have to prove his worthiness by completing the infamous five stages of courting.

I received a physical arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review -  I was not financially compensated for this post and all thoughts are my own .

pages: 304  | source: arc/gifted from publisher
publication date: July 9th, 2024
genre: adult, romance
rating: 5.3/10

B O O K S H O P *    |    G O O D R E A D S    |    S T O R Y G R A P H    
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I received a physical arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review -  I was not financially compensated for this post and all thoughts are my own .

It's been a while since I've picked up a feel good rom-com and The Five Stages delivers it all from swoon-worthy displays of love to intimate conversations about exploring and understanding different generational and cultural traditions. Evan and Dalisay had an instant attraction catalyst to their relationship that quickly ends with Dalisay firmly turning Evan down. Not so easily deterred, Evan finds out that Dalisay wants to be woo'd through the traditional five stages: teasing of friends, gift exchanges, etc. 

The premise itself is perfect for the summer time especially with all the grand gestures and different lengths that Evan goes in order to prove his dedication and devotion. As the five stages unfold, Evan and Dalisay's attraction easily blossoms into something more. My only gripe would be the pacing of the chemistry, for lack of a better way to describe it. The first 150 pages or so was focused on setting up the characters and their backgrounds which left me feeling a little disconnected from the romance that we as readers are meant to be rooting for. Everything felt surface-level which could be attributed to the characters themselves not knowing too much about each other and just going through the motions of the five stages.

As the characters began to become more developed on page to the reader and to each other, it was a lot easier to root for Dalisay and Evan. From navigating their newly confessed feelings to the challenges of reconciling cultural and generational differences, the latter half of the novel flowed a lot more smoothly. The Five Stages of Courting Dalisay Ramos offers a sweet glimpse of a beloved Filipino tradition that places a lot of value on properly expressing one's romantic intention. I appreciated the conversations surrounding interracial relationships, generational expectations, and exploring one's identity through love.

huge thanks to Union Square & Co. Publishing for sending me a physical ARC to review - all thoughts shared are my own honest opinion!

favorite line: Maps can tell you a lot, not just about the place charted, but the people who charted it. 

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