Cover Image: It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake

It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake

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I'm dnf-ing this because I got to the 20% mark and this doesn't seem like it's going to be my thing. It's well written and maybe for someone who enjoys a really slow developing story could get to love. It has bi rep and is very britinsh, which is always charming.

This story follows Noni, who has separated from her wife and feels a little lost. She decides to take charge and take care of herself. She's going on a trip and going to live her life and hook up with whoever she wants.

I received this book from netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.
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*Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this e-book. All opinions are my own.*

Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this and I really wanted to because it had a queer, fat woman as the main character. 

Things I liked:
Noni gives queer and fat representation in a world that is often times lacking in it. There were some funny parts.

Things I disliked:
I did not like the writing style and was very confused on who was talking to whom in most of the conversations. This could be due to it being an ARC copy and not fully edited yet, but I was so lost. The pacing felt unnatural. 

I didn’t connect with Noni. I know that the premise of this book was to show a character being lost and having to find themselves but I feel like that attempt to showcase Noni at her low point became hateful.  The pleasure quest is NOT bad. I want more sex positivity in media. However, this missed the mark on differentiating between pleasure/sexual exploration and working on self development. Noni has a lot of things that she needs to work on and when it came to the deeper topics, the conversations were so superficial. Yet, the drinking and sex was detailed. Her pleasure quest and drinking became the numbing for the self work she claimed she wanted to do. I seriously don't think she had sex one time in this book while she was sober. I feel like a lot of readers just sped right past the part where she sleeps with a man that has a racist symbol tattooed on him. 

This was supposed to be about her finding herself, what she wants, what makes her happy, yet she is rarely on her own actually facing those things. Her self love journey started with her changing her appearance. Since her pleasure quest was the main focus, the ending and her "growth" felt unauthentic because none of the other things were addressed. She was constantly talking down to herself in a book that was supposed to show body positivity. The ending lends proof to the fact that she is only happy if she is with another person. She never worked on her self acceptance alone. The overall message of "put yourself first" doesn't come across because Noni never actually put herself first in these scenarios.
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Many thanks to NetGalley, Text Publishing and the author for an advanced copy of It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake in exchange for my honest review.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake was a totally random pick. I was in the mood for some fun romances, and this blurb drew me in straight away. Before I started reading I thought it sounded like Bridget Jones’s Diary but in Europe. But then I got sucked in and this story started meaning a lot more than just a romance to me!

THE STORY:

The story starts two years after Noni Blake broke up with her partner of nine years, Joan. She isn’t happy with her life, working day after day as a high school teacher. Together with her best friend Lindell and his partner Graham, Noni ends up making a ‘should’ve boned’ list to get her out of her rut. Unfortunately, this leads her to a series of hilarious and disastrous hook-ups, but Noni finally connects with a flame from her past: Molly.

Armed with a killer new haircut, Lindell’s cheerleading and a budding sense of adventure, Noni takes six months off and flies to Europe to reconnect with Molly. But, of course, things don’t work out that way and Noni crosses paths with gorgeous Viking tattooist, Beau.

5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK:

1. Noni’s absolutely brilliant ‘pleasure quest’!
It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake might seem like a rom-com at first glance, but the actual story is more about Noni realising her own self-worth and discovering who she really wants to be. Then give it a good European road-trip twist and we’ve got this deep, beautiful story of a woman’s quest to belonging in her own life. Peppered with some incredible scenes and quotes, this book surprised me with its depth and feeling.

2. A steamy and sweet romance!
Noni ends up with a few absolutely hilarious flings, but there is an amazing romance that develops as well (other than her relationship with herself, of course!). I really loved the steamy scenes because of how comfortable Noni got with her partner and even the dates were just absolutely bliss to read.

3. Lindell.
Lindell is Noni’s best friend, like the absolute best person Noni knows and loves. And I ended up falling in love with this loud, hilarious and fun character too. Even when he was in a totally different country, Lindell still managed to be the sidekick we all need in our lives! He is absolutely brilliant (no really, he gives such amazing advice!) and his parenting scenes (he and Graham have two kids) had me laughing out aloud.

4. The incredible queer rep!
I love a book that addresses something other than the difficulties of being queer. It is a very common trend to see books that deal with the struggles of queerness, and reading a book like Noni Blake, which unapologetically celebrates and normalises queerness is amazing! It is sort of a utopian scenario, but I love the possibilities that it gives the reader. I love how everyone was just unapologetically themselves!

5. Body positivity with a sexy twist.
Part of Noni’s journey was about embracing her body and its flaws. I myself am still drifting through this phase and it is a continuous journey to love one’s own body’s flaws. So, I was thrilled by how Noni tackled her own body positivity, from sexy lingerie hauls to nude photoshoots! Noni Blake is the main character who celebrates being in her own body despite its flaws and perfections!

FINAL VERDICT:

I do not think it is possible to explain how much I fell in love with Noni Blake while reading this story. The romance was great but Noni’s journey, or ‘pleasure quest’, was inspiring! It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake left me with a lot to think about and I feel so inspired reading about someone who I could relate to in so many ways! Absolutely loved this hilarious, moving and steamy adventure that Claire Christian took me on!
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What a beautiful amazing book. I loved every minute of Noni’s journey to self-discovery and happiness. The way the author deals with everything from relationships and sexuality to the grief of fertility failure was simply masterful. I can see why everyone raves about this book!
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This book started a little slow for me and I did put it down for a bit but I'm so glad I returned to it.

The characters in this book are all so great. I was so envious of Noni's friends and their unwavering support and love for her. Lindell is a personal favourite.

This book is funny, sexy (hello Viking) and thoroughly enjoyable.

It's also great to see plus sized and bisexual representation without it being the sole focus of the story. The characters just were and that was it. I loved that.
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Noni Blake is 36, a school teacher and freshly out of long term relationship.  After her home sells she decides to take a leave from work and travel for six months.  It starts with a list of missed potential partners but turns into learning about her own pleasure.  She travels to England, Scotland and includes a side trip to Amsterdam on her adventure.  Pleasure takes many forms, getting a tattoo, naked yoga, being the first on the dance floor and physical intimacy.  The story took turns I wasn't expecting and there is an underlying sweetness.  I think many will relate to wanting to find their best selves.  

I didn't love the amount of language, although it fit the characters and many people won't be bothered by it.  The intimate scenes were honest but not romantic to me and I often skimmed them.  I did like the positive representation and supportive friends.  Thank you NetGalley and Text Publishing for an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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I am so impressed with this book. Adults going through a journey to find themselves are such a rare story to find and this is exactly what this story is. Noni Blake got out of a long term relationship and now is going on all sorts of sexcipades trying to become her true authentic self. The sex positivity in this is astounding and it was a true romcom in this fact. Noni as a bisexual and fat/plus sized woman learning how to be authentic is just the story we need. There were discussions of infertility & miscarriage, breakups, hookups, cheating. The love interest was incredibly likable and I loved the chemistry this book created. While the whole thing was rather low substance this book gets a strong 4.5 stars from me for the representation and new perspectives we get to witness from a romcom. 

Copy provided from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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GAH!! Noni! You little minx! 
I loved this book. It was a quick read, it was well paced, and it was just fun. 
Was it realistic? No. Do I care? Absolutely not. This is a story about a woman healing from heartache, and loss. It doesn't need to be super realistic. It only needs to make me believe for one second  that one can heal and find true happiness, if they go searching for it. Great job on this. Light hearted and inclusive. That's a win any day.
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I was not expecting to like this book as much as I actually did. I started off a little slow for me and I actually put it down multiple times between other books but once i picked it up well before half way through i just wanted to devour it and find out where this journey would take Noni. 

This book was so much more than pleasure and sex, it was about self cafe, looking within yourself to figure out what truly makes you happy, doing the things we want even if it’s uncomfortable, making new friends and building relationships. Most importantly it was about self love and pleasure, not sex pleasure necessarily even though this was part of it, but just allowing yourself to find the things that bring pleasure into your life, doing the things you enjoy without feeling guilty, keeping the people that make you happy around and getting rid of those who don’t. 

This book was really a good read and i loved Noni, her quest for happiness, her self doubt (that i feel like so many can relate to) and journey to overcome, her relationship with her best friend Lindell and then there’s Beau, who turned out to be so much more than a sexy, tattooed Viking 😜

Thank you to NetGalley and Mina Publishing for this gifted copy! (less)
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'It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake', is a book about finding yourself. After breaking up with her ex-girlfriend, with who she had a long-term relationship, Noni feels stuck. She's tired of her job as a teacher and feels like she needs a break to go travelling in Europe. On this trip she works through her trauma, new sexual partners. and finds out what truly makes her happy. I love how real, raw and funny this book was and was especially satisfied with the ending.
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This book talks about a lot of serious topics that i enjoyed seeing represented, including body image/  fatphobia/ miscarriage/ IVF. There is queer rep, with the main character being attracted to multiple genders (no label given), and supporting characters also on the rainbow - however, sexuality isn't a topic.
This is a story about a steamy fling turned romantic relationship, with loads of conversations about what self-love is and how to practice it - if that's your thing, read this book! There's plenty of deep moments (see topics above), accompanied by a bunch of loveable characters and a handful of antagonists. Throughout the book, Noni figures out what her life could be and what life she really wants to live
I really thought this was going to be a 5 star read, but the story was completely different from what I imagined, so while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it. 

I was really excited about a travel-around-the-world, figuring-yourself-out, having-fun book. Alas, this was a world tour, the same way most US performers do a "world tour": they do a couple cities in the UK and, if you're lucky, Amsterdam, and that's it. As Europe-exploration was the big pull-in for me, the lack of travel really impacted my enjoyment of it. This is no fault of the book, it just made the book not for me.
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1/10 (dnf 26%)

I thought this would be something totally different. Quickly, I realized how freaking wrong I was.

This book definitely wasn’t a feel-good rom-com nor some statement. It just made me feel bad somehow. I didn’t like one single character.

In a nutshell, this is about an insecure overweight (maybe) bi person sleeping around. Different person in EVERY. SINGLE. CHAPTER.* And, also, can’t forget that, random people are hyping her up saying she’s amazing the way she is while she feels disgusted by herself. And, does really EVERYONE just has sex with her. Like, what?? And she’s supposed to “find herself” that way. Nah, this isn’t for me at all.

*It was only guys until now and my lesbian brain might implode lol

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5/5.0 

Thank You To Text Publishing and Netgalley for the digital copy of this book in exchange of a honest review. 

It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake starts with our MC, Noni, on her own "walk of shame" in the morning after a one night stand with a firefighter for the first time since her nine years relationship ended two years ago. And, for the first time in a long time, Noni feels good, and she's all about chasing that feeling again, trying to find her "what if's" and living her best life. Until it's a disaster, so Noni decides to give up on that. But then, Ruby – the firefighter who had sex with her – dies in a fire, Noni decides to go on a six-month quest through Europe to find happiness again. 

Now, that was a wild ride. When I'm reading a book, I like to imagine what's going to happen and sometimes I'm right. I was wrong a lot of times during this book. And honestly I'm so happy I was wrong. From the first line, I was in love with Noni Blake and I just wished happiness to that woman. I loved the bi rep, I loved the friends she had (I mean, Naz and Lindell are just AMAZING) and can we please talk about Beau's family? Ugh, I was so jealous of their family relationship and I would do literally anything to spend a day with that family. But I really loved his relationship with Zep, I mean, it's so hard to find such an awesome parent-child dynamic and the fact that Zep was so incredible since his first appearance. I loved how much Noni grew up on those six months, how she let herself be happy and I just got so carried away with the romance. 

I feel like this book is more about Noni's journey as a person than any romance but it was impossible to not fall in love with the whole Beau/Noni dynamic. I mean, they actually used their words (most of the time) !!!!! And oh my God they were just the cutest. 

And, getting really emotional, I grew up loving books but I wasn't really aware of the whole book community thing until a year ago. So, the books I used to read were mostly about skinny straight girls, girls I could never relate to. So I just had to compliment the bi and fat rep here. Because I could relate so well to the MC, seeing Noni discovering how to love herself made me feel so good. At last but not least, the way grief was portrayed, it made me feel so many different feelings. I don't even know what to say, just... It hurted and I cried so much. Because it was so real and I couldn't even do anything. Just sit there and cry while reading. I just gonna miss this book and these characters so much. I hope they're all happy wherever they are.
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'It's Been A Pleasure Noni Blake' was such a fun and light-hearted book about loving yourself and finding true happiness and pleasure in life. 

This book was such a pleasure to read. It was so much fun!! I loved Noni as a main character and I loved seeing her trying to find happiness in her life and going out of her way to be truly happy. 

I loved the bi representation in this book. I loved that Noni was not defined by her sexuality and you saw her being with both men and women in the book.

The pacing of the book was a bit slow and I did find myself getting a bit bored in the middle of the book as the story fell a bit flat during the middle, but it did pick up closer to the end of the book. 

I loved seeing the growing relationship between Noni and Beau, and you could see so much development in their relationship throughout the book and I just loved seeing them together and they definitely had a lot of chemistry. 

I just really liked this book. It was so much fun and if you are looking for something light-hearted and funny, you should definitely pick this one up!!

Thank you to Text Publishing for providing me with an advance copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Although I wasn't perhaps the target audience for this book, I did enjoy it. The story was fun and liberating, the character growth was ever present and the pace was good. It is not often that a book with a middle aged woman does not treat their main character as a tragedy, of course when we meet Noni Blake she's not at the the best place in her life, but there's no pity—except the one she has for herself. When a book is able to present its characters with dignity even at their lowest points you know that the author has truly put themselves in it. That's exactly what I felt with this book. The only thing that I couldn't quite connect with was the sequencing of the story, at times it felt a little disjointed—perhaps too much like real life for my taste. But overall this was a fun read that is sure to be enjoyed by readers in the years to come.
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4.5*

Charming, witty, quirky, funny and delightful.  This journey of self discovery has the main character, Noni, falling in love with pleasure, life, herself and a man.  It's a disservice to call this book a romance novel, because while there is a romantic relationship that develops the story is more about learning the truths about yourself in your thirties.

I struggled with the beginning.  Noni is bi-sexual, which is fine, but her sexcapades were off putting.  They are meant to be funny.  The circumstances she ends up in are unusual and in some cases humorous, but I preferred the book once she actually left Australia and went to London.  

Noni was at a crossroads in her life.  She and her partner of 9 years had broken up and their house finally sold giving Noni enough money to take a 6 month sabbatical from her teaching job.  A woman firefighter from one of Noni's one night stands dies and Noni decides she needs to find the meaning and pleasure in her life.  She had become happy being unhappy.  She makes plans to meet up with a friend in London and connects with an unrequited "love".  

Her adventures take her all over Europe where she meets some wonderful people.  She also stumbles into some crazy situations, but saying yes to possibilities changes her life.  It's a story we all know and a lesson we've all heard.  When you can love yourself, love will find you - and for Noni, it does.  

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC of this book.
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I’m torn between 1 and 2stars. But as I think about the book, unfortunately I’m leaning more towards the 1 star.

Pros: A quick read, short chaptered so while reading it feels like you are making nice reading progress. A few of the side characters were interesting, I enjoyed her friendship with Lindell (although I do feel his advice wasn’t necessarily always good), liked the dynamic between him and his partner Graham, I could appreciate Naz and Tom, but I wish I had connected more to the main character. I could sympathize and understand her worries about her life and not having everything figured out even though she is 36 years old. I thought her realization that she was a bad partner to herself was an important breakthrough for Noni. However...

Cons: the plot? Her using sex to discover herself? Her pleasure quest? I wish it had been deeper than that and also more believable (her own unenthusiastic thoughts about her body versus everyone being miraculously attracted to her?). The sexual encounter with her boss Niko, the chasing after Molly, Beau the Viking, it all just felt tedious but maybe my problem was with the “should’ve-boned” list/pleasure quest itself, as it didn’t click with me, it felt immature and a bit lame, but everyone seemed to love it? And thought it was a great method of self discovery. Sorry, but no. I wish her pleasure quest was more about genuinely connecting with herself and finding herself rather than just instant gratification.

“Nothing about this feels good.” That’s what Noni said after her Niko date and honestly, I felt that way about the majority of her choices and consequentially about the entire book. 

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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What a pleasure it really was, Noni Blake. 

This book is indulgent in the ways we have all dreamed about and allows us to live vicariously following Noni's adventure of self-discovery in the ways we have all dreamed of, and perhaps even pushes us a little closer to being braver and taking that leap. To travel, to say yes more (and NO more), to chase the what ifs and find the closure we may need.

It is refreshing to see plus size representation be so openly discussed, and whilst having open and honest discourse about the struggles of loving your body and the anxieties that come with being plus sized, I'm so glad there is also an equal amount of Noni loving her body too, I often find it hard to read about plus sized main characters because there is constant discourse about weight loss and their hatred of their bodies and that isn't always the truth. The truth is that our relationships with our bodies, fat, skinny, midsized, tall or short, is always a fluctuating, complicated tug of war between love and hate. 

This met every expectation of mine of being a classic, fluff read about a woman who sets off on a journey to find herself and her own happiness but it also exceeded my expectations. I cared about Noni and the relationships in her life and I related to her even though I am 22 and she is 36. Whilst this is a fun book, with some very saucy scenes, this book is also important and I think it is going to hit home for a lot of readers. I can't wait to see what the author does next as I loved their writing and their voice. This is definitely a book that is going to stick with me.
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I really needed a fun, light read when I picked this up and it was definitely the right choice for the time! It’s Been A Pleasure Noni Blake follows Noni as she reevaluates her life after a breakup. This culminates in her going on a six-month trip to England, Scotland and Amsterdam to find pleasure. 

It was amusing to follow Noni on her escapades and her journey of self-growth. The message and the authentic bi-sexual representation also added to the book. 

Having said this, the story didn’t resonate with me as much as it seems to have with so many others. Perhaps this is because I’m quite a bit younger than Noni or just because we obviously have very different personalities. I did have fun while reading but I’m not sure that this story will necessarily stick with me. 

I also found it slightly preachy in places and felt that Christian inserted some conversations purely to get her point across, rather than because they fit into the story well. I definitely agree with the message so this wasn’t a major issue but it did feel a little on the nose. 

If you’re looking for a light, escapist and very sexy read, It’s Been A Pleasure Noni Blake is for you!
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This book is generously provided by NetGalley. Thank you!

Oh my…wow! 

This book might be my new manifesto for life. It is infrequent that a work of fiction inspires me to really look at the way I live my life. Noni’s journey to find her pleasure absolutely and constantly reminded me to look inward and honestly assess where I am in mine. 

I want to be Noni, the pleasure Noni, the one that radiates joy. I want to be Beau, open and honest, who loves with his whole heart. I want to be Lindell, who is there for his best friend, ALWAYS. I want to be Lil, who uplifts people in their journey to learn to love themselves. I want to be Zep! I want to be that communicative and vulnerable at 16.


I loved this book. The people, the places, the journey, and the sex. I loved the good sex, but I also loved the bad sex. Romance novels are infrequently filled with funny, bad, awkward, unsatisfactory sex, that tends to show up in real life. It added so much to see these good sex for the wrong reason and bad sex for the right ones and finding you pleasure.

There is so much in this book, that I am not even sure how to properly start gushing. I need Edinburgh travel stat, I need a chocolate croissant and a new haircut and a really good… I’ll be right back.

As I was saying, this book is a mantra. Find your pleasure, lean into it, shine with it. You don’t have to earn it, it is already yours for the taking. 

Now go read this book!

CW: Miscarriage.
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