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It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake

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It really was a pleasure reading this magnificent novel. Some of the best sex scenes I have ever read -- but that is not what Noni learns seeking pleasure is all about. She goes on a pleasure quest, to do what makes her feel good and she learns that this is about making choices based on her intuition. I wrote out so many quotes, it was almost like a self-help book but hugely engaging and quirky, and full of the most gorgeous humans.
Thanks to Netgalley and Text for a copy of the ARC.
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It doesnt support or open after I download the pdf version of it. It's also not showing in my shelf in netgalley and I cant open it to read Please look into the issue and if you can send me the pdf in my mail ID- I cant read the book from here. Please look into the issue
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Oh my god, where do I even start with this book?! Okay, first of all, A MILLION STARS FOR THIS WONDERFUL WONDERFUL BOOK. Secondly, I have never felt more seen by a book than this one and I can’t tell if I’m glad that it got to my truths or if I’m horrified about that. But all of that doesn’t matter when this book was so damn beautiful.

“It’s Been A Pleasure, Noni Blake” is a story about love, but not just romantic love. It’s about platonic love with friends, it’s about loving the people that you’ve lost, but most importantly, it’s about loving yourself. The amount of self-love in this book will make anyone happy and to have a group of people who support you through your best and worst times is just the added bonus.

So, Noni Blake is a 36 year old teacher. She’s slowly starting to recover from the end of her very long relationship, while trying to move on in any way she possibly can. One night stands galore fill her time, some of them exciting and some she would rather forget completely. But it all makes her realise something - she needs to do something else, get away and find herself. Leaving her job behind for a six month trip around the world does sound daunting, but for the first time in her life, Noni wants to be selfish and take some time for herself. Plus, she’s made this list and she wants to cross things off her list and reconnect with the one woman that got away. What could possibly go wrong?

I haven’t felt this connected to a character like I did with Noni. She’s the same age as me, she’s also feeling a little stuck in her life, she’s bisexual and she’s plus sized. While Noni has more game than me with both genders, her inner monologues spoke to me on every level. So Noni goes to Europe, taking the time she needs to find herself, where she reconnects with her friend Naz (who is honestly one of my favourite fictional friends of all time) and her husband Tom. But when she goes on a retreat with them, her original ‘fuck it list’ turns into a ‘pleasure quest’. Noni is going to find things in her life that give her pleasure. Not just sexual pleasure, but the kind of pleasure that makes you proud of yourself, makes you giggle with glee and honestly, pleasure that just satisfies every part of you.

Her journey takes her to places and through experiences and also into the arms of a very sexy Viking named Beau. He’s not really a Viking, but he’s got all the makings of it. And quite honestly, he’s so damn sexy that you wish he was real. Their first meeting is over a tattoo and it’s hilarious and entertaining and also incredibly sexy. But things with Beau don’t end there. It starts casual, grows into something more and evolves into a fling and know the rest. But, Noni is still on her pleasure quest. And while Beau plays a big part in that, their time together is numbered. Beau and Noni don’t let that get in the way, they know what it’s temporary, they enjoy each other endlessly and for the first time in her life, Noni lets someone else into her life. Someone who hasn’t known her since she was a kid.

The book is filled with hot sexy times, awkward and hilarious sexual misadventures, a host of incredibly entertaining characters and the best quest to find yourself. Even though Noni finds a lot of her strength in Beau, her journey to really discovering who she is and what she wants is so damn beautiful to witness. Noni is sunshine personified. She enjoys everything, she’s fearless and she’s outgoing, she’s the kind of person that you wish you had by your side to push you to do things even if she’s not going to do them right away. Just everything about Noni was beautiful.

It took me so long to put my words down about how much I loved this book, but if you get the chance to get your hands on this magical story, please don’t hold back. It will change your life.
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It’s clear to me that this book is well written and will be loved by many, unfortunately the writing style just isn’t for me and I’ve not been able to finish for a full review.

Based on the other reviews that have been written I’m in the minority and I’d recommend that if you’re interested in the book you should give it a try. 

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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We all know a disaster person (in my case, it’s me), but Noni Blake is definitely the cream of the crop for disaster people- and is the main character of It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake! A funny, engaging, and light-hearted story, and definitely an interesting read for those who like a bit of a more carefree story.

Speaking of carefree- Noni Blake at the start of the book calls herself beige and basically not carefree. Two years after her separation from Joan, her long-term partner, she finds herself still trying to pick up the pieces. Even more so is that her most recent flirt is no longer around either, so that makes her feel lost. I loved how this builds the character of Noni Blake, as if she was some sort of true blue actual person, and it really sets the scene for the story to come.

Speaking of great characters, Lindel, Noni’s best friend is also excellent- wise in a friendly way, but also very encouraging, something I’d love to see in more characters in more books. Lindel and his partner Graham are such an excellent support system for Noni, and it just warmed my heart to read! Heck, they basically push her to take on ehr pleasure list, after sitting down one night and list their should haves and missed opportunities. 

Following on from this list, Noni finds a way to make a quest for herself, to try find her inner zest (and by doing so, making some bold choices). Some of these bold choices were rather intimate and sexual in nature, and others were more general life choices, which sometimes even ended up with her going ‘nope’ - which I feel is important to touch in literature because sometimes you have to find what you do and don’t want in life. I love how this book touches on the topic of happiness in that way because we all need that little light in our lives.

Speaking of disasters, Noni feels that way in different kinds of ways- her job, her love life, even what she wants in life. Sometimes I feel like a disaster too, which makes me feel a little sympathetic. I also love how she goes and explores Europe and does wild things that I can only imagine doing myself. Heck, I’d love to even be able to leave my own city at the moment- but isolation does that to you. I love how she finds her purpose whilst in Europe, even though that sounds super cliched, but it’s definitely worth it!

Even more so, I found the relationships and writing went down smoother than shaved legs (seriously have you ever felt just shaved legs? Bliss), and made even reading some of the saucier bits of the book easy to read. 

If you’re looking for a romcom type book, but make it bi, this may be the type of book for you! I recommend it to anyone who is in desperate need of a holiday (or a mental escape at least), or a bit of saucy fun mixed with disaster people. I assure you, you won’t regret it a bit!

Rating: 8/10
(Review will be live on my blog on 19th October, and TBA on The Nerd Daily)
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It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake
by Claire Christian
Text Publishing
*I was provided with an ARC in exchange for providing an unbiased review*

Within 2 pages of this book, I was on Noni Blake’s side. I felt immediately that I wanted her to succeed in whatever her adventures were going to be and I wanted them to happen right now. 

Christian’s sophomore novel (but debut in the adult stakes) is warm and open-hearted, just like it’s protagonist. The aforementioned Noni is a teacher, queer, and just recently ending a sex drought of 2 years after breaking up with her ex, Joan, after nine years together. She’s trying to work out her next steps when she comes into some cash after selling the place with the ex and decides to follow up on cases of missed love from her past. 

What plays out is a fictional eat, pray, love sort of travel thing, but without the bullshit. Noni is about getting into the meatier side of things and as a 36-year-old millennial, she’s fed up with nonsense and wants to explore and experience pleasure. I know she went 2 years without getting laid, but she gets it A LOT during this book. And it’s funny. I don’t know what it’s like to bed a man with rubber sheets, but I imagine I don’t need to now after reading this book. 

This book was a wonderful palate cleanser. I’d been reading some heavy non-fiction (and some heavy fiction now that I think about it) and this book really helped me clear the pipes and rediscover how joyful fiction can be. I liked that identity and who Noni was wasn’t up for debate – her love of humans (men and women) was well documented and accepted. I loved that she didn’t really have a process of explaining being bi or queer. She just was. 

This book is a rom-com in the truest sense of the word and it has heart (unlike a lot of rom coms). I really enjoyed Noni’s character growth and self-reflection. I genuinely laughed out loud multiple times (my god, the Kevin McCloud wide on conversation was sublime). And whilst some of the sex bored me, it was supposed to as Noni was also bored. Her mates are a real godsend and I loved them and their support of Noni. They felt genuine and well rounded and not just flat spaces for Noni to talk to herself to develop the next eureka moment. I wanted them to feel good and succeed with their hopes, along with Noni 

I felt the conclusion coming, but I wanted it to wind up the way it did. Noni was a character I was really endeared towards. This will be on my list of fun summer reads for friends!
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How does one being to summarise their feelings for a book like It’s Been A Pleasure, Noni Blake?

It’s been 24 hours since I finished it, and I am still trying to form the words that are good enough to comprehend how I feel, and how this book made me feel.

I love that Noni is unapologetically bisexual. And that she’s a disaster human because I feel like we can all relate to that just a little bit.

One of the best things about this book is reading Noni’s pleasure quest – her ability to just go for things, while still having the fear of doing them, and yet desiring to continue anyway. 

Noni is ballsy, brave, has a wicked sense of humour and is someone that I’d love as a best friend.

This isn’t a very good review, but I thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of this book and I am so glad that I requested for an ARC (and was approved, too!) because this is a book I will be recommending to everyone I possibly can.
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Noni Blake. What can I say. What a brilliantly raw and hilarious read. I felt so invested in Nonis self discovery. She is real and raw and so relatable. Thanks Claire so writing such a well formed character that most people can relate to at some level. Everyone needs a Viking after reading this and everyone needs a friend like Lindell.
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This book was written amazingly, it has taught me such a new way of loving my self and others as well, was not the type of story I was expecting, is definitely not your typical romance or comedy, but is written in such a unique way that doesn't make you meant to stop reading. Lovely read would definitely recommend to adult friends and will continue to follow the author's writes.
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a really quick, light, fun read that allows you to turn off your brain for a while. i enjoyed the pacing, and the characters. it was overall funny and enjoyable. a solid read
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Thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for the chance to read an advance copy of this book.

This book is a charming rom-com that has a mix of some familiar tropes--heroine has lots of horrible dates on her way to finding The One, heroine has a big makeover, heroine is taking a new lease on life--and some updates to what you'd usually see in, say, a Hollywood movie. Our heroine is bi and coming out of a long-term relationship with a woman. She has sexual encounters with many different people throughout the book. We learn about her past traumas (content notes at the bottom of this review). And she is not pining for The One, but rather embarking on a pleasure quest of getting all the joy she can out of the places she goes, food she eats, and people she meets. It's pretty cool.

I did take a while to warm up to this book, even if I related hard to the first line about panicking that you forgot what day it was so you didn't put the garbage out. Noni starts out by randomly looking for people to sleep with, regardless of whether there was any physical spark or emotional connection, and I didn't understand where she was coming from and found this hard to read,. In particular, looking up someone from your past, talking to him and discovering that not only are you not attracted to him at all, but he's a terrible person saying off-handedly racist things, and Noni sleeps with him anyway...that was rough. There is also an encounter that comes off as kind of kink-shamey and could have just been reframed as more of a communication issue and talking about things instead of jumping immediately into something and almost treating each other like objects. (This gets subverted later, as Noni and this person have another encounter that involves a lot more discussion and communication).

However, once Noni leaves Australia and starts her world travels you can really sink into the escapism and her travels are very charming and fun to read along. There's jazz clubs, tattoo parlors, boudoir photography, hot men and women, and all kinds of romantic comedy goodness (the end is like trope bingo and I love it).

I found this to be a fun read with a likeable heroine...once I got past some chapters I didn't really like, as mentioned above. Unfortunately, that was around 25%, so you won't see it from the sample, but if you want to read about a 36-year-old heroine living her best life on a 6-month pleasure tour in the UK, buying herself nice lingerie and having a boudoir shoot and saying "Yes" to everything, give this book a try.

Content notes are backstory rather than plot: infertility and miscarriage
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This was around a 4.25/4.5 star read so I'm rounding up to the higher number. The story was so well-written: Noni Blake has an amazing character voice that really draws you in her (mis)adventures. I laughed so much while reading it! I don't read a lot of romance but this one was very fun, so I'd love to read some more from the genre and the author. The thing I loved the most is the fact that the story avoids the old cliché of the insecure person  (because Noni is very insecure) gaining confidence because she is in a relationship. I also loved the emphasis on Noni's friendships, which see just as important to the narrative as her romantic and sexual experiences
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Premise sounded great, exactly like the fun, easy-read, romantic comedy that I was hoping for. However I found myself losing interest in the story and I couldn't connect with the main character much either. Unfortunately, it was not like I had hoped (left me wanting more romance) and was just an 'okay' kind of read for me,
Thanks for allowing me a copy of this ARC to review!
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This book looked like a fun romcom with a bisexual lead and it didn’t let me down! I’m an absolute sucker for books that feature Australian characters and books that feature fat leads so I knew going in that this was the book for me. The characters were really enjoyable and the pace was just right, there was no point where I felt it was too fast or too slow. It’s not a favourite but it was an enjoyable read!
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Witty, fast-paced, and laugh-out loud funny. I loved following along Noni's journey with learning how to completely love and accept herself. It's steamy, funny, memorable, and I think anyone reading this will find themselves enamored with the characters. I'd love to read more by Claire Christian!
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After eighteen months of heartache Noni needs to jump back into her life. Deciding to take a six month sabbatical for work to travel around Europe on a “pleasure quest” seems like the perfect idea. 

This is a steamy, feel good, hilarious, heartbreaking novel. It certainly was a pleasure to read... now where do I find Beau?’
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Sometimes you just want to read a great easy book that makes you smile! This, my friends, is that book! 
It is sexy as hell, and had me chuckling to myself in so many parts, and I loved every character along for the ride - even Callum! 
Just a super fun read with a lovely theme of just grabbing life with both hands and doing what makes you happy! 
I absolutely loved it! 
It sure has been a pleasure, Noni Blake!
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Thank you to NetGalley and MIRA for the ARC of this book.

This was a fun, relatable, empowering read. The characters are lovely (well, most of them), there's a fun trip across the UK, and it's great to follow Noni's self-love journey. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I know this is a personal preference, but there's just way too much sex happening for me. By like the fourth hookup, I started to skim those scenes because they added nothing to my reading experience. I would have liked it more if we had gotten to see more of Noni's activities in England/Scotland rather than hearing about all the sex in detail. I also didn't really vibe with the humor; I found it more campy/cringe than funny. Idk, I felt like this is a book I normally would have loved, but it just fell a bit flat for me.

Regardless of my personal experience, I know a lot of people love this book, and I think Claire Christian has done a great job creating a book that resonates with so may people!
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This book was such a pleasure to read! The cover is one of my favourites of 2020 so far and the story is just perfect. Steamy, hilarious and there is a hot, tattooed Viking who you can mentally drool over. 🤤 

At the end of a 9 year relationship and a series of  awkward and hilarious one night stands, Noni wonders what’s next. She decided to travel to Europe to reunite with Molly - the one that got away. Noni’s quest for love begins to morph into something else though, a quest for self love, self care and joy. A ‘pleasure quest’ cantered around herself and what she wants. I did get frustrated by the two lead characters in the last 20%, but it all worked out in the end. 💕
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*I was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.*

Noni Blake is a 36 year old bisexual Australian woman who has recently ended a nine year relationship that had a long slow leak; like waking up disoriented on an sunken air mattress at your parent's the day after Thanksgiving and you've practically become one with the hardwood floor. Sensing the need for a big change, she writes up her "should've banged" list and embarks on pleasure-seeking tour of Europe, as one does.

This book was so well written and laugh-out-loud funny. The narrative immediately reminded me of Eat Pray Love but less self-important, or Bridget Jones's Diary but less vapid. The writing style was so Australian that I frequently found myself reading in my head in an Australian accent. I will let you decide for yourself if that is a feature or a bug. 

But let me cut right to my main point. I cannot overstate the importance of a fat romance heroine in the year of our lord 2020. Noni has brokered a relatably treacherous balance between confidence and self-doubt when it comes to her body, but what was truly mind-boggling to me was the bold way she sought out sexual partners and the number of times she was referred to as "so fucking hot" (or some variation) by said partners. And not just other fat partners, mind you. People of all body types. Truly wild.

Conventionally attractive bird-boned heroines are literally a dime a dozen in romance. Fat women do not casually get called "so fucking hot" on page. Like ever. More than once I flipped back to Noni's physical description thinking to myself "hm, is she maybe thin but thinks she's fat?," but no, not the case. And that's so important. Fat women do get to have great sex with people that think they're a fucking goddess, and it's long past time for that idea to become mainstream.

Beau, for god's sake, BEAU!! What a cinnamon roll! He's kind and funny and sweet and calls Noni on her bullshit in the most straightforward but gentle way. Noni is quirky as hell and Beau is 👏 here 👏 for 👏 it, which as a fellow quirky girl I adored. I also loved that he didn't pressure her at height of the conflict, but also set the boundary that he needed for his own emotional health. Writing an emotionally intelligent character is an art and I think my girl Claire Christian nailed it. Finally, I'm normally a hard "no thank you" on main characters with kids but the relationship between Beau and Zeppelin was very sweet. 

Speaking of Zeppelin, the side characters were well written and there were many. Although some were more fully realized than others, they all served their purpose in moving the narrative along. I especially enjoyed that we got to see some brief glimpses of Lindell's interior life. Lil was also a highlight for me. Noni had all the right building blocks for her journey of pleasure and self-discovery and Lil really helped her mortar a few key pieces together. 

The one thing I'll say that seemed truly egregious was Noni's brief tryst with Ben (essentially a throwaway character from the first 10%), a known white supremacist. She appropriately condemns his views but not until after she's slept with him. Always and forever, but especially in light of current events, it just seemed tone deaf. Having him be your garden variety dead end townie would've done just fine. Friends don't let friends sleep with white supremacists. 

The conflict with Beau at the end had a fairly transparent resolution, so it sort of felt like a non-conflict to me. However there was enough low-level angst throughout that the soft-ball conclusion felt right. The truly satisfying resolution came from Noni's realization that she deserves to be happy. 

To conclude, I came in with no pre-concieved notions about this book and I walked away quite charmed. It hit so many of the right notes for me - body positivity, emotionally intelligent main characters, a varied cast of supporting characters, a flawed and relatable heroine, and more. It feels weird to say I gained a new perspective on my own sense of confidence from a romance novel, but I really did, so thanks for that Ms. Christian. I give this book 4/5 stars.
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