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

It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake

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Noni Blake lives her life in shades of beige, she's dependable, steadfast and on the verge of embarking on a pleasure quest throughout Europe. Noni is a formidable woman, we first meet Noni as she's healing from the breakup of her nine year long relationship with Joan, sharing a mortgage and child of the four legged variety. The split was amicable but while Joan has seemingly moved on, Noni uses the opportunity to step out of her beige comfort zone and take life by the balls.

Leaving her fabulously gay best friend behind in Australia, Noni departs for London, a to do list in hand, quite literally. Molly is the one that almost was but neither she or Noni could get their shit together and hook up. So rather than always wonder, Noni plans on making the next six months count.

Sexy times, horrendous sexual encounters, new lingerie, posing nude, drinking, indulging and one incredibly sexy viking later and Noni finds herself the embodiment of female empowerment. The new sexy and confident Noni lives her life to the fullest and I absolutely adored her. She's plump, a bit of a bogan and responsible for her own orgasms. She's bright, outgoing and is learning to embrace her imperfections and find comfort in her own body. I loved Noni's authenticity. She's insecure and vulnerable and completely relatable. She owns her sexuality and after years of teaching and putting others happiness before her own, she's finally finally putting her own needs first.

Noni is bisexual and after her nine year relationship ended, a one night stand prompts her to pack up her life and travel. It's inspirational, not to mention incredibly brave. In much the same way that Marie Kondo asks, does it spark joy, Noni is seeking pleasure through travel, friendships, lovers and finding moments of happiness. Temporary pleasure comes at the hands and mouths of people she meets along her journey, from a female firefighter, high school principal, magician, the one who could have been and the Viking, the gentle and kind tattoo artist Beau. Her sexual misadventures are hilarious, even kinky in some instances but Noni takes each experience in her stride and along with her close circle of friends from home and abroad, is discovering she prefers unbridled, adventurous Noni.

The Viking was delightfully unexpected. On a whim, Noni decides to get herself inked while in London, walking in off the street into small tattoo studio where she meets artist Beau, bearded, burly and gentle and as he marks her skin, she's fantasising about getting on on the table and girl, merry orgasm to you my friend. Beau isn't just a conquest, he could very well be the love of Noni's life but beyond her pleasure quest, her new life of saying yes, of friends and parties and painting the town not quite red because she's still a responsible adult, Noni has her friends, family and career in Australia and Beau seems content to enjoy their fling while it lasts.

Oh how I loved It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake! It's fun, flirty and outrageously funny but beneath the surface lies a book about falling in love with yourself. There's a little bit of Noni in all of us.
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Thank you for giving my the opportunity to read this book. I am really enjoying this book and so far I would recommend it to others! I will update my review once I am finished the book.
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It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake follows Noni as she goes through a "too-early-to=be-midlife crisis" after the ending of a long term relationship + a few other things that make Noni realize she's gotten stuck in her life. She embarks on a journey to find her true self, a journey dubbed "the pleasure quest". This book is a romance but it's also about Noni fighting her inner critic, dealing with past trauma and learning more about herself. 

While this book wasn't necessarily anything ground breaking for me, there were some things I enjoyed. I loved the casual way Noni's sexuality is treated. It's not a big thing, it's not announced at any point, it just is what it is. I loved a lot of the side characters (Naz, Lil, Lindell, Zeppelin) and thought they were well written and interesting. I adored Beau. I appreciated and related to Noni's anxiety and the way she fought back against the critical voice in her head. Overall, it kept my interest and it had a lot of good bits. That being said, there was one part that I really did not like and that's the reason my rating is 2 stars and not higher.

Early in the book, Noni sleeps with an absolutely terrible person who Noni herself describes as being awful. At one point she finds herself wondering if "he was always this racist". Despite this, Noni still sleeps with him which really did not sit right with me. I also found out through reading another review that the character she sleeps with is a white supremacist, something I hadn't realized because it was insinuated through a comment Noni makes about the character having a Southern Cross tattoo. I didn't know what the Southern Cross was or about the connotations it has so that completely flew past me but even before I knew that, I really didn't like that this was something the author chose to write. I just don't think it was necessary. If the point was to show Noni making a bad decision and sleeping with a terrible person, that could've been done without making that person be a white supremacist. 

Trigger Warnings for casual fatphobia, anxiety, minor character death (off page), discussions of miscarriage
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You know when a friend, a book friend tells you to read a book, you think ohh this is going to be good. 
Wrong.... this is all the way to the moon and back, orbiting somewhere in the galaxy, fantastically good.

Noni is having a melt down, she’s ended her relationship after 9 years with Joan, the one night stand she just rather enjoyed, the fit firefighter tragically dies, and after a deep and meaningful conversation with her two male gay friends she decides to hop it to Europe and in her words go on a ‘pleasure quest’ - what’s that? 
It’s doing small things, everyday things, that you really want to do but tell yourself you can’t because... because well because you just can’t bloody do them you’ve got to be sensible and pay bills, go to work, you get the drift and besides what will people think? 

You know we all think it, and feel it and if your truly honest, we all have a million conversations in our head each day about what you want to do, wear, think, feel, and how you SHOULD behave... 
well, Noni has those conversations. Reading this you are nodding and smiling in agreement as she sets off on a mission, and gets brave and begins her quest of finding out what will make her happy.

Meeting Beau along the way who is an extremely savvy, sexy Viking no messing god of a man helps and if you think this is just another Rom - com and your eyes are now glazing over your wrong. This book is a romance but is also about being true, doing what you totally want, - to eat,✅ drink,✅dye, ✅kiss, ✅fuck✅ (yes there’s a lot of that kinda talk and action in this one) and hell yes getting a tattoo ✅if you think you really should. 

This is about Noni taking control of her life, sex with who she wants (that will have some squirming) (and some smiling).

A book that tackles, self love, self care, finally being just you. 
Strong language, sex scenes and normal life! 
Thank you Claire Christian for making me smile for 300 plus pages and Net galley for this cracker of an advanced copy and Text Publishing you’ve got a hit on your hands here. 

5 pleasure quest stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publishes 29 September in the UK and February for the USA
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This is a fun, feel good romantic comedy that I enjoyed reading. It's one of those books that's perfect for when I want a lighthearted read, and I devoured it. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this E-book to review via Netgalley.
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When fuck is in the opening lines you know it’s going to be a good book.

You know the feeling when you’re trying to pick and book and nothings scratching that itch. This book was my book, it made me feel all the feels. And made me stay up to midnight because it consumed me.

Noni is in a rut. Her life ended when her partner of 9 years Joan (the house, the dog and the failed ivf) left. Noni struggled to find herself and couldn’t build her confidence back up form a negative value.

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else right? A sexy firefighter sparks her interest they hit it off and she has a one night stand. Tragically she dies and Noni has a midlife crisis moment and decides she needs a fuck it list of all the people she wish she’d fucked and a plan to begin her pleasurequest.

Noni backs her bags and heads to Europe in search of fulfilment, pleasure and exploration. Then she meets Beau, the hot, tattooed, Vikings that changes the course. Happiness is always the right choice.

Thank you for the early access to this book, you’re crazy if you don’t get your hands on it.
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DNF'd at 12%. I picked this up because the premise sounded fun and I'm always down for disaster bisexuals. In the first couple of chapters, I found myself liking a lot of things including the author's voice, the queerness, and the main character's best friend. But then the story started taking a bizarre direction and I was done. I flat out don't want to read a book where the main character has reluctant sex with a white supremacist. There are a myriad number of ways to show a character hitting rock bottom that aren't THAT.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book. The review I'm leaving is being done voluntarily and contains my own thoughts, views, and personal opinions.

I've been on a bit of a rom-com kick lately, and this book fit the bill. I enjoyed the humor, and I liked the MC Noni, but I struggled to connect with her. The narrative didn't dive deep enough to forge an immersive connection, and Noni's story—while enjoyable as a surface tale—just didn't grab me as I so hoped it would.

It might also have to do with a difference in values. I could see where the author was going with trying to "empower" Noni with her journey of sexual exploration, but I find it difficult to go into a romance novel and immediately face the lead doing the dirty with someone other than the person I'm supposed to want to see them with for the rest of eternity. While it definitely wasn't cheating, it just veers far, far aware from where I want my romance to be. Which is between two characters working toward finding each other and themselves... not via random hook-ups with outside characters.

It was okay, but I probably won't recommend this and won't jump out of my skin to read another of this author's tales.
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Ich bin hin- und hergerissen, ob ich dieses Buch gut finde oder nicht. Es gibt viele Punkte, die mir wirklich gefallen haben. Aber ich bin einfach nicht mit Noni warm geworden. Über die fast 300 Seiten wurde sie mir nicht sympathisch. Zwar habe ich durchaus mit ihr gelitten, aber nur so, wie ich generell mit anderen Menschen mitfühlen würde.
Super fand ich, dass im Buch sehr offen über Sex geredet wird. Dazu zählt nicht nur, dass Noni überhaupt Sex hat. Beschrieben wird auch, dass Sex nicht immer gut ist. In den meisten Liebesromanen ist der Sex der Protagonisten phänomenal. Das ist hier nicht der Fall. Noni hat schlechten Sex, Sex mit Männern und Frauen, masturbiert, probiert Neues aus.
Im Zusammenhang damit fand ich auch gut, dass mit den unterschiedlichen sexuellen Vorlieben unterschiedlicher Menschen offen umgegangen wird und Noni auch gewillt ist, darauf einzugehen.
So gut ich es fand, wie offen über Sex geredet wird, so wenig hat mir gefallen, dass fast ausschließlich darüber geredet wird. Sex scheint in It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake die Antwort auf alles zu sein. Ich bin kein prüder Mensch und es gibt sicher Menschen, deren Leben und Gedanken Nonis ähneln. Ich war aber stellenweise ein bisschen genervt davon, dass Sex wirklich den allergrößten Teil von Nonis Suche nach einem glücklichen Leben ausmacht.
Alles in allem hat mir trotzdem gut gefallen, dass und wie Noni sich auf die Suche nach Glück macht und versucht, herauszufinden, was sie im Leben will. It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake bringt eine „Moral aus der Geschicht“ mit sich, die mir wirklich zugesagt hat. Menschen neigen oft dazu, sich selbst zurückzustellen. Das Buch vermittelt nicht, dass wir alle egoistisch werden sollten. Sondern dass wir glücklicher, ausgeglichener wären, wenn wir uns hin und wieder mit unseren eigenen Wünschen auseinandersetzen würden. Und das wiederum hilft uns im Umgang mit Anderen.
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This book is exactly what I hoped it would be. Noni is a character that carries a good message to her audience on body image and confidence. She shows that it doesn't a super major change in one's life to realize that it is time for a positive change. Her whole life changes, Noni becomes the woman she knew that she could be with a booked trip to Europe. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you deserve to be happy. Not only was Noni a very likable character with a good message, the "Viking" is a fun love interest I've never seen before. 

While this book was not my all time favorite novel, I can tell that there is going to a great audience liking this book with all of it's messages and life lessons.
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Such a fantastic discovery of a book. 

I knew I’d like this book within the first couple of pages; Christian’s writing is sharp and funny, full of little observations that reveal so much.  Her characters are warmly and fully drawn. Even characters that we don’t spend much time with come alive through just a little dialogue or description. I actually laughed out loud at early hijinx, and that’s a rarity when I’m reading. 

This book was billed as a romantic comedy, and it is hilarious and has a happy ending. But it also wrecked me. I ugly sobbed multiple times, not because of plot machinations but because the distance between me and the moment in the book collapsed. Noni is a fat thirty-six year old woman who realizes that she hasn’t been very happy. Life hasn’t been miserable, but a jolt happens and she feels the need to shake up her life. She travels, she sleeps with different men and women (I noticed that one of the other reviews said that they didn’t like the “one night stand lifestyle”, which Is both judgmental and dumb. Reading about a character having one night stands which are completely in character and in plot is not the same as doing it yourself), she spends time with herself. What I especially like about the book is that while there’s a romance with a really terrific love interest (the descriptions of his long hair alone are delightful), the focus is Noni. This is her journey; she’s the one who’s pushing outside her comfort zone. As cliche as it is, the biggest love story is the one Noni has with herself. 

This is one of those books that, after I finished, stuck with me. I can’t wait to revisit it in a few months to see how it reads a second time. To get technical, my rating would probably be 4.5****, since this is a book that I really wanted an epilogue for, just to make sure everyone is doing well a year down the road. It’s not a perfect book, but reading it was a pleasure, which Noni would approve of. 

*I was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.*
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The description promises a light rom-com, and it does deliver. 
I can't say this book personally resonated with me. It had its good moments, and I liked Noni, but I also never felt immersed in her narration. The idea of her pleasure quest is hardly surprising, but I suppose I'm not in a position where I could relate to her. Especially considering that I am not a fan of one-night stand culture. (Why does Noni keep making the mistake of jumping at every sexual opportunity for the sake of it?) By the end, I could not have been less surprised at her final decision, but it didn't feel sensible. Which is obviously the point, but... what's wrong with waiting to make sure that the relationship is truly worth it? 
I did like some of the values that Noni's quest promotes, and she does undergo noticeable self-improvement through her journey. I only wish that so much of it wasn't centred around finding love and good sex. 
Overall, I don't entirely regret the read, but it wasn't my thing.
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