Tuesday, 4 February 2014

REVIEW: Rosie Blake - How To Get A (Love) Life


"Some people book last-minute holidays, walk barefoot in the grass or party on a week night. Not Nicola Brown. Nicola is the kind of girl who double-locks the front door, leaves the plastic covering on new furniture, sticks to a super-strict diet and definitely, absolutely Does Not Date.
Her colleague Caroline – loopy, warm and exasperated by her, knows that Nicola's reluctance to lose control means she's living only half a life. And so she lays down the gauntlet: Nicola must cast aside her hang ups and go on as many dates as it takes to find true love in time for Valentine's Day.
The pick of local men is, quite frankly, a bit rubbish. And there are only three months until February 14th. Surely it's an impossible task? But, as Nicola is about to find out on her dodgy dates, letting go isn't quite as scary as she imagined. In fact, it's rather a lot of fun..."
There is very little I love better than a book that makes me laugh aloud, question certain aspects of my life, makes me cry, gasp, and make me become so involved with the characters and the story that I miss my stop on the tube. This book does them all except one but, let's face it, crying isn't exactly my (nor anyone else's) favourite thing to do.

I knew when I read snippets of this book on Twitter thanks to @RosieBBooks that I HAD to get my hands on it, especially considering all the reviews I saw of people raving about how good it was. So I'm proud to say this was one of my first Kindle purchases and I hope they're all as spectacular as this in the future.

It follows the story of Nicola Brown, a twenty-something who is stuck in a bit of a rut, not that she's fully aware of it. Now, I'm a fan of routine so I could relate to Nicola's clockwork life but it was also this story that made me realise things need to change, something Nicola slowly realises too. For years, Nicola has been alone, eating certain meals at certain times, doing the same thing day in, day out. Until, that is, her co-worker and friend, Caroline, dares her to get a date by Valentine's Day. This is where the fun starts.

We follow Nicola as she steps so far out of her comfort zone and embarks on her dating mission. We're with her as she meets some genuinely awful men and goes on some shocking dates. In fact, the most shocking date in the book (you'll know the one I mean when you read it) actually sounds like fun to me... Does that mean I'm crazy!?

There's something special about watching someone grow as a person but even more so when you know the things they've gone through and Nicola's past is enough to put anyone off dating! She starts the book as a quiet, slightly weird (it's all the strict routines!), and wary young lady who seems scared of life and ends it as a spontaneous woman who takes risks and grabs life by the danglies. It's a slightly inspiring for anyone who, like Nicola, has been hurt and messed around in the past - it proves there's hope out there, something she realises herself throughout the book.

The title may sound like a self-help book but it isn't, something I hastened to point out to friends whenever they asked what I was reading, ha. That being said, it is the kind of book that will leave you feeling somewhat enlightened, whether that's about daring or life in general. I always find these books the most special - they leave an impact on your life and that can stay with you for a long time.

I love the close knit group that Nicola surrounds herself with; her work friends and brother. It's this friendship group that helps to accentuate how lonely she must have been before the dare and how sheltered her life was. Thankfully, instead of pitying her, you end up spurring her on and feeling like you wanna shake sense into her when she behaves a certain way with a certain someone.

I couldn't stop reading this book and that wasn't just because I was so excited to read it; it's just written so gosh darn well! I laughed, I cringed, I gasped, I wondered how things were going to play out but the one thing I didn't, and couldn't, do was put the book down.

This book would be great for those who like lighthearted 'chick-lit'. It's more than just a great love story, it's like a mini-life lesson we all have to go through.

*bought by myself*