Monday, 10 February 2014

Book review: How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake


My edition: ebook, published 29th January 2014 by Novelicious, 220 pages.

Description: 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...

Rating:



I've had the pleasure to review a few novels that have been published by Novelicious and they all have one thing in common: They're very, very funny. So you can imagine how pleased I was when I was asked if I wanted to read an early copy of the latest release from the women's fiction site's digital imprint, How to Get a (Love) Life (spoiler alert: super pleased). In the lead up to the publication I got to stalk, I mean follow, author Rosie Blake on Twitter and she came across as a very funny lady herself, giving me high hopes that her novel would be a witty and hilarious new addition to the Novelicous family.

The story centres on Nicola Brown, a mostly happy singleton who gets roped into a dare by her colleague Caroline which means she has to find a date for Valentine's Day. It sounds pretty straightforward and harmless, but in this novel it is anything but. With the help of her brother Mark it doesn't take long to line up a few prospective dates, but the men she meets on them are all "unique" specimen and what follows are some dates that can only be described as Nicola's absolute worst nightmare.

Rosie Blake's debut novel wasn't consistently laugh-out-loud funny like I expected it to be but there were certainly plenty of hilarious moments to be had. And the fact that it wasn't all ridiculous, just for laughs, made the story more grounded and realistic. Nicola was a great main protagonist and as she went on one horrible date after another I really started to feel sorry for her and kept hoping that she would find at least one reasonably normal man amongst the crop of misfits.

What really made this novel stand out to me was the great cast of supporting characters. Her boss James and colleague Caroline were wonderful people in Nicola's life, but I particular fell in love with her brother Mark. His unusual obsession with bats could almost place him into the category of peculiar men so prominent within the novel, but his social awkwardness came across as charming and sweet rather than creepy and strange. A few years Nicola's senior, he too tentatively ventures into the scary world of dating. His story is one that will give a gentle boost of confidence to all those late bloomers out there as it shows that dreaming of the perfect girl doesn't necessarily mean you're just dreaming.

This is a great book about dating and shows what is truly important when you're looking for the perfect match. My one gripe though, is that the story felt too short. Just when I was getting invested in Nicola's search for the perfect Valentine's date, and was hoping for a few more hilariously awkward encounters with wholly unsuitable men, the novel had already ended. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with the way it finished as it was exactly what I was hoping for all along, but I do think it could've used a few more outrageous dates just to spruce it up a little bit.

How to Get a (Love) Life provides a funny insight into the difficult and often awkward dating scene while simultaneously showing that perhaps the right person is closer than you think - you simply have to be open to letting them into your life. Contrary to the book's title it will probably not help you get a love life, but take a page from Nicola's dating book and it will definitely give you some handy tips on what not to do!

You can purchase a copy of the novel from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Twitter: @RosieBBooks


Many thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.


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