Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blog Tour: The Art of Letting Go + #Giveaway

Today I am pleased to be a stop on the blog tour for The Art of Letting Go by Anna Bloom, a NA contemporary; I heard about this via CBB Book promotions.

The Art of Letting Go by Anna Bloom
3.5/5 stars
Soul Mate Publishing, 2013
393 pages
NA Romance Contemporary

Source: Received an e-ARC from author via blog tour.
One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could what would you do to stop it?

When Lilah McCannon realises at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.

Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enrol at university, get a degree and prove she is a grown-up.

As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realises her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.

With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be.

With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go? 
I haven't really read much NA, generally not being much interested in their plot lines but something about the British setting at uni really spoke to me. And it sounded really cute and funny so I was excited to be a part of this tour. Having now read this book, I have to separate my feelings into two categories: the one that really loved the book and the other that conflicts with me as a person and reader. We'll start with the latter to explain why *I* don't unreservedly love the book.

Did you notice how this book is set in England? Are you very familiar with some of the cultural differences between Brits and Americans? For example, attitudes toward alcohol? Personally I'm a teetotaler because I loathe the taste of alcohol, not because I have strong feelings about temperance. But man do these characters drink a lot! I feel like there was more drinking than studying in this book. My understanding in general is that Brits (and Europeans) have a more relaxed, less uptight attitude toward alcohol, which would explain why it's treated so casually when I was cringing. Also the two main characters smoke, something I find absolutely disgusting (I consider myself very lucky to live in a state that no longer allows cigarette smoking in restaurants as the smell makes me gag). My friend was in London this summer and said her husband, who is also very sensitive to secondhand smoke, hated being around so many smokers. So that's another cultural difference there that affected my reading of the book.

The other part I didn't like so much is just my preference for comedy of which there is a lot but there is also a lot of back and forth on Lilah's part. I just wanted her to pull it together and get with hot musician Ben. Instead she angsts so much and I just wanted to jump in the book and boss her around (gosh I'm bossy!) When they were together, the book just sizzled. So I'm not really a reader who's good at the tension between the main couple-I just want them together. But I know a lot of readers love that and you'll get some good moments here.

Something that left me pleasantly surprised was the romance, in fact. I anticipated some seriously steamy scenes as that is my understanding of what NA promises but it's actually pretty tame. There's off the charts chemistry but it's not as graphic as I expected, which I think is all to the good. The couple spend rather a lot of time talking and getting to know each other as they are in each other's lives through the whole year of uni.

As for the characters...Lilah was very brave. She starts the book at a lucrative but unfulfilling job, giving it up to return to uni much to her father's dismay. By making that decision, she shakes up her whole family, forging new relationships with her parents and twin Tristan, making new friendships, pursuing a course in history, and of course meeting musician Ben who believes so strongly in the pair. I also love that he can cook and his sensitivity to his family but his most attractive quality is really his belief in their relationship-he thinks they can go the distance. Lilah's most relatable quality, to me, was her fondness for Taylor Swift songs-I'll confess sometimes Taylor is the soundtrack to my life though I don't have near the love life of either woman.

The plot has a lot going on as we cover an up and down year in the life of Lilah told through journal entries. I found it compulsively readable and sped through it in the course of just one day. I feel like it's a bit like Bridget Jones' Diary though I never read all of that book-something about the British humor and romantic adventures.

Overall: A very British story about love, finding yourself, and learning to let go-super fun and readable; especially recommended for New Adult fans and those who don't necessarily want a steamy story.

And now as part of the tour, there's a giveaway opportunity-I hope you'll enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer who writes about life as it happens. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two small children whilst working in a local school and completing The Uni Files series she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys – all in the name of her art.



44 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It was a lot of fun-I think it will be very appealing.

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  2. The British setting does sound great, but like you, I think the drinking and smoking wouldn't be so appealing to me. The romantic tension sounds promising, though :)

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    1. I know it's "just" a book but I do tend to connect with people and settings like me and this one was just a bit too different.

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    1. It looks pretty generous to me and I'm glad there were three winners.

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  4. British attitudes towards drinking are more relaxed, but they tend to have less trouble with drunken disorderly behavior. (The American influence is making it worse.)

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    1. I've read that and I understand how pubs can be a large part of their culture. It's just so different from my own experience and I know I identify easier when it's familiar.

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  5. I knew you were stepping out of your norm for this one so I've been very curious about what you think! First of all- I was worried the sex would be too much for you, so it's nice to know that you didn't find it too graphic. Compared to other NA books, it isn't. Lilah's back and forth IS frustrating, so it depends on how your taste runs. People like drama and Lilah is good at creating some. Though for an NA book it was actually light on that too,lol.
    I like how you point out how different the Brits, and even the Europeans are. They just see things differently and have different lifestyles. Some things just are more relaxed. I guess in a book this stuff wasn't an issue for me, but in real life the smoking would be. I'm very allergic and like you, I live in a state where it's not allowed indoors, or within 20 feet of any doors. I still get annoyed walking through parking lots where I can't avoid it. I may have issues if I were to travel though.

    Anyway, I'm glad that for the most part you enjoyed this one! Thanks for stepping out of your norm and doing a tour AND reviewing an NA book!

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    1. Oh yeah, the sex was NBD for me in this book. Lilah's drama was very entertaining-I just don't always have much patience!

      Thank you for letting me participate-it was a good dip into the vast waters of NA and I'm curious to see how future installments will shake out.

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  6. great competition!

    Ashleigh Allan

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  7. I spent several summers abroad as a teenager, and yep--attitudes about alcohol are much more relaxed in the UK! Drinking age is also 16, and where I was a lot of people walk rather than drive, so it all just worked out well. But generally speaking, I don't think this means they're less responsible about drinking, in fact I think I hear of more American teenagers getting wasted and drunk driving or doing other dumb things.

    But anyway, it is interesting to me that so many NAs actually aren't as steamy as you'd think (or as they would think, hah). I'm glad to hear you liked this overall! Thanks for the review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. I definitely think Americans seem to be more irresponsible about drinking-but as someone who abstains, it all sounds like a lot to me. I like that there were no depictions of drunk driving though there were some bad decisions made under the influence of alcohol.

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  8. I am glad that this NA was a good one for you. I think I might have a hard time with the drinking too, I'm not a big drinker, sooo. I might have to give this a try though. :)

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    1. The drinking certainly fits the culture-it's just a bit of a shock to me as a teetotaling American.

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  9. Replies
    1. Glad you like it though I realize I can claim no credit :)

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  10. What a great review! I would have those same issues with the drinking and smoking. It's just not my thing. I have the same reaction to novels that are set in America too. I liked how you weren't afraid to say what you didn't like, but also ended on a good note.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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    1. Well I was overall pretty pleased with the book-it's on the longer side but I moved through it so quick. I just couldn't not mention those glaring instances to me because they did stand out due to my particular preferences and lifestyle.

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  11. Replies
    1. Hope you had fun visiting the tour stops.

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  12. Replies
    1. Love this comment-"brill" is a great shortening of "brilliant."

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  13. Its sounds like a fantastic book , love personal journey reads

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    1. It was loads of fun-well-worth picking up if you like dramatic NA contemporary books!

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  14. Replies
    1. Even without winning, it's still a good one to seek out and buy!

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  15. Haha, this book sounds like my life. Already I'm realising it all a year later at the age of 26. Like the fact it's got a kinda Bridget Jones feel to it. Definitey gonna give this a read. Thanks for a good and honest review! xx

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    1. Happy to have provided some guidance on this-I wonder how much it does resemble your life once you have a chance to finish the book.

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  16. Replies
    1. You're welcome-thank you for stopping by :)

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