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February 3, 2014

Like It: The Art of Letting Go by Anna Bloom

Series: Uni Files 1
Format: Mobi
Release Date: September 25, 2013
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Source: FREE from Amazon 12/4
Recommended By: Candace of Candace's Book Blog
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
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?

What jolly fun THE ART OF LETTING GO by Anna Bloom was! The story's voice, Delilah McCannon, is slightly snarky, humorous, self deprecating, sometimes hesitant, confused, brave and very much in love with roommate, Benjamin Chamers. It's quite interesting how this unexpected love story started, Lilah was engaged to be married to a bloke named John and to avoid the wedding plans and engagement altogether, she decided to go to Uni (university to some of us) instead. So technically Lilah cheated on John with Benjamin. 

Here's the thing before y'all start a picket line. The situation with Lilah and John is doomed and Lilah is a coward for running away instead of ending all that before getting involved with Benjamin. Lilah strung John along instead of telling him that she only said YES because she didn't have the heart to tell him no. So it's not one of those moral thingies meaning she wasn't dating both guys at the same time. There was nothing there really aside from semantics (but still wrong). When Lilah finally broke up with John, the dude did an ugly wimpy cry. Blech, Lilah dodged a bullet there. 

And not to condone what Lilah did but in fairness, Benjamin Chambers is one dreamy dude. Did I mention that he's the lead singer for this band who's in the brink of making it big? Yeah, and before you typecast him, Benjamin isn't a man whore... well not anymore since he met Lilah. Between the two there's a hurricane of emotions, mostly induced by Lilah's insecurities while Ben mostly kept it together for both of them. But you know how we women are! No matter how hard we fight it, when it comes to the boy we love, the battle of keeping doubts at bay and whatever else that red little devil is whispering in our ear gets harder and harder. The main conflict of THE ART OF LETTING GO really lies on Lilah's, it's not really about her relationship with Ben but with her unsettled self. So it was fun watching these two get it together and try and make things work. I had a few moments where I was face palming myself because of the hilarity of some of the situations and over the passive aggressive dance Lilah and Ben are doing.

THE ART OF LETTING GO is told in the style of journal entries and there are times where it felt it's longer than 400 pages. Because of the format, it's more narrative and less dialogue for my taste and there are parts where I'd skim because I want to get to the meat of the story and skip the sides. On the same thread, there are a lot of stuff that I enjoyed in Uni Files 1. Aside from the lighthearted feel of the novel, I loved that the sex was implied and not explicit. I don't know why but when someone tags their book NA I immediately assume that there will be a lot of mind blowing sex, not that I mind, but I'm a little over it. Sex is fun but flucking someone's brains out won't and can't solve things, it just makes situations less confrontational because of the happy hormones.

But I digress.

So yeah, the sex is happening. A lot. But the focus is on the relationship between Lilah and Ben and also with Lilah and herself. And it's not a music themed story without a soundtrack! Unfortunately Taylor Swift dominated the playlist and I'm not really a fan. Still I love how ABloom kept up with the theme and the part that really resonated with me is Lilah's self discovery. I loved how she stumbled, fell, but still managed to get up and maintained some piece of optimism. She had weak moments but she didn't let it defeat her which I attribute largely to her wit and incomparable sense of humor. 

Now the ending put me on edge a bit because ABloom ended it with a big question so I want to know what's going to happe. Reading the blurb for The Art of Keeping Faith (our April 2014), it's clear that Lilah still has personal struggles she needs to deal with and her journey to self awareness is still ongoing. I know how it went with THE ART OF LETTING GO but I'm rooting for my girl, she may be fumbling a bit now but I know she'll do me proud.
I do not need to hide them [tears] from myself. I deserve them for being so completely blind. For never having faith in myself like I should have had. If someone can love you that much, then you should be able to love yourself as well, because you deserve it.If someone can see the best in you, then you should believe it is there tooIf someone can accept your crazy behaviour, obsessive impulses, and can lovingly squeeze your squidgy bits and want you all the more for them, then you have to accept them too. How can you not?


Purchase The Art of Letting Go



Here's a special diary entry from Lilah McCannon

16th August
The Envelope of Truth

"Ha ha, I have won!  Stick that sucker!"  

I am jumping around in the small square of space behind the till at work. I have just for the first time ever beaten Big Baz, my big friendly giant of a boss at poker. When he started teaching me months ago I don’t think he ever envisioned a day when I would bluff him out of all his matchsticks.

My poker face must have improved.

I am doing a little celebratory dance around the music store when the door chimes. I turn around mid-chicken move clutching my bottle of beer - another great thing about Big Baz is that he lets us drink Budweiser all day at work, which goes very well with my no food, liquid only summer diet that I am currently on.  

Meredith and Tristan are standing at the door watching me, both looking alarmed at my crazy dance moves.  Tristan, my blonde haired, blue eyed very annoying twin brother otherwise known as Tristan the Arse steps forward and takes the bottle of beer out of my hand, replacing it with an envelope.

It is the envelope I’ve been dreading since the end of June, when I sped through my last exam and then legged it out of the examination hall in the vain hope I would be able to chase down Benjamin Chambers before he left me for good. 

The Roehampton University postmark gives away what the envelope contains inside.  My exam results.  Oh bugger.

"What did you get?" I ask Meredith.  I already know the answer; she is not crying for a start and whilst she didn’t do a massive amount of study the last academic year, my red-headed bestie still did a hell of a lot more than me. The only skills I learnt during my first year were how to successfully stalk someone, and how to create the perfect Bloody Mary for breakfast. 

"All 2.1's" she says a big proud smile lighting her face.  

I smile too, just because I have completely messed up my university career by obsessively stalking the boy next door does not mean I can’t be pleased for her.    

It will just be me who fails, I am hoping that Big Baz will give me a permanent job; I don’t think I am qualified for much else.

I offer everyone a smile as I tug at the envelope and then look at the contents inside.  I just stare at it for a couple of minutes whilst the others twitch in front of me, waiting for me to spill the beans.  

It is quite funny really, I would hang it out for a little longer but they all look so worried it’s just too cruel.

"Pass," I announce, grinning at everyone. I am about to elaborate and tell them that it really is just a pass. That I only edged over the pass rate by two marks but Meredith gives a little whoop of joy and offers me a tight hug. Tristan ruffles my hair and Baz looks mighty relieved that he will not have to employ his alcoholic Saturday girl on a more permanent basis. 

"Excellent lets all celebrate," exclaims Tristan. I cast him a confused look.

"Thought you wanted me off the sauce?" I question.  

Tristan is getting rather annoyed with me moping about pissed all the time.  

I wouldn’t mind, but I haven’t even been that drunk lately. Well you know, that, drunk. I’ve limited myself to one bottle of wine a night while I sit with my laptop and drool over pictures of Ben being famous in the States. And yeah, there are a lot of pictures. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes the pictures challenge my mental stability and I have the odd vodka chaser. But it’s all been pretty tame. Pretty boring, but tame all the same. 

I shake all thoughts of Ben and what should be, could be, and would have been out of my head.

"How about Tapas?" I say. "Nice and civilised?"  

We haven’t been there since that unfortunate incident when I tried to turn the restaurant into a Karaoke bar, much to the annoyance of the flamenco guitarist who was playing that night. I’m sure they would have forgotten about that by now.

"Good call Lilah, if you promise to eat I promise to pay." Tristan’s eyes scan my face and a flicker of worry crosses his own.

"Now, that is a deal I simply can’t refuse.” I offer him an attempted smile. He looks worried that I am almost holding a normal conversation. I turn to Baz, "Do you want to come along Baz?" I ask.  

"It's okay Lilah, I need to go and recover from my poker losses!  Take tomorrow off if you want."  

Great he thinks I am going to get blotted as well...

"No need, I will be here."  I say resolutely.

And I will.  

Turns out that I belong at University after all, so I shall spend the rest of the summer holiday getting myself ready to go back. And next year I will actually be prepared to do some studying.

I may have been Roehampton’s worst student last year, but apparently I wasn’t bad enough because they want me back. So I am going to give them what they want. Lilah McCannon Year Two.



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. Anna’s main aim in life is to create the perfect book which makes a reader laugh and cry at the same time, hopefully causing a convulsive (impossible to ignore) donkey noise. It’s a work in progress! Anna also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys – all in the name of her art.

Stalk Anna!







23 comments:

  1. I like that the cover doesn't feature a buff naked man or a buff naked couple! And I agree, when I see NA I immediately think of kinky sex which I'm also a bit over with :-/ I tend to skim them nowadays. Lila sounds likable even if she sounds a bit wussy for just accepting her fiancee's proposal even if she didn't want to lol. And its nice that Benjamin's not a man whore as most rocker romances are. Great review Braine!

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    1. Lilah sure is flawed but the way she handles her oopsie moments are funny. It made her more relatable to me

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  2. For some reason I am a bit unsure...hm

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    1. It's OK, not every book will appeal to everyone :)

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  3. AH, Braine...your review made me laugh, and made me happy I've picked this one up. Sounds like it would be a good idea to read books 1 and 2 back-to-back.
    Great review!

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    1. I hope you got Ben's prequel novella too! I know you like em rock stars

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  4. Despite your issues with the heroine not breaking up properly I am glad that this remained a lighthearted read and that the sex was more implied than explicit. I totally hear ya about the sex in NA. I read a couple that were borderline erotica and I am turned off by all the drama and the angst in NA. I have almost given up on the genre. This however sounds like one I could handle.

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    1. This has a chick-litty feel to it I guess. Sometimes it reminds me of Kinsella

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  5. Wonderful review I like how realistic and flawed the protagonist sounds. The romance sounds hot. This is going pn my list despite the cheating

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    1. LOL Don't worry about the infidelity part, that was wrapped up almost immediately but from that you can see that Lilah has issues.

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  6. *ha* I picked up this one too, Braine. And now I'm looking forward to reading it even more. I like that it gives more story than sex - 'cause I like a good story with my sex, you know ;) and I love a story that revolves around music. Plus, my favorite thing about NA is watching the characters grow, and it sounds like AoLG delivers. :)

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    1. You and me both, I want plot with my smut!

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  7. lol - I love you're review. I enjoy those happy hormones. :D This sounds good, I might pick this one up.

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  8. Great review. I heard this was a sweet read. Did not realize the format it is done in thought, it would probably take me some time to finish it that way too... heh.

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    1. Yeah it can be quite the challenge because I'm not used to reading books in this format but her entries are usually funny so that helped move things along

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  9. Taylor Swift? Ugh. Not a fan either. But I think I'll still be able to enjoy this one. ;) Great review, Braine! You made me giggle. :D

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    1. Hi5! I mean her songs are catchy but I wouldn't consider them classics. She's as POP as POP can go

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  10. I'm not a fan of Taylor Swift either, but luckily I could overlook that bit. I also liked that the sex wasn't explicit. I prefer to not know all the details most of the time. And Ben was awesome! I'm anxious to see where things go next. :) I'm glad you gave this one a shot!

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    1. Some things are better left to the imagination

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  11. I downloaded this one a few months ago but then I saw there was a sequel and those scare me lol So I've been holding off until then when hopefully it's over with an HEA

    I have to read it like ripping off a band-aid - all at once lol

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    1. That's one way to go about it. I love binge reading series' too!

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  12. i feel like reading it but at the same time no because I feel like i'll be reading the story of my life. lol i'm twenty four and it seems like Lilah and I might have some things in common, including a hot dreamy bf ;) i'll tread with caution!

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