ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

summary

43092891Publisher: Avon
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Received From: NetGalley

Talia Hibbert, one of contemporary romance’s brightest new stars, delivers a witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who’s tired of being “boring” and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things—perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

gender sexuality romantic pairings

GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: presumed heterosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: presumed heteroromantic
PAIRING: M/F

tropes tags warnings

TROPES: bucket list, class disparity, dislike to love, grumpy x sunshine, mutual pining
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, Black characters, Jamaican characters, disabled character (chronic pain, fibromyalgia), fat character, interracial romance, synesthesia,
WARNINGS: past abusive relationship, gaslighting, sexual content, drunk driving mention, mental illness (PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks), vomiting, anti-aro language, anti-ace language, slurs, gendered slurs, ableism, public play, therapy

review

Once again, Talia Hibbert returns with a fabulous book that will stun, amaze, and immediately make one fall in love with both the characters and the story itself!

From the get-go, GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN exhibits the snark and deadpan humor one has come to expect from Hibbert’s writing, alongside thrilling and lovable characters. Each person within the pages of this novel is a shining star with a personality unique to them, even as they share similarities. Chloe and her sisters are forces to be reckoned with, and any scene with the three of them together is bound to have you in stitches, or at the least, smiling like a goof. The sisterly bonds are strong and enviable, and it’s impossible not to want to be part of their little group of sarcasm and love. And indeed, all the family dynamics within the book are wonderful. They’re a little messy sometimes, but it was really wonderful to read about families, both Chloe’s and Red’s, who care about and love each other for who they are. 

The friendship, and later relationship, between Red and Chloe was simply a pleasure to read. Dislike to love is one of those tropes that I’m careful about reading, because if not done right, the relationship is ultimately unbelievable and hard to fall into. But that was never a worry I had with stepping into Hibbert’s story, and of course, she doesn’t disappoint. The two initially dislike each other due to misconceptions on both their parts, but through a series of feline induced happenings, they start to realize that there’s more to the other than there seems and that they’d only been looking surface deep. What follows is a deeply intimate and trusting friendship that, spurred by their mutual pining and lust, turns into a sexual and romantic relationship. Both Red and Chloe discover different facets of each other, and themselves, in the relationship that builds between them, and it was truly breathtaking to see how very much they care about each other and the other’s needs, wants, and desires.

One particular aspect of the friendship and romance arc that I loved was the fact that the moments where they share the big secrets of their lives wasn’t what made them trust each other. In so many other novels, the main characters share deeply personal information with each other, which is often used as a catalyst to build their trust in each other. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and in fact, works well in some novels, but it’s also unbelievable at times. And in the case of Chloe’s and Red’s secrets, it would be laughable for them to share the information so early on. Instead, by the time they felt comfortable sharing, they already trusted and cared about each other, and were well on their way to being in love. It’s a small touch, a small aspect of the novel, that some may not even think about, but it reached out to me and made me even more pleased with the romance, and story, as a whole.

Another aspect was the chronic pain! Chloe experiences chronic pain and has fibromyalgia, and it’s beautifully illustrated as an aspect of her life. Throughout the novel, the reader experiences, alongside Chloe, the everyday effects this has on her life even as it’s something she has learned to accept and manage. And it was great to read how Red just accepts this as part of who she is and makes an effort to help her in little ways without being overbearing or insisting that she doesn’t know her own body. Hibbert inserts great and poignant detail into this aspect of the story, and it’s really lovely to read as an aspect of so many of our lives that is rarely depicted (or depicted well) in fiction.

Additionally, I loved the way Hibbert shows, through Red’s experiences, that abusive relationships can come in all shapes and sizes. With this particular story, we’re shown that abuse doesn’t manifest only as men physically assaulting women. Instead, while it can be physical, it can also be mental and verbal, and it’s not always men who are the perpetrator, nor always women who are victims of abuse. Also, Hibbert does a great job of illustrating how it’s a process–long and sometimes arduous–towards unlearning and un-internalizing the things your abuser has said and/or done to you. 

Overall, this novel was just a great experience to read and I cannot wait for the next book of the series!

rating4 STARSabout the author

dV30Mfjo_200x200Talia Hibbert is an award-winning, Black British author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.

She writes sexy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include beauty, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm. She also rambles intermittently about the romance genre online.

Talia self-publishes via Nixon House and is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary.

buy links

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
IndieBound

review by nicky tyler

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