30 Days by Christine d’Abo30 Days by Christine d'Abo
Published July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
five-stars
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.
 

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Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You’ll know when the time is right, he’d said. Now it’s two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…

From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It’s a favor he’s more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she’s opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what’s really in the cards?

Saucy, heartwarming, and insightful, 30 Days explores the agony—and the ecstasy—of starting over, and how a little encouragement, and a little courage, can go a long way…

Checking out her new neighbor’s fine ass awakens all sorts of feelings for Alyssa Barrow. One being lust, and the second being guilt, since it’s the first time after the death of her husband two years ago that she actually felt this physically attracted to anyone. The realization hits her and she finally thinks now is the time for her to open that envelope her husband left her, which – she discovers – actually contains a deck of cards to help her ease back into sex with another person.

While easing her back into the dating scene does not work out as expected and her sister suggesting she should get a rebound, it is only logical for her to make hot new neighbor Harrison Kemp her sex-card partner. He’s the perfect partner since he’s only on assignment and in town for 3 months – enough time to get through the 30 days, but not nearly enough to get attached.

What I loved about this book:

  • The great characters
  • The hilarious scenes and fun banter
  • The storyline and character development

What I felt needed improvement:

  • I want an epilogue :)

The last 6 books or so I read these days had not been a big revelation for me, and I was extremely happy that 30 Days put an end to my mediocre-books streak. Not just because it was good, but because it was just great. It was a great story, with great characters, all rolled up into a whole lot of fun and steam.

When I first started reading 30 Days, I was concerned that it might be a tad dark or depressing because Alyssa lost her husband to cancer and obviously wasn’t over it, since she hadn’t gone out to meet men in 2 years. But I was positively surprised to find out that thanks to Alyssa’s strong character, the read was emotional, but also light-hearted and funny at the same time. It was so refreshing to see that just one look at a “fine behind” led Alyssa to reflect on moving on, or at least on re-awakening her sexuality, which was completely non-existent since her husband’s death. She became this much more confident women, even if she needed adjusting to the idea of being with someone other than her husband, who had been her only and only partner and lover.

“I’d been quite happy being married, having regular, boring sex with my amazing husband, followed by eating cold pizza in bed while we watched the hockey game.”

Most importantly, Alyssa also had to adjust to the fact that her 30 Days of Sex Cards, as designed by her husband, were destined to ease her into the concept of sex as a product of lust (and not as a product of love) since she is “using” Harrison as some sort of re-bound, taking full advantage of the fact that his time in Toronto is limited.

“Sex had never purely been about the pleasure for me. It had been my way to connect with Rob.”

But as 30 Days moves on, you understand that there is just so much more involved than a game of cards with a rebound. Especially when feelings still manage to read their heads and throw Alyssa into a tailspin. The storyline here did definitely not lack in twists and turns! You will actually find that it is a wonderful story about understanding that moving on from your dead husband doesn’t make you a bad person. But it’s also a story around understanding that the time that two people shared can never be forgotten, and shouldn’t set the bar for any future relationships, because every relationship is different and deserves to be explored.

I absolutely loved the characters and their funny banter, some of which really made up for massive laugh-out-loud moments. I would have loved to find out more about Harrison, but the lack of details around him didn’t make him any less endearing. He was the perfect match for Alyssa and their chemistry was blatantly obvious in and out of the bed – making up for either a lot of pent up sexual frustration or sizzling steamy scenes.

“It made sense to look first. I mean, I hadn’t seen a lot of naked men this close up who weren’t related to me, and none of them were as fit as Harrison.
Dude had definition.”

As far as the writing was concerned, it was extremely engaging (what with all the banter and steam). It was great to be in Alyssa’s head (1st person POV) and witness her mental and emotional change, and her boost in confidence. The fact that the reader doesn’t have the insider scoop on Harrison only heightens the suspense. In the end, I really couldn’t put this book down and was through it within 3 short sittings. There were some tear-threatening situations so I cannot say for certain that this is a tear-free read, but it definitely worth it.

Just know that this was one of the rare books where I highlighted the hell out of certain scenes – I couldn’t help it: there were just so many truths told and so many hilarious moments in this book!

“The last thing I wanted was for Harrison to think that he could make me squirm.
Even if he could.
Stupid libido.”

The only two things that I would have to criticize would be the fact that this book was really lacking a more extensive epilogue (well, one around the couple and their future, that is) and than there was the fact that it was unclear how the author wanted to picture Alyssa’s late husband, and whether it was in a good or in a bad light.

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That was confusing as heck, especially since I had no idea if Alyssa was trying to make Harrison look better in comparison, or not! But hey, it didn’t impact my overall enjoyment of the book and I will be gladly looking out for book #2 entitled 30 Nights where basically the sex-cards have been passed on to someone else

Detailed Rating
Storyline
5 Stars
Characters
5 Stars
Writing
5 Stars
All the feels
5 Stars
Overall: five-stars