Better Than Fiction – Alexa Martin

Published By: Headline
Pages: 320
Released On: 08/11/2022

As a self-proclaimed book hater and a firm believer that the movie is always better, Drew Young didn’t anticipate inheriting her grandma’s bookstore, the Book Nook. She’s in way over her head even before the shop’s resident book club, comprising seven of the naughtiest old ladies ever, begin to do what they do best—meddle.

Bestselling author Jasper Williams is a hopeless romantic. When he meets Drew at his Book Nook signing event, he becomes determined to show her the beauty of reading. He curates a book bucket list in exchange for her help exploring the local Denver scene for his current manuscript. From going river rafting to trying local restaurants, Drew begins to connect with Jasper in a way she only thought happened in fiction.

When messy family ties jeopardize the future of the Book Nook, Drew is caught between a bookshelf and a hard place. She’s reminded that real life isn’t always big dreams and sweeping romance. But Jasper is the plot twist she never saw coming and he’s writing a happily ever after just for them.


Thanks to NetGalley and Headline for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a book about books is a winner for me, even before I open it. As a book reviewer, that shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Ooh this was a yummy book. The characters, the setting, the story, the journey, just everything about it. It is such a happily-ever-after book and I’m here for it! Drew and Jasper are such gorgeous characters inside and out, and the secondary characters including Daisy, Dani and Elsie, as well Vivian, Mona, Collette and Ethel, add a certain spice, a certain pizzazz to the main plot.

I can’t get my head round people who don’t like reading. I do know some people, who thanks to issues like severe dyslexia, can’t read, but they would if they could. The idea that someone chooses not to read as they don’t find it enjoyable seems so aliens to me. It’s one of my biggest fears that I may lose my ability to read. My Nan was an avid reader and that’s where I got my love from, but in the final months of her life, her dementia got so bad that she couldn’t read anymore, and that’s what I found the most heartbreaking thing.

I’d love to run a bookshop, and the Book Nook just sounds idyllic. Heaving heaving bookcases and comfortable armchairs just makes for a gorgeous setting. Especially when Jasper starts frequenting the shop, it just becomes extra gorgeous. Now, most importantly, where do I get a Jasper from? Tall, dark, handsome, kind, polite, loves books and writes for a living. I mean, does a better man exist?

I felt Jasper was so real, like I wanted to tell my friends about this great new man I’d met. Is he based on anyone? Anyone you know? Anyone who happens to be in his 30s and single and in the Hertfordshire/London area? Ahem…..asking for a friend, of course.

I felt this kinship with Drew. I’m not saying because I resemble her (as she is mixed race and I’m as pale as they come), or act like her or have her life, but I just felt this connection that I could completely understand where she was coming from.

As a bigger woman, it’s still refreshing to see a main character who isn’t the tall, skinny, typical beautiful love interest. Drew is short and curvy and loves food and hates the gym and won’t apologise for it and I like that. It’s nice to see a character whose size does not factor in as a main talking point. It is what it is. More is made of Jasper’s looks – which I have zero issues with.

I don’t know America very well at all, and I know Colorado even less. I don’t know how much of what is written is true to the country or the state, or whether Alexa invented it to whether she actually knows her America, but either way, the descriptions of Colorado sounds wonderful.

I could see this being made into a film, in the line of Notting Hill. It’s charming and really sucks you in to its world. It’s like you’re living in your very own rom-com.

I’ve read a lot of rom-coms in my time, and they all follow a similar thread and I’m definitely not complaining about that. They’re so loving and comforting and warming and this is no different. Although I’d say this had more meat on its bones. It’s not just “boy meets girl, some obstacles get thrown, they overcome everything and live happily ever after”. Sure, there is that of course, but there’s grief, and loss and tension and hatred and anger.

At its heart, it’s about family and friendship and trust and love. This is the first I’ve heard of Alexa Martin but you’re damn sure I’m going to seek out her other books, past and (hopefully) future. If they’re like this one, they’ll be a proper comfort blanket.

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