Check out our review of contemporary romance Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin if you want a grumpy sunshine romance that takes a sensitive look at grief, this could be book for you
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This post contains affiliate links. That means we receive a small commission at no cost to you from any purchases you make through these links.
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After the death of her grandmother, Drew’s life is turned upside down when she learns she’s inherited The Book Nook. Leaving her travel photography career behind, Drew takes over the store, but lives in a constant state of worry about keeping the store afloat and living up to her grandmother’s legacy. The other problem? Drew doesn’t read and hates romance. Enter Jasper Williams, author, who is bound and determined to help her fall in love with reading, and along the way, maybe him as well. Drew is guarded and cynical due to her rocky relationship with her father. Coupled with the loss of her grandmother, she has a lot on her shoulders. Yet she is still (begrudgingly) open to dates with Jasper.
The pair have excellent banter and the chemistry building between them was top notch. I loved seeing Drew struggle with her attraction to Jasper, almost kicking and screaming along the way. Yet she allowed herself to have an open mind and I loved watching her fall in love with Jasper. Jasper is quirky and positive and completely understanding of Drew’s struggles. I sincerely loved him and how he never gave up on Drew. Instead of pushing Drew, he helps her rediscover her passion of photography and traveling through their trips discovering Colorado together. I felt like I was experiencing these places right alongside Jasper and Drew, which was such a treat.
The book also has an amazing set of supporting cast members that help Drew see her worth and potential, but also push her to realize what she wants out of life. Between her best friend Elsie and her half-sister, Daisy, Drew has a support system, whether she wants it or not. I enjoyed seeing the progression of Drew’s relationship with Daisy, but the real scene stealers are the Dirty Birds book club, and all their meddling in Drew’s love life.
They had me laughing constantly, yet also warmed my heart with their tender moments with Drew just when she needed a little piece of her grandmother back. But every character never gave up on Drew. Yes, they called her on her shit, but they also made sure she knew she was loved and worthy.
Drew’s persona might have been messy at times, but there was a reason for it. The book nails the grief process. It’s messy, it’s not linear, and it’s hard AF. Grieving makes you doubt yourself and your choices, so it was refreshing to see a character meddling through this complicated process. This resonated deeply with me after the loss of my own mother, making me feel seen (and not so crazy). It’s incredibly hard trying to live out your loved one’s legacy while constantly wondering if you’re doing what they would have wanted or if you’re making them proud. Drew’s character helped reassure me and I hope others will see that through her character arc.
Better Than Fiction was such a fun read and had me smiling along the way. There’s something about Alexa Martin’s written voice that I love. Her characters are funny, they swear, and they give each other crap. I felt like I could be friends with them, which makes Martin’s stories so relatable. The book felt fresh and different. This reverse grump/sunshine romance is steamy, with a hint of forced proximity told through a single POV. I highly recommend this one!