Review: Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

From the moment I saw that beautiful bright yellow cover with the pink tube lines crossing, I knew I was going to want to read this book. Not only were my favourite editors, publishing types and other authors yelling about it, but the premise was a right sort:

Two people who start their love story through the Missed Connections bit of the newspaper are destined to be- but will they ever meet?

I love Missed Connections, it was the best bit about having to go into work on the tube. And Nadia, our heroine, feels the same. Nadia is always on a Routine to Her Best Life. She tends to keep failing at it. But when Daniel sees Nadia, he knows it’s meant to be. And not in a creepy stalker way. In a romantic way.

He sends her the message through Missed Connections, and she sends messages back, but they keep missing each other. The universe is sending them every sort of ‘meant to be’ vibe and yet it seems the universe is waiting for the perfect moment.

This was a modern day romance that was woke AF. The men talk about third wave feminism, and expressing their feelings. Toxic masculinity is identified, consent is discussed, there’s all this stuff where I felt like these were the conversations I had with my friends, and it was nice to see people feeling real. Friendships weren’t perfect, relationships were complicated, sometimes there’s no bad guy and sometimes there most certainly is (looking at you, Awful Ben).

The whole story is told with this light wittiness and charm. It’s romantic without being sickening, it’s funny without trying too hard, and I super loved that it had a bunch of badass women working in STEM. So often women in romantic comedies only get a choice of certain jobs, so it was really refreshing to step into a world where the women are top of their game, breaking boundaries and totally killing it.

Our Stop was destined to be a bestseller from the minute that cover started showing up everywhere. I bought it on Kindle for 99p and it’s a total bargain, for a couple of days of reading that I really enjoyed.

Also, loved all the Soho House references – hell yes, Farmhouse is the shit and I hope I have friends who will whisk me away there when I’m sad.

Laura Jane Williams is a total babe too, and I was lucky enough to chat with her at the HarperCollins Summer Party. She’s doing some really interesting talks in the next few weeks at Waterstones with The Flat Share author Beth O’Leary (another amazing book and one of my absolute faves this year) and Rosie Walsh (of The Man Who Didn’t Call fame). Sounds like a blast, so if you’re in Manchester or London, check them out!

Have you read Our Stop? What did you think?

Review: Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

As a movie buff and big fan of foppish romantic men falling in love with realistic, ambitious women I was super eager to read this. So I grabbed it at a bargain 99p this week.

Love, Unscripted is a fresh take on boy-meets-girl where Nick and Ellie, who met on the eve of the Presidential election in 2008, try to figure out where their relationship is headed and if it’s really over.

Told from Nick’s perspective, it’s easy to see where the Nick Hornby comparisons come in. But actually, I think it’s a lot warmer than Hornby’s books. The male narrator is self aware, and even though he’s flawed (as I hope all narrators are!) he doesn’t fall into the typical character voice. Nick is a sensitive soul looking for the real thing, a big, perfect sort of love.

He finds it in Ellie, but when they break up, he’s left trying to figure out what went wrong and whether it’s fixable.

This book really reminded me of the movie 100 Days of Summer – there’s a bittersweet element to it, with an introverted and romantic lead and his beautiful, smart, magical girlfriend. And yet, even through the almost naive gaze of the narrator, Ellie remains a real character, completely whole and normal. She was the sort of person I’d want to be friends with.

The book switches both in timeline and style, which was an interesting choice. I really enjoyed it (and did briefly think from an author perspective how hard it is to get the go-ahead on a structure like that!) as it switched between 2008 when the couple met, years later when they break up (both from Nick’s perspective) and then into a third person retelling of the times in between as Nick practices his screen writing.

Nothing much happens, I suppose, but those are actually my favourite kind of books! There’s warmth and friendship and growth and family moments. It’s a love story and a story of growth and it’s not overly saccharine or easily tied up – it’s about how life and love are complicated, and imperfect.

So, in summary, I loved it, and it’s 99p and you should absolutely read it! Excited to read more from this debut author!

Review: The Silver Mark by Sarah Painter

The Silver Mark by Sarah Painter

I cannot tell you how excited I was to get this book. From the moment I finished The Night Raven (book 1 in the Crow Investigations series) I was desperate to read the second. In fact, I’ll probably read both again before the third comes out (it feels like an age away).

The Silver Mark brings us back to PI Lydia Crow, who has set up her own investigative firm above a greasy spoon with a little help from her dodgy uncle Charlie. But hey, rent in London is insane, and sharing the flat with a ghost is a small price to pay. Helped by the delicious DCI Fleet, who Lydia most certainly is not dating (except yeah, she sorta is) Lydia seeks to solve the problems emanating from 4 magical families in London: The Foxes, The Pearls, The Silvers…and The Crows.

Sarah Painter is so adept at creating a world that makes sense, even as the magical intertwines with reality. The 4 ‘Mafia style’ families all have their own powers, and Lydia’s back story as the daughter of one of the heads of the families, hidden away without powers, is intriguing. It’s such a full and engaging world.

The Silver Mark brings us back to a new mystery involving the Silvers, people who are incredibly capable of convincing you of anything (silvertongue, anyone?) and watching as Lydia tries not to step on any toes and cause an end to the magical truce between families is riveting.

I won’t give too much away about the plot, because I think you should run back and read The Night Raven first, then immediately buy and consume The Silver Mark. They are just so engaging and real, exactly the way I like my magic. With a sassy PI main character who drinks too much and sleeps too little.

An expected 5/5 for The Silver Mark. Now I’ve just got to distract myself whilst I wait for the next one. Although, I do have a book to write…

I’m currently reading The Garden on Holly Street by the lovely Megan Attley. Expect another sparkling review soon!