‘You’ve Got Aliens’ by Fiona Roarke

A shoes-off, curl-up-on-a- chair-with-a-cup-of-tea read that made me laugh, kept me engaged and avoided slipping over the edge into eye-rolling romance.

There are times when want I want is the book equivalent of the perfect mug of hot chocolate, a read that is engaging, comforting, and that allows me to smile and forget all the things that my restless mind normal mutters about in a worried-ready-to-become-angry kind of way. ‘You’ve Got Aliens’ is that kind of book.

The premise is charmingly absurd: aliens hiding in plain sight in the small town of Alienn, Arkansas, running the alien-themed Big Bang Truck Stop. beneath which is a Galactic Way Station. Big Bang is run by the Grey Brothers (aren’t all aliens grey?) with Diesel Grey as their Fearless Leader (Really – that’s his job title). Juliana, an orphaned young woman looking to fund a search for her parents by writing her very first professional article, an ‘Aliens Among Us’ piece for a travel magazine, comes to the Truck Stop and she and Diesel immediately fall for each other – until Diesel’s brother shoots Juliana with a Defender and wipes her memory.

After that we got to grips with the important questions: how will Diesel and Juliana get together? Will the aliens be exposed? Who is threatening Juliana and why? And will Diesel have to sacrifice his job and leave his (very large) family to live with his human girl-friend?

The path to answering these questions is paved with humour that often made me laugh out loud. It twists its way around frustrating misunderstandings in pursuit not just of a Happy Ever After but of a Big Reveal that you know is coming.

‘You’ve Got Aliens’ has the same depth of characterisation as ‘The Flintstones’ but that’s part of its charm. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but it does make you want to cheer the not-yet-happy couple on. It even comes up with an explanation for the insta-love between Diesel and Juliana. Best of all, it didn’t drag me through any boiler-plate see-how-good-we-are-at-this sex scenes.

There was a point in the middle of the book where I felt the pace lagged a bit. I was fairly sure I knew what the Big Reveal was by then (yeah- like that was an achievement) and I wanted to get on. Then we turned a corner, got more aliens involved, increased the level of risk from the humans and the whole thing cantered to a fine finish.

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