Posted in Books

“All the Feels” by Olivia Dade

So, full disclosure, I have interviewed Olivia Dade and she is delightful. She is a kind, lovely person, and I love her books. If you want to read about her, our interview appears in the Festival Review’s Inkhorn.

If you enjoyed Spoiler Alert, you probably remember Alex, Marucs’ best friend and co-star in a big-budget fantasy TV show. Alex is a loose cannon if ever there was one, and has caught flack from industry bigwigs. This leads to him being assigned a “minder,” someone to keep him in line until the finale of Gods of the Gates airs.

That’s where Lauren comes in- her asshole cousin, one of the honchos on Gods of the Gates, asks her to take care of Alex. While Lauren has been trying to take a well-deserved vacation, she knows her family would tell her to take the job as a favor. Plus, the gig is a lot cushier than she’s used to, and will provide a financial cushion as she contemplates her next move.

Lauren has to keep Alex in sight pretty much all the time, and they eventually become friendly. Still, Lauren finds it increasingly difficult to keep emotional distance from the Alex behind the gorgeous exterior. Alex is facing some equally difficult choices, as his public perception is in the toilet; and he is facing the release of the last season of a show he used to be proud of, but can’t stand behind anymore.

I adored Alex and Lauren. They both have obvious flaws, and those flaws make a lot of sense given their backgrounds and the choices they have made. Alex in particular makes this book a favorite for me. He’s just so darling, and you don’t usually see a grumpy/sunshine where the guy gets to be sunshine! Alex has a lot of internal conflict, and despite acting like an open book he is a private person. I loved seeing him do things on his own terms. I also loved Lauren growing to advocate for herself and see her worth better, her journey from feelings of inadequacy and exhaustion to a more joyful, full life is compelling. Dade’s characters really make this book, and I can’t say enough good things about them. The dialogue is sparkling, it’s funny as hell, and I just can’t recommend it enough.

All the Feels can be purchased wherever books are sold, or borrowed from your local library. If you would like to read my review of Spoiler Alert, you can find it here.

Posted in Books

“Spoiler Alert” is a match made in AO3

cover196169-mediumSpoiler Alert is the story of two friends who share a passion for fanfiction. Gods of the Gates is the biggest show on television, based on an incomplete series of beloved books, and April and Marcus both write fics online. Both keep their fanfiction intentionally separate from their real lives, for very different reasons.

April is a scientist finally moving into the public sector, and able to bring her passion for the fantasy world to her personal web presence. Finally, she doesn’t have to worry about trying to get individual jobs and can post her cosplay pictures.

Marcus is an actor- one of the stars of the Gods at the Gates TV show, and sick of seeing the books he loves destroyed by the show creators. His fanfiction helps him soothe his anger at the butchering of his character, and the coming end of the show, which promises outrage from fans. If his fics were to be discovered, his career would be over, and he would be sued to oblivion. Marcus and April read and edit each others’ fics, and have been friends online for years, when twitter brings them together, entirely by accident.

April and Marcus have distinct character voices, and nuanced inner lives. Both of them are real adults in their late thirties, not post-adolescents mired in indecision. April is an amazing, intelligent fat woman who knows that the world will only ever see her as the latter. She knows she is beautiful, and does not apologize for the way she looks. She faces her personal challenges with aplomb, and doesn’t allow people to treat her poorly. Her strength is one of her best qualities, and watching her shine is a delight.

Marcus has found that the best way to be in the public eye is to present himself as an empty-headed jock, a pretty boy who can act but doesn’t have much between his ears. He faces the difficult choice about whether to open up, or keep his real self inside. Marcus has always felt like a disappointment to the people closest to him, and if he wants a chance with April, he has to let go of that fear. Marcus is a hugely likable, fun guy who knows who he is, but isn’t sure if anyone else should be let in on the secret.

April and Marcus have crazy chemistry, this book is sexy, funny, sweet, and incredibly passionate. The secondary characters are just as interesting as April and Marcus, and add hilarity to a book that already has snappy writing and amazing dialogue. April is intensely relatable, with a voice TV fans and book-lovers will both fall for. Gods at the Gates is also a very thinly veiled analog for Game of Thrones, the last season that launches a thousand angry tweets. The criticism of the TV adaptation rings true, and adds a bit of extra humor to this already funny book. This book is an exciting new read, and one hopes it is a sign of even bigger things to come from Olivia Dade.

Spoiler Alert will be published October 6, 2020 by HarperCollins. You can preorder it wherever books are sold. You can also get it through Amazon using our affiliate link here.