40-Love by Olivia Dade

Monday, June 22, 2020


by Olivia Dade
Series: There's Something About Marysburg #2
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 18th 2020
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷1/2

I recall telling some friends the other day that Olivia Dade's writing is like a warm cozy blanket on a cold rainy day. Her stories are beyond lovely and she has this way of making me not realize how much time has passed while I'm reading her books. Not only are her slew of new covers absolutely stunning - hello, I could stare at these covers forever - but her stories are equally charming. 40-Love is one of the best romance books I've read and I hope you will all give this fat and fabulous heroine and her younger cinnamon roll of a tennis player love interest a chance. You will not regret it!

Tess and her BFF, Belle, are on vacation when Tess and her naked boobies (all thanks to a rogue wave sweeping away her bikini top) have to be rescued by a hot and cocky resort tennis coach. Talk about a meet-cute. I tell you I was laughing my butt off so hard at this scene, I nearly fell off my bed. Olivia somehow made me cringe in second-hand embarrassment (being naked in public is my worst nightmare!), but also laugh along with Lucas as he teased Tess. It was really the perfect scene and set the tone for 40-Love: funny, banter-ific, and so swoony!

Olivia Dade's talents are in her characterizations. She brings her characters to life so much so that they leap off the pages. I adored Tess. She was a whole lot of fun, confident in who she was, and very driven. She was vying for a position as principal at her school back in Marysburg and was stressed about the whole thing. I loved her determination and how passionate she was wanting so much out of her career. Tess was genuinely likable and so thoughtful. She is a character that I could easily foresee myself being good friends with. She has that kind of positive energy to her that I think everyone deserves in a good friend!

Her sexy, younger, Swedish love interest, Lucas, was a total dreamboat! I loved him and I want a Lucas of my own. After his lucrative and up-and-coming career as a tennis player ended swiftly after a couple of injuries and surgeries, Lucas has made a life for himself as a tennis coach at the resort. He was so flirty and cocky he could charm anyone's pants off. He hides his vulnerabilities well but we see him open up gradually throughout the book. Despite being only 26, he wants more out of his life including a committed relationship. I knew I was going to love Lucas because Olivia Dade isn't capable of penning a terrible hero, but I didn't anticipate just how enamored I would be with him. If he were real, I would probably be making googly-eyes at him. 🥺😍

Tess and Lucas' romance was perfect for me. I love that with the vacation setting, it gave me all the summery romance feels. Despite the age-gap between them, they made for a very complementary couple because of their personalities clicking well together. There were so many moments throughout 40-Love that I had me sighing and swooning in happiness. I loved how committed Lucas was to Tess and how far he would go to convince her that they were meant to be together. There was one scene in particular when he went all out to ease Tess's period pains and I want to print out the scene and share it every cis man I meet! Tess was an equally amazing partner to Lucas and helped him see just how great of a guy he was. Yeah, these two were definitely OTP material.

Do yourself a favor and pick up 40-Love! It is so good, friends! I promise you won't be disappointed! I just want more and more of Olivia Dade's words!


Friends, I'm so excited to welcome Olivia Dade on the blog today to answer a few of my questions! Olivia is one of my favorite authors, so I am honored that she agreed to an interview and I am eager for you guys to get to know her better and to also meet Tess and Lucas.

First, could you describe 40-Love using just a single GIF?

I chose two, because I couldn’t decide! :-) Anyway, both involve Juan Martín del Potro, whose injury issues were part of my inspiration for the story. I love the GIF where he’s signing the camera lens with a smiley face, because I want my book to make readers smile, and I also love the GIF where he’s nodding and looking charming and sweet, because Lucas is a charming flirt who’s sweet on Tess!

Lucas in 40-Love is a former professional tennis player. What is a fun fact you discovered about tennis while writing this book?

In 2016, I got really into tennis, and watched it almost constantly for a couple of years. Most of the tennis knowledge I included in the book comes from that two-year deep-dive into the ATP and WTA Tours. However, I did do a bit of research into racket strings for this story. I’d heard the term “catgut” and very much hoped that was an inaccurate description of the material used. [insert screaming in horror emoji] Turns out, some strings are synthetic, while others are made of “natural gut” (or a combination of the two). Natural gut, I discovered, does NOT come from cats. It, uh, comes from cow intestines? Whether that’s any better, I leave to your judgment.


Both Tess from 40-Love and Rose from Teach Me are educators. I read in your biography that you were a teacher prior to becoming a full-time writer. Has your work as an educator brought any characters or stories to the page?

There are large chunks of Teach Me ripped directly from my life as a high school teacher, for better or worse. To focus on the best bits: I hope my love for my students and my committed, talented colleagues comes through in what I wrote.

To be a bit more specific, Tess’s priorities as a principal-to-be in 40-Love align with some of my own concerns as a teacher. And the scene in Teach Me where Rose skips the prescheduled fire drill in favor of hiding in the copy room and finishing her handouts? That, um, may not have been a complete fabrication. :-)

I've noticed that female friendships are a highlight of many of your books. In 40-Love, Tess and her BFF are on vacation on an island. In a post-COVID-19 world, what would your ideal vacation with your BFFs look like? Feel free to share photos!

As long as we’re imagining a better world, let’s plan a two-part trip. In the first leg, we’d travel to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, a stunning valley in the Alps that looks like a damn postcard, what with its grassy meadows and waterfalls and craggy mountains all around. I traveled there with my mom fifteen years ago, and I’ve always wanted to go back. For our second leg, we’d head to the beach! Specifically, to Harbour Island in the Bahamas, where we’d lounge on pink sand and splash in the beautiful water and basically hug each other continuously, because that’s what I need after all this isolation!

We have to talk about your new gorgeous covers designed by the uber-talented Leni Kauffman! First, I'm going to be a little mean and ask you to pick a favorite! Second, what was the cover designing process like from an author's perspective?

I’m going to cheat again and tell you my favorite detail about each cover, rather than choosing a favorite in general. For Spoiler Alert, there’s no doubt about it: I’m obsessed with April’s ass. It’s glorious. For Teach Me, I especially love Rose’s blouse. Leni let me pick out the right top and send a pic, and she recreated it in the illustration, and it’s perfect. For 40-Love, I adore Tess’s pigtails and the silver streaks in her hair. For Sweetest in the Gale, I swoon at how Griff is making absolute heart-eyes at Candy.

Spoiler Alert Cover of TEACH ME by Olivia Dade, with a beautiful, fat woman in an expensive black blouse sitting at a teacher's desk and a man making heart-eyes at her. A chalkboard behind them has the name of the book, author, and series. The cover for 40-Love by Olivia Dade. The cover shows a man and woman smiling at each other from across a tennis net, with palm trees and water in the background. Cover of "Sweetest in the Gale: A Marysburg Story Collection" by Olivia Dade. A man and woman are sitting on a bench beneath yellow autumn leaves. There is a robin on the top of the bench. The man and woman are making heart-eyes at each other.

Working with Leni is so lovely, because I’m very specific about the characters—what they should wear, their body shapes, their hairstyles, etc.—and she listens carefully, remains true to what I’ve told her, and somehow creates beauty and magic every time.

I’ve described working with her as the illustrated-cover version of a custom photo shoot, and it really is. I feel indescribably lucky to have her as my illustrator/cover artist.

My last question to you: romance novels were a big part of your life growing up. If you could force Tess and Lucas to read romance novels, which two books would you pick and why?

If Tess and Lucas were complete romance newbies (which I doubt they are—especially Lucas, who harbors particular fondness for Jane Austen), I’d steer them toward The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne and The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. What I love about the two books in combination with one another is how they demonstrate the astounding breadth and range of our genre. One is a sweeping, epic historical romance set amidst the French Revolution, featuring spy MCs. The other is undeniably modern and hilarious and more intimate in scope, featuring a wedding planner left at the altar and the brother of her ex-fiancé—who encouraged said jilting.

Two books could never demonstrate all our genre can do. But they’re both wonderful, and would indicate to Tess and Lucas what an embarrassment of riches we have as romance readers.

Thanks a million to Olivia for stopping by the blog! I hope you guys enjoyed this interview. 😊Be sure to pick up your copy of 40-Love, out now! 

Have you read any romances with an older woman and a younger man? Are you interested in 40-Love?
Let me know in the comments below!

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