(surprise) Book Review: Olivia By Donna Sturgeon

From Niecey Roy
Donna Sturgeon

Received A Kindle Gift From Niecey Roy.

Blurb: Olivia Hanson has spent most of her twenty-five years staring wistfully across the tracks to the north side of town, longing for a white picket fence and normal—something she’s never known. Born in a prison and abandoned by her mother, Olivia was raised in South Juliette by her father, Eugene—a knee- bouncing, chain-smoking loner with a Cheeze Doodle addiction. Olivia drinks too much, loses her heart too easily, and works in a factory as quality control, a mundane job she’d sworn would only be temporary, not the permanent drudgery it has become. Her only joy in life comes in the form of late-night slow dances with hot bartender, George, who can set her body on fire with his kisses but is unwilling to go any further.

The day Olivia accidentally backs her Buick into a black Dodge pickup, she tumbles head-over-heels into what she believes is the happily-ever-after kind of love she has been longing for. But the road to happiness is not as easy as it looks. It’s a long, winding journey of self- discovery full of potholes, pregnancy tests, lobster tattoos, Walmart scooters, impromptu weddings, hump-happy Boston terriers, and a sexy, but oh-so- annoying police officer who pops up around every curve.


"Hey, Sam," She croaked.

"You really sick?" Sam asked.


"Brown Bottle Flu?"

"No," Olivia lied.

"You coming back tomorrow or what?"


Sam hung up.


Quirky, dysfunctional, tear-jerking, hilarious. This book had none of the above. It had more of the above.

Olivia, follows Olivia, mid-twenties girl who's always wanted to leave the South but never saves a dime from her shitty job thanks to all those beers at "Kitty's", a bar with her hot best friend as owner and tender she'd so love to screw. Olivia is not always driving her insurance company insane, but her boss too for times she'd show up and times she wouldn't.

This book based mainly on her love life, shows Olivia dealing with men you wouldn't rather have anything to do with and men you'd rather were into you than her. Olivia goes through life heartbreak after heartbreak, rough patch after rough patch, hilarious situations after hilarious situations, crashing from bumper to bumper, steamy sex after steamy sex, shitty days at work after shitty days at work, comforting odd friends after odd friends and more. All till she finds out what's really lacking in her life: stability.

Niecey Roy, one of my fav writer friends recommended this book to me. Judging from Niecey's tastes (Fender Bender Blues and How Hard Can It Be?), I was a bit skeptical about this one (BIG LIE). I enjoyed it so much I licked my lips and belched after reading it.

OK. So I loved this book for the main character! Olivia! Very, very different. I swear I didn't find delight in how brazen she was most of the time, but all those little bits about her I found annoying were just... Good. Character. Sketch. She fitted the setting perfectly and I wouldn't have wanted her any other way. Plus, no matter how crazy, I have a soft spot for super-hilarious leads.

Oh you would laugh the humor in this book. It wasn't constant, but every time it was up you'd shit on yourself; I am so certain because I didn't-second star.

The romance in this book is so steamy. So warm. So mushy mushy. Each and every guy delivered. And boy did I squirm in my seat.

It's not surprising I fell in love with the whole cast. Their stories were inspiring, hilarious and crazy. From Izzie, Olivia's best friend who was always there when you needed a good laugh, to Sam, the boss who's just pissed off at Olivia all the time but wouldn't fire her. Eugene, the dad who never touched and kept eye contact as he did his fav Cheese Doodles. To all Olivia's gossip-loving co-workers at the factory and all the regular patrons of Kitty's. I could paint them all if I was as good as an artist as I am a talker.

With so crazy characters it was very shocking this book could really portray dense, soulful themes. From loneliness, to shittiness, to difficulty in child-bearing, to dysfunctional love, to cozy love, to love and its trials and misunderstanding. There were moments I was reaching for Kleenex, but every time I pulled the box closer I'd find out it was empty and I'd curse so loud I wouldn't feel like crying anymore.

Also, the tone to this book was soothing, the pace slow-fast, the idle setting of the south very perfect and written with an amazing memoir-esque voice. Never did I hesitate to finish this book in a haste. It really goes to show you don't need a highly suspenseful piece to grab a reader's attention. With humor locked, a fun lead and a story so true to life with themes that are so timeless, there's no way you could ask for a refund!

Five stars, people!

Olivia, Donna Sturgeon's dysfunctionally perfect chick-lit is available on Amazon.

I seriously recommend this book to anyone. Anyone who has a friend called Olivia or not. Anyone who wants a good laugh and a few tears. Anyone who is in the mood for mushy mushy and fighty fighty. Anyone in the mood for something different and so not your conventional chick-lit.

Always opened to emails from anyone who'd love to gush about Olivia—the book, I mean.

Thanks Niecey. Great novel, Donna.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads as well as Amazon.


Guest Post + Big Sale By Jami Deise (Author Of Keeping Score)

KEEPING SCORE is in sale this week for 99 cents! See below for links

Fab author Jami Deise wowed audiences with her debut, Keeping The Score. Rumor has it, she's having a big sale so we pulled her by to tell us why "Keeping The Score"

Thank you for featuring Keeping Score!

Like the protagonist’s son Sam, my son Alex began playing summer travel baseball at the age of 9. He’s almost 20 now, a college sophomore, and still playing. Also like Sam, the first team he played on was pretty bad. There was drama and politics and a catcher who broke Alex’s arm. At the time, there was nothing funny about. But as the years went on, I started to look back on those early experiences and see the humor, as well as the big picture. I do think that competition hurts relationships, and I’m not sure getting Alex into the select baseball world when he was that young was the best thing for him. But those experiences were what prompted me to write I think it’s struck a chord with other moms, because it’s not just about the baseball. It’s about helicopter parenting and everything we do to keep our kids happy these days, and about how hard it is to watch them grow up and pull away from us.

KEEPING SCORE is in sale this week for 99 cents! See below for links

Blurb: When her son wanted to play travel baseball, Shannon Stevens had no idea the worst competition was off the field…

When her son Sam asks to try out for a travel baseball team, divorced mom Shannon Stevens thinks it’ll be a fun and active way to spend the summer. Boy, is she wrong! From the very first practice, Shannon and Sam get sucked into a mad world of rigged try-outs, professional coaches, and personal hitting instructors. But it’s the crazy, competitive parents who really make Shannon’s life miserable. Their sons are all the second coming of Babe Ruth, and Sam isn’t fit to fetch their foul balls. Even worse, Shannon’s best friend Jennifer catches the baseball fever. She schemes behind the scenes to get her son Matthew on the town’s best baseball team, the Saints. As for Sam? Sorry, there’s no room for him! Sam winds up on the worst team in town, and every week they find new and humiliating ways to lose to the Saints.

And the action off the field is just as hot. Shannon finds herself falling for the Saints’ coach, Kevin. But how can she date a man who didn’t think her son was good enough for his team … especially when the whole baseball world is gossiping about them? Even Shannon’s ex-husband David gets pulled into the mess when a randy baseball mom goes after him. As Sam works to make friends, win games and become a better baseball player, Shannon struggles not to become one of those crazy baseball parents herself. In this world, it’s not about whether you win, lose, or how you play the game… it’s all about KEEPING SCORE.

KEEPING SCORE is in sale this week for 99 cents! See below for links

Reviewers say:

“This is a story about relationships and only a few worth KEEPING. You will root for Shannon to come away from this experience with her head held high and for Sam to remain untarnished.”Deb Mongiello

“But what resonated most with me was the pride and sorrow the main character, Shannon, feels as she watches her son start to grow up and become more independent of her. Sam grows and matures throughout the story, and Shannon's struggle at witnessing his hurts and challenges is very believable.” – SimplyLauraKB

“What an enjoyable read! Don't worry - you don't have to be a divorced, baseball-obsessed mom like Shannon Stevens to find pleasure in this well-paced, engaging novel.”–Laura R. Duck

"I really enjoyed Keeping Score... If you are ready for a fun read, and want to know who comes out on top (will it be Team Shannon or Team Jennifer?), give this book a read." - Chick Lit Central

"All in all this was a fun read that keeps the story going and will have your mouth dropping open at certain points... Grab this book and sit down for a fun, light read!" -- Joe Cool Review

KEEPING SCORE is in sale this week for 99 cents!

Links: on Amazon (Kindle/paperback)

on Barnes & Noble

on Smashwords

Her Fab Blog

Grab Jami Deise and get social...

Twitter: @JamiDeise



There you have it. Jami Deise revealing stuff she wouldn't to you even if you hold her book to her head.

Take part in this sale with Just a click. If you'd ask me, I'd say It's too much of a good deal mums (than your coupons).

And ooh, stay tuned for my review.

Signing Off,



Cover Reveal: Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

To celebrate the cover reveal for her debut novel, author Laura Chapman is sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of Hard Hats and Doormats here and on other blogs with her “Hard Hat Confessions.”

Here’s Confession #2

About the Author 
Laura Chapman found a way to mix her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction author and blogger. A 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Laura studied journalism, English and history. She traveled across the United States as a writer/photographer before settling into a career in communications. She also maintains Change the Word, a blog devoted to promoting women’s fiction and documenting her experiences as a writer. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormats is her debut novel.

Connect with Laura
Website (http://www.laurachapmanbooks.com/)
Blog (http://change-the-word.blogspot.com/)
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks)
Twitter (https://twitter.com/lmchap)


Book Review: Dancing Naked In Dixie By Lauren Clark

Blurb: Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

Fab, fab, Travel chick-lit. I'd jet-set anywhere with Lauren Clark, after such an amazing read.

Julia Sullivan is already over the brink of success with her "job" being a travel writer. She's seen IT (Paris, Milan, you-name-it) all, shopped it all, graced her presence there all, sipped it all, ate it all. All the exotics around the globe. And consequently... Alabama.

Alabama! Thanks to her "boss". Her job is now on the line. All she's stopped working for is now about to slip out of her hands. And it's all up to Alabama to save her career.

With a boyfriend who doesn't mind she's quite bland in the emotional department, a mother who just passed away and a dad returning after so long, follow Julia's journey as she zips through idle Eufaula, converse with the too cozy (used in an icky way) people of the South, meets some wacky family members, engage in a little espionage for unmasking a bad guy, losing her heart to a man. And most importantly, making a discovery of her own: the infamous Southern Charm.

The voice of Lauren Clark kinda reminded me of Weisberger's. Really witty, more extravagant descriptions and a magazine a million tourists would die for. I honestly have a soft spot for books written with a setting of a chic, sophisticated magazine. Especially when I want to own one of those thingies someday. So falling for this wasn't hard at all (*smooches*).

Love that it was a chick-lit with substance. One most women would relate to. Loss. I'm sure like me, others would be reading and nodding to the truth in it. Though I haven't experienced it yet, there's never a getting over from the loss of a mother. And Ms.Lauren portrays the theme so well. Without being too dramatic. You could actually feel Julia's pain, share in her numerous lonely moments and empathize her. Perhaps the reason I loved the approach of such a dark subject could be the little moping scenes in it. It's a no-no for me if a wtiter keeps readers down and irritable with a sad lead.

The fact that not an ounce of this book was predictable was just so winkable. If not for the blurb I wouldn't have gained any foresight. And I never guessed where Lauren was taking me because I never minded. Just enjoying the soothingly in-your-face plot with OMG moments that got me turning my kindle over and gasping.

There are lots of characters that made this book rock. Of course, Julia was one of them. The Jordans would be very fun to dine with, if you ignored your host's dad's leers, his mother's drinking habit, his sister's infuriating little daughter and his wacky girlfriend. And you might want to protect your identity from British-speaking roommates who'd want to go New York but only if they new someone there. You might end up loving the too hospitable people of the South in this novel, if you can just forget how touchy they are.

I give this book four stars

Another star could have been released if its humor was way perched up there. Not sure if there were laugh-out-loud moments, but there were some lip-twitching ones in there.

Get Lauren's Sophomore novel, Dancing Naked In Dixie, available on .

I recommend this book for anyone who'd want a makeshift character evolving from a very fast-paced life to a less vibrant and homely one. You would also love this book if you are in for something unpredictable. Or perhaps, you are dealing with loss you think you can't recover? This book might be IT for you especially when you hate the sound of self-help as much as you hate flipping through pages of such books. Or want the perfect holiday location (Alabama)? Hop on.

Can't wait for Lauren's next.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads and Amazon.