Release Day Review: Olive Juice, by TJ Klune

cover-tjklune-olivejuiceIt begins with a message that David cannot ignore:

I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.


Cover Artist:
April 26, 2017
Dreamspinner Press
Reese Dante
132 e-book pages
3rd person
See the book on Goodreads


Rating 5 Stars

5 Stars

Rating Info

Ratings stick closely to the GoodReads standards. Occasionally I’ll make note of half-star ratings and will typically round up on GoodReads reviews and other sites where I may cross-post.

Stars Goodreads  What this means to me
5 AMAZING This totally knocked my socks off, and I might end up a crazed fan (from a respectable distance).
4 Really Liked This was truly enjoyable, and I’d recommend it.
3 Liked It was good, and I’m glad I read it, but I may have had some issues.
2 It was okay I finished it & kept hoping for improvement. I definitely had issues.
1 Didn't like I read the whole thing but....
1 DNF Didn't like I read past 50% (at least) before giving up.
0 DNF No Rating I couldn't even make it to 50%, but I still feel the need to share my thoughts.



So ummm…. Anyone who follows along with my reviews may have noted at some point that I can never seem to review a TJ Klune book with much coherency. I ramble, I babble, rant, rave, and squee without much (any) focus. And I really, really thought I’d be able to do better this time. Give y’all some cool, calm, and collected thoughts-n-stuff. And I had the nerve to think that because this book, despite its quirky title, is kinda subdued.


That’s clearly not how this is gonna go.

The main point is that I really can’t talk about what happens in this book — like at all. Because I won’t be that person who puts that one spoilery hint out there that ruins it.

But I can say that this is one heart-wrenching emotional journey.

And for me…I took the journey with this book while I was on vacation. In Spain. Where I was having a grand ole time touristing during the day and sobbing my little heart out at night as I read myself to sleep.

Pro Tip: Don’t do that.

But DO read this. Also go to Spain sometime — the wine is LUSH.


TJ has become a reliably unpredictable author. Reliable in the sense that I can bet money I’ll love what he writes and it will be complete gorgeousness in one way or another. Unpredictable in the way that he’s tackling genres and subjects all over the place, ones I might ordinarily shy away from and hafta be talked (dragged kicking and screaming) into reading.

For those who enjoy contemporary, it’s not your regular A meets B and they fall in love and live happily ever after. Instead, this is a story where happy got broken along the way, and the ever-after took some unexpected turns through tragic darkness.


This is genius in the ways it kept me guessing. There were times I thought I had the pulse of this story, times I was really close. But around nearly every turn there was a twist to the kaleidoscope that entirely changed the image, shed new light, changed the colors, sharpened the focus.

It’s enthralling in its artistry — swear to god, this is TJ at his best. The angst, the heartache, the grief and sheer anguish, though… Christ, it broke me.

So. Okay. I can’t NOT recommend this book for the beautifully crafted prose. It’s not exactly romance, and it barely registers on the heat-o-meter. But it runs deep with the emotion and the love is palpable. And there are a few tiny nuggets of humor. A few. Tiny ones. Juuuust enough for the added depth of relatable characters.

And I gotta stop talking now.

Because I’m ‘bout to cry again and also because ya know…incoherent ramblings and stuff that might go a stitch too far into spoilers.

Recommended with a bottle of vino tinto, some good dark chocolate, and a box of tissues infused with aloe.

Advance Review Copy generously provided by the publisher.

Purchase Links:

DreamspinnerAmazon | BN | GooglePlayiBooks | KOBO

About the Author:

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, over two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

Since being published, TJ has won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance, fought off three lions that threatened to attack him and his village, and was chosen by Amazon as having written one of the best GLBT books of 2011.

And one of those things isn’t true.

(It’s the lion thing. The lion thing isn’t true.)

Website | Goodreads

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