Monday, July 15, 2013

MANDATORY RELEASE by Jess Riley





I'm thrilled to have Jess Riley on the blog today with her amazing novel Mandatory Release. The novel takes place in prison, and the main character is a very interesting guy who spends his days strapped in a wheelchair. When his high school crush walks through the doors of the prison — NO, not as a new inmate! — as a teacher — he feels as life might not exactly be over.


Here is the book's synopsis:


"With appeal for fans of Jonathan Tropper, Tom Perrotta, and Laurie Notaro, this snarky mashup of Girls and Oz is so painfully honest you might think you're reading a memoir--except the author isn't a smartass guy in a wheelchair who works in a prison."  

Recently paralyzed in a car accident, thirty-year-old Graham Finch spends his days trying to rehabilitate a caseload of unruly inmates and his nights on one bad date after another, attempting to rehabilitate his heart-- 

--until his high school crush Drew Daniels walks through the prison gates one hot summer morning. On the run from a painful past that's nearly crushed her faith in love, Drew is a new teacher at Lakeside Correctional. Graham, smitten all over again, tries to redirect his unrequited feelings. But when your heart keeps looking back, it's not easy to turn it forward. 

Amidst escalating violence at work, Drew is forced to confront her secrets, find a way to forgive old sins, and learn how to listen to her heart and her head when it comes to men. Graham must also learn to make peace with his own past. Together they realize that if you're going to save yourself, sometimes the best way to do it is by saving someone else first. If only finding their way to one another was easier than working with convicted felons.

Loaded with twisted humor and pathos, Mandatory Release is a darkly comic look at friendship, forgiveness, and love. A story about broken people putting themselves back together. People who learn that no matter what you lock up--a person, a secret, or your heart--sooner or later, everything must be released. 

And Jess's THESE THREE THINGS:

1) Mandatory Release mainly focuses on relationships between the characters, but we do shine a light on where they work, since it helps shape the plot. Many of my inmate characters and anecdotes are based on "real" inmates I knew when I worked as a teaching assistant at a medium-security prison in college. I was mentored by an amazing teacher, and after I left, she sent me a Thank You card signed by many of the inmates I worked with. (Attached.) My husband removed last names from the scan to protect the not-so-innocent. :)  


2) It's true, my parents did meet in prison! My mother was a secretary at the time, my father a Unit Sergeant. This made dinner-time conversation VERY interesting in my youth. I still remember my Dad bringing home props he used when he gave staff trainings. One was a giant display suitcase, like the kind a traveling salesman might use, full of confiscated shanks and shivs! 

3) I've been working on this novel for fourteen years, though it's been through so many edits it only bears a ghost of a resemblance to the first draft. The original title was THE COOL SIDE OF THE PILLOW, and Graham wasn't even a character in it. Now he's the central protagonist in MANDATORY RELEASE, and one of my favorite characters to write, ever.

I love Jess and her books for many reasons -- she doesn't sugar-coat it. You don't read about cutesy-pie stuff and glitter and high heels. Don't get me wrong -- that's great when you're in the mood for glitter and lipstick and high heels. And it's not like her books are down-and-dirty, but yes, they are gritty and real. That's the way I like to describe them. The women are women. The men are men. Jess can write a male character to sound like a man. I love that about her. This book has depth and heart. You will laugh out loud, and you might even cry. You'll get to know Graham and his wheelchair. You'll delight in Drew and feel for her and what's she's been through. You'll even come to like the prisoners. In the end, you'll feel like you've spent some time in prison with some really nice people but didn't have to eat the slop that's served there.

So, if you'd like to win a copy of Mandatory Release, let's see… if you ever had to go to prison, what item would you most want to take with you? I'd have to say I would take my laptop! Tell me what you would take, and you could win a copy of Mandatory Release!

Check the previous post to see what else is coming your way this summer - I'm going to try to be a lot better about posting on the blog and getting fabulous books to you!  

New here?
If you're new to Booking with Manic, thank you for stopping by! We love new readers! Some notes - If you're entering to win a book, please leave a comment on this post and use an identifying name when commenting. It's usually a great idea to include an email, which I will never give out to anyone else. You can only enter once please. You'll need to check back here in a few days to see if you've won the book -- I will either list the winner in a new post OR highlight the winner's name at the top of this post, or tell you where you can find the winner's name at the top of this post. I do NOT personally contact the winners. It is YOUR responsibility to come back to see if you've won. Most books are supplied directly through publishers, publicists and the authors. Winners will receive books directly from the publisher or author within 3 weeks from the time you provide me with your address, unless I send you the book (sometimes I will). Sorry, but we can only ship to U.S. and Canada so if you're from another country, thank you for coming by to read and discover new authors, but we can't send you a book. Any questions on how I run the blog or suggestions on who you would like to see featured, please email me at stephanieelliot[at]gmail.com. Thank you for your support!


46 comments:

Sslinsky said...

If I was going to prison I would want to bring my Kindle..I hope they have Wi-Fi!!!

Sarah Slinsky
sslinsky

TaraUB said...

This is funny since we just started watching "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix. I don't ever want to go to prison. And can you really take anything with you? I'd want money for the commissary so I could buy what I needed.

bluestarbrite Steph said...

I would bring my pictures of my family. I love taking pictures and this way I would have something great to look at.

TinaB said...

I would like to take my laptop also. I'd also like to take my soft & comfy pillow!
Brannanflooring@aol.com

betsy_blixt said...

A picture of my entire family and friends.

slm8803 said...

I'd have to have my cell phone. As if that would be allowed. LOL

jdstec said...

my tablet

absolutahnie said...

my kindle pre-loaded with lots of books & a huge gift card so i could buy more.

ncsuloges said...

What an interesting premise for the book! IT sounds excellent. I have to agree I would want to bring a Kindle. It's funny, a friend of mine and I talked about how we WANT to go to prison just so we could read all day. haha jk jk I would miss good food and my friends

equinn726 said...

I'm pretty sure they don't allow you to take anything with you to prison, but if they did, I would totally want a bodyguard.

Mary Jo Burke said...

Books

Emma S. said...

I am old school, so I prefer to actually read "real" books. I don't own an e-reader. But if I was going to prison, I'd want to get an e-reader, so I could read whatever I wanted.

buttah said...

I can't have just one...I need chapstick, lotion, mascara and lots of BOOKS!!

Bridget T. said...

Laptop.

Iambtinrb

Read Baby Read said...

If I could bring any item with me, I'd probably bring my iPad (even though I know I wouldn't be able to). The iPad would give me books, and I'd be lost in jail without books to read. I started watching Orange is the New Black based on Piper Kerman's novel (which I read), and prison is a place I'd never like to see. Thank you for the chance to win. The synopsis sounds fabulous!

Juliet Farmer said...

i would want to take myKIndle loaded with tons of books.

Ally said...

Laptop

BrendaL71 said...

That one is just too universal. I'd bring my tablet because I can still look at stuff I've downloaded and read. Even nicer if they offer WiFi. LOL!

Bev V said...

If I would ever go to prison, I'd like to bring my crochet hooks and yarn. Lots of yarn!

Sheena said...

I'd have to take two things. My ipad and lipgloss!

wapneski@yahoo.com

Jessica said...

I would definitely take my laptop but I hope they have wifi!!

Thanks!
-Jessica M
walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

Bernadette7 said...

My ipod

your invisible pixie said...

probably my ipod or a journal.

Caroline N. said...

absolutely my hair straightener. If that wasn't considered a weapon that it is :)

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely on board with all the Kindle and iPad bringers who've posted.

I'd also have to say that I really miss hand writing letters with really nice stationary so I'd probably bring those things along with a good, thick journal.

Christi
monsterhead01(at)comcast(dot)net

Margie said...

I would need my Kindle. Lots of followers seem to have the same idea.
Margie T

Hailey Fish said...

I would need a huge box of books!

CrewGirl1010 said...

My iPad....and a charger :)

Kimberly Pearlman said...

I suppose laptop is the best answer. I wish I had something awesome to take. I guess I should just be glad I'm not really going. HAHA

Kimmi said...

My make-up bag. Hey, just because I'm in the pokey, it doesn't mean I don't want to look cute.

Amelia said...

a laptop

Lisamarie said...

I would take as many books of my favorite authors as possible...

Luvschocolate said...

a case of my anti wrinkle cream

snooks28 said...

I would need to bring my trusted pup. That has to be allowed, right?

karenk said...

I would bring my kindle too...w/ a picture of my family tucked in it :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

PoCoKat said...

my iPad

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Amy Semenchuk said...

Only one thing? An iPod so I could still read and listen to music as well as look at pictures of my kids.

Bridget O'Neill said...

My iPad, which has my kindle app :)

Nanette said...

I would want my Kindle for sure. Let's hope I never have to make that choice tho. LOL!!

Hugs, Nan

My Two Army Brats said...

If I were to go to prison and get a break from real life, I'd want to bring along my iPad.

kmtkbest@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely take an iPad. It covers most of the bases. : )

SuzyQ4PR at aol dot com

Katie said...

A computer or tablet of some kind.

Kelleyc said...

iPad and lip balm!!!

Books & Reviews said...

I just finished, "Orange is the New Black" on netflix and read the book last year --- so this is a difficult question to answer. I suppose, I'd bring my laptop. I just hope I never am in that situation because it sounds dreadful.

Carly said...

My cat? Though I'm sure that's no allowed. Cigarettes? Not to smoke but to trade.

Carly H

Margie said...

It would have to be my Kindle Fire.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Margie T