Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mandatory Release by Jess Riley

5 Star

Thirty-year-old Graham Finch spends his days trying to rehabilitate inmates and his nights trying to rehabilitate his heart--until a new coworker, his high school crush Drew Daniels, walks through the prison gates one hot summer morning. Drew is on the run from a painful past that's nearly crushed her faith in love. Together, they might have just what it takes to mend their hearts. If only finding their way to one another were easier than working with convicted felons.

Lydia -5 Star

Can I have more Jess Riley, please? What a great read! Mandatory Release is darker and grittier than lighter chick lit fare, but I’m finding I really enjoy this kind of thing. Thought-provoking, unusual, with incredibly real characters you can’t help but root for, this one was a pleasure to read.

I loved this story. It is so different from anything I’ve read lately and I will definitely remember it. This is saying a lot as I have a horrific memory (which can be good when rereading books or watching a movie again) so many of the stories I read tend to melt into one another after I finish them. But how can you not remember a story about a woman who goes to teach in a prison and the wheelchair bound man she meets (from whose perspective the story is also told). As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I HAD to read this one.

Mandatory Release is mostly character driven so there isn’t a whole lot of action going on, but Riley’s amusing wit and her darker sense of humour kept me thoroughly entertained. Graham often makes sarcastic comments about his disability which were amusing and even at times a bit shocking, but it was eye opening. Jess Riley doesn’t shy away from real life circumstances, which can oftentimes suck, but there is a hopeful feel to this novel.

True to life dialogue and witty turn of phrases that kept me grinning leapt off the pages. I laughed and chuckled throughout with these charming, albeit horribly confused, characters, and their quirky, angry, sarcastic inner thoughts and dialogue. 

I found Mandatory Release thought-provoking on many levels, from Drew’s coping with her divorce to Graham’s attitude towards his circumstances and particularly the prison and the inmates. I wondered how I would fare in each characters’ situation and I often pondered “the system”. 

Mandatory Release would make a fantastic movie, and this is not something I say often about the books I read as I often prefer them in my imagination. For some reason, though, I'd love to see this on the big screen. Pick this one up today if you’re looking for something a quirky and different. I can’t wait to read more Jess Riley! Lucky for me she has several other books out!

Thank you to Jess Riley for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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  1. I've been trying to put into words exactly how brilliant, witty and talented Jess Riley is, and you nailed it. I loved Mandatory Release, and I also highly, highly recommend All the Lonely People. A fantastic review!

  2. Thanks, Sam! I can't wait to read her other work!



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