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Mandatory Release

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  233 ratings  ·  63 reviews
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 thei ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published July 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  233 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jess Riley is the kind of writer I would like to be: unself-consciously hip, laugh-out-loud funny and able to write characters who are so real, you expect to run into them at Starbucks (though they're far too cool to go to Starbucks and would likely be at the independent coffeehouse down the street). Also, she made me cry. Read this book. ...more
Melanie Moore
The You Bought It, You Read It Mission continues to knock book after book off my To Be Read list. My newest notch on my bookshelf belongs to Jess Riley. Her book, Mandatory Release, was actually a gift given to me. She was having a giveaway on her fan page and lucky me! I won! I never win anything.

I am no stranger to Jess Riley. I discovered her through Indie Author Land. The IAD blog does great little interviews with Indie writers to help get them exposure. The same time frame that my intervie
Darren Tang
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is quite the charming novel. I grew close to Graham and Drew as their interwoven stories meet in a rather anticlimactic ending. As a teacher, I enjoyed Drew's analysis of her classroom and the relationships she builds with her students. And as a fat, shallow, stationary, couch potatoe, I can relate to Graham's paraplegic handicap. THE END. ...more
Jess Riley
May 02, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm so happy to announce the release of my third novel, Mandatory Release. It features some of my favorite characters I've ever written, and I miss them already. Thanks to everyone who's read or reviewed it already; I really appreciate it! ...more
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Mandatory Release was a hilarious adult read. Please note that this is an adult book with adult situations and is not suitable for 17 and under. I know I know some of you are thinking what the hell..... well I will say this this book is for adults. It has humor,sex, and lots of witty banter back and forth. Graham Finch is the man with a master plan. He is bitter and has a shit job. He is a rehabilitation worker in a prison. I mean what sucks worse than that? Well see Graham was in a bad accident ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog @ http://therelentlessreader.blogspot.c...

You may have noticed that I tend to read a lot of dark books. I'm a fan of memoirs wherein the protagonist has a much crappier life than I do. I have a hankering to read about the seedy underbelly of life. I'm into gritty, dirty, twisty books that make me feel better about my own little first-world problems.

So, reading Mandatory Release was like floating in a swimming pool with a cool glass of lemonade tucked in my cup hol
Suzy Soro
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I got an advanced copy of Jess Riley's newest novel and like with all her other books expected an intelligent, interesting, and fun read. What I didn't expect was the unusual setting of a prison, a guy in a wheelchair, a cheating friend, and a twist in the plot that kept me hungrily turning the pages.

Jess has always been an excellent storyteller and her quirky and unique use of the English language is what keeps me returning to her work. That and her humor; I think this is her funniest book to
Jaime Yeager
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2013
I really really wanted to like this book. It had been on my list all summer as a recommendation from my favorite author. Not only did it take me weeks to get through but I really struggled with the story line. I felt like several sub plots started at were never wrapped up - what happened to Brooke? Ben? I waited 200 pages to find out what Bens big secret was and was seriously let down. I did enjoy the writing style but the story didn't do it for me ...more
Holly Schiefelbein
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was unimpressed. The characters were simplified and not all that believable, at least at the level the book was written. So full of over the top metaphors and ridiculous descriptions that they aren't funny after the first chapter. Not a bad summer read, but I wondered why I had bothered taking the time to read it about 3/4 of the way through. ...more
Kate Hewitt
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a different book with a quirky style of writing and humour that I really liked. I did find Graham a bit of a whiner after awhile, which it seems like he did too, but I would have liked a bit more character development and growth from him about his situation, and not just having him essentially stay the same and get the girl.
Pretty Sassy Cool
3 stars.

I liked this one.

After a life-wrenching breakup with her boyfriend of eight years, Drew Daniels moves back home and gets a job with her mother at a medium-security prison as a Special Ed teacher. Trying to figure out a way to mend her broken heart, she feels like she's hit rock bottom.
She was also staying with her parents because her mother felt she shouldn't be alone after what happened. Especially since those early days without Ben had been filtered through an ugly new lens--one that d
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The dialogue is very funny.
3 stars.

You can see this review, along with a bunch of others, at Pretty Sassy Cool .

I liked this one.

After a life-wrenching breakup with her boyfriend of eight years, Drew Daniels moves back home and gets a job with her mother at a medium-security prison as a Special Ed teacher. Trying to figure out a way to mend her broken heart, she feels like she's hit rock bottom.
She was also staying with her parents because her mother felt she shouldn't be alone after what happened. Especially since tho
The Book Trollop
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, arc
So I started reading this book and within the first couple pages of the book I was already enamored with the lead character, Graham.
He was cynical, funny, sarcastic, witty, and blunt. He is in a wheelchair from a car accident with a slim possibility of ever walking again.
When we are first introduced to him, he is meeting people on an online dating website but not revealing to them that he is in a wheelchair. He wanted to have the other people get to know him first before being put off by the f
I was kindly provided with a free copy of this novel for review purposes by the publishers.

I'm going to admit straight away that what drew me to this novel was the comparison that has been made to the US prison drama 'Oz', which happens to be one of the most addictive and compelling TV shows I have ever watched. The idea of a novel set in a prison, following the lives of two prison workers really appealed to me and I was excited to give it a go. I love to try something new and this was something
Gillian (Tattooed Book Review)
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
See this review and more at!

“Have you ever had one of those moments where you just knew the person you were sitting across from could be happy for the rest of her life, if only she spent it with you? Not like you are personally the key to her euphoria or something, you’re not that ego-centric, but she would be happy because you adore her. You complement one another. You’re on the same team. And you know there’s chemistry there because sometimes she looks at you a beat
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jess Riley has got skills, y'all.

In all seriousness - I have read all of her published books and what I've found in every story are fully developed characters. It feels like she's writing about real people, someone you could meet on the street or at a dog park. You almost feel as if you're getting a peek into their soul while you're reading.

Another thing I love about her work is that it is unique. Her books aren't rehashing ideas that have been done a million times before. Mandatory Release is
Lydia Laceby
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes.

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 b
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jess Riley is a new author to me, someone I’ve never read before, although I do have one of her novels on my Kindle called All The Lonely People, but as soon as I saw her new novel Mandatory Release on Netgalley I was massively intrigued. A novel set in a prison? Say what?? Chick Lit fans may question reading a novel set in a prison but let me tell you, this is an amazing work of fiction.

The plot of the novel is two-fold, focusing on two workers at Lakeside Prison in Laurentide Bay. There’s Grah
This is the first Jess Riley book that I've read but the description sounded like something right up my alley! I am so glad that I took the time to read this one and I think I may have found a new author to seek out! I love books with an underlying darkness, a sense of snarkiness and good writing. This book has all three in abundance!

The storytelling in this novel is excellent and I really loved getting to know the characters that Jess Riley created here. The characters all felt real ... alive,
Confessions of a Book Whore
This was the first book I’ve read by Jess Riley and I fell in LOVE with this novel. She has just gained a faithful fan! I don’t know how to adequately describe my feelings after reading this book but I will try my best…

Graham and Drew were friends in high school. Back then, Graham had it bad for Drew but she was always unavailable. With Drew’s return and her new job in such close proximity to Graham’s his old feelings resurface. Can Drew look past the man in the wheelchair, and remember the man
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Graham's life was forever changed the day he lost the love of his life as well as the use of his legs in a drunken car wreck. Confined to a wheel chair, Graham spends his day rehabilitating inmates, a job that he certainly doesn't take lightly. But, prison was the last place that Graham ever expected to find a new chance at life.. and love.

Drew thought she lost her soul mate the day that a forbidden criminal act tore her relationship apart, and she never expected to find herself living back with
Orbs n Rings
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Awesome, unique novel! Didn't want it to end.

What first drew me to this novel was its unique title. In Mandatory Release you have the main character Drew Daniels who is back living at home with her family after a failed marriage. In an attempt to bring some normalcy into her new life she accepts a job a the Lakeside Correctional facility, where her mother also works.

At Lakeside Drew has her share of bad days while teaching a group of convicted felons. As she struggles to get past the memories of
John Luiz
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This a charming book told from the alternating perspectives of Graham and Drew. Graham is a paraplegic with a sarcastic sense of humor, stemming from the horrible fate he suffered and which he knows was mostly his own fault. He was thrown from a convertible when he and his ex-wife left a wedding, both very drunk and in his case, not wearing a seatbelt. Drew, a woman he had a crush on in high school has her own dark secret, and the story takes a while to reveal it to us. Running from that scandal ...more
Charlotte Lynn
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Graham Finch and Drew Daniels are high school friends who had crushes on each other but never acted on them. Many years later Graham is working in a state prison helping rehabilitate prisoners. He is also paralyzed from a car accident and trying to cope and adjust to his new lifestyle. Drew is a teacher running from her past and ends up working in the same prison as Graham. Feelings start to grow but both Graham and Drew have to make peace with their pasts and figure out how to move forward.

Jessica Figueroa
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Drew Daniels goes back to live with her parents after her failed marriage. Taking up a new job as a special education teacher in a correctional facility is very different from what she was used to. In the facility she comes to meet new people including Joe and an old friend Graham.

Graham was in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down leaving him stuck in a wheelchair. Because he couldn't handle his new lifestyle he took it out on the world which led to his divorce. Now with a
Carrie Stadtler
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mandatory release is a book about 2 high school friends, Graham and Drew, who meet up many years later while they are both going through divorces and trying to put their lives back together. They end up working at the same job and Graham fall for Drew all over again. I enjoyed how the two main characters were total opposites in the book, Graham comes off as bitter and pessimistic about life and Drew is the exact opposite showing a caring and compassionate nature, there are many funny situations ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Great description: “Mike sinks into a chair next to me and hunches over, elbows on knees and hands clapped together in can-do stance, his pleated khaki slacks bunching and stretching, cuffs riding up to reveal stripes of blinding, hairy calf.”

Great dialogue: “Hey, I was thinking. You remember that time your fart made Don Winston throw up?”

Great take on a grumpy old biker chick:
“When she’s not straddling a hog on one of America’s more popular highways, I wonder if she models for Shrunken Apple H
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
Jess Riley....hmmm, how can I start this....She is amazing, talented and authentic, yes that is a great start! She has the ability to write great dialogue from many voices. In Mandatory Release she writes from a male voice and Riley is able to capture the spirit of this character in all his flaws, issues, deceit and rawness/realness. She also writes from a female voice that is insecure, struggling and unsure, but determined to make the best of it. So besides the great dialogue that is harsh, hon ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Graham and Drew were high school friends who met up again after years of disillusionment where love is concerned. This time around they meet up at work – a prison no less, where they are both employed, Graham is still trying to deal with his disability and Drew is reeling from a broken heart. The attraction they feel for each other is confusing and so they just keep plodding onward through the hurt until they find they way – to who knows where and to whom???
I thought this book was awesome! The s
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Wisconsin native Jess Riley spent much of her childhood being punished for lying and/or passing notes during class, both of which qualified her for a possible future as a novelist. She won her first short story contest in high school for a tale told through the point of view of a seven-year-old black boy living in Cabrini Green because as a middle-class white teenager, she knew a lot about that ki ...more

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