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Friday Giveaway: What-To-Read Edition

This week’s winner is Lisa. Thanks to everyone who commented!


Happy Friday, everybody!

I think it might be spring. Since it’s May 9, I would say it is ABOUT FUCKING TIME, but somehow I feel more celebratory of spring’s arrival than I am annoyed by its dawdling. I think this is some kind of trick winter plays on me, up here in the hinterlands of Wisconsin. It lasts and lasts and lasts, and I shovel and shovel and shovel, and then I give up and it keeps being winter, and my hair gets greasy, and I eat a lot of cookies, and then one day without warning it is SPRING! With GREEN things coming out of the GROUND!

And I am all smiles about it, like Tina Fey, here:


Tina Fey gif


Anyway. I had a busy week in a busy travel season, and I missed Wednesday’s what-to-read post, so I’m going to do that today along with the usual Friday giveaway, because I am in charge here, in fact, and I do what I want. I will spare you the gif on that. The book I’m recommending this week is Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers. Here’s the blurb—


LaughDr. Sam Burnside is convinced that volunteering at an urban green-space farm in Lakefield, Ohio, is a waste of time—especially with his new health clinic about to open. He only goes to mollify his partner, suspecting she wants him to lighten up. Then Sam catches sight of Nina Paz, a woman who gives off more heat than a scorcher in July. Her easy smile and flirty, sizzling wit has him forgetting his infamous need for control.

Widowed when her husband was killed in Afghanistan, Nina has learned that life exists to take chances. As the daughter of migrant workers turned organic farmers, she’s built an exciting and successful business by valuing new opportunities and working hard to take care of her own. But when Sam pushes for a relationship that goes beyond their hotter-than-fire escapades, Nina ignores her own hard-won wisdom. She isn’t ready for a man who needs saving—even if her heart compels her to take the greatest risk of all: love.


Laugh is the second book in Mary Ann’s Burnside Series, which gets all up in the love lives of the four Burnside siblings: Destiny, Sam, Paul, and Sarah. I love this series for a lot of reasons. It’s brave and big, intelligent, deeply emotional. It’s about siblings who are all a little lost after their father’s death, and it’s about how they love each other and how hard they’re trying to figure themselves out and find family again.

It’s about a community and how one family fits into it, and how history is layered over the present, and how friendships form and break apart.

Sam has ADHD, and struggles with it — struggles with himself, his feelings, his love, and how difficult it is for him to put his love into action so that those he love can receive it. It is really beautiful to hear Sam’s voice, how Mary Ann brings him to life. It is beautiful, too, to see him with Nina, who really sees him, understands him, and is probably the only woman on earth who could ever tolerate a happy-ever-after with this particular lovable, awful, lovable man.

Anyway. This is me, reading from Laugh.



Laugh, by Mary Ann Rivers | Amazon | Barnes & NobleGoodreads


What have you guys got going on this weekend? I’m heading to Oshkosh for the Lakefly Literary Conference, where I’ll be at the open-to-the-public reception tonight from 6-8 and then doing a session on rewriting/revising tomorrow afternoon. Details on the Events page.

Is it spring where you are? Are your legs as white and pasty as mine? Do you go for hikes in the woods and spend the entire rest of the day feeling phantom ticks crawl all over your body, or is that just me? Do you like the Burnside Series? Tell me all the things in the comments — or one of the things, I’m not choosy — and I’ll pick one random commenter to win a $10 gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes (winner’s choice).

28 thoughts on “Friday Giveaway: What-To-Read Edition

  1. Since it’s topping 90 degrees here in Florida I have big plans to sit on the Beach, read, and enjoy the family!

    Your reading recommendation is spot on. I thoroughly enjoyed Laugh! Sam and Nina are spectacular together.

  2. Ever since you recommended The Story Guy ( thank you) I’ve been a huge fan of Mary Ann.

    I really enjoyed Laugh!!

  3. I love spring cuz I love to go for long walks with my dog but I am a bit bug phobic so I totally feel ya. I have to make a conscientious effort not to overdo it with my dog as I have accidentally poisoned another dog by using too much flea and tick products. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

  4. Oh, yea, I am pasty white. Getting ready to head up to Knoxville to see a grandson graduate from high school. How did this happen? He was just in diapers a few months ago. Yes I love all things Mary Ann. You raved about The Story Guy, and I was hooked.

  5. I am so pasty white. My goal this summer is to actually get a little bit of a tan so I don’t look like Casper.

  6. Going to see my Mama for Mother’s Day tomorrow then enjoy the day with my daughter on Sunday. She and I have been hiking and running in our local park-I’m more wigged out about poison ivy than ticks!

  7. I haven’t read any of this series but it sounds like something I’d enjoy reading. It’s beautiful here today and it does feel like a spring day, as opposed to the almost summer feel of last week. I don’t spend a lot of time outside because of my severe RA so I’m blindingly white.

  8. It has only been spring for a couple of weeks here in NC, so I am still a little surprised when I feel hot. Long winter, even for us. However, this weekend I am celebrating the end of our homeschool year, so it is summer now!!! Yeah!!!

  9. I read Laugh already this week, pounced on it as soon as it was available. It was wonderful! Spring appears to be finally coming this way, highs in the 50s this upcoming week, and sunny. There are patches of green mixed in with the brown grass.

  10. Your description of Winter’s transition into spring is perhaps the most accurate I have ever seen. It is the same here in Southeastern Minnesota. I probably spent a half hour yesterday just staring at the green buds on our maple trying not to do some kind of dance of thanks that it’s finally here. Let’s not talk about how pasty I am. I was toying with the idea of wearing capris this weekend, and figure that my legs can act as some sort of back up light supply in case of power failure.

  11. I love this book! I love everything she writes. I reviewed it today at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks.

    It’s a bit springish, and finally getting some green; thanks to all the rain. Of course, I WEAR sunscreen. I don’t get the crawling feeling too much. I love the Burnside series. I am already in love with PJ, in fact.

  12. I think we skipped spring and went straight to summer here in Texas since we are in the mid 90s here. I spent a little time actually out of the shade and in the sun with my daughters with my 100spf suncsreen on last Sunday, as in almost a freaking week ago, and I am still sunburnt. That is how white and intolerable to the sun I am! My daughters on the other hand have been working on their tans for weeks and are gorgeous!

    Yes I love the Burnside Series…or I loved Live. I haven’t read Laugh yet…but I will soon I hope!

  13. Yay, it’s finally Spring for you guys! Have heard bulletins from fam and friends about the craziness that was your winter this year. Not cool. Around here (Seattleland), I mainly step out onto our back porch, stare at my very wet, green and wild-ish yard thru HGTV-colored glasses, take a swig of my iced latte, and end up picking slugs off of our daughter’s plantings, relocating snails to fairy houses, jump on her trampoline and play Frisbee with our dog. A vision of productivity? Hell no. Fun? Yes! This series sounds fantastic. Thanks for recommending it, Ruthie 🙂

  14. I spotted buds on my favorite and best-smelling bush in the backyard. It’s been so long since it last blossomed, I forgot the name of it.
    The sunshine is reintroducing me to my Wisconsin backyard! Yay!

  15. I am also a pasty white on my legs. It has been Spring for several weeks now (or Summerlike at times). The weeds in my lawn grow faster than the grass does unfortunately. Yes, when I go for a walk in the woods I can feel the ticks crawling all over me whether they are there or not.

  16. Oh, Sam and Nina. I loved LAUGH and had such a hard time not talking about it to everybody who dropped by my office on those days when I didn’t want to be doing anything besides reading that book. (I compensated for my amazing show of self-control by babbling about it nonstop to my husband — and sometimes even to my children, because I’m clearly insane — at home.) It’s such a beautiful book.

    Ah, spring. I’m enjoying the blossoms on my peach tree and blackberry patch and looking forward to a nice fruit harvest this year. Here’s hoping my lime tree decides to bear fruit this year (it would be its first fruit) and that my grapefruit tree does as well this year as last.

  17. We’re just starting to get warmer weather here. I can finally see the grass now that all the snow has finally melted!! I haven’t read the Burnside series, I’ll have to add it to my list and check it out.

  18. It’s too soon to tell if I like the entire Burnside series, but I do tend to like anything Mary Ann Rivers writes!

  19. That is an outrageous excerpt! and I LOVE the fact that the character is ADHD. Now I am fascinated to read it!

    No major plans! kid 2 softball game, kid 1 Karate practice. Somewhere in between I need to go food shopping, plant shopping, plant the plants, feed family, etc!!!

    But if I am lucky I will get in reading time!!!

  20. It’s finally spring in Pittsburgh, and I got so excited that I went for a trail run in the woods, tripped on a root, and did a totally amazing face plant on the trail. But nothing broke, not even my flying iphone!

    On another note, everyone should drop everything, buy, and read, “Laugh.” It’s a wonderfully messy and real love story.

  21. Mary Ann is a new author for me, so I haven’t read the Burnside series before. I’ll have to check it out! And I’m part of pasty legs posse, as we haven’t been getting a lot of sun around here. Hoping summer weather will be here soon!

  22. It is finally spring in Cleveland, OH. My legs as white and pasty. We used to hike in the woods behind my house when the kids were little but not we walk up at the YMCA. I have never read anything from the Burnside Series.

    Happy Mother’s Day! We will be having a cookout tomorrow at my house. Guys are cooking! 🙂

  23. The grass is growing like crazy and I enjoyed Laugh. Maybe Live wins in a squeaker, though. I can’t wait for PJ’s book. Love your stuff too!

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