Kirkus Review (insert sigh of relief here)


What if a novelist’s characters object to their storylines? Worse, what if they hijack the plot?

While other mothers in her posh neighborhood fill their days with Bikram yoga classes, Sadie Fuller secretly writes steamy romance novels. Divorced yet still friends with her gay ex-husband, she’s raising their 11-year-old daughter, Allison, with the help of Greta, their German housekeeper. As far as her own love life, well, at 46, Sadie knows she’s past her prime, so she places an ad on Craigslist for a Friday-morning, no-strings-attached lover, and Jason responds. He’s a kind attorney, eager for a sexual relationship since his wife stole his confidence by cheating on him with the tile contractor. It’s a stable life, if a little lacking in excitement. Yet one morning, Sadie discovers an extra 1,500 words have mysteriously appeared in the novel she’s writing. She’s sure she didn’t write those words. She’s sure there was no witch named Clarissa in the story last night. And she’s sure she doesn’t know the impossibly gorgeous man who seems to be suffering from amnesia in the baby-products aisle at Target. The gorgeous man is, indeed, Aidan Hathaway, the hero of Sadie’s novel, and Sadie’s life turns upside down as she tries to explain him to nosy neighbors and jealous Jason, not to mention bewildered Greta. Allison is smitten and couldn’t care less where Aidan came from. As a romance novel hero, Aidan relies on steamy glances and suggestive comments, neither of which helps Sadie crack the mystery of why he’s here, much less how to send him back into the safe pages of her book. Debut novelist Maxwell and Sadie herself deftly bend the rules of genre fiction, letting the boundaries between reality and fiction shimmy and shimmer.

Clever, engaging and sparkling with wit.

Pub Date:March 4th, 2014
Page count:320pp
Publisher:Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:Feb. 4th, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue:Feb. 15th, 2014

Booklist Review

Happily Ever After.
Maxwell, Elizabeth (Author)
Mar 2014. 320 p. Touchstone, paperback, $15. (9781476732664).

New to the romance genre, Maxwell cleverly takes on its classic tropes in this novel about an erotic romance author whose fictional characters come to life. Sadie Fuller is a slightly frumpy divorced mom with an 11-year-old daughter, gay ex-husband, and a no-strings-attached weekly date with fun-but-flabby Jason. With K. T. Briggs as her pen name, she plumbs women’s wildest fantasies in her racy novels.

Things get interesting when a strange passage appears in her latest manuscript, followed by the materialization of the hero, Aidan, at the local Target. Though Sadie is not sure how her fiction has become her reality, she sets out to help Aidan find his love interest, Lily, and break the spell cast by Clarissa, a witch Sadie created during her brief foray into paranormal romance.

This light and funny contemporary tale is made even more interesting by how it subverts elements from the popular erotic, paranormal-themed romance novels. Even the expected happy ending has a clever twist.

— Aleksandra Walker

How to survive a remodel on one bottle of wine or less (per day..and you don’t have to share)

So this morning, like a million mornings before, I get up to do a 5:30AM boot camp. Despite all the standard time nonsense, it’s still dark and I stumble into the bathroom and get dressed and put my contacts in the wrong eyes. While this is bad (I can see if I do Clint Eastwood), it’s not as bad as showing up with your clothes inside out, which happens with alarming frequency. And these people are driving. Be careful out there, friends.

But now I need my water bottle, except my house looks like this…IMG_9985



…so where the hell is the water bottle? After a minute of panic, I give up, instead hoping to find the cat food. The cat is sad. Very very sad. She’s experienced a severe downgrade in accommodations and after 19 years considers telling me to go fuck myself. But remembering I’m the one with the treats (when I can find them) she settles for refusing to look at me or pose for a picture. This is all I’ve got of the cat.

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My ride comes to ferry me off to boot camp. I grab a water bottle from the trunk of my car. It’s from a soccer game. Probably one in August and I think I see algae growing in the bottom but it’s dark so I can’t be sure. We go to boot camp. Is the modern human meant to do 4000 squats while holding weights up in the air? Really? And the thing with the squat jumping jacks?  Our leader smirks in the corner. We exist for his amusement. Plus my head hurts because I’m not sure how one survives a remodel without drinking too much. And last night I drank too much.

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I go home. It’s still dark. The house is still a wreck. Only fourteen (estimated HAHAHA) weeks to go.  This is what our living space looks like.

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I have lived in smaller spaces. Of course, those small spaces had floors and, you know, running water and shit. But still, I can tolerate a lot. I trekked to Mt. Everest and went 21 days without a shower and no oxygen. Besides I’m armed with the essentials. The espresso machine. Don’t even kid around here, honestly.


The electric skillet. There are kids involved after all and eventually they will weary of cold cereal served at every meal.

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The grill and specifically, the burner…that I didn’t know I had until…well, yesterday? I should’ve cleaned it. I didn’t clean it.

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Surrounded by such bounty (I’m reading Little House on the Prairie with my daughter so really what the hell do I have to whine about? I don’t have to send Pa 800 miles to get me a sack of cornmeal) I was feeling cocky last night and made pork chops with apples and onions. It was going great until the sun went away at, like, 2:15 and my grill light failed and finding a flashlight?? Oh, how you make me laugh! So maybe the pork chops were overdone because I couldn’t actually see them in the dark. But the kids liked the mac and cheese because it came from a box so I had that going for me…which was nice.

Tomorrow night’s menu: fried rice with bits of overdone pork chop and probably some pine needles from the tree behind the grill…

Have Great Sex! Lose 10 Pounds! Laugh More! Win A Happily Ever After ARC!

Did I get your attention? Good. Now, I can’t help you with the sex or the weight loss thing but I can with the laughing and the winning….

This is the GoodReads win part:

This is the laugh part: Surviving Whole Foods by Kelly MacLean

Have a great Wednesday everybody!

Judge a book by its cover?

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Or…maybe do. When I bring my kids to the library, they judge books SOLELY by their covers. Is there a dragon? Right on! Is there a boy on a broomstick? Yippee! Is there a fuzzy kitten? I want that book! I’ve tried to talk them into reading books with so-so covers and they react as if I’m suggesting they take a dip in boiling beezlenut oil or, you know, voluntarily go to the doctor for a shot. So when it comes to kids books, I’ve learned to consider the cover very carefully or risk an upturned nose and a brisk ‘forget it, Mom.’

But what about adult books? Shouldn’t we be able to skip the cover and get to the heart of it: is this book any good or am I going to be bitter that I just spent hours of my life I’m never getting back to read it?? Yes. We should be above covers and yet…

…I’m guilty. I love a good cover! I mean, a good cover will get me to throw down my hard earned money and buy the damn thing. It will get me over a blah review or a boring book jacket description. If the cover sings, if it draws me in, I’m a goner. It’s one of the reasons I can’t bring myself to love ebooks the way I love the print version. I want to see that cover the way it was meant to be!
Okay, now that I’ve confessed that I’m no better than a child when it comes to judging books, I want to share the cover of Happily Ever After (release date 3/4/14) with you. The folks at Touchstone Books did such a great job, I hope you judge it at least a little by its cover! (have a look here: or here:

Do you have a favorite book cover? Do covers influence your decision about what to read next? Let me know: @maxwellwrites, or email me:

Happy Reading Everyone!