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Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing

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Politics is a test of wills in a sharp, funny, and emotional novel about truth and consequences by the New York Times bestselling author. Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed Politics is a test of wills in a sharp, funny, and emotional novel about truth and consequences by the New York Times bestselling author. Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral.With seven words—“Cleo McDougal is not a good person”—the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life.Enter Cleo’s “regrets list” of 233 and counting. Her chief of staff has a brilliant idea: pick the top ten, make amends during a media blitz, and repair her reputation. But there are regrets, and there are regrets: like her broken relationship with her sister, her affair with a law school professor…and the regret too big to even say out loud.But with risk comes reward, and as Cleo makes both peace and amends with her past, she becomes more empowered than ever to tackle her career, confront the hypocrites out to destroy her, and open her heart to what matters most—one regret at a time.


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Politics is a test of wills in a sharp, funny, and emotional novel about truth and consequences by the New York Times bestselling author. Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed Politics is a test of wills in a sharp, funny, and emotional novel about truth and consequences by the New York Times bestselling author. Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral.With seven words—“Cleo McDougal is not a good person”—the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life.Enter Cleo’s “regrets list” of 233 and counting. Her chief of staff has a brilliant idea: pick the top ten, make amends during a media blitz, and repair her reputation. But there are regrets, and there are regrets: like her broken relationship with her sister, her affair with a law school professor…and the regret too big to even say out loud.But with risk comes reward, and as Cleo makes both peace and amends with her past, she becomes more empowered than ever to tackle her career, confront the hypocrites out to destroy her, and open her heart to what matters most—one regret at a time.

30 review for Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Well, I suppose it's time to review my own book, since its pub date is just around the corner! This one took me a while to come into: I worked on a different manuscript for some time, writing it and rewriting it, but while the intention behind it was working -- I wanted to shine on a light on being a woman in this particular moment in the world -- the words and storyline were not. And then came Cleo McDougal. Cleo is a complicated, headstrong, ambitious, independent woman. She is a Senator, yes, Well, I suppose it's time to review my own book, since its pub date is just around the corner! This one took me a while to come into: I worked on a different manuscript for some time, writing it and rewriting it, but while the intention behind it was working -- I wanted to shine on a light on being a woman in this particular moment in the world -- the words and storyline were not. And then came Cleo McDougal. Cleo is a complicated, headstrong, ambitious, independent woman. She is a Senator, yes, but this isn't a story about politics, and I worked hard to ensure that. This is a story about power: having it, losing it, abusing it, flaunting it, sharing it, craving it, and bequeathing it. It is, I hope, a story that a lot of us can find ourselves in: none of us has to be running for President to understand Cleo's broken (and restorative) friendships, her family fractures, her love for her son, her aspirations to be the best at her job, the hurdles she faces and the triumphs she embraces. I'm really pretty proud to be telling the story of a woman like Cleo. She may have a list of 233 regrets, but really, there isn't much about her that I'd change. I hope you love her as much as I do.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing follows 37 year old single mom and senator, Cleo, who plans to announce her presidential campaign soon. First, though, Cleo must address the aftermath of an op-ed written by a former friend alleging she’s not a good person. At at the insistence of her highest advisor, Gaby, Cleo embarks on a quest to tackle several items on her long list of regrets, to make amends and move forward. While I didn’t always agree with Cleo’s actions, especially her sometimes quick dismi Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing follows 37 year old single mom and senator, Cleo, who plans to announce her presidential campaign soon. First, though, Cleo must address the aftermath of an op-ed written by a former friend alleging she’s not a good person. At at the insistence of her highest advisor, Gaby, Cleo embarks on a quest to tackle several items on her long list of regrets, to make amends and move forward. While I didn’t always agree with Cleo’s actions, especially her sometimes quick dismissal of her 15 year old son’s feelings, given her space in the public eye, I appreciated realistic elements of the story including the double standards women often (unfairly) face — in work, in the media, and in life. ”Women who were constantly apologizing were at a disadvantage in any negotiation and, of course, taken less seriously, because who wants advice or counsel from someone who is sorry before they’ve even convinced you of anything?” Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing is somewhat predictable but I enjoyed it and liked Cleo’s ultimate character growth in the story. This was my second book by Allison Winn Scotch and I am a fan.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Reid

    If you feel like your life is 100 percent politics all the time and there’s no turning it off, this story about fictional Senator Cleo McDougal facing a scandal can help you escape without losing focus. Allison Winn Scotch’s newest is smart and fun and has some serious bite—which is not surprising because all Scotch’s books do.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I read Allison Winn Scotch’s book, In Twenty Years, a while back and really enjoyed the nostalgia and how clever it was. Cleo McDougal is just as smart and savvy. Cleo is a senator and single mother who wants to be President. That is, until a former friend writes an op-ed piece about her entitled, “Cleo McDougal is not a good person.” Of course the article goes viral. Now, Cleo has damage control ahead of her. She has a list of regrets, big ones. Will Cleo comes to term with the mistakes in her p I read Allison Winn Scotch’s book, In Twenty Years, a while back and really enjoyed the nostalgia and how clever it was. Cleo McDougal is just as smart and savvy. Cleo is a senator and single mother who wants to be President. That is, until a former friend writes an op-ed piece about her entitled, “Cleo McDougal is not a good person.” Of course the article goes viral. Now, Cleo has damage control ahead of her. She has a list of regrets, big ones. Will Cleo comes to term with the mistakes in her past? While I like the cover and title, I think they may lead you to think this book is fluffy, but it’s not. Cleo is a smart, relatable character, and the writing flows. Overall, Cleo’s story is full of heart and humor, thought-provoking honesty, friendship and family, and one I definitely recommend. I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    Quit at 67%. The same details and stories seemed to be repeated and rehashed too many times. Yes, she got pregnant in college. Yes, her parents passed. Yes, she’s ambitious. Yes, she’s a terrible friend. I get it. I get it. I would put the book down and then have to talk myself into picking it back up again. That’s not a good sign. Cleo was so boring and the best part - the idea that we spend some time reflecting on our regrets and do what we can to learn and grow from them - got lost in Cleo’s Quit at 67%. The same details and stories seemed to be repeated and rehashed too many times. Yes, she got pregnant in college. Yes, her parents passed. Yes, she’s ambitious. Yes, she’s a terrible friend. I get it. I get it. I would put the book down and then have to talk myself into picking it back up again. That’s not a good sign. Cleo was so boring and the best part - the idea that we spend some time reflecting on our regrets and do what we can to learn and grow from them - got lost in Cleo’s angst and drama and self-absorption.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Misty

    This book was difficult to finish, as it just failed to engage me on a number of fronts. First, the plot seemed cliche and predictable. Second, most of the characters were stereotypes with added traits that attempted to render them more modern or PC. Finally, I just didn’t like ANY of the characters. Not a single one. I won’t again summarize the plot, as many here have already done so much better than I ever could. Suffice it to say, the conclusion could be written by damn near anyone who had rea This book was difficult to finish, as it just failed to engage me on a number of fronts. First, the plot seemed cliche and predictable. Second, most of the characters were stereotypes with added traits that attempted to render them more modern or PC. Finally, I just didn’t like ANY of the characters. Not a single one. I won’t again summarize the plot, as many here have already done so much better than I ever could. Suffice it to say, the conclusion could be written by damn near anyone who had read the first twenty pages. This predictability was fairly routine throughout the book, and so nothing that happened was either unexpected or engaging. I found myself thinking, “Pffft. Big surprise” and punctuating those thoughts with eye rolls. What was NOT predictable, however, were some of the nuances that ran counterintuitive to the stereotypes perpetuated by the characters themselves. WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD Cleo is a woman who, according to her own diatribes, is successful and fiercely independent. For someone so intent upon being self sufficient, she sure lamented her lack of relationships—over and over and over. The other characters were cliches with PC attachments. Gaby is the strong black woman who values her reputation then sleeps with and subsequently sexts a white man she barely knows. Emily is a housewife who is admittedly and outwardly bi-sexual. Doug is a happily married gay man. Bowen is a gorgeous womanizer with a conscience. Lucas is a broody teenager, mature enough to call an ambulance rather than his own mother when he gets sick. Each is a caricature with at least one trait that makes him, or her, a bit unbelievable and difficult to “like”. Perhaps no character, however, is as unlikable as Cleo herself. Cleo spends a great deal of time telling us three things. One, she is strong and independent. Two, she was a young, driven single mother. And three, that she has regrets. These three pieces form the basis of the novel, and of each page within each chapter. She repeats them so often that I almost gave up on the reading. She came off as arrogant, self-absorbed and unfriendly. The author does such a good job at painting her as a female piranha, when she tried to work in Cleo’s change of heart about damn near everything she has said she stands for, it falls horribly flat. Her “Only Forward” campaign slogan is laughable in light of the amount of time she spends in her past; her disingenuous attempts at apologies read as being only thinly veiled attempts to get ahead in the public eye; and her cut-throat antics never seem to bite back. Instead, every regret turns out to be a step forward for her. Though she purports to address her life regrets to “make things right”, she never seems remorseful and simply spins her mistakes to her advantage. Overall, this took me almost three days to read, as I kept putting it back on the shelf. Once finished, I had my own regrets—at having invested so much time in a book that never really paid off. Three stars, and that’s being generous,

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    IF you like reading about narcisstic women, then you might like this book. If you like waiting until 75-80% of the story to begin liking a book, then you might like this book. If you're under the age of 40, you might like this book. Officially, I am now too old for reading books by young authors.....they bore me to tears. I REGRET trying to read this book!! IF you like reading about narcisstic women, then you might like this book. If you like waiting until 75-80% of the story to begin liking a book, then you might like this book. If you're under the age of 40, you might like this book. Officially, I am now too old for reading books by young authors.....they bore me to tears. I REGRET trying to read this book!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vibliophile

    The only real regret should be a life not lived generously I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but hesitated to pick this up from First Reads because the last thing I want to read right now is someone shoving their political views in my face, but the author actually did manage to keep it close to politically neutral with just a few small slips here and there. Nothing egregious, though I still had no problem figuring out what her political leanings were pretty early on. The book's ideology The only real regret should be a life not lived generously I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but hesitated to pick this up from First Reads because the last thing I want to read right now is someone shoving their political views in my face, but the author actually did manage to keep it close to politically neutral with just a few small slips here and there. Nothing egregious, though I still had no problem figuring out what her political leanings were pretty early on. The book's ideology IS clearly feminist-themed - some of it authentic Susan B Anthony level feminism & some of it more Gloria Allred. Translated that means only half of the men are slimes instead of all of them 😉 Cleo isn't all that likeable at the beginning. She really isn't a particularly good person, either. It's interesting to see how she initially reflects on her regrets with her best friend in high school, yet concludes that she'd do it all again. She counts things as regrets that she's not necessarily sorry for - it reminded me of the dad who once told me about pressuring his daughter to get an abortion, which he said he regretted, but then said he would do it all over again if he had to. That's unhappy acceptance or resignation, not true regret. So in tackling her old regrets, Cleo manages to discover, or even create, new ones. I liked the idea of repairing or putting one's regrets to rest, & I liked that she wakes up to the wrong she's done & truly comes to regret it. It just felt more than a little surprising that she was only just learning that at 37, and there were aspects of her journey that felt contrived. Still, it's a positive story - and by the end, she even begins to recognize that people being concerned about you and wanting to help can actually be doing it because they care & want to help - not because they think they're superior or you're weak. I liked the story concept. It had something worthwhile to propose, but I honestly felt like it didn't cover near as much ground as it could have because it was fixated on being a feminist story more than a universally human one *POTENTIAL CONTENT ISSUES The story is totally secular, with casual, recreational attitudes towards sex. Includes the now requisite token gay couple. There is frank discussion, but no graphic scenes or details Generous amount of swearing: 62 f-bombs, 71 sh--, 4 d---, 15 h--- Uses the Lord's Name in vain repeatedly, sadly & unnecessarily, including as curses, more than a hundred times. [Realistic language? Author Lucy Maud Montgomery was asked in her later years about the then modern trend toward more "realistic" writing. Her response was that going to the latrine was realistic, too, yet she had no desire to read about it. The authenticity of a character's voice resides in *what* they say, rather than what the author forces the reader to sift thru to get to the substance]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tinichix (nicole)

    “ … choices are made, regrets are managed, consequences arise … “ “ … we all could’ve been kinder in high school … “ And that pretty much sums up Cleo McDougal. No it doesn’t actually, but they are the main ideas in the story. This was good. I enjoyed it. I don’t think I was expecting it to have as many layers as it did. There is a political portion to the story that isn’t too technical or too much right now, and then there is her personal life. They both end up colliding. The synopsis here tells “ … choices are made, regrets are managed, consequences arise … “ “ … we all could’ve been kinder in high school … “ And that pretty much sums up Cleo McDougal. No it doesn’t actually, but they are the main ideas in the story. This was good. I enjoyed it. I don’t think I was expecting it to have as many layers as it did. There is a political portion to the story that isn’t too technical or too much right now, and then there is her personal life. They both end up colliding. The synopsis here tells us “Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral. With seven words—“Cleo McDougal is not a good person”—the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life.” It was very modern and current in terms of social media and trends. Our protagonist has a very realistic relationship with her teenage son that we follow along with also. It had funny moments, it had moments most of us could probably relate to, and it had moments that pull on your heart strings. I especially appreciated how the definition of “regrets” evolves over the course of the story. How things we once considered to be regretful maybe aren’t so much any longer and then in turn how things we once didn’t regret we now do. I think we all probably made poor choices 20-30 years ago or while being teenagers, how ever long ago that was for you. I think once you can no longer change something it’s what you do going forward and the actions you take to hold yourself accountable. All of these things are in this book and I think that’s what makes it have so many layers. The following is a topic in the book but not a real spoiler. Skip to the last paragraph if you wish. * *I didn’t know an awful lot about this book and wasn’t expecting the #metoo portion. But I think it reinforced the price women (or men for that matter) end up paying for speaking their truth, or simply trying to be an equal. If you avoid this subject matter you may want to skip this book. While it is not incredibly descriptive and discusses more of the emotional aspects it is part of this story.* I think this met my expectations. I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to be my favorite read of the year but it for sure wasn’t in the bottom half either. I listened on audio and it had one of my favorite narrators and she did a great job. I think this is a good audio choice and overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it. “Don’t apologize. Don’t apologize for anything if you’re not responsible for the problem.” “People should be allowed their secret’s. People should be allowed their scars.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany (OomilyReads)

    This was difficult & frustrating. Only good part was the last 10% of the book. Cleo McDougal is not likeable. She’s not gracious. And she’s not unrelatable. After the book, I STILL don’t like her. She’s not even a good person for most of her life and admits to this. She’s cutthroat, ruthless and doesn’t even have a sense of humor. I really wished she had a sense of humor. She’s literally a mood killer and doesn’t laugh at anything and corrects people often. She kills me. She has no understanding This was difficult & frustrating. Only good part was the last 10% of the book. Cleo McDougal is not likeable. She’s not gracious. And she’s not unrelatable. After the book, I STILL don’t like her. She’s not even a good person for most of her life and admits to this. She’s cutthroat, ruthless and doesn’t even have a sense of humor. I really wished she had a sense of humor. She’s literally a mood killer and doesn’t laugh at anything and corrects people often. She kills me. She has no understanding or real relationship with her teenage son. She’s so socially awkward. Get off your high horse lady! She often says she did everything by herself, always on her own and never giving anyone credit. She finally realizes that she only had to ask and be vulnerable but lets be real here, she DIDN’T do it all on her own. Emily, Gaby, her sister Georgie helped her. She didn’t give them enough credit. Maybe if she spent more time on caring for her son and raising him into a decent young man, she wouldn’t be chasing after him trying to tell him to change. She is terrible to her sister who seems to only be nothing but good to her and she never makes up for it. She even mentions several times her sister was a disaster to her parents and their family dynamics. That it was really just the three of them (mother, father & her) and pretty much wanted nothing to do with her sister. As if she’s a nuisance/outcast and she was gladly to do it even after their death. I wish the author had her address how horrible she was to her sister all those years. The reason I gave this 3 stars is because I liked the 10% and I did like some of the themes in the book. It’s true that women are scrutinized, ridiculed and torn apart when they go publicly about their sexual predators. She often says her own equal is Gaby. Does that mean you are often looking down on others? That’s what it sounds like to me. What kind of feminist are you anyway? If you have to keep proving to others you are better than them, then it takes away from who you are. Just do what you need to do and stop talking. She also never apologizes and gets mad when anyone does. She became a “feminist” by tearing down other women. PS for the LOVE of books, please stop it with the run-on sentences. I obviously write run-on sentences but I’m not an author. This author has run-on sentence after run-on sentence. Sometimes for whole paragraphs! CAN WE GET A PERIOD IN HERE SOMEWHERE?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I was lucky to receive an early copy of Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing. This is a very layered book- on the one hand it is a fabulous story of a woman politician negotiating her way through US politics. On the other hand, it is the story of a very independent single mom raising a wickedly bitingly funny teen boy. And the central theme is regrets. I read this book in one long sitting. Many times I found myself nodding at the concept of regrets and how we must get over them. As a mom of teens, I lov I was lucky to receive an early copy of Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing. This is a very layered book- on the one hand it is a fabulous story of a woman politician negotiating her way through US politics. On the other hand, it is the story of a very independent single mom raising a wickedly bitingly funny teen boy. And the central theme is regrets. I read this book in one long sitting. Many times I found myself nodding at the concept of regrets and how we must get over them. As a mom of teens, I loved the teen boy snark which was perfectly written. I also very much appreciated the themes of women's empowerment but the absolute need for deep women's friendships. Cleo shows us all that it does indeed take a village. The hallmark of Allison Winn Scotch's books is, in my opinion, immediate plot and storytelling. The plot literally starts on page 1 with backstory that emerges via the fast-moving plot. Cleo McDougal is a fabulous novel that is a must-read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Swindell

    I wanted to love this book. The characters were great. The plot was promising. I have liked other books by the author. But the writing fell flat and kept repeating. It was like there wasn't enough actual story to sustain a full book, so any time the main character had any interior monologue, she said the same thing: my parents died when I was in high school, I did everything alone, and I had regrets and wrote them down. While yes, these are pillars of the story, it is not THE story. It became mon I wanted to love this book. The characters were great. The plot was promising. I have liked other books by the author. But the writing fell flat and kept repeating. It was like there wasn't enough actual story to sustain a full book, so any time the main character had any interior monologue, she said the same thing: my parents died when I was in high school, I did everything alone, and I had regrets and wrote them down. While yes, these are pillars of the story, it is not THE story. It became monotonous and read like filler. And instead of that, there could have been more exploration of the other characters, more stories behind the regrets on Cleo's list, etc. It was disappointing because I know the author is capable of more. It sound like this may have been a rushed book, based on her comments in reviews and the acknowledgements, and it is obvious in the writing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Betsybmaxwell

    I truly loved this book. Not just because it references both Kelly Taylor’s “I choose me” moment, and Dirty Dancing’s “lift” moment. I loved this book because the main character, Cleo, felt not only real, but someone I desperately wanted to meet. In fact all of the characters felt real, especially Cleo’s 14-year-old son who would yell at his mom for texting emojis. This is a book with flawed characters who you still want to see succeed. And yes, this is about the #metoo movement which needs to be I truly loved this book. Not just because it references both Kelly Taylor’s “I choose me” moment, and Dirty Dancing’s “lift” moment. I loved this book because the main character, Cleo, felt not only real, but someone I desperately wanted to meet. In fact all of the characters felt real, especially Cleo’s 14-year-old son who would yell at his mom for texting emojis. This is a book with flawed characters who you still want to see succeed. And yes, this is about the #metoo movement which needs to be written about more.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I found this book to be smart, sharp, and funny. It’s about senator and single mother Cleo McDougal who aspires for the presidency until an op-ed goes viral and damage control ensues. I enjoyed reading this book - though told in the political backdrop, this story in its core is about a woman so relatable - a single mother, a mother of a teenage boy, and a woman in a position of power. Themes of the story include regrets from the past, and learning to look forward and forgiving oneself. This is s I found this book to be smart, sharp, and funny. It’s about senator and single mother Cleo McDougal who aspires for the presidency until an op-ed goes viral and damage control ensues. I enjoyed reading this book - though told in the political backdrop, this story in its core is about a woman so relatable - a single mother, a mother of a teenage boy, and a woman in a position of power. Themes of the story include regrets from the past, and learning to look forward and forgiving oneself. This is such a quick and immersive read that I just enjoyed that is full of heart and oh so fun!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Jack

    Who Hasn't Had Regrets? This book is so complex, rich, and even fun at times that I barely know how to describe it! I love books like that. After reading so many fiction books in a variety of subgenres that often seem too similar, I found it refreshing to read a book that does not have a cookie-cutter approach or storyline. The story is apt to resonate with any professional woman who has had to live with double standards while climbing the corporate or political ladder. The story is ultimately ab Who Hasn't Had Regrets? This book is so complex, rich, and even fun at times that I barely know how to describe it! I love books like that. After reading so many fiction books in a variety of subgenres that often seem too similar, I found it refreshing to read a book that does not have a cookie-cutter approach or storyline. The story is apt to resonate with any professional woman who has had to live with double standards while climbing the corporate or political ladder. The story is ultimately about regrets, and who among us after a certain age does it have our own list of these (even if we don’t detail them like Cleo)? Perhaps ours aren't as personally or professionally damning as so many of Cleo's, but the author has certainly tapped on a universal theme in addressing them. Interestingly, while the book is deeply grounded in politics, it is not truly about it, which I don't think was an easy line for the author to straddle but one that she does well. I imagine the author chose this sphere because we see the divisive gender double standards particularly strongly in politics. The book is at turns serious, sad, poignant, frustrating, witty, and even a little zany, making it feel as though it accurately reflected real life. Cleo is a somewhat prickly character. She is not always easy to like, but in the end, you want her to get past her regrets and embrace her life. I particularly loved her teenage son. He really provided a fun counterpoint to the rest of the novel and certainly kept Cleo (and us) from taking it all too seriously. All in all, I enjoyed this book, and think it is a fun one for a July 2020 First Reads pick. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    I've been a fan of Allison Winn Scotch's for years now, for so long that I don't remember not loving her and her books. This one might be my favorite yet. I love politics and political stories, and there's some of that in this, but it's more about Cleo herself. Cleo keeps a list of regrets, primarily so that she can learn from those mistakes. "Don't drink bourbon," for example, and I think a lot of people probably have one type of alcohol that they can't drink anymore after overdoing it. (Moment I've been a fan of Allison Winn Scotch's for years now, for so long that I don't remember not loving her and her books. This one might be my favorite yet. I love politics and political stories, and there's some of that in this, but it's more about Cleo herself. Cleo keeps a list of regrets, primarily so that she can learn from those mistakes. "Don't drink bourbon," for example, and I think a lot of people probably have one type of alcohol that they can't drink anymore after overdoing it. (Moment of silence for me and martinis.) And then Cleo decides that what she's going to do is actually fix those regrets. (Well, to be fair, Cleo's campaign manager Gaby decides that for her.) And what happens next is both delightful and very, very relatable. (I experienced a very, VERY strong secondhand wave of mortification at one of them.) This book is a complete delight. I can't wait for everyone to read and talk about it. Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    After reading Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing I am wondering why it took me so long to read a book by Allison Winn Scotch! This book was insightful, funny, and even a bit emotional. I really loved the writing style, and the audio for this one was bomb since Julia Whelan narrates it. It gave me serious Charlotte Walsh Likes To Win vibes thanks to the political aspect, and I thought the writing was rather similar as well. Cleo was such a fun character and I absolutely loved her. She was strong and a After reading Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing I am wondering why it took me so long to read a book by Allison Winn Scotch! This book was insightful, funny, and even a bit emotional. I really loved the writing style, and the audio for this one was bomb since Julia Whelan narrates it. It gave me serious Charlotte Walsh Likes To Win vibes thanks to the political aspect, and I thought the writing was rather similar as well. Cleo was such a fun character and I absolutely loved her. She was strong and although flawed, a very realistic character. Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing, while funny, is not a light read. It hits on a lot of important topics and was also very contemporary with its look at social media and current trends. I thought the plot was more complex than I was expecting, and I really enjoyed listening to it. While heavy on politics, it also goes fairly deep into Cleo's life, and I enjoyed how the author tied her past into her present. This book hit me in some unexpected ways, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more by this author.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Living near Washington DC, I see politics all over the place. Therefore, I am thankful that the focus of Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing was not on politics, but instead on regrets. I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel, but was pleased with where it went. I enjoyed getting to know Cleo and could relate in regards to being the mom of a teenage boy and also reflecting upon things I regret in my own life. I liked the supporting characters and the relationships between them and Cleo. The dialo Living near Washington DC, I see politics all over the place. Therefore, I am thankful that the focus of Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing was not on politics, but instead on regrets. I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel, but was pleased with where it went. I enjoyed getting to know Cleo and could relate in regards to being the mom of a teenage boy and also reflecting upon things I regret in my own life. I liked the supporting characters and the relationships between them and Cleo. The dialogue was great throughout, especially between Cleo and Gaby. It was easy to visualize people and settings without the descriptions getting in the way of the narrative. The story pointed out the hypocrisies that happen in real life when it comes down to how men and women are treated in the political arena, and how social media has an impact on people's decisions. There were times I got confused as to whether Cleo or Gaby was talking, as their voices tended to blend together sometimes. I had to go back and read sections when that happened. I could also have done with less swearing when Cleo was being introspective. These issues didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story. This was a great novel that I read most of in one day. Movie casting ideas: Cleo: Ari Graynor Gaby: Issa Rae Lucas: Lucas Jade Zumann MaryAnne: Kirsten Dunst Bowen: Channing Tatum Matty: Matt Lanter Georgie: Kristen Wiig

  19. 4 out of 5

    Booksandchinooks (Laurie)

    Well this book packs a punch! I follow this author on twitter and often share in her rage and angst that she tweets about. I like this author’s books - she’s an auto buy for me. This is a departure from her last one and I went into this one knowing nothing about it. I have to say the plot of this book doesn’t surprise me. Cleo is a senator and is planning a run for president. The book is so on point for where we are in history. The plot takes on a lot of issues - regrets, #metoo, politics, singl Well this book packs a punch! I follow this author on twitter and often share in her rage and angst that she tweets about. I like this author’s books - she’s an auto buy for me. This is a departure from her last one and I went into this one knowing nothing about it. I have to say the plot of this book doesn’t surprise me. Cleo is a senator and is planning a run for president. The book is so on point for where we are in history. The plot takes on a lot of issues - regrets, #metoo, politics, single parenting, female empowerment and more. Cleo is not always a likeable character but she is intent on correcting and making some changes on the many regrets she has. Before going forward on her plans for running for president she wants to make amends for some of her past mistakes. Her motto and mindset have always been Only Forward so this is quite a change for her. Cleo has a lot of personal growth while also paving the way for women in politics and in life. She is all for female empowerment and makes sure everyone knows it. She also is single parenting her 14 year son and is very cognizant of what values and ideas she is instilling in him regarding girls and women. This is a book with a very intelligent and strong female character. She definitely becomes a more well rounded person by the end of the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Nixon

    DNF at 40% This started off interesting (though it required exceptional suspension of disbelief—it is not believable that she’s a possible presidential candidate NOT because she’s a woman. Its because of how overly casual the story is (eg little to no security, shes hoping on commercial planes last minute to see a “friend”, etc) Then it quickly became boring due to circles and lack of movement. Cleo also isn’t terribly interesting, likeable (or hateable) or complex. She’s akin to a stale bag of DNF at 40% This started off interesting (though it required exceptional suspension of disbelief—it is not believable that she’s a possible presidential candidate NOT because she’s a woman. Its because of how overly casual the story is (eg little to no security, shes hoping on commercial planes last minute to see a “friend”, etc) Then it quickly became boring due to circles and lack of movement. Cleo also isn’t terribly interesting, likeable (or hateable) or complex. She’s akin to a stale bag of pretzels and I’m just not that hungry. If you’re familiar with 12-step programs this is a little like sitting through someone’s very long inventory.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin Glover

    Very light reading. Heavy use of parenthetical information which pulled me out of the book. Would have been more interesting to read about how bills are actually created and passed in Congress, and the tension among Senators and Representatives. No mention of the current president. Could have shown some interesting contrasts there between Cleo's candidacy and the current president's. The whole premise of the book was Cleo attuning for some regrets in her life after her ex best friend writes an o Very light reading. Heavy use of parenthetical information which pulled me out of the book. Would have been more interesting to read about how bills are actually created and passed in Congress, and the tension among Senators and Representatives. No mention of the current president. Could have shown some interesting contrasts there between Cleo's candidacy and the current president's. The whole premise of the book was Cleo attuning for some regrets in her life after her ex best friend writes an op-ed that Cleo was vindictive and mean in college. It didn't feel like a strong foundation to rest a whole novel on.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nilguen

    Entertaining, inspiring and encouraging at the same time! A very compelling story about power that resonates in one‘s professional as well as personal domain. Very authentic & creative writing style which made the story even more appealing. In fact, we need more of these stories to reflect on our individual power to redefine ourselves for the better...the greater purpose of solidarity in family and friendship. Absolutely loved this book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sue King

    A complicated and powerful woman; a delightful story Senator Cleo McDougal has a complicated past and a very busy present. Her attempts at "going it alone" are about to change as she begins to question many of her decisions. This book is entertaining and timely. A complicated and powerful woman; a delightful story Senator Cleo McDougal has a complicated past and a very busy present. Her attempts at "going it alone" are about to change as she begins to question many of her decisions. This book is entertaining and timely.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Monica Cox

    I am a fan of Allison Winn Scotch and was delighted when I learned she had a new book. Politics and feminism can be dangerous topics in literature - they can be dry or inflammatory, preachy or disappointing. I found Allison's wry wit and focus on the journey of our young, female senator protagonist the perfect solution. It was neither preachy nor dry nor partisan. It sounds strange to say this is a light read with topics as heavy as these, but it was the perfect palate cleanser to the current en I am a fan of Allison Winn Scotch and was delighted when I learned she had a new book. Politics and feminism can be dangerous topics in literature - they can be dry or inflammatory, preachy or disappointing. I found Allison's wry wit and focus on the journey of our young, female senator protagonist the perfect solution. It was neither preachy nor dry nor partisan. It sounds strange to say this is a light read with topics as heavy as these, but it was the perfect palate cleanser to the current environment we find ourselves in 2020. And make no mistake, I use the word light read with the utmost compliment to the author. She deftly handles single motherhood, political maneuverings, the #MeToo movement, the complexities of female friendships, and the battle of a strong woman walking the tight rope of being strong without appearing too strong to alienate others. I found this to be a compelling read that easily led me along Cleo's journey to redemption as she navigated addressing a list of her regrets after her former high school BFF called her out in a local Op-Ed that went viral. This was a fun read and quite honestly, would love to see what Cleo McDougal is up to next - sequel?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral. With seven words—“Cleo McDougal is not a good person”—the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life. Enter Cleo’s “regrets list” of 233 and counting. Her chief of staff has a brillian Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral. With seven words—“Cleo McDougal is not a good person”—the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life. Enter Cleo’s “regrets list” of 233 and counting. Her chief of staff has a brilliant idea: pick the top ten, make amends during a media blitz, and repair her reputation. But there are regrets, and there are regrets: like her broken relationship with her sister, her affair with a law school professor…and the regret too big to even say out loud. But with risk comes reward, and as Cleo makes both peace and amends with her past, she becomes more empowered than ever to tackle her career, confront the hypocrites out to destroy her, and open her heart to what matters most—one regret at a time. My Thoughts: Politics do not mesh well with an ordinary life and a journey moving forward, which sometimes means fixing the mistakes of the past. In Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing, we meet a determined thirty-something woman who has suffered losses and in spite of them, decides to change her life. We get to see what fixing one’s life looks like up close and personal. Cleo is a delightful character who could have been your next-door neighbor or a best friend from high school, but her career in politics has made everything more intense, more focused. To make up for the void in her life, she has made her career and her teenage son the center of her life, to the exclusion of everyone else. The startling op-ed piece written by her former high school friend turns her life upside down and she finds herself determined to fix everything. Even if it means looking at that long list of regrets she created over the years. I liked Cleo, in spite of, or maybe because of those errors in judgment. I didn’t like MaryAnne Newman, who turned a competitive action in high school into something so much more…and then wouldn’t let it go. But then again, she had made their competition into something that meant the whole world to her and explained everything that went wrong in her life. Teenage angst can linger long into adulthood, and in Cleo’s case, picking up the pieces became a goal. Something to work toward. Making amends and changing how she moved forward. Even confronting one of her biggest errors in judgment. Social media and the hashtag experience figured into Cleo’s path forward and kept the story relevant and interesting. 4.5 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Only Wants to Read

    I got this book through Amazon First Reads. I chose it because it seemed like something light and funny. Even though the setting is presented as light and funny, Cleo's story has many layers of depth. Cleo McDougal is a senator. She's a single mother senator, which is by itself something almost impossible to imagine. Yet, in this universe, it is possible. She got there by being assertive, determined, and focusing on the goal. You would have to be that way to get to that position. No room for sof I got this book through Amazon First Reads. I chose it because it seemed like something light and funny. Even though the setting is presented as light and funny, Cleo's story has many layers of depth. Cleo McDougal is a senator. She's a single mother senator, which is by itself something almost impossible to imagine. Yet, in this universe, it is possible. She got there by being assertive, determined, and focusing on the goal. You would have to be that way to get to that position. No room for soft, nurturing women in high places. In the process, she may have done some tough and not so honorable decisions. Some of them directed at MaryAnne Newman. Cleo's former high school friend, who decides to write an op-ed letting everyone know what she thinks about Cleo. The theme in this book is regrets (we all have them, for sure. But...do we keep a list of them? Organized and classified? Hmm... perhaps not) and how Cleo has been forced to sort them out. Her perfectly organized and controlled life is suddenly chaotic and messy and she hates it! From her relationship with her witty son, Lucas, to her conflicted relationship with her sister (and everything in between), Cleo's life has turned upside down. I did not tag this book as politics because the story is not about politics. There is a strong statement, and sadly I find it to be true, on how women are perceived in politics and the double standards that are set in that environment. The author focuses on Cleo's personal growth (and it's painful!) in all areas of her life.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Allison Winn Scotch can write a hell of a relatable book, even if the main character is running for President. Cleo is definitely someone who you could be friends with and her teenage son is portrayed perfectly. At times poignant and also hilarious, Allison gives us another fantastic novel.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Judith von Kirchbach

    This timely novel takes the reader inside the world of politics from the viewpoint of a young, ambitious and competitive woman with a lifetime of regrets. Her determination and drive to succeed have left her quite lonely and she reexamines whether that had to be so to succeed or whether she was to quick to cast people to the side. As she tackles her regrets she grows and expands herself and gains strength and direction. I liked Cleo (after she starts tackling her regrets) and found her representa This timely novel takes the reader inside the world of politics from the viewpoint of a young, ambitious and competitive woman with a lifetime of regrets. Her determination and drive to succeed have left her quite lonely and she reexamines whether that had to be so to succeed or whether she was to quick to cast people to the side. As she tackles her regrets she grows and expands herself and gains strength and direction. I liked Cleo (after she starts tackling her regrets) and found her representative of the new breed of fearless female who aims to change the world, and herself.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    This amusing book is just right for the times. In the acknowledgements, the author says, “In the end, I wanted to write a book not about politics but about power, about the state of being a woman in this specific moment in history, about learning to take up space without apology.” She succeeded. While not about politics, there is much said about how much more difficult it is for women in that arena than men. E.g.: “Women couldn’t fuck up the way that men could. They were held to a higher standard This amusing book is just right for the times. In the acknowledgements, the author says, “In the end, I wanted to write a book not about politics but about power, about the state of being a woman in this specific moment in history, about learning to take up space without apology.” She succeeded. While not about politics, there is much said about how much more difficult it is for women in that arena than men. E.g.: “Women couldn’t fuck up the way that men could. They were held to a higher standard, as if making mistakes weren’t part of the human experience. Men are forgiven much more easily and much quicker than women.” “And more often than not, women were not only saner than men but actually less hysterical. Cleo and her colleagues had trained themselves to hold their voices firm, their posture unwavering whenever any of their hearings were televised or whenever a reporter tracked them down in the halls within the Senate building. They couldn’t afford to look emotional, couldn’t risk even being called emotional. As if emotion were something that made them less capable at their jobs. Often it made them better.” Cleo is an ambitious female senator considering a run for president. She started keeping a list of regrets when she was very young, but realized that she was using the list as a sort of confession without making attempts to learn from it, to become better, to avoid future regrets. A childhood best friend posted that Cleo was an evil person who shouldn’t ever be president (based on a youthful competition for an internship where Cleo put her friend at a disadvantage). Cleo’s press advisor suggested using this as an opportunity to apologize in person and show how human she is --- and also asked her to pick out other regrets from the list and publicly work on righting the regret, which naturally causes some new regrets! In the end, she was indeed a better person.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily Christensen • honestbookgirl

    In honor of the upcoming election, I thought it was appropriate to review Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing – this quirky, cute, quick book that follows hopeful presidential candidate Cleo McDougal. Quick Synopsis: Cleo McDougal, current senator, is plotting her run for presidential office, then her ex-best friend publishes an exposé about how she does not believe Cleo is suited for presidency. The whole book follows Cleo, needing to do damage control about the exposé, and reveals Cleo’s list of regr In honor of the upcoming election, I thought it was appropriate to review Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing – this quirky, cute, quick book that follows hopeful presidential candidate Cleo McDougal. Quick Synopsis: Cleo McDougal, current senator, is plotting her run for presidential office, then her ex-best friend publishes an exposé about how she does not believe Cleo is suited for presidency. The whole book follows Cleo, needing to do damage control about the exposé, and reveals Cleo’s list of regrets and her journey to unapologetically right her wrongs. This book was lighthearted and easy to read but also was very empowering for women. It covered a few different deeper topics, which I always love in a book: the #metoo movement, navigating being a woman in a male dominated career, being a single mother, etc. Things I liked: 👍🏼 This book was a quick, easy palate cleanser book between heavier books but it wasn’t like a steamy romance novel and it still had depth to it! 👍🏼 The humanization of people that we hold on a pedestal – Cleo was a REAL person, not just a persona A few things I didn’t like: 👎🏼 The book was not in first person (which I believe would’ve added to Cleo’s character as a whole) 👎🏼 Because of that, the author continually referred to her as “Cleo McDougal” throughout the whole book (which got kind of repetitive and annoying) Quick note: this book takes about 50 pages to get into. The first half of the book moves at a much slower pace than the second half. Thank you so much to @amazonpublishing for this #gifted copy of #CleoMcDougalRegretsNothing

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