Brake Failure

“Is it too late to tell him you love him when you’re looking down the barrel of his gun?”



Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is upper-class English, rigidly brought up to marry a man from the pages of Burke’s Peerage. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her soufflés NEVER collapse.

She is in control of her life, tightly in control. Until …she ends up in Kansas.

Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person. Miss Mortimer-Smyth might act like the Duchess of England, but just under the surface there’s something bubbling, ready to erupt. She’s reckless, and she’s heading for brake failure. And he’s not thinking about her car.

With the Millennium approaching, Ruby gets caught up in the Y2K hysteria. She joins a Survivalists group, who give her a gun and advise her to stockpile basic essentials. Accordingly, she bulk-buys Perrier, Gentleman’s Relish and macaroons.

Ruby, far from home, is making Unsuitable Friends and “finding herself” for the first time. She falls in with a gang of Hells Angels and falls foul of the law.  As the clock strikes midnight of the new Millennium, she’s on a freight train with three million dollars, a bottle of Wild Turkey and a smoking gun.

What happened to Miss Prim-and-Proper? And why did she shoot Mr Right?

4/5 Stars!

**A special thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.**

Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is a shy english woman always competing with her step-sister Claire. When the chance comes for her to finally beat Claire at something and live out her dream as being married and living in Paris, reality comes crashing down. Now newly married, the Millennium bug fast approaching and heading to Kansas, Ruby is in for a transformation of a lifetime and finally about to find her true roots. If she doesn’t get arrested by Sheriff Gephart first…

“He knew the English girl was sending him a signal, a direct challenge to his authority. He recalled her bottom lip, red and swollen from where she’d bitten down to stop herself saying what she wanted to say; her amber eyes flashing up at him with fury.”

The Prologue to this book really jumped out at me and caught my attention, we start out with a Sheriff being shot and found outside a nursing home and I was excited to dig in and find out the events leading up to this crazy situation. Everything leads back to Ruby though, who has to make a complete culture change when moving from London to Kansas. I loved Ruby, at first she is shy and trying hard to live in her new world. She is easily accepted by everyone though with her English accent and everyone’s curiosity on the Queen.

Ruby really starts to open up when she receives attention from almost everyone in her town. She becomes less shy, more confident but also very defiant especially when it comes to Sheriff Hank. Handsome, rough, rugged, Ruby and Hank can’t seem to get away from each other. Sparks fly like crazy and I loved their back and forth banter and all of Ruby’s run-in’s with the law. There are so many things happening in this book but they are all pieced together so well and I think the author did a fantastic job with bringing all of the materials together.

“How can I hate you, when I love you?”

My favorite part about this book had to be Ruby, she was such a fantastic character. I was laughing out loud more than once reading this and I could just picture a proper English Ruby walking into a life full of hunting, backroads, Hells Angels and survivalists. Ruby is such a sport though and she tries so hard to be kind to everyone, I loved her diversity in friends and her new found attitude and feisty ways always kept you smiling. Throughout the whole story she is just trying to find herself, realizing what she really wants and who she truly loves. I loved watching her transform and become the person she wanted to be without everyone trying to make her into what they wanted.

“Play with garbage disposal. It’s wonderful. Why don’t they have these in England? I experiment with so many different things and it simply gobbles them up.”

I also loved that Brake Failure was set in Y2K time, it was fun seeing all the different reactions and ways that people thought they should prepare for it. It was also interesting that the author Alison Brodie lived in Kansas at this time so it was like first hand experience. I’m so glad I read this book, although I was lost at some points with all the English and backwoods talk it was still hilarious and kept my attention. The ending came out perfect and enjoyable, which is a big plus for me.

Brake Failure is defiantly a book I would reccomened, it’s funny and has a very different cast of characters to get to know! It will have you laughing on more than one occasion, I promise.

Purchase Now!


22 thoughts on “Brake Failure

  1. thank you, Amanda for this marvellous review! It would make a perfect synopsis – better than the one I have already! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
    Everything in the book actually did happen – even the woman holding up the bank on New Years Eve (I still have the Kansas City Star dated 2 Jan 2000 to prove it!)
    The cow-chip throwing contest happened, so did the book reading of Harry Potter.
    I knew most everyone in the book, although I changed their names: Mr Schoettler, Idabel, the check out girl at Hy-vee.
    I knew an art director who had his back totally tattoed (altho he wasn’t a native american) – his friends pulled up his shirt one night in a bar!!
    Ruby, her husband and Rowdy are fictitious – although Ruby is totally alive in my head.
    I did have a couple of run-ins with sheriffs but none of them were as hunky as Hank! (Unfortunately). People think Kansas is flat and boring but it is the most quirky fascinating place I have ever lived – and I’ve lived all over the world. And Kansas folk are the friendliest people on the planet. And I really miss them.

    1. Thank you so much! That is so awesome that all of it happened! Especially the bank robbery, that’s really interesting. lol you have met so many interesting people! This book was great and I loved Ruby as a character :). Thanks so much for letting me read a review it!

  2. This book really has a little bit of everything, a little mystery and a little romance and their was a good balance overall. I’m not saying I want to read this genre all the time but it was a nice break for me and it made me forget the world around me. Fab review!

  3. This book sounds like a riot, and I love the cover. I must confess you’re making some of your readers feel old when you write that it was interesting to read about how people responded to Y2K! Many of us lived it! 😂

  4. I have had a copy of this book for months. I still need to read it after everything settles down for me. I am hardly reading at all anymore. I’m glad you liked the book. Nice review! And I can’t believe they don’t have garbage disposals? What? Is that only an American thing? Lol They are so useful.

    1. I bet you haven’t! You probably won’t for a while lol. I just bought Vicious! Can’t wait to read it :). I’m not sure, I would think they would have them! I mean come on, that’s crazy if they don’t. I hope you like this when you get to read it. Very different from what we usually read but it was funny!

      1. Ahhh, I started it last night but only the first couple of chapters that where when they first met each other. Which makes me really curious how their relationship is going to play out! Vicious is his nickname right now, lol he is Vicious!

      2. How far are you in Vicious now? I just talked to LJ Shen on Facebook and begged her for an ARC of Defy! 🙌 I can’t wait to read it. Yes, that’s his nickname. His real name is Baron Spencer. What a bore, right? Vicious fits him perfectly. I loooved him. Give me some of that! 💋

      3. I didn’t get a chance to read it last night! I’m going to pick it up tonight though for sure. I like Vicious much better then Baron lol what a weird name! I can’t wait to really get a feel for him the further I get in 🙂

    2. Hi Jill, at rant andrave about books. No, england doesn’t have garbage disposals. Pity. they are brilliant – so effective – and fun with play with! Thanks for volunteering to read Brake Failure. I will send you the final version (i’ve been giving it a 2polish” in the last few months and I am finally happy with it) No pressure for you to read it , though! -Alison xx

  5. I remember those days back during 1999. We really were worried about the world possibly ending. I was 15 and at a rave and was just partying my ass off to forget the night…the radio station played The Venga Boys song all night long over and over like it was a glitch and when Midnight hit, you could hear shots fired in the distance. And I didn’t get to kiss anyone at midnight.
    It was a weird night. And a weird time period. So glad the world didn’t end, lol. But kinda cool someone wrote a book about those days. I’ll never forget that!!

  6. Hi Teacheof YA and thank you for your comment. I wonder why no-one has ever written about that time. I mean, it was pretty momentous. I got in with a Survivalist group in Kansas – but these groups are all over america – I guess it’s good to be prepared! xx

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