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Brake Failure

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

An English debutante transforms from Miss-Perfectly-Correct to criminally insane as she breaks the bonds of her rigid upbringing. Sheriff Hank Gephart tries to reel her in - but she’s out of control and she’s not hitting the brakes.

What happened to the genteel lady in twin-set and pearls? And why did she shoot Mr Right?

Brake Failure is set in 1999 in the months leading up to Y2K “meltdown” when the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin: "1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world."

323 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 9, 2017

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About the author

Alison Brodie

6 books192 followers
7 book bloggers have chosen ZENKA in their *Best Reads of 2017* -Being Anne, Ali the Dragon Slayer, Dash Fan Reviews, Book Dragon Girl, Wall-to-Wall Books, Lauren Sapala, A Reader's Review.

THE DOUBLE: “Proof of her genius in writing fiction” -San Francisco Book Review.

BRAKE FAILURE: “Masterpiece of humor”–Midwest Book Review

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,683 reviews594 followers
February 8, 2017
Book – Brake Failure
Author – Alison Brodie
Series – None
Cliffhanger? - No
Publication Date – January 9, 2017
Genre – Romantic Comedy
Type – Stand-Alone
Rating – 5 out of 5 Stars

Complimentary copy generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts - Story
I am NEVER disappointed when reading a story by Alison Brodie…she got me hooked on her book “The Double” and she quickly became one of my favorite authors when I want a few days full of laughs and surprises.

And this book didn’t let me down. In fact, I have to be honest and tell you that this one had more laughs than “The Double” and even more likable characters. Ruby is the perfect Lucy from “I Love Lucy” (I read that in Lauren Sapala’s review and just had to agree 100%)

This book is a blast that couldn’t be put down…not even when walking to the kitchen to get a drink (do you know how many paper towels I went through cleaning up my messes?) or to take a potty break (yes, I did put it down for a moment to make sure I didn’t have any leakage there). And to be honest, I did put it down when I had to drive to work…except, maybe I shouldn’t have and could have met my sexy sheriff after being pulled over for driving under the influence of reading.

You know what got me the most about this book? I feel like Ruby and I could relate to her life before Kansas. Maybe that is a place I could move to if that’s what is waiting for me!

“There’s no place like home, Ruby slippers”

Reason for Reading – Author Request
Story – 5 out of 5 Stars
Steam – 4 out of 5 Stars
Angst – 4 out of 5 Stars
Writing – 5 out of 5 Stars
Content Flow – 5 out of 5 Stars
Would Read More from Author? Yes
Recommend To – Lovers of reading a lovable character with so much spunk and sass!

For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews582 followers
February 5, 2017
It's HERE! Celebrate the release of BRAKE FAILURE! Click on Banner to enter! Intl where allowed

Just when you thought you couldn’t find a laugh-out-loud tale that will keep you flipping pages as fast as possible, along comes Alison Brodie and Ruby! Brake Failure is Ruby’s story of transformation, of finding her inner wild-child of learning to love herself enough to find the one man she truly loves.

Growing up in a quiet and sedate upper middle class English family, Ruby was the outsider, the misfit, the one most likely to disappoint, at least that’s how she felt when her evah-so-propah half-sister reminded her. Now married and off to Kansas, Ruby is about to face culture shock at its finest and she is up to the challenge, because, when in Rome…

What Ruby discovers is she likes the new Ruby, the one that would have her family grabbing for the smelling salts, the one her very conservative husband would never understand. The one who wanted to leap out of her comfort zone and learn the meaning of living! Ms. Prim and Proper even began to notice other men, like the handsome Native American and the exasperating deputy, but oh, they were both dream worthy, one has even captured her heart, NOT that he would ever know!
When the New Ruby faces the New Millennium almost single and caught in the middle of a bank robbery, the transformation completes and the future is filled with wide open spaces with lots of blank canvases to make her mark on!

I have not enjoyed so many laughs while reading in a long time! Alison Brodie is a genius, taking every crisis Ruby has faced and turning them into something for Ruby to learn to grow with in the most peculiar ways! Fast-paced, chaotic and fun, Ruby is a charmer who loses that stiff upper lip and discovers what true friends really are as she takes a chance on life in the fast-lane in the heartland of America! Feeling down? Pick up Brake Failure, guaranteed to make a stone statue crack a smile!

I received an ARC edition from Alison Brodie in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: November 7, 2016
Publisher: Alison Brodie
Genre: Humor
Print Length: 287 pages
Available from: Amazon
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com

Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,598 reviews2,552 followers
January 5, 2017
Hypochondriac Ruby and her step sister Claire are highly competitive. They have a love/hate relationship, with more focus being on the hate. When Ruby’s husband is offered a job in Paris, Ruby is so excited and can’t wait to move, as well as shove the information in Claire’s face, as Paris is her dream home destination.

Cruelly, her husband accepts a different job, this time taking them from the streets of London and in the opposite direction of Paris, to the middle of Kansas, USA, leaving Ruby red-faced and angry.

She feels like a fish out of water and finds the locals a little overbearing, with their 101 questions about the monarchy, for which Ruby has to make up seemingly plausible answers on the spot. However over time, she acclimatises and starts to fit in, maybe just a little too much. For this quaint English Rose, life is about to get full-on excited, that is if the local Sheriff, Hank Gephart can stop catching up with her.

Brake Failure is set in the few weeks leading up to the year 2000, and is told from Ruby’s, and the local sheriff, who is dealing with a bank robbery’s, perspectives.

The book opens with the shooting of Sheriff Gephart, and then jumps back in time to sixteen weeks earlier. This is a pattern continued throughout the story, with each time it is told from Ruby’s perspective we move a week forward, until the two timelines meet.

From the opening line of ‘There’s a dead man at the door‘, to the final page, this book kept me entertained. It is comical the whole way through, and will definitely have you laughing at the many puns. The book veered me off course on more than one occasion, which I liked, as not being able to predict what is going to happen next heightens the thrill.

What more could you want? A superb plot, fascinatingly amusing characters, and splendid writing! A perfect five stars from me.

Reviewed by Stacey at www.whisperingstories.com
Profile Image for Amy.
1,830 reviews1,860 followers
January 8, 2017
All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com

This book takes place in the weeks leading up to New Year’ Eve 1999 and it was nostalgic in a way for me. I remember all of hoopla and uncertainty surrounding Y2K and revisiting this time period was a whole lot of fun! The prologue begins with sheriff Hank being shot and found in front of a nursing home, then flips back to a few months prior. I was curious as to how the prologue would connect to Ruby’s story as she’s an English woman and Hank is a sheriff in Kansas, but as the details are slowly revealed and things start making sense, I didn’t expect to have so much fun along the way.

Ruby and her new husband Edward move to Kansas after his job requires him to do so. Ruby isn’t exactly happy as they were supposed to be moving to Paris instead and she was hoping to finally one up her sister, Claire once and for all. The two have an epic sibling rivalry and I really didn’t care for Claire. She’s hoity toity and arrogant and not always kind to Ruby. I liked Ruby though, she tries very hard to make the best of her new and unexpected life, I was reminded of Rebecca Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series as she kept finding herself in these wacky and outrageous situations.

Ruby undergoes quite a transformation throughout the book, when it begins she’s a neurotic hypochondriac who always seems to be a ball of nervous energy. By the end she has done a complete one eighty and is confident, sexy, bold and wildly funny. There were so many moments where I was cracking up laughing here, one of my favorite parts was when Ruby was writing her epic poem. Epic indeed. There was tons of funny, sarcastic banter and just the right amount of romance.

As I wasn’t sure how things would all fit together in the end, especially as there was quite the eccentric cast of characters converging including a group of bikers, pearl clutching older women, and Ruby’s upper crust family, I had no real expectations but even so, the ending really was fabulously perfect. I loved that it wasn’t so tidy and happy ever after but it was still totally satisfying.
Profile Image for Lauren Sapala.
Author 8 books343 followers
September 13, 2016
Hilarious, sexy, and just plain fun. I had a blast reading this book. What I really loved was that I could completely relate to the main character—a funny and intelligent woman who has landed somewhere totally unexpected and has to make the best of it, but somehow keeps ending up in situations reminiscent of I Love Lucy. That is, if Lucy had to deal with a bitchy diva socialite of a sister, crazy survivalists on the eve of the Y2K panic, and got caught in a bank robbery in the middle of it all.

Our heroine is also caught between two extremely attractive men, one mysterious and enigmatic, the other an irresistibly charming cowboy. Just the perfect splash of romance mixed with suspense.

However, maybe the best part of this story was how impressively the author pulls it off. The plot has a few twists and turns that I couldn’t imagine resolving themselves in time for the ending, but it magically all came together and left me astonished, and in awe of her writing talent.

Wonderful book. Will definitely be buying this and gifting it to friends.
Profile Image for Teresa Scala.
5 reviews
January 5, 2017
I thought this story was cute and funny. The characters had good development and the plot - while an old formula - worked very well with Ms. Brodie's spin on it.
Profile Image for Caroline - City Stone Publishing.
257 reviews31 followers
January 2, 2017
Love this novel! It's a contemporary romance with a twist and refreshingly different. Ruby, whose dreams of living a sophisticated life are those of her sister and mother, finds herself in Kansas City of all places! She didn't want to go, she wanted to move to Paris, but once in Kentucky, everything falls in place: who she is, what she likes, what she craves for in life. Follow Ruby and those she touched along her rocky path in Kansas - just sit back and enjoy a dazzling ride!

The moment you open this novel you are made aware of the fact that there is "a dead man at the door" of the Shady Acres Retirement Home in Kansas City. What caused the dead man to end up there is obvious: a bullet. In between the blood his words are a whisper "Don't do it, Ruby." Why he is whispering these words and what Ruby's involvement is we do not know. For that we have to go back in time. The place is London, the time five months ago shortly before Ruby marries Edward. First she has a dinner date with her (half)sister Claire, the one she always competes with though never successfully according to Ruby. Tonight is different because Ruby has a bombshell to drop: once she is married she will move to Paris. Living in Paris has always been a dream for Claire and the closest she has reached is her "elegant seventeenth-century apartment" in Brussels.

Sometimes dreams just refuse to come true and it is only after Ruby and Edward are married that she finds out it is not Paris in Europe where she is going to live but Kansas City in the American state of Kansas. She is determined to hate it there and to do whatever possible to make her dream of living in Paris come true. The opportunity poses itself when her husband has to win over a new client but for that Ruby has to improvise. If she succeeds, Edward will be posted to Paris. However, events take another turn and it seems she will be stuck in Kansas City for a bit longer. Gradually Ruby finds her way around Kansas City and she hates to admit it but perhaps she could even like it there - just for the time being of course. Ruby makes some friends like the unconventional Molly and stray dog Rowdy. Besides that Ruby meets two men who are quite different from one another: the sexy Red Indian Chief Payat and the grumpy Sheriff Hank Gephart who brings out the worst in her.

For the first time ever Ruby is far out of reach of the influence of both her mother (who adopted Ruby as a child) and Claire. Somehow the distance between them liberates Ruby and we see the inner Ruby hidden deep inside gradually emerging. Is she able to become herself for the first time in her life? To lose whatever control her mother, sister and mother-in-law as well as her husband Edward have over her? Plus there are lots of things Ruby worries about: what illness she has (yes maybe she is a hypochondriac but you can never know, can you?) whether the Millennium Bug (also known as the Y2K meltdown) will strike and endless more troubles. According to Ruby's aunt she has got "the devil" inside of her - beware Kansas City because Ruby is getting out of control and heading for brake failure: her ' inner devil' is about to break loose!

Because of the layout of the book and the events going back and forth it takes you a while to get into the storyline and Ruby's life but once you are in you just want to keep on reading. Ruby is a fascinating character, I grew to love her as I gradually understood who she was. Hers was not an easy childhood and the competitiveness with her sister is hard to take in. Only in the end you fully perceive the extent of their sibling rivalry. I will refrain from saying more for fear of giving away too much. The more I read the more I loved the story and was so thrilled by the uniqueness and refreshingly different tale before me I just kept on reading. It was nothing like I expected and such a pleasant surprise! Love the book. If you need something different to read: this is it. It comes recommended.

Read the review on my website: https://www.bitsaboutbooks.net/brake-...
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,572 reviews164 followers
February 8, 2017
Brake Failure is a story that flicks between present day where Ruby, the main character, appears to be on the wrong side of the law and to the weeks in the run up to the present day.

Ruby I grew to really like the further into the story I got. She is quite spoilt and selfish to start with but I had to admire how feisty she is. She’s in a loveless marriage which is more one of convenience and it was quite sad to see her put convenience over her own true happiness.

Edward her husband is quite a drip. He seems a nice enough man but there is nothing about him that gets the readers heart racing, never mind Ruby’s. Hank, one of the local sheriffs, certainly seems to send sparks flying between them both though.

Hank is quite hot headed also but there is something about Ruby that stops him from thinking straight. Ruby gets under his skin and she’s all he can think about.

What I really liked about this story is its a mix of crime caper/rom com. The romance is there but it doesn’t over power the story. The main focus is Ruby and the life lessons she learns. Kansas sure is a long way to go to just to find yourself! But this is what Ruby does and it made me love her that tiny bit more.

Brake Failure is a fun and light heart-ed read that will appeal to cozy mystery and chick lit fans.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Profile Image for Jules.
1,361 reviews78 followers
March 31, 2017
Brake Failure is Alison Brodie’s latest romantic comedy. The story starts wide while Ms. Brodie introduces her characters. As the dual-timeline story progresses, the time lines converge, and the myriad of characters click into place in Ruby Mortimer-Smyth’s life.

Ruby and stepsister Claire are tightly wound and in constant competition for their mother’s approval. They marry well and aspire to be the favorite daughter; every conversation is a battle of one-ups-manship. Sadly for Ruby, she feels she has completely “lost” when her new husband’s job transfer is changed from Paris, France to a small town in Kansas. Instead of café au lait and the Louvre, Ruby gets rodeos, cow pies and Indians. One thing that remains the same “across the pond” is the mounting madness over Y2K.

I loved the quirky cast of characters Ruby meets once husband Edward goads her into meeting and befriending the locals. From wild-child Molly to survivalist lovers Mae and Idadel, each of Ruby’s new friends peel away a layer of her upper-crust veneer. Ruby’s constrained and contained life has her wound tighter than a top, but the colorful Kansans set in motion a series of events that has Ruby unraveling at a rapid pace. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Brodie’s sense of humor and fun in this light-hearted novel. The new situations provide much humor—the Kansan’s perpetual questions about the Queen, Y2K craziness, and the differences between British and American English. It was delightful to see Ruby come into her own as she received more acceptance and appreciation from the Kansans than she did from her family who thought her average in every way.

Once underway, Brake Failure moves along at a good pace. The story starts which starts with a shooting, and then alternates between the hunt for Ruby and the events leading up to the shooting. Grab a copy of this madcap adventure and find out if Ruby gets a happy ending or a prison sentence!

Visit Book Junkie Reviews for more reading recommendations: https://abookjunkiereviews.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Vickie.
329 reviews17 followers
August 10, 2017
"Is it too late to tell him you love him when you're looking down the barrel of his gun?"

A fun, quirky, laugh out loud, suspense filled read that captivated me from the get go.

Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is upper-class English, rigidly brought up; she knows the etiquette for every occasion. Feeling like the outsider in the family a disappointment constantly feeling inferior to her sister. That is until she breaks the news that not only is she getting married but she’s moving to Paris firmly wiping the smile of her sisters face…

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

Far from home Ruby can finally breathe. Making unseemly friendships and for the first time in forever is finding herself. And did I mention she keeps falling foul of the law. Or to be more specific a certain Sheriff Hank Gephart whose blue eyes seem to look deep into her soul. She desperately wants him, but knows she can never have him.

Annoyed at the emotions he arouses in her. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket.

Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn't know is, she's on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart.

Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person or so it likes to think. 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.

Constantly rubbing each other up the wrong way…surely things can’t get any worse…or can they?

“I can always tell when you’re lying, Ruby. Your lips move.”
“Well, if I wanted to hear from an asshole, I’d fart.”

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?

I have to say I really enjoyed the plotline to this story the many twists and the unlikely allegiances created through the various characters made for quite the adventure. The witty sarcastic banter between the main characters and secondary characters was laugh out loud funny at times especially about the Queen. There was zero predictability with the plot and was quite the refreshing read.

I felt the main characters were easily connectable, packed with lots of personality and I liked them. I felt the many diverse secondary characters were also likeable and were also packed with personality.

Would recommend to readers looking for a nice easy banter filled read packed with lots of laughs.

**Arc provided courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review for Words Turn Me On Book Blog**
Profile Image for David Carraturo.
Author 4 books110 followers
February 13, 2017
I enjoyed this story very much. I found it amusing on almost every page as this fish out of water learned to swim and find her way from across the pond to the middle of nowhere USA. I had a Lucille Ball character in mind with this one, and loved the way the supporting characters made Ruby feel at home. I don't want to give story away, but it was very well done and the love triangle was nice to see develop. I also liked the two stories coming together as I am a big fan of that type of writing and the Y2K time period brought back memories. I recommend this story and all of Alison Brodie's novels.
Profile Image for Valerie.
902 reviews5 followers
October 29, 2016
If you are looking for a quick, funny book then this may be the book for you. This book is about Ruby and her survival of Y2K. The book is written in an easy to read format that will make you laugh out loud.

This book was interesting in that it has both some parts adventure, as well as a little romance thrown in. The plot was one that kept my attention throughout.

The best part of this book for me was the characters. I enjoyed seeing what next thing Ruby would do. You can tell she is one of those people who has strong emotions and follows her gut, no matter what it gets her into.

All in all, an interesting book. Thanks for the opportunity to review.
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,023 reviews1,741 followers
February 8, 2017
Favorite Quotes:

Claire was never late, except when she wanted to undermine the enemy – and Ruby was the enemy. They’d been at war since they became sisters at the age of eight. Then, it had been a blitzkrieg of shin-kicking; but now they were adults, it was more stealth and guerrilla tactics.

She waved as if Ruby were far out to sea. She always had to do something that stopped a room talking. Leading the maitre d’ like a favoured slave, she sailed over, her eyes raking up and down Ruby’s suit. ‘You look like a dental nurse.’

Claire and Granddad detested each other. Claire said he should be de-loused. Granddad said her face could stop a tank.

Edward was right when he said everyone in Kansas is friendly… I go to my regular checkout girl, Clementine, who grins at me as if I’ve just donated a kidney to her baby brother. As usual, she wants inside information on the Queen, and since I don’t want to disappoint, I say, Her Majesty smokes like a chimney and her corgis bite.

At the checkout, Clementine asks what the Queen eats besides cucumber sandwiches and I say, Grilled Swan.

‘So what does a maiden-in-distress wear?’ she muttered, running up the stairs. A Wonderbra and a plunging neckline would do for starters.

Ruby had thought of a name for their little house on the prairie: ‘Buckin’ Palace.’

My Review:

I frequently giggled, barked, and laughed aloud while reading this delightfully amusing story. Alison Brodie is a talented scribe who loaded her tale with vividly comical descriptions of her numerous quirky characters, as well as the countless hilariously theatrical antics that Ruby stumbled through. As an example - Ruby was a hypochondriac and felt her Doctor “had the tenderness of a Third World dictator,” with “his hairy eyebrows converging like fighting rodents” when he spoke to her.

Ruby and her ridiculous stepsister Claire were highly competitive, excessively dramatic, shallow, selfish, volatile, and heinously snide, although Ruby was more of a Calamity Jane due to her thoughtless bumbling and impulsivity. Due to her odd childhood, Ruby was emotionally repressed and suffered from excessive anxiety as well as overly grandiose fantasies and ideals. She was a fish out of water being a British woman who was suddenly plopped down in Kansas following her new husband’s job promotion, a move which was quite distressing for Ruby as she had big plans of being relocated to Paris, the very place her sister had always dreamed of living. In Ruby’s mind, her life goal would only be perfect once she achieved something her sister could not, and that was Paris. But instead of her expected and highly desired new and perfect life in Paris, Ruby found herself in Kansas - where for the first time she also found herself popular and wildly in demand. She was surrounded by Y2K prep/survivalists and locals who assumed that since she was English, she had inside information on the royal family. She was continually asked by everyone she met -whether it was housewives, clerks, or the local chapter of Hell’s Angels - tidbits about the Queen and, “Who really killed Princess Diana?” Since Ruby did not want to disappoint, she made up ridiculous yet somewhat plausible replies that never failed to bring a smirk to my mouth.

The narrative went back and forth prior to YTK and after, all the while I was tantalized with periodic mentions of a big incident that the story continued to build toward, as well as looming questions about Ruby’s involvement in this incident. The writing was divine and heaving with humor, snark, addle-brained mishaps, and witty scenarios. As Ruby began to unravel she became braver, although her fantasies became increasingly delusional and her activities more overt; she wrote abysmal poetry and schemed of ridding herself of her disappointing husband, and moving on with a handsome Adonis. I adored this book from beginning to end and proudly add a new author to my Mega Talented list.

Profile Image for Kathy Wideman.
2,151 reviews27 followers
November 25, 2016
This book was an interesting read for sure. Ruby has married a proper English man and is a proper English woman. She knows the proper etiquette for every situation and how to make all kinds of fancy food. Her mother left one day and never came back. Her father remarried a wonderful woman named Vanessa and was a great step-mother. However Vanessa wants Ruby to be a certain way and maybe Ruby doesn’t really want to be that way. Ruby finds herself in Kansas, USA instead Paris France when her new husband is transferred for work. A whole another way of life is opened up to Ruby with the move. She makes new friends who do things differently and are unlike any friends she has had before. She meets two men who move like her husband never has. She likes her husband and he is her friend however she doesn’t believe she is in love with him and after meeting these other men. Ruby goes through a bit of a new awakening in Kansas. She is doing things she wants not things that are expected of her. I love Ruby. She maybe a little crazy and misguided but she is a great character. She is learning all kinds of things and not just about herself either. In this book Y2K is rapidly approaching and Ruby is a hypochondriac and gets sucked into being a prepper. Ruby has lived a very tightly controlled life and with all this new found freedom she may be experiencing some brake failure. With all these new feelings she must also learn how to deal with them and how to express them. This book has humor, romance, personal growth, and so much more. This book starts near the end and then goes back to the beginning and does a bit of back and forth. Normally I don’t like these types of books as much but I liked this one. The characters a funny and provide Ruby with a great friendship when she needs it most. I recommend this book if you like comedies and romance.
Profile Image for Tracey.
413 reviews6 followers
October 25, 2019
The cover of this book made me feel happy inside, as if the driver doesn't have a care in the world and is fun loving. On reading the book it turns out that one indeed can judge a book by its cover.
This book was such a funny enjoyable read which had me giggling a lot.
There is romance and suspense with a very brave lady in the mix too. Its all happening in this quick whittled, dramatic and very entertaining book.
Everyone needs to read this book once it is published, its blooming brilliant xx
Profile Image for Caroline Barker.
260 reviews13 followers
January 9, 2017
To say I loved this story is an understatement. Brake Failure is a powerful romantic suspense, with quick wit and humour at times when you least expect it for a great uplifting experience between the intense scenes. Ruby, an extremely well-to-do upper class Brit, has her hopes and dreams set on a life in Paris; living up to the expectations of her stepmother and stepsister. Marriage is more of one of convenience than love and desire, and so when she realises her husband has been offered a job in Kansas, USA instead of the sexy, sophisticated Paris she is quite disheartened and a tad embarrassed. However, when two men from completely different backgrounds enter her life her thoughts begin to spiral out of control.

Sheriff Hank Gephart is the man she keeps running into every time she does something wild and loose cannon-like. He always catches her during times of misbehaviour and craziness, letting her off the hook, but always telling her what to do, and who she shouldn’t be hanging out with. Another moment in his company and she’d lose her top. Yet, from deep within he has this invisible hold of her. She can’t stop thinking of him. But, no, she definitely hates him! Or, does she? Besides, who cares, she’s married to Edward and is certainly not going to be running off with anyone anytime soon.

Unless, Payat, the Red Indian Chief boss of her husband counts, with his tall, broad body, soft eyes and caring nature. Yes, if she were to have an affair it would definitely be him. Why on earth would she want the brute of a man, a cowboy, like Gephart, when she could have the soft, tender caressing love and protection from her seemingly lovely Indian? Yet, as a reader, it is the intensity of Hank’s character that gets the heart pacing, just as it does for Ruby, even if she is in denial.

"It would be like wanting a cuddly cat and being given a tiger. He (Hank) was too masculine, too overpowering, too much in charge. If she wanted to rock the security of her little world by going off with another man, she would choose Payat. Payat with his gentle manner, his shy dark eyes and, of course, his wildly romantic appeal.

But she wasn’t prepared to go off with another man. Like a filing cabinet, her life was compartmentalised and ordered. Edward was her husband. Payat was a delicious fantasy. And Gephart was the rogue piece of paper that had to go in the bin."

Brake Failure draws you in from the very beginning as the reader learns that a sheriff has been shot. This leads the reader to question who shot him, why did they shoot, and where are they now? What will happen next? Stories that open up with a shocking scene always seem to be the best, as the reader searches for these answers, being gripped to every ounce of information that the author offers them.

The story weaves between the events that unfold in the investigation of the shot sheriff and the weeks leading up to that event. Did Ruby really shoot Hank? If so, what caused her to do so? And, where is she now? Did she leave, running scared after an accident? Or, did she decide to leave to go to Payat?

The differences of Ruby’s social class and etiquette in comparison to the culture and behaviour of those in the Mid-West adds plenty of humour to the story. Her Kansas friends are ever-eager to find out about the British Royal Family, whilst preparing themselves for a possible breakdown in society if computers start to crash during the 2000 New Year Millennium Bug. This encourages Ruby to start preparing herself, just in case. It is during some of these events that the reader is introduced to Ruby’s diary and her thoughts that will make the reader laugh out loud, along with her sarcasm towards her stepsister and Hank Gephart.

Alison Brodie keeps the readers guessing due to the surprises and twists that occur, and also because of Ruby’s sometimes erratic and indecisive behaviour. She has her family’s upbringing expectations to live up to, her perfect, classy housewife expectations of her husband’s, and yet (although in denial for the most part) starts wanting to live. Love shouldn’t be a lustful desire, but a companionship – a means to an end, but when she begins to desire things she’s not used to it sets her down a crazy path. This keeps the reader on their toes, making it a fast and exhilarating read that will stay with you for a very long time. Certainly a classic in my opinion!

A copy of Brake Failure was provided by the author, Alison Brodie, in return for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Kerry.
488 reviews35 followers
February 7, 2017
Brake Failure is the first of Alison Brodie's books I have read, but it most certainly won't be my last! I have thoroughly enjoyed Ruby's story.
The whole book spans the few weeks on the run up to (where most people are stressing about what might happen when the clock strikes midnight) and including New Years Eve 1999. It starts just before midnight on 31st December 1999. Sheriff Hank Gephart has been shot and it seems the shooter might be someone called Ruby. The story then switches to 16 weeks earlier when we first meet Ruby. There is no way on earth this woman would shoot anyone!
It's obvious quite early on that Ruby has spent her whole life trying to please others (mainly her Step-mother) and competing with her Step-Sister, Claire. Ruby and Claire are chalk and cheese and whilst Claire isn't a likeable character, she is a fascinating one. I liked Ruby from the start. She's an insecure character, but finally feels like she has made her mother proud as she marries the respectable Edward. His job should soon take them to live in Paris which delights her, if for no other reason than to make Claire jealous. However, when the plans change she finds herself living in Kansas, miles away from her family and knowing no-one. Ruby is a very reserved character to start with, but she soon starts to come out of her shell when she becomes bored with her lonely life. She doesn't seem at all committed to Edward and her head is easily turned by other handsome men. One of which she can't get out of her head, however hard she tries.
Ruby's story is quite sad in one way. Given her upbringing it's no wonder she is how she is. It is a very funny story though. I found myself chuckling away quite often throughout, especially during the scenes where Ruby is with her new friends, being very English, but trying her best not to be! Ruby reminds me of that one friend who is hilarious without actually trying to be. I LOVED her diary entries!
The way her story is written is very clever. As the truth about the opening chapter was gradually revealed, I was well and truly gripped. I was quite surprised by it, but I loved the ending! Brilliant!
I'm off to add all of Alison's other books to my TBR list now :-)

Many thanks to Alison for my Kindle copy of Brake Failure. I will happily recommend!

Profile Image for Grass monster.
504 reviews13 followers
January 7, 2017
The Blurb :
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.
Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn't know is, she's on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart.
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. At every turn, she comes up hard against Sheriff Hank Gephart, whose blue eyes seem to look deep into her soul. She desperately wants him, but knows she can never have him.
She's angry at the emotions he arouses in her. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket.
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.

My Thoughts :
Firstly I must say, I just love the cover of this book. It speaks a thousand words, a happy go lucky, free woman about to go on a journey. Having enjoyed previous work of Alison Brodie, I knew this would be one to read. I must admit it did take me a little time to get into the story as I dont bond well with the whole jumping backwards and forwards in time in any story but Alison had a way of keeping the reader at her pace and making sure everything tied in. I really liked Ruby and she grew on me as the story went on. Great supporting cast aswell. There were a lot of amusing one liners and I found myself more than once laughing along with the story. There are twists and turns that will keep you on your toes and some you dont see coming. You will quickly want to get to the end just to find out how the big event comes about as that is what the whole story was building towards from the very first opening line. This was a very different read for me, not my usual Chick Lit style but it goes to show we should be open to stepping out of our comfort zone. Top marks to Alison Brodie.
Profile Image for Laura.
3,182 reviews317 followers
December 27, 2016
Witty, snarky, off-the cuff sarcastic humor that makes you cheer for Ruby.

Ruby's life has been a competition. She has a habit of coming in second place.
Finally she has reason to boast about what is about to happen to her -- she is going to life in Paris!
And then she is not.

Directed to exist in the wilds of the United States where her new husband desperately tries to land a dog food account, Ruby feels she can help him and then they will get the Paris reward.
Have you ever lived moments where no matter your best intentions, nothing is going to go smoothly?

Do you remember where you were at the turn of the century? What preparations did you make for Y2K? Ruby had no clue thee could be a problem until she met "the Preppers." Not to mention a couple of Hell's Angels...

Can Ruby finally step out of her sister's shadow and find her own light?
Adventure, romance, finding your true path are all mixed in but it is the humor you do not want to miss. Share this hilarious read with your book club and your sisters.

Told in a very interesting format of jumps backward in time.
Profile Image for Linda Buzard-Moffitt.
656 reviews18 followers
December 20, 2016
This was a cute, quirky & fun book. It was neat to watch Ruby change and grow throughout the book in humorous ways. If you like romantic comedies with some suspense, then you will enjoy this one. I asked for an ARC of this book and liked it a lot. So I honestly wrote this review of my own opinions about the book Brake Failure.
Profile Image for Carmen.
621 reviews17 followers
February 4, 2017
Edward Thompson didn't seem to be ready to give up his standards, and his wife, Ruby; also appeared quite sheltered at times from her reactions. This was a novel I enjoyed reading. I got a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dawn West.
538 reviews42 followers
January 9, 2017

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for honest review.**

This book was a hoot!

When you've been in competition against your sister for your entire life, marry a man for convenience rather than love, and flee to the doctor for every little thing thinking the worst is happening to you... is it any wonder that one day you might just snap?

Ruby is tired of living in her sister's shadow and always being the butt of the joke. But when her husband-to-be has an opportunity to whisk her away to Paris, the city her sister has always dreamed about, Ruby is happy to flaunt her future destination.

Unfortunately, the move to Paris is contingent on Ruby's new husband, Edward, landing an advertising client that resides in the states. To do so, their trip to France is put on hold. Instead, they're on the way to Kansas City. And for Ruby, this is as far from ideal as it gets.

Soon, Ruby is making enemies with the Sheriff, friends with a strange mix of misfits, losing her husband to his secretary, and getting in deep with a seemingly perfect native. After dying her hair, breaking several laws, falling for the enemy, and discovering the truth about her dreamboat, Ruby somehow finds herself in the middle of a hostage situation.

No, I'm not kidding...

This book was up and down for me. Mostly up, but I did have a few moments that made me go, hmm... Let's start with what I liked. The way the book was written allowed us to get a nice view of the story from all angles. We bounced between present day and the past until it met together at the end. Ruby's diary entries gave additional information about her days without bogging the timeline down. After I got a feel for the method of writing, it flowed smoothly.

I also laughed quite a bit while reading this book. Some of the antics were far-fetched but that's fiction for you! The characters were varied and entertaining. The pacing was pretty quick and there was never time to be bored with so much going on. The mystery was intriguing and lasted until the very end when everything is finally revealed.

Ruby, herself, was a pretty good character with lots of flaws to overcome. She undergoes an extensive character overhaul throughout the story and I can appreciate the struggles she goes through as her world turns inside out.

I didn't, however, like her careless views on marriage. Even though she admits to being in a loveless marriage, she still married Edward and made a commitment to him. Then she puts herself into situations no respectable wife would in which men are kissing her and expecting more from their interactions. All of this happens before she ever learns of her husband's change of heart so I can't say that I felt a lot of sympathy for Ruby. I don't typically root for a cheater's happy ending (the husband included).

Putting that element aside, though, I was thoroughly entertained by this book. It was a quick read that I finished in a single bubble bath. It made me laugh, gasp, and smile.

In closing...
A hilarious book with complex characters, romance, and rule breaking. Four suns!

Full review on the blog: http://uptildawnbookblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/review-release-tour-brake-failure-by.html
Profile Image for Jen.
1,224 reviews62 followers
February 9, 2017
Okay. For the sake of full disclosure, I will start this review by being completely transparent and honest. I received a copy of 'Brake Failure' from the author, Alison Brodie.

And I'm very glad I did.

This book is really bloody funny.

There. Now that's out of the way, I can tell you why. From the beginning Alison Brodie has set up both an element of intrigue and also the comedic personality of our heroine, Ruby.

At the very start of the novel we discover Hank, already shot, outside of a care home in a very remote location. The old folk are gathered around but nobody knows where he came from and how he got there. The only thing they get from him is Ruby's name. But who the heck is Ruby? When we meet Ruby, some weeks before the shooting, you cannot begin to imagine how somebody whose sole meaning in life is cataloguing files for a University and engaging in pointless one-upmanship with her step-sister Claire could possibly be involved in a shooting.

What follows is a wonderfully written and highly humorous look at the slow breakdown of Ruby's almost brain washed personality and the emergence of the devil may care, rebelious young woman that she had kept buried for years. Ruby is a brilliant character, neurotic and uptight who starts to embrace her really relaxed surroundings and the carefree lifestyle that comes with it. No longer under her mother's control and with a marriage which seems to be collapsing barely weeks after it started, it is no wonder Ruby snaps. And it's hilarious. She still retains her Britishness, the element of sarcasm which is just about hidden from her neighbours, but when she lets loose, she really lets loose. She becomes obsessed with the idea of Payat, of becoming some kind of Native American princess living in a wigwam, driven by the images of native life she had seen in the old westerns she had been watching. I mean seriously... I really liked her.

As for Hank. Well he's a bit uptight himself. Left to bring up his younger siblings he's never been serious about love. Until he meets Ruby. There is something in her he likes. And there's something in Hank I liked too. He was a little cocksure at times but then he had been mislead by Ruby, so the misunderstandings between the two were mainly her fault. But in spite of him seeming like a killjoy every time they met, he really did have her best interests at heart. I found myself hoping that he and Ruby would work it out, but with her fixated on Payat and seeming to have shot him, you kind of wonder how this can be possible.

The story moves back and forward between the night of Hank's shooting and the ongoing search for the elusive Ruby, and the sixteen weeks leading up to the fateful night. As we move through the story we are witness to the change in Ruby but our journey is tempered by the current day, all of the conflicting information the Police Chief is gathering about her. From what he is hearing she may well have deliberately shot Hank. But just what is truth and what is fiction?

There are so many laugh out loud moments in this book and I found myself chuckling away more often that not. From all the misunderstandings with Hank to the entries from Ruby's journal which become less and less logical and coherent as time passes, Alison Brodie has pitched this just right. She has perfectly captured the character of Kansas and the people who live there too, the kind of people whose entire New Year resolutions revolved around losing a few pounds and praying more. By the end of the book Ruby is a far cry from the hypochondriac, tee-total and uptight woman we first met. And boy. That poem...
Profile Image for Lisa Woods.
167 reviews24 followers
December 31, 2021
Okay guys so when I was sent this book by the lovely author Alison Brodie I really did not know what to expect. I feel like a lot of the time the title and the cover kind of gives it away a little bit but I didn't really feel like it did with Brake Failure.

Obviously after reading the synopsis I had an idea of what the book was about and was excited to get cracking. I have a tendency to read books far too quickly at times so I reluctantly slowed down and took a bit more time with this one and I am glad I did.

First off , Ruby.. Now she is a weird one. At first I just really did not like her. She seem stiff, pretentious, stuck up and always wanted to get one up on her sister Claire ( who i also really disliked and would gladly slap for being such a snob) but as the story progressed you realise why she is the way she is and it really made me feel for her. I loved seeing another side of her! The side that comes out as the you read more is the Ruby that I think I would have a lot of fun hanging out with. I love Molly too. I think she helps Ruby to let her hair down and be herself more.

I think the whole Y2K Millennium bug storyline was brilliant. It really made me laugh because I remember some people genuinely thought the world would end or something epic was going to happen and I can just imagine Y2K nuts running around stacking up on essentials "just in case".

Now lets talk about the men in the story. Edward is a totally mamma's boy. It feels like he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and is totally incapable of doing most things for himself! The way he whines.. OMG I would have lost my rag with him so many times and he definitely would not have been someone I would marry.

As for Hank, oooo hank!!! I absolutely love his character! He is forceful but clearly has a sensitive side and the chemistry between him and Ruby could be felt a mile off. He is a great main character.

Now when it comes to the genre I find it really difficult to place Brake Failure in to just one category because it has so many aspects to it. I would describe it as a Chick lit comedy with a crime element thrown in. There is a romance element to the story as well but I don't feel like it takes over!. I feel the story is about Ruby finally finding herself after what seems to be a very restrictive, confusing childhood where I feel she was mentally abused.

The way Alison weaves all these different elements together is a sign of a great writer. I used to have a habit of flicking to the end of books because I was so impatient and didn't want to wait to find out the ending but I actually enjoyed following Ruby on her manic journey and finding out who she met on the way. I was glued to this book from start to finish and I would 100% read it again!.

As you have probably gathered Brake Failure gets 5 out of 5 from this Misfit. Once again thank you to Alison for sending me a copy of this book!
Profile Image for Tania Dutton.
6 reviews16 followers
February 8, 2017
A fantastic book that I would highly recommend. The characters were captivating and realistic and the story line had me hooked. When I finished reading, I missed the characters and wanted to start reading the book again!
You can read my full review here: http://www.whentaniatalks.com/brake-f...
Profile Image for Linda Hill.
1,188 reviews31 followers
January 9, 2017
Ruby is in constant competition with her step-sister Claire to behave like a lady. However, after Ruby’s wedding to the tedious Edward, a sibling rivalry will be the last of her worries.

I really enjoyed Brake Failure. It’s hugely entertaining. There’s a quirkiness to the writing that provides pace, humour and wit as well as underlying tensions and sensuality.

Initially it took me a while to get into the structure as it tracks back and forth from New Year’s Eve 1999 to five months before, when the events actually began, but once I got into the rhythm of the book, as the past and present converge, I thought it was incredibly well plotted. I did think the end was a little too readily resolved but made perfect sense. I could so easily imagine Brake Failure as a successful television series.

There’s great humour that emerges through the excellent, amusing and natural dialogue and I loved the depiction of small town America with its offbeat characters. Even Rowdy the dog is totally believable and appealing and I really wouldn’t mind meeting Hank in a darkened room. I thought Alison Brodie handled the way in which Ruby’s personality developed, and the background to who she is, so skilfully. I have to admit I was very disappointed when Brake Failure ended. I want to know more about Ruby.

Underpinning the events is an entertaining sexual attraction between Ruby and Hank, but more importantly, there are some weighty themes explored too. Alison Brodie fully understands how our past influences our present and future and there are several characters really struggling with their sense of identity that I found very satisfying to read about. The title is an inspired choice as there is a metaphorical (and literal) brake failure for Ruby as she spirals into another personality, as well as for several other characters, but it’s tricky to say more without revealing the plot. Family relationships are central to why events happen as they do, but Alison Brodie is so clever in keeping secrets from the reader as well as the characters, that I felt as if I was discovering information in tune with them. This is such fun, and sensitive, writing.

If you’re looking for a book that is slightly off-beat, funny and completely absorbing with themes to make you think, then Brake Failure is for you. I thought it was great.
Profile Image for Heather.
573 reviews138 followers
February 3, 2017

A great fun read, Brake Failure is a flashback to the final year of the nineties and this craziness that came before Y2K. Told in a back to front way, this is a crazy drive from start to finish.

We meet Ruby, who is, well she has had a privileged upbringing, a wonderful sense of entitlement and basically seems hellbent on getting one over on her step-sister. To her the ultimate goal is Paris and her husband who she seems to use for her own personal gain rather than love is going to be her ticket to the City of Love.

Except that is not going to happen as he has to go Kansas first, oh and did I mention that it was 1999.

America comes as a total culture shock to Ruby, she is a fish out of water and a hypochondriac to boot, she should make friends easily in her small town!!

Friendship is not something Ruby has in mind when she keeps encountering the local Sheriff Hank Gephart who is igniting something in Ruby that her husband isn't sparking, not only is the local Sheriff giving Ruby major feels, her husbands boss is also set fire to her emotions, for the first time in her life she decides she is going to do what the hell she likes.

There may be consequences, they may not be good.

I'll not spoil the rest for you but this is a rollicking good read, well written and humourous with a lead character who can fearless and majorly annoying at the same time but you can't help forgive her.

Thanks to Neverland Blog Tours for providing me with a copy.
367 reviews13 followers
December 24, 2016
Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is a prim and proper, perfectly behaved English lady. She’s been brought up to be the best, can cook a three course meal from scratch at the drop of a hat and knows the etiquette rule to follow for every occasion. After she marries an advertising executive and her dreams of a Paris transfer get crushed, they get sent to Kansas and she finds herself rapidly drifting away from her perfect self and breaking rule after rule in order to escape the restraints of her seemingly perfect life.
In Kansas she will meet a sexy Sheriff, an even sexier American Indian; she’ll befriend an unorthodox story teller, a handful of small town housewives turned Y2K survivalists as well as a group of Hell’s Angels; she’ll learn to drink, swear and will knowingly break the law.
This book is one of the best surprises I’ve come across this year. It’s unique, laugh out loud funny, suspenseful and unexpected at every single turn. It’s smartly written, the characters have a large range of emotions and the story kept me interested from beginning to end. It doesn’t matter what I thought, I could not foresee where the author was leading and I loved every minute of it!
If you want a fun, smart read of a fish out of water without erotic scenes, you should give this book a try.

4.5 stars
*An ARC was given in exchange for an honest review*
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