Blog Tour: Book Review: Crashers by Lindy S. Hudis


Title: Crashers
Author: Lindy Hudis
Publication Date: May 5, 2012
Genre: True Crime, Fiction
Publisher: Bettie Youngs Book Publishers

Blurb:

It may not be armed robbery, but the illegal business of fraudulent car accidents is a multi-million-dollar racket, involving unscrupulous medical providers, personal injury attorneys, and the cooperating passengers involved in the accidents and who also receive a portion of the illegal proceeds.

What makes good people turn to crimeany type of crime? Newly engaged, Nathan and Shari are blissfully happybut their joy is tempered by the dark cloud of mounting debt. They know it's just a matter of time until an avalanche of bills buries themand their future along with it.

A chance encounter with a stranger in whom Shari confides her troubles prove fortuitous: he tells her of a get-rich-quick scheme that will put her and her fiancĂ© on easy street. Seduced by the chance to move from hard times to good times in no time, she takes the carrot offered her and finds herself acting as a "stuffed passenger"the "victim" in a staged auto accident. The act goes according to plan and Shari gets her payday. She goes back for moreagain and again, eventually becoming trapped in a dark and dangerous underworld, dragging her fiancĂ© with her. Getting out and breaking free will take nothing short of a miracle.

A modern day cautionary tale, Crashers is a fascinating study in the derailing of a young couple's moral compass. 

Kayla's Thoughts:

Okay, so I have to be really honest when it comes to this book. It made me angry. I probably better clarify before people reading this think it is a bad book and decide to not read it. It made me angry in a GOOD way. I love books that make me react, that make me feel something. Because if an author can invoke that kind of emotion from me, then I know they are definitely worth checking out.

When the book starts out, its two main characters, Shari and Nathan, seem to have it all. Or at least they hope to have it all in the very near future. Nathan is up for a big promotion, and if that happens, which to Nathan seems a distinct reality, all their troubles will just go away. They won't want for anything. Nathan has their lives all planned out: proposal, house, kids, etc. The whole she-bang. The only problem is that his dream, their dream, suddenly poofs out of existence with just a few clacks on a keyboard. Yeah. Nathan is stabbed in the back by one of his co-workers and suddenly finds himself out of a job. Even worse, he cannot even get a job at another company because his license is revoked. Sucks, huh? The couple's situation gets even more dire when Shari loses her own job. But a fender-bender on the day she is fired could very well be their only salvation.

A lawsuit turns into a single idea which pretty much turns into a sudden job offer, and suddenly Shari and Nathan are thrust, willingly on her part and not so much on his, into a world of easy money...or so they think.

But this story is not just about Shari and Nathan's rise from the ashes, and the threat of falling again hanging in the background, it also tells the story of a cop searching for the head of this whole escapade. She knows about the world Shari and Nathan have suddenly got themselves into, and she's bound and determined to catch all involved, even if it means putting her life in danger to do it.

Verdict:

This is a heart-pounding read. We get to see what people who have nothing to lose will do just to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. We get to see every single point of view. From Shari, to Nathan, to the man who recruits them, to the Big Kahuna who started it all, to the cop getting closer and closer. Every single chapter connects the characters together and gives the book a completeness to it. And while it may not be perfect, yeah there were some grammar issues, it was still an exciting story that just made me not want to put it down.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Lindy S. Hudis is a graduate of New York University, where she studied drama at Tisch School of the Arts. She is the author of several titles, including her romance suspense novel, Weekends, her "Hollywood" story, City of Toys, and her crime novel, Crashers. She is also the author of an erotic short story series, "The S&M Club" and "The Mile High Club". Her short film "The Lesson" was screened at the Seattle Underground Film Festival and Cine-Nights in 2000. She is also an actress, having appeared in the television daytime drama "Sunset Beach". She and her husband, Hollywood stuntman Stephen Hudis, have formed their own production company called Impact Motion Pictures, and they have several projects and screenplays in development. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Book Review: Outback Hearts by Susan Stoker

Title: Outback Hearts
Author: Susan Stoker
Publication Date: May 18, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Beau Coup Publishing

Blurb:

Sam never thought she'd actually be chosen for a reality show -- but next thing she knew, she was whisked away to Australia. Dealing with a producer willing to do whatever he had to do to make the show a hit, other women ready to cheat and lie to gain the attention of the bachelor, and a camera operator ready to catch her at her worst every time she turned around, absolutely nothing was as simple as it seemed on TV. Not to mention the pigs, killer rattlesnakes and shoveling manure. Sam wasn't sure she was going to make it through filming most days -- never mind find true love.

Alex never thought he'd be on a reality show, but how hard could being surrounded by beautiful women be? A lot harder than he'd thought. The producer changed the rules of the show behind his back, the women were nearly clawing at each other for his attention -- and that one contestant he couldn't get off his mind...

Can two people who are meant to be together manage to fight the catty contestants, crazy producer and find true love on a reality show in the Australian Outback?

Kayla's Thoughts:

For a girl who has watched her fair share of reality dating programs (grew out of that, thank God) I can honestly say that everything that is portrayed in this novel is of my EXACT opinion. The fru-fru women who somehow fall in love with the supposed bachelor on the first night, the cattiness and 180 changes between when they are with the guy and when they are not, and the DRAMA!!! Oh my goodness, the DRAMA! It makes my head want to explode. *KABOOM* But enough about that, let's continue on talking about this book.

I think one of my favorite parts of this book is the fact that Sam (I refuse to call her Sammi) is so different from the other women on the show. She is kind of a breath of fresh air. SPOILER ALERT!! I thought it was so cool how she saved the fish in one of the challenges. I mean, I absolutely love animals and cannot stand to see one hurt, but I wouldn't have even thought of that.

Sam stood out so perfectly from the other contestants. It emphasized her being a main character, and it also kind of showed true reality. Because in those kind of shows, it really does seem as if all they want are pretty people in front of the camera. "Makes for good television."

Sometimes, though, I facepalmed a little bit regarding Sam and how she handled some of the situations. But then I couldn't really fault her due to the explanations she gave and the reasoning behind some of her choices. They just made sense.

And Alex. I loved his some of his reactions. And from the start, I just knew the two were perfect for each other. Just the way he reacted to a certain story of Sam's, which he was really not supposed to hear, in the beginning of the competition made their connection instantly click in my head. Seriously, thinking back on it, I am kind of still gushing over how perfect they are.

AND THE PRODUCER, EDDIE! Oh lord I do not like that man... But him I will not talk about. You'll have to find out about him all on your own.

Verdict:

While reading this story, my only complaint was that writing wise it felt a bit bare to me. A bit simple. And throughout the story, until the very end, I felt it was a good book, but it didn't really amaze me. HOWEVER, when I finished, and while figuring out what to write in my review, I went on Facebook and found out that the second book having to do with a competition in Arizona, briefly mentioned in this book, was out. I flipped! Until that moment, I had not realized just how much I had enjoyed this book. And now, I still cannot stop thinking about it and about reading the next one. I have to know what is going to happen with this new couple.

I just really love this book.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all-American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She is quite the romantic and even met the love of her life on "Hotmail classified" before online dating and sites like match.com even existed!

Susan has been reading romance novels since middle school and once crossed out the names of the main characters in a book and changed them to her own and to the name of her crush. She's been writing scenes for years, developing her unique writing style.

Susan loves writing, but her true passion is adopting dogs from rescue groups and shelters. Susan and her husband have had a total of nine "rescued" dogs since 2000, including a variety of basset hounds and bloodhounds. She has recently branched out and adopted a basset/terrier mix who acts more like a terrier than a basset (i.e. digging, eating a couch and being hyper). If you love romance and want to help her support adopting great dogs, be sure to check out her work.

Her first series, Beyond Reality, is a trilogy, with all three books in the series having Happily Ever After endings with no cliffhangers.


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Book Review: A Rose in Flanders Fields by Terri Nixon

Title: A Rose in Flanders Fields
Author: Terri Nixon
Publication Date: July 17, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Carina UK (Harlequin Digital)

Blurb:

Driving an ambulance through the mud in Flanders, aristocrat Evie Creswell is a long way from home. At Oaklands Manor all she had been expected to do was to look pretty and make a good marriage. But with the arrival of World War One everything changed.

And Evie, to the horror of her family, does not choose a husband from her blue-blooded set; instead she weds artist Will Davies, who works as a butcher’s apprentice. Soon she is struggling nightly to transport the wounded to hospital, avoiding the shells and gas attacks – her privileged home life, and her family’s disappointment at her marriage, a lifetime away.

And while Evie drives an ambulance in Belgium, Will is in the trenches in France. He withdraws from her, the trauma of his experience taking hold. Evie has the courage to deal with her war work, but it breaks her heart to think she is losing Will’s love. Can their marriage survive this terrible war? That is, if they both get out alive…

Kayla's Thoughts:

War changes people in ways you never thought possible. It can make even the strongest of men weep, and the bravest of men run away. It takes pieces of yourself and, if allowed, will turn you into a shell of your former self. None of the characters in this book were spared any of this. They all had their trials and tribulations. But they also had laughs and good times. They dealt with the hand they were given, and it was an absolute privilege to read about them.

The two main characters of this book, Evie and Will, experience so much throughout the pages of this story. In the beginning, they are separated by rank and social status, Evie being "better off" than Will in that regard. But they feel this connection. One that thrives and grows in those peaceful times. But once the war starts, and they become separated by more than just who their family is, that very connection is tested. And as the years go by, it gets weaker and weaker to the point where it seems as if almost breakable. The true indication of their devotion for one another will be if they can prevent their love from doing just that...breaking. But if it does, can they ever get it back again? Or will it be lost forever.

Because this book is pretty well written in Evie's point of view, we see very little of Will once the war starts. Except for the occasional visit between the two, of course, and some letters. We do, however, get to learn Evie's contribution to the war, and we meet so many wonderful people because of that. So many other people who are just as important to the story as Evie herself.

There is death and destruction, and also pain. But there is also a plethora of happiness and love to counteract that. At some point near the middle of this book, I had the sudden thought that I loved it. It surprised me, because it wasn't a booming realization, but a whisper, and I don't think I have ever had a book do that to me before.

Verdict:

This is a wonderful, wonderful read. It sucked me in from the very beginning and just made me one with the story. In fact, I was quite excited to find out that Lizzy's story is also available. And I am definitely going to be reading that in future.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Terri was born in Plymouth, England, in 1965. At the age of 9 she moved with her family to Cornwall, to a small village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since. She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one's ever offered to pay her for doing those. 

Since publishing in paperback for the first time in 2002, Terri has appeared in both print and online fiction collections, and is proud to have contributed to the Shirley Jackson award-nominated hardback collection, Bound for Evil, by Dead Letter Press. As a Hybrid author, her first commercially published novel was Maid of Oaklands Manor, published by Piatkus Entice (a digital-first imprint of Little, Brown,) and it was shortlisted in the "Best Historical Read" category at the Festival of Romance 2013.

Terri's self-published Mythic Fiction series The Lynher Mill Chronicles has now been launched, the first title of which is The Dust of Ancients and is available in e-book and paperback. The second, The Lightning and the Blade, is also now on sale.

Terri now lives in Plymouth with her youngest son, and works in the Faculty of Arts at Plymouth University where she is constantly baffled by the number of students who don't possess pens. 

Terri also writes under the name T Nixon, and has contributed to anthologies under the names Terri Pine and Teresa Nixon.


Links for Author:

Book Review: The Robber Knight by Rob Thier

Title: The Robber Knight
Author: Rob Thier
Publication Date: May 3, 2014
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace

Blurb:

When you are fighting for the freedom of your people, falling in love with your enemy is not a great idea. Or is it? Ayla has to defend her castle and her people all on her own, with nobody to help her but a dark warrior she hates with all her heart.

Kayla's Thoughts:

I have always had a love for historical fiction. I mean, I think it is so neat to read about people from a completely other time. And if done right, it can feel as if you too are a part of that time, if only for a while.

I absolutely loved the characters in this novel. Lady Ayla is so headstrong and stubborn. She is a little firecracker. But she is also a brave and loyal and honorable girl. She would do whatever it takes to save her people from any force that would threaten their safety. And Reuben...well, they are so perfect for each other it's not even funny.

The conflict between the two characters is almost comical at times. The way Ayla tries to goad him, and he her, and the fact that this is pretty much hiding their initial attraction to one another. Neither one wants to admit it to themselves, but EVERYONE kind of knows it is there. It is a tension that never goes away.

While Ayla seems to have all her cards on the table, meaning we really do not have any speculation about who she is and all that, this is balanced by the fact that we know almost nothing about Reuben. I mean, the most we know is his identity, but not the secret behind his identity. What made him the man he is today. And I think it is cool that we are given only bits and pieces of his past throughout the entire novel.

Both main characters, along with a plethora of not-so-main but still important characters, will find a common ground in the story. They will have to band together to fight a powerful force threatening Ayla's very people. And much to both's chagrin, the two might even become closer because of it.

But a secret of Reuben's past, of his identity, could tear them apart and cause her to turn against him.

Verdict:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. There is a bit of a mysterious aspect regarding Reuben, and I think that just adds to the story itself. It is completely worth the read, and I really cannot wait to read more into this world and these characters.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Robert Thier is a German historian and writer of Historical Fiction. His particular mix of history, romance and adventure, always with a good deal of humor thrown in, has gained him a diverse readership ranging from teenagers to retired grandmothers. For the way he manages to make history come alive, as if he himself had lived as a medieval knight, his fans all over the world have given him the nickname "Sir Rob".

Besides writing and researching in dusty old archives, on the lookout for a mystery to put into his next story, Robert enjoys classical music and long walks in the country. The helmet you see in the picture he does not wear because he is a cycling enthusiast, but to protect his literary skull in which a bone has been missing since birth. Robert lives in the south of Germany in a small village between the three Emperor's Mountains.


Links for Author:

Book Review: Cured Meat by Polly Trope

Title: Cured Meat
Author: Polly Trope
Publication Date: April 24, 2014
Genre: Urban Fiction



Blurb:

On the daring road to happiness out of mental hospital, passing through the NYC drug scene and the London escort life, this low-life odyssey is an elegant picaresque romp through the slums of the human soul. Bizarre encounters with colourful characters make for tragi-comic strange tales of rockers, dreamers and comedians.

Kayla's Thoughts:


Cured Meat. I wasn't sure what to expect from a book with a title like that, aand I had some doubts about whether or not I would like it, but after reading its blurb, I thought I should try it. It surprised me.

This book is about a spiral into darkness, with bouts of happiness and clarity, albeit few, mixed in. It is about a woman's journey through depression, addiction, and mental illness. It delves into her mind and unleashes her inner-most thoughts and fears throughout this entire thing.

The imagery of this book is quite beautiful, and after a slightly rocky start for me in the beginning, I began to feel with her. She has thoughts that everyone at some point has in the duration of their life, some admit this fact while others dismiss it, and every page of this book is so brutally honest and unflinching.

While these days there is not much the world doesn't talk about, I feel that mental illness is one of the rare subjects that is blatantly ignored by most. The dark corners of one's mind is such a passed over subject, that it makes this book wholly unique. This author's voice is like a candle shedding light in those corners making them known to the world. Which makes me like this book all the more.

Verdict:

It was truly an experience reading this, and one that I might not forget in future.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Berliner with a literary bent, Polly Trope won various young person's awards in literature and was a known blogger before she wrote Cured Meat, her debut novel.

Links for Author:

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