Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Book Review: Bend The Rules by Susan Amanda Kelly


Everyone deserves a second chance and Mary Holmes, accountant extraordinaire, is determined to make the most of hers. Sure, she’d love to get her old life back - she used to be thin, well-dressed, engaged-to-be-married, on the corporate ladder and regularly bought three kinds of lettuce. Back then, she could afford the hair products needed to keep her hair sleek. But one unused wedding cake, a regrettable public safety incident and a teensy prison record later, her life goals have shrunk to being able to afford to eat regularly. To do that, she needs to make a success of her second chance… an accounting job with Vetruvious Security.

Everything is proceeding according to Mary’s detailed, color-coded, new-life plan until Vetruvious Security hires a specialist, Crash Coolidge, to work undercover to smash a truck cargo heist ring. Crash is sexy, insolent, sexy, disheveled, sexy and scarily relaxed about the prospect of killing people. Even in a tough-guy company like Vetruvious Security, Crash is the equivalent of a Rottweiler surrounded by Chihuahuas. After Mary is assigned to his team, her life-plan rapidly derails. She is targeted by the sinister and mysterious head of the heist gang and only Crash stands between her and an undignified death.

Mary finds herself doing things that most definitely were not in her employment contract like stripping the shoes from a corpse; adopting a deaf, rank-smelling guard dog; clue-hunting with Crash’s crazy, supermodel sister and lurking in a biker bar to locate a specific tattoo artist. All because Mary ends up wanting a second chance for Crash Coolidge as much as she wants one for herself. And she must find the sinister and mysterious head of the heist gang before Crash does. Because she doesn’t want Crash to do something reckless that lands him in prison. Not when he has become a vital part of her detailed, color-coded, new new-life plan. 


BEND THE RULES by Susan Amanda Kelly was an utterly delightful read. It offers a quirky mix of romance, crime and plenty of humour that kept me entertained from start to finish.

I loved the protagonists, Mary Holmes and Crash Coolidge. Mary’s quite eccentric but beneath it all, she has a soft heart and tries to think the best of people. When she crosses paths with Crash, an unabashed criminal, she’s quite disconcerted to realise she’s attracted to him.

Crash makes no apologies for his lifestyle and has no intentions of changing course. He’s happy to act on his attraction to Mary but he’s stumped by the fact she brings out feelings beyond the physical in him.

There’s a mystery to solve but as much as they work together, Crash and Mary’s preferred methodology is poles apart. Mary’s escapades, often with the help of Crash’s sister Minnie gets them into trouble. Kelly did a great job in balancing the humour of an amateur sleuth and the grimness of murder.

Alongside the mystery, there’s a lovely romance. Mary and Crash are not blind to their individual faults but the feelings between them are genuine and they’re both prepared to not only show some vulnerability but to fight for their relationship.

I am so happy this book and I crossed paths because it was such a pleasure to read. It's funny. It's romantic. It's criminal. It works!     


Susan Amanda Kelly loves making up stuff in her head. She drives her husband to distraction by suddenly stopping, mid-conversation, and staring off into space. She once spent five hours at sea, on a boat, muttering: "Where would he hide the body?" She hopes the video footage of that trip has all been scrubbed. She finally decided to put the characters that inhabit her head, onto paper. It was like opening the door on a lunatic asylum... glorious bedlam. She hopes her readers come to love her characters as much as she does. She writes a warm-hearted mix of romance, mystery and suspense. And her husband is convinced her male leads are based on him. Not the body-hiding psychopath, of course.

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