Series: Beyond Reality
Author: Susan Stoker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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 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 this 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?
Thoughts: I’m a reading addict, so I go through phases where it feels like all of the books I’m reading sound similar. It’s rare that I can find a book that seems unique. I got that with Outback Hearts. Reality TV is all around us, but this is the first book I have read with a reality TV plotline. It was very interesting. You get both POVs in the story, so you know what’s going on from both of their perspectives. It felt like a behind-the-scenes look at a reality show. I wondered while reading this if Susan Stoker had ever been a reality show before. In a sea of models, Sam was the diamond in the rough. Alex was a gentleman and I loved him. He was so protective of women and in general. He was down-to-earth, but he also had the whole I am my own boss thing going on. I would like to see more Alex’s on reality TV (or in reality or on TV). It wasn’t a short story, but it was a quick read that kept me super engrossed. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. I loved this book and can’t wait for more in the series, which I assume by the series name will be reality show based.
Alex and Sam are individually bullied by their friends into applying for a spot in a new reality TV show, even know neither of them know what the premise of the show will be. When they both get selected for the show with a location of the Australian Outback, they both agree to attend to get the free vacation if nothing else. Once in Australia, the producers tell Sam she needs to go by “Sammie” on the show. They have a Meet & Greet to announce that it’s a dating show (similar to The Bachelor) and there are 16 female contestants (including Sam) trying to win the bachelor’s heart. It doesn’t take Sam long to realize that she is the only contestant that doesn’t look or act like a model.
When Alex learned that this was a dating reality show, he almost quit. He’s a good-looking successful guy and he doesn’t need to go on a dating showing to meet women. The more he thought about it, though, he realized that he is a 38-year old man who has never been married. Maybe he should give this a shot? He gave the producers his own set of requirements to be on the show and one of those is access to the behind the scenes tapes of the women. He doesn’t want to be blindsided with a woman who isn’t really interested in him or hateful to everyone else.
It doesn’t take Alex long to realize that there is only one contestant that doesn’t fit the mold and it makes her interesting. He becomes more interested the more he knows about her. This reality show isn’t like other dating reality shows. The bachelor doesn’t always get a choice. Sometimes randomly chosen contestants have to leave and other times they have to win challenges. Can Sam make it through to the end and “win”? If she does, will Alex pick her? If not, can they find a way to overcome it?
You’ll just have to find out by reading Outback Hearts.
FYI – The second book in the series is expected to be released on 07/21/14 and I can’t wait!!