A Snowbound Scandal – Jessica Lemmon

cover139517-medium (1)

I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley.com as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.

Not a typical read for me, but occasionally, I need the break from the tedium of mystery stories, and police procedurals, to sneak in a quick romance or two.

Chase Ferguson is the Mayor of Dallas and has a promising political career spread before him. The son of a wealthy oil family, the sky is the limit for Chase. An honest politician, he’s earned the love and support of the Texas people, and his opponents must dig deep to find anything to use against him. Then one morning a picture of ‘Mimi’ crosses his desk.

Mimi Andrix is an activist with an agricultural sciences degree and works for the Montana Conservation Society. Her work often has her protesting the very thing Chase’s family stands for – oil. Years ago, while on a break from school, she had a summer fling with Chase, and while he sent her home in the end, she’s never forgotten him or their romantic summer together in Montana.

Chase decides to take a quick vacation up to the lake house he owns in Bigfork, Montana for the Thanksgiving Holiday, and has a chance meeting with Mimi at the grocery store. The conversation is awkward, and he shares his card with Mimi, before leaving for his lake home, planning on spending the holiday alone. Mimi, with her heart of gold, cannot stand the thought of Chase not having a proper dinner, so she heads to Chase’s home with plates of food, and barely makes it because of an unexpected snowstorm.

Stranded with Chase because of the unrelenting snow, they rekindle the romance of that summer so long ago – and Mimi realizes she’s never stopped loving Chase. But when the snowstorm is over, will Chase leave her behind once again??

A sweet story, with a predictable ending, but every now and then, I need a story where the girl gets her guy! An enjoyable read, and I look forward to the next installment of the series, when Chase’s sister Stephanie meets her match!

One On One – Michael Brandman

One On One – Michael Brandman (4 stars)

cover140405-medium (1)

I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley.com as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.

Buddy Steel is a former LAPD Homicide Detective who has reluctantly returned home to San Romo County, to act as the Chief Deputy for his father, Sheriff Burton Steel. The Sheriff was recently diagnosed with an incurable and ultimately terminal illness and hopes that Buddy will take his place when the time is right. Both also hope to work through the difficulties of their contentious relationship while they can.

As the novel starts, Buddy is summoned to a murder scene at Freedom High School, where the Assistant Principal, Henry Carson, has been found murdered in his office – an apparent victim of a stabbing. As the investigation begins, Henry appears to be well loved by students and staff alike. Involved in student sports as well, no one has an unkind word to say about Carson. Meanwhile, his widow, Kimber has fled the state, giving Buddy a potential person of interest to assess.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Buddy inherits a second problem – a mystery graffiti artist has taken to Freedom to create some free-lance artwork –creating monstrous walls of spray painted ‘art’ on various buildings and the like, angering the town’s residents.

As the search continues for Carson’s killer, Buddy begins to find inconsistencies when he interviews students. It becomes apparent that Carson preferred the ‘pretty’ ones – both guys and girls – that he would spend extra time with, whether it be dinner, or weekend getaways. One student alludes to a ‘play party’, which sends the case in a completely different direction…
Meanwhile, some ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, and some night time surveillance help to locate the Freedom artist, but can they apprehend him?

This is my first read by author Michael Brandman, but it will not be my last. My initial thoughts were that the book was a bit slow and mellow for a police procedural type novel – the murder scenes and forensics were described subtly, while the true focus was on the dynamics of relationships between the individuals of the story, Buddy and his father, students between their mentor, etc., but it quickly evolved into a very good read! I look forward to more of Buddy Steel, and his father as this series continues!

They Won’t Be Hurt – Kevin O’Brien

They Won’t Be Hurt – Kevin O’Brien (4 stars)

9780786038855_p0_v1_s550x406

I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley.com as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.

Scott Singleton, a former football player turned evangelist, is found dead in his home, along with his entire family, the apparent victims of a homicidal rage. The prime suspect, Joe Mulroney, the property caretaker, reportedly found the carnage, after having slept in his apartment all night, not hearing a thing. Held in protective custody by the police as they seek to find evidence to charge him, but he escapes their surveillance with the help of his friend, Vic. Now presumed guilty, there is a massive manhunt ongoing for the two men.

Laura Getchell is a retired teacher, and she and her husband Sean now own and operate a winery in Leavenworth, WA. Sean has just left for a business trip out of the country, and Laura and three children remain home. As she watches the television of the Singleton murder, she can’t help but cringe. Shortly thereafter, she hears someone at the front door, twisting and turning the knob, then eyes peering at her through the mail slot – eyes she recognizes from the television coverage an hour ago. Then she hears glass breaking…

As Laura’s children are held hostage, Laura finds herself forced to leave them behind as she takes a trip to seek out proof of Joe Mulroney’s innocence. As she looks for the person Joe sends her to find, it soon becomes apparent that the Singleton murder was anything but random – and that someone will do whatever it takes to keep their secrets safe…

I enjoyed this novel, as I do all of Kevin O’Briens work! The story was a bit slow in places but picks up speed rapidly once it becomes apparent that this is more than just a random home invasion. As I followed Laura’s odyssey, and the good versus evil intent that seems to dominate the relationship of the home invaders, I found myself anxious to flip the pages – in hopes that Laura and her family are reunited, safe and sound. Great story, and a good ending!!

Expose – Danielle Girard

Expose – Danielle Girard

cover140587-medium (1)

I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley.com as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.

Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman is back again, as she teams up with Detective Hal Harris to help solve the murder of a young woman found naked at a local park. As they arrive to survey the scene, Anna realizes that she saw this woman in passing the night before while retrieving the victim of an accident. Haunted by the chance encounter and worrying about the child that the woman had in the car with her last night, Anna & Hal pour themselves into this case – where the discover ties to a vicious assault 14 years ago.

Meanwhile, Anna’s abusive ex-husband is out of jail and Anna fears that it’s only a matter of time before he comes for her. Her apprehension is only appeased by the daily text messages she receives from a private investigator who keeps tabs on Spencer’s whereabouts. So far, he has remained far away, but Anna fears the worst.

As the investigation continues, more deaths occur, all seemingly related to a young Muslim woman, and her former roommate at Berkeley University. As Anna & Hal attempt to solve the puzzle, they find themselves increasingly attracted to one another, and have a chance to explore that attraction during the holidays.

Finally, a simple signet ring helps put the pieces together, but danger is even more close to home than ever before…this book will leave you breathless with a desire to climb into the pages and warn the characters of danger, and leaves you on tenterhooks with a stunning cliff-hanger ending… Now I must wait, very impatiently, for the next book in the series!! Fabulous read!! Love these characters!!