Meet Brandy Alexander, a young woman from South Philadelphia, with a big mouth, an even bigger heart and a little problem with impulse control. It's not her fault trouble seems to follow her around. Okay, it is her fault, but why quibble over details? When Brandy (a puff piece reporter for a local Los Angeles TV news station) returns to her hometown, after a four year absence, she is thrilled to be reunited with friends and family. But her joy is short-lived when her best friend, John, becomes the victim of a tragic accident. Brandy is alone in thinking that the death is no "accident," and as she sets out to prove her theory, she stumbles upon a political scandal of major proportions. Things begin to heat up when it appears that her former boyfriend, police detective Robert Anthony DiCarlo, is involved in sabotaging the investigation. The one thing Brandy knows for sure is that people keep turning up dead, and if she doesn't get some answers, fast, she could end up on the short list. As Brandy searches out the truth, she gains some unexpected allies, including sexy, dangerous, street-savvy Nicholas Santiago, and the now-married Bobby, who still holds a torch for his former girlfriend. With humor, guts and determination Brandy tackles each challenge, be it dodging a bullet or resisting that box of Tastykakes in the cupboard. Murder, mayhem and romance abound in Shelly Fredman's novel, proving there really is No Such Thing as a Secret.
I've been pimping these books for awhile and I always use the same description: They're kind of like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series except with a plot and character development. Shocking, I know.
I would really like to see this series get looked at more. Ok, so the cover of the first one is kinda blah. And I think the author started out with a publisher but I do know that the last was self published so that may make it harder to promote, but it kills me because this is a good series and yet so many other books that are published and getting more notice are, well.....not.
Brandy is a great character. Yes, she wears her heart on her sleeve and there were times I was blushing for her and wishing she could act more cool, but she's honest and real and has a heart of gold. Also, she doesn't hesitated to ask for help when she's in over her head (which is a lot) and as the series progresses she actually starts working on self defense because she knows she's gonna keep getting in trouble so she may as well be prepared. Boy, I sure wish another lead female character would try that *coughstephanieplumcough* And don't get me wrong, I love Stephanie Plum. It's one of my shameful addictions and when the next one comes out, I will be getting it. *sigh* But it's just a nice change of pace to actually feel like the lead character learns from her mistakes and the plot is moving forward. Imagine that.
Now, Brandy's love interests are pretty darn hot. We have her ex-boyfriend and cop, Bobby and then we have the new man in her life, total hottie and bad boy, Nicholas Santiago. Yum. Bobby and Brandy have baggage to work out, but guess what, over the course of the books they actually do. And Nick, well Nick is just dreamy. He's a tortured soul, but he and Brandy have an almost instant bond and he's always got her back......and then some.
The other characters are all vibrant and wonderful and you feel like you've been plopped down in a large extended family that's loud, demanding, embarrassing and totally wonderful.
I really recommend this series to people who like mysteries that are heavy on humor, a bit of suspense, romance and a character's journey to finding what she wants and how she's gonna get it.
You can buy the books in the series at Amazon
Or you can order them through B&N.com
Unfortunately, you can't get them at stores, you have to order online, but I personally don't want to let that stop me with an author. If I like them then I want to support them. Also, a little warning, the last one was definitely self-pubbed and the editing isn't great, but honestly I've read books published by big name authors that were worse so I didn't let that take away from a great read.
Overall grade is a B+