Death by Diamonds by Annette Blair
I am always on the lookout for a writer who is a little bit different, a little bit quirky, fresh, original, etc. That's why I was so excited to discover Carolyn Crane and Gail Carriger this year. A favorite "quirky" author of mine, who has branched out from romance to mysteries, and whose writing keeps getting better and better (what a breath of fresh air that is!) is Annette Blair. I do believe her new mystery series showcases the very best of her writing ability. She has such a lovely, snappy cadence to her prose, it's a delight to read. Her "voice" is fresh, modern, peppy. Her heroine is adorable....obsessed with vintage clothing and hiding a paranormal secret. She can "read" old clothes when the time is right. This series is told from first person POV, but instead of the heroine being a snarky, irritating bitch, she is actually a smart, caring, creative and fashionable sleuth/shop-owner/vintage clothing aficionado.
There is a delicious love triangle going on in this series. The sexual tension is fabulous...Madeira has not one, but two hunky law enforcement officers lusting for her, and I can't decide who to root for! Werner is the straight laced cop, and Nick is the sexy, alpha FBI agent. Decisions, decisions! (Although I guess I am leaning somewhat towards Werner...I'm thinking of making a T-shirt that says "Team Wiener"--and no, I'm not talking about dachshunds. Get your mind out of the gutter! I'm not talking about that either!).
Throw in a bunch of wonderful settings (mansions, the theatre, a charming small town, etc), gorgeous descriptions of vintage clothes, quirky family members, really cool paranormal stuff, and a snappy mystery. And you've got Death By Diamonds.
For some bizarre reason, I find myself crying a lot when I read Annette's books. First, I cried while reading her dedication page, which is written for her husband. Oh, Jiminy!--"my heart's haven"!!!!!! I love that! Then, I found myself crying at the end of the book. Beneath the vintage clothes and curious mystery, this story is ultimately a love story, which is illuminated in the final pages of the book. It is very sweet and very touching. Blair's writing is an awesome juxtaposition of modern, snappy prose with a very sentimental, old-fashioned heart underneath. I love it!
Another cute thing about this book: Madeira uses hilarious seamstress-inspired fake swear words/expressions all the time...Wooly knobby knits!, Tucking A! and here's a good one: Double scrap with a 'tucking A' thrown in for trim!..hee hee hee! Not since Spongebob got me saying "Oh, Tartar Sauce!" have I been so inspired by new cuss words.
I hope the rest of my summer reading goes this well! Grade: A
Happy Summer Romance Reading,