chez_jae: (Books)
On Thursday night, I wrapped up my latest book - Death by Diamonds by Annette Blair. It's part of her "Vintage Magic" mystery series.

Maddie is sent a gown by her friend, Broadway actress Dominique DeLong. It's a dress that Maddie designed for Dom, and it comes with a note from Dominique, telling Maddie that if she is in receipt of the dress, then she is dead. Maddie soon learns that Dom collapsed during a performance of the Diamond Sands production. She calls Dom's son, Kyle, to express her condolences, and she learns that she's been named the executor of Dominque's vast estate.

Maddie and her friend Eve travel to New York, where Maddie uses her ability to "read" vintage clothing by donning some of Dom's outfits and getting visions from them. What she discovers is that Dominique was murdered. Since a cache of diamonds mysteriously disappeared when Dom died, Maddie's on-again-off-again beau, FBI agent Nick, also gets involved, as does local cop Werner.

The book zipped along at a good pace, and there were twists and turns a'plenty. Lots of potential suspects were introduced, and it was fun to see the growing attraction between Eve and Kyle.

Favorite lines:
♦ "So, Boobs McCleavage, is that a corset top pushing your assets up and out there?"
♦ "It was like Hogwarts set in Oz narrated by Dr Who."


A couple things threw me off and jarred me out of the story: one was a vision of Maddie's that seemed to begin at night, yet suddenly it was morning, and...confusing. Another was learning that Kyle, who is 9 years younger than Maddie, is older than another character. I mean, how young was Pierce?! Sheesh.

I'd like to give this 3 1/2, for those schmozzles, but I'll give it a 4:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading Larceny and Lace, which is the second installment in Annette Blair's "Vintage Magic" mystery series.

Madeira "Maddie" Cutler is about to launch the grand opening of her new, vintage clothing store, called Vintage Magic. Unfortunately, a series of break-ins threatens Maddie's timetable, as well as a near-miss with a fire. When Maddie gets a vision from some vintage clothing that was donated to her shop, she finds herself trying to solve a cold-case murder that seems to have connections to a more recent death. With the help of family, friends, neighbors, boyfriend Nick, sexy police chief Werner, a dapper ghost, and her cat, Chakra, Maddie may just be able to bring closure to the vintage murder and open her shop on schedule.

This was a fun book. Short chapters made for easy reading, as did the near-constant action. Characters are well-defined, including secondary ones, and I loved reading about vintage fashion. The only thing that bothered me was Maddie's reluctant attraction to Werner, but since it bothered her, too (boyfriend Nick, remember?), it wasn't too off-putting.

Four out of five!

♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
First of all...

WOO-HOO! Fifty books! My goal this year was to read thirty. Heh.

Last night, I finished reading A Veiled Deception by Annette Blair. It is the first book in her "Vintage Magic Mystery" series.

Madeira "Maddie" Cutler returns home to help her younger sister plan her wedding. Maddie is a fashion designer in New York, and her personal passion runs to vintage clothing. At the engagement party, the woman who was making a play for Maddie's future brother-in-law is found strangled to death...with the bride's veil. Maddie is determined to prove her sister did not commit murder. Fortunately for Maddie, her on-again-off-again boyfriend is an FBI agent. Unfortunately for Maddie, the chief of police is the guy whom she tormented in school.

In addition to trying to solve a murder and plan a wedding, Maddie has to help her sister deal with an over-bearing future mother-in-law, and now she's having visions when she handles the vintage wedding gown that her sister is to wear. Maddie is convinced that the clue to the present-day murder can be found in the past, as revealed to her in visions.

The book was largely fun and lighthearted. The author introduced many colorful characters, and I am looking forward to reading more in the series.

Four stars:

★★★★

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