Monday, October 24, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Putting on the Witch by Jim and Joyce Lavene


Title: Putting on the Witch
Series: Retired Witches #3
Author: Jim and Joyce Lavene

Goodreads Summary: In the latest mystery from the bestselling authors of Looking for Mr. Good Witch, the retired witches of Wilmington, North Carolina, are ready to kick up their heels...

With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks...

My Review: **I received an ARC from NetGalley**

This was an absolutely magical book. I haven't read the first two, yet I was immediately swept up into their world and never felt lost. They give just enough information that you understand the characters, but never so much that it spoils previous books. The characters were beautifully written. I loved that the elderly characters were nontraditional yet still felt like real people. The magical twist on a locked room mystery was a nice change from typical books.

My Manicure: I am adoring how magical this manicure looks. I kept it simple by doing two coats of ILNP Interstellar. Yup, all of that amazingness is packed into one polish. I didn't do any art with this because I feel that anything I do would detract from the polish. It really is even more magical than the picture shows. If you look at my pinky, you can see a hint of the shiftiness that is trying to hide from the camera.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Finally Friday - What Makes a Cozy Uncozy?

Earlier this week, I came across an interesting conversation. Does cursing violate the rules of a cozy? What made it so interesting was the variety of opinions on cozy rules. According to, cozies typically follow the rules of "no gore, no profanity, and no explicit sex" (you can read more of their definition here). As you can see, these rules consider profanity to be uncozy. But what about "personal  rules" for cozies? And if cozies are a sub-genre of mysteries, can you have a sub-genre of cozies that allows for breaking some of these rules?

I'll start with my opinions of the big issue - profanity. While I personally don't mind some cursing in books, I do have a mini set of rules for cozies. The biggest one is that it has to feel in-character. If I'm reading a long-running series where the character never swears, and all of a sudden they are swearing, I won't like it. But, if I'm reading a new series and the character swears a bit, I won't mind because that is how the character is introduced. This isn't saying that I approve of it, just that it can still work in a cozy depending on the scenario. But, I do wish authors would put a warning in the book description if there is either a lot of swearing or if it uses strong curse words

Now, on to gore. This is the main reason I love cozies so much. I don't need graphic descriptions of a crime scene. Give me a super quick description of the scene and my imagination can fill in the rest without a problem. This is one of the cozy rules I am very strict on. Gore fits much better with the feel of thrillers than cozies.

Hmm, explicit sex scenes. These definitely do not belong in cozies. A little romance, a little hinting at what might have gone on, etc is fine. Anything beyond that turns into a romance with a dash of mystery. I know this sounds like a nit-picky distinction, but the amount of romance in a book with explicit scenes takes so much away from the mystery that it feels like the mystery isn't the main focus of the book.

So those are my opinions on the major cozy rules. But, I've added personal rules for cozies. Do NOT put children or animals in danger. Nothing ruins the coziness of a mystery for me like violence towards the defenseless. A minor one is when a beloved character is murdered. I know this happens in real life, but I always feel it adds too much realism to a story. Also devastating diseases. Again, too real for cozies. Complete psychopaths are also a bit of a no-no for me. I know that one is a bit weird, but those characters disturb me more than just the typical killers. Speaking of killers, I also do not like when it ends up being self-defence. I think the reason I hate it is because I try to figure out who the murderer is and what their motive was, so self-defence ruins the whole motive bit.

The sub-genres of cozies is something I always find interesting. There are many of them, but even the romantic cozies still follow basic cozy rules - including no explicit sex scenes. The way they differ from regular cozies is that they focus on the romantic aspect more than a typical cozy. I would love if there was a sub-genre that allowed for something in between cozy and traditional mysteries. This would allow for books that are a little much for a cozy but a little light for a regular mystery. Sort of an "edgy cozy" sub-genre for those days that you want something a little more.

I would absolutely love for everyone to comment with their opinions on this, and also if you have some personal rules. The only request I have is this - please respect others' opinions.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

**Nothing to Disclose**

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Author: Sarah J Maas

Goodreads Summary: Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

My Review: 3.5 stars

I'm a bit torn on this one. Overall I think I liked it, but all the romance was a bit ridiculous. It dragged a bit during the middle and towards the end, but that ending. Wow. Even though I wasn't 100% in love with this book I have to read the next one to see what is going to happen.

My Manicure: Not my normal style, but I'm loving the simple yet bold look. The design is based off of Feyre's tattoos from her bargain with Rhysand. That part happens in A Court of Thorns and Roses, but, since they are a form of tattoo, she still has them. The base is three coats of Pure Ice I'll Shine For You. The stamping was done with Bundle Monster Straight Up Black and Mash 58.


Monday, October 17, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides by Mary McHugh


Title: High Kicks, Hot Chocolate, and Homicides
Series: Happy Hoofers #5
Author: Mary McHugh

Goodreads Summary: Murder takes center stage . . .

It’s a Christmas miracle for the Happy Hoofers—Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini. They’ve scored a gig at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall with the legendary Rockettes, complete with sexy Santa suits and microphones on their shoes. But when a dazzling diva of a dancer is found dead under the stage, there’s quite a lineup of suspects. In between rehearsals and seasonal sightseeing—and the discovery of a multi-talented, multi-colored cat—the toe-tapping troupe has to sort out the intrigue before another victim kicks the bucket . . .

My Review: **I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

This is a great winter book. I can just imagine being snuggled into a blanket next to a fire, sipping a nice hot cup of coffee while snow is gently falling outside (or, since I'm a northerner, watching blizzard conditions). It's light, it's cozy, it's predictable. Pretty much, it's just that perfect mix for a cold winter's day. I do feel that it leaned a little more towards “light romantic mystery” than a straight cozy mystery, but the main characters felt so real that it didn't matter. It felt weird to me that the entire mystery was fully explained by about 2/3rds of the way in, leading to a few too many climactic scenes. Although it did get amusing when Mary Louise realizes how ridiculous it was getting. A major plus for me was the fact that this can be read as a standalone, and it also doesn't leave any unresolved plotlines.

My Manicure: I went super simple on this one. Sinful Colors Rich in Heart because is such a gorgeous chocolatey brown. It really reminds me of a nice, cozy cup of hot chocolate.


Friday, October 14, 2016

26 Great Nail Art Ideas - Blue and Silver

**Nothing to Disclose**

Hooray! Time for another round of Crumpet's Nail Tarts. This year, it is 26 Great Nail Art Ideas. This means every other Friday I'll be posting a new manicure based on the prompt. Since the first prompt is blue and silver, I went with my absolute favorite blue - Sinful Colors True Kolor. Blue and silver makes me think nautical, so I looked through my plates until I found my Winstonia Absolutely Nautical plate. I used Bundle Monster So Metal for the stamping. I love how opaque it is, but I do find it a little thick to work with. I've had to relearn how to scrape with it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Death By Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson


Title: Death By Pumpkin Spice
Series: Bookstore Cafe #3
Author: Alex Erickson

Goodreads Summary: Bookstore cafĂ© owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . .

As if a run-in with an old flame and a failed marriage proposal weren’t enough to horrify Krissy for one night, a woman is found strangled to death in a room filled with ominous jack-o’-lanterns. All signs suggest a crime of passion—but when the hostess’s jewelry disappears, malevolent intentions seem way more likely . . .

With the estate on lockdown and a killer roaming the halls, Krissy must help Officer Paul Dalton investigate each nook, cranny, and guest for answers—while also confronting a few demons of her own. Someone has lots of skeletons in the closet, and Krissy better tread lightly to expose them . . .

My Review: **I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

A highly enjoyable mystery. I loved that it was a locked room mystery. I feel like there aren't many of those written. The books are definitely best read in order. I haven't read book two yet and I was slightly confused with Krissy having a history with a character I've never met. Despite that confusion, I really enjoyed it and I'm curious what book four will bring.

My Manicure: Coffee! I love coffee! Even though my camera was a brat and wouldn't capture this properly. Base is Philly Loves Lacquer 2AM Coffee Run - the perfect base for a coffee manicure. Then I used MoYou London Cookbook 3 and Bundle Monster Straight Up Black for the coffee beans. I'm not sure what went wrong with the picture. I can see the stamping much better in real life than the picture. In case it's too hard to see, it's coffee beans on my ring and middle fingers. The photo is slightly color adjusted to bring out the stamping.

Monday, October 10, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - The Murder of a Queen Bee by Meera Lester


Title: The Murder of a Queen Bee
Series: Henny Penny Farmette #2
Author: Meera Lester

Goodreads Summary: All abuzz about murder . . .

Former police officer Abigail Mackenzie has made a fresh start as a beekeeper and farmer in picturesque Las Flores, California—but she never suspected her new hometown would prove to be a hive of criminal activity.

When Abby invites her free-spirited friend, Fiona Mary Ryan, owner of Ancient Wisdom Botanicals, to her farmette for lunch, she never imagines that Fiona’s no-show will lead to a murder investigation.

Only hours after their lunch date, Fiona’s body is found in a burning car in what at first appears to be a tragic accident. But after the coroner’s report is issued, it’s clear she was dead before being placed in the vehicle. Someone has gone to great lengths to cover up a murder. But who—and why?

Driven by her loyalty to her friend, and her deeply ingrained skills as a trained investigator, Abby sorts through suspects—who seem to be sprouting up everywhere. Speculating that Fiona’s herbal business might hold the key to motive, Abby isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to smoke out a killer . . .

Includes farming tips and delicious recipes!

My Review: **I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

It took me a while to get into this book, but I did end up enjoying it. The author paints an absolutely amazing picture, and strangely this was what made it hard for me to get into the book at the beginning. It seemed to have a little too much focus on the descriptions and not enough on the story. The ending also seemed to drag out a little too long, which made the climactic ending a bit anticlimactic by the time it ended. But overall it was well written with an interesting mystery.

My Manicure: So, I'm going to start by saying that it is really hard to draw a straight line on a curved surface with my non-dominant hand. Yeah, I ended up with slightly wonky bees that have a strange resemblance to the Steeler's throwback jerseys. The yellow is 3 coats of an unlabeled Color Club. Then I freehanded the stripes with a Kiss Black striping polish, and dabbed a coat of Finger Paints Th-ink Outside the Box on the other fingers. Simple, but with a very clear inspiration.