Friday, September 29, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Dial Meow for Murder by Bethany Blake


Title: Dial Meow For Murder
Series: Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #2
Author: Bethany Blake

Goodreads Summary: Even an experienced pet sitter like Daphne Templeton can be fooled by animal behavior: how can an adorably tiny fuzz ball named Tinkleston be capable of sudden flying leaps with cat claws bared? But human behavior remains even more mysterious, especially when Tinkleston's owner is murdered on the night of a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue.

Accompanied by her unflappable basset hound, Socrates, Daphne plans to take charge of Tinks the Terror and leave the crime-solving to handsome detective Jonathan Black. But while luring the prickly Persian out of hiding, she uncovers clues that might take suspicion off her own mother. Maeve Templeton already has a reputation as a killer--in real estate. How far would she go to bag Sylvan Creek's most coveted property, the Flynt Mansion?

To expose the truth, Daphne finds herself donning a deranged clown costume on an autumnal adventure that might just be crazy enough to work--if it doesn't get her killed.

Includes recipes for homemade pet treats! 

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

I really enjoyed the mystery, but there was too much relationship drama for me to fully enjoy the book. There were some great twists throughout the book, and the reveal surprised me. Daphne also surprised me with her decisions at the end. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Daphne and Socrates.

My Manicure: Since fall is finally here, and this book is set during fall, I had to do a nice fall color mani. I started out with Zoya Renee, then put blobs of Zoya Arizona and Pippa on and dabbed plastic wrap on it for a random, abstract look. After it dried, I topped it with Zoya Satin top coat.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Purring Around the Christmas Tree by Liz Mugavero


Title: Purring Around the Christmas Tree
Series: Pawsitively Organic Mystery #6
Author: Liz Mugavero

Goodreads Summary: In the New England town of Frog's Ledge, the Holiday Light Festival is a Christmas tradition. Killing Santa is not. To bring joy back to the season, organic pet patisserie owner Kristan "Stan" Connor will have to find another Santa before it's too late . . . 
To the townspeople's delight, the annual lighting of the tree is a spectacular success. Unfortunately, Santa pulled up in his sleigh, DOA. At first Stan is sure it's Seamus, her boyfriend's uncle, inside the red suit. But the victim turns out to be an employee from the town's Christmas tree farm. Rumor has it the deceased was a mean drunk with a soft spot for feral cats. Stan has no idea why he was dressed as St. Nick--or why he's dead.
Meanwhile, Seamus, a jolly Irishman who comes to America every December to visit his pub-owner nephew, is nowhere to be found. Could he just be off on a Boston bar crawl? Or is something more sinister under the tree? Seamus was supposed to be dressing up and posing for pet pictures with Santa at the shop, but the dogs and cats might have to find another lap to curl up in if Stan doesn't solve two mysteries soon. Or murder might be the only thing under the mistletoe this holiday . . .
Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

Well that started fast. There was a lot going on, which made it a little hard to follow towards the end. But it was fast paced and fun to read. I really enjoyed Frog Ledge at Christmastime, and I loved seeing Stan achieving her dreams.

My Manicure: Another day, another Christmas mani. I started out with a base of Zoya Elphie, a gorgeous textured green. I stamped my "A Very Merry Christmas" trees with Winstonia Jingle All the Way and Bundle Monster So Metal.


Monday, September 25, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Yuletide Homicide by Jennifer David Hesse


Title: Yuletide Homicide
Series: Wiccan Wheel Mystery #3
Author: Jennifer David Hesse

Goodreads Summary: It's Christmas in Edindale, Illinois, and family law attorney Keli Milanni is preparing to celebrate the Wiccan holiday Yuletide, a celebration of rebirth. But this Yuletide someone else is focused on dying . . .

After years of practicing in secret, Keli has come out as a Wiccan to her boyfriend, and she feels like this Yuletide she's the one who's being reborn. But the Solstice is the longest night of the year, and Keli is about to stumble on a mystery so dangerous, she'll be lucky to make it to morning.

Paired with her unbearably stuffy colleague Crenshaw Davenport III, Keli goes undercover at a real estate company owned by mayoral candidate Edgar Harrison. An old friend of Keli's boss, Harrison, is being blackmailed, and it's up to her to find the culprit. But the morning after the company holiday party, Harrison is found dead underneath the hotel Christmas tree. The police rule the death an accident, but Keli knows better--and she'll risk her own rebirth to nab a missing killer.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

I really enjoyed this book. I love how wonderful Keli's friends are. The mystery was great, and it had some nice twists to it. My only complaint is that Keli made some very amateur mistakes, and since this is book three I feel she should have known better.

My Manicure: For this manicure, I wanted something that fit with the season. I didn't want it to lean too Christmasy, so I chose an elegant tree for my stamping. The base is KBShimmer Spruce Things Up. This is the perfect tree base. The tree was done with Winstonia Jingle All The Way and OPI Love.Angel.Music.Baby.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Death by Eggnog by Alex Erickson


Title: Death by Eggnog
Series: Bookstore Cafe Mystery #5
Author: Alex Erickson

Goodreads Summary: Krissy Hancock is staying in her adopted hometown of Pine Hills, Ohio, for Christmas this year--and she even has a whole week off from her combination bookstore-cafe. But a killer is about to dampen her spirits . . . 
Unfortunately, Krissy's been roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local holiday musical extravaganza. With a demanding director, backstage gossip, and two men in fierce competition for the starring role, it isn't all sweetness and Christmas lights. Then a murder puts a stop to the production, and Krissy is faced with a pageant of suspects. 
Could her ex-boyfriend, a fellow elf, really be the culprit as the police are claiming? Or will the actor playing Santa be trading his red suit for an orange jumpsuit? When her behind-the-scenes investigation starts getting dangerous, the only thing Krissy really wants is to make it to Christmas dinner alive. But first she'll have to finish wrapping up this case . . .

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

I loved this book until it revealed the motive. It just felt weak to me. The mystery itself was great, and so was the reveal - it was just the motive that left me unsatisfied with the ending. I do wish that Krissy's dad had made an appearance since Christmas in a cozy typically involves family.

My Manicure: I went for a simple Christmas themed mani today. I started out with Revlon Emerald City, then topped it with my custom Dollish Polish Wreck the Halls. The polish is based on our fear of what two lab puppies could do at Christmas if we put a tree up (it has a green base for the tree and multicolor shreds for shattered ornaments). I stamped the ornaments with Bundle Monster H03 and So Metal.


Monday, September 18, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Ax to Grind by Tonya Kappes


Title: Ax to Grind
Series: Kenni Lowry #3
Author: Tonya Kappes

Goodreads Summary: Southerners keep their secrets swept under the rug, but what happens when that rug goes up for sale?

Bestselling author Berlye Stone, the most famous citizen to ever come out of Cottonwood, Kentucky, has died and put all her worldly possessions up for auction, but not without leaving one more manuscript behind. A hidden tell-all about Cottonwood that’s got more gossip than a ladies’ luncheon.

When Beryle’s assistant turns up with an ax in her back and the only witness is in a coma, Sheriff Kenni Lowry reckons someone in town will do anything to keep the manuscript from seeing the light of day. Her poppa’s ghost returns to help piece together the life of the Beryle he once knew, but his memory’s a little foggy, and any misstep could cause them a world of trouble. With the help of Deputy Finn Vincent, can Kenni sort through the secrets buried in Beryle’s books, or will this be her final chapter?

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

Oh my gosh that was amazing! I did not see that coming at all. I really enjoyed seeing some of Kenni's day to day sheriff duties, including keeping her mother's campaigning under control. The mystery was awesome, and I loved how Poppa had a personal connection to the case.

My Manicure: Since a big part of the plot is a tell all book, I went for a book theme. I also went a little out of my comfort zone by making it a very subtle and understated look. I started out with Zoya April topped with ILNP The Magician. I love this color combination. The stamping was done with MJ JR-2 and Bundle Monster Bam! White.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones


Title: Murder, Magic, and What We Wore
Series: N/A
Author: Kelly Jones

Goodreads Summary: The year is 1818, the city is London, and 16-year-old Annis Whitworth has just learned that her father is dead and all his money is missing. And so, of course, she decides to become a spy.

Annis always suspected that her father was himself a spy, and following in his footsteps to unmask his killer makes perfect sense. Alas, it does not make sense to England’s current spymasters—not even when Annis reveals that she has the rare magical ability to sew glamours: garments that can disguise the wearer completely.

Well, if the spies are too pigheaded to take on a young woman of quality, then Annis will take them on. And so she crafts a new double life for herself. Miss Annis Whitworth will appear to live a quiet life in a country cottage with her aunt, and Annis-in-disguise as Madame Martine, glamour artist, will open a magical dressmaking shop. That way she can earn a living, maintain her social standing, and, in her spare time, follow the coded clues her father left behind and unmask his killer.

It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it?

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

This was so cute and fun! I honestly could not put it down. The mystery was interesting, but the one clue they had completely gave it away. The characters were wonderful, but at times it felt like Annis was overshadowed by the other characters. I absolutely adored the setting, and I loved the addition of magic.

My Manicure: For this mani, I wanted to go for a sort of magical feel. I started out with Zoya Belinda topped with Baroness X Doomfire. Then I stamped the "magic threads" with Winstonia Expressionism and KBShimmer PT Young Thing.


Monday, September 11, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Doom with a View by Kate Kingsbury


Title: Doom with a View
Series: Merry Ghost Inn #2
Author: Kate Kingsbury

Goodreads Summary: With the arrival of six senior reading group members at the Merry Ghost Inn, the long-awaited Grand Opening week has finally begun for Melanie West and her grandmother, Liza. All is well with the Oregon coast-side B&B until Melanie's dog, Max, finds the dead body of one of their guests. Everyone at the inn immediately falls under suspicion, including the innkeepers themselves. Melanie and Liza are not sure who they can trust, and the idea of cohabitating with a murderer is enough to send chills down anyone's spine. To make matters worse, the curmudgeonly town detective wants them to steer clear of the investigation, but doesn't seem too inspired to solve the case in a timely fashion himself. To clear their own names and to avoid the blight on the inn's reputation that yet another dead body will bring, Melanie and Liza dive headlong into the murder investigation. With a little help from their chuckling ghost, Melanie and Liza dodge the detective, tip-toe around their suspicious guests, and still serve up delicious Bed & Breakfast meals on time in Kate Kingsbury's delightful second Merry Ghost Inn mystery, Doom with a View. 

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

Oh my gosh, the ghost parts had me laughing so much. Orville definitely has a great sense of humor. I loved the mystery. It was very well written with a great ending.

My Manicure: Today's manicure is loosely based on the cover of book one - Dead and Breakfast. I wanted it to look a little more like a real sunset, so I picked darker colors than the cover used. I started out by painting my nails with Zoya Blair. After that dried, I put Zoya Blair and Zoya Giada on a makeup wedge and sponged on a gradient. I'm honestly amazed at how this turned out and completely in love with it.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany


Title: Body on Baker Street
Series: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #2
Author: Vicki Delany

Goodreads Summary: Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are busy managing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room in anticipation of the store's upcoming book signing with the illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris verbally attacks Renalta and her series for disgracing Sherlock's legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author triumphantly lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is until Renalta collapses on the table--dead. Donald insists he didn't do it and pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects between author's bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of other Sherlock enthusiasts with strong objections to Renalta's depiction of the Great Detective. It's up to the shrewd sleuthing duo to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man in Body on Baker Street, the second Sherlock Homes Bookshop mystery perfect for fans of Miranda James and Kate Carlisle.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

I enjoyed this a lot more than the first book. Gemma was still obnoxious, but she seemed a little more aware of her attitude this time, and Jane was quick to scold her. The mystery was great, with some awesome twists. The reveal was surprising and very fitting for a Holmes inspired series.

My Manicure: For this manicure, I was inspired by poison. I started out with a base of ILNP Interstellar. I love how shifty and mysterious this polish is. Then I stamped the skull and crossbones with Shany 02 and Bundle Monster So Metal.


Monday, September 4, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Asking For Truffle by Dorothy St. James


Title: Asking For Truffle
Series: Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #1
Author: Dorothy St. James

Goodreads Summary: When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town's seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she's immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize--only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate. Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn's quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she's learning to love. Rich and decadent, Asking for Truffle, the first in a new cozy series by Dorothy St. James, is sure to be a delectable read for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**

I tried really, really hard to love this book. The premise was great, but it failed to live up to its potential. My biggest issue was that the murderer was so obvious from fairly early on, which left me frustrated at the main character for the majority of the book. My other issue is the that main character was annoying. She was so naive, yet she kept insisting she had learned from her mistakes - as she made the exact same mistakes she claimed she had learned from. There were some enjoyable characters, and a wonderful heartwarming scene towards the end.

My Manicure: Chocolate! I really need more browns for chocolate manicures. I have on four different shades of brown and it is impossible to tell. I started out with Finger Paints Sketch-y. After that dried, I put blobs of Philly Loves Lacquer 2AM Coffee Run, Zoya Debbie, and Zoya Cinnamon on my nails and smooshed and dabbed with plastic wrap to give it a marbled look.