Monday, October 30, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Someone's Mad at the Hatter by Sandra Bretting


Title: Someone's Mad at the Hatter
Series: Missy DuBois Mystery #3
Author: Sandra Bretting

Goodreads Summary: Missy DuBois’s Louisiana hat studio is the destination for Southern brides who want to make a fashion statement. But designing headpieces isn’t her only talent, she’s also got a head for solving murders . . .

It’s not uncommon for folks to live it up a little too much on New Year’s Eve. But when Missy walks into her parking lot at Crowning Glory on New Year’s Day and discovers professional wedding planner Charlotte Deveraux inside a whiskey barrel, the poor woman isn’t just hung over . . . she’s dead. Since the murder weapon was an old hat stand that belonged to Missy, her customers are cancelling appointments and everyone in town seems to be turning up their noses at her. Despite plenty of intrigue to motivate a hatful of suspects, suspicion keeps falling squarely on Missy. All the more reason to clear her name—or the next veil she designs will come in a shade of black . . .

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

I really wanted to love this book, but I didn't like how the mystery ended, and there was too much relationship drama. I really liked how the mystery was personal and affected Missy's business. It helped make her investigation make sense - if the murder wasn't solved quickly, her business would be ruined. I also really liked the setting. It always feels like I am right there with the characters.

My Manicure: Today I was inspired by Missy making hats. I started out with Zoya Kiki. I love this type of pink. Bright, but not a weird neon, it works wonderfully with my skin tone. I stamped the silhouette with Bundle Monster 619 and Straight Up Black.


Friday, October 27, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Blackberry Burial by Sharon Farrow


Title: Blackberry Burial
Series: Berry Basket Mystery #2
Author: Sharon Farrow

Goodreads Summary: Between a booming art scene and elaborate Independence Day festivities, July in lakeshore Oriole Point, Michigan, is always a blast. Especially when an explosive murder case crashes the fun . . .

As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School's centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race--despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It's a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who's convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer--before the next 'blackberry victim' is ripe for the picking!

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

That I don't know how else to describe it. The mystery was intriguing, yet a bit darker and more twisted than I expected. This series is one I like because it is a bit nostalgic for me. It always makes me smile reading it because it really does make me remember Michigan. The orchards, the berry farms, it really brings back memories (even though it isn't set in the area I lived in). 

My Manicure: And I'm back to my typical silliness today. When I read a line about fireflies at night, I knew exactly what my manicure would be. I started out with OPI I Saw...You Saw...We Saw...Warsaw. I have a love/hate relationship with this polish. It is an absolutely beautiful color, but it is so hard to clean up without staining my skin. It is also really annoying to type. I made my fireflies by splattering China Glaze Ghoulish Glow over it. It really does glow in the dark, just like fireflies, but I could not get my camera to pick it up.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - How the Finch Stole Christmas! by Donna Andrews


Title: How the Finch Stole Christmas!
Series: Meg Lanslow #22
Author: Donna Andrews

Goodreads Summary: Meg's husband has decided to escalate his one-man show of Dickens' A Christmas Carol into a full-scale production with a large cast including their sons Jamie and Josh as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge and Meg helping as stage manager.

The show must go on, even if the famous―though slightly over-the-hill―actor who's come to town to play the starring role of Scrooge has brought a sleigh-load of baggage and enemies with him. And why is Caerphilly suddenly overrun with a surplus of beautiful caged finches?

How the Finch Stole Christmas! is guaranteed to put the "ho ho hos" into the holidays of cozy lovers everywhere with its gut-bustingly funny mystery.

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

My feelings on this are slightly complicated. Overall, I really enjoyed it. My only issue is that parts of the story had a disconnected feeling to them. Other than that, it was great. 

My Manicure: OK, it is a little more partridge in a pear tree than finch, but it works. I started with KBShimmer Yeti or Not. It really has that sparkly look of freshly fallen snow. Then I stamped with MoYou London Festive 17 and Bundle Monster Tree of Life.


Monday, October 23, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Girl Who Saved Ghosts by K.C. Tansley


Title: The Girl Who Saved Ghosts
Series: The Unbelievable #2
Author: K.C. Tansley

Goodreads Summary: She tried to ignore them. Now she might risk everything to save them. 

After a summer spent in a haunted castle—a summer in which she traveled through time to solve a murder mystery—Kat is looking forward to a totally normal senior year at McTernan Academy. Then the ghost of a little girl appears and begs Kat for help, and more unquiet apparitions follow. All of them are terrified by the Dark One, and it soon becomes clear that that this evil force wants Kat dead. 

Searching for help, Kat leaves school for the ancestral home she’s only just discovered. Her friend Evan, whose family is joined to her own by an arcane history, accompanies her. With the assistance of her eccentric great aunts and a loyal family ghost, Kat soon learns that she and Evan can only fix the present by traveling into the past. 

As Kat and Evan make their way through nineteenth-century Vienna, the Dark One stalks them, and Kat must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice to save a ghost.

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

I really liked this book. It had a little more teen drama than I like, but I really enjoyed the story. It was interesting to see the main characters trying to fix the past to protect the present.

My Manicure: I went for a sort of eerie, ghostly cloud...thingy today. I started out with Sinful Colors Black on Black. Then I put some Finger Paints Paper Mache on, dabbed some acetone on it, and repeated that until it looked ghostly.


Friday, October 20, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Quiche and the Dead by Kirsten Weiss


Title: The Quiche and the Dead
Series: Pie Town Mystery #1
Author: Kirsten Weiss

Goodreads Summary: Is Val's breakfast pie the quiche of death? Owning her own business seemed like pie in the sky to Valentine Harris when she moved to the coastal California town of San Nicholas, expecting to start a new life with her fiance. Five months--and a broken engagement--later, at least her dream of opening a pie shop has become a reality. But when one of her regulars keels over at the counter while eating a quiche, Val feels like she's living a nightmare. After the police determine the customer was poisoned, business at Pie Town drops faster than a fallen crust. Convinced they're both suspects, Val's flaky, seventy-something pie crust maker Charlene drags her boss into some amateur sleuthing. At first Val dismisses Charlene's half-baked hypotheses, but before long the ladies uncover some shady dealings hidden in fog-bound San Nicholas. Now Val must expose the truth--before a crummy killer tries to shut her pie hole.

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

This was a really fun first in series. The mystery was well written with a surprising ending. I loved the random side investigations going on throughout the book. They were fun with some amusing solutions.

My Manicure: Mmmmm, pie. I went for the easy inspiration today. I started with KBShimmer Leaf of Faith, which happens to give a perfect pie filling look. I ended up having to use a coat of Gelous along with my top coat to smooth it out, but that is normal for this type of polish. The pies were done with Bundle Monster H13 and Heart of Gold.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Death Overdue by Allison Brook


Title: Death Overdue
Series: Haunted Library Mystery #1
Author: Allison Brooks

Goodreads Summary: Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she's offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies. 

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie's determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it's the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura's case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it's due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue, the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

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

An absolutely wonderful start to a new series. The characters were great, the setting was wonderful, and the mystery was amazing. I loved the light paranormal twist to the story. 

My Manicure: I chose a nice simple fall manicure today. I started out with a base of Sinful Colors Kovet. Then I used Bundle Monster H11 and Straight Up Black for the pumpkin, filled it in with Zoya Arizona while it was on the stamper, then put the image on my nail (this technique is called reverse stamping).


Monday, October 16, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost


Title: Twelve Slays of Christmas
Series: Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #1
Author: Jacqueline Frost

Goodreads Summary: When Holly White's fiance cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime--exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly's family tree farm. 
When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly's father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn't help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn't watch out, she'll end up on Santa's naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost's jolly series debut.

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

This was an amazing start to a new series. The setting was wonderful and made me want a hot tea by a fire in a cozy chair. I loved the Christmas theme, which was taken to an amusing extreme. The mystery was great with a surprising ending.

My Manicure: Winter wonderland nails to match a winter wonderland setting. I started out with a base of Finger Paints Of Quartz You Can to give that sparkling snow look. Then I used Winstonia Have a Merry Christmas and Bundle Monster Bam! White for my snowflakes.


Friday, October 13, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Cremains of the Day by Misty Simon


Title: Cremains of the Day
Series: Tallie Graver Mystery #1
Author: Misty Simon

Goodreads Summary: There's no reverse on the hearse . . .

For Tallulah Graver, marrying wealthy Waldo Phillips seemed like the best way out of the family business, the Graver Funeral Home. But when her marriage falls apart and Tallie is left with next to nothing, she turns to cleaning houses to make ends meet. As humbling as it is to tidy the mansions of the snobby socialites she used to call friends, at least she doesn't have to be around dead bodies. Until . . . 
She discovers one of her employers lying in a closet with a knife sticking out of her chest. This unpleasant shock seems to be part of a web of weird experiences: Tallie's friend Gina's shop is broken into, her ex is stun-gunned where it hurts the most, and now she's receiving flowers from the dead woman. Granted the deliveryman is handsome, but seriously, that's enough to cast a pall over anyone's day. Now Tallie needs to dig deep to clean up this mess--before she finds herself in a grave situation.

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

This was a great start to a new series. It had a very unique setting, interesting characters, and a great mystery.

My Manicure: I went with an accidental Halloween theme today... Yeah, I honestly didn't realize it would look this Halloweenish until it was done. My inspiration was simple - it takes place in a funeral home, so a coffin is perfect. I started out with China Glaze Bump in the Night. Then I stamped the coffin with Bundle Monster 402 and So Metal.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Murder on the Toy Town Express by Barbara Early


Title: Murder on the Toy Town Express
Series: Vintage Toyshop Mystery #2
Author: Barbara Early

Goodreads Summary: Liz McCall has come to love running her father's vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she's all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong. 
What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she's shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target. 
The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early's delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.

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

That was puntastic. Seriously, the sense of humor was amazing. I enjoyed the mystery, although it did seem a little over complicated. The characters were wonderful, and everyone had their own unique personality. The toy shop setting was a lot of fun (but demon Santa freaked me out a little, especially after I saw a picture). 

My Manicure: OK, this is another me being silly manicure. There was a scene involving pies that really stuck in my mind, so I did a fruit pie splatter manicure. I wanted a neutral base, so I started with Sinful Colors Kovet. After it dried, I used coffee stirrers to splatter Zoya Pippa, Zoya Renee, and Finger Paints Magritte's Masterpiece. Doesn't really look like my inspiration, but it is super cute.


Monday, October 9, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Skeleton Paints a Picture by Leigh Perry


Title: The Skeleton Paints a Picture
Series: Family Skeleton Mystery #4
Author: Leigh Perry

Goodreads Summary: 

Georgia Thackery, adjunct English professor, has a new job teaching at Falstone College of Art and Design, known as FAD to its students and faculty. Living in a borrowed bungalow during winter in the snowiest part of Massachusetts, Georgia feels her isolation weighing as heavily as the weather. Then she receives a package containing her best friend, Sid, a walking, talking skeleton who has lived with the Thackery family since Georgia was six. With Georgia working out of town, Sid was lonely too. 

The two of them make plans for a cozy semester together, and it might have worked out that way if Sid hadn’t snuck out in the middle of the night to play in the snow and spotted a crashed car. When he drags Georgia out to investigate, they find the driver behind the wheel, apparently dead from the collision. 

Initially, police think it’s an accident, so Georgia and Sid think that’s the end of it—until Georgia finds out the body hits closer to home than she’d realized... 

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

Sid is back and better than ever! I absolutely adore Sid, so when I saw he was coming back I seriously shrieked and started bouncing all over the house, and then screamed the news to my mom (she is a huge Sid fan, too). I loved the mystery, and I even ended up learning some new things. The humor was awesome. I'm pretty sure there were even more bone jokes than previous books (I didn't realize that was possible!). It will appeal to fans new and old.

My Manicure: Sid!!! Obviously I had to do a Sid manicure because he is just awesome. I chose KBShimmer Ink Again for my (TARDIS blue) background. The color choice is kind of a joke, at one point Georgia mentions her TARDIS keyring. I stamped the skeleton with MoYou London Festive 15 and Bundle Monster So Metal.


Friday, October 6, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Ninja's Illusion by Gigi Pandian


Title: The Ninja's Illusion
Series: Jaya Jones Treasure Hunter Mystery #5
Author: Gigi Pandian

Goodreads Summary: A fabled illusion performed by a stage magician who claims to possess real supernatural powers. A treasure from the colonial era in India when international supremacies vied for power. A phantom trading ship lost over 200 years ago. And a ninja whose murderous intentions in present-day Japan connect the deeds of a long-dead trader who was much more than he seemed…

When Jaya travels from San Francisco to Japan with her stage magician best friend Sanjay—a.k.a. The Hindi Houdini—for his Japanese debut, she jumps at the chance to pursue her own research that could solve a tantalizing centuries-old mystery.

With the colorful autumn leaves of historic Kyoto falling around her, Jaya soon loses sight of what’s real and what’s a deception. A mysterious ninja attempts sabotage on Sanjay’s trick, along with Japan’s most controversial magician, Akira. Ancient folklore blurs the lines between illusion and reality when a magician’s assistant appears to be a kitsune, a mythical fox spirit. As tricks escalate to murder, Jaya and her friends must unravel secrets hidden in the ancient capital of Japan, before one of their own becomes the next victim.

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

This was a highly enjoyable mystery. It is the first one I have read in the series, but I feel it is a series best read in order. The characters were very well developed. I absolutely loved the setting. It felt like I really was in Japan. The mystery was intriguing, but the ending wasn't my favorite.

My Manicure: This manicure is sort of an "I had the image, so I figured why not" type of thing. Since there is a mysterious ninja, I used my "book ninja" image. I started out with Sinful Colors Black on Black. If you need a good black polish, get this one. It is easy to find and only $2, and applies just as well as more expensive brands. My ninja was stamped with MJ JR-2 and Bundle Monster Heart of Gold.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Witches' Tree by M.C. Beaton


Title: The Witches' Tree
Series: Agatha Raisin #28
Author: M.C. Beaton

Goodreads Summary: The Witches’ Tree continues the tradition in M. C. Beaton's beloved Agatha Raisin mystery series―now a hit T.V. show.

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead―and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered―and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds―a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation―and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn't make her feel any better...

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

I was disappointed in this book. The mystery was good, but the characters felt different to me. Because of this, I wasn't drawn into to story like I usually am, and I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied.

My Manicure: The spooky tree gave me a perfect excuse to use one of my favorite polishes. I started out with KBShimmer Carpe Denim, the perfect starry night background color. This is one of those polishes that I could stare at all day. I stamped on some spooky trees with Bundle Monster 407 and Straight Up Black.


Monday, October 2, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander


Title: Death on Tap
Series: Sloan Krause Mystery #1
Author: Ellie Alexander

Goodreads Summary: When Sloan Krause walks in on her husband, Mac, screwing the barmaid, she gives him the boot. Sloan has spent her life in Leavenworth, Washington becoming an expert in brewing craft beer, and she doesn’t have time to be held back by her soon-to-be ex-husband. She decides to strike out on her own, breaking away from the Krause family brewery, and goes to work for Nitro, the hip new nano-brewery in the Bavarian-themed town. Nitro’s owner, brewmaster Garrett Strong, has the brew-world abuzz with his newest recipe, “Pucker-Up IPA.” This place is the new cool place in town, and Mac can’t help but be green with envy at their success.

But just as Sloan is settling in to her new gig, she finds one of Nitro’s competitors dead in the fermenting tub, clutching the secret recipe for the IPA. When Mac, is arrested, Sloan knows that her ex might be a cheater, but a murderer? No way. Danger is brewing in Beervaria and suddenly Sloan is on the case.

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

The mystery was great, but there was too much information on beer and not enough plot. It caused the pacing of the book to drag in parts, and I found myself wanting to skip parts to get back to the mystery. I did love the setting. It sounds like a fun and quirky town.

My Manicure: I borrowed a manicure from the book for today's look. I used Sinful Colors Black on Black, Zoya Renee and Zoya Pippa. The German flag was freehanded, which was trickier than I expected. Straight lines on a curved surface are hard!