Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Class Reunions Are Murder by Libby Klein


Title: Class Reunions Are Murder
Series: Poppy McAllister Mystery #1
Author: Libby Klein

Goodreads Summary: 
For fortysomething Poppy McAllister, taking a stroll down memory lane in Cape May, New Jersey, isn’t just awkward—it’s deadly.

Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There’s no way on earth she’s attending her twenty-five-year class reunion—especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy’s best friend practically drags her to the event . . .

Using the dreaded homecoming as an excuse to visit her eccentric Aunt Ginny, Poppy vows to leave Cape May with pride and Spanx intact. Too bad Barbie is still the queen of mean at the reunion. And worse, that her dead body is lying right in front of Poppy’s old locker. Singled out as the killer, it’s up to Poppy to confront her past and clear her name. But between protecting her aunt from disaster and tackling a gluten-free diet, can Poppy crack the case before she’s voted “Most Likely to Die” by the murderer?

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This was a super fun start to a new series. Poppy is great as a main character. She has her flaws, but she also knows what is important to her. The mystery was well written with a great ending.

My Manicure: Oh my gosh, I am cringing so bad right now. This is supposed to look horrific, and it is directly inspired by the book, but wow it is worse than I imagined. I started with an unlabeled Color Club yellow that decided to apply horribly. Then I painted half of my nail with OPI Hey Baby. After that dried, I carefully used a black Kiss striping polish to paint the thin line.


Monday, January 29, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Curses, Boiled Again! by Shari Randall


Title: Curses, Boiled Again!
Series: Lobster Shack Mystery #1
Author: Shari Randall

Goodreads Summary: 
Welcome to the seaside hamlet of Mystic Bay, where the fish is always fresh, the folks are ever-friendly, and murder is on a roll. . .

Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business. Now she’s back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her dear Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground. Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival’s Best Lobster Roll contest. The competition is sure to be killer―especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully’s biggest rivals.

Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect. Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she’s not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up. Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case?

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
I had a little bit of trouble getting into the story at first, but it ended up being a good book. It has a highly unique ending. Even the characters point out how bizarre it was. The mystery was enjoyable with interesting characters.

My Manicure: Since Allie is a ballerina, I decided on a ballet themed manicure. I started out with Zoya Gie Gie. It is such a pretty, soft pink. Then I stamped ballet slippers with Bundle Monster 620 and Bam! White.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day


Title: Biscuits and Slashed Browns
Series: Country Store Mystery #4
Author: Maddie Day

Goodreads Summary: 
For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana--until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . .
As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans 'N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes--and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur's knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
Another great addition to the series. I love how it has a "Southern Lite" feel to it. Some of those sayings are absolutely hilarious. I really enjoyed the mystery, and I'm looking forward to reading more books in this series.

My Manicure: I have to start this out with two notes - it is really hard to find words that work for this and fit on my nail, and it is really hard to write legibly on nails. Ok, onto the inspiration. This is how Robbie fits clues together to solve mysteries (or at least how I picture it). I'm not sure how she manages it, because just doing this little bit was hard for me. I started with Finger Paints Of Quartz You Can to give a sort of neutral background. Then I wrote with Sharpie for the puzzle. It ended up taking three tries, but I was able to use non-acetone remover so I didn't have to completely start over.


Monday, January 22, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Scone Cold Killer by Lena Gregory


Title: Scone Cold Killer
Series: All-Day Breakfast Café #1
Author: Lena Gregory

Goodreads Summary: 
For Florida diner owner Gia Morelli, there’s no such thing as too much breakfast—unless it kills you . . .

When Gia Morelli’s marriage falls apart, she knows it’s time to get out of New York. Her husband was a scam artist who swindled half the millionaires in town, and she doesn’t want to be there when they decide to take revenge. On the spur of the moment, she follows her best friend to a small town in Central Florida, where she braves snakes, bears, and giant spiders to open a cheery little diner called the All-Day Breakfast Café. Owning a restaurant has been her lifelong dream, but it turns into a nightmare the morning she opens her dumpster and finds her ex-husband crammed inside. As the suspect du jour, Gia will have to scramble fast to prove her innocence before a killer orders another cup of murder . . .

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This was a fairly strong start to a new series. The pacing was nice and there were some interesting characters.

My Manicure: I went with the easy idea today. Since her ex scammed people out of a lot of money, money was the obvious way to go. The base is Vapid Catch Me If You Can. Such a pretty green. I really need to wear it more. The money bag was done with Messy Mansion MM28 and Bundle Monster Magic Hour.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Murder Borrowed, Murder Blue by Stephanie Blackmoore


Title: Murder Borrowed, Murder Blue
Series: Wedding Planner Mystery #3
Author: Stephanie Blackmoore

Goodreads Summary: 
A celebrity couple getting hitched on Valentine's Day would be a big boost for Mallory Shepard's wedding planning business, but someone's got cold feet: a corpse . . .Actress Dakota Craig is set to tie the knot with her famous musician boyfriend at Mallory's Pennsylvania B&B on the most romantic day of the year. Best of all, the whole thing will air on the reality TV show I Do. But the maid of honor has dropped out of the wedding party--by dropping dead.

A lot of people insist the show must go on, so Mallory's investigation keeps getting sidetracked by everything from a meddling mother to a foot of snow to a side project making arrangements for a high school Winter Ball. But if she doesn't catch the noxious culprit, the bride might wind up with a funeral wreath instead of a bouquet . . .

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This is one of my favorite series. I love when settings feel authentic, and I always feel like I'm in the Pittsburgh area when I'm reading these books. I really liked the plot. Mallory has the chance of a lifetime with this show, only to have it marred by a murder. There are also a few interesting surprises along the way. The ending was a major shock.

My Manicure: I'm just going to start out by saying that it is really hard for me to keep a wedding manicure this simple. But my inspiration was the simple, stark black and white color palette, so I had to avoid unnecessary glitz. I started with Sinful Colors Black on Black. The happy couple was stamped with Bundle Monster Bam! White and S233.


Monday, January 15, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton


Title: Survival of the Fritters
Series: Deputy Donut Mystery #1
Author: Ginger Bolton

Goodreads Summary: 
Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.

If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .

Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This was a fun start to a new series. I really liked that Emily didn't rely on her father-in-law, the former police chief, for help in solving the murder. The mystery was well written, and I was surprised by the ending. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book.

My Manicure: Donuts! Yeah, I went for the obvious, but the image is just so darn adorable. I started out with KBShimmer PT Young Thing. For the donuts, I used Bundle Monster XL323 and Bam! White for reverse stamping. The coloring was done with acrylic paints.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Pre-Meditated Murder by Tracy Weber


Title: Pre-Meditated Murder
Series: Downward Dog Mystery #5
Author: Tracy Weber

Goodreads Summary: 
If Kate Doesn't Act Fast, the Only "I Do" in Michael's Future Will Be at His TrialYoga instructor Kate Davidson is ready to marry her boyfriend Michael, so she's disappointed when a special dinner doesn't end with a proposal. But disappointment turns to dismay and outrage as she learns the real problem: Michael is already married and his estranged wife is blackmailing him.

When his wife's body is found--by Kate and her dog, no less--Michael is strangely unable to remember where he was the night she died. Since Michael has no alibi, Kate steps up to uncover what happened. What she walks into is a tangled web of deceit, obsession, and immigration fraud . . . with Michael trapped in the middle.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
Oh my gosh that was a bit surprising. Kate managed to grow as a character between the books. I'm not sure how it happened, but I like the change. I also really liked how immigration was added to the story. It really made me think about how different situations might affect choices.

My Manicure: Kate is practicing yoga at the beach, blissfully unaware that she will soon be practicing her ass in sand pose... I started out with two coats of Vapid Gilver '17. Then I stamped the yoga pose with Bundle Monster XL175 and Straight Up Black. I really love how it is simple, yet the holo sparkle adds just a little glitz to keep it from being boring.


Monday, January 8, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - No Regrets by Julie Moffett


Title: No Regrets
Series: Lexi Carmichael Mystery #10
Author: Julie Moffett

Goodreads Summary: 
Geek girl Lexi Carmichael has tackled her share of formidable tasks, but nothing quite as daunting as serving as maid of honor at her best friend’s weddingWhen I agreed to stand by my best friend, Basia, on her big day, I had no idea what I was in for. Bouquets and unflattering evening wear I can handle. But between disgruntled dates, a beach venue and suspicious packages, what else can go wrong? Oh, right—my parents don’t know I’ve moved in with Slash. Oops?

Thankfully, I’ve got everything semi under control, at least as far as Basia and Xavier know. They can leave for their honeymoon happy, knowing Elvis, Slash and I will keep things safe at home.

Meanwhile, Elvis and Xavier’s boss at ComQuest has asked X-Corp—well, me—to take a quick trip to retrieve a sensitive company package from the British Virgin Islands. No hacking involved. Just show up, accept the package and bring it home safely. A cushy assignment, and a safe one. Right?

Wrong. Things start to unravel the minute I set foot on the boat to the island. Before I know it, I’m up to my neck in thugs, sand and trouble. I’m going to have to work fast to stop the bad guys before the sun sets for good on this unexpected beach vacation…

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
Even though this is book 10, and the first one I have read, I had no problem at all following the story. There is enough background information to help first time readers, but not so much that long time readers would get bored with repeated information. The plot was really fast moving and never dragged. There were also a lot of hilarious bits thrown in. I can't wait to read more of this series.

My Manicure: I was inspired by the beach setting. I chose KBShimmer Little Boy Hue for my water/base to give it a nice soft look. Then I did a glitter gradient with L.A. Colors Encore for the sand. It was a little glitter heavy, so the gradient doesn't show as much as I'd like it to, but it does still give a sort of beachy look.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - The Hostess With the Ghostess by E. J. Copperman


Title: The Hostess With the Ghostess
Series: Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #9
Author: E. J. Copperman

Goodreads Summary: 
Things are never quiet for long at the Haunted Guesthouse. Right as Alison Kerby finally gets some peace, long-time deceased Paul Harrison’s recently murdered brother, Richard, shows up looking for the ghostly detective. But Paul has left for parts unknown months ago. The only thing is, she doesn’t know how to find him. And she’s going to need to because Richard’s isn’t the only murder still left unsolved.

As she searches for Paul, Alison discovers that Richard, who was a lawyer, was working a case about a woman accused of murdering her stepfather. It quickly becomes clear that Richard was getting too close to the truth, and was forcibly kept quiet. Now as Alison continues her investigation, she gets a creeping sensation that the murderer doesn’t appreciate her snooping around. And if she doesn’t stop, she’ll be next in The Hostess with the Ghostess, the witty and delightful follow-up to national bestselling author E. J. Copperman’s Spouse on Haunted Hill.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This is the first book I have read in this series, and I can't wait to read more. The mystery was well written and a bit shocking. The reveal managed a nice balance between suspense and humor.

My Manicure: To fit with the haunted theme, I went with a ghostly whispy...thing. I started with Sinful Colors Black on Black. I decided to try a different technique today because I keep eating through the base color with acetone using my normal technique. This time I just used white acrylic paint and water. Yup, as long as you top coat it, acrylic paint will work over nail polish. It took a few tries to figure out. My first attempts used too much water and all of the paint slid right off.


Monday, January 1, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Scones and Scoundrels by Molly MacRae


Title: Scones and Scoundrels
Series: Highland Bookshop Mystery #2
Author: Molly MacRae

Goodreads Summary: 
Inversgail, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, welcomes home native daughter and best-selling environmental writer Daphne Wood. Known as the icon of ecology, Daphne will spend three months as the author in residence for the Inversgail schools. Janet Marsh and her business partners at Yon Bonnie Books are looking forward to hosting a gala book signing for her. Daphne, who hasn’t set foot in Scotland in thirty years, is . . . eccentric. She lives in the Canadian wilderness, in a cabin she built herself, with only her dog for a companion, and her people skills have developed a few rough-hewn edges. She and the dog (which she insists on bringing with her) cause problems for the school, the library, and the bookshop even before they get to Inversgail. Then, on the misty night they arrive, a young man—an American who’d spent a night in the B above Yon Bonnie Books—is found dead outside a pub.

Daphne did her Inversgail homework and knows that Janet and her partners solved a previous murder. She tries to persuade them to join her in uncovering the killer and the truth. To prove she’s capable, she starts poking and prying. But investigating crimes can be murder, and Daphne ends up dead, poisoned by scones from the tearoom at Yon Bonnie Books. Now, to save the reputation of their business—not to mention the reputation of their scones—Janet and her partners must solve both murders. And Daphne’s dog might be able to help them, if only they can get it to stop howling. . . 

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
I wanted to like this more than I did. I liked the idea of it, but I never really connected with any of it. The mystery was a little interesting, but since I didn't really care about the characters I ended up not really caring too much about it being solved.

My Manicure: I have been wanting to do a manicure like this for forever, and this was the perfect excuse to do it. It just feels like a warm, cozy manicure, perfect for those rainy Scottish days. I started out with Zoya Renee. Then I stamped using Bundle Monster Around the World 2 and Straight Up Black.