Friday, March 30, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Carbs & Cadavers by Ellery Adams


Title: Carbs & Cadavers
Series: Supper Club Mystery #1
Author: Ellery Adams

Goodreads Summary: 
Book One in the harrowing and heartwarming Supper Club Mystery series by New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams!

Meet the Supper Club, a group of friends dead set on counting calories and catching killers . . .

After giving up his dream job and moving back home to the small town of Quincy’s Gap, English literature professor James Henry is tired of finding his happiness at the bottom of a bag of cheese doodles. In an effort to expand his social life and reduce his waistline, he joins a supper club for dieters who lovingly call themselves the Flab Five. He knows he and his new friends will have to watch what they eat, but he never expected to find murder on the menu.

Former high school football star Brinkley Myers was worshipped by fans and loathed by women. When he mysteriously drops dead in the local bakery, a young waitress at the town diner is suspected of foul play. Convinced she’s innocent, the Flab Five team up to weigh in on the investigation.

As the group begins to digest the clues and track down the real killer, they start to worry that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, and it will take every ounce of willpower they have to keep losing weight without losing their lives . . .

Includes tempting recipes!

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
I had a little bit of trouble getting into the story in the beginning, but it I quickly started enjoying it and found it to be an interesting mystery. The characters were all unique, and I enjoyed watching James work on building new relationships.

My Manicure: Since Carbs & Cadavers is set during fall, I went with a pumpkin theme. I started with Zoya Dove for a nice neutral base. Then I stamped the pumpkins with Bundle Monster H06 and Cinnamon Sweets.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Tart of Darkness by Denise Swanson


Title: Tart of Darkness
Series: Chef-to-Go Mystery #1
Author: Denise Swanson

Goodreads Summary: 
Right when Dani thinks she's hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion--cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and catering events for the local community. To help support her new business, she opens her home to a few students, renting them rooms and becoming almost like a big sister figure in their lives.

But just as Dani is relishing her sweet new life, the friend of one of her boarders is murdered, and Dani becomes one of the primary suspects! She'll have to scramble to clear her name and save her business before the killer reappears--perhaps to silence the new chef forever.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
A fun start to a new series. The setting is really interesting. I would love to see the house that Dani inherited. It sounds beautiful. The language is a little strong at times for a cozy, but not overly obscene or graphic. I really enjoyed the mystery, but I felt it fizzled at the end rather than going out with a bang.

My Manicure: Today I was inspired by Dani's classic red and white checkered bags. I started out with OPI I'm Not Really A Waitress. I always forget how pretty this red is. The check pattern was stamped with Bundle Monster XL 201 and Bam! White.


Monday, March 26, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien


Title: Death by Dumpling
Series: Noodle Shop Mystery #1
Author: Vivien Chien

Goodreads Summary: 
Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that a return to the Cleveland area to help wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy―to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out―it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This was a really fun start to a new series. I really enjoyed the setting. The mystery was well written with some surprising reveals. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.

My Manicure: Today's manicure is inspired by the Asian heritage that the main characters have. The noodle shop is described as having a traditional red, black, and gold color scheme, so I simplified it to black and gold, which also gives a really nice contrast. As usual, I started with Sinful Colors Black on Black. The lanterns were stamped with Bundle Monster H15 and Heart of Gold.


Friday, March 23, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Pressing the Issue by Daryl Wood Gerber


Title: Pressing the Issue
Series: Cookbook Nook Mystery #6
Author: Daryl Wood Gerber

Goodreads Summary: 
The Agatha Award–winning author of Grilling the Subject returns to the Cookbook Nook in Crystal Cove, where the annual Renaissance Fair serves up a helping of crafty courtiers, damsels in distress, and medieval murder . . .

As the annual Renaissance Fair comes to Crystal Cove, Jenna Hart’s Cookbook Nook is packed with tasty treats and all things medieval, while her pal Bailey is ready to swoon over her upcoming nuptials at a local vineyard. But when the two friends discover the body of the vineyard’s owner bludgeoned by a winepress, all their merriment fades, along with their hopes for a vintage year.

Which churlish varlet did the deed? Was it the victim’s errant brother, who stood to inherit the vineyards? Or the owner’s crestfallen ex-girlfriend? Mayhap it was the newly arrived comely wench, or her jealous husband. Fie on them all! Verily, Jenna can’t rest until justice is served, and she vows to track down the killer. But can she sniff out the truth before the villainous culprit strikes again?

Includes tantalizing recipes!

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This is a series best read in order. I was able to follow along, but there were multiple references to previous events that possibly included minor spoilers. The setting was beautiful. The mystery was great with a really good ending. I had a lot of fun reading about the faire, and all the faire speak was an amusing addition.

My Manicure: Ah, Ren Fest. I haven't been to one in years, but it was always so much fun. My manicure today is sort of a loose interpretation of the renaissance era. I started out with Zoya Elphie. It has been so long since I've worn a Pixiedust that I forgot how pretty they can be. The stamping was done with Winstonia 215 and Bundle Monster So Metal.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Who Moved My Goat Cheese? by Lynn Cahoon


Title: Who Moved My Goat Cheese?
Series: Farm-to-Fork Mystery #1
Author: Lynn Cahoon

Goodreads Summary: 
Angie Turner hopes her new farm-to-table restaurant can be a fresh start in her old hometown in rural Idaho. But when a goat dairy farmer is murdered, Angie must turn the tables on a bleating black sheep . . .  
With three weeks until opening night for their restaurant, the County Seat, Angie and her best friend and business partner Felicia are scrambling to line up local vendors—from the farmer's market to the goat dairy farm of Old Man Moss. Fortunately, the cantankerous Moss takes a shine to Angie, as does his kid goat Precious. So when Angie hears the bloodcurdling news of foul play at the dairy farm, she jumps in to mind the man's livestock and help solve the murder. One thing's for sure, there's no whey Angie's going to let some killer get her goat . . .

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This was a nice start to a new series. I absolutely adored Dom! I love puppies, especially not so little ones. And, because I have to say it, Precious was so precious! Ok, on to the actual story. It was an interesting mystery, although I did have my suspicions early on. The climax felt a little anticlimactic and slightly rushed. I really enjoyed how Angie was going through the final steps of opening her restaurant during the book. It added something a little bit different.

My Manicure: I went for a simple gradient look today. It is sort of a grass and sky type of look. I was planning on stamping over it but it blended so well that I wanted to show it off. I started out with glue all around my nails down to my knuckles. This was to make cleanup a lot easier. Then I did a quick coat of Sinful Colors Endless Blue. After that dried, I worked on the gradient. I put Sinful Colors Garden Party and Endless Blue on a makeup wedge and started sponging it on to my nails. I found that it worked best when I pressed it on my nail twice, one a little higher than center and once a little lower, then moved to the next nail. I could do two nails this way before I needed to put more polish on the sponge. I kept repeating this until I was happy with the results.


Monday, March 19, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Til Death Do Us Party by Vickie Fee


Title: Til Death Do Us Party
Series: Liv and Di In Dixie Mystery #4
Author: Vickie Fee

Goodreads Summary: 
Las Vegas knows how to party, and for once, event planner Liv McKay won’t be entirely behind the scenes. The Dixie gang is in Sin City to celebrate Mama and Earl’s rockin’ Elvis-themed wedding. And between juggling the botched bachelorette party and a problem-plagued soirĂ©e back home, Liv’s ready to double down on some fun.

Mama & Earl’s happily-ever-after seems like a sure thing, but all bets (and nuptials) are off when they get to the Burning Love Wedding Chapel. Their Elvis-impersonating minister has left the building . . . permanently. And even worse, Liv’s cousin, Little Junior, is suspected of his murder.

With Mama’s happy ending on the table and Little Junior about to lose it all, the stakes are higher than ever. Liv and her best friend, Di, must hit the Strip to find the real killer before he finally plays his ace...

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
A fun addition to the series. The mystery was interesting and well written, but a little short and hurried (I believe about 50% of the book from dead body to capturing the murderer). It was almost more of a book about Mama's wedding with murder as a side plot.  I also felt that it was missing some of the glitz and glamour associated with Vegas. One thing I love about this series is that all of the main characters' relationships are different.

My Manicure: I went with the obvious - Vegas themed. I probably should've gone a little flashier, but I like the boldness of just one pop of color. I started out with my typical Sinful Colors Black on Black. All of the stores around me stopped carrying this brand, and I had go an hour away to restock! The cards were stamped with Mash 73 and Bundle Monster Empire Club.


Friday, March 16, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - The Purloined Puzzle by Parnell Hall


Title: The Purloined Puzzle
Series: Puzzle Lady Mystery #19
Author: Parnell Hall

Goodreads Summary: 
Amateur sleuth and crossword impresario Cora Felton is asked to solve a puzzle, only to find that it’s been stolen—and a murder weapon has been left in its place.
When the obnoxious sixteen-year-old Peggy Dawson asks Cora Felton to solve a puzzle for her, Cora is delighted to find that the puzzle has been stolen. She is less delighted, however, when a blood-stained knife is found in its place.

Soon a body is discovered in the middle of Main Street, and Cora has a murder investigation on her hands. It does not help matters when she hears that her least favorite ex-husband, Melvin, is in town pulling a real estate scam, particularly when she discovers that Melvin may have purchased the knife. Now it’s up to the Puzzle Lady to figure out what really happened.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This series is one of the hardest for me to figure out a rating for. As a mystery, it really isn't a strong book. I still can't figure out how that mystery even worked, let alone how Cora figured it out. Where it shines is in its bizarre sense of humor. It is similar to the rest of the series with constantly talking in circles, which can get confusing if you aren't used to it.

My Manicure: So, I actually just realized how funny the cover is. I'm not sure how I missed it before. Anyway, I went for the obvious today, but I glitzed it up a bit. I started with Vapid Happy Freakin' New Year 2017. Then I stamped the crossword puzzle with Bundle Monster 416 and Black on Black.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Playing With Bonbon Fire by Dorothy St. James


Title: Playing With Bonbon Fire
Series: Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery #2
Author: Dorothy St. James

Goodreads Summary: 
Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle.Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina shag. That is, until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.

While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.

Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire, the delightful second Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
An enjoyable addition to the series. It was a nice improvement over Asking For Truffle. The mystery was well written, although I did feel that some of the drama was unnecessary. It was a surprising ending, and I am still amazed at how horrible some of the characters were revealed to be.

My Manicure: Is there anything quite like a bonfire on a warm summer night? Or, if you live up north, a frosty spring night? As you can see, I was inspired by bonfires. My test nail didn't work quite right. I planned on doing a plain red base, but it didn't really say "smoldering coals". So I improvised on the actual manicure, and luckily it worked. I started with a base of Zoya Renee. Then I put dots of Bundle Monster Teepee Tipping and Arctic Equinox on one nail at a time and smooshed/dabbled at it with a sponge until I liked the results. After I waited a couple of hours to make sure it was completely dry, I painted a thin coat of OPI Black Shatter over each nail. Yes, crackle polish is that finicky, but it is worth it for the beautiful smoldering coals effect that it gives.


Monday, March 12, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Six Feet Under by Tonya Kappes


Title: Six Feet Under
Series: Kenni Lowry #4
Author: Tonya Kappes

Goodreads Summary: 
Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. And let me tell you, this broth is in trouble. Get ready for a Southern showdown.

The residents of Cottonwood, Kentucky are sent into a tizzy when the Culinary Channel comes to town to film an episode of Southern Home Cookin’ with celebrity chef Frank Von Lee.

Especially Sheriff Kenni Lowry.

Her mama’s award-winning chicken pot pie is what brought Frank to town, and they don’t make hair in the South bigger than her mama’s ego after the news.

When Frank Von Lee is found dead from food poisoning and the most likely culprit is Mama’s chicken pot pie, Kenni’s poppa, the former sheriff, comes back from the Great Beyond to assist in the investigation.

But nothing’s prepared Kenni for such a personal tie to a case, and she finds herself pushing the limits of the laws she’s sworn to protect.

This book’s so delicious it’ll make your mouth water and leave you hankerin’ for more.

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
This series is a favorite of mine. It has everything a cozy needs - humor, a good mystery, not too much drama, and - of course - a loyal pet. Ok, that last one may not be important to everyone, but I love it when pets are included in books. One thing that makes this series unique is that Kenni, being a sheriff, actually has a valid reason to investigate murders. This creates a little bit of conflict of interest when her mother becomes the main suspect, along with somehow being tangled up in other minor cases at the same time. Overall it was a highly enjoyable addition to a wonderful series.

My Manicure: Ok, quick post today because "spring forward" always kicks my butt. My inspiration was Duke, because it's Duke. I started out with a base of Zoya Cinnamon. I've had this emoji dog image that I've been wanting to use, so I used Bundle Monster S158 and Heart of Gold.


Friday, March 9, 2018

My Nails and My Book Review - Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke


Title: Raspberry Danish Murder
Series: Hannah Swensen Mystery #22
Author: Joanne Fluke

Goodreads Summary: 
Thanksgiving has a way of thawing the frostiest hearts in Lake Eden. But that won’t be happening for newlywed Hannah Swensen Barton—not after her husband suddenly disappears . . .  
Hannah has felt as bitter as November in Minnesota since Ross vanished without a trace and left their marriage in limbo. Still, she throws herself into a baking frenzy for the sake of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving-themed treats while endless holiday orders pour into The Cookie Jar. Hannah even introduces a raspberry Danish pastry to the menu, and P.K., her husband’s assistant at KCOW-TV, will be one of the first to sample it. But instead of taking a bite, P.K., who is driving Ross’s car and using his desk at work, is murdered. Was someone plotting against P.K. all along or did Ross dodge a deadly dose of sweet revenge? Hannah will have to quickly sift through a cornucopia of clues and suspects to stop a killer from bringing another murder to the table . . .

My Review: **I voluntarily read this ARC**
Well, it's an improvement over Banana Cream Pie Murder. The writing style is still very confusing. It started out with a juvenile style, then randomly switched to describing the death in detail, and went right back to juvenile. I'm still not sure who the target audience is at this point. Ignoring the weird writing, the mystery was pretty good. I am a little annoyed that it ended on another cliffhanger (but wow, that was a shocking one). Since cliffhangers were never used in the series until recently, could this be a ploy to try to keep readers?

My Manicure: Oh, this book made me miss fall in Minnesota (but definitely not winter). The fall colors there were absolutely beautiful. I know it takes place after the leaves have fallen, but I just had to base my manicure on fall leaves. I started out with Zoya Courtney topped with ILNP The Magician to give it a nice glow. The leaves were stamped with Bundle Monster H11 and Heart of Gold.