Monday, May 30, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Grilled For Murder by Maddie Day


Title: Grilled For Murder
Series: Country Store Mysteries #2
Author: Maddie Day

Goodreads Summary: Robbie Jordan may have had reservations about the murder victim, but she still needs to turn up the heat on a killer if she wants to keep her new restaurant open for business…

In the charming small town of South Lick, Indiana, Robbie has transformed a rundown country store into the runaway hit Pans 'N Pancakes. But the most popular destination for miles around can also invite trouble. Erica Shermer may be the widow of handsome local lawyer Jim Shermer's brother, but she doesn't appear to be in mourning. At a homecoming party held in Robbie's store, Erica is alternately obnoxious and flirtatious--even batting her eyelashes at Jim. When Erica turns up dead in the store the next morning, apparently clobbered with cookware, the police suspect Robbie's friend Phil, who closed up after the party. To clear Phil and calm her customers, Robbie needs to step out from behind the counter and find the real killer in short order…

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

I LOVED this book. Robbie is a great main character. Something about the way she is written makes her feel like a real person, and her insecurities just make her feel even more real. The little southern phrases sprinkled through the book are some of the most amusing ones I have ever read. If you haven't read either one of the books in this series, you need to. They are definite must read books.

My Manicure: Can I just say that I am in love with this manicure? It is based on Robbie's love of crossword puzzles, and amazingly I have a crossword puzzle stamp. I started out with a base of Sinful Colors Snow Me White, and stamped using Sinful Colors Black On Black and Bundle Monster plate BM-416.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Murder Most Fowl by Edith Maxwell


Title: Murder Most Fowl
Series: Local Foods Mystery #4
Author: Edith Maxwell

Goodreads Summary: Spring may be just around the corner, but a cold-blooded killer has put the big chill on the residents of Westbury, Massachusetts. It looks like organic farmer-turned-sleuth Cam Flaherty will have to set aside her seedlings for the time being as she tills the soil for clues in the mysterious death of a local poultry maven.

With the weather getting warmer, Cam should be spending her days pruning blueberry bushes and taking care of the new batch of chicks that just hatched. But murder knows no season. So when her fellow fowl-raiser Wayne Laitinen is found dead at his breakfast table one morning, Cam must put down her trimming shears and put on her crime-solving hat. 

The kind-hearted chicken farmer didn't have any enemies--or did he? A wealthy financier has been working hard to convince him to sell her his land, while a group of animal rights activists recently vandalized his property. Money troubles were threatening to sink his marriage. And a thirty-year-old scandal was driving a wedge between him and one of his oldest friends. 

Murder, blackmail, cover-ups. There's a fox in the hen house. But where? With some help from her off-again, on-again flame, police detective Pete Pappas, Cam will have to crack this case before Wayne's killer flies the coop forever. 

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

I loved this book, but I had such a hard time getting into the story until about halfway through. It felt like it was following Cam's day-to-day life rather than her investigating the murder. There were quite a few parts where I wondered what the point of an entire chapter was. But one thing that I absolutely loved about this book was that there wasn't even a hint of a love triangle in it. Love triangles are so overdone in books that it was great to be able to not read about one.

My Manicure: I chose cute little chicks for this manicure, since Cam is raising chicks. I started with a base of L.A. Colors Color Craze Mint (which is really nearly lime green, not mint green). After that dried, I sponged on an unlabeled Color Club and Sinful Colors Happy Ending, and sponged a little bit more of Mint on top of it. Then I stamped the chick with Maybelline Bold Gold and Pueen 47. I could not capture the actual color of this - it is a little bit deeper green than what the picture shows.


Monday, May 23, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting


Title: Murder at Morningside
Series: Missy DuBois Mystery #1
Author: Sandra Bretting

Goodreads Summary: Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana's Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder? 

Hired to craft a veil for a socialite getting married at Morningside Plantation means Missy can bask in the height of antebellum atmosphere. But when the bride is found dead in a women's bathroom, Missy the milliner finds herself entangled in one unfashionable murder. With the list of suspects thicker than the sweltering Louisiana heat, including a gaggle of bridesmaids shedding nary a tear and a family with no shortage of enemies, it seems anyone at the mansion may have done away with the bride-to-be. While Missy has Southern charm to spare, she's going to need more than manners and a manicure to put a hat pin on this murderous affair . . .

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

I really enjoyed this book. From the first page, the author paints a picture so vivid, you can almost feel the southern heat. The characters are written realistically, and as the murder is unraveled, it becomes more and more heartbreaking. The very end of the book left me rolling my eyes at how the characters acted, but other than that it was very enjoyable.

My Manicure: For this manicure, I was inspired by the idea of peacock feathers on hats. I started with 3 thin coats of CoverGirl Teal on Fire. After that was dry, I stamped the feather pattern using Maybelline Bold Gold and Bundle Monster plate BM-212. I am in love with the contrast between the gold and teal - I feel it perfectly captures the dramatic effect of a peacock feather. Teal on Fire also has a little bit of a shiftyness - if you look closely, especially on my pinky, you can see a little color shift trying to show.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Death is Like a Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons

**Nothing to Disclose**

Title: Death is Like a Box of Chocolates
Author: Kathy Aarons
Series: Chocolate Covered Mystery #1
Goodreads Summary: Whether it’s to satisfy a craving for chocolate or pick up the hottest new bestseller, the locals in charming West Riverdale, Maryland, are heading to Chocolates and Chapters, where everything sold is to die for…

Best friends Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell are celebrating the sweet rewards of their combined bookstore and chocolate shop by hosting the Great Fudge Cook-off during the town’s Memorial Day weekend Arts Festival. But success turns bittersweet when Main Street’s portrait photographer is found dead in their store, poisoned by Michelle’s signature truffles.

As suspicion mounts against Michelle, her sales begin to crumble and her career seems whipped. With Erica by her side, Michelle must pick through an assortment of suspects before the future of their dream store melts away…

My Review: Books and chocolate – is there a better combination? There are two chocolate recipes at the end of the book, but I wish there were recipes for all of the chocolates she mentions. I thought Michelle was unique as a main character – a bit snobby and a bit blunt, especially compared to Erica. The story itself moved along at a nice pace, but towards the end it did drag a little bit.

My Manicure: For this manicure, I was inspired by - what else - a box of chocolates. My base color is Ever After Polish The Good Stuff (from the Let it Settle duo). I used OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress for the "ribbon" on the accent nails, and Sinful Colors Snow Me White for the "chocolate drizzle" over the other nails.


Monday, May 16, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Kill or be Kilt by Victoria Roberts


Title: Kill or be Kilt
Author: Victoria Roberts
Series: Highland Spies #3
Goodreads Summary: Lady Elizabeth Walsingham pined after the same man for years. When she finally realizes the brawny Highland laird doesn't return her feelings, she decides to leave for London and start anew. It seems that her prayers are answered when she catches the eye of a charming actor at the Globe Theatre - a man who is the complete opposite of the Highlander she once loved. 

Laird Ian Monroe spends his time avoiding the bothersome young girl who dreams of their union. But when he travels to London and discovers that she has a new love interest with a dishonorable agenda, his perspective changes. Ian soon realizes that Elizabeth is no longer a child with a crush, but a beautiful woman in need of his help. He may have what it takes to rescue Elizabeth from her scheming beau, but does he have the courage to reclaim Elizabeth's heart as well?

My Review: 

**I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

I absolutely adored this book. About halfway through, I bought 4 of her e-books because I was enjoying her writing so much. The characters felt like they could be real people. One thing I really loved about the story was how there was a tiny bit of a mystery. It wasn't enough of a mystery to call it anything other than a romance book, but it made it feel like there was something more to the story than trying to figure out when the characters would finally end up together.

My Manicure: For this manicure, I decided to attempt a simple freehand plaid based on the cover. Attempt being the key word here. First, I painted my nails with two coats of OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress. After that dried, I painted black stripes with Sinful Colors Black on Black, and topped that with white stripes using Sinful Colors Snow Me White.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - All Murders Final by Sherry Harris


I've fallen into a bit of a funk with my manicure ideas. Then, as I was reading this book, I had the idea to combine my love of nail polish and my love of books. I'm hoping to make this a twice weekly series (Mondays and Wednesdays).

Title: All Murders Final
Series: Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #3
Author: Sherry Harris
Goodreads Summary: Her Next Sale

When Sarah Winston started the virtual garage sale, it seemed like a keystroke of genius and the next logical step in her business. No more collapsing card tables and rainy-day washouts. But what began as a fun way to run garage sales during the long New England winter has become a nightmare of managing people and putting out fires. Online, she can avoid the crowds--but not the crazies. 

May Be Her Last

She certainly never bargained on dealing with frightening threats. And when a client is murdered, it's time for Sarah to swallow her pride and seek the help of her ex--C.J. Hooker, chief of police. Forging a tense alliance, they search--online and off--for the killer. But solving this crime before someone else gets tagged seems virtually impossible…

My Review: 

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

This was a great book. The characters were written well enough that it felt they could jump off the page. I appreciated that she had one of the characters come back from active duty different than when he had left. This is a subject that people typically don't want to talk about, and I think it was important in this book since the series is set near a military base. The mystery felt a little busy to me, but it was tied up nicely in the end.

My Manicure: For my manicure, I was inspired by the tablecloth. It is a vintage white on white floral tablecloth, and as I was reading, I kept thinking about how cool it would look in a manicure. I used 2 coats of Ever After Polish Let It Settle (from the Irish Mani Duo) over Sinful Colors Snow Me White for my base. I then stamped the floral design using Pueen 27 and Sinful Colors Snow Me White. Very subtle, but I am in love with this look.