Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Death at the Day Lily Cafe by Wendy Sand Eckel


Title: Death at the Day Lily Cafe
Series: Rosalie Hart #2
Author: Wendy Sand Eckel

Goodreads Summary: Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stuffed with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor--to help clear her little sister Lori of a first degree murder charge.

With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it's not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. And when Rosalie's daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.

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

Oh wow. This book really was amazing. She managed to touch on a very sensitive subject without it feeling like I was beat over the head with it. The ending was a teensy bit highly unbelievable, but still enjoyable.

My Manicure: Ugh, creative slump. I had so much trouble finding an inspiration that would translate to my nails that I haven't done yet. After a bit of thinking, I finally came up with a sort of herbal tea type design. The base is Sally Hansen Take the Leap. This is four coats and it is still super sheer. I used it to give a lavender look for the herbal part of the design. The teapot, stamped with Winstonia plate W215 and Pure Ice Silver Star, is the tea part of the design.


Monday, July 25, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - All You Need is Fudge by Nancy Coco


Title: All You Need is Fudge
Series: Candy Coated #4
Author: Nancy Coco

Goodreads Summary: Fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy is making fudgie treats for the annual yacht race--but a killer's stirring up a batch of trouble. . .

Sailing Into Murder

The annual yacht race off the coast of Mackinac Island, Michigan, is a highlight of the summer season, and Allie is pulling out all the stops making chocolate centerpieces for the occasion. Unfortunately, she and her bichonpoo, Mal, also pull a dead body from the murky waters of the marina. When Allie's boyfriend's sister becomes the prime suspect, Allie dives into investigating the murder herself. Amid bitter feuds and hushed-up scandals, the courageous candymaker quickly gets in over her head. Someone is trying to fudge the facts to keep a secret worth killing for. . .

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

I don't know why I didn't start reading this series sooner. It's been sitting on my TBR pile for a while, but I just kept overlooking it somehow. If you love Mackinac Island, fudge, and pets, you need to pick up this series now. Mal is awesome at sniffing out clues, Jenn is just hilarious, and those fudge recipes! I need to try those now!

My Manicure: This was actually a lot harder than it should've been. The base color was simple - a fudgy brown since Mackinac Island is known for fudge. My original idea was to do horses since horse and buggy is a common mode of transportation, but I had no horse images. Plenty of reindeer, but no horses. So, back to the drawing board. I decided, ok, it takes place during a yacht festival, so I found a boat image. What I ended up with was three coats of Sinful Colors Leather Loose, which actually dries to a gorgeous satin matte finish, but I top coated it because I love that shimmer. Then I stamped with Zoya Purity and Winstonia On The Road.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Ascension by Morgen Rich and Brian Rathbone


Title: Ascension
Series: N/A
Author: Morgen Rich and Brian Rathbone

Goodreads Summary: Having reached the age of decision, Gwendolin Ahlgren finds she has no viable choices, or at least none her family will agree to let her pursue. She's resigned that her life will be anything but what she'd hoped it would be. When a traveling circus passes through her village, a fortune teller predicts a mysterious destiny Gwen could never have imagined and roundly rejects. Against her will, she leaves home for life in a monastery and meets the love of her life. Life and love aren't always what one expects, and neither is destiny. Gwen will have to stretch beyond herself and understand the true meaning of love if she's to fulfill her destiny through a task that only an unimaginable ascension can accomplish.

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

This book had so much potential! The world building was absolutely amazing, but the plot was boring. Somehow the book had a lot happen, yet nothing happened. It was building up to what should've been an amazing “save the world” part, and then it ended. I'm not even sure how the world was saved.

My Manicure: Such a delicate looking manicure. Since Gwen likes learning about herbs, I went for a delicate, floral look. The base is two coat of Sinful Colors Pistache (which practically applied itself), and stamped it with Zoya Purity and Bundle Monster plate BM-419.


Monday, July 18, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Suddenly Spellbound by Erica Lucke Dean


Title: Suddenly Spellbound
Series: Ivie McKie #2
Author: Erica Lucke Dean

Goodreads Summary: Something witchy this way comes.

Kindergarten-teacher-slash-sorceress Ivie McKie has officially sworn off magic. With her father back from the dead—just in time for her upcoming wedding to sexy former magician Jackson Blake—Ivie has plotted a course straight to happily-ever-after-ville. And she won’t let anything get in her way this time.

But Daddy Dearest has something sneaky up his sleeve. When “just one more spell” goes horribly wrong and detours her into the path of her father’s dangerously hot new apprentice, Ivie has to scramble to get the magic… and her love life… back on track.

Along the way, she encounters a promise made before she was born, a clan of Scottish sorcerers in kilts, and yet another goat.

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

An interesting read. I didn't realize that this was the second book in the series, so I was a bit confused during parts. But, to be fair, Ivie was confused through a bit of the story, too. This is definitely one that would benefit from reading the books in order, although some parts are explained through references to past events.  

My Manicure: I decided to go for a nice, light, magically sparkly look for this one. I would've gone with a goat (look at the cover), but I couldn't find a stamp that would work. I used Philly Loves Lacquer That Elsa Doll Is Mine! as my base color, and stamped it with Pure Ice Silver Star and Bundle Monster plate BM-H14. Simple, but cute.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira


Title: Bookishly Ever After
Series: Ever After #1
Author: Isabel Bandeira

Goodreads Summary: In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. 

But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

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

I am so torn on how I feel about this book. The concept was interesting, but almost every single page Phoebe asked herself what a fictional character would do, and it got so tedious to read those parts. Once she got to camp, the story improved a lot. The kids she had to supervise were hilarious, and there were a few parts that got me laughing.

My Manicure: I'm just going to sit here and drool over this mani, k? Seriously though, I am having a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. It turned out great, but the Celtic knot was supposed to be gold. My gold polish refused to pick up the entire image. So, after like 10 or 15 failed attempts, I got frustrated and grabbed my silver polish. Of course, perfect pick up first try. I used KBShimmer Up and Cunning for my base, and stamped with Pure Ice Silver Star and Bundle Monster BM-H05.


Monday, July 11, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - False Idols by Alexis Grove


Title: False Idols
Series: Aeon #1
Author: Alexis Grove

Goodreads Summary: In the year 2047 neural implants have given a small slice of the population superhuman abilities. Are these Aeons brilliant humanitarians dedicated to saving civilization, or venal psychopaths bent on its destruction?

When Sarah Fenton is recruited out of her orphanage into a mysterious government program, this question becomes her mission. Answering it incorrectly could spell the end of the human race.

Her only path to the truth lies in beguiling an Aeon named Nick Lal, the reclusive scion of one of the planet’s wealthiest families. Even as she realizes she’s falling in love with him, she begins to fear that he is not as innocent as he appears. 

As famine and religious strife threaten to push the nation into a three-way civil war, Sarah’s time runs short. Will she be wily enough to choose correctly and save the world?

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

So many mixed feelings on this. It was well written, and had every emotion in it except for happiness. I just had so much trouble getting into the story. I think my issue was the “real but not real” aspect of the ether. It got hard for me to tell what was really going on in the story. There was also so much world building that the beginning felt like it dragged on forever, but the pace did pick up towards the end.

My Manicure: I love how this turned out, but it was not what I had planned. My original plan was to do computer chips, but I couldn't get a clean image (my fault, not the plate). So, I decided to use the binary code image instead. Since it sort of takes place in cyberspace, it works. I started out with Zoya Suvi, and stamped using Sinful Colors Silver Star and Bundle Monster plate BM-415. Simple, yet perfect for this book.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Finally Friday - Nature Walk

**Nothing to Disclose**

**Warning - pic heavy**
When the weather gets nicer, one of my favorite things to do is go on nature walks. A lot of times, I don't even have to leave my yard! The previous owners of our house did a lovely job on the gardens, and I just adore taking pictures of them in different stages of blooms.


 More Petunias

 No idea, but it looked cool

 Again, random thing that looked cool


 Yet again, I have no clue

 Let's just go with "I need to learn flowers"

 Hey, I know this one! Peonies

 More peonies

 Another peony



 Those obnoxious stickers

 No clue

 Pretty sure these are daisies


 A rose fully opened

 This rose is still debating if it wants to open

 The peony exploded open

Blueberries again


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Dial QR For Murder by A.E.H. Veenman

**Press Sample**

Title: Dial QR For Murder
Series: Marjorie Gardens Mystery #1
Author: A.E.H. Veenman

Goodreads Summary: For defense attorney Isis Ferrelli, life is good—until the second day of the Norman Kane trial… 

Her client was accused of using QR code software he’d developed to steal a drug called Fentanol. But when he’s murdered, Isis fears someone from her own past might be involved. Her uncle, Louis Fernoza, put her through law school. Now a mob boss, he wants to end their estrangement and make use of the star attorney he created. 

To protect those she cares about, Isis turns to her crime blog and her alter-ego Marjorie Gardens to find answers… is Isis’s resource to find out how Kane’s QR code was hacked to set him up for the theft, and who had decided “dead” was a better strategy than “framed.” With the help of her blog followers, she begins to dig into the Kane family, where no one is who they seem. 

Photographs of a building, a Nieman Marcus loafer, and a programmer with two names… 

When a new online member appears at the Kane estate, Isis’s investigation is thrown into chaos. He seems to know the murderer…and how to take Isis offline permanently. 

In order to find a tech-savvy killer, Isis must take her search into the digital age…even at the risk of her own unmasking.

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

A great book with a unique mystery. The pacing was wonderful and never slowed, even as the mystery was wrapped up. There were a few parts that were slightly hard to follow, almost like a part of Isis' thought process was left out. Despite that, it was a highly enjoyable read, and I am looking forward to reading the next book.

My Manicure: Was there anything else that I could do for this manicure? It was just begging for QR codes. I had the waterslide decals custom made by Fangirl Polish. They are real, working codes, but I can only get my middle finger to work (figures, right?). If I could get them to work properly, they would bring you to different author/book links. The base is Zoya Purity, and for my first time ever using waterslide decals I think I did a decent job.


Monday, July 4, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

**Goodreads Giveaway**

Title: Paper and Fire
Series: The Great Library #2
Author: Rachel Caine

Goodreads Summary: With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

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

Surprisingly thought-provoking for a YA book, and well written. Imagine a world where all of the knowledge is controlled by the Library. This isn't your friendly neighborhood library that wants you to take advantage of all the things you can learn. The Library believes that knowledge is power, and is power hungry enough to want to control that knowledge at any cost. Our unlikely band of allies has ended up on the wrong side of the Library, and the Library is now ready to neutralize the perceived threat without any care about the collateral damage. As they fight for their lives, they manage to end up right in the middle of another war. Is there any way they can make it out alive?

My Manicure:  Ooooh my I am loving this manicure. It is inspired by the title and cover of the book - a fiery gradient topped with books. I started with a base of Zoya Arizona, then topped it with a gradient of Arizona and Renee. I then stamped with Sinful Colors Black on Black and MJ plate JR-2.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Finally Friday - Ebooks vs Real Books

**Nothing to Disclose**

Today's Finally Friday post is a just for fun battle of the book formats. Each format has its advantages and disadvantages, and this is my amusing take on those.

Ebook advantages:

  1. I can mark up my books as much as I want without actually marking them. This is what I needed for my book reports in high school. I went through a pack of index cards taking notes and writing quotes that I wanted to use because I refuse to mark up a real book.
  2. I can bring an entire library with me, and it's only the size of one book. Again, I needed this a long time ago. I could never narrow down my books to take on a trip. I mean, really, what if I decide during the trip that I'm not in the mood for the book I brought, and I'm stuck with nothing to read. Or even worse, if I finish it and I'm stuck with nothing to read.
  3. Similar to my second point, it doesn't take up room on my shelves. I'm running out of shelves to put my books on and I have no room for more shelves. Digital books take up no shelf space, and minimal memory.
  4. Dogs can't eat an entire chapter or rip it to shreds.

Ebook disadvantages

  1. Battery life. I am constantly forgetting to charge my nook, and my tablet pretty much needs to be charged daily if I'm reading a lot (which is pretty much always).
  2. Not all books are available as ebooks. Some older mystery titles aren't ebooks, and probably will never be available.

Hmmm, I really thought I would be able to come up with more disadvantages. Oh well, moving on...

Real book advantages

  1. Being able to feel the paper in your hands. I don't know why, but nothing can replace how a real book feels.
  2. New book smell. Ok, now I'm probably just being weird, but it is part of the experience, along with the feel of the book.
  3. A shelf full of books looks awesome. That is something you can't do with ebooks at all.
  4. You can get them signed much easier than an ebook. I mean, you could technically get your ebook cover signed, but it just wouldn't be the same.

Real book disadvantages

  1. Water will completely destroy them. Even if you get it to dry out, the chance of mold spreading to all your other books is just scary
  2. They hold any smell they come in contact with. Yuck. Just yuck.
  3. They are very susceptible to dog teeth. In case you are wondering, 2 library books and one book that I owned.

And the winner is... every format! Seriously, the pros and cons balance out for all formats, and each one has its uses. Do you have any silly pros and cons to add?