Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan


Title: Death Among the Doilies
Series: Cora Crafts Mystery #1
Author: Mollie Cox Bryan

Goodreads Summary: For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents—and most of her savings—into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian . . .

But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches . . .

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

At the beginning of the book, I really wasn't sure how I would like it. For a first in series, I was expecting more set up and less dive right into the middle of the story. After a few chapters I was able to follow along with the story, and really enjoyed it. The two main characters are both damaged, and are starting a craft retreat in hopes of being able to heal and start over. As usual, that dream is quickly shattered as things start going wrong before the retreat even starts. But mixed in with the chaos are some heartwarming bonding moments and character growth. The mystery was well written, with some twists and enough clues to give a fair chance at figuring out the murderer.

My Manicure: So this inspiration is doilies. Not only is it right there in the title, but doilies show up in the book, too. I thought the aqua would make a pretty base, not overly bold, but not too subtle. The fact that the cover has a similar shade really is just a coincidence (but I do wish I had planned it). The base is Bonita Dali's Memory. Then I stamped it with Zoya Purity and Pueen 28. I'm absolutely loving this look, and I had better luck with my clear stamper.


Monday, August 29, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - A Most Curious Murder by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli


Title: A Most Curious Murder
Series: Little Library Mystery #1
Author: Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Goodreads Summary: Jenny Weston moves home to Bear Falls, Michigan to nurse her bruised ego back to health after a bitter divorce. But the idyllic vision of her charming hometown crumbles when her mother's little library is destroyed.

The next door neighbor, Zoe Zola, a little person and Lewis Carroll enthusiast, suspects local curmudgeon Adam Cane, but when he's suddenly found dead in Zoe's fairy garden, all roads lead back to her. Jenny, however, believes Zoe innocent, so the two women team up to find the true culprit, investigating the richest family in Bear Falls, interrogating a few odd townspeople and delving into old, hidden transgressions--until another body turns up.

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's quaint and compelling series debut A Most Curious Murder will delight cozy mystery readers new and old.

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

I was a bit disappointed by this book. As a first in series, it was a strong start, but at times it just felt a bit too muddled. This might have been intentional, since it has a lot of references to Alice in Wonderland. The first chapter also seemed a bit too depressing, dragging on and on while dwelling on two sad events. The mystery itself was interesting, and even though I had my suspicions, I was still surprised at the ending.

My Manicure: Fairies!!! I've been wanting an excuse to use my fairy images, and since Zoe has a fairy garden it was the perfect time to bust them out. I also picked up a clear stamper to try to help with my placement, and it helps, but there is a definite learning curve on it. Since the stamping surface is curved, it creates a lens effect that makes it hard to judge how far you are from the nail. But I do think this is the best placement I've had in a while. I used a base of Vapid Pegasus Poots, then used Pure Ice Silver Star and Winstonia W208.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - A Story to Kill by Lynn Cahoon


Title: A Story to Kill
Series: Cat Latimer Mystery #1
Author: Lynn Cahoon

Goodreads Summary: A new series from the author of the Tourist Trap Mysteries!

Former English professor Cat Latimer is back in Colorado, hosting writers’ retreats in the big blue Victorian she’s inherited, much to her surprise, from none other than her carousing ex-husband! Now it’s an authors’ getaway—but Cat won’t let anyone get away with murder…
The bed-and-breakfast is open for business, and bestselling author Tom Cook is among its first guests. Cat doesn’t know why he came all the way from New York, but she’s glad to have him among the quirkier—and far less famous—attendees.

Cat’s high school sweetheart Seth, who’s fixing up the weathered home, brings on mixed emotions for Cat…some of them a little overpowering. But it’s her uncle, the local police chief, whom she’ll call for help when there’s a surprise ending for Tom Cook in his cozy guest room. Will a killer have the last word on the new life Cat has barely begun?

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

Ooooh my gosh. Wow. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going – boom, plot twist. There was a whole lot going on throughout the entire story, but I had absolutely no trouble following everything. It was a really strong start to a brand new series, and the ending left me wanting book two to be out right now. Seriously, I have to know what happens next.

My Manicure: Ooooh this turned out so much better than Monday's manicure. My thought process for this was actually a bit amusing. She's running a writing retreat, and writes books. Ok, that's easy, books. Now, what should I do for the base? Hmmm, it's a murder mystery, I know - blood red! It's the obvious choice, isn't it? So, the base color is Cupcake Polish Blood Hound, and the camera can't capture the holo properly. The pinky is the only one showing any of the effect, and even that doesn't do the polish justice. The stamping is done with Pure Ice Silver Star and MJ JR-2.


Monday, August 22, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Wedding Bell Blues by Ruth Moose


Title: Wedding Bell Blues
Series: Dixie Dew Mystery #2
Author: Ruth Moose

Goodreads Summary: B&B owner Beth McKenzie must deal with a mad bride, a bean festival and a missing white rabbit in this charming Southern cozy from an award-winning author

Beth McKenzie, owner of the Dixie Dew Bed and Breakfast, is enjoying an exciting affair with her new love, Scott. Meanwhile, the town of Littleboro, North Carolina is abuzz with gossip about Crazy Reba’s upcoming nuptials. Most brides go crazy at some point, but Littleboro’s resident homeless lady has had a head start: she’s beloved, indulged, and most of all, eccentric. But at almost 60—or thereabouts—her marriage seems a little peculiar. Sure, she’s sporting a diamond big enough to choke a horse, but no one can tell if it’s real, or just a Cracker Jack prize she pilfered from a yard sale.

Crazy Reba’s wedding plans go confirmedly awry when the bride-to-be is arrested for her fiancé’s murder. Beth, determined to clear Reba’s name, gets in over her head when a lady wrestler who threatened to kill her books a room at the Dixie Dew, and Robert Redford, her neighbor's white rabbit, disappears.

Then Litteboro’s First Annual Green Bean Festival gets up and running, a famous food writer becomes deathly ill, and Beth must battle through madcap mayhem to apprehend the culprit and save the day.

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

I wanted to like this book. I tried so hard to like it. But something about it just hit me wrong. The main characters acted like complete jerks, laughing behind people's backs. Parts of the mystery were never resolved. I enjoyed the writing style, and there were a few parts that made me laugh, but overall I was tempted to put the book down and not pick it back up.

My Manicure: I'm really not happy with how this one turned out. The color looks a lot prettier in real life, a nice off-white shimmer that isn't showing up properly in my picture. But my application was absolutely horrendous. Part of it was because I had issues applying my acrygel, so I wasn't polishing on the best surface. My white polish, Zoya Purity, was also a bit thick and not playing nice at all. Sinful Colors Kovet applied beautifully over it, but then my top coat started dragging it so it looks even more uneven. Then the wedding cake, stamped with Pure Ice Silver Star and Bundle Monster BM-20, didn't want to stamp centered, and now looks ready to fall off of my nail. Oh well, I tried.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter by Diane Kelly


Title: Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter
Series: Tara Holloway #10
Author: Diane Kelly


Can IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway break up a clever ring of tax cheats who love money, dishonor the IRS, and disobey the laws of justice?

When Tara agreed to be her best friend’s maid of honor, she knew it would be a ton of work. But planning a bachelorette party is a piece of (wedding) cake compared to her latest mission for the IRS. Her target is radio host Florence “Flo” Cash, star of “The Flo Cash Cash Flow Show.” Not only has Flo been giving her listeners shady tax advice, she’s set up an elaborate barter system that leaves Uncle Sam out of the equation―and Tara tied in knots…

While Flo flouts the IRS at every turn, Tara has yet another case to tackle: a catfishing Casanova who’s relieved several lonely ladies of their cash, credit cards, and dignity. When her best friend’s big day arrives, it’s all Tara can do to keep from crying uncle. But when Tara snatches the bridal bouquet and her boyfriend Nick catches the satin garter, could Tara’s days of filing single tax returns be over?

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

Oh my. From the first paragraph, I knew I was in for one unique story. And it sure did not disappoint. This was not the normal type of mystery I read, but I did enjoy it for what it is. Rather than trying to find out the “who”, it focused on Tara figuring out how they were getting away with it, and how to catch them in the act. There was some minor swearing throughout the book, but it felt in character, and was very mild.

My Manicure: Wow that polish stained my skin more than I thought. Gotta love how a closeup shows every single error. Since Tara works for the IRS, I went with a money type theme. I used Zoya Giovanna, a gorgeous green with the unfortunate side effect of staining any bit of skin it comes in contact with. I then stamped numbers with Bundle Monster BM-311 and Pure Ice Silver Star.


Monday, August 15, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - The Crêpes of Wrath by Sarah Fox


Title: The Crêpes of Wrath
Series: Pancake House Mystery #1
Author: Sarah Fox

Goodreads Summary: In the debut of a delightful cozy mystery series, Sarah Fox introduces a charming new heroine who finds herself in a sticky situation: stacking pancakes, pouring coffee, and investigating murder.

When Marley McKinney’s aging cousin, Jimmy, is hospitalized with pneumonia, she agrees to help run his pancake house while he recovers. With its rustic interior and syrupy scent, the Flip Side Pancake House is just as she pictured it—and the surly chef is a wizard with crêpes. Marley expects to spend a leisurely week or two in Wildwood Cove, the quaint, coastal community where she used to spend her summers, but then Cousin Jimmy is found murdered, sprawled on the rocks beneath a nearby cliff.

After she stumbles across evidence of stolen goods in Jimmy’s workshop, Marley is determined to find out what’s really going on in the not-so-quiet town of Wildwood Cove. With help from her childhood crush and her adopted cat, Flapjack, Marley sinks her teeth into the investigation. But if she’s not careful, she’s going to get burned by a killer who’s only interested in serving up trouble.

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

A great start to a new series. I really wasn't sure how I felt about this book during the beginning, but as it went on I started liking it more and more. I was expecting just your typical mystery, but there was so much more to the story than just a murder. Marley starts out as a semi-damaged character, and Jimmy's death just makes it worse for her. As she wonders about who could've killed her cousin, she has some major decisions to make. By the end of the book, mysteries are solved, decisions are made, and Marley has had some major character growth. Once I got used to the story focusing on the character more than the murder, I really enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see the results of her decisions.

My Manicure: This one took a bit of thinking to come up with something. I couldn't come up with something pancake or crepe related, so I ended up going with chef related. I started with Finger Paints Inkblot Blue topped with Finger Paints Laugh My Art Off. There is no real meaning behind the color I chose, I just love this combination. The chef's hat and apron are from Winstonia Summer Cookout, stamped with Zoya Purity.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Fixin' to Die by Tonya Kappes


Title: Fixin' to Die
Series: Kenni Lowry #1
Author: Tonya Kappes

Goodreads Summary: Kenni Lowry likes to think the zero crime rate in Cottonwood, Kentucky is due to her being sheriff, but she quickly discovers the ghost of her grandfather, the town’s previous sheriff, has been scaring off any would-be criminals since she was elected. When the town’s most beloved doctor is found murdered on the very same day as a jewelry store robbery, and a mysterious symbol ties the crime scenes together, Kenni must satisfy her hankerin’ for justice by nabbing the culprits. 

With the help of her Poppa, a lone deputy, and an annoyingly cute, too-big-for-his-britches State Reserve officer, Kenni must solve both cases and prove to the whole town, and herself, that she’s worth her salt before time runs out.

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

This is a great start to a new series. I've read different series involving paranormal help in investigating, but this still managed to keep a uniqueness to it. Yes, Kenni did have help from her grandpa's ghost, but this case could've been solved without him. The characters were well written, and that twist ending – wow! Definitely worth reading, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

My Manicure: Hey look, Kenni's Poppa looks like an old timey cowboy. Yes, this really was how I pictured him for some reason. Two coats of Sinful Colors Leather Loose, stamped with Pure Ice Silver Star and Winstonia W214.


Monday, August 8, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Kilt at the Highland Games by Kaitlyn Dunnett


Title: Kilt at the Highland Games
Series: Liss MacCrimmon Mystery #10
Author: Kaitlyn Dunnett

Goodreads Summary: It's July in Moosetookalook, Maine, and Scottish Emporium proprietress Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin is prepping her wares for the annual Celtic heritage festival. But as a sinister crime wave washes over the quiet town, this year's celebration might prove a wee bit more eventful--and deadly--than tartan and bagpipes . . .

When a fire ravages the local bookstore late one evening, Liss immediately fears the worst for owner Angie Hogencamp and the two young children who live above the shop. After the terrible blaze dies down, however, the family is nowhere to be found among the ruins. It's as if the three just vanished into smoke. Or even stranger--like they never existed at all. 

Disturbed by Angie's disappearance and suspecting arson, Liss counts on the weekend-long Western Maine Highland Games--complete with a parade and fireworks display--to offer a temporary distraction from the countless questions filling her head. But when the sound of a gunshot leads Liss to selectman Jason Graye's dead body on opening day, she's drawn into a full-blown homicide investigation like a moth to a flame. 

Is Moosetookalook suffering from a streak of bad luck, or are the two grim incidents connected? Unable to shake the notion that new victims are being targeted around town--and despite her worried husband's best protests--Liss races to nab the killer. And with her own life on the line, she'll need to act swiftly. Because when it comes to this kind of game, somebody has to lose . . . 

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

So overall, I really enjoyed this book. The only part that bothered me was the fact that it kept bouncing between different characters. This was mainly an issue at the beginning, where there were four different characters' POV. After a few chapters it settled down to mainly two, with an occasional other POV thrown in. But, other than that, it was a great book. I actually learned about Scottish items, plus there were a few laugh out loud funny moments.

My Manicure: Let me just start by saying that I love this color. So gorgeous and so easy to apply. This is (very) loosely based on the cover. I used Vapid Catch Me If You Can for the grass, and stamped the sword(s) on with Winstonia W215 and Pure Ice Silver Star. So, as I said, my own twist on the cover.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer David Hesse


Title: Midsummer Night's Mischief
Series: Wiccan Wheel Mystery #1
Author: Jennifer David Hesse

Goodreads Summary: As the Summer Solstice approaches in idyllic Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni isn't feeling the magic. She's about to land in a cauldron of hot water at work. Good thing she has her private practice to fall back on--as a Wiccan. She'll just have to summon her inner Goddess and set the world to rights. . .

Midsummer Eve is meant for gratitude and celebration, but Keli is not in her typically upbeat mood. The family of a recently deceased client is blaming her for the loss of a Shakespearean heirloom worth millions, and Keli's career may be on the line. With both a Renaissance Faire and a literary convention in town, Edindale is rife with suspicious characters, and the intrepid attorney decides to tap into her unique skills to crack the case. . .

But Keli weaves a tangled web when her investigation brings her up-close and personal with her suspects--including sexy Wes Callahan, her client's grandson. The tattooed bartender could be the man she's been looking for in more ways than one. As the sun sets on the mystical holiday, Keli will need just a touch of the divine to ferret out the real villain and return Edindale, and her heart, to a state of perfect harmony. . ..

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

I have slightly mixed feelings on this one. Overall, it was a great first in series. But there were a few parts that just bothered me. The first couple of chapters, the writing felt a bit choppy. The sentences didn't feel like they flowed together very well, and they sometimes felt like they were abruptly cut off. The other thing that really bothered me was that she seemed a little condescending towards other religions. As the book went on, the writing started to flow better, and it ended up being an enjoyable mystery, with an ending that surprised me.

My Manicure: Ok, I'll admit it - I took the easy way out with this one. But can you blame me? Sinful Colors Starry Night is just so perfect for a mysterious, slightly magical, midsummer night sky. Any nail art ideas I came up with would detract from how gorgeous this color looks on its own.


Monday, August 1, 2016

My Nails and my Book Review - Die Like an Eagle by Donna Andrews


Title: Die Like an Eagle
Series: Meg Lanslow #20
Author: Donna Andrews

Goodreads Summary: Meg is Team Mom and Michael is coach of their twin sons' youth baseball team, the Caerphilly Eagles. Meg tangles with Biff Brown, the petty, vindictive league head. On opening day, Biff's lookalike brother is found dead in the porta-potty at the ball field. So many people think Biff's scum that it would be easy to blame him, but he has an alibi--and Meg suspects he may actually have been the intended victim.

With Die Like an Eagle, readers can look forward to another zany Meg Langslow mystery--this one filled with the spirit of America's pastime and Donna's eagle eye.

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

I have been meaning to start reading this series for years, but somehow never did. Now I have 19 more books to add to my TBR list. There are characters that you love, and characters you love to hate. Add in some awesome snippy remarks and you have a great book. Although I was able to follow the story having not read any previous books, I would recommend reading them since they should help with understanding some of the backstory.

My Manicure: Before I go into my manicure explanation, I need to explain something. This past weekend I ended up with 3 breaks in my nails, so to keep the length I needed to do acrygel on my nails (soak-off gel polish dipped in acrylic powder). The length is all natural, but it does have acrygel on it for additional strength. I know not everyone cares about that, but some people like to know when there is any type of fake nail in use, so I wanted to make sure it was announced. Ok, onto the nails! I started out with two coats of Sinful Colors True Kolor. I seriously think this is my favorite blue. I managed to find an eagle stamp on Bundle Monster plate BM-H25 and stamped it with Pure Ice Silver Star. Patriotic and book related at the same time - how awesome is that?