Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

**Nothing to Disclose**

Title: Lady Renegades 
Series: Rebel Belle #3
Author: Rachel Hawkins

Goodreads Summary: Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town…which means her life is on the line yet again.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.

My Review: Do not read this if you aren't a fan of teenage snark. Of course, if you aren't a fan you probably wouldn't have made it to book three. I'm really not sure what it is I love about this series, but there is something about them that keeps drawing me back in. The characters feel real, and will actually admit their flaws. Ok, they feel real if you ignore the whole super powered teenagers who have to save the world and keep it a secret from their parents part. The ending was not my favorite, and quite bittersweet, but it was the only logical way to end the series. Anything else would've been out of character.

My Manicure: I chose a knife for today's manicure because of a random line in the book where Harper is complaining about how people keep attacking her with knives. The fact that there is a knife/sword on the cover is a coincidence. I honestly didn't pay attention to the cover and only realized it as I started typing up the post. I am surprised I actually managed to make this one work. Kind of a silly thing, but I didn't have a knife image. I mean, really? You'd think that would be pretty basic. So, I finally managed to find one (it also has some totally awesome crime scene images, too). The only problem? It has what appears to be a blood drip coming off of it, which I did not need for this manicure. So I had to take a lint roller carefully along just the blood drip to try to get rid of it, but still work fast enough that I could get the knife onto my nail. I started off with a base of ILNP Kings & Queens, simply because I've been wanting to wear this polish for a while now. Isn't it just gorgeous? The stamping was done with Messy Mansion MM28.


Monday, September 26, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel


Title: The Book Club Murders
Series: Oakwood Mystery #1
Author: Leslie Nagel

Goodreads Summary: In a charming cozy mystery series debut, Leslie Nagel’s irrepressible small-town heroine finds that her fellow mystery book club members may be taking their Agatha Christie a bit too literally—and murder a bit too lightly.

Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among Oakwood, Ohio’s wealthy elite. 

Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.

Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist.

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

This book has enough twists to make Agatha Christie proud! There is a lot going on in this story, but I had no trouble following along and making incorrect guesses. It seriously took until right before the killer was revealed for me to figure it out. The writing quality is amazing for a first-in-series.  

My Manicure: So this one took some creative thinking. I knew I wanted to do a book theme, but I had no clue what colors I should do. So I did the logical thing - went to Google. I figured Dayton (the closest big city to the setting) probably had a college, and this is loosely based on the college's colors. The blue is Orly Royal Navy, and the red is China Glaze Ruby Pumps. I love these colors! I don't know why I don't wear them more often. The stamping is done with Pure Ice Silver Star and MJ JR 2.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - The Semi-Sweet Hereafter by Colette London


Title: The Semi-Sweet Hereafter
Series: Chocolate Whisperer Mystery #3
Author: Colette London

Goodreads Summary: As an authority on all things chocolate, Hayden Mundy Moore is traveling across the pond to lend her expertise to the owner of a posh London chocolaterie-p√Ętisserie. From coconut truffles to chocolate flapjacks, Hayden’s mouthwatering creations quickly impress her client. But her knowledge doesn’t end there. The detective constable is taken by surprise when she identifies an exotic murder weapon: a stone metlapil, used to grind cacao beans—and apparently to bludgeon someone to death—in Hayden’s own lodgings, no less…

The victim is a sexy celebrity chef who just happens to be the ex-husband of Hayden’s client. Now, amid the terraced town houses and local pubs, a killer is lurking—and the police have an assortment of suspects: a culinary rival, an ambitious agent, a recently-sacked assistant, and unfortunately, Hayden herself. The talented chocolate whisperer will have to find out what sort of nutter clobbered the famous cook—or her career may come to a bitter end…

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

There is just something about this series. Chocolate, murder, mystery, mouthwatering descriptions of chocolate desserts, it just all works together. Lots of surprises in this one, and that ending was pretty funny. Did I mention there is chocolate?

My Manicure: I went with the obvious choice here - chocolate. The boxes of chocolate are Philly Loves Lacquer 2 a.m. Coffee Run stamped with MoYou London Festive 01 and Maybelline Bold Gold. The chocolate covered berries are Daily Hues Nail Lacquer Carol and Philly Loves Lacquer 2 a.m. Coffee Run, and What's Up Nails vinyls (bought through Lucky 13 Lacquer) in the drip design. I'm pretty sure these vinyls were designed as blood drips, but it makes a really tasty looking chocolate drip.


Monday, September 19, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton


Title: Pushing Up Daisies
Series: Agatha Raisin #27
Author: M.C. Beaton

Goodreads Summary: When Agatha Raisin left behind her PR business in London, she fulfilled her dream of settling in the cozy British Cotswolds where she began a successful private detective agency. Unfortunately, the village she lives in is about to get a little less cozy. Lord Bellington, a wealthy land developer, wants to turn the community garden into a housing estate. When Agatha and her friend Sir Charles Fraith attempt to convince Lord Bellington to abandon his plans he scoffs: “Do you think I give a damn about those pesky villagers?” So when Agatha finds his obituary in the newspaper two weeks later, it’s no surprise that some in town are feeling celebratory.

The villagers are relieved to learn that Bellington’s son and heir, Damian, has no interest in continuing his father’s development plans. But the police are definitely interested in him―as suspect number one. His father’s death, it seems, was no accident. But when Damian hires Agatha to find the real killer, she finds no shortage of suspects. The good news is that a handsome retired detective named Gerald has recently moved to town. Too bad he was seen kissing another newcomer. But when she is also found murdered, Gerald is eager to help Agatha with the case. Agatha, Gerald, and her team of detectives must untangle a web of contempt in order to uncover a killer’s identity.

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

Agatha Raisin has to be one of the most unique characters that I've read. She should be obnoxious and exasperating, but instead she is almost endearing. The mystery was interesting, with plenty of twists. The only thing that I didn't like was that it seemed to focus too much on the tangled romantic lives of the characters.

My Manicure: Hmmm, no pie maker that brings people back to life? Just kidding, but if you get that reference, you are awesome! So, I was kind of stuck for what to do for this book. Then I remembered I have a crime scene plate. And that led to crime scene tape and chalk body outlines. I started with three coats of an unlabeled Color Club yellow, and two coats of Sinful Colors Black on Black. The stamping is done with Messy Mansion plate MM28, Sinful Colors Black on Black, and Zoya Purity.

After taking pictures of it all shiny and new looking, I thought "hmmmm, chalk outline... chalky look... matte top coat." Sadly, it ended up a little streaky, but the effect is perfect for this look.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - It's Your Party, Die If You Want To by Vickie Fee


Title: It's Your Party, Die If You Want To
Series: Liv and Di in Dixie #2
Author: Vickie Fee

Goodreads Summary: Between a riverboat gambler-theme engagement party and a murder mystery dinner for charity, Dixie, Tennessee, party planner Liv McKay is far too frenzied to feel festive. Add to the mix her duties at the annual businesswomen’s retreat and the antics of a celebrity ghost-hunting diva, and Liv’s schedule is turning out to be the scariest thing about this Halloween—especially when the ladies stumble across a dead body in a cemetery…

Morgan Robison was a party girl with a penchant for married men and stirring up a cauldron of drama. Any number of scorned wives or frightened philanderers could be behind her death. As Liv and her best friend, Di, set out to dig up the truth, they’ll face the unexpected and find their efforts hampered by a killer with one seriously haunting vendetta…

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

Loved it! I really can't put my finger on what exactly I loved about it, but there is just something about it. There are a wide variety of characters, and plenty of quirkiness. There was a nice, cozy southerness to the setting that makes me want to move there. The mystery was a typical “which of the many people that hated the victim killed her” types, but the whodunit was a bit more interesting than most, and I adored the reveal.

My Manicure: So, the major party planning that Liv has to do is plan a huge fundraising Halloween party. Obviously, my mind went "YAY! Halloween nails!" I started out with a base of Sally Hansen Silk Onyx, which is one of their Satin Glam polishes from a few years ago. That awesome satin/matte finish my nails have? That is how this polish dries. This gave me a Halloweenish color base without it being as harsh as straight up black, and it isn't orange (I don't get along well with orange). The stamping is all from MoYou London Festive 15 and Pure Ice Silver Star. Just as a quick summary, from thumb to pinky the images are - cobwebs, skeleton, "Halloween", haunted house, and bats.


Monday, September 12, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon


Title: Murder in G Major
Series: Gethsemane Brown Mystery #1 
Author: Alexia Gordon

Goodreads Summary: With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage's murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. Gethsemane's reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?

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

I chose this book without paying much attention to the description. I saw it was a music based mystery, and went “Ooh, gotta read.” Not always the smarted way to pick a book, but it totally paid off this time. This wasn't just music and mystery, it was also Ireland and paranormal, with tons and tons of sarcasm. The only downside was that I had Irish drinking songs stuck in my head the entire time I was reading it.

My Manicure: Ugh this one gave me so many problems. I tried so many times with my clear stamper and could not get it to pick up a decent image at all. So, I switched back to my Creative Shop stamper, and it picked up with absolutely no issue. The only problem is that I can't see to line up the image, so it ends up stamping funny. Plus I had to chop off my nails because the break finally grew out to where it was unpatchable, and I've never been super comfortable with my nails this short. I started out with three streaky, sloppy coats of China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (pretty color, horrific application). The stamping is done with Bundle Monster plate BM-411 and Sinful Colors Black on Black.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - A Catered Tea Party by Isis Crawford


Title: A Catered Tea Party
Series: Mystery With Recipes #12
Author: Isis Crawford

Goodreads Summary: Quiet Longely, New York, is abuzz with excitement over the opening of a revamped art complex—and catering sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons are helping put on an elaborate tea party for the opening night gala fundraiser. But when the billionaire behind the project drops dead, the Simmons sisters find themselves steeped in a whistling kettle of murder . . .

Everyone in Longely is talking about Blue House, an art complex that will bring the town a theater, an art gallery, and even a restaurant and coffee bar. But they’re less than enthusiastic about Ludvoc “Zeb” Zalinsky, the self-made billionaire who’s funding the complex—and rubbing everyone the wrong way. Bernie and Libby reluctantly agree to cater the Alice in Wonderland themed tea party he’s planned, but it quickly becomes clear that Zeb is madder than the hatter he’ll be dressed as . . .

The night of the benefit arrives and Westchester’s finest show up in droves, having paid $500 apiece to attend Zeb’s meticulously-orchestrated tea party. But just when it seems the production is going according to plan, Zeb lifts an electric tea kettle, clutches his chest, and falls to the floor in fittingly dramatic fashion. The kettle shorted out and his pacemaker malfunctioned—but it doesn’t take long for police to decide that this seemingly random accident was actually cold-blooded murder . . .

As Bernie and Libby set out to find the culprit, they realize Zeb might have had more enemies than money. With so many possible culprits to sort through, only one thing is clear: Zeb was poured a steaming cup of revenge—and a second serving may be on the menu… 

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

My feelings about this book are a bit complicated. It started off seriously bizarre, but that was to set up the fact that the victim was horrible, possibly insane, and that many people feel he deserved to die. So, even though it was strange, I didn't have a problem with it because it was necessary for the setup. It then jumped right into a twisty mystery that had a lot of potential. I was enjoying the book right up until the ending. It was overly complicated and didn't make much sense. I liked the main characters, although I could've done with less of the subplot of how much they hate their dad's girlfriend.

My Manicure: Tea party nails! Very loosely based on the cover, I went with a nice, pale green instead of blue, and stamped some cute desserts and teapots. I decided to try my Messy Mansion clear stamper 2.0, and I feel that I had a little more luck with it than their original clear stamper. I still had some very minor issues, but I felt it picked up a lot easier. I do wish it was a little squishier, the need to roll seems to distort the images slightly. The base color is Zoya Tiana, which was a little tricky to apply, but not the worst I've dealt with. The stamping was done with Pure Ice Silver Star and MoYou London Cookbbook 7 - a plate completely dedicated to tea parties. Could there be a better plate for this book?


Monday, September 5, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Death of a Pumpkin Carver by Lee Hollis


Title: Death of a Pumpkin Carver
Series: Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #8
Author: Lee Hollis

Goodreads Summary: For Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for the Island Times, Halloween is all about costume parties and holiday treats—until a killer crashes the party...

This Halloween, Hayley can’t imagine a worse trick than her ex-husband Danny returning to Bar Harbor. Her kids may be happy to see their dad, but Hayley’s determined not to be taken in by his charms, and suspects he’s in financial trouble—again.

Still, the haunted holiday is about to get a whole lot scarier after Danny’s moonshine-making uncle is found lying dead next to a tombstone in a cemetery—and Danny quickly becomes the prime suspect. To prove her ex is innocent, Hayley will have to dig deep into her own bag of tricks to unmask the real culprit . . . before anyone else—including her—ends up in the graveyard...

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

Poor Hayley has her hands full this Halloween. Her ex-husband is back in town, her daughter is working for her ex-boyfriend, and to top it off, she ends up stuck in the middle of yet another murder mystery. There are a couple minor story lines along with the murder, although the romance sub-plot seems to take over the story at times. Overall a nice, quick, easy read.

My Manicure: Is it fall yet? This summer has been ridiculously hot and humid, and even in September temps are in the 80s. I'm really looking forward to fall - the cooler weather, the decorating, the cute clothes, and of course pumpkin spice everything. Ok, back on topic, this book was just begging for a jack-o-lantern manicure. I mean, it's right there in the title. The base is China Glaze Sun Worshiper, a neon orange that is nearly impossible to apply nicely. I stamped using MoYou Festive 15 and Sinful Colors Black on Black. MoYou has this awesome thing where you can buy their plates with regular or XL images. With the regular size, I'd be lucky to fit the image on my nails and I'd have to watch the length of my nails. The downside to the XL images is that there are fewer images per plate, but the ability to stamp easier totally makes up for that. And they have the cutest packaging ever. Each plate comes in a sleeve decorated with the collection it is in.