Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Dying for Strawberries by Sharon Farrow


Title: Dying for Strawberries
Series: Berry Basket Mystery #1
Author: Sharon Farrow

Goodreads Summary: With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.

Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan, three years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the twenty-nine-year-old hardly has time for her fiancé, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . . 

But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Irina disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Irina, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

Ok, funny story about how this ended up on my TBR list. “Cozy mystery set in Michigan”. Yeah, that was all it took for this to jump into my neverending TBR pile. Luckily, I was right in thinking that I would like it. It is a great start to a new series. Some characters are a little over-the-top, but some people are that over-the-top in real life, too. The mystery was well-written, and just how planned out the murder was was a bit freaky.

My Manicure: I am so sorry that I couldn't manage more than this. I've been fighting a pounding headache all day, so I could barely even do this much. I just went for a simple strawberry color, which was a lot harder than it would seem. Every red that jumped out at me was either shimmer or holo, and I've never seen strawberries that look like that (but how awesome would that be?). I ended up with Zoya Renee, which really is an absolutely gorgeous red.


Monday, November 28, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig


Title: A Whole Latte Murder
Series: Java Jive Mystery #3
Author: Caroline Fardig

Goodreads Summary: Coffeehouse manager and reluctant sleuth Juliet Langley returns in a gripping novel from the bestselling author of Death Before Decaf and Mug Shot. Just as things are perking up in Nashville, a serial killer sends tensions foaming over.

Juliet's personal and professional lives have recently received an extra jolt of energy. Her romance with the hunky detective Ryder Hamilton continues to simmer, and business at Java Jive has never been better. But her good mood quickly turns as stale as day-old espresso when she finds out that Ryder has been promoted to his precinct's homicide division. With him risking his life to catch the worst kind of criminals, Juliet's growing sense of unease ignites when a local college student goes missing.

Suddenly every Nashville resident is on high alert, especially Juliet's neighbor Chelsea. Juliet does her best to calm the girl's nerves, but her worst fears are confirmed when she finds Chelsea dead. Even though she tries her best to stay out of it, Juliet's involvement puts a strain on Ryder's first homicide case. The situation soon becomes even more personal for Juliet and her best friend Pete Bennett when one of their employees disappears during her shift. As a killer lurks in the shadows, Juliet, Pete, and Ryder seek out a double shot of justice.

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

Another strong book in this series. I wouldn't exactly classify it as a cozy, but it also isn't quite a traditional mystery. It's in that sort of gray area between the two. The mystery is really good, with some definite twists, although the ending is a bit dark.

My Manicure: I decided that I had to go with a coffee theme for this one, but I wanted to do it a little differently than just my standard coffee manicures. I started out with a base of Dollish Polish SQUIRREL!!! Yes, it really is written like that. I might have a little too much fun saying it (imagine Christmas Vacation for the proper way to say it). The stamping is done with MoYou London Cookbook 03 and Bundle Monster So Metal.


Friday, November 25, 2016

26 Great Nail Art Ideas - Winter Warmth

**Nothing to Disclose**

Winter warmth. It's one of those prompts that has endless possibilities. I thought of going sweater or mitten type, but then decided to go with a different way of staying warm - hot cocoa! When I was little, my mom would make us hot cocoa when we came in from the cold. It was even one of our Halloween traditions since Minnesota could have some brutal weather even in fall. The cocoa is Sinful Colors Leather Loose. I let it dry matte rather than top coating it since cocoa normally doesn't sparkle. The oozy melty whipped cream is Bundle Monster BM-405 and Bam! White. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay


Title: The Assassin Game
Series: Standalone title
Author: Kirsty McKay

Goodreads Summary: Who will be left after lights out?

At Cate's isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game- it's an elite secret society. Members must avoid being "Killed" during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the "Killer" is. When Cate's finally invited to join the Assassins' Guild, she know it's her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs.

But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she's the next target? 

Originally published in the United Kingdom by Chicken House in 2015 under title: Killer game.

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

The premise of the book was interesting, but it didn't fully live up to its potential. The whole “game becomes all too real” bit that the blurb teases about? That doesn't even start until 60% through the book. Up until then, it is partially following the game, but mainly following Cate trying to figure out her relationships.

My Manicure: This was another one where inspiration struck at the last second. It didn't help that I ended up with a random cut near my cuticle that made removing the last manicure *extremely* painful. So, I ended up flipping through my stamping plates to find an image that would work. When I found the wave image I realized it would be absolutely perfect since the story takes place on an island. I started with a base of Zoya Sunshine, which gives a great stormy ocean look. Then I stamped using Bundle Monster BM-504 and Bam! White. Ok, that color name is just so fun to type. I keep saying it in my head Emeril Lagasse style. The texture of Sunshine really adds to the effect of a stormy ocean.


Monday, November 21, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Counterfeit Conspiracies by Ritter Ames


Title: Counterfeit Conspiracies
Series: Bodies of Art #1
Author: Ritter Ames

Goodreads Summary: Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces.

The latest assignment, however, may be her undoing. Using every ounce of luck and larceny she possesses, Laurel must locate a priceless art icon and rescue a co-worker (and ex-lover) from a master criminal, all the while matching wits with a charming new nemesis. Unfortunately, he seems to know where the bodies are buried—and she prefers hers isn’t next.

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

This was a great start to the series. There was a lot going on, and the action never really stops through the whole book. The entire premise of the book is definitely unique. I absolutely loved it, and can't wait to read more of this series.

My Manicure: I started out thinking that I should do some sort of art inspired nail art, but then decided that a character inspired manicure might look better. This look is based on Laurel's "undercover" high society looks. The base is Zoya Dahlia, one of their textured Pixie Dust shades. It is based on the standard little black dress that is essential for blending in, and the sparkle adds a little pizzaz to an otherwise understated look. The stamping was done with Bundle Monster BM-213 and So Metal, since every little black dress needs some nice heels (or stilettos that will double as a weapon). This is actually my first time stamping over a textured polish, and it really gives a neat effect.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Nail Crazies Unite - Fall Foliage

**Nothing to Disclose**

So, I goofed a bit last week and forgot about this week's prompt, so I'm doing two fall foliage manicures in a row. So, to make this different than last week's, I decided to add in fall colors with it. I started with a base of Zoya Renee. Then I dotted Renee, Pippa and Arizona on top and dabbed plastic wrap over it. After that, I kept dotting and dabbing until the effect matched what I was looking for. The stamping was done with Bundle Monster H11 and Heart of Gold. The only downside is that I matched the colors so well that parts of it get kind of lost in parts.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis


Title: Withering Rose
Series: Once Upon a Curse #2
Author: Kaitlyn Davis

Goodreads Summary: What if Beauty was cursed, and the Beast was the only one who could save her? Don't miss WITHERING ROSE, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Beauty & The Beast.

"As the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name--a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty. From that moment on, my life would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as the petals of time slowly started to fall."

Omorose Bouchene has a secret--magic. There's only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn't supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy.

But after ten years of hiding, she's desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time--every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn't what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself.

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

This story was written so poetically. The descriptions were so vibrant at times that I felt transported into a whole new world. It did follow a little too faithfully to the original Beauty and the Beast at times, but it did end up taking on its own direction after a while. In the end, it was a beautiful, sweet story about the power of love, friendship, and acceptance.

My Manicure: I decided to go simple with this one and do a rose themed manicure, both because of the name and the story. I started out with two coats of OPI Innie Minnie Mightie Bow. I then stamped roses with Pueen 73 and Bundle Monster Straight Up Black. I absolutely love how it looks like the rose is losing petals, just like Omerose's internal rose does.


Monday, November 14, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Raiders of the Lost Bark by Sparkle Abbey


Title: Raiders of the Lost Bark
Series: Pampered Pets Mystery #8
Author: Sparkle Abbey

Goodreads Summary: Mel’s enemy may be barking up the wrong tree...

But someone is about to become a killer.

Melinda Langston, amateur sleuth and Bow Wow Boutique owner, finds herself “Glamping Under the Stars” with a blackmailer, Orange County’s hottest new gourmet pet chef, Addison Rae. But before Mel can put an end to Addison’s strong-arming, the chef is found dead. Mel is just one of many suspects who had motive to snuff out the demanding chef.

Was it Redmond, the angry sous chef who detested working for Addison? What about rival chef, Pepper Maddox? The glamping chef gig was hers until Addison blackmailed her way into the job. And then there’s Asher, a charming fellow camper whose past relationship with Addison isn’t the only secret he’s guarding. Mel’s not one to tuck tail and run, even when it looks like she may be the next victim.

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

This is such a cute series! I still get a bit confused on who is narrating the story. For some reason I can never remember which cousin is which. It had a great mystery with a super hateable victim, so there was no shortage of suspects.

My Manicure: So, I went simple with the inspiration for this. Since they are glamping in the park, there are a lot of open grassy areas. I started with a base of an unlabeled green Color Club. Then I dabbed on Sinful Colors Pistache and Color Club Feelin' Groovy and blotted plastic wrap over it a few times to give it a marbled look. I ended up repeating the process with just Feelin' Groovy to add a little more variation to it. It really gives a nice grassy field effect, and isn't a super in your face look. I do wish it photographed a little better - the color is less yellow in real life, and the effect is a little easier to see.


Friday, November 11, 2016

26 Great Nail Art Ideas - Black Base

**Nothing to Disclose**

Oh my gosh, I swear sometimes the simplest prompts can give the best results. At first, "black base" just wasn't inspiring to me at all. When I finally decided on gold stamping, I still couldn't decide what image I wanted. I figured simple would be the best way to go, but that still left a lot of possibilities. Finally, I decided to do some nice fall leaves. And then I realized that it had a coordinating image with pumpkins and leaves. I've owned this set for three years and never noticed that. Anyway, I started out with one coat of Sinful Colors Black on Black. Then I stamped with Bundle Monster Heart of Gold and H11. I am seriously loving this manicure.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - The Haunted Heist by Angie Fox


Title: The Haunted Heist
Series: Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery #3
Author: Angie Fox

Goodreads Summary: Just because she can see the dead doesn’t mean Verity Long wants to spend her days hunting ghosts. Instead, she’s over the moon to land a marketing job at the local bank…until she finds her new boss dead in the vault. Even her ghost friend, Frankie, knows that's no way to start a career. 

Relieved to let the police take charge, Verity steps aside, bound and determined to keep her ghost sightings to herself. But when she learns the main suspect in the murder is a very crooked, very dead mobster, Verity knows it's up to her to solve the case. 

She teams up with her ghostly gangster buddy Frankie, as well as the irresistible and charming Ellis, as the three of them search haunted mob hideouts, hidden passageways, and historic cemeteries for the facts behind the heist of the century—and a modern-day motive for murder. 

Too bad uncovering the truth could very well make Verity the next victim...

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

This series is so much fun! Verity is a great main character, and Frankie is just awesome. I loved meeting new ghosts, and Frankie's excitement over seeing his old pals was great. I felt the actual mystery took a backseat to the ghostly part, but I didn't mind because I love the ghosts.

My Manicure: Please excuse my traitorous nail. It decided to snap off while shopping earlier. So for this manicure, I was inspired by the magical look of the cover. I started out with a base of Finger Paints Paper Mache. After that, I put on thick dots of unlabeled blue and purple Color Club polishes, and lightly dabbed balled up plastic wrap on top. It ended up giving me a neat tie-dyed look. Then, for the magical sparklies, I used OPI Which is Witch. The glitter might've been a little overkill - I think maybe China Glaze Fairy Dust would've worked better, but it still looks pretty awesome.


Monday, November 7, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Deadly Dog Days by Jamie M. Blair


Title: Deadly Dog Days
Series: N/A
Author: Jamie M. Blair

Goodreads Summary: New to the historic town of Metamora, Indiana, Cameron Cripps-Hayman is looking to make friends with her neighbors. What she isn’t looking for is one of their bodies floating in the canal. 

When she and her estranged husband, the town sheriff, are both named suspects for the murder, Cameron takes solving the crime into her own hands, teaming up with her eccentric co-workers who dub themselves The Metamora Action Agency. 

As if hunting for a murderer with two high school geniuses, the town drunk, and an elderly kleptomaniac isn’t hard enough, Cameron adopts the five mangy guard dogs of her deceased neighbor. But maybe a stint at playing gatekeeper is just what she needs to come face-to-face with the killer and save another neighbor from being the next victim.

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

It honestly took me a while to get into this book. Too many hateable characters, including the main character. After I got used to the characters, I enjoyed the story a lot more. It was a great mystery, and I'm looking forward to trying some of those dog treat recipes.

My Manicure: This was a bit tricky to figure out what I wanted to do. Amazingly, I don't have much in the line of dog stamping plates, so I'm working with what I have. Color scheme was picked simply because I like how the colors look together, and I wasn't quite up to trying to imitate the dog's coat colors. Base is one coat of Sinful Colors Black on Black. I'm pretty sure I've said it before, but this polish is amazing for only $2. The stamping is done with Shany plate SH08 and Bundle Monster Heart of Gold.


Friday, November 4, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Get Witch or Die Trying by Tonya Kappes

**Press Sample**

Nosy Neighbors

I live in Louisville, Kentucky. Old Louisville to be exact. We aren’t that big of a community, so we are sorta like a small town within the bigger city. We live on a very charming street called Belgravia Court. Our houses are very close together and the front doors face our very own courtyard.
Let me introduce you to some of them.

Mrs. Hubbard, our neighbor across the courtyard, and Auntie Meme had had a few words right there in the courtyard in front of everyone. Auntie Meme told her to mind her own business, only her exact words were my business isn’t your business and unless you’re my panties don’t be up my ass.
Mrs. Hubbard was as mad as a wet hen but it didn’t stop her from still being nosy.
Auntie Meme put a rodent spell on Mrs. Hubbard’s house sending every rodent on Belgravia Court over there. The Orkin man was a fixture over there.
Susie Brown, our other neighbor and Belgravia Court’s neighborhood watch president, even started a rumor that Mrs. Hubbard and the Orkin man were having a fling. Only we knew the truth and we never gave into gossip. In fact, the women loved to meet up in the courtyard on Saturday nights with their fancy cocktails and catch up on the gossip on Belgravia Court. The Park family—my family—were always a topic of interest because we spent much of our time to ourselves. Well, not Auntie Meme. She spent a lot of time looking out the front window wondering what type of spell she could send Mrs. Hubbard’s way. When she’d get down to the nitty-gritty of a spell, Mom wouldn’t let her send it. Auntie Meme fussed that Mom let her make the spell, why not let her send it. Mom let Auntie Meme concoct THE spells so she wouldn’t have to entertain my feisty auntie.
Still, the neighbors loved to gossip about us. Much was speculation, but still, they lived on speculation.

Welcome to Belgravia Court! We are happy to have you!

My Review - Wow. Wow, wow, wow. That was amazing! I really need to go back and read the first two so I can understand some of the references, but it was still a totally awesome book. The whole “car as a familiar” thing was crazy creative, and wow does he have a unique personality. And those twists! All I can say is OMG.

My Manicure - Ok, I'll admit, this one is just plain weird. I really wasn't sure where I wanted to go for the manicure - the witches? Vinnie? There are a lot of different things that could've been done. Then a group I'm in had a challenge for today to do a coffee manicure. Hmm, coffee and authors - it works. So this is more of my author manicure than my book manicure. The color scheme was chosen because I am also trying to tie it in with going to see Young Frankenstein. So, black and white because it was a black and white movie. Ok, I might be stretching the inspiration a bit by this point, but I managed to fit three different manicures into one. I started with a base of Finger Paints Paper Mache. Then I attempted to do a smoosh manicure, which was... interesting. My first attempt was by putting dots of color on my silicone mat and smooshing my stamper into that, but it wasn't working very well. So I tried smooshing it on the nail, which worked better, but still isn't quite what I wanted. I used Sinful Colors Black on Black and Zoya Dove and Claudine for the smooshing. After that I used MoYou London Cookbook 03 and Bundle Monster So Metal. Then I spent at least an hour trying to clean up the smooshy mess from my fingers. So. Much. Acetone *shudders*.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Nails and My Book Review - Rhythm & Clues by Sue Ann Jaffarian


Title: Rhythm & Clues
Series: Odelia Grey Mystery #11
Author: Sue Ann Jaffarian

Goodreads Summary: It’s a rockin’ flashback for Odelia Grey when her mother asks her to look into the disappearance of a neighbor, the former lead singer for a band Odelia idolized in her youth. But when a body is found in Bo Shank’s house by another member of Odelia’s family, everything quickly gets thrown out of tune.

My Review: **I  voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

I thought this would be a little more cozy than it was. But once I got used to it being edgier than I expected, I really enjoyed it. I think the series is best read in order. It did a good job of explaining the characters and relationships, but you have to watch out for spoilers. The mystery itself was slightly convoluted but well written.

My Manicure: So, before I read this, I was thinking a nice music-themed manicure would work nicely to tie in with the title. After I read it, I came up with a much more... macabre idea. I started out by painting French tips with Finger Paints Paper Mache, then carefully using a French tip brush to shape them. Then I carefully painted Sinful Colors Kovet over the tips to give it a slight off-white look. After that, which honestly probably took close to an hour since I did both hands, I stamped on a super cute lace design with MoYou London Bridal 07 and Bundle Monster Bam! White. And then on to the fun part. Using Cupcake Polish Blood Hound and a coffee stirrer straw that I cut in half, I proceeded to make a bloody mess of my manicure. When you read the book, you will probably be able to pick out the exact line that inspired this. Macabre, possibly even slightly gruesome, but I feel that I nailed the inspiration.