Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Mother's Day, Muffins, and Murder by Sara Rosett


Title: Mother's Day, Muffins, and Murder
Series: Mom Zone Mystery #10
Author: Sara Rosett

Goodreads Summary: With summer approaching, Ellie Avery s schedule is ruled by attending end-of-the-year events at her kids school and avoiding run-ins with her arch competitor. When a murder disrupts the core curriculum, can the two women form an alliance to teach the killer a lesson in justice?" 
As a regular volunteer at North Dawkins Elementary, Ellie would never miss the annual Mother's Day breakfast even if she has to tolerate the likes of Gabrielle Matheson. The rivals aren't exactly sworn enemies, although Ellie still thinks there's only room for one professional organizer in their small Georgia town. 
But when Ellie sees Gabrielle in the hallway, she s a mess. It looks like Gabrielle s seen a ghost or, as she explains, a dead body inside the supply closet. Before Ellie can get help the body vanishes . . . only to mysteriously reappear later at the school. 
Little is known about the victim, a secretive snoop with a nosy nature and a penchant for keeping quiet about her own past. Ellie will leave no desk unturned to protect her kids and expose the cunning criminal s identity. Because if she doesn't, the killer may chalk up another textbook case of murder . . . 

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

Another great book in this series. the mystery was awesome, and it kept me guessing the entire time.

My Manicure: Ugh, this week has taken a toll on my poor hands. Two cuts on my cuticles within a couple days - ouch. So, I apologize is anything looks weird, but acetone hurts really bad right now. I decided to go with a Mother's Day look today. I started with a base of a random Zoya pink (it was unlabeled). Then I stamped roses with Bundle Monster H16 and Red Sea.


Monday, April 24, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day


Title: When the Grits Hit the Fan
Series: Country Store Mystery #3
Author: Maddie Day

Goodreads Summary: Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer?

Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . .

My Review: **I voluntarily reviewed this ARC** 
I love this series! Robbie is an awesome main character with some great supporting characters. The characters are all nicely developed, and you quickly get a good idea of what the new characters are like. The mystery was great, and everything tied together in an unexpected way. I also love Robbie's unique way of putting together all of the clues and suspects.

My Manicure: I decided to do a twist on a crossword puzzle manicure this time, although I always forget that squishy stampers don't play well with straight lines. I started with A England Bridal Veil. Then I stamped with Bundle Monster 416 and So White.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves


Title: Blood Rose Rebellion
Series: Blood Rose Rebellion #1
Author: Rosalyn Eves

Goodreads Summary: 
Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

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

I started out not very impressed by this book and really not liking Anna. It is pretty bad when you don't like the main character. As the story progressed, Anna grew on me and I found myself enjoying the story more. I think part of the problem was that the blurb compares it to a series that I love, so it gave me (possibly unattainably) high hopes. It ended up being a good story with some great characters.

My Manicure: This manicure is partly based on the cover of the book (there is another cover with a blue background) and partly on the title. I started out with a base of KBShimmer Little Boy Hue. The bloodred roses are Zoya Courtney and What's Up Nails rose vinyls.


Monday, April 17, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet


Title: Single Malt Murder
Series: Whisky Business Mystery #1
Author: Melinda Mullet

Goodreads Summary: 
Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

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

An interesting start to a new series. Abi is definitely a quirky character. She has this unique way of looking at people and getting three words that sum up who they are. It gets interesting seeing how a complicated person can be summed up so simply. The mystery itself was really good. There was no shortage of suspects, even leading up to the reveal. And what a reveal it was!

My Manicure: My first thought for this book was whisky, which then went to barrels, and finally landed on wood grain. I ended up picking my colors a little too well so it is extremely subtle, but there really is a design on my nails. I started with a base of Zoya Cinnamon. Then I stamped with Mash 53 and Bundle Monster Annato Clay.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table by Janet Finsilver


Title: Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table
Series: Kelly Jackson Mystery #3
Author: Janet Finsilver

Goodreads Summary: 
Poisons, prophecies—and a peculiar past . . .

When a local woman begins searching for a couple she hasn’t seen since the 1960s, Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager Kelly Jackson and the crime-solving group, the “Silver Sentinels,” are quick to help out. They’re also quick to guess that they’re in over their heads after the woman is found dead beside the body of a Greek fortune teller—and a fellow Sentinel gets attacked. As Kelly juggles work and her responsibilities at a food and wine festival in town, she and her sleuthing posse must confront a killer obsessed with old secrets . . . and solve a murder mystery more than fifty years in the making . . .

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

The writing style for this series is absolutely beautiful. When I picked up this book, I was immediately drawn right into the story and felt like I was right there with the characters. The mystery was well-written, and I was shocked at the ending. I also absolutely loved the addition of Greek culture in the story - I love learning about different cultures.

My Manicure: Another super simple manicure. There is a lot of herbalism in the book, so I went for a natural look. I used Zoya Tiana and Above the Curve Every Day is a Holo-day.


Monday, April 10, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Kale to the Queen by Nell Hampton


Title: Kale to the Queen
Series: Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #1
Author: Nell Hampton

Goodreads Summary: 
Chef Carrie Ann Cole is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime--an assignment as the new Personal Chef to the Royal Family at Kensington Palace. But no sooner has Carrie Ann touched down across the pond and donned her apron than a dead body crops up beneath the royal kale beds.

With one assistant dead and the other soon under suspicion for his murder, Carrie Ann is scrambling to keep her kitchen up and running. Not to mention she gets off to an immediate bad start with the tempestuous Royal Chef Butterbottom, who has a bitter taste in his mouth since the prestigious position in the Royal Family's kitchen was given to an "over-privileged, under-educated American chef."

But the Royal Family's appetites wait for no one, and Carrie Ann must solve the murder and still get supper on the table on time--even with the annoyingly handsome Head of Security Ian Gordon tracking her every move like an MI6 agent. Suspects abound as an American chef adds a bit of spice to the traditional royal household in the first in Nell Hampton's charming and tasty Kensington Palace Chef Mystery series, Kale to the Queen.

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

Oh my gosh I loved this book! It is an amazing start to a new series, and I honestly couldn't put it down! The mystery was really well-written, with a variety of great suspects. I absolutely loved the setting, and how Carrie Ann has to adjust to England. Also - I had fun giggling every time I read "Butterbottom".

My Manicure: This ended up being a much more basic manicure than I was planning, but I'm not trusting my hands to be steady at the moment. Neighbors doing target practice = really shaky hands from the noise. The blue is KBShimmer Ink Again and the red is Daily Hues Carol. It is supposed to be British flag inspired, but could also work for an American flag inspired manicure.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Give The Devil His Due by Steve Hockensmith


Title: Give The Devil His Due
Series: Tarot Mystery #3
Author: Steve Hockensmith

Goodreads Summary: Reformed con artist-turned-tarot reader Alanis McLachlan gets paid for predicting the future—too bad she didn’t see all the trouble in hers. First a figure from her past tries to drag her back into the life of crime she thought she’d left behind. Then a new suitor tries to sweep Alanis off her feet, forcing her on-again, off-again romance with hunky teacher Victor Castellanos to hit the skids. And then there’s the little matter of the client who gets an ominous reading from Alanis . . . and is promptly murdered. Danger is in the cards for Alanis, and she’ll need all her skill at reading people and reading tarot if she’s going to survive.

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

This book was good, but way too convoluted to follow easily. It ends up feeling like every character is secretly planning their own con - understandable with how many main characters are conmen - and there is too much to keep track of. But it does have some shocking reveals, and what I could follow of the mystery was good.

My Manicure: OK, I hit a complete creative block with this one. The best I could come up with was sort of a vaguely impressionist look since artwork plays into the plot. I started with a base of Finger Paints Paper Mache. Then I put blobs of Zoya Blu, Neely, and Julie on top and dabbed it withcrumpled plastic wrap.


Monday, April 3, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke


Title: Banana Cream Pie Murder
Series: Hannah Swensen #21
Author: Joanne Fluke

Goodreads Summary: A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as she anticipated . . .

After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But when her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town . . . and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .

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

I'm still not overly impressed by the recent books, but this was definitely an improvement over Christmas Caramel Murder. The mystery itself was really good, and it took me a while to figure out whodunit. My problems with it are that Hannah is way too much of a tech failure to be believable, and a lot of the conversations seem like filler than meaningful conversations. Seriously, they were talking about how to make a sandwich for over a page, in enough detail that you don't even need a recipe to make it, and at the end of the chapter was a recipe for that exact sandwich. But that cliffhanger ending was shocking and I can't wait to see what happens next.

My Manicure: OK, I do not like wearing yellow. It does not agree with my skin tone at all. But, I needed a banana tie in so yellow it is. The base color is Zoya Pippa. The stamping is done with Bundle Monster + amyytran and Bam! White.