Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Plot Is Murder by V.M. Burns


Title: The Plot Is Murder
Series: Mystery Bookshop #1
Author: V.M. Burns

Goodreads Summary: The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookstore. But before the first customer can browse its shelves, the store's owner is suspected of her own murder plot . . . 
Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store's grand opening, she's also realizing another dream--penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling's charms. When one of Daphne's suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor. 
But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her--after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her? 

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

An enjoyable first in series. Small town Michigan is one of my favorite settings, so obviously I loved the setting. The senior citizens were awesome. The book inside the book was interesting, but slightly distracting. I kept trying to solve the wrong murder. I found the mystery interesting yet slightly predictable.

My Manicure: I'm not 100% sure where I was going with this one. I had a vague idea of using a book stamp because of the bookshop/author thing, but that was all I had. Anyway, I ended up using Zoya Tiana simply because it is a pretty color that I haven't worn in a while. Then I used MJ JR-2 and Bundle Monster Bam! White.


Monday, November 27, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - X Marks the Scot by Kaitlyn Dunnett


Title: X Marks the Scot
Series: Liss MacCrimmon Mystery #11
Author: Kaitlyn Dunnett

Goodreads Summary: The old Chadwick mansion on the edge of Moosetookalook, Maine, has been shrouded in mystery for generations--until Scottish Emporium owner Liss MacCrimmon uncovers a forgotten family secret. But she never imagined that a little curiosity would lead her into such deadly territory . . .

While perusing auction items from the Chadwick estate, Liss purchases a painting of a bagpiper to add to her collection. Her interest shifts from art to sleuthing upon a strange discovery--what appears to be a treasure map tucked behind the canvas. She's even more intrigued when she links the scroll to an early Chadwick who smuggled goods across the Canadian border.
So during a business trip to Canada, Liss arranges a meeting with an archivist in hopes of pinning down the truth about the map and the Chadwick bloodline. Before her quest moves forward, however, she finds the archivist's murdered body at a local genealogical society. One thing is certain--Liss isn't alone on this treasure hunt . . .
Liss returns to Moosetookalook, terrified that the killer may have followed her home. With her life in real peril and the map at risk of being stolen, she launches into full-scale investigation mode. But as she deciphers clues and inches toward the dangerous culprit, Liss quickly realizes she's only a step away from ending up like the Chadwick clan--permanently wiped out.

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

This was both interesting and slightly boring. The concept was great. I loved the idea of the genealogy part, but it was too much of an info dump and not enough of a story. The mystery started out great, but by the end there were too many characters and I ended up not really caring who did it. 

My Manicure: This did not quite work as planned. My inspiration is a treasure map. I tried using a nude base, but I managed to mess it up twice before I even started the design. So, I ended up using Finger Paints Paper Mache. Then I sponged the "aged paper" look with Bundle Monster Arabica and Annato Clay. That part was a definite fail. My X and trail were free handed with a Sharpie.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding by Diane Kelly


Title: Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding
Series: Tara Holloway #12
Author: Diane Kelly

For IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, this case is personal...
Wedding bells are ringing as Tara and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day. But along with all the RSVP cards are a series of death threats from an unknown source. The culprit must be someone from an earlier investigation--a white-collar criminal with a red-hot grudge--but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow down the search. And time, like her biological clock, is ticking.

Now, while dodging attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself embroiled in a rental scam in which a heartless crook is ripping people off left and right. Will she be able to track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece? Or will "til death do us part" come before Tara can even say "I do"?

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

Nooooo! Why did the series have to end? OK, now that I got that out of me... I honestly could not put the book down. The humor, the mystery, everything was just so well done. I was laughing so much throughout this book.

My Manicure: Oh my gosh I'm frazzled. I forgot how ridiculous things get near Thanksgiving. Anyway, on to the manicure. I did a kind of simple wedding theme. I started out with Bundle Monster Bam! White. Then I used Bundle Monster + elleandish and Straight Up Black. I'm liking the simple black and white contrast right now.


Monday, November 20, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams


Title: The Secret, Book, and Scone Society
Series: Miracle Springs, North Carolina #1
Author: Ellery Adams

Goodreads Summary: From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book . . .

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over . . .

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

I'm slightly torn on how I feel about this book. The mystery was great, with some surprising moments. The setting was absolutely breathtaking, and I truly felt like I was wandering around town with the characters. My minor issue is that I think the mystery took away from the characters' stories. Because my attention was split between wondering what story would be revealed next and what clue would be found, I felt that I couldn't give the pasts the attention they truly deserved.

My Manicure: This one was a little hard to come up with a manicure idea that I could actually do. The inspiration is a combination of the setting and the tea and baked goods that are a common theme throughout the book. The base is Zoya Merida. I chose it because of all the gorgeous trees around Nora's house. The tea and cakes are stamped with MoYou London Cookbook 07 and Bundle Monster Heart of Gold.


Friday, November 17, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Thread the Halls by Lea Wait


Title: Thread the Halls
Series: Mainely Needlepoint #6
Author: Lea Wait

Goodreads Summary: Christmas in Haven Harbor, Maine, means family, trouble, and murder . . .

This Yuletide season, there's no time for Angie Curtis and Patrick West to linger under the mistletoe. Patrick's being needled by his mother--movie star Skye West--to set the stage for a perfect white Christmas as she brings her costar, screenwriters, and director home for the holidays. With his mother's long list of wishes, Patrick's becoming unraveled. To help, the Mainely Needlepointers offer to decorate Skye's Victorian mansion and create needlepoint pillows as gifts for the guests.

But not long after the celebrity celebrants invade Haven Harbor, an unscripted tragedy occurs. Then some questionable Christmas cookies make Patrick sick. Before Santa arrives at the town pier on a lobster boat, Angie and the Needlepointers need to trim down the naughty list, catch a cold-hearted killer, and wrap up the case . . .

My Review: *I voluntarily read this ARC**

That was simply amazing. The setting was beautiful, yet dangerous. The mystery was wonderful and a bit shocking. I do have to admit that I ended up putting the book down after a few chapters. The needlepoint descriptions inspired me to pick up a cross stitch that I've been meaning to get to for over a year.

My Manicure: I ended up being slightly silly with part of this manicure. I started out with Zoya Aspen for a snowy look. The accent nail was done with an ultra fine green Sharpie. My freehanding needs work, but that is a needlepoint tree. The snowflakes were stamped with Bundle Monster H02 and So Metal.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan


Title: Much Ado About Murder
Series: Shakespeare in the Catskills #3
Author: Elizabeth J. Duncan

Goodreads Summary: Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company's steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright. 

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner's secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund's plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it's final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan's third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.

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

This was an interesting book. The setting was great, and I wish I could visit it. The mystery was sort of predictable, sort of surprising, and very well written. I did find it a little hard to connect to the characters, but I still enjoyed the book.

My Manicure: I went a little weird on this one. There are two inspirations - the wedding scene in Much Ado About Nothing and the murder. I started out with a base of Zoya April. The wedding lace was done using Bundle Monster + elleandish and Bam! White. The blood splatter was done using Daily Hues Carol.


Monday, November 13, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber


Title: A Deadly Éclair
Series: French Bistro Mystery #1
Author: Daryl Wood Gerber

Goodreads Summary: It's always been Mimi Rousseau's dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she's been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband's tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she's able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn's first wedding ever. 
The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan's half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners' dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an eclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan's will.
Now it's up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Eclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.

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

A great start to a new series. It had all the typical cozy elements - a beautiful setting, interesting characters, and a good mystery. The reveal was a bit of a surprise. One thing that I really liked was that it was written in a way that made the French food easier to understand.

My Manicure: I just had to use these adorable bakery images. It turned out so cute! I started with a base of Zoya Gie Gie for a nice delicate base. Then I used Bundle Monster + amyytran and Bam! White.


Friday, November 10, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes


Title: A Fatal Collection
Series: Keepsake Cove Mystery #1
Author: Mary Ellen Hughes

Goodreads Summary: Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Just as they're beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt's body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can't accept Melodie's death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn't careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie's collection.

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

This was such a beautiful start to a new series. The setting was so quaint and I really wish I could go visit. The mystery was good, although slightly predictable.

My Manicure: I decided to go with a slightly nostalgic inspiration today. When picturing a music box, I immediately see the classic ballerina type since that was what I had. I started out with Ellagee Give Me Liberty. Then I stamped the ballet slippers with Bundle Monster 620 and Babe Magnet.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - The Trouble With Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones


Title: The Trouble With Twelfth Grave
Series: Charley Davidson #12
Author: Darynda Jones

Goodreads Summary: Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the twelfth installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series.

Ever since Reyes escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley accidently trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle. But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up. 

Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?

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

Oh my gosh, that was a bit of a shocking book. With the cliffhanger ending of the last book, I knew this would start really fast paced, but I did not expect everything that was crammed in there. And I wasn't expecting that ending. Wow I did not expect it. I really can't wait for the next book to come out.

My Manicure: Today's manicure is my version of hellfire. I'm actually surprised at how well this design worked on my nubby little nails. I started out with Sinful Colors Black on Black. Then I used Winstonia Summer Cookout and Bundle Monster Red Sea and Turmeric Sun for the flames.


Monday, November 6, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - That Olde White Magick by Sharon Pape


Title: That Olde White Magick
Series: Abracadabra Mystery #2
Author: Sharon Pape

Goodreads Summary: It’s time to work her crime-solving magic again . . .

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the body of a board member outside the schoolhouse, Kailyn doesn’t want any suspicion cast on the wrong person. She plans to crack this case, even if she has to talk to every living soul in town—plus a few departed ones . .

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

I had a lot of fun reading this one. I absolutely love the characters, especially Merlin. The mystery was really good, and the reveal was suspenseful with a dash of humor at the end.

My Manicure: Pretty magick sparkles were the inspiration for this manicure. I started out with Zoya Aspen. It looks so much like snow that I had to keep telling myself not to grab a snowflake image. I actually had a snow manicure completely planned out before I remembered what I was supposed to be doing. Oops. The sparklies were done with Bundle Monster H14 and So Metal.


Friday, November 3, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Canal Days Calamity by Jamie M. Blair


Title: Canal Days Calamity
Series: Dog Days Mystery #2
Author: Jamie M. Blair

Goodreads Summary: Cameron Cripps-Hayman is taken aback when she stumbles upon another murdered neighbor, this time behind her sister's shop, Dog Diggity. The timing couldn't be worse, as there's only a week left before the store's grand opening during Canal Days, the biggest festival of the year.

When the police arrest her handyman, Cameron knows they've got the wrong suspect, so the Metamora Action Agency sets their sights on cracking the case. With one solved murder under their belts, how hard could a second be?

With a flood warning and a murderer on the loose threatening the start of Canal Days, can Cameron and her crew save the town's annual dog and pony show from being canceled?

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

This was an enjoyable book with an overly complicated mystery. I really liked the family dynamics through the series. Families aren't perfect, and this series definitely shows that. 

My Manicure: This one was so hard to figure out. I had other ideas, but I didn't have the images I needed. So, I went with a simple pet themed manicure. I started out with Zoya Loredana. It actually dries to this matte shimmer finish without topcoat. Then I used Bundle Monster 424 and So Metal for the paw prints.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My Nails and My Book Review - Smoke and Mirrors by Casey Daniels


Title: Smoke and Mirrors
Series: Miss Barnum Mystery #1
Author: Casey Daniels

Goodreads Summary: Introducing museum curator and amateur sleuth Miss Evie Barnum in the first of a deliciously quirky new historical mystery series. 

Evie Barnum is in charge of her brother's museum, a place teeming with scientific specimens and "human prodigies" including a bearded woman and the lizard man. In this weird and whacky workplace, Evie hopes she can bury her secrets.

But when an old friend shows up and begs for her help, she does all she can to stay away. The next time she sees him, he is dead in front of the exhibit of the Feejee Mermaid. Suspicion for the murder falls on Jeffrey, known as the Lizard Man, but Evie knows it isn't possible.

When Jeffrey also goes missing, Evie becomes determined to solve the mystery of her friend's murder, even if it brings her face to face with her past...

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

This was a very intriguing book. There was a lot to take in at the beginning, which slowed down the pacing a little, but since it is a first in series it had a lot to set up. The mystery was really good, with a lot going on and a surprising ending.

My Manicure: This one took me forever to figure out. I ended up with a sort of unsettling lizard skin type of look. I skipped a base color this time since my nail bed showing adds to the unnatural feel. I started out by painting glue around my nails for easier cleanup. It has the added bonus of being fun to peel off. I took a big piece of textured sponge and painted Sinful Colors Pistache and LA Colors Mint on to it, then randomly dabbed it on my nails, making sure to leave a bit of texture. Then I put Zoya Dove on the sponge and dabbed my nails again. This added a slightly unnatural gray tone to the look. I skipped my usual top coat because I didn't want to lose the textured look.