book review (with cover mani!): the thousandth floor

You know when a cover is so frickin' pretty that you don't really care what the book's about because you just need the beauty on your bookshelf so you can stare at it forever and ever? Well when it comes to THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR, not only do you get a stunning cover, but you get a super cool story, too! That's a double win, folks!

*bangs awesome book gong*

The back jacket, from Goodreads:


A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.


A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you're this high up, there's nowhere to go but down...


Welcome to the future, fellow readers! A world where technology takes care of most menial tasks with the simple push of a button. Like for reals, how much longer will it be until I can get a device that perfectly curls my hair, and then pins it back with an incandescent flower that changes colour? Or how about self-driving hover cars--the new, driverless Uber! When is that going to happen? And have you ever been unexpectedly caught in the rain? Well fear no more, people, because in future, rain is scheduled, and most of Manhattan lives in a single building, comprised of one thousand floors. Yup, it's an entirely different world. One of convenience, splendour, and luxury. But to quote the profound lyrical genius The Notorious B.I.G., "It's like the more money we come across, the more problems we see." And wowee, guys and gals, are there ever problems. 

Drug problems. Unrequited love. Betrayal. Exile. Jealousy. Yup, THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR has them all! Each character has his or her own arc--a goal they want to achieve--and much to my delight, they're in conflict with each other, right from the start. And although most characters live on the upper floors, in a virtual bubble of decadence, there are others who maintain a more average existence. Their grounded view provides an opportunity for growth, as they hold up a mirror to the upper floor kids who are trapped in dramas of their own creation while blissfully oblivious to everyday struggles. Don't get it twisted though, because each character in THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR has hidden agendas and motivations, no matter what floor they live on.

I connected to each character pretty early on, and wound up rooting for just about everybody. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and when it comes to imaginative technological developments, the ideas are next-level. But hidden inside the tension that kept me turning pages was a subtle, yet powerful message. One character had both a female and male love interest, and aside from an inquisitive friend asking for the hot and steamy deets, there wasn't one opinion or judgement on the matter. Nobody so much as blinked at the switch and man, as much as I look forward to instant hair curling machines and chauffeur-less rides, I really hope it's not another hundred years before we can stop worrying about gender. Love is love, people. End of discussion. And this is the first book I've read (outside of high fantasy) where it wasn't an issue that needed dissection or explanation. So mega props to Katharine McGee for normalizing fluid sexuality. It's hard to convey a message without coming across as preachy, and she did a bang-up job. (Also, mega props to myself for only making that one pun, haha!)

So if you're looking for a new series that includes fantastical technological advancements alongside good old-fashioned, high-intensity teenage drama, then THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR is for you! With the crazy pants ending to this one, I know that I'll definitely be picking up the second. :)


For this mani, I used:

Fingerpaints - Paper Mache and Black Expressionism
China Glaze - Gossip Over Gimlets and Wood You Wanna?
Julep - Spencer
OPI - Matte Topcoat
Tools - piCture pOlish nail art brush no. 10, trimmed striping brush, small dotting tool 

And for more book and nail pics, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


book review (with cover mani!): home

When I first got wind that Harlan Coben had written another book in the Myron Bolitar series, and it would include the usual gang of Win, Esperanza, and Big Cyndi, but also Mickey, Ema, and Spoon, I did this for no less than four minutes:


Because life isn't fair, my preorder got delayed by over a week (which made me all kinds of stabby) but in the end, it finally arrived. I tore open the package and stroked the front cover, losing my mind with excitement. But after I returned from the kitchen with a reading snack, my devious pooch Pickle had stolen my copy and whisked it away to his country house. THE NERVE. Haha! Anyway, I snatched it back and proceeded to burn through the whole thing in two sittings. 

Look at that diva face! Pickle's such a ham. 

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Ten years after the high-profile kidnapping of two young boys, only one returns home in Harlan Coben’s next gripping thriller, to be published in September 2016.

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home.


I don't want to age Coben unnecessarily, but I vividly remember buying his books in my teenage years. During that time, I worked multiple jobs and spent my money only on the essentials: Manic Panic, artisan bagels, prom and, of course, Myron Bolitar books. Did I get razzed by my friends? Of course not. They all loved books, too. But when they were reading about fantasy worlds and cute cowboys, I was following Myron et al on another case. And while I love each book in Coben's expansive repertoire (which I can say with certainty because I've read them all) I'm crazypants for the Myron Bolitar series. In fact, I'm nervous to even pick up my paperback copy of DROPSHOT because the spine is hanging on by a thread and each page looks like it's been dipped in tea. 

For reals, guys. I cannot stress how much I love these books. 

Through the years, I feel like I've run multiple gauntlets with this motley crew, and while HOME has more action than a Bruce Willis blockbuster, the biggest surprise is that Myron shares his POV with another character. I won't tell you who, but if you've read even one book from the Myron Bolitar series, you'll understand the utter fabulosity that is HOME. I want to squeal just thinking about it!! So many questions are answered, people. Not all, of course, because that's not much fun, but holy cannoli, are there links. And reveals. And so much awesome that I nearly fell off the couch and injured myself. 

In terms of a recommendation, maybe you could read HOME as a standalone, but I'm hesitant to encourage you. Without at least a little build-up, the bomb dropping won't mean much. 

(*internal sequel squeal*)

Then again, even without truly understanding the bomb dropping, the plot is twisty and unpredictable. Nothing is what it seems, and nobody close to the case of the missing boys can be trusted. In true Coben form, even with my Master of Deduction skills, I still couldn't figure it out. Haha! 

So the choice is yours, fellow readers! You can enjoy HOME as a surprising thriller standalone, or you can read all ten of the previous books and then finish with this one. Yay for a fall reading list? You're welcome. ;)


For this mani, I used:

Julep - Myriam
OPI - Red My Fortune Cookie
ORLY - White Tips
Fingerpaints - Black Expressionism
Glisten and Glow - HK Girl Topcoat
Tools - thin straight tape from What's Up Nails, piCture pOlish nail art brush no.10

And for more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


book review (with cover mani!): a court of mist and fury

Let's get one thing straight: I'm not a sap. I rolled my eyes through The Notebook, tapped my foot impatiently at the end of Titanic, and burst out in an inappropriately-timed snort during a particularly romantic scene in Jerry Maguire. So yeah, it takes a lot to make me well up--to acknowledge the push behind my eyes and do nothing to stop fat tears from leaking out the sides because I'm so happy or sad that I need a release. Crying with abandon: not my bag at all.

But this book. *points accusatorially* THIS BOOK I CANNOT. I'm a wreck. Exhausted. Beyond frustrated that I have to wait almost an entire year for the next one. And here's a devastating fact: I hadn't known this was a planned trilogy! I heard Mist and Fury described as a sequel, and because I don't read reviews beforehand, I was expecting the end of the story. 

But it's not the end! This was only book two! BOOK TWO OF THREE! OH MY GOD THE AGONY. I can't stop using all caps, guys. I JUST CAN'T.


I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say that I sobbed my way through no less than 78% of A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. In fact, I had to put it down for breathers. I can't think of a single emotion I didn't experience and because everything was heightened, my irritatingly uncontrollable weeping was unstoppable. Naturally, I'm not going to tell you why, but rest assured, it was touching and uplifting and tragic and so beautifully written that my grinch-y heart didn't stand a chance. 

Maybe it's because I read the first and second so close together, but I fell into the Fae world so completely that I feel as if I've lost something. I actually can't remember feeling such an ache before--a true book hangover--to the point that I sprinted to Etsy to purchase a candle that smells like a certain character. 

Yes, that's how badly I want to be a part of the story. I purchased an extraordinarily expensive candle so I could make my house smell like a fictional character. A first for me, that's for sure. If I wasn't already completely comfortable with my level of nerdiness, I'd never admit that. But I legit I need more ACOMAF because my feels have overtaken my level-headed pragmatism and I've been left like an Illyrian without wings.

If you haven't read either of the Court books, you obviously won't get the reference but from this moment onwards, I will speak in the manner of the Fae. Because these are my people, and I'll be with them until the end, even though said end is so far away that another Starfall will have occurred. Oh, are you feeling left out because I made another Prythian remark you don't understand? Do yourself a major favour and start reading these so you can be hip to my jive (even if it's only in exchange for me never using "hip to my jive" again. Haha!).

So who else has read these first two books? Please message me and we can talk about the feels!! THE OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF FEELS. And if you wondered about the reason I didn't include the back jacket description, by definition, it had some spoilers from A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES so don't read it online! JUST DON'T. But for reals people. Please, please, please read these books so we can commiserate!


For this mani (one that I'm extra proud of because those fighting leathers -> omg detailed), I used:

OPI - Dating a Royal
China Glaze - Liquid Leather, Man Hunt, Fresh Prince-ss, Intelligence Integrity & Courage
Julep - Lacey and Boris & Nicole
Fingerpaints - Sketch Me
Glisten and Glow - HK Girl topcoat
Tools - piCture pOlish nail art brush no.10, triangular makeup sponge, and a trimmed striping brush. 

And for more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG account!


book review (with cover mani!): a court of thorns and roses

This book, guys. I'm not sure how to begin. Even as I write this intro, I can feel tears pressing against my eyes, so let's just get down to business before I'm outright sobbing.

*bangs bananapants amazing book gong*

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

She stole a life. Now she must pay with her heart.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. 

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.


I've read a lot books that feature badass women, worlds in peril, and twisted, cruel plot lines, but I can honestly say that I've never been as attached to a character in my entire life as I am to Feyre--a declaration I don't make lightly. However, the really frustrating part is my inability to explain my reasons. Because in order to do that, I'd have to reveal specific details. And in no universe would I ever want to be responsible for hinting at one single spoiler, no matter how "harmless" it may seem. 

So that's why I won't make comparisons to other books that may diminish the surprises that are tucked away, poised to pop out at the most unexpected moments. Nor will I share my suspicions about the motivations that propel certain characters to act. Because as a reader who loves to get lost in a story, I don't want to deny you any fraction of pleasure you'll get from reading about Feyre--one of the most incredible characters I've encountered. 

But even though I won't delve into the complex components that forged together to create such a captivating tale, I will share with you how I felt. Because that's what A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES does, it makes you feel. Everything. Deeply. In fact, I'd argue that it's the contradiction of emotions that makes this series shine. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Maas somehow manages to explore both at the same time, making my stomach lurch like it's on a roller coaster, soaring high only to turn around and plunge into the depths.

Yeah, I know that sounds crazy and kind of abstract, but the feelings this book pulled out of me belong in the Epic pile. Love, rejection, pride, self-loathing, hope, despair, it's all in there and combined, it created such unrelenting tension that I was forced to keep turning pages. Because let me tell you, even when things got bad (and oh man, do they get bad), it was impossible to not continue and find out if my heart would shatter or get a temporary reprieve. It was exhausting, in that undeniably pure way--the way that I think all fiction aspires to be.

So yeah, you need to read A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES. Now-ish. So what if you've got a big meeting coming up, or if you're a student studying for final exams? Buy this book and call in sick. Escape from your life and experience Feyre's world for a while. It's not always a fairy tale, because things really do take multiple turns for the worse, but it's a magical experience. And don't we all deserve a little bit of magic in our lives? I know I do.

*hugs book*


For this mani, I used:

OPI - Red My Fortune Cookie, My Silk Tie, and You Don't Know Jacques
China Glaze - Rainbow and Fresh Prince-ess
Julep - Myriam and Boris & Nicole
Fingerpaints - Sketch Me
Tools - piCture pOlish nail art brush no.9, trimmed striping brush, and a triangular makeup sponge

And for more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


book review (with cover mani!): this is your life, harriet chance!

You know that glorious moment when a book grabs you so hard from the jacket description that you start imagining the story before you've read a single page? Well that's what happened when I first saw THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE!

I mean, how can you not instantly love a title that ends with an exclamation point? What a high energy start! I don't know one other book that has an exclamation point and that sucks! Because if there's an exclamation point in the title, the book has to be amazing, right?!

Non-spoiler alert: The title's exclamation point is totally appropriate!

I love an excuse to get crafty. Yay for YouTube origami tutorials! Haha!

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

With her husband Bernard now in the grave, seventy-nine-year-old Harriet Chance sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise only to discover through a series of revelations that she’s been living the past sixty years of her life under entirely false pretenses. There, amid the buffets and lounge singers, between the imagined appearance of her late husband and the very real arrival of her estranged daughter midway through the cruise, Harriet is forced to take a long look back, confronting the truth about pivotal events that changed the course of her life.  

Jonathan Evison—bestselling author of West of HereThe Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, and All About Lulu—has crafted a bighearted novel with a supremely endearing heroine at its center. Through Harriet, he paints a bittersweet portrait of a postmodern everywoman with great warmth, humanity, and humor. Part dysfunctional love story, part poignant exploration of the mother/daughter relationship, nothing is what it seems in this tale of acceptance, reexamination, forgiveness, and, ultimately, healing. It is sure to appeal to admirers of Evison’s previous work, as well as fans of such writers as Meg Wolitzer, Junot Diaz, and Karen Joy Fowler.

Harriet Chance is a crotchety, passive-aggressive widow. Suffice it to say, she's hard to like, but this book doesn't progress in a linear fashion, so shortly after being introduced to present-day Harriet, the story goes back to specific, defining moments in Harriet's life. And that's where THIS IS YOUR LIFE shines. Because underneath Harriet's prickly exterior is a woman whose life didn't turn out the way she'd imagined. She's a survivor and in order to keep going, she packed her hopes and dreams in a suitcase and then dropped said suitcase into a bottomless pit, never to be seen again. So really, it's no big surprise that, nearing her eighties, Harriet isn't a joy to be around.

But Jennie, you may be thinking, I thought you said this book had high energy! Remember all the exclamation points?!

And to that, I'd say, yes! The very unique and delightfully quirky element of this book is the way Evison used those energy-inducing punctuation marks. At the start of each flashback chapter, the first sentence ends in an exclamation point, and the POV changes from third-person to second-person--a literary choice that often falls flat for me--but here, it worked. Like, really worked. I was describing THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE! to a friend and she said it reminded her of how a gameshow is introduced and you know what? She was absolutely right. Each flashback chapter is kind of like, Come on down to the showcase showdown!, complete with flashing lights and possibly a whaling siren. So whenever I reached a flashback chapter, I immediately felt a surge of optimistic enthusiasm. And that's pretty freaking cool because Harriet's life has some serious low points. Let me reiterate that: somehow, the upbeat introductions and turns of phrase were perfectly appropriate, even when dealing with more mature subject matter. I'm 70% sure Evison is a secret sorcerer, because he broke many-a-writing rules in this treasure. 

Also, and this observation is slightly out of nowhere, but the exclamation points reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine decided to excessively add exclamation points to a manuscript she was editing at Pendant Publishing, and anything that makes me think of Seinfeld is a super good thing.

I'm nearing the end of my review now, and all I've mentioned is a repressed main character and perfect use of exclamation points, but there's still so much more about THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE!, that you need to know. 

Because yes, the book explores Harriet's life, teasing readers with the hope that she'll somehow turn it all around, or at least understand how she became who she is, but there's also a healthy serving of mystery when decisions of days gone past are finally examined and explored. And with Harriet's estranged daughter on board with her, sharing a room the size of a walk-in-closet, they have no choice but to confront the hamper of dirty laundry they've been lugging around for so long.

I giggled, teared up, and ultimately felt uplifted by this book, so if you're looking for an engaging, heartwarming family saga told with gusto and spunky prose, then add THIS IS YOUR LIFE, HARRIET CHANCE! to your TBR list. Or better yet, just go pick up a copy, because then you'll get to have this fun cover on your bookshelf! It's like the awesomeness never stops!!


For this mani, I used:

China Glaze - Too Yacht To Handle, At Vase Value, White On White, and Boho Blues
Julep - Amy, Dawn, and Sam
Seche Vite - Quick Dry topcoat 
Tools - piCure pOlish brush no.10, thin straight striping tape from What's Up Nails

And for more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


book review (with cover mani!): the girl with the lower back tattoo

I’ve been a fan of Amy Schumer for a while. She’s funny, smart, and doesn’t apologize for who she is, which makes her one of those celebrities I’m sure I’d be friends with IRL (if you could only see the party I’d have with my imaginary celeb friends, guys. Haha!). I’ve been looking forward to THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO ever since I learned of its imminent descent into bookstores, and now I’m at that level of delusion where I think Amy and I were destined to be friends. Because holy smokes is she ever amazing!

Side note: Don’t worry, Amy. I won't act on those delusions and continue to admire you from afar…but not in a stalker-y way, obvi. I SWEAR I AM NORMAL PLEASE DON’T FEAR ME. However, we do both think that white chocolate is fake chocolate, so we have that as a launching point for a potential friendship. Haha!

 The back jacket, from Goodreads:

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is—a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend—an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably—but only because it’s over.

I’m not a reviewer who typically quotes portions of a book because, frankly, they always sound out of context. You know, because plucking a quote from an arbitrary place literally removes the passage from its context, but in this book, there were so many mic drop moments that I found myself slipping in bookmarkers to remember certain parts. (In case you’re interested, they consisted of a band-aid wrapper, a cue card with my grocery list (ripped into several pieces) and a prescription receipt.) And for one of the first times ever, when I went back to read them, the excerpts made sense without explanation--a mark of a true mic drop moment, if I've ever seen one. And trust me, guys and gals, these mic drop moments are important. So although I could've focused on the humour, of which there is plenty, the parts that touched me were more than witty quips and self-deprecating jokes, and that's what my review will discuss.

For instance, from page 237, Amy writes: “Life is full of pain and disappointment. I’ve made a whole career out of pointing this out and reliving it in ridiculous ways so everyone can laugh and cry along with me. I wish my mother understood this too. It’s relaxing sometimes, just being human.”

Preach, girl, yesssssss!

More Bob’s Burgers GIFs on my personal blog!

And then from 314: "Beautiful, ugly, funny, boring, smart or not, my vulnerability is my ultimate strength.”

Oh man, did that one make me ugly cry, and right at the end, too. It takes so much for me to be vulnerable. Whenever I try, it’s like wearing a mohair sweater without seven layers of clothing underneath—itchy, uncomfortable, and suffocating. So Amy pointed out a significant truth in that regard, because it takes great strength to be vulnerable, and considering that this entire book was Amy being vulnerable, for hundreds of thousands of complete and utter strangers, it was humbling, which morphed Amy from a comedian to some kind of yogi on top of a mountain. A weed-smoking, cursing, beardless yogi, but a yogi all the same. She spoke to my heart, guys. Right to my damn core. 

Because Amy didn’t have to write the chapter about her history with sexual assault, nor did she have to delve into what it’s like to have a parent with a severe illness, and she sure as shit didn’t have to share insights from the abusive relationship(s) she survived. Those aren't the sorts of stories that people expect from Amy, but in typical form, she couldn’t care less about people's judgement of her. 

In fact, I suspect that Amy wrote this book to specifically cast a light on places that need attention, and by sharing her experiences in a relatable way, she does just that. Plus, right at the end of the book, Amy lists information where you can get involved in advocating for stricter gun control, should you live in the USA. So basically, Amy used her platform to bare her soul in order to make us think and then act

Make no mistake, Amy. I heard you. And now it's your turn, folks! Pick up this book and read it. Then, pass it along to others, because this is a book that needs to be read by as many people as possible. 


For this mani, I used:

OPI - Samoan Sand
Fingerpaints - Black Expressionism
Glisten and Glow - HK Girl Topcoat
Tools - piCture pOlish detail brush No. 9

And to see more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


book review (with cover mani!): the singles game

Of all the sports in the world, tennis is my favourite. I love the cute outfits, emphasis on sportsmanship, and hitting the crap out of something within a confined space. Also, there's the scent of freshly popped tennis balls. Mmmm. Haha! In addition to those elements, I love Lauren Weisberger, so it's no surprise that I picked up THE SINGLES GAME.

I'd like to give a special shout-out to a pair of super cool teachers who let me sneak onto their private
tennis club's courts so I could take this picture. Teachers really are the best. YAY FOR TEACHERS!

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

The new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada and Revenge Wears Prada—a dishy tell-all about a beautiful tennis prodigy who, after changing coaches, suddenly makes headlines on and off the court.

Charlotte “Charlie” Silver has always been a good girl. She excelled at tennis early, coached by her father, a former player himself, and soon became one of the top juniors in the world. When she leaves UCLA—and breaks her boyfriend’s heart—to turn pro, Charlie joins the world’s best athletes who travel eleven months a year, competing without mercy for Grand Slam titles and Page Six headlines.

After Charlie suffers a disastrous loss and injury on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, she fires her longtime coach and hires Todd Feltner, a legend of the men’s tour, who is famous for grooming champions. Charlie is his first-ever female player, and he will not let her forget it. He is determined to change her good-girl image—both on the court and off—and transform her into a ruthless competitor who will not only win matches and climb the rankings, but also score magazine covers and seven-figure endorsement deals. Her not-so-secret affair with the hottest male player in the world, sexy Spaniard Marco Vallejo, has people whispering, and it seems like only a matter of time before the tabloids and gossip blogs close in on all the juicy details. Charlie’s ascension to the social throne parallels her rising rank on the women’s tour—but at a major price.

Lauren Weisberger’s novel brings us exclusive behind-the-scenes details from all the Grand Slam tournaments: the US Open, the French Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon. Charlie Silver jets around the globe, plays charity matches aboard Mediterranean megayachts, models in photo shoots on Caribbean beaches, walks the red carpet at legendary player parties, and sidesteps looming scandals—all while trying to keep her eyes on the real prize. In this sexy, unputdownable read about young tennis stars who train relentlessly to compete at the highest levels while living in a world obsessed with good looks and Instagram followers, Charlie must discover the secret to having it all—or finally shatter the illusion for good.

THE SINGLES GAME has a lot going for it. Charlie is the kind of character you'd want to grab a beer with--or a water with lime because Charlie's in training--and her drive is apparent right away. Recovering from a severe injury is no joke, and adding the pressure of coming back as good, if not better, than before the injury could've crippled Charlie. But she isn't the sort of gal who'd just give up on her dream. Nope. Not her style at all. In fact, Charlie wants to climb the rankings so badly, she hires Todd Feltner, who's pretty much the worst. I mean, he's also the best when it comes to coaching players who win Slams, but as far as being an actual human being with feelings, he stinks. But Charlie's willing to do what it takes, even if she has to change who she is. And oh man, does Charlie get caught up in the superstar game, both on and off the court, which brings me to another ace aspect of THE SINGLES GAME: the tennis.

Having played tennis since childhood and being lucky enough to have attended the Rogers Cup and French Open (Roland-Garros), I've seen the game from both sides of the net. Rest assured, folks, you're getting the real deal here. Weisberger describes every detail of the game in such technicolour that I pictured myself watching Charlie from the stands at Wimbledon, while sweating with her as she tried to win match points. This book is in-your-face tennis, guys and gals, which is frickin' awesome, and the second reason you've got to read it.

The other characters who help Charlie achieve her dreams are the third reason you need to pick up THE SINGLES GAME. Although this book appears to be about Charlie's rise to the top, it's actually about Charlie deciding what sort of person she wants to be, and her brother, father, and hitting partner are the grounded relationships that offer her a mirror. The banter between them is relatable, and I really enjoyed the inside jokes and heartfelt memories. I also think it's important to note there's a Level 10 Smokeshow of a Spaniard you'll get to drool over. Hello hottie! Haha!

So for reals, people, what else do you need to know? Just buy it already! And if you want to add to your reading experience, snap the lid off a fresh container of tennis balls and take a big whiff. It'll set the perfect mood. ;)


For this mani, I used:

Julep - Monaco
Fingerpaints - Paper Máchë
ORLY - Mirrorball
China Glaze - Celtic Sun
OPI - My Silk Tie
Glisten and Glow - HK Girl Topcoat
Supplies: loose hex glitter and circular rhinestones
Tools: trimmed striping brush, wax crayon for rhinestone application

To see more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


book review (with cover mani!): this savage song

This book, guys. 

This. Book.

It was tense, insightful, gorgeously written, and positively bursting with interesting moral dilemmas. I read it quickly, even though I didn't want it to end, and now it feels like ten lifetimes until the next book is slated for release. But isn't that the best-slash-worst way to start a series? Of course it is! (Unfortunately. Haha!)

The back jacket, from Goodreads

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.


Before I get into my review, I think I should share something: I'm a sucker for the name August. Especially when August is a male character, because it makes me think about the movie August Rush, which has one of the best soundtracks ever. So the combination of a male character named August and the musical-ish story of THIS SAVAGE SONG gave me the warm and fuzzies right away. That said, those warm and fuzzies didn't last long because this book is downright dark

But dark is how I like my YA, so as far as I'm concerned, this book was a total win. I mean, Kate takes no crap from anybody, even if it means getting her hands dirty, there are monsters everywhere, and her world is on the brink of total anarchy. Meanwhile, August is a sympathetic outsider who just wants to belong. But like the back jacket states, he's also one of the monsters. 

So who's the good guy/gal? 

Who's the bad one? 

What the frick is happening?

It's a genius idea, when authors create characters with sliding scales of light and dark. Mostly because it makes me hella nervous, which explains why I read this book so quickly. 

Another bias I have to admit is that I'm bananas about books that blur the line between right and wrong. The messier the morality, the better the book, and THIS SAVAGE SONG is messier than messy--think, glitter-bomb-in-a-tornado messy, only the glitter would be pointy and sharp and probably murder you. Schwab's concept is deliciously complicated, in that regard, and it makes meaningful points about the world that we, the reader, live in. But, you know, in a subtle way because nobody likes a book on a soapbox. 

Plus, there are creepy childhood singsongs. And no love-triangles (which is a pretty common occurrence in YA). Oh, and I can't forget the atmospheric amazingness. Did I feel like I was actually in Verity? Yup. I totally did. And trust me, it was terrifying. 

Add that all up and you've got the makings of a seriously incredible series, which leaves me conflicted because I want to scream READ THIS BOOK NOW, but then you'll be stuck waiting with me. But hey, misery loves company right? So let me know when you read it and we can commiserate about the excruciating wait. Probably over cupcakes. Because cupcakes make even the most painful wait, bearable. 

*buys one million cupcakes*


For this mani, I used:

OPI - A Man-Darin Is Hard To Find, I'm Not Really A Waitress, and Matte topcoat
Fingerpaints - Black Expressionism and Paper Mache
Julep - Dawn
Tools - piCture pOlish #9, trimmed striping brush, and a triangular makeup sponge

And for more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)


book review (with cover mani!): I let you go

This book has been all over the place and I just wasn't sure about it, but when a copy was forced upon me by my favourite bookseller, who was all: Why haven't you read this yet?!, I decided to give it a try. I'm happy to report that yet again, Steph was right on the money, because it was incredible!


The back jacket, from Goodreads:

In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .


To put it plainly, the subject matter of I LET YOU GO is heartbreaking, but if you can connect with Jenna like I did, you'll be mesmerized by her voice. I think it would've been easy to overdo certain emotional reactions, considering the tragedy, and yet, Jenna's grief is relatively quiet, resting just beneath the surface. Naturally, it comes to the forefront every so often, which is when I'd feel tears sliding down my face, but for the most part, Jenna tries to look forward. 

Because above all else, Jenna is a survivor, but there's more to life than just surviving. She wants to start over and create another life for herself. But how can the human soul recover from such despair? Jenna begins to address that question within the early chapters, and for the rest of the book, we follow Jenna as she tries to figure it out. 

Unfortunately, that's about all I can tell you about I LET YOU GO, because surprises abound in this baby, popping up in unexpected places to give you pulses of anxiety and quash any notion you had about sleeping even though you have a big meeting the next morning. So instead, I've put together a few GIFs that accurately capture my emotional reading experience; the circle of feelings, if you will.

1. Heartbreak

2. Surprise


3. Brain-explosion

Repeat those expressions four times and that's how I got through I LET YOU GO. The writing is riveting, evocative, and downright bananapants, which built the plot to the highest levels of insanity while cracking open my Grinch-y heart. I admire authors who make me squirm in my chair, which is why I'm now an official member of the Clare Mackintosh Fan Club. Because holy squirm-fest! I even found myself leaning forward as I read, because relaxing in a chair felt disrespectful to the stress-eating stakes.

So if you decide to pick up I LET YOU GO, do yourself a favour and don't start right before you go to bed. Not unless you've got some sick days at work left, anyway, because the rest of the world will quickly seem insignificant once you turn that first page. Oh, and don't read any reviews. I've been noticing some reviews for this book include spoilers, which is the meanest thing ever (OMG STOP DOING THAT, PEOPLE). You've got to read this one without any prior knowledge of anything, except the warning that your dogs probably won't get walked and kiddos will have to fend for themselves. Not to worry, though, you can make it up to them later with bacon strips and a trip to the water park. Respectively. Haha!


For this mani, I used:

China Glaze - Man Hunt and Immortal
Julep - Kenna
ORLY - White Tips
Fingerpaints - Black Expressionism
OPI - Matte topcoat
Tools - saran wrap technique, piCture pOlish nail art brush #9, triangular makeup sponge

And for more, non-book-related manis, be sure to check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)