book review with cover mani: I see you

Last year, I LET YOU GO made it into my top ten reads of 2016. Mostly because it was beyond bananapants. So when Clare Mackintosh released a new novel, I SEE YOU, I booted it to the bookstore and then read it in two sittings because OMG amazing. 

The synopsis, from Goodreads:

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you're going.

You're not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I See You is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

I read a lot of thrillers. In fact, I'd argue that it's my favourite genre. As such, when I read one, I'm always on the lookout for the guilty party.

Oooo, that guy from chapter two loved skateboarding, and now a small wheel was found at the scene of the crime--it must be him!


Why would an author spend so much time focusing on hot air balloons in the distance, unless it means that the killer uses one to drop cement bricks on her targets?! THAT MUST BE IT.

The reason I've become a super fan of Clare Mackintosh is because my guesses are never even almost right. So in the off chance that a reviewer whines about the plot being "predictable" because they "totally saw it coming," that person should check their pants for flames. Sure, I may have deduced one small piece of the puzzle, but then there were seven consecutive twists and I was gasping like a guppy outside its tank.  

So this is why my review of I SEE YOU will be short. Mackintosh does a fantabulous job of misleading readers and I'm not about to spoil it for you. But I will say this: I SEE YOU is hella freaky. The concept--that somebody can be watching you without you knowing--is enough to make me carry pepper spray in my purse and use it on anybody who comes within three feet of my personal space bubble. Because really, in this day and age, it's a distinct possibility. Humans are creatures of habit. It gives us a feeling of order. But our routines make us vulnerable, and in the case of I SEE YOU, our predictability can lead to our demise. Why is Clare Mackintosh making everyday activities so terrifying?! 😱 Because it makes for amazing reading, that's why. 

In addition to her crazy plots, Mackintosh's writing is rich, strong, and elegant, and the characters she creates could be people who live next door. Which is precisely why her books freak me out. Haha! If you like thrillers, suspense, or mysteries, you must read I SEE YOU. Also, you need to read I LET YOU GO. They're both standalones, so you can read this one first, but make sure you read them. 

And that's really all I have to say about that. 😉 


For this mani, I used:

OPI - Alpine Snow and Matte Topcoat

ORLY - Skinny Dip

China Glaze - Liquid Leather and Sexy in the City

Trimmed striping brush and a triangular makeup sponge


book review with cover mani: hag-seed

As a birthday treat last month, I hit up the Penguin Shop, in Toronto. Having heard they were a small but mighty place to pick up signed books and various merch, I was super psyched! The staff were wonderful and full of suggestions, so deciding what to buy was pure agony. Eventually I settled on a few goodies, one being a signed book written by a Canadian author that makes me go all fangirly. Obviously, I'm talking about Margaret Awtood. Because...Margaret Atwood. (Yes, I'll always refer to her by both her first and last name.) 

NBD but Margaret Atwood legit touched this book and now I've touched it
no YOU stop freaking out. 
*freaks out*

The synopsis, from Goodreads:

When Felix is deposed as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival by his devious assistant and longtime enemy, his production of The Tempest is canceled and he is heartbroken. Reduced to a life of exile in rural southern Ontario—accompanied only by his fantasy daughter, Miranda, who died twelve years ago—Felix devises a plan for retribution.

Eventually he takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, and is making a modest success of it when an auspicious star places his enemies within his reach. With the help of their own interpretations, digital effects, and the talents of a professional actress and choreographer, the Burgess Correctional Players prepare to video their Tempest. Not surprisingly, they view Caliban as the character with whom they have the most in common. However, Felix has another twist in mind, and his enemies are about to find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever. But how will Felix deal with his invisible Miranda’s decision to take a part in the play?


Confession alert: I've read quite a bit of Shakespeare in my day, but the Tempest is new to me. At first, I worried about not having a reference point for HAG-SEED, but my concerns didn't last long because Margaret Atwood did a great job of summing up the high points. If you have the same fear I did, rest easy. All you really need to know is that the Tempest, and therefore HAG-SEED, is about revenge. Dirty, manipulative, triumphant revenge. Which was fine by me because revenge is awesome to read about. Haha!

Only HAG-SEED was more than fine. HAG-SEED was straight-up awesome! Because Felix was pissed, guys and gals. He was wronged and not happy about it. And like any good super villain, after his humiliation, he retreated into solitude to fester over the unjust betrayal that befell him. That's not to say that Felix was a super villain though, because he's as human as you or I, but there were times he was probably spindling his fingers offstage. As such, he was fascinating to watch. Margaret Atwood's prose, filtered through Felix's desire for (metaphorical) blood, created an endearing, articulate voice, delivered with a dramatic flare. Ah-mazing. 

Wait. How have I gotten three paragraphs into my review without addressing HAG-SEED's unlikely setting of a prison? Not a jail, but a prison (one loosely based on the Kingston Pen). I swear, only Margaret Atwood could write a Shakespeare retelling with criminals named 8Handz and Bent Pencil. Like, what is even happening in this book?! Haha! A million awesome things, people; one million awesome things are what's happening in this book. It's dark, funny, touching, and sharp. So whether you're a Shakespeare fan or not, you need to read HAG-SEED. The extra bonus, aside from supporting a Canadian author, is that you'll feel a little bit smarter after you finish. Because Margaret Atwood. 


For this mani, I used:

OPI - Black Onyx, A Good Man-Darin Is Hard To Find, and Matte top coat.
China Glaze - Intelligence Integrity & Courage
White acrylic paint
Tools - trimmed striping brush.