review and cover mani: before the broken star

The back jacket from Goodreads:

A fierce young female adventurer battles time itself to claim her destiny in a sweeping new fantasy saga from the author of the Hundredth Queen series.

Everley Donovan is living on borrowed time. The lone survivor of her family’s unexplained assassination, she was saved by an ingeniously crafted clockwork heart. But the time she was given won’t last forever. Now, every tick-tock reminds her how fragile her existence is and hastens her quest to expose Killian Markham, the navy admiral who shattered her world and left her for dead. But Everley’s hunt for justice will be a long and hard-won voyage.

Her journey takes her to a penal colony on a cursed isle, where she will be married off and charged to build the new world. It is here, and beyond, that hidden realms hide, treasures are unearthed, her family secrets are buried, and young love will test the strength of her makeshift heart. When Everley discovers Markham may not be who he seems, her pursuit for truth is bound to his redemption, her tragic history, and her astonishing destiny.


BEFORE THE BROKEN STAR had everything I love in a YA fantasy, which meant I devoured it. Charging out of the gate with high emotional content—desire for revenge (yay!)—and Everley’s clockwork heart, then sword fights in petticoats and a treacherous journey to a penal colony, the story sucked me in as the world melted away. Like the greats Bardugo and Schwab, there wasn’t a wasted word or wink, each action and phrase driving the plot forward, not a lull to be seen. I burned through chapters with abandon because just when one problem was solved, two more appeared like a metaphorical hydra beast of complications and revelations. 

Cover design by Kirk DouPonce, DogEared Design

The hostile and cursed island, populated by convicts and Everley’s new home, proved to be a formidable malevolent environment that forced Everley to confront family secrets. And oh the secrets she discovered! While the pace moved quickly in the first half, once upon the island, things kicked into warp speed. Adventure, tension, and magic, plus lurking threats along the way kept my heart rate up to such a degree, I was shocked to find my pedometer count unchanged. I adore books that leave me breathless, as if I’d run ten miles, and BEFORE THE BROKEN STAR became the latest addition to that short list. 

I appreciated the end to the storyline (to a degree 😉), as cliffhangers in a series make me want to throw things across the room. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book and will be counting down the days until it’s in my greedy paws. If you love young women who don’t take any crap, zooming paces, and dynamic characters, you need to read BEFORE THE BROKEN STAR. Five stars all the way!

Big thanks to Thomas Allen & Son for a complimentary finished copy!


For this mani, I used:

OPI – Stay Off the Lawn, Fearlessly Alice, Rollin’ In Cashmere, Mod About You, and I Just Can’t Cope-acabana

China Glaze – I Got a Blue Attitude, Born to Rule, Wicked Liquid, Boujee Board, and Up All Night

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism and Paper Mache

So Nailicious – needle and warrior brushes


review and cover mani: donna has left the building

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

From the beloved, New York Times bestselling author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress comes a hilarious, timely, and big-hearted new novel about rebuilding life in the face of disaster.

Forty-five-year-old Donna Koczynski is an ex-punk rocker, a recovering alcoholic, and the mother of two teenagers whose suburban existence detonates when she comes home early from a sales conference in Las Vegas to the surprise of a lifetime. As her world implodes, she sets off on an epic road trip to reclaim everything she believes she's sacrificed since her wild youth: Great friendship, passionate love, and her art. But as she careens across the U.S. from Detroit to New York to Memphis to Nashville, nothing turns out as she imagines. Ultimately, she finds herself resurrected on the other side of the globe, on a remote island embroiled in a crisis far bigger than her own.

Irresistibly funny, whip-smart, and surprisingly moving, Donna Has Left the Building spins an unforgettable tale about what it means to be brave—and to truly love—in a tumultuous world.


Like Uncle Albert and Bert from the OG Mary Poppins, I love to laugh. Whenever possible, I lean into humour because hello! Happy, belly aching, tear producing, breath stealing laughter is where it’s at. And oh my, it's been a long time since a book has tickled my funny bone so relentlessly. In DONNA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING, what may appear to be a typical “wife comes home early to find husband in compromising situation” story is anything but. I cannot stress this enough: In no shape, way, or form have you read anything like this treasure trove of hilarity. Granted, Donna didn't find it terribly amusing, but that’s the awesomeness of fiction, right? Think The Good Place sort of emotional torture. 😂

Jacket design and illustration by Brian Levy.
Jacket ©️ 2019 Hachette Book Group, Inc.

But as I laughed my face off while reading on the couch, in bed, and three public waiting rooms, Donna’s journey began to delve into emotional territory. During Donna’s impromptu cross-country road trip, she had to confront the past she remembered with rose-tinted glasses and non-spoiler alert: things didn’t go according to her haphazard plans. Like, at all. Not even a tiny bit. And just when I wasn’t sure if Donna would be able to get out of her own way, the plot took a major turn when she wound up on a remote island where the vibe was anything but jovial. I’ve gotta say it felt a little jarring, on the verge of being two separate books smushed together. Even with steady hints regarding what Donna would be sucked into, the sudden shift in tone could’ve been smoother. Not that it was bad, but Donna’s voice started out like jazz hands and then became subdued as the final quarter came to pass. Reflective, perhaps, and there’s nothing like a genuine crisis to have one reflect on their previous behaviour. *side-eyes Donna*

If you love books that flip expected tropes and crank them up to 11, while snickering as wildly unpredictable characters take you on a ride, DONNA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING is the book for you! It hit shelves yesterday, June 4th, so I encourage you to run like the wind to your bookseller of choice because this gem is a must read. Big thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada for a complimentary ARC!


For this mani, I used:

OPI – A Good Man-Darin Is Hard to Find, matte topcoat

China Glaze – I Got a Blue Attitude and Bottoms Up

ORLY – Skinny Dip

FingerPaints РPaper M̢ch̩ and Black Expressionism

So Nailicious – spear, needle, and warrior brushes


review and cover mani: when we were lost

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Survival. It's a concept these high school students never had to consider--until their plane crashes in a remote rainforest with no adults left alive. With many of them falling prey to threats from both the jungle and man, they soon realize that danger comes in many sinister forms. 

Tom Calloway didn't want to go on a field trip to Costa Rica, but circumstances had him ending up sitting in the back of the plane--which was the only part that was intact after the crash in the remote South American wilderness. Tom and a small group of his classmates are fortunate to be alive, but their luck quickly runs out when some of them fall prey to the unfamiliar threats of the jungle--animals, reptiles, insects, and even the unforgiving heat. Every decision they make could mean life or death.

As the days go by and the survivors' desperation grows, things get even more perilous. Not everyone can cope with the trauma of seeing their friends die, and a struggle for leadership soon pits them against each other. And when they come across evidence of other people in the middle of the rainforest, does that mean they're safe--or has their survival come to an even more vicious end?


WHEN WE WERE LOST immediately reminded me of a certain television show involving a plane crash and tropical seclusion, but aside from their similar circumstances and setting, they were worlds apart. Tom, the epitome of a reluctant narrator, had no choice but to break out of his comfort zone, both in terms of assertiveness and surviving the inhospitable environment. The outsider perspective worked well, as outsiders are often excellent observers, and Tom was able to quickly identify who would contribute to their survival versus those who’d accelerate their demise. Two discernable groups emerged, similar to what you’d expect from a high school cafeteria, so while Tom battled predators from the jungle, he also found himself immersed in a power struggle. The sort of young man who kept to himself, Tom had no interest in said power struggle, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a target. Having parallel sources of tension, the lethally unpredictable Amazon jungle and the volatile group dynamic, resulted in a page-burning pace. No matter where they were or what they were doing, the group's safety was always at risk. My favourite sort of read. 

Jacket design by Tracy Shaw and Sammy Yuen.
Jacket art by Travis Commeau.

I also really love when novels begin in more of an abstract manner. A challenge, for sure, because it has the potential to backfire, but WHEN WE WERE LOST had a phenomenally executed, pseudo-rambling introduction about the butterfly effect. Relevant to the book for sure, but certainly not a “fall into the action sort of deal” it was more like a gradual unraveling to get to the point. Hella hard to accomplish and it let me know straight away that I would enjoy the writing. Things came full circle at the end, which was even more impressive, so I’m very interested in reading other books by Kevin Wignall. 

Teens who sounded and behaved like teens, several majorly surprising twists, and the ever present fear of spontaneous death, WHEN WE WERE LOST is perfect for readers who love action and adventure. Available next Tuesday, June 4th wherever books are sold. 

Big thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada for a complimentary ARC!


For this mani, I used:

OPI – Stay Off the Lawn, Fearlessly Alice, Dating a Royal, I Just Can’t Cope-acabana

FingerPaints – Paper Mache and Black Expressionism

China Glaze – Emerald Bae

Mitty Burns – candy brush

So Nailicious – warrior brush

Glisten and Glow –  topcoat 


review and cover mani: valencia and valentine

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, debut author Suzy Krause delivers a quirky, colorful story about love, loss, second chances, and what it means to truly live.

Valencia, a timid debt collector with crippling OCD, is afraid of many things, but the two that scare her most are flying and turning thirty-five. To confront those fears, Valencia’s therapist suggests that she fly somewhere—anywhere—before her upcoming birthday. And as Valencia begins a telephone romance with a man from New York, she suddenly has a destination in mind. There’s only one problem—he might not actually exist.

Mrs. Valentine is an eccentric old woman desperate for company, be it from neighbors, telemarketers, or even the funeral director (when you’re her age, you go to a lot of funerals). So she’s thrilled when the new cleaning girl provides a listening ear for her life’s story—a tale of storybook love and incredible adventures around the world with her husband before his mysterious and sudden disappearance.

The stories of Valencia and Mrs. Valentine may at first appear to have nothing in common…but then again, nothing in life is as straightforward as it seems.


VALENCIA AND VALENTINE was exactly what I needed. An immediately engaging voice, whip smart writing, and unbelievably compassionate glimpse into the mind of a person grappling with OCD (like, actual OCD not just wanting things neat), this charming novel took an intimate look at two characters, Valencia and Mrs. Valentine. A blend of heartbreaking joy—an exceedingly tricky pair of vibes to combine—and humour, I loved every second.

Jacket design and illustration by Philip Pascuzzo

Valencia’s career as a debt collector, manning the phones during work hours and dealing with screaming clients and death threats, and solo living situation, meant that Valencia didn’t have much meaningful contact with others. The self-imposed isolation and circular, end-of-world thoughts from her OCD forced Valencia into the smallest and most unremarkable life she could muster. Partially because her catastrophic internal voice made it practically impossible to connect with other people, but also as punishment for a terrible act from her past. Basically, Valencia was existing, going through the motions. So when she struck up a conversation—a real, actual conversation—with one of her clients at work, Valencia leaned in like a flower towards the sun. But, you know, with hella awkwardness. And not just because he may or may not of actually existed (mystery bonus!). Suzy Krause’s ability to write that awkwardness, the stuttering thoughts and constant anxiousness at saying the wrong thing or responding in a weird way, immediately had me cheering for Valencia because she was up against the world in every aspect of her existence. And in her own way, she fought through it. Or tried to, anyway. The mix of desperate unhappiness and the terror of letting somebody in felt exceedingly real. I was hypnotized while also dying a little inside. 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Valentine was isolated as well, but for very different reasons. A widow living alone in an apartment, too frail to take walks down the block or do her own shopping, she hired a cleaner who wound up being her primary means for socialization. Sharing her life’s story, Mrs. Valentine took a trip down her remarkable memory lane. A lane with highs and lows that inevitably connected with Valencia, but as if I’d tell you how! That’s a gem you’ll have to discover for yourself. But I will say it was a very unexpected tether of connection. 

If you’re a fan of Eleanor Oliphant and novels that crack open your heart and leave you reeling in melancholic delight, I highly recommend VALENCIA AND VALENTINE. Five stars all the frickin' way. VALENCIA AND VALENTINE is available in bookstores on June 1st, but for the month of May, it's part of the Kindle First Reads program so if you're a member, you can get an early look!

Big thanks to Amazon Publishing for a finished copy!


For this mani, I used:

OPI – I Just Can’t Cope-acabana, A Good Man-darin is Hard to Find, Samoan Sand, and matte topcoat

China Glaze – Queen B, Tropic of Conversation, Kill ‘Em With Kindness, Pilates Please, Street Style Princess, and Foie Gras

ORLY – Makeup to Breakup

Essie – after school boy blazer

So Nailicious – warrior and needle brushes


review and cover mani: heroine

The back jacket description, from Goodreads:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month! A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star. Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a visceral and necessary novel about addiction, family, friendship, and hope. 

When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.

The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.

But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.


HEROINE came in hot. The opening sentence of “When I wake up, all my friends are dead,” set a tone that initially scared me off, but I’m happy I came back around because while HEROINE was a heavy read, it also had the signature Mindy McGinnis flare for tackling tough subjects with an unflinching perspective. No surprise McGinnis was up to the task because, well, have you read her other books? *peers over glasses with cocked eyebrow*

Jacket art © 2019 by plainpicture/fstop/Dual Dual
Jacket design by Erin Fitzsimmons

Mickey, determined and focused to get a scholarship for softball, was up against the clock to recover from her injuries in order to play in her final high school softball season, which immediately set the stage for her impending addiction. Because while Mickey’s initial goal of healing quickly had her popping pills, the euphoria of pharmaceutically induced happiness got Mickey hooked. As her addiction progressed, HEROINE became a master’s class in tracing a user’s rationalization process; the twisting and contorting of facts in order justify taking higher doses. Casting Mickey’s mother as a nurse doubled-down on the idea of how easy it is to fall into addiction and while I turned each page, transfixed, I dreaded when the prologue would circle back around. With McGinnis’s reputation for bleaker endings, I honestly didn’t know if Mickey would make it out alive.

While HEROINE is fiction, it also isn’t. And while it follows Mickey’s descent in to addiction, it’s also a story about friendship, sports, and just enough hope to keep you going. But above all else, if you get to the end and aren’t furious with big pharma, you’ve missed the point. These drugs are real and they steal lives. Prescribing such highly addictive painkillers to anybody, especially teenagers, is irresponsible and immoral. There’s no way to predict if that first pill will become the first step down a long road of addiction, which means they shouldn’t exist in the first place. Leave it to Mindy McGinnis to shine a compassionate light in the darkest of places. Deeply uncomfortable and entirely necessary, HEROINE had better win some awards, and should be required reading in schools. Five stars plus one million stars, for a grand total of one million and five stars. 

Big thanks to HCC Frenzy for a gifted ARC!


For this mani, I used:

FingerPaints – Paper Mache and Black Expressionism

China Glaze – Street Style Princess

OPI – matte topcoat

So Nailicious – needle and warrior brushes


review and cover mani: we rule the night

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.


I absolutely flew through WE RULE THE NIGHT. Yes, that’s obvious and not terribly creative wordplay, but nonetheless true. A fiercely consumable combination of action-packed and emotionally-charged scenes, there was never a good moment to take a break, so goodbye weekend adulting activities and hello to eating cereal for three consecutive meals because my sole priority was finding out what Revna and Linné did next. 

Cover art by Billelis
Cover design by Karina Granda

Forced to enter a world where she didn't excel, after her previous successes were nullified, Linné’s arc captured my attention and my heart. A young woman who'd hurdled herself over every obstacle to join the fight on the front lines, only to be sidelined because of her gender and then assigned to a secret flight unit composed of very un-soldier-like women, Linné didn’t quite know what to do with herself. Bitter, judgmental, standoffish, but still dedicated to the cause, Linné’s struggles to find her place inside and outside of the cockpit made her too vulnerable not to love, so when things got crazy, I was worried sick about her. She pushed everybody away, and while Revna faced similar uncertainties, she had the rest of the unit's support (albeit somewhat tainted support because of how the others considered her living metal legs, at least in the beginning). But whether they liked it or not, they were united by a common goal, and watching how each young woman navigated their feelings of self-doubt and fear produced a lot of head nodding and empathy from me. I also appreciated the various ways Bartlett showed the women's courage and strength because there's so much more to being strong and brave than just throwing a punch.

As I’ve touched on the balance between character growth and action, now I get to rave about the magic. Because flying planes YES. The use and construction of the planes, comprised of living metal (THE ACTUAL AWESOMEST BUT I WON’T SAY ANY MORE) and operated by a pair of pilots with two different magical tasks, made my imagination explode. At times, perhaps slightly challenging to envision, but who cares because it was such an extraordinary concept, especially considering the historical inspiration of the Soviet Union's 588th Night Bomber regiment during WWII. I do wish a particular storyline had more explanation and depth, as it proved critical to the world-building, and the end left me with mixed feelings. Mostly good, but also some wanting. As in, I want another book. The comps are totally bang-on, so if you’re a fan of Code Name Verity or Shadow and Bone, you’ll love WE RULE THE NIGHT!

Big thanks to Hachette Book Canada for an ARC!


For this mani, I used:

FingerPaints РBlack Expressionism and Paper M̢ch̩

China Glaze – What’s Up Bittercups, Street Style Princess, Change Your Altitude 

OPI – Rollin’ In Cashmere, In My Back Pocket, A Good Man-darin Is Hard to Find, My Twin Mimmy, matte topcoat

SoNailicious – needle and warrior brushes


review and cover mani: everyone knows you go home

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

The first time Isabel meets her father-in-law, Omar, he’s already dead—an apparition appearing uninvited on her wedding day. Her husband, Martin, still unforgiving for having been abandoned by his father years ago, confesses that he never knew the old man had died. So Omar asks Isabel for the impossible: persuade Omar’s family—especially his wife, Elda—to let him redeem himself.

Isabel and Martin settle into married life in a Texas border town, and Omar returns each year on the celebratory Day of the Dead. Every year Isabel listens, but to the aggrieved Martin and Elda, Omar’s spirit remains invisible. Through his visits, Isabel gains insight into not just the truth about his disappearance and her husband’s childhood but also the ways grief can eat away at love. When Martin’s teenage nephew crosses the Mexican border and takes refuge in Isabel and Martin’s home, questions about past and future homes, borders, and belonging arise that may finally lead to forgiveness—and alter all their lives forever.


With a plentitude of storylines, EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME was a book that couldn’t be rushed. Set in the present and the past, I felt most connected to the border crossing chapters. Yet another book I shouldn’t have read in a waiting room because I loathe crying in public, it was impossible to tear my eyes from the page. Pushing past fear and brutal conditions, the group’s faint possibility of hope carried them through the most harrowing environments, forever at the mercy of coyotes who viewed them as numbers, not people. The dehumanization they faced in order to escape the violence and poverty of their homes wasn’t sugarcoated, and with the current political climate in the United States regarding Mexican immigration, there couldn’t be a better time to have a novel reconfirm that immigrants are human beings

Jacket illustration by Hannah Perry
Jacket design and hand lettering by Faceout Studio, Derek Thornton

Including a real-time account of Martin’s teenage nephew’s experiences once he arrived in Texas as an undocumented immigrant also consistently punched me in the heart. Because getting over the border was only the first step, and Eduardo had lots of adjusting to do after he made it. During that adjustment, an event transpired that inspired the title EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME and as much as I love when books pull their titles from the text, this one will always make my chest tighten when I catch the spine on my bookshelf. These characters sacrificed so much to have the chance to live in the United States, but even if they managed to cross, the fear of being caught by ICE and other law enforcement agencies followed them forever. Trying to start a new life with constant fear lurking in the background isn't something I've experienced, which proves why fiction is so important. 

Along with currently relevant themes, Natalia Sylvester’s elegant writing brought beauty to bleaker moments—a commendable feat, considering the premise. The sort of novel that should be required reading in schools, in my opinion. There could have been a deeper examination of the relationship between Isabel and Martin because they didn’t seem like a couple. She did a lot for Martin and his family but that investment wasn’t reciprocated, which left me unsure as to why she stuck around. That said, EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME was a deeply meaningful work of fiction and an unequivocal must read. 

Big thanks to Amazon Publishing and Natalia Sylvester for a finished copy!


For this mani, I used:

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism and Paper Mache

OPI – Need Sunglasses, In My Back Pocket, Strawberry Margarita, You Are So Outta Lime, Stay Off the Lawn, Red My Fortune Cookie, matte topcoat

China Glaze – Saved by the Bluebell, My Way or the Highway, Accent Piece

Picture Polish – salt water

Glisten and Glow – Mother Fire

So Nailicious – needle and warrior brushes


review and cover mani: queenie

The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.


QUEENIE took me on a ride, friends. At first, things were Bridget Jones’s Diary-ish and I was fine, giggling along because sure, Queenie was going through a difficult breakup but I had no doubt she’d emerge generally unscathed. You know worried, but not concerned, if that makes sense. But then Queenie’s decisions took a much darker turn, which spiked my concern to an eleven and made the world go quiet. 

Jacket design by Donna Cheng
Jacket Illustration by Gerrel Saunders

I wasn’t prepared for the degree of vulnerability displayed on the page during those darker days, and it rendered me speechless. As in I couldn’t speak because I was crying too hard. The POV kept me inside Queenie’s mind, which meant I viewed her experiences and rationalizations in real time. Wow, those rationalizations. Queenie didn’t value herself, and watching her accept/excuse terrible behaviour in exchange for companionship were the parts that made me weep. They hit close to home. 

Things got worse before they got better and the plot took Queenie to places, both emotionally and physically, she wasn’t eager to go. Those places were necessary to visit in order to move forward though, and Queenie’s reluctant courage felt so very real. Carty-Williams’s ability to dig into the layered burdens of childhood trauma, mental health, and racism, blew me away. I’ll forever remember a scene with Queenie and her long-term white boyfriend’s family. Mostly because of course. I wanted to scream. And I'm a white lady.*

*Tip. If you're also a white lady and think this scene was exaggerated or "people don't really talk like that anymore" please open your eyes. They do. And if it happens in front of you, SAY SOMETHING FFS. Use that white face of yours. Furthermore, if you don't think anything was wrong with the scene, or support the "overreactive response" take, you've got some major work to do and I hope you reflect on what your reasoning means, and how it's majorly problematic and must stop. 

In conclusion, OH MY HEART THIS BOOK. I honestly haven't stopped talking about it. By including Black Lives Matter, the fetishizing of black women, and feminism, along with the above-mentioned mental health and childhood trauma, QUEENIE proved to be a bold, fresh novel that broke my heart and then put it (mostly) back together. Be prepared for surges of frustration via Queenie’s decisions, but the group texts with her friends and strong family relationships balanced out those downturns, so there were ample bright parts to the dark, the brightest being Queenie herself. Five stars all the way, QUEENIE is out now and a must read. 

Big thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC!


FingerPaints Black Expressionism, Paper Mâché, Iconic Orange

China Glaze – Good as Marigold and Truth is Gold

OPI – matte topcoat

So Nailicious – warrior brush


review and cover mani: the rule of one

The back jacket, from Goodreads:
In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.
In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.
She has an identical twin sister, Mira.
For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.
Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

It’s a real treat when I can read a book in a single sitting and with the crazier schedule I’ve had this year, I was extra appreciative to fall into THE RULE OF ONE so easily. With a quick pace and instant stakes, the tension began in the very first chapter because hello! This was a world where families could only have one child, but through resourceful means (thanks to their father’s lucrative and powerful government position) both Ava and Mira were able to attend school, trading places each day, and paying attention to any details the other would need in order to keep their switching seamless. And for eighteen years, they made it happen, until one fateful day when they were caught. 

*cues the dun dun duuuuuun*

Cover design by David Curtis

The fun part about THE RULE OF ONE was the lack of description in the back jacket. Vague teasers like “branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives” didn’t give any hints as to what obstacles the sisters would have to overcome and oooo wheeeee, friends, things got crazy. With only each other to rely on, the twins got a crash-course on survival and although there’d been enormous stress involved in trading places, their living circumstances were cushy and relatively protected, which meant they weren’t equipped for their off-grid journey. The setup for over-the-top tension (Where we they going? Would they make it? Who could they trust?) raised my expectations on how far Ava and Mira would be pushed, and while there were gruelling moments, they also caught a lot of breaks. It was still enjoyable, but I think there was a fair amount of untapped potential in regards to increasingly bleak complications that would’ve cranked my worry and anxiety up to eleven. A solid eight wasn’t too shabby, though. 

In university, I lived with a pair of twin sisters for years, and my favourite part of THE RULE OF ONE was the dynamic between Ava and Mira, because it reminded me of twins' special connection. Having a sibling reflect a mirror image can have ups and downs, and since these twins had to design their lives to be indistinguishable from each other, it opened up the floor for budding resentments. While on the run, Ava and Mira were finally able to be themselves (choosing different disguises instead of identical) but with frustrations and fear running high, it was only a matter of time before the sisters fell out of sync. Even while they fought to a survive against a government who wanted them dead, they never stopped being sisters, and their close relationship sometimes served as a help, but other times, a hindrance. Watching the ebbs and flows of their relationship gave THE RULE OF ONE a unique thread, which ultimately made the plot shine by adding complex emotion. 

All in all, THE RULE OF ONE was a fabulous read, and I’m psyched for the sequel THE RULE OF MANY, which hits shelves on May 7th. If you’re in the mood for some light dystopian YA fiction with a swift pace and dynamic characters, THE RULE OF ONE is the book for you!

Big thanks to Thomas Allen & Son for a finished copy!


For this mani, I used:

FingerPaints РBlack Expressionism and Paper M̢ch̩

China Glaze – Boujee Board, Too Yacht to Handle, Celtic Sun and Werk it Honey (blended together for base yellow), Emerald Bae, Queen B

OPI – I Just Can’t Cope-acabana, matte topcoat

So Nailicious – needle brush