15.4.19

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.

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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!



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For this mani, I used:

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism and Paper Mâché

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







1.4.19

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.

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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!


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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