Mini Review for Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

34733250Night of Cake and Puppets
By: Laini Taylor Illustrated by: Jim Di Bartolo
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date- as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely looooved this novella! It had been far too long since I’d been in this world. I always loved Zuzana and Mik so reading how they got to know one another and their first date was so much fun.Now, in all honesty, I still haven’t read the last of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I know, its awful. You see, I love these books so much I couldn’t say goodbye. I pre-ordered the book and it’s been sitting on my shelf just waiting for me. I just can’t do it yet. I don’t want to say goodbye. Reading this novella really got me back into it though so I think I might just pick it up soon

NoCaP was written just as beautifully as the books were and the advanced reader copies did have some of the artwork. A lot wasn’t finished but I know in the hardcover it’ll be beyond amazing. I loved having little illustrations as I read. I fell so in love with Taylor’s writing all over again. I read Strange the Dreamer recently and it was incredibly written but it does have a much more serious aura than these books. I had forgotten how funny Laini Taylor was! I laughed out-loud and I want to know these characters. They are all so unique and clever.

NightofCakeandPuppets
For all of those new to this series- you can totally read this first if you want! It doesn’t give away any major spoilers and it’s a great introduction to the world and writing style. This review can’t be long since this is a novella but just know that this is a must read! Go forth and pre-order.

You Need This Book- An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

 

AEoRIG

I was lucky enough to attend a book  conference last month and was able to get an early copy of An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. I had to pick it up to read immediately because the title! the cover! the summary! This is a debut novel and a standalone. It was instantly immersive and the writing was so vivid and descriptive I could easily picture the characters and world. I fell in love with the characters and just…I LOVE this book. It’s five stars for me and I want everyone to add it to their to be read list. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.

Now About the Book

AnEnchantmentofRavensAn Enchantment of Ravens
By: Margaret Rogerson
Release Date: September 26th 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Summary:
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Last Thoughts

Some of you might think…hmm…that summary seems a little bit….ACOTAR…but never fear! This book is drastically different. Yes, the main character is an artist and it takes place in the fae world but that’s where, to me, the similarities end. I do think that Maas fans will love this book and fall as in love with Rook and Isobel as I did. Can I just say I am THRILLED that there are more and more books featuring the fae. They are some of my favorite types of characters to read about.

And, that cover- it was designed by Charlie Bowater!! I want all the art related to this book.

 

Blog Tour- Review for Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Welcome to the Strange the Dreamer blog tour! I’m the first stop and I’ll be sharing my attempt at a review. There are some books that seep into your veins and you aren’t the same after reading them- Strange the Dreamer is one of these books. I don’t feel I’m fully adequate to express myself in a review but below is my attempt. But first, let’s take a look at the book and author…

About the Book

StrangeTheDreamerStrange the Dreamer
By: Laini Taylor
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary:
A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

ABOUT LAINI TAYLOR:

Laini Taylor_Author Photo_AliSmith creditLaini Taylor is the New York Times bestselling author of the global sensation the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy: Daughter of Smoke & BoneDays of Blood & Starlight, and Dreams of Gods & Monsters, and the companion e-novella, Night of Cake & Puppets. She is also the author of the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the highly acclaimed Lips Touch: Three Times, a National Book Award finalist. Her newest book, Strange the Dreamer, is the first in a stunning new epic duology. Laini lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter Clementine.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

My Review

StrangeIG

I am a long time fan of Laini Taylor’s work and couldn’t wait to get my hands on Strange the Dreamer. It lived up to every single expectation I had for it. Beautifully written, magical and a story that left me breathless. I don’t know how Taylor creates such detailed and exquisite worlds. And her characters! Just wow- Lazlo is real to me now as are all the population of Weep.

We follow Lazlo on his journey from junior librarian to Weep. He’s had a lifelong obsession with Weep and the idea of magic. To watch him realize that dream and get to experience what he’s wanted to for so long was wonderful. He also has such character growth as the story progressed. I loved reading from his view point and seeing this intricate world from his eyes.

The mystery around the city of Weep kept me completely mesmerized. I became just as enamored with it as Lazlo. I needed to know what all had happened in Weep’s past just as he did. The characters we meet in Weep are so well developed and detailed. I love the mix of dreamers, gods and myths in this book. It all ties so beautifully together.

Beyond just how intoxicating the characters and story are the writing itself is something else entirely. I can’t think of any other author that can write like Taylor can. Her words are literally magic. And because of this magical writing this book will cast a spell on you. It’s a long one- with a lot of characters and world building and you’ll want to savor it. Don’t go into this thinking it’ll be a quick read. You’ll want to take your time and really bask in the words and world.

In short- read this book as soon as possible.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
3/20: My Friends Are Fiction – Review
3/21: Alexa Loves Reading – Bookish Style Files
3/22: Mundie Moms – Review
3/23: What Sarah Read – Review
3/24: Reading Teen – Review

Week 2:
3/27: No BS Book Reviews – Makeup Collage
3/28: YA Bibliophile – Review
3/29: The Irish Banana Review – Review
3/30: Quite the Novel Idea – Review
3/31: Fiction Fare – Review

 

Review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber

caravalCaraval
By: Stephanie Garber
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Flatiron
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval—Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

My Thoughts:
This book was so beautifully written and the story- gah I loved every word. Caraval has easily became one of my favorite books ever. I can’t wait for everyone to read it and love it too. I loved the magical atmosphere Garber infused into this book. It truly felt mysterious and the world was so beautifully described. Scarlett sort of sees emotions in bursts of colors and this gave the book something unique and magical. All of the descriptions were so vivid and lush. Tell me this doesn’t make you want to cozy up with this drink…

Browned suger and melted butter with hints of cream and toasted cinnamon. It tasted like the best parts of the Cold Season, mixed with just a hint of heat. ARC page 188

The story was told from Scarlett’s point of view. She was the older sister and felt a responsibility to take care of her younger sister- Tella. Tella feels she needs to get the most out of her life and struggles with how responsible Scarlett is. Their father was cruel and a really intimidating villain to me. He smells of overripe plums and so when the color purple, or plums are mentioned I actually felt anxiety. I feared what he’d do to the girls which amped up the tension. When one sister stepped out of line he’d punish the other sister since he knew their love for one another would hurt more than personal physical punishment. He was manipulative and vindictive.

Early on, Scarlett gets thrown in with the character of Julian. He’s instantly likeable to me even though he seems untrustworthy. But, I couldn’t help but fall for his charm. These two are unlikely companions throughout the novel. Julian had insider knowledge of the game and so he helps Scarlett along her path to find her sister. You never exactly know if Julian was telling the truth and we are left as in the dark as Scarlett on whether to trust him or not.

I loved that Caraval was as foreign to me as it was to Scarlett. I journeyed with her through all the twist and turns. I never knew exactly what was real and what wasn’t. I would think I had something figured out then that would get thrown out. As Scarlett encounters characters I never knew if they were good/bad/ neutral. I didn’t know who to trust.

The character of Legend was incredibly mysterious. I don’t even know what to make of him- what exactly are his motivations? Is he purely evil? I just don’t know! I can’t wait to learn more in the next book. The open ended questions are intriguing rather than frustrating. I was riveted completely and I feel that this world could be explored so deeply and there are so many characters that could have their own stories written about.

I loved every detail Garber included, each character (even tiny side characters) and it all flowed so perfectly and created such an immersive reading experience. It all felt very initial and it was evident the author knows her world and has many other twists up her sleeves.

caravalpic

Final Thoughts:
I am in love with the game of Caraval, the world, the characters and the writing style. Give me all of Stephanie Garber’s words please.

Review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crookedkingdom Crooked Kingdom
By: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 27th 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

My Thoughts:
This book was beyond fantastic. I am unable to really articulate how much I loved this book. It is no surprise to anyone that follows me on Instagram or Twitter but I am such a fan of Bardugo’s writing. I have loved each of her books and think that Crooked Kingdom might be my absolute favorite.

Bardugo takes her readers much deeper into each character’s backstory in CK. We get so much more development and understanding about each of their pasts. I found these bits so incredibly emotionally moving. I don’t cry often in books but this one had me in tears several times. I have such a deep love for each character I am still not over how heartbreaking it was to see this series end.

Though I love each, Kaz has got to be my very favorite. There’s just something about him that pulls me in- I love how even with how tragic his past was he still has the capacity for kindness (in his own twisted way). I love a character that straddles good and evil and Kaz did this. I never knew exactly what he’s capable of which always keeps me guessing.

Once again the city of Ketterdam was a living and breathing place. Bardugo was capable of putting so much detail into her descriptions I felt like I was there (not always a good thing!) Her descriptions of each character’s relationship to the city helped to color the setting and give it life. Since the stakes are so incredibly high the pacing was fast and I flew through the pages. I tried to savor this read but I found myself progressing far too quickly. I wanted it to never end.

The novel had an amazing finish and most of the character’s story lines had closure. There was however a character that didn’t get a full ending so I’m hoping that well see more in the future. I can’t accept that Bardugo is done with Ketterdam and its citizens.

One question I’ve been asked several times- do you need to read the Grisha series before Six of Crows? Well, I think you completely could but you will miss some of the backstory of the world and some characters do cross over. I feel that every reader should dive into both series and I personally prefer to read in publishing order though technically you could read SoC prior to the Grisha books.

crookedkingdomsig

Final Thoughts:
Crooked Kingdom was an impeccable finish to Six of Crows. I can’t really complain about any aspect (even my tears) and I only hope that Bardugo weaves a couple of The Dregs into her future stories.

Now tell me- how do I live without more Kaz stories? The only thing I’ve found to fill the void left by this series ending was to purchase SoC/CK merchandise. I thought I’d share some of my favorite things…

cktote ckcandle

Crooked Kingdom Tote by Evie Seo
No Mourners No Funerals Candle by Lumiere Candle Shop
No Mourner No Funerals Art Print by Her Bookish Things