Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5) by Laini Taylor & Jim Di Bartolo (Illustrator)

34733250
5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Night of Cake & Puppets
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5
Format: Hard Copy purchased from Book Outlet

Synopsis:
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.

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Review

Is it weird that this might be my favorite book in this whole series?

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) by Brigid Kemmerer {Review by Kayla}

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #1

Synopsis:
Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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Review

WHen I finished this book, it felt like I just came out of battle it was so intense.

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Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2

Synopsis:
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

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Review

Okay, so currently I’m trying to breathe and live because I just died after reading this story…

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

#-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1

Synopsis:
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

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Review

Caution: This book is dangerous… dangerously addictive.

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #1
Format: Hard copy purchased from Books a Million

Synopsis:
Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

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Review

Where do I even begin with my love for this book?

I’m a whore for Beauty and the Beast retellings, but up until I read this book, I always felt as though all of them were missing something.

I’ve always wanted to get inside the Beast’s head a little more. I wanted to see how the curse affected him mentally in the long-term. I also wanted to see the development of his relationship with Belle within the parameters of that.

Basically, I wanted a bit of torture and some epic hate-to-love.

And I got it with A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

Rhen

I have to start by talking about Rhen. First of all? That freaking name. I love all the names in this book, especially his.

Rhen is our Beast in this reimagining. He’s smart and calculating with a charming self-deprecating sense of humor that made me immediately fall in love with him.

But behind his seemingly light-hearted personality is a deep and very dark tortured soul. His pain, though, is buried so deep and has been festering for so long that it has manifested into resignation. He’s pretty much lost all hope that the curse will be broken after so many years of failure and loss.

I appreciate how Rhen is not perfect, but he’s learned from his (big) mistakes. He’s paid for those mistakes, though he may never feel it was enough.

Harper

Oh, Harper. I freaking love this version of Belle so much.

She’s a force to be reckoned with hidden in the body of someone who is constantly underestimated. Her disability doesn’t define her, even though many outside influences believe that it does.

I adored her low-key sense of humor. Her sarcasm and her witty, under-the-breath, pay-attention-or-you’ll-miss-it personality.

Watching her find herself and her strength when she’s thrown into this whirlwind situation was one of the most satisfying reading experiences I’ve ever had.

Gray

I mean, Gray is the ideal formula for a character I love:

Fiercely Loyal + Just a bit Grumpy + Quiet + Watchful = ♥ ♥

I think it’s Gray’s loyalty, against all odds, that makes me love him the most. Of course there is subtle humor there as well, which made me love him even more.

As far as the romance, like everything in this story, it was gradual and slow. I can see why some people felt that this book was slow or even boring, but it’s certainly a character-driven novel. It’s subtle and not action-packed, yet it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

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The Harvest by K.B. Benson (Call of the Sirens #1) {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: The Harvest
Author: K.B. Benson
Series: Call of the Sirens #1
ARC received for an honest review:

Synopsis:
Sometimes the most beautiful things grow in darkness.

Iris never expected to live her life trapped on land. Nor was she prepared for what she would find there. A siren isn’t supposed to fall in love with her prey.

When Jace moved to Santa Cruz, he never imagined he’d risk his life to protect a monster. He soon finds that ancient myth has become reality. And not every pretty face is what it seems.

After Iris sings her siren’s song to Jace — a hypnotic melody that leads men to death beneath the waves — both of their worlds are turned upside down. Will Iris give in to her bloodlust or will she turn her back on everything she’s ever known?

As the tide runs red with the blood of the Harvest, Iris must choose: save the life of the human boy she loves or sacrifice her chance at humanity forever.

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Review

This book was amazing and right up my ally!

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Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber *New Favorite*

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Finale
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #3
Format: Exclusive edition from Owlcrate

Synopsis:
Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

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Review

I’m just going to say it: Finale is my all-time favorite, well, finale to a series I’ve ever read. Ever.

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How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou #1) by Molly Harper

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: How to Date Your Dragon
Author: Molly Harper
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay’s career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they’re preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian’s first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can’t get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she’s seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon’s breath, which Bael just might turn out to be….

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Review

If you’re looking for a light, funny read, but aren’t in the mood for contemporary, I highly recommend this book.

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

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Review

It’d been awhile since I’d read fantasy novel and this was a great way for me to get back into the genre.

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Don’t Expect Magic (Magic #1) by Kathy McCullough {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

3-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: Don’t Expect Magic
Author: Kathy McCullough
Series: Magic #1

Synopsis:
Delaney Collins doesn’t believe in fairy tales. And why should she? Her mom is dead, her best friend is across the country, and she’s stuck in California with “Dr. Hank,” her famous life-coach father—a man she barely knows. Happily ever after? Yeah, right.

Then Dr. Hank tells her an outrageous secret: he’s a fairy godmother—an f.g.—and he can prove it. And by the way? The f.g. gene is hereditary. Meaning there’s a good chance that New Jersey tough girl Delaney is someone’s fairy godmother.

But what happens when a fairy godmother needs a wish of her own?

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Review

This wasn’t entirely a romance book but there was a tiny bit!

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