Books · Reviews

Valentine’s Day Review – Night of Cake & Puppets (Spoiler-Free)

Hey internet! How’s it going? πŸ˜€

So I know what you might be thinking… “Erm, it’s not Valentine’s yet? What is she on about?” I’m aware of this. I’M AWARE. But the thing is, I wanted to dedicate the month of February to romance and love and all that jazz… (But mostly to all the delicious chocolate going around, shhh) Thus the thematic reviews are back!

If you haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, don’t worry. I won’t be mentioning anything about who these two are or about the trilogy. Also, check out my review of it here.

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Night of Cake & Puppets

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In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of one unique and fantastical first dateβ€”as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

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How to explain how this novella made me feel? Filled with love? Immersed in joy? Exploding with happiness? I don’t know. Possibly all three.

It’s no secret that I love Laini Taylor. She is an amazingly talented writer who not only has a magical style but also creates the most intricate and unbelievable worlds and characters.

So it was a no-brainer that I had to get my hands on this incredible snippet, which takes place right in between the second and third books of her Daughter and Smoke and Bone trilogy (which were emotional roller-coasters, by the way) and features one of the loveliest couples of all time. I adored them from the very first moment and yet was still blown away by this.

I was always intrigued about how these two really became a couple, because it is only mentioned in passing in the books. We get access to their relationship after it has developed, which is lovely in itself, but I was really curious about its early beginnings. This novella explores that period and it’s just so sweet and adorable, it melted my heart.

Remember the exact moment you fell in love with someone for the first time and the world just transformed into rainbows and sunshine and glory? No matter how dull it had appeared just a few hours before? Well, reading this novella was kind of like that. Like I was falling in love for the first time and being enamored with every single thing there was about this person… Book.

The two characters in this are honestly so interesting and I loved reading their inner monologues. One can really appreciate their knowledge of art, and how much it means to them – how it shapes them as people and ultimately how it brings them together. What they do is not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. And such a cool one, at that. They are such creative individuals with this joie de vivre that instantly makes you want to go see a ballet, a museum, a play, or just take two minutes to stop and listen to a street musician.

The fact that Laini Taylor’s husband, Jim Di Bartolo, is the person behind this book’s illustrations is just so cute. I mean, a couple working on a book about another couple’s story just screams goals to me and I think it turned out quite wonderful. It took me a while to get used to Bartolo’s style and it’s not how I imagined the characters to actually look like, but they were still very nice additions to the story and made it come to life in the loveliest of ways.

Don’t think this is just about romance, though. There’s also a different (though just as strong) type of love present: friendship. It was really sweet to witness these two besties fangirling with each and sharing so many adorable moments together, even if they were physically apart. They always had each other’s backs and supported one another like sisters and it was just so heartwarming. More than a love story, this was very much an ode to best friends also!

There’s not much else to say other than: go read this! It can probably be read as a standalone but are you really going to pass on Daughter of Smoke and Bone? No. So go read that one first and then come back. You won’t regret it.

Five nauseatingly sweet cupcakes!

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Thank you so much for reading and until next time!

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Hope you guys enjoyed this review! Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? What about this one? Which is your favorite couple? Let me know in the comments below! q^β€Ώ^ q

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75 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Review – Night of Cake & Puppets (Spoiler-Free)

  1. I haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone (actually has to look up your review for it and refresh my memory a bit). But this was the one that you liked until the end came and you didn’t really like that.
    This though, sounds much better😊 I think it’s even harder to come up with a good novella, as of course there are less pages to make it interesting. With the amount of books that I still have to read, I know I won’t be reading this anytime soon. But I’m glad you enjoyed reading it so much…and as usual your layout is beautiful again. Awesome post! 😊

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    1. Oh yeah… That was a bit of a disappointment! But I loved the whole trilogy and got used to the twist in the end 😊
      I thought this one was really sweet and a real treat for fans of the series and of those two characters in particular.
      I know, I know, but it means a lot that you’ve read my review of it! It’s one of those things where you would probably want to read the other books first and they’re quite big ^^’
      Thank you so much, Michel ❀️ 😊

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Hahaha I actually am the opposite! For some reason, I always manage to read books out of order and still make perfect sense of them. Sometimes they even end up being my favorite type of read! Something about skipping the “boring” beginnings and getting straight to the action just appeals to me πŸ˜›
          Of course it doesn’t always work out for the best but I’ve had more positive experiences than negative ones so far 😁

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of Laini’s books yet (I know. It’s terrible, isn’t it?) I love the way you’ve described this book though. I need to add it to my TBR list.

    I have very mixed feelings on Valentine’s Day, but I never have a problem with extra chocolate being around πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You definitely should!! I think you would love them to be honest… Laini is such a good writer 😍
      Any day where I get to have extra yummy chocolate is as good as any! πŸ˜› Personally, my boyfriend and I don’t even celebrate it all that much, it’s just another excuse to something nice for the other person, which we already do on other days. And it’s not like we need a significant other to do that, we can treat ourselves 😁❀️
      Still, I love romance so I thought why not take advantage of it? πŸ˜‰

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  3. You’re enticing me into reading this series. I love books that make me want to go out and do something in real life. So when you mention that the book “instantly makes you want to go see a ballet, a museum, a play, or just take two minutes to stop and listen to a street musician,” that appeals to me. Great review. I’ll have to pick up this series before long. πŸ™‚

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    1. Yay, my job is complete! πŸ˜€ This is one of those series I will probably rave about for the rest of my life. And all of the books (but especially the first and this one) have that quality of making you want to leave your house and go explore the world.
      Most of the series takes place in Prague and I’ve never wanted to visit a place so much before! Laini made it sound so absolutely gorgeous and real, as if I was there myself ❀️ Have you ever been, Diana?
      Thank you so much! I really can’t wait to hear what you think about it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dani! Zuzana and Mik are the most adorable thing ever ❀️ (well maybe after Karou and Akiva but they’re a different kind of adorable hahaha)
      I know right? Please do read it, it’s very short but packs a punch! 😊

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  4. I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone forever ago – and though I LOVED Laini’s writing because it is GORGEOUS, the romance left me a little cold (sorry!). It just felt kind of insta-lovey to me in a way that might have dissipated if I’d continued with the series, but I didn’t. A blogger friend of mind recently re-read though, and said that on second reading, knowing how everything was going to play out in advance, it didn’t seem to instant to her any more…. which made me want to give it another go. Maybe I will! I still have it kicking around in my house somewhere…

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    1. Isn’t it?? It enchanted me from the very first page and I could never find any other like it… Still searching!
      Don’t worry, I felt that way about the romance at first too but it grew on me. Your friend is right, it does make sense in the end and everything comes together beautifully. Now I find them so lovely together, both couples ❀️
      Please do!! It honestly becomes so amazing and the romance takes a bit of a backseat while the plot develops like crazy. It takes your breath away.
      I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it, Lydia! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha this one is just as sweet as chocolate, I guarantee it πŸ˜‰
      I absolutely recommend it! And I’m sure it’ll be super worth it in the end. If you love the first book (which you will) you will find yourself in the biggest roller-coaster of your life ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohh, I love how you do themes on your blog based on upcoming dates. For Valentine’s Day I’m almost expecting to see loads of fluffy contemporary books with great romances being reviewed on your blog Sophie! πŸ˜€ I also don’t think you could have picked a better book to start off with either. Laini Taylor is one of my favourite authors, anything she writes is going to be an automatic add to my to-read list, and I loved Night of Cake and Puppets. Zuzana and Mik were two of my favourite characters in the series and I loved being able to read their story in this book. I got the special edition as soon as it was released but still have yet to read it (the whole of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series is on my must-re-read list so I want to get around to it soon!)
    Great review. πŸ™‚ ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks Beth! That’s lovely to hear ❀️ I have so much fun with them πŸ˜„
      I’m hoping to review a few contemporaries yeah, but I don’t know how many because that’s not the genre I usually go for. However, I’m using the opportunity to broaden my bookish horizons 😊 So we’ll see! πŸ˜‰
      Right?? That woman is such a genius, I don’t know how she does but my God, I love her ❀️
      Ah I hope it’s as enchanting for you as it was for me! A reread is definitely a great idea, and it’ll make this one even more special πŸ˜„
      Thank you so much, Beth! I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I’ll keep my fingers crossed you enjoy them more than you think! I discovered some great contemporary books through blogging and despite never being as much into it as I am fantasy it’s now a favourite genre of mine. πŸ™‚
        I hope so, and yes Daughter of Smoke and Bone is next on my re-read list! πŸ˜€
        That’s all right. πŸ™‚ ❀

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        1. Thank you!! I’m the same, fantasy is my absolute jam hahaha
          I’m currently reading Isla and The Happily Ever After (yes, I’m reading the third book in the series before reading the others πŸ˜‚) and actually really like it so far? I’m around 65% and pretty engaged! So I hope it stays that way until the very end.
          If there are any contemporaries you would like to recommend me please do! Or if you have a GR shelf for it, I’d love to check it out 😊

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s all right, and yeah can never beat fantasy! πŸ˜€ Oh Isla and the Happily Ever After is a great book, in fact that whole series is great so I hope you get around to the other two afterwards.
            I don’t have a GR shelf specifically for contemporaries but some authors I’d highly recommend are Kasie West, Morgan Matson, Becky Albertalli and Jandy Nelson. They’re some of my all time faves! πŸ˜€

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  6. This novella sounds fantastic! I have yet to read this series, but it is one that I have had my eye on. There’s something about a great love story that just draws me right in and it does sound like the perfect Valentine’s Day kind of read. I will have to add it to my TBR. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! I think you would love it (how could you not??) and the romance is especially sweet. The plot is also super well developed and will leave your mouth hanging open.
      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it! 😊❀️

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    1. Oh you definitely should! This is just a delightful little snippet, and of course nothing less could have been expected from Queen Laini but she still managed to surprise me anyway ❀️
      Thank you so much, Rendz! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have yet to read anything by Laini Taylor πŸ™‚ but then again, romance doesn’t really work for me, a lot of the time πŸ˜€ I got for only very specific romance stories, and I don’t even know which particular kind those are myself πŸ˜€
    Oh yeah, that IS very cute that her husband worked with her on the book πŸ™‚ goals indeed!
    Great review πŸ™‚

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    1. Aaahh that’s a mortal sin!! Just kidding πŸ˜› But really, you need to try the series it’s soooo good! It’s not all romance, and it does have a very compelling storyline and amazing world building. If you like fantasy, you will love it for sure!
      I’m the same. I only like very specific types of romance and what worked for me once might not work again. There’s no right or wrong formula, it really depends…
      Isn’t it?? Two talented people getting together just sounds phenomenal 😊 Thank you so much, Evelina! ❀️

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  8. I wanted to dedicate my February to romantic reading, too, but so far I didn’t have any luck. Oh well, the month it has just started so I have hope.
    I am happy that you enjoyed this one, because reading your review was a pleasure, even if I won’t read this book. I love the author’s writing, I really love it, but I simply dislike her book. I liked the first half of the first one a lot, and then… no more. I DNF the series after reading the second one and it was a struggle so I just gave up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, you still have time! Don’t give up πŸ˜‰
      Aw thank you so much Susy ❀️ You’re so sweet!
      That’s a shame… I’m glad you at least enjoyed her writing, that’s wonderful πŸ™‚ Though I understand her books may not be for everyone.
      Maybe try Strange the Dreamer? I’ve heard it’s incredibly whimsical and wonderful 😊
      Hope you get to read some nice romances soon!

      Like

  9. I always seem to be reading out of order too….and sometimes backward in a series. I love books with amazing world building. Fab review! I would love to read it!

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  10. That is so sweet indeed to be working on a book together! Oww… I don’t really like this cover though, it’s too dark for such sweetness… but I saw they have a great colored one with him in blue (on the back) and her in pink (on the front of the book)! Great sweet review!

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    1. Isn’t it? It made the whole thing even more special 😊
      Hmm I get your point! I think it’s gorgeous but it doesn’t give as much contrast as the white one and certainly doesn’t give the impression of a happy/sweet story, which this one surely is!
      Thank you so much, Inge ❀️❀️

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  11. Great review Sophie!! I never finished the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series – I read book 1 and never read the other two but I don’t know why because I really liked the first! So glad to hear you loved this novella. The cover looks so pretty!! πŸ˜€

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    1. Thank you, Laura! ❀️ Oh I think you’d love the sequels️ (the second one is especially intense!) and you can’t really leave the series unfinished when you liked it so much!
      I know right? It screams “artistic content inside” to me hahaha

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  12. YES!πŸ˜†πŸ˜πŸ’‹I’m so glad you dedicate the month of February to romance and love! I love romance!! I read the trilogy but unfortunately haven’t had the pleasure of reading Night of Cake & Puppets yet. I’m definitely bumping it up the list after this awesome review!!! ughhh I can’t believe I still haven’t read it. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, Sophie.
    -Helena πŸ’‹ xoxo

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    1. Thanks Helena! I’m glad you feel the same way πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•πŸ’• Expect more romantic content soon!
      Oh you definitely need to do it ASAP! ! It’s such a gorgeous little tale 😍
      Thank you, hon, and you too! Thank you for your lovely comment, it made my day πŸ€—β€οΈβ€οΈ

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  13. You’ve just reminded me that I need to read this. I read the series but not this companion novel and I know I need to read it. I love that series so darn much. One of my favorite ever.

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  14. I am glad you could love this little novella and really appreciate the romance in it. Oh, and I totally approve of a month of romance reads! I have to say, I’m always nervous and skeptical when it comes to novellas in a series because sometimes I feel like they don’t contribute or add much to the bigger picture of the series? But you sounded incredibly satisfied with this one so I can tell that isn’t the case here!

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    1. Yes, I’m the same but I thought this was a great one to showcase two very solid relationships and also expand the universe a little bit further. Not significantly, but more like a fan treat or a collector’s edition or something. It’s meant for fans who would love to get some extra DoSaB in their hearts 😊 Either way, super worth it! And definitely can be read by non-fans as well, it will just be a bit confusing at times but nothing too bad.
      And thank you for being on board for the month of romance reads! I hope you enjoy your ride 😁❀️

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  15. Great idea to dedicate February to romance. Ahh yes I remember that you love Taylor- she’s so brilliant. I adored these characters too. I’ve wanted to read this for ages- so glad it lived upto expectations and was so adorable πŸ˜€ (I expected as much πŸ˜‰ ) I love how you said reading this was like falling in love and I adored art aspects in daughter of smoke and bone- cool this had it too. And gosh yes to Taylor’s portrayal of friendship. Beautiful review!

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    1. Ah yay! Glad to hear you like it πŸ˜€
      Yes, very expectations worthy. At least in my opinion! It was such a cute little story, I find it hard for anyone to dislike it.
      Yes, Taylor continues to explore that here and in a way less subtle way, which I loved! The friendship was just the cherry on top for me 😊
      Thank you so much! ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love that you’re dedicating the month of February for love, romance, and most importantly chocolate! I remember falling in love for the first time – it was with my hubby, almost seven years ago! It’s great to hear that this book was so special and enjoyable for you! I also think it’s great that this was about friendship as well as love. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Thank you, Heidi, I’m so glad you think so! I know it’s cheesy but I’m one big ball of cheese πŸ˜‚
      Aaww that’s so sweet! I love that, it makes me happy to see there’s so much love in the world πŸ’•πŸ’• You’re one of the lucky ones!
      It was and yes, that was such a nice bonus I couldn’t stop smiling πŸ˜„ Thank you and I hope you do too, if you decide to pick it up!

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      1. No worries! Being a big ball of cheese is not a bad thing. πŸ˜€

        I do feel very lucky to have him in my life. πŸ™‚

        From your recommendation I do have The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy on my TBR, so maybe I’ll go ahead and add this one, too.

        Happy Valentine’s Day!

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  17. Oh I’ve been dying to read this one! I love the cover and the illustrations i’ve seen are so wonderful. Mik and Zuzana are seriously goals and apparently Laini and her husband are also goals if they worked on this one together. HOW SICKENINGLY ADORABLE. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. It sounds like the perfect little love story. And I love the way Laini manages to work in an appreciation for the arts through her characters. Can’t wait to read this one and fall in love too! Great post, Sophie!

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    1. Hahaha I love your reaction πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Indeed!! They melted my heart and made me question life itself. So amazingly adorable and artsy ❀️
      Laini is certainly a master influencer hahaha
      Good luck! Although you won’t need it because this novella is divine 😍
      Thank you, hon! ❀️

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