Sugar Spells – By Lola Dodge

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Goodreads Synopsis: After her run-in with a jealous warlock, apprentice baker Anise Wise can’t wait to get back the kitchen where she belongs. But thanks to her brush with death, the land of the living isn’t all cupcakes and marshmallows.

Anise’s magical mojo is way out of whack and her evolving powers are stirring up trouble. As the town buzzes with news that Anise can bake deathly spells, unsavory characters start lining up for a taste. They’ll stop at nothing for the chance to use Anise and her witchcraft to further their own plots.

She plans to hole up researching magic recipes until the attention dies down, but then she discovers the horrifying terms of her bodyguard’s contract. Wynn has saved her life so many times, she can’t leave him trapped. But doing the right thing will mean risking death or worse—being cast out of her dream job.

For this witch, justice might not be as sweet as advertised.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

I was so excited to get an ARC of this book! I read Dodge’s Deadly Sweet last summer and fell in love with the world and the characters, so thank you so much to NetGalley for this book.

Sugar Spells picks up pretty much immediately after the first book, Anise is recovered from the events of the last book and starts trying to pick up her baking again. But it goes disastrously and she’s then banned from the kitchen. There’s a definite character shift in this book and honestly it wasn’t my favorite.  The first book is so cute and fluffy and so feel goody, and this book felt more angsty and I didn’t like it. I didn’t find myself sympathizing with Anise as much in this book and I’m not exactly sure why. I think part of it is her inability to think things through or ask adults to help her, which is something she did in the first book but for some reason forgot how to do in this one?

The world and the side characters all took a major backseat in this story which was disappointing. I love Anise’s aunt Agatha but she was barely in the book at all! Wynn is still a major character, and it was nice that he and Anise actually became friends in this book. But as a whole he annoyed me. I hate stoic, wordless cis male characters with a passion and Wynn is exactly that. Also the only thing Anise gets to bake with her death magic are macaroons which got old after awhile.  I wanted to see her try so much more with her death magic/cooking mix, but sadly it never happened.

The only thing that I really loved from this book is the introduction of Anise’s familiar Carrot, who is pretty cool and a lot of fun to read.

All in all I’m pretty disappointed in this book, and I’m unsure if I’ll read the third book in the series. I gave Sugar Spells 3 stars on Goodreads, but honestly it should be more like a 2.5 star rating.

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