Review: Deadly Sweet (Book #1: The Spellwork Syndicate Series) by Lola Dodge

Deadly SweetAnise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad no one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.

Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.

The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.

If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley and Purchase          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

HELL YES!!!!  This is my first Lola Dodge read and I am ever so glad to have started with such a fun and exciting book 😊

Anise Wise is a witch.  Anise Wise lives in a world where witchcraft is known, recognized, and generally feared by those with no magic of their own.  As a result, Anise has spent her entire life hiding who she is and what she is capable of.  With very little formal training, Anise doesn’t have the best control over her magic and from time to time it leaks out.  With each leak, Anise and her mother are forced to pack their bags and find a new place where no one knows who and what Anise really is.  Unfortunately, her latest leak isn’t a small bit of nothing, but a tremendous display of power that lands her in jail and facing a lifetime behind bars.  With nothing else to do but run, Anise runs to the one place she will undoubtedly be safe, the magical vortex in New Mexico.

New Mexico is a haven for witches and Anise is taken in by her great aunt, Agatha, a powerful and wealthy witch who owns the only magical bakery in the US.  Anise feels stronger near the vortex and her aunt is offering her a chance to fulfill her dream of becoming a baker.  Anise’s magic runs toward enchantment and baking, like her aunt, a rare gift Anise is hoping to hone in New Mexico.  With the threat of prison behind her (isn’t magic awesome?) Anise is able to work in her aunt’s bakery, enroll in culinary school, make friends with other witches, and not fear her secret will be discovered.  It seems like the perfect life, the life Anise has always wanted with the exception of two things, her surly bodyguard, Wynn, and the fact someone is trying to kill her.

Anise is certain the death threats have nothing to do with her past, but she can’t imagine what she’s done in her present to incite such anger and hatred.  She hasn’t been in New Mexico long enough to piss off anyone, yet the attempts on her life just keep coming.  What’s more, the threats and attempts are coming from an incredibly powerful source that is determined to succeed.  Anise’s aunt and the other members of the Spellwork Syndicate must combine their own strength and power to defeat the evil seeking to claim Anise’ life.  What no one counts on, including the Syndicate, the big bad, and Wynn is Anise’s own abilities, determination, and will to live.  In combination, Anise is a force to be reckoned with and she certainly doesn’t want anyone dying just to save her life. 

The Bottom Line:  What a fun way to be introduced to a new-to-me author!  I totally judged this book by its awesome cover and what I found behind the cover was an interesting, exciting, and quirky read.  Anise is a young character with plenty of room to mature and develop as the series matures and develops.  I liked Anise immediately and only grew to like her more as her words and actions indicated her strength, compassion, loyalty, and determination.  Anise is willing to work just as hard for herself as she finds others are willing to work on her behalf.  She takes nothing for granted and fights for the things and people she holds dear.  The plot, characters, and language are all perfectly written for YA readers, but I would recommend this read to all readers YA and above.  It’s fun, quirky, and entertaining, and I have already ordered the second book in the series set to release in late 2018 😊

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