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.
Sugar Spells picks off sometime after the end of Deadly Sweet, with a new problem for Anise – apparently she now has death magic too, and it is leaking into her baking. Afraid of never being able to bake again, she engages the help of her friends, as well as an unlikely customer to get rid of her magic. Along the way, though, she also gets a way to free Wynn from his contract. The best part of this series is the fact that it keeps the cuteness contained in a serious plot, and still manages to give the latter considerable weight – the witch society’s indentured slavery is not something she agrees with, so she tries to change what she can. Also, another thing I like about it – it doesn’t go the expected route. The plot took me places I didn’t imagine would happen and the unique direction of the story had me loving this immensely.
Anise’s support system comes into good focus during this book – while we knew they were protective of her in the last one, this one shows a little more into the workings of the witch society around the Vortex. There is also a little about the necromancy parlor (I actually didn’t like this part much because Anise was practically being insulting about having death magic like it was something disgusting, and hello, you are standing in the house of people who wield death magic? Girl, time and place!), about the cryptid clinic (I loved this part, but I wish it had more to do with the main plot), then a little more about the non-witch population (complicated, as they treat them like second class citizens) and finally, some dimensional magic and a bit about familiars! I loved Anise’s approach to solving problems, as well as the whole contract thingy and how she navigates those issues, both hers and Wynn’s. Her friendship with Wynn gains more ground, as he finally realizes she was not just a privilege witch, but also an ignorant one, and starts to trust her.
Overall, it is an unexpected treat!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Inkmonster LLC, via Netgalley.
Releases on October 30, 2018