Book Review: “Sugar Spells” by Lola Dodge

Title: Sugar Spells (Spellwork Syndicate #2)
Author: Lola Dodge
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Target audience: NA (upper YA?)
Date Read: 30/10/18 – 06/11/18
Rating: ★★★

I have a pretty terrible memory for the details of books, and I read the first one back in March. But I’m pretty sure I liked this one even more than the first!

Lola Dodge’s culinary descriptions continued to make me drool and once again, the cover is really stunning. The way Anise’s magic is infused with the baking was also described in detail and Dodge was able to expand on the magic system she established in book one. We also got to see more of Blair’s necromancy and Gabi’s cryptoid veterinary clinic, both of which were enjoyable.

Character-wise, my favourite part was the burgeoning friendship between Anise and her bodyguard, Wynn. I love begrudging friendships! And this was definitely begrudging on Wynn’s part. We also got to learn how he ended up in his contract as Anise’s bodyguard and what that meant for him. I loved Anise’s attempts to help him and how he opened up as he realised she was genuine about it.

I never saw the twist coming, but in hindsight, I should have known something was up. And those are the best sorts of twists, I think. The different sub-plots of the story all wove together into the climax, and I ended up taking a longer lunch break than I should have to finish the book. From the sounds of it, it looks like book three in the series follows pretty closely from the events of this one, and I can’t wait until March to read it!


(Thank you to the Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review)

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WWW Wednesday – 7 November 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

It does not feel like Wednesday for me today! I worked on Saturday, saw a musical on Sunday and had Monday off, so it still only feels like Tuesday. 

But anyway, on with the questions! 

What did you recently finish reading? 

I finished Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge and it was delightful! I totally recommend this series for anyone looking for fun and cozy urban fantasy. My review will be up on Friday. 

I probably wasted enough time playing Super Mario Bros. 3 that I could have finished another book, but there it is. 

I posted reviews of Legendary by Stephanie Garber and Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann this week. Click the titles to read them. 

What are you currently reading?

Circus Hearts: All Aces by Ellie Marney. At the time of writing this post, I’m about 15% in and it’s taking me a bit longer to get into than the other two books in the series. I think that might be because I’m really still in the mood for fantasy, but I do need to get this ARC read. And I’m pretty sure once the romantic tension really starts to build (it’s already there a little bit), I’ll get into it properly. 

I’ve also been listening to All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, which is a very well done time travel book that asks some big questions about the ethics of time travel. I’m using my Audible membership to start books I have had on my TBR for a long time. This one has been there since 2015.

What will you read next? 

Next I’ll be reading Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost, because the sequel is a Read Now on Netgalley and I can’t resist a punny title (the sequel is called “‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas”). 

#WWW Wednesday – October 31, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

Has October dragged on for everyone else? It’s been three weeks since my last WWW Wednesday post, and the reason I wasn’t posting is because I felt like I hadn’t read anything. Which isn’t true, but I felt like I was in some kind of funk, even as I was getting through things. I’m not sure I’m making any sense whatsoever.

Anyway. Let’s get on with the questions!

What have you recently finished reading?

First of all, I finished my ARC of Unwritten by Tara Gilboy, and while I didn’t love it, I felt it was one that could be enjoyed by MG readers. You can read my review here.

Next I read Two Ways Strong: Jaz’s Story by the Deadly Mob from Concordia, Shallow in the Deep End by Tiwi College Alalinguwi Jarrakarlinga with Jared Thomas and Japarrika by Tiwi College Alalinguwi Jarrakarlinga with David Lawrence & Shelley Ware. These books came in a pack and were put out by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. They were written by Indigenous Australian students with help from mentors and all the proceeds go back to ILF. I wasn’t really sure how to review these so I haven’t written anything yet and I’m not sure that I will.

After that, I finished Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman and reviewed it here. It was tricky to review without spoiling the twist, but it’s definitely a well-written book with lots of social commentary.

Next, I  finished The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor on audio. This was a sweet book and got me quite emotional in the end! I reviewed it here.

Next was Legendary by Stephanie Garber, which was better than Caraval in my very humble opinion. I thought the plot of this one was better developed, and the stakes were higher, but I ended up being a bit disappointed about the reveal of Legend’s identity. It just didn’t seem very epic after all the build-up. 

Last but not least was Ruby Moonlight by Ali Cobby Eckermann, which was a very short verse novel and… I had a lot of mixed feelings about it which I will try to explore in my review. 

I also posted my review of Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel for those who are interested.

What are you currently reading? 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

I’ve just started Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge today. This is the second book in the Spellwork Syndicate series (I reviewed the first one here). I’m only about 10% in at time of writing this post but I am remembering what came before and already into the story, so that’s a good sign. Also I love the descriptions of baking witchcraft. And the covers are so stunning, I love them! 

What do you think you’ll read next?      

Circus Hearts: All Aces by Ellie Marney comes out tomorrow so I assume she’ll be sending ARCs to her review team very soon. I’m looking forward to seeing how this series winds up. Say what you want about self-publishing but getting the installments in a trilogy only a month apart from each other been awesome. 😀 

What are you reading this week? 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – March 21, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

Due to me having no time a couple of weeks ago and still alternating Wednesday posts between this blog and my writing blog, it’s been about three weeks since I last did a WWW Wednesday. I’ve finished a number of things, and am progressing through my March-April TBR quite nicely. But it does make for a bit of a long post! Sorry!

What have you recently finished reading? 

First up, I finished Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.  I enjoyed quite a few of the essays in here, particularly the way she explained her depression and the stories about Simple Dog and Helper Dog. I’m not going to get around to reviewing this one properly, but I would recommend picking it up if you enjoyed the HaaH blog.

Next, I finished my ARC of Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge. This was such a cozy urban fantasy mystery and I enjoyed it a lot. Though it did make me hungry. I want to hang out in Lola Dodge’s kitchen while she’s baking. My review is here.

The next one was Deep Storm by Lincoln Child, which I listened to. This was a sci-fi thriller, I guess. I found some of the ideas quite interesting, but it is in a third person omniscient style, and I found it a bit too detached to get interested in anyone.

On the same day, I finished an ARC of Daddy Dearest by Ellery Crane. This was a compelling thriller though there was one character where I couldn’t decide whether to sympathise with her considering how messed up she was, or whether I just thought she was completely irresponsible. So that did affect my enjoyment a bit. You can read my full review here.

Next I finished Call Me Sasha by Geena Leigh. This is Geena Leigh’s memoir of her time working in prostitution in Sydney. I’ve read a few books in this vein and it wasn’t my favourite. Though I think the audio book narrator also contributed to that because it sounded like she pouting at everything. You can read my review here.

A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester was my next read. This was a damn fine piece of historical romance, set in 1920s New York, and featuring young women bucking societal norms and also lots of Broadway. So I was sort of destined to like it. My review is here.

Last but certainly not least, I finished the audio book of The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. This was fascinating, and I’m already pretty sure will be one of my favourite books of this year. It is another historical fiction, set during the “War of the Currents” and featuring historical figures such as Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. I have never googled so many real events to find out more while reading a novel. My review will be up on Friday.

Phew! That’s it. Only seven books, but I do tend to go on a bit, don’t I? (I have actually been drafting this post for at least a week and adding books as I finished them, but it still feels like it took forever to write).

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve been reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, which is on my March-April TBR… I feel like the blurb promises one thing and the words between the covers go off in a completely different direction and I’m not sure how I feel about that. So I’m having a bit of a break from it.

In the meantime, I have started The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I’m not quite as into it as I was into The Last Days of Night. I think it’s little things like small Americanisms in the chapters set in Victorian London, and a fictitious descendent of Arthur Conan Doyle (I’m never sure how to feel about liberties taken with such recent historical figures). But I only started it last night and I’m  already a third of the way through, so there’ s that.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ve got Ready Player One by Ernest Cline out from the library. To be honest, the excerpts I’ve read, along with everything I’ve heard from people with similar reading tastes to me, suggest that it is pretty terrible, so the best I’m hoping for is “so bad, it’s good.” Yes, every now and then I like to rage-read a book, it’s true.

It will probably be another three weeks before I post a WWW again, as I am flying to Nepal on April 2! Eeeek! I won’t be reading much while I’m there, but I have a number of ebooks lined up to read on the flights!

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

“This warlock really should’ve checked out the women in my corner before she made me her target.” // Review of “Deadly Sweet” by Lola Dodge

Title: Deadly Sweet (Spellwork Syndicate #1)
Author: Lola Dodge
Genre:
Urban fantasy
Date Read: 19/02/2018 – 05/03/2018
Rating:
 ★★★★

Review:

Even if I had hated this book, I have to say that cover is going down as one of my all-time favourites. Just look at it. It is everything.

Now that I have that out of the way, this was also a really fun book! I loved the world-building: both the wider idea of the Vortex, and of witches being sneered at by wider society, and the more micro stuff, like the magical bakery. The descriptions made my mouth water every time. There’s also so much more that Lola Dodge can build on in subsequent books.

I also loved the characters. Mostly due to the way this world is set up, the majority of the characters are women, and I loved how much they support each other. Seeing how witches with different powers worked together was really awesome.

Sometimes the plot got a little predictable, or I didn’t feel like there was much going on. I did call the twist chapters before it happened, but predictability is not necessarily a bad thing. This book is nice and cosy. The kind of book I would hug if I had a physical copy and not an e-version. It made me feel happy reading it, and that is by any means a good sign. I also appreciated that it is very G-rated, even though the characters are all college-age or older. I don’t need steam in every book I read.

This was a really enjoyable book and definitely one you could curl up with and read in an afternoon (if you have more time than I currently do). I’m definitely watching out for the next book in this series.


Thank you to NetGalley and the Publishers for a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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#WWW Wednesday – February 28, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I didn’t post here last Wednesday as I have decided to alternate Wednesday posts between this blog and my writing blog. That way I might actually find time to visit fellow participants in each blop hop! So this post covers my last two weeks of reading.

What have you recently finished reading?

First up, I finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. While I had a couple of issues with the pacing and being able to keep track of a fairly large cast of characters, I thought this was a great insight into the life of a Black teenager in present-day America. I reviewed it in more detail here.

I also read Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen. This is the book form of the webcomic Sarah’s Scribbles. It is cute, though I think I like it better as an isolated comic I sometimes see on the Internet, rather than all of them packed in together.

Because of the amount of walking and hiking (and driving to the mountains) I’m doing to train for my trek in Nepal in April, I’ve finished many audio books! Though I haven’t necessarily loved many of them, they have been a good distraction when I have been walking uphill for four hours (I am not even kidding).

First I finished Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, which was fine, I guess. I felt the balance between the sci-fi elements and the fantasy wasn’t quite achieved, and most of the characters annoyed me, but I did like most of the world-building and the mythology. You can read my full review here.

Then I finished the audio book of Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. This was another 3-star book, as I felt it read more like a MG book, except it had more mature content in it. While it is the first in a series, it concluded enough that I’m not going to keep going.

After that was The Matchmakers by Jennifer Colgan. This was a cute fantasy romance about a cupid-type Fey who has to team up with a human to help three couples fall in love or they both lose their ability to love forever. I did enjoy this one.

And then there was Bootleg by Alex Shearer, which was a fairly short kids’ book about a Britain under control of the Good For You Party, which bans chocolate and all other sweets. This one was a bit silly but in the way you let slide when reading children’s books.

I’ve still got to get reviews written for most of these!

What are you currently reading?

I’ve had barely any time to read, what with hiking and actually finding inspiration for my own writing again, so I’m still reading the same ebook I started after The Hate U Give. It’s called Deadly Sweet and is by Lola Dodge, and even if I end up hating it (I am enjoying it so far), that cover is going to be one of my favourites of the year.

I am also reading Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. I am sure many of you remember the blog of the same title, which gave us such gems as The Alot and This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult (where “Clean all the things!” originated). The book is a mixture of some of the blog posts and some new content.

What do you think you’ll read next?

That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked it! I’m actually working on my March/April TBR right now! Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon are the two left over from my January-February TBR but knowing me I’ll probably get distracted by something else 😛

What are you reading this week?~ Emily