The Spellwork Syndicate, Book One
by Lola Dodge
Ink Monster, LLC
Anise 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 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?
Mix delicious cakes and frosting with spell-binding magic and adventure, add a pinch of intrigue and this is a treat readers won't want to miss.
Anise carries the perfect name—she wants nothing more than to be a baker with her own shop. Too bad, she's a witch and is shunned by anyone who notices. Colleges won't accept her, bakers don't want her. . .the only place she finds a job is decorating sheet cakes. When her silly magic gets the best of her, and she's about to end up in jail, a long silent aunt comes to her rescue. Anise escapes to an all witch area and finds her dream job as an apprentice in the town's most successful cake shop. But things aren't all sweets and dreamy spells as death knocks on her door and someone wants to kill her.
This author is slowly becoming one of my favorites as she adds yet another terrific tale to her list. Unlike the last one I read from her, a compelling science fiction series, this dive into flour and whisks has an entirely new flare. . .and sits. It's a delight to be submerged into a baking world and experience Anise's enthusiasm for cakes. (Who can blame her?) Her disappointments and mistakes make her human, while her excitement and determination make her easy to root for. She does make sometimes bad, gut decisions which aren't always thought out, but then, this is a YA novel.
Although there is action and scenes full of tension when Anise's life really is on the line, it's balanced out with a playful spirit of fun. There's never a boring moment and Anise has to fight for every success, big or small. Her group of friends is a little odd, and it's fitting to the scene. The witches are strange to Anise and presented that way to the reader. Trust isn't instant, but friendship is true and blue. It's just a matter of figuring out whose intentions are good and whose are not, which is not an easy task.
There's a special spice with Anise's bodyguard, and the relationship is refreshingly different. Lots of secrets still need to be exposed in this area as well as many others. In other words, book two promises to be just as intriguing.