Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge// Book Review

Title: Deadly Sweet

Series: Spellwork Syndicate (book 1) 34970554

Author: Lola Dodge

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Mystery

Release Date: January 16th, 2018

My Rating: 4/5

I received Deadly sweet after requesting a review copy from Netgalley. I want to thank the publishers for approving my request. All of my reviews are my own honest thoughts and opinions. I write my reviews first and foremost to benefit readers.

My Description:

Anise Wise is a witch who has been discriminated against and ostracized because of her powers her whole life. All she wants to do is bake, but after being rejected from every pastry school she has applied to because they won’t accept magic users, she takes a chance and emails an estranged relative she has never known who owns the only magical bakery in the country, desperately hoping for a chance to prove herself. When Great Aunt Agatha invites her to become her new apprentice and join her in the magic friendly town of Sedona, Anise is overjoyed at the thoughts of all her dreams coming true. But her biggest worry turns out not to be impressing her fellow bakers but avoiding being kidnapped or assassinated in the process. Who is trying to kill her? What do they want? And will her Grumpy, narcoleptic bodyguard ever speak more than two words to her?

Goodreads Description: Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spell books in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch in the suburbs, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Unfortunately, witches have a bad rep, and Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with each rejection letter.

Then her great aunt Agatha pops out of the woodwork with a sweet offer. If she signs on as Agatha’s apprentice, Anise can have all the training and ingredients she’s ever imagined, and she’ll inherit the family bakery.

The catch? Studying with Agatha means moving to Sedona—a dangerous otherworldly power center where her aunt is a key player in the magical community’s shady dealings. And the last apprentice? Assassinated.

Now Anise is next on the hit list. If she can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brulee.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?

Like it? Love it? Hate it?

I really REALLY liked this book! I was in a bit of a reading slump (I know it’s only January!) but this book was perfect for getting me out of it. It had all the elements I liked: Magic, Sweets, and a little bit of mystery! It kept me hooked, I practically finished it in one afternoon, without the worry of it destroying my emotions. What I liked the most that I felt set it apart from other YA Fantasy books that are popular is that it wasn’t a book where the entire fate of the world or the entire species seems to be on person or small group. I was guessing throughout the first half of the book who I thought the culprit would be but around the second half of the book, I was sure I knew. It wasn’t a hard mystery but the clues are not overtly obvious, so you could still be guessing until right before it’s revealed. The characters were realistic and interesting, the protagonist wasn’t obnoxious or whiney at least. Strong focuses on social belonging, family, and career goals makes this a wholesome read for Teens and Adults alike. The story wasn’t childish but also wasn’t offensive. AND IT WAS FUN! I think that is an element that I find has been dropped in many YA Fantasy series. They tend to be more intense than fun. I honestly can’t wait until the second book In the series comes out so I can see where Anise’s story goes next.

Critiques? Disappointments?

I wanted more magic. While there was a taste of different magics and power levels in the first book. I’d love to see more magic involved, especially in Anise’s baking. But the blurb for the second book hints that there will be a lot more about Anise’s magic in the second book, so that should be perfect. Also, I’m trash and really ship Anise and Wynn, despite there being almost no indication that will ever happen. So……There’s that.

Conclusion: Deadly Sweet was a fun “witchy” mystery that everyone can enjoy. Cute characters, light mystery and no strong romance in this book for anyone not looking for that kind of thing. I love this world that Lola has built and I hope to be introduced to more of it in the next book of the series. I’m not sure if the Spellwork Syndicate is planned to be a short or long series, personally I think it would work as a longer series of books because it is light enough to stay interesting for a good amount of books.

Should you read it? I vote YES! There is no reason not to read this book. The story was cute, light and interesting. Enough candy references to give anyone a sugar high and I’m really glad the cute cover caught my attention and made me request this book.

Deadly Sweet will be out on January 16th. Tomorrow, from the time this is published. It is a fun, quick read so you should definitely take a break from all the other intense, heartbreaking books you have on your tbr and give this one a read.

Do you have a massive sweet tooth like Anise? I do! What is your favorite snack to keep on hand while you read? Mine is Pistachios if I’m being healthy and Sour Punch straws if I’m not.

Thanks for reading!


  1. […] I originally received this book from Netgalley to review after the pretty cake caught my interest. I love reading about witches and sweets so It was a no-brainer! This book was actually very good and I wish I didn’t have to wait almost a year for the next book in the series! One of those series that makes you love the characters and just want to live in the town with them. You can read my full review HERE […]


  2. […] The Spellwork Syndicate while definitely not boring, is also about a witch! This series is a kind of cozy mystery series. Anise is a young adult witch who has always dreamed about going to culinary school and starting a magic bakery. She ends up working in her estranged aunt’s magical bakery but keeps getting in the middle of trouble. In the first book, witches from notable families are disappearing and she is afraid she might be next! This series gives me the same cozy witch feel but with added mystery and danger! You can read my review of the first book in the series, Deadly Sweet, Here! […]


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