Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 296 (Paperback)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Magic | Fantasy
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from August 4 to 13, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781503935600 
(Paperback)
Cups:
3 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and 47North for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

At first glance this is definitely my kind of book – magic, fantasy, ghosts, etc… But when I first started reading this book it turned out to be quite different from what I first thought. It ended up being a little bit more complex than a simple fantasy and magic book and in a way I really enjoyed it. But I think that since I was expecting something different, I ended up not fully appreciating Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet.

This book is about Maire, a young woman who doesn’t remember anything from her past but has a gift: she can infuse her cakes with whatever sort of emotion she wants. One day she’s capture by a band of raiders and sold as a slave to this stranger named Allemas. He wants her for her power, making her cook and selling her talents. At the same time, Maire is being visited by a ghost who might hold the key to her past. 

Maire was a character that I really enjoyed. At first the fact that she doesn’t know anything about her past might be a little uncomfortable but you get to know it with her, at the same time as Maire. And she’s a strong character; with Allemas she does through so much but never once falters and keeps going, keeps surviving.

The ghost, Fyel, is an enigma. It’s certain he knows Maire and that he could help her remember. But he can’t tell her everything, always speaking in riddles and never once giving her a straight answer. He can’t, actually. At first you don’t really know what to make of him but as the story unfolds and Maire begins to slowly remember her past, we also begin to understand who Fyel is.  

As for Allemas, at the end I wasn’t expecting his true identity, his true propose. During the whole book he is this strange man who seems to be having a battle with himself. Almost like a child in a grown-up man’s body. But the truth is so different from what I could come up with. It explained a few things about him but others I was left a little bit in doubt.

The story on itself was deep and complex, not at all what you first thing when you start reading the book. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet ends up being a book about something far greater and grander than simple magic. It is magic, but a different kind of magic that goes beyond simple witchcraft.

The writing was easy to follow and it flew after a few chapters. I struggled slightly in the beginning since I wasn’t actually managing to set the story straight. But when I began to understand Maire’s voice, understand the background setting around her and got involved in the story, it was a rather fast and easy reading.  

There was a small part of the story that I really like and you can say it’s only details – they don’t actually add nothing to the story only to help Maire’s powers. Twice in the book Allemas tells Maire to use her abilities to other people and it ended up being connected with a few fairytales/classics. I’m not going to tell you because it’s fun to realise it as you read Magic Bitter Magic Sweet. But I can tell you that when I connected the dots, I found it quite intelligent.

Overall, Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet was a good book but the complexity of it made me enjoy it but not love it. It has magic, a really good character and a plot that was definitely not what I first expected but in the end, despite all the qualities of it, it was only a book I enjoyed. And, as I mentioned before, the fact that I was expecting something different and was kind of disappointed (perhaps disappointed is a strong word but the lack of other) with how it turned out to be, I couldn’t rate it more than 3 cups/stars. Still, it was a nice book with a twist in the end I liked and a bit of a lesson in the end.
Ner

Monthly Wrap-Up | August

Wrap-Up

Well, we must say goodbye to August and say hello to September!! I just hope autumn comes fast because I can’t stand this heart any longer! I miss the chilly weather and wearing a coat over my tops!! Yep, you can definitely tell I am an autumn person!

If you have been following my reading progresses then you have noticed that August was an okay month! I didn’t read everything I wanted but I read a few good books! So, I’m happy with the progress of this last month though I wish I have read more than only thee books but it’s better than none, right? Still, July was the best month so far for me!

Wrap-Up | August

  • Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet – Charlie N. Holmberg (3/5 cups) GR | TBD | Amazon
    • This was a strange book at first! I was expecting something a little bit different from the synopsis but it was still an enjoyable reading;
  • City of Fallen Angels [The Mortal Instruments #4] – Cassandra Clare (3/5 cups – review to come) GR | TBD | Amazon
    • I was a little bit scared in going into this book because everyone told me it was horrible. But, you know what? It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t the best in the saga but it wasn’t that bad! I liked the fact it was more centred on Simon and Alec and Isabelle had more action scenes, but overall it was only an okay book in the saga. Still, I enjoyed it despite what pretty much everyone said about it! Bring me more!;
  • Labyrinth Lost [Brooklyn Brujas #1] – Zoraida Córdova (4/5 cups – review to come) GR | TBD | Amazon
    • I really enjoyed this book! First, it was about a kind of witches I’ve never actually read anything before. Second, the romance. Third, I really liked Alex!;

And that’s a wrap!!!

Ner

Book Haul | June

Book Haul

Hello beautiful people!!

So, June is over! And with it I bring you a brand new Book Haul filled with awesome books! I’m quite happy because this month we had the Lisbon BookFair where I bought a few books and a brand new book by my favourite author came out… so, yes, I’m quite excited!

If you have been following me on Snapchat (nerthewitch), Twitter (@LeonorNer) and/or on Instagram (@nerthewitch), you probably know everything I got this month but still… I want to share it you!

On the BookFair I bought a total of three books for myself (plus two more for my mother!). I went there first with my aunt and the books I got were pretty much a bargain! And then I went there with Carla and before I left, I managed to buy one more book. Since it was the last day, all books were with 20% discount so the one I chose was cheaper than when I went there the first time. 

So, let’s jump straight into the books I got on the Lisbon BookFair:

-Physical-

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  • Evernight [Evernight #1] – Claudia Gray (This is a second hand copy I got at the BookFair at a really cheap price. And since I’ve never read any Claudia Gray’s books and apparently this is “Twilight” done right” – according to author Maria V. Snyder – I thought, why the heck not?! I just didn’t know there were five books in this series… If I happen to enjoy this one, it’s going to take a while to get the whole series :S); 
  • Sapphire Blue [Ruby Red/ Edelstein Trilogy/ Precious Stone Trilogy #2] – Kerstin Gier (This was so cheap and such a bargained, I couldn’t really resist buying this book! It was only 3,50€ and since this is a sequel to a book I’ve read back in January/February, I couldn’t leave it behind, right?!);
  • Heir of Fire [Throne of Glass #3] – Sarah J. Maas (OMG!! I freaking finally have this! I bought this one when I went there on my second trip and I was lucky because all the books on that day – it was the last day – were 20% off so I bought this one at a cheaper price than when I went there the first time. My initial idea on my first trip was to buy Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows – probably Heir of Fire and A Court of Thorns and Roses if available (which wasn’t by the way) but I found the prices – even the bookfair prices – ridiculously high! I mean, I could buy them online and they would be cheaper! But on my second trip it was 50/50 – meaning, it would be the same buying it online or buying it on the fair. So I made my choice! Unfortunately I couldn’t buy Queen of Shadows but that one will definitely be my next online buy :D);

I also got that bookmark with my name on it. It has the meaning of Leonor and on the back it has famous women with the same name. They were all Queens of Portugal 🙂 With the bookmark there was also the pencil with the same design and my name plus the meaning. I basically use it to pin my hair ;P I wanted to buy my mum one as well but they were quite limited when it came to names. My name and my twin’s were the only ones available though :S

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  • A Torre the Espinhos/ Tower of Thorns [Blackthorn and Grim #3] – Juliet Marillier (You all know that Juliet is my favourite author… I mean, she’s my Master!! And I’ve been waiting for the sequel to Blackthorn and Grim for AGES now! And it finally came out, the second book but still… it’s better than nothing! I LOVE this cover so much… it’s so freaking beautiful and I’m super happy that Planeta – the PT publisher – decided to stick with the original ones!);

-ebook-

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  • Zenith [The Androma Saga #1] – Sasha Alsberg & Lidnsay Cummings (For those of you who don’t know, Sasha is one of my favourite BookTubers – check out her channel abookutopia – so when I found out that she was releasing a book with Lidnsay Cummings, I told myself I would support her as much as I could. And I admit I’m super pumped to read this! I will be reading it in July and I will always support both Sasha and Lindsay. I hope their book will be picked up by a publisher – they are currently self-publishing this book themselves (hence it being out only as an ebook) – and that we all will have it as a physical book sometime in the future.);

-NetGalley/Edelweiss-

  • Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet – Charlie N. Holmberg (I was auto-approved for this title and when I saw the cover, I had to get it. And then I read the synopsis and I was immediately sold! Let’s hope this book will amaze me as well as the cover :D);
  • And I Darken [The Conquerors Saga #1] – Kierstin White (You guys have no idea how excited I am for this book! I mean, a book. When I first cam across this book, read the description – back then it was something like “Vlad the Impaler for YA” – I knew I had to get my hands on this book! And I was not expecting to actually be approved for this title but I was!! I will definitely be reading this one in July! So freaking excited! I even had this one as one of my Wednesday Wishlist so… I’m so pumped indeed :P);
  • The Beginning Woods – Malcolm McNeill (This book was basically approved today – June 30th – and I really wanted to share it because, not only the cover looks super intriguing, but because the plot also sounds super interesting! Let’s see what this book will bring :D);
  • Split the Sun [Inherit the Stars #2] – Tessa Elwood (I haven’t read the first one yet but when I saw the sequel/conclusion – me thinks it’s also the last one – I thought it would be quite cool to have both books and marathon them. And since I’m auto-approved for these titles, even better! Let’s hope this series is good – I’ve read a few negative reviews though – because I quite like the sound of the plot!);

Ner