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Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – June 19, 2013
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"Complete with witches, werewolves, vampires, and necromancers, this novel will keep readers laughing and turning the pages as Jade tries to figure out the truth behind the deaths surrounding her." - 4 stars, A Book Vacation
"This was a fun, action filled urban fantasy that will also have you running to bake cupcakes!" - 4 stars, Sarah Elizabeth's Bookshelf
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Jade Godfrey is a twenty-three-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, eye-catching cupcake bakery owner and half-witch. She lives a comfortable quiet life in Vancouver with her Gran, who’s a powerful and respected witch, and her feisty foster sister Sienna, who’s a half-witch like Jade. She spends her days blissfully insulated in her own little world, baking cupcakes and crafting trinkets out of found magical bits and bobs in her craft room – unitl the day her bubble bursts and a chillingly attractive vampire comes sniffing around her bakery and home. Things just go from bad to worse when werewolves show up, including a grumpily handsome Alpha, and Jade learns that she’s somehow dead center (pardon the pun) in a gruesome murder investigation. With her Gran inconveniently out of town, Jade has no choice but to get involved and take care of things herself – something she’s definitely not equipped for or used to thanks to her extremely sheltered upbringing.
I’m going to be honest, Jade was a bit too Mary Sue for my taste in some parts – every guy wants a piece of her, which she attributes to magic being attracted to her, as she is to it, but even handsome lawyers and random bus drivers can’t help but smile her way and can’t keep their eyes off her. She’s also extremely sheltered and can’t recall information that seems like it would be pretty crucial for a magical person to have – she knows almosts nothing about vampires or werewolves and has to look them up in her Gran’s books, and then she forgets some of what she read when she tries to remember it later. Honey, you can be pretty, powerful, and smart and still be cute – I promise. Still, she had her moments and was still a pretty likable character – especially with her cupcake obsession. Jade is always thinking about cupcakes, is always craving cupcakes, and always wants to give other people cupcakes.
The plot was interesting and unique, but I kind of guessed what was in the works early on, and felt like Jade should have figured it out earlier as well, but she has this whole self-acknowledged willful ignorance thing going on for her that seems to be practically her brand. But it’s an interesting world the author builds and I eagerly followed it until the end.
My absolute favorite parts of Cupcakes, Trinkets, And Other Deadly Magic were the interactions between clever, sarcastic vampire Kett, the Grand Conclave Investigator, and serious, grouchy Desmond, Lord and Alpha of the West Coast North American Pack, as they worked, begrudgingly, on the werewolf murder investigation together. I would absolutely read a buddy cop series with those two in it. There wasn’t really any romance between Jade and Kett or Desmond beyond some moments of physical attraction – I just hope the series isn’t building towards the dreaded triangle-of-death.
All in all, I enjoyed this book, especially for the price, and the storyline kind of has me hooked. Although I was getting Mary Sue vibes from the main character, Jade was still likable and the other characters really stole the show, enough that I’ll probably read the next book in the series.
I really liked reading this story from Jade's perspective. She isn't the smartest protagonist I've read, but she's got plenty of common sense that kept me from being frustrated. I can even understand her turning a blind eye to the evidence of who the killer is (though it is pretty obvious). Yes, the book has some sexual undertones, but she's able to make it take a back seat to the important stuff. Like surviving. And not getting bled by a hungry vampire. Or letting her magic get used to destroy others. You know, the important things.
This book has a delightfully simple aspect to it that I greatly appreciated. It all takes place in one town over just a few days. There's no out-of-nowhere surprises. There's no gimmicky explanations. There's no inconsistent character development. The book, the characters, the setting, the plot are all presented as is and I loved that! This is definitely an intriguing world.
If you would like to read a paranormal mystery, maybe a paranormal romance series, I really do recommend this. It's so charming!
I liked that it didn't resort to the "end with a cliffhanger" or "let's stop the book in the middle of a climatic action scene" ploy. I'll probably continue the series--it's not great writing, but it was reasonably entertaining. 3-1/2 stars for me.
But Doidge takes these ingredients and mixes up a winning combination. While I had moments of frustration with Jade, our heroine, I also came to like her. I don't want to spoil anything, but she means what she says in the opening sentences. She does like her uneventful life, she wants it to stay that way, and her reluctance is a characteristic that causes her to make particular decisions. Jade is closest to Sookie Stackhouse's initial innocence on the scale of kick-butt UF heroines. Jade is open-hearted towards friends and family, and firmly wants to be Good. Of course, her experiences in this book may have changed her mind in both regards. I am looking forward to seeing how Jade faces her next challenge. One tangential note, my favorite detail in the story are the trinkets themselves. I hope to find out more about these in the next book, which I've already downloaded.
Final assessment: to date this is my favorite *free* UF. If it is no longer free, it is worth the money and my five stars!