Jessica Rosenberg

Books: Fantasy

Baking Up a Magical Midlife: Butter, Sugar, Magic (2022), Bread, Coffee, Magic (2022), Bitter, Sweet, Magic (2022), Sweet & Sour Spells (2023)

Baking Up a Magical Midlife

Butter, Sugar, Magic (2022)

Butter, Sugar, MagicCassie wasn't happy, exactly, but that doesn't mean she wasn't thrown for a loop when she discovered her husband was divorcing her.

Max, her father and my husband of almost twelve years, decided out of the blue he was moving out and we had ten days to decide what we wanted to keep before the house went on the market.

While trying to determine what to do with the rest of her life, Cassie is notified a previously unknown great-aunt has left her something in her will–something she needs to drive to Maine to retrieve.

Turns out to be a bakery, and a magical inheritance she knew nothing about.

This was a cute cozy mystery and although I did have a couple quibbles, they were small.

I'd never baked in any sort of large capacity before, but how hard could it be to scale up my favorite recipes.

Luckily, she focuses mostly on yeast-leavened baked goods, which are (relatively) easy to scale. (Baking soda and baking powder–not so much.)

Cassie has a tween daughter, who is an integral part of the story, but is not a plot moppet, and actually seems like a normal tween.

I didn't see anything, but Keith says a human person climbed the wall.


Squirrel. Hangs out in the tree by the wall.

I'm sorry. What?

Don't be lame mom.

Well, normal for a kid with a previously unknown magical inheritance.

The world building is fine, and there is plenty more to be learned about the magical system. The mystery was also interesting, and no one was incredibly stupid (which is always a plus). I do want to read the next book.

Publisher: Blue Octopus Press

Rating: 7/10

Bread, Coffee, Magic (2022)

Bread, Coffee, MagicCassie is settling into running her bakery and living in Maine, but her daughter misses her friends back in Georiga–and Cassie's ex has decided to come north and try and take Aurie back.

One think I like about this series so far is that Aurie is very much a tween–complete with mood swings and jumping between wanting to be grown up and being a kid.

I also (unsurprisingly) enjoyed all the baking bits.

I suppose I am hoping that reading about baking might help me want to start baking again.

We'll see.

Publisher: Blue Octopus Press

Rating: 6.5/10

Bitter, Sweet, Magic (2022)

Bitter, Sweet, MagicThe third book finds Cassie settled into her life in Maine, even though her daughter is still struggling to fit in to a new school and make friends.

She also preparing for the fall festival the town is putting on–which is run by the town matriarch who hates her.

She also has to deal with a strange man who keeps hanging around at her tent at the festival.

Each book in the series has been a fun, quick, entertaining read. There were a couple of things I was a little iffy about, but can't discuss them without spoilers.

But it was a quick, diverting read, so it did what it was supposed to.

Publisher: Blue Octopus Press

Rating: 7/10

Sweet & Sour Spells (2023)

The precious books in the series were fine. I kept reading because I was curious about the characters, and the stories were a nice escape.

It's not that this one was bad, but I ran into more copy editing errors that threw me out of the story. I also had some serious questions about the actions and behaviors of some of the characters in the story–instead of feeling natural, those actions and reactions felt forced to get the story to move in a specific direction, so I kept wondering why people were behaving as they did instead of just going with the story.

There was also a "take the main character shopping and with good clothes she sees how gorgeous she is" scene, which… ugh. The author tried to offset that with a bit about self-confidence being beautiful, but it was too little to late to save that for me.

And of course there was the romance, which, again, felt more like it was being forced in to meet the needs of the story than something organic between the characters.

So, overall I found it disappointing, as if she was writing to finish a book, rather than getting out a story she already had.

Publisher: Blue Octopus Press

Rating: 6/10