Charlie N. Holmberg

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet By: Charlie N. Holmberg


Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet By: Charlie N. Holmberg


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.


I’m not a fan of first person present as a writing style and it takes me a while to get into when I actually do read it. I liked Holmberg’s series The Paper Magician, there were things I didn’t like but overall it was an interesting world so after reading the blurb for Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet I thought why not. The idea was very interesting at the very least.

Maire was not a very compelling lead and since the story was in her voice that’s not a good thing. She has amnesia and can’t remember anything before the last four years. All she knows is baking and that when people eat what she bakes she can make them feel certain ways.

Stuff happens, she still knows nothing, but she starts learning little clues. There isn’t much world building and Maire is about as interesting as a damp rag. The most compelling part of the story is when you find out why she lost her memory and that is at the end and I wouldn’t say worth it.

Disappointed overall.



The Master Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #3) By: Charlie N. Holmberg

The Master Magician

The Master Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #3) By: Charlie N. Holmberg


Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own — an ability long thought impossible.

While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.


Another great cover, sadly I was disappointed with this conclusion. Emboldened by her success in the previous books at avoiding being killed my stronger more experienced magicians, when her enemy escapes, she searches for him. Since everyone, except for herself, is incompetent she finds him not once but twice.

I realized while writing this review that I don’t believe Ceony experienced any kind of character growth. My complaint with each book has been that she runs into things without thinking, and yet is supposed to be incredibly smart. In this book not only is she studying her own magic but several others and she is of course excelling, and yet she can’t stop and think for one instant that maybe the escaped homicidal maniac shouldn’t be pursued by someone that is inexperienced.

The first two books can be explained with the fact that they happened months apart, but this one is almost two years later. She’s had time to think and reflect and realize that she’s the reason that her friend died. Nothing. She’s clearly one of those books smart street, stupid people.

The conclusion ended the series on a low note in my opinion. Ceony throughout this book has finally found out that several people think that she’s a loose woman for her situation and nothing is done about that. She doesn’t come to some realization that they’re all idiots or that maybe she shouldn’t have been so obvious with her affections. It’s never brought up by Emory and whenever she’s in his presence all she really thinks about is how amazing he is.

She’s a love sick school girl and doesn’t appear to do any growing. The very ending, the resolution to the romance, left me wanting. Holmberg could have done an epilogue that went into more of the future Ceony had seen in the first book but instead it ended abruptly. This isn’t an eighties action movie, I want more than just a hanging question and end scene credits.

I know I’ve mentioned a lot of negatives and I honestly didn’t hate the book, I just thought it could have been better. The world created was very interesting and with the revelation in this series it would be very easy to go into more in the world with completely different characters. Holmberg could also write in a different time period, all that world creation shouldn’t go to waste and I would definitely read more, maybe not with these people though.



The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #2) By: Charlie N. Holmberg

Glass Magician

The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #2) By: Charlie N. Holmberg


Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.

When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands.

The delightful sequel to Charlie N. Holmberg’s The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician will charm readers young and old alike.


Once again I love this cover, I wonder if that has anything to do with my enjoyment of it? Does it put me in the right mind frame to read? I don’t know, I might think about that one day.

Lovely world, Ceony still kind of confuses me. She has a photographic memory, basically, and is supposed to be very smart, but as soon as Emery is threatened she throws caution to the wind. She even puts others in danger because of that and doesn’t realize it until it’s too late. It’s kind of annoying, but it’s annoying character wise. I think it’s still within the bounds of her character.

Not much movement on the romance plot which caused me to buy the next book way too late and had to force myself to stop reading. Kind of sad that it’s the last book in the series and hope I get a lot of closure.


The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #1) By: Charlie N. Holmberg


The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy #1) By: Charlie N. Holmberg


Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.


I love this cover a lot, I’m apparently drawn to simple covers.

Really enjoyed the world that was created here. The way magic worked was interesting. Magicians were tied to one type and once bonded that was it. You could only work magic with manmade materials, so paper, plastic, smelting metals, stuff like that. The thing is man is man made so this creates an Excisioner, which is bad. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have used their magic for good like healing, but they all appear to be evil.

Ceony and Thane were compelling and I was so not expecting what happened in the last act. There was a lot of character and world building in this book, but it never got boring it was too interesting.

I did think Ceony bonded very quickly with Thane, especially after her attitude about the whole being bonded to paper thing. She also seemed to be a planner but didn’t do hardly any of that in her rescue attempt. I guess heat of the moment thing, but still seemed slightly out of character.

I’m really excited that the rest of the series is already written and I get to visit the world immediately.