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Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  10,924 ratings  ·  1,230 reviews

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 si

Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published June 28th 2016 by 47North
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Charlie Holmberg Very good movie, have not read the book. Maybe a little closer to Like Water for Chocolate?

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  10,924 ratings  ·  1,230 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Maire, a baker in the small village of Carmine, is notable for two unusual characteristics. First, other than her name, she has complete amnesia about everything in her life up to the time she appeared near the village four and a half years ago. And secondly, Maire has the magical gift of infusing her baked goods with feelings and abilities that will be absorbed by the person who eats her food: strength, love, mercy, patience … even, it seems, some magic
Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ❤️
Almost passed this due to mixed reviews, but so glad I didn’t!

I loved this book. The main character Maire bakes a bit of magic into her confections. You want a little Love, some extra Strength, a bit more intelligence or compassion. She has a cookie, cake, biscuit or tart for that. Though she has no idea where her special baking skills came from. She appeared in town 4 years ago with amnesia.

When Marauders come to town and capture her, she is sold as a slave to a volatile man who seems to know
Maria V. Snyder
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked the way the magic worked in this book. The main character Maire bakes pastries and she can infuse her creations with feelings like love and contentment. The plot is also different and if you liked Charlie's other books, you'll enjoy this one as well. ...more
Kimberly Vanderhorst
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I went into reading this book with only the vaguest idea of what it was about. Magical baked goods? Sounded like my kind of story. Whimsical, unusual, and compelling? Bring it on. And Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet definitely delivered all the above and more. What caught me off guard was the level of emotion I felt as I read. This book rubbed me raw in beautiful ways. I've read all of Holmberg's other books and despite already being at a high level, she leveled up with this one.

I CRIED, people. I ac
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
A very prettily written book, with many clever allusions. However, I just did not enjoy the plot as much as I hoped I would. I have a hard time with stories like this, that withhold everything from the reader until the main character herself discovers the truth - it has to be very well done indeed, and with a good payoff.
Richard Derus
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

MAGIC BITTER, MAGIC SWEET is an unusual fantasy novel, but not for the usual reasons. 47North did a great job on Charlie N. Holmberg's stand-alone fantasy novel.

My review is live at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud, better known as "my blog."
The Sassy Bookworm
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Two things, ONE...this book made me REALLY hungry for cake. TWO, that cover is really awesome.

I enjoyed this one, but it didn't WOW me. The writing is gorgeous, no doubt about that. It's whimsical and fairytale like and It started off great, but then I found myself losing interest halfway through and struggling to finish it. The story just seemed to peter out and take a strange turn and I didn't really like the direction it went in.

Aug 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read the first two books of Charlie Holmberg's Paper Magician series and then decided I'd had enough. While the concepts behind the series were fun, the romance aspect felt naive and kind of creepy and it felt like the author had some maturing to do. So I thought I'd give her new book a try because I hoped that she'd matured a bit as a writer.

This book is like a strong, dramatic perfume- you'll either love it or ha
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet surprised me.

I expected a mere fairy tale about a girl that could infuse her baked goods with emotions for those that eat them. Instead I found a deeply complex story that wasn't afraid to go dark in order to get to the light.

Maire doesn't remember who she is but has made herself a new life in a small village with new friends. When their village is attacked, she sees many die brutally and is among many sold as slaves.

While Maire tries to come to grips with her new cr
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and 47North in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to both!

I stopped reading this book at 41%, and was tempted to stop a few times earlier. I had been attracted to it because I'd heard good things about The Paper Magician by the same author. It was listed as fantasy and adult fiction, but for me it was more of a YA read.

My biggest frustration is the author's continued "description" of people, places, and feelings as indescribable or impossibl
☯~☽~•Patricia Mainard•~☾~☯
Wow! I just absolutely loved this book!! Absolutely recommend.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. Such a uniquely twisted book. I was so pulled in by the characters.
I have to say I'm having to think over the ending a bit to get my head round it!
I loved so much about the book , never has a book made we want to bake cakes!
Very well written.
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, e-reader, 2016
This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is an amazing story. It’s very well written, the plot is creative and the characters are greatly described. I loved Maire and her magic. While I was reading, I really needed to know where she came from and what happened to her. I liked the mix of this story with a few fairytale elements. And the ending was perfect <3

Those with a taste for the olive oil cake crave strength, while those who come back for th
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was ok

I vascillated for at least the 1st third of this about abandoning it, toward the end of the 2nd third it began to improve, however I don’t feel it ever achieved anything above a rating of “okay.”

The premise of this story is a bit of a mix between something like “Like Water for Chocolate,” with something maybe like “Heaven Can Wait,” (book by Leonore Fleischer, although I only saw the movie), with a healthy dash of evil. Having said that, it’s only part of the premise of the first two books that
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a mixed bag. The first third of so was full of suspense and moved swiftly. The second third slowed down to a crawl and the final third had me wondering when it would all be over

Good premise, thoughts and feelings baked into things. I didn't like the amnesia trope. I'm sure it is to build suspense but it gets annoying.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
I received this book via NetGalley, compliments of 47thN Publishers. I had no idea what I was about to read, no familiarity with the author and have been upbeat with my review.

When a book invites me to experience its fantastical magic AND that magic appears in concoctions charmingly baked, I'm hooked on those ingredients before I open the first page.

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet is that book. The tale opens in Carmine where Maire works for her friend Attrice in the bakery, mixing together spiced,
Sally Ember
Charlie Holmberg is an author I don't know quite what to say about, still, after the fourth book of hers that I've read, "Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet" Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg . She is a good writer and has many excellent turns of phrase, but her characters are bizarrely and inadequately drawn in this and her other novels. She relies on events and inner thoughts to define her protagonist and leaves the rest up the this character's perspective, which is narrow, anyway, but in this novel, amnesiac and confused.

Also, an

Arc Provided by 47 North through Netgalley

Book Status: Already Released (June 28th)

I'm afraid that the only positive remark I can write about this story (without revealing the WHOLE PLOT)... is that it didn't make me want to set it on fire. -_-
In the same state of mind, I have to mention that it never pissed me off... much.
No, wait there was that time in which the character... you know what? Never mind.

Truth is, I found it incredibly boring and many were the times in which I almost DNF it.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Rating: 1.5/5
(I received a free copy from the publisher, 47North, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
***Minor spoilers***

Maire is different. She's lost her memory of who she was, and she is able to infuse the baked goods she makes with certain emotions that she brings forward while baking. Then, whenever a person eats it, they experience that emotion. On a walk home one day, Maire notices a strange spirit who nobody else could see. Not long after, that spirit tells her she needs to
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
This book might be a little glum, but it goes so well with cocoa and a warm blanket. Why? A non-comprehensive list:
✬ cake
✬ more cake
✬ the book is primarily dedicated to cake
✬ love
✬ mystery
✬ fairytales
✬ magic (cake magic..?)

All of this goes with cocoa for me. Granted, the main heroine suffers more than enjoys herself in her journey through this story, but it's well worth it, in my eyes. It's written beautifully, and it keeps its mystery throughout pretty much all of the bo
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Review first published on my blog The Fictional Reader

When I saw this book on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. I have read Charlie N. Holmberg’s Paper Magician trilogy before, and really enjoyed it. So I was curious to see what she would bring next. Plus, the premise of this book sounds amazing. Note: I edited the synopsis from Goodreads. I removed a bunch of stuff, that isn’t really a spoiler. Yet I feel like it is more fun to read, just knowing this (that’s what I did).


This seems t
May 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive)
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. A cake filled with magic, it sounded like a recipe for success (pun definitely intended).

Maire is a baker with a troublesome past (in the sense that she can't remember it). Her cakes are magical - literally so - as they can convey feelings to the eater. I guess more intense than when I bake a cake and spread happiness around ( ;) ). One day on a raid she is sold as a slave and when they found out about her baking skills, they are put to use in rather dark schemes.

Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a really good read! This is not just about cake... There is a mystery hidden in this book, and I had a wonderful time discovering it! Although... at times in the beginning, I was confused. The ending was worth it. And just a little hint... The sentences at the beginning of each chapter mean something!! Be prepared for confusion, sadness, and an all together fantastic book!:)
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
This had so much potential and in a way is a clever little tale but I struggled to keep reading. I tired of the constant cake and biscuits. The first-person narrative, not knowing anything until just after the protagonist irked me too.
“I promise it will make a difference.”
I wasn’t really prepared for this story; I wasn’t expecting something so dark and unsettling, but that’s what I got. It was magical too, and romantic and mysterious.

And weird. It was kinda weird.

The writing is great though. Just be prepared for creeeepy, like insects crawling on your skin creepy. All in all, it was something different, and I enjoyed it.

side note: there was something about this that sorta reminded me of Hatchling by Laini Tayor
Jenny Lee
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Around 5 years ago, Marie was found dazed and confused on the side of the road by a woman named Arrice. Arrice, along with her husband Franc, take Marie in. Together, they live in a small village named Carmine, where Marie runs a confectionery shop. She has a gift with baking, where she can infuse her desserts with emotions, creating cakes and chocolates infused with hope, strength, endurance, and love. The people in the village don't know about her gift, which is for the best, because Marie doe ...more
Timothy Boyd
Another very interesting world and magic system from Ms. Holmberg. So far everything I have read by this writer has been enjoyable. I am looking forward to trying more of her stand alone books. Recommended
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, this confused me to no end. Each time I thought I was starting to have a clue what was going on, the rug got pulled from underneath me again. I certainly did not see that ending coming either, such genius.

This is a fun and quirky fantasy read, which is unlike anything I have ever read before. If you can handle deliberate confusion, both for the reader and the character, then this might be one for you.
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, ya, fantasy
Disclaimer: I received this free book from NetGalley in exchange for an un-biased review.

Is it wrong to review a book you pretty much knew you were going to love before you started it? I swear by my own sweet tooth that I did approach this book in an un-biased manner. Of course, it fulfilled my expectations. Of course, it did.

The book description on Amazon reads in part, “Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on
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Charlie N. Holmberg is an award-winning, best-selling, and internationally published author of fantasy and romantic fiction. She was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters, who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. She currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at

Amazon: amzn

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