Hello, fellow audiobook junkies. Today, I’m sharing an audiobook review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic written by Meghan Ciana Doidge and read by Caitlin Davies. This is the first audiobook in Meghan’s urban fantasy series, Dowser. My thanks to the audio publisher, Tantor Media, for the audiobook in exchange for a candid review.
What’s Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic about?
This post contains affiliate links (marked *). If you buy anything using my links, I'll receive a small commission from the sale, which helps run this book blog. Thanks. 🙂
Title: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Series: Dowser #1
Published by Old Man in the CrossWalk, Tantor Audio on 19th June 2013, 26th January 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Urban, Crime, Mystery, New Adult (NA), Shifters, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Witchcraft
Narrator: Caitlin Davies
Length: 7 hours 36 minutes
No. of Pages: 275
If you'd asked me a week ago, I would have told you that the best cupcakes were dark chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing, that dancing in a crowd of magic wielders - the Adept - was better than sex, and that my life was peaceful and uneventful.
Just the way I liked it.
That's what 23 years in the magical backwater of Vancouver will get you - a completely skewed sense of reality. Because when the dead werewolves started showing up, it all unraveled...except for the cupcake part. That's a universal truth.
©2013 Meghan Ciana Doidge (P)2016 Tantor
I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review. This doesn't affect my opinion of the book or influence the content of my review.Review Format: Audiobook, eBook
Purchase Links: Books2Read - Universal eBook Link ¦ Audible* ¦ Audiobooks.com*
eBook Read: 8th – 13th June, 2015
Audiobook Listened To: 17th – 21st June, 2021
What did I think about it?
Meghan Ciana Doidge is not a new-to-me author as my reviews archive will prove. I first encountered her when reading her standalone fantasy thriller, Love Lies Bleeding and originally read this story waaay back in 2015! Witches, vampires, shapeshifters and zombies – what more could a fan of Urban Fantasy wish for! 😉
But has my original review stood the test of time?
Basically yes, I enjoyed listening to it and would still rate Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic 4 stars.
The world-building is expertly woven into this story without slowing the pace or resorting to the dreaded information dumps. We experience the story from our protagonist’s point of view, Jade Godfrey. The narrative is written in the first person which means we learn things as Jade does. This can sometimes be limiting and affect my enjoyment of a story. However, Meghan ensured that the plot moved at a good pace and revealed crucial clues to help
me (*uhem*) Jade solve the murder mystery. The Adept world with all the complexities of its politics, laws and etiquette were fascinating and I’m still looking forward to learning more as the series grows.
However, some aspects of this story grated on me more than they did six years ago.
My age-old problem with young protagonists being TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) reared its ugly head this time around. I need a protagonist to have (or develop) certain personality traits, The main ones being intelligence, resilience, and not waiting to be rescued by others. Jade is 23 years old and has been cosseted rather dramatically, much has obviously been kept from her “for her own good“. As a parent myself, I understand the need to protect our children. However, we need to supply them with the knowledge and skills to allow them to protect themselves as they age and grow older.
A couple of things grated on me about Jade.
Firstly, was the fact that she admitted that her gran had tried to teach her about the adept world and magic continually growing up but Jade resisted and just switched off. What?! I understand young children’s reluctance of going to school in real life. But in fiction I want my protagonists to seek out knowledge, to try to improve their skills, to grow and evolve. And secondly, was Jade’s utter blindness about what was happening around her – her ignorance and assumptions were bewildering at times! They say love is blind. I know that’s true, but I find it hard to respect a protagonist who willing wears blinkers. Thankfully, Jade did grow and open her eyes (a bit) by the end of this book, even if she was painfully slow at piecing the clues together to solve the mystery and unveil the culprit of all the murders.
As a narrated book, I loved Caitlin Davies’s performance.
I loved the pace at which Caitlin read the story and her tonal adjustments for the various scenes. She put just the right amount of emotion into each scene, easily transporting me into the story. Caitlin also created different voices for each of the characters. She seemed to capture each of their personalities in the inflections she used, making the many conversations throughout this story, easy to follow. Caitlin’s performance made me feel every win and every loss with heartfelt emotion.
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic is cliffhanger free!
All-in-all, Jade went through quite a journey of self-discovery during this adventure. I think this story is exciting, scary and traumatic, however, at times, it’s also giggle-worthy and it did make me smile. Meghan ties up the murder mystery while allowing some story threads to remain unresolved.
I’m still invested in Jade’s journey the second time around and I’m looking forward to listening to Trinkets, Treasures, and other Bloody Magic.
Keep reading to find out more about Meghan Ciana Doidge. But first, here’s a quick run-down of the Dowser series.
Dowser Series by Meghan Ciana Doidge
The Adept Universe, includes six ongoing series: Dowser, Oracle, Reconstructionist, Amplifier, Archivist, and Misfits of the Adept Universe.
Half-witch/half-something else Jade Godfrey was raised by her grandmother, Pearl, a powerful witch. Jade, the dowser, grew up believing that her magic was rare but not particularly valuable – she can taste magic, even minuscule amounts. Using this ‘tiny’ talent she bakes cupcakes for a living and makes trinkets out of items she collects that contain residual magic, such as coins, broken pieces of pottery, and sea glass.
But Jade soon discovers that her magic is more robust than her upbringing led her to believe and that a crazy amount of responsibility comes with wielding that sort of power. She finds herself gathering a band of magical misfits – Adepts who wouldn’t normally even associate with each other if they could help it – including two unlikely best friends, Kettil the executioner of the vampire Conclave, and Kandy, an enforcer for the North West Coast American pack.
Books in the Series
- Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic (Dowser #1) (2013)
- Trinkets, Treasures, and other Bloody Magic (Dowser #2) (2013)
- Treasures, Demons, and other Black Magic (Dowser #3) (2014)
- Shadows, Maps, and other Ancient Magic (Dowser #4) (2015)
- Maps, Artifacts, and other Arcane Magic (Dowser #5) (2015)
- Artifacts, Dragons, and other Lethal Magic (Dowser #6) (2016)
- Champagne, Misfits, and other Shady Magic (Dowser #7) (2018)
- Misfits, Gemstones, and other Shattered Magic (Dowser #8) (2018)
- Graveyards, Visions, and other Things that Byte (Dowser #8.5) (2018)
- Gemstones, Elves, and other Insidious Magic (Dowser #9) (2018)
Audible* ¦ Book Depository* ¦ Waterstones*
The Dowser series is divided into three trilogies, totalling nine books plus three short stories. The first book of each trilogy (Dowser #1, Dowser #4, and Dowser #7) begins a new adventure for Jade, Kandy, and Kett, as well as a multitude of other magic wielders and magical beings. You can buy the first trilogy in a box set – Dowser Series: Box Set 1 (2016)
Now as promised, here’s more information about Meghan.
As this is a review for an audiobook, here’s Caitlin’s bio too. 🙂
Thanks for visiting and reading my audiobook review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic. Have you read it? What about any other titles by Meghan? Drop me a comment and we can chat books! 😉
My love of audiobooks has grown over the last few years. I’m reading less and listening more. Lol! Before you go, check out my 2021 Audiobook Challenge page and see how I’m putting my new
addiction hobby to good use!
Bye for now,