Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory

Since I have spent the last few weeks studying for the test that decided the course of the rest of my life (no pressure), I really needed something light and fun to read. Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory was just perfect for this purpose.

Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend.

Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!

Word of Jolie’s incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the Underworld’s most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand. 

I don't really read paranormal romance very often, if ever, and definitely not one that clearly states on the front cover that it is a paranormal romance, but I read an excerpt and just had to read more. Even better, this is another book that was only $0.99 at Amazon for the Kindle...I didn't figure I had much to lose.

It was fun, fast-paced, and surprisingly complex. I was not expecting a romance novel to have the depth of world-building that this one has. The underground, secretive world of vampires, werewolves, fairies and witches have their own society. I found each of the species to be quite well developed.

The characters are somewhat flat and predictable, especially the men, but I found I didn't mind all that much. You don't go into a rom com expecting Citizen Kane. Every woman hopes for a Rand to waltz into her life, and I enjoyed the relationship between Rand and Jolie for the most part.

That said, I found Jolie to be somewhat inconsistent. I felt that she became whatever the author needed her to be at the time. At the middle of the book, she's trying to convince Rand to have sex with her spur of the moment in the woods. Then later, she turns down her new boyfriend citing the fact she's only done this once before, and she's just not ready. This same woman, who earlier in the book said she had no discernible sex drive and dressed conservatively is suddenly a provocatively dressing sex kitten who has at least four men who are trying to seduce her. This sexual tension between Jolie and...well...everyone was very sudden.

As previously mentioned, I do not read paranormal romance so perhaps this is a genre style, but at times, the sensual scenes, although they were widely spaced, seemed somewhat heavy-handed and artificial. It was especially noticeable toward the end. I felt the author couldn't decide between a trashy romance novel and a light fantasy read, so everything was just jumbled in together. Or an editor said "Hey. There's not enough smut in this, and that's what sells books. So fix it."

All in all, it was fun and entertaining. As far as paranormal romances go, it was very good in my opinion. I will definitely buy the next one because I really enjoyed the book, despite its flaws, and it was exactly what I needed: light and fun. HP Mallory has one other series started that I have my eye on as well. However, I think for my next book, though, I need something with a bit more depth.

Bottom Line
 To sum it up: A light and fun read for a rainy day.
Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
Buy or Try? Buy. Can't beat $0.99
More? 1 / 2 so far. I anticipate at least one more book
Plot: 4 / 5
Setting: 4 / 5
Characters: 3 / 5
Pace: Fast
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: Magical Realism link

Challenges: 2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge


Juju at Tales of said...

Great review. This cover is so flipping cute :)

Escapist said...

It really is. And yknow what's funny? After a couple days muddling through another type of book, I found myself wishing I had picked the second one up instead...this book was so fun! :)

Kristin said...

Great review! I've got this on my Kindle, ready to read. Stop by and say hi if you get a chance!


Escapist said...

Kristin, I hope you enjoy it! :)

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