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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Blog Hop


I haven't done a blog hop in a few weeks...since I took the NCLEX, my nursing boards, this week (and I'm feeling pretty good about it), I thought this week might be the week to try. :)
Question: "Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?"

Answer: I really don't know what it is about fantasy. I think there's only so many permutations of the same old story that you can have with regular fiction. In fantastical fiction, ANYTHING can happen. Rarely am I bored. I like escaping into another world. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hush Money by Susan Bischoff

As soon as I knew I was getting a Kindle for Christmas, I started looking at cheap and free ebooks. This one is $0.99 at Amazon...not quite free, but as far as I'm concerned, well worth the money. 

They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. They do not return.

And so the Talents try, as best they can, to keep their abilities secret–some more successfully than others. For some, keeping that secret begins to define who they are. That’s where Hush Money begins…

Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone.

All in all, this book was fairly enjoyable. It was a light, fun read. The characters are entertaining, and the plot moves quickly. The narration is easy to read, and Joss is sassy and fun.

However, it is very obviously a YA novel. The scope of the novel is very small, taking place in a fairly small town. We don't really find out much about the Talents on a national or global scale, which I would have found interesting. Also, the climax of the book was not so climactic...I expected a bit more after the build up of the rest of the novel.

Was it worth 99 cents? Yes. The time I put into reading it? Yes. Will I buy sequels? Yes. However, I would not recommend expecting too much out of this was fun but not revolutionary. I think this would make a good beach read, or would be a nice way to relax when you're horribly busy or stressed out.

Bottom Line
Overall Rating: 3 / 5
Buy or Try?'s only 99 cents
More? 1 / ?   Heroes Til Curfew being released 2011
Plot: 3 / 5
Setting: 2 / 5
Characters: 3 / 5
Pace: Fast
Descriptiveness: Prose
Fantasy factor: Magical Realism link
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