Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H. P. Mallory

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
Author: H. P. Mallory
Publication: CreateSpace (September 2, 2010)

Description: A self-deprecating witch with the unique ability to reanimate the dead. A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss and her would-be lover. A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda; one that includes an appetite for witches. The Underworld in a state of chaos. Let the games begin. 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.

My Thoughts: This book started out well but somewhere along the line either it lost focus or I did. I found myself easily distracted from this story. I kept using various avoidance techniques (check for new email, time to update my blog, anything new in my Google Reader?). And each time I came back to the story seemed like another opportunity for Jolie, the main character, to exhibit a lack of self-confidence or to put herself down in some other way. Of course, it also seemed to me that she had a major case of ADD (attention deficit disorder). I mean, who else would think she needed to start a work-out routine and mention in an internal monologue that she didn't really put on weight even though she wasn't active and could eat whatever she wanted, in the middle of a seduction scene?

Rand, the warlock who gets Jolie into the whole supernatural world, is also a ditherer - handsome, cut, powerful and completely unable to make up his mind about what sort of relationship he wants with Jolie. It was a constant case of "come hither, stay away" between the two of them which certainly didn't help Jolie's confidence (or advance the plot).

Speaking of the plot, it is fairly straightforward. Jolie is a psychic who is living a perfectly ordinary, if boring, life when Rand comes to her, tells her she is a witch, and offers to hire her to help him find out who killed a ghost. She travels with him to Chicago, finds the ghost, and brings him back to life. This very rare witch power drops Jolie right in the middle of supernatural politics. There are rival factions of witches. Rand opposes the evil Bella who really wants Jolie to be on her side. Rand takes Jolie under his wing to protect her from Bella. Also in the mix are vampires, werewolves, fairies, and demons who are choosing sides between Bella and Rand. Jolie's second reanimation is with the leader of the werewolves - Trent - who then becomes her boyfriend (until he dumps her) which puts his group of werewolves in Rand's camp. Many of the characters have hidden agendas and loyalties. This story revolves around gaining allies for the upcoming civil war in the underworld.

I found the ending to be rather abrupt but it certainly leads the way for the next book in the series - Toil and Trouble. While I felt that the book could have been shorter -- especially all the relationship dithering when Rand takes Jolie home with him to England, I did still find it interesting. I liked the world that the author created. And I liked the new Jolie that appears in the last few pages of the book. I will be following along to see how the story develops.

Favorite (Representative) Quote:
My head ached like a bitch. But it wasn't the pain that disturbed me the most; it was the sudden exhaustion that visited like a bolt of lightning. It was a fatigue the level of which I've never experienced before--like I hadn't had a thing to eat for two days and had just run a marathon--that sort of exhaustion. Course, I've never runa a marathon, but if I had, I'm sure I'd feel as tired as I now was.
I won this book back in Oct. 2010 for my Kindle. You can buy your copy here.

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