Fire Burn And Cauldron Bubble
HP Mallory / Urban Fantasy
Review done at the author's request
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
(click on the title)
This book is the reason why last Friday afternoon, I found myself head nodding and on the verge of snoring at work. Why? Because at 2am in the morning, regardless of the fact I had to be up in 2 hours or even the fact that my eyes were burning and rolling into the back of my head (trying reading with that going on) I couldn't bring myself to STOP reading this book. I tried trust me. I had all the right conversations - "Belinda you have to go to work in a few hours" *Who cares keep reading* "Belinda you are going to be trash by the end of the day" *Who cares keep reading* "Belinda ..." *Enough already. Keep reading* So seeing that I've never won an argument with myself, I kept reading until I passed out. To make matters worse, the next day I used bathroom breaks for reading and not for...well you know and so I looked kinda crazy coming out of the restroom only to run back in there again. Do you get the idea now of just how much I LOVED this book. I'm extremely tempted to just buy everyone a copy, have you all read it and say "See what I mean?" but since a book addict doesn't have that kind of money lying around, I guess I better get to why I loved the book so much.
One of the greatest things I loved about this book was that just when you thought you'd seen it all, the author introduces a new twist that just totally blows you away. When I first started reading, I was expecting a quick read about a girl with supernatural powers who has an adventure, falls in love and saves the day. End of story and so not what I got. This story was smart, funny and INCREDIBLY sexy in both plot and characters. Each idea flowed right into the next one and I was excited as each scene unfolded because I could never tell what was going to happen next. I'd think the story was heading in a certain direction and BAM, here comes a characters and the story takes on a totally new meaning. I just have to say, HP Mallory writes one hell of a story and this is by far my favorite.
I LOVED Jolie. Yep, LOVED her. She starts of this kind of insecure girl who has these abilities and is trying to make the best out of life. When a sexy stranger enters the picture, she takes a risk and accepts his job offer to go back in time and find out how a client of his died. From there she explodes into this amazing character with powers that have the supernatural world falling over themselves to have her. She puts up with so much drama and I love how she refuses to put up with it. From the insecure girl in the beginning, you would think she'd be a complete push over and I was so excited to see that she wasn't. There came a point where she didn't allow her heart to be given the run around anymore even though it broke her heart. She wouldn't allow others to steamroll over her with all their demands. She didn't allow herself to be taken advantage of by people and she did what she felt needed to be done. Now did this happen all at once? No and sometimes it took a few attempts but the thing I loved is she grew into her strength. The character she was in the end wasn't who I saw in the beginning and I LOVED watching the journey. I do have to say this for Jolie - I'd love to spend a day with her because the men that flocked around her? OMG. That's the thing with these strong Alpha types - they're drawn to strength and they saw that in Jolie. She's the type of character I love to read.
The men in this book were to die for. The ones that had me panting were Sinjin, a sexy master vampire and Rand, her infuriatingly hot Warlock boss. No surprise really that one of the guys I'd fall for would be a vampire but Sinjin was just so smooth and had a way of talking that had me wanting to reach into the book and stroke him. He was such an incredible flirt and so seductive and I don't know how Jolie didn't just jump all over and attack him. I don't know if this is the right word but what I most liked about Sinjin was that he had this kind of masculine softness. Masculine in that he gave off a powerful presence but a softness in the way he treated Jolie. He was playful but could be forceful when needed and he just had this way about him that had me licking my lips in parts. Not to mention every time he said "Poppet" I laughed, and all kinds of crazy images would flood my mind. He may not have been the over the top Alpha vamp that I love but he was pretty close.
Rand. I didn't know whether I wanted to throw him on the floor and "play" with him, melt into a puddle from his intensity or slap him silly for his stuborness. He was an amazing lead character. He had me all over the place and gosh the man was smoking. From the very second you're introduced to him, he has this mysterious feel to him and when you realize just how powerful he is you become addicted. Jolie and him are such an amazing team but he drove me nuts with his bouncing around. He is a prime example of how much it sucks to have to deny yourself because you want to do the right thing, and of how difficult it is to try to control a burning passion for someone without going crazy. I found myself talking to him through out the book (which got ALOT of raised eyebrows from those around me) because I always felt that with just the right amount of encouragement, the way I wanted things to be with Rand and Jolie would happen. There were scenes with Rand that SIZZLED and fogged my glasses up and I'm REALLY looking forward to future scenes where he can totally unleash himself. My gosh that man was amazing.
You just never really knew the motives behind some of the characters and so it was always a surprise when a character who you thought was the good guy turned out to be a jerk and the jerk turned into someone who played an important part in the war Jolie and Rand were preparing for. But then there were characters that you just knew were evil and as a sucker for those characters this story had a few. I love a good villain and I won't give too much a way but Ryder? Based on this story, after I got over the giddiness of how evil he was, I would have staked him in a heartbeat. What a horrifying monster. Even now when I think of him I shudder and feel an overwhelming need to go scrub myself. I did prefer him over the resident evil Bella though, but I have this sinking feeling that we haven't seen the half of it when it comes to what that witch will do for power. So many possibilities that I can't wait to see.
I hope this review does the book justice because it really is an amazing read. It's the first book in a series that I know lovers of romance and the paranormal will easily become addicted to. HP Mallory is definitely an author to watch out for. I've read both her books now and haven't stopped raving about them since I finished them. Don't hesitate to get a copy of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (and To Kill A Warlock) because it really will blow you a way . A must must must read. Enjoy!
A few of my favorite quotes
"This weather makes me feel quite at home," he said with a grin as I climbed in beside Christa and Rand settled himself next to me.
Ah yes, he was embarassed. When a business partner's friend sticks her ass in your face, discussing the weather is the best line of recourse."
"I swallowed hard and led her to the reading room, not missing Christa's raised brows as I closed the door behins us. The woman didn't take a seat.
"I'm Bella Swayer," she said very matter-of-factly. "You know my father - you brought him back from the dead."
I could taste my own shock. The flood of emotions that had seized me when I'd reanimated Jack now drowned me. I nodded. "Yes, about that.." I started, wondering if one should apologize for reanimiating a dead parent."
"I managed to land the free leg right into his nose, and he reared back, his hands covering his face. That was when i knew I was in deep crap. He dropped his hands and his canines were longer than they'd been a minute ago. His eyes glowed with a fierce and unnatural quality as he faced me with pure hatred.
"You're gonna bleed for that."
What Kind Of Review Can You Expect?
If I could describe what kind of reader I am, I would hands down say I was an emotional one. When I read I want to fully experience the book, from the emotions coursing through the characters to reacting to the twist and turns of the storyline. I'm looking for those books that fire up my imagination and leave me breathless when it's over. It's for this reason why the reviews I write aren't so much what I think and are more on how I feel. My hopes in sharing my review in this way is that something will spark an interest and have you wanting to have the same experiences. This isn't to say I don't have issues with grammar, word choices etc. Trust me I do and most times all it takes is waiting for the story to grab hold for it not to matter. When I do include things about what I thought about the book (for example I've included comments about word choices and being too descriptive), I only do so because it directly affected how I felt. I hope this helps. Enjoy!