Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

HP Mallory
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
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Release Date
July 2010
Book 1 of Jolie Wilkins Series
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

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.

Book Review by Zenith (reviewer)
Oct 14, 2010   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
315 people found the following review helpful
The author of this book should be asking her readers, “Are you not entertained?!” and in response getting the sound of screams and cries asking for more of that wonderfully entertaining entertainment that she wrote in this novel.

Jolie Wilkins is your average run-of-the-mill psychic, at least she thinks so. She doesn’t know how truly powerful she is until desire dressed in slacks and a sweater walks through her door with the name of Rand. The gorgeous Rand turns Jolie’s life into an upheaval of messes, only they’re messes that would’ve been unavoidable at some point anyway because, as she soon finds out, she is the object of desire for many beings of the Underworld, dangerous or not.

Jolie and her best friend, Christa operate a small psychic business in Los Angeles after escaping what they deemed the boring miserable life in Spokane Washington. Business is going awry. One night, Jolie meets a ghost hanging out in her reception area, and he says that someone has sent him. Jolie is flabbergasted as she has never seen a ghost before. Her visions are sporadic and when the beautiful Greek godlike man Rand (complete with a sexy English accent) comes in one afternoon wanting a reading, Jolie’s heart flips and flops. He sets up appointments for three consecutive readings all on the same weekday at the same time. The first time she meets with him, she sees one small vision, but not enough to keep him coming, or so she thinks. He comes on all three meetings and on the last one, asks her to go to dinner with him. She accepts and he confesses to her that he is a very powerful warlock. Jolie can’t believe it at first, but he shows her a few things to prove what he is and eventually share a business proposition with Jolie in which she would have to travel with him to Chicago. After a few probing questions about the task she would face should she go, she agrees, with the promise of a lot of money to help her and her friend Christa out.

Once in Chicago, Rand, Jolie, and Christa spend a night on the town and enjoy themselves. The sexual tension between Rand and Jolie start from the very beginning, but become more heated while in Chicago. However, they have to get down to business. Rand had been hired to find out who killed a man named Jack, who was shot in the head back in the 1920’s. His ghost is the one that had visited Jolie at her shop. He was shot in the back of the head, so he never knew who killed him. Jolie’s job is to travel back in time via her mind and watch it happen. Only when she does, she sees who killed him and freaks out while in the vision and grabs on to Jack just as he is dying. When she wakes up back in the now with Rand and Christa, there is another addition to their party. It’s Jack the ghost and he is no longer a ghost. Jolie has brought him back to life and doesn’t know how she did it.

As it seems that the job is done, Christa and Jolie go back to Los Angeles with nothing more from Rand until one day a striking woman walks into the shop looking for Jolie. This woman was Jack’s daughter and is a very powerful witch. She invites Jolie to her house for a party, promising that Rand will be there. Jolie wavers for a bit and finally decided to go. She goes and meets a debonair vampire named Sinjin and is sitting with him on a bench learning things about the party and the beings present when Rand spots her.

He is angry and storms over to the two. He takes Jolie aside and lets her know that her coming to this party was not something she should have ever done. That coming to this party she has sacrificed any tie that she ever had to having a normal life. Everyone knows that she is very powerful now and word has spread like wildfire about her special ability to bring back those who have died. Bella, the witch who invited Jolie to the party, wants to claim her as her own and be her Protector, as they say in the Underworld. Rand will not have it and gets challenged to a witch-style duel, with the winner winning the chance to be Jolie’s Protector and teach her the ways of life for a witch. It is very intense and though very badly injured, Rand comes out the winner and Jolie is in despair as she learns that she has to move to England and leave everything she knew behind.

Upon going to England, life changes drastically. Jolie learns more and more about the Underworld and meets several interesting beings. The tension mounts and the real danger rears its ugly head, throwing Jolie into a world like nothing she could have imagined, even after learning of the existence of vampires, werewolves, and warlocks.

The descriptions of the various places are wonderful. I loved a certain few that are part of my fairy tale fantasies, especially a major description when Jolie gets to see the massive house and area that Rand lives in. It all sounds so extraordinarily beautiful and the precise choice of words were like music to my ears, I wanted to be in the book! Along with the descriptions, I love how the author used so many things from today’s world in her metaphors. I found myself cracking up, thinking, ‘that is definitely something I would say or think.’ Some of these metaphors were very odd, but in a way that fit with whole strangeness of the situation. Again, I really loved the metaphors, they made the story pop and I will remember so many of them forever as they were very relatable to me. Anyone reading this story will find themselves laughing very often.

The romance in this story is hot! By hot I mean, the tension is incredible and not with just one main set of hero and heroine. Let’s see, the heroine and several heroes. Hehe! But it isn’t distasteful in any way. It lets the reader know that the beings of the Underworld are very very attuned to their own sexual needs. The banter that goes on between several of the heroes and heroine is comical, in the sexual tension department. The paranormal creatures have no qualms speaking of the desires towards the heroine and she begins to tire of it, never knowing that she was worth it, or at least, never feeling as though she was worth it. After becoming the most powerful witch in the world, she assumes that’s just part of the gig. I found myself rooting for each one of the men at the various places in the book where they were strong characters. Though, the overall person a reader would root for would be the one who feels the most love toward Jolie and Jolie feels the most love towards as well. The author did a wonderful job describing some of the sexiest men that I have ever read in a book. Blend an English vampire who speaks with the dialect of the 1800’s, a handsome ghost who’s afraid of life, a flirty werewolf pack leader, a Scottish fairy with flowing locks of golden hair, and an angst-ridden warlock fighting his feelings. Keep your fans out! Sigh!

The situations in this book weren’t believable in the sense that they would ever happen in real life, but in the sense that they would happen in the urban fantasy world, totally believable. Also, all the conversations that take place, and the tensions between the characters are super believable. I have never read a romance novel that is written in first person and I have to say that I really liked it. Even though we didn’t get to see anything in any other characters’ point of view, the author did an excellent job conveying their facial expressions--the slump of their shoulders and any trait that could just almost give away what they were feeling, but still not quite, without letting the character seeing it happen. Strange, I know, but awesome! I’d say talent! I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t like books where all of the characters seem to be salivating over one main character…I had no problem with that in this book. Even though it seems as though every creature she meets wants her, the author was still able to make Jolie very humble, yet smarty enough to combat it. Given her situation, you can figure it out that it’s not just her that they want, though they all still want a piece of her. Don’t all men want someone they’re attracted to?

This book was such a fun and interesting read. I loved the new and fresh take on all the beings of the Underworld all while still keeping a firm grip on the ideas of these beings through myths and legends. It was very entertaining; I was laughing, despairing, and shaking my fist at different parts of the story. I became so involved with the characters as if I was there in the story with them, whispering in their ears to do this or that. I read this book in two sittings and could hardly function on anything else until I came back to it time and time again. I dreamed about it, it was so prevalent on my mind! I just have to say to the author, ‘Bravo, I’m oh-so-in-dire-straights hooked. When the heck is the next book in the series coming out!?’

Yes, you did sense a bit of attitude, but in my defense it was only in the sense of ‘I need to know more about these characters as soon as humanly…er, or Underworlderly possible!’

Thank you, H.P. Mallory for such a wonderful and fun book. I can’t wait for more!
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Book Review by Belinda Boring (author,reviewer)
Oct 15, 2010
301 people found the following review helpful
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!

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