Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, a Paranormal Romance (Jolie Wilkins Series, Book #1) was the first book I read on my brand-spanking-new Kindle, and the first book I’ve read by HP Mallory. For those who aren’t fans of romance, don’t let the “Paranormal Romance” tag turn you off.  Yes, there is a heavy dose of star-crossed love present, but rather than overwhelm the story by taking center stage, it acts as a complement to the main plot.

Briefly summarized, Jolie Wilkins is an average woman who just happens to have a bit of a psychic side. She provides readings for a living, working with her best friend Christa (who is not psychic). Then one day a mysterious man walks into her shop, requests a reading, and turns her entire life upside down. Jolie discovers talents she never knew she had and a world she never quite believed existed. That world comes with a set of rules that she must follow, even though she has no desire to do so.

Jolie is fought over by various factions of the Underworld (think vampires, werewolves and witches, not the Mafia) and forced to leave her entire life behind for her own protection. Throughout this book, she learns to embrace her powers and gain self-confidence, something she is lacking in the beginning of the story and will desperately need if she’s going to survive the coming war between Underworld creatures.

“Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble” was a fun, quick read. It’s only .99 right now as part of a promotion for the second book in the series, “Toil and Trouble.” Is it an original work of staggering genius? Well, no, but I don’t think that’s what the author was going for. She wrote well for her genre and sprinkled in a lovely helping of wit. I literally laughed out loud at a particular line in which she’s describing things previously unexplained, such as the pyramids, and add “uh, let’s see… every episode of Lost!” So she does throw a few pop-cultural references in to ground the book in the present, but doesn’t overwhelm the story with constant name dropping like some other books I’ve tried to read (I know many people love PC Cast, but I didn’t make it through the first chapter of the first book because I felt like I was reading an ad every other paragraph). I’ve already downloaded the second book and am looking forward to reading it. I would have started it today, but my copy of “Late Eclipses” arrived this afternoon and I’m dying to read that. But “Toil and Trouble” is next on my list!

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