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Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (Jolie Wilkins, #1)

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble - H.P. Mallory 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.