Tag Archives: H.P. Mallory

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Book Review: Gypsy Magic, by H.P. Mallory & J.R. Rain

I picked up a freebie copy of H.P. Mallory and J.R. Rain‘s Gypsy Magic. It’s been sitting in my cloud for a while until I found time to dedicate to an audiobook. Luckily, I’ve started walking on the treadmill in the mornings, and I’m giving myself permission to listen to audiobooks as I walk. I started with this one.

@seesadieread They say #sittingisthenewsmoking and I #sitallday. So, I’ve committed to #walkingeveryday. This is #day2 ????. #im listening to #gypsymagic by #hpmallory. The title is giving me canniptions, the fact that it is a slur is even addressed in the book. So the author can’t claim ignorance ????. Anyhow, here hoping there is a day 3. #walking #lowimpactworkout #walkingisgoodforyou #fyp #walkingisgood ♬ i want it i got it – Official Sound Studio

The book:

Gypsy Magic cover

Welcome to Haven Hollow, a town of monsters…

After dating a string of losers and banishing a poltergeist, I packed up my Los Angeles life and my eleven-year-old son, and moved… to a town in Oregon with a population of 680. Well, 682 now.

Culture shock anyone? Ahem, never mind that… New starts can happen anywhere, right?

I hope so because I need to start the next chapter of my forty-three year life pronto. So, why Haven Hollow? For one reason—there aren’t any witches here. And a witch can make a gypsy’s life… complicated.

Oh, right, I’ve put the cart before the horse…

Hi, I’m Poppy Morton and I come from a long line of Scottish gypsies—gypsies who possess magic and make potions to treat any and all ailments. It’s been my dream to open my own potions store and I’m finally going to do it—in the picturesque and small town of Haven Hollow.

Once my son, Finn, and I get settled in our two-story ramshackle, decrepit and rickety farmhouse (that happens to be bordering a cemetery), the nightmares start. And they won’t stop. Almost every night, I find myself face to face with a shadow monster—and its victim. And I’m fairly sure it’s the victim sending me the night terrors, wanting me to figure out the mystery of who or what murdered him.

But, I’m not really sure I want to get involved. Between facing a huge remodel of the above mentioned “house,” getting my son situated in his new school, opening my potions store and dealing with one of the ghosts from my last house who somehow thumbed a ride to this one, I’ve got my hands full. Actually, more than full.

Good thing I’ve got a few handsome neighbors to call on—Marty Zach, a self-professed ghost exorcist who just happens to have the sexiest smile, and Roy Osbourne, a bear of a man who looks like he alone coined the word ‘lumberjack.’

While I’m taken by Marty’s charm and Roy’s really-really-really broad shoulders, I can’t help but feel like this whole town is hiding a secret… and that’s the mystery I mostly want to solve, ghost visions be damned.

my review

Overall, this was a cute read, though it felt like a prologue to the larger series. The meeting and making fast friends was a little unbelievable, and I had trouble accepting some of the basic premises of the plot, though. Poppy has strong magic and has apparently been educated in how to use it well enough to open a shop and make a living with it. But there are some HUGE gaps in her knowledge, most notably that other supernaturals exist. It made no sense that she could be ignorant of this fact, and she maintained this ignorance FAR longer than was believable throughout the book. Similarly, if a town has 680 people in it, I do not believe anyone who grew up there remained ignorant of the supernaturals in their small community. Unfortunately, considering the importance of these points to the plot, this compromised much of my enjoyment.

Pair that with the frankly, galling use of Gypsy in the title and throughout the book. The word is gypsy magic photoa slur. The authors know this. It is addressed in the book. So, I know that they know it. Given that it is still used liberally, I take it as a purposeful statement on their part, perhaps something along the lines of “We refuse to cave to the woke crowd” or some BS like that. The point is the pointed use and incorporation of a word known to be offensive to the people it describes is a choice with a message. Especially since Poppy herself is not a Traveler of any sort, she has no tie to the culture beyond inheriting magic from a Traveler ancestor.

The narrator, Kelley Huston, did a nice job. Her accent for Lorken wasn’t great. But everything else was well done.

Other Reviews:

Book Review of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (Jolie Wilkins #1), by H.P. Mallory

Fire Burn and cauldron BubbleH. P. Mallory‘s Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble is a perma-freebie on Amazon (and probably other sites). I’ve had it on my TBR list for years. In fact, I thought I’d read it already. When I picked it up this afternoon, I’d only intended to read enough to remind myself which book it was, only to discover that I couldn’t remember because I hadn’t actually read it.

Description from Goodreads:
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.

Disappointing. That’s the most concise review I could write. This is one of those standard ‘woman has magical powers that she’s lived 28 years without noticing, until a man comes along and tells her about them’ books. Meanwhile, he controls every aspect of her life while refusing to give her the information she needs to stay safe and chastising her for endangering herself in ways she wasn’t told would be dangerous.

And of course these magical powers she’s gone 28 years without noticing are ultra powerful and she can defeat well trained, long experienced people without even knowing how. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s attracted to every man she meets and they all just have to have her too. But of course, she’s never noticed she’s pretty before.

What’s worse, this is a fairly long book, but almost nothing of significant note happens. Then, it ends on a cliffhanger. The whole thing bounces between rushed scenes and long stretches of ‘training’ or descriptions of what people are wearing.

Nope. I wasn’t impressed with this one.

Comment on H. P. Mallory’s Dulcie O’Neil novels

It probably would have been better to do this last month for Halloween, but I grabbed H. P. Mallory’sTo Kill A Warlock (Dulcie O’Neil, #1)  off of the Amazon KDP list. I enjoyed it, so I went ahead and bought books 2, 3, and 4. (I borrowed book 5). 

These books focus on Dulcie O’Neil. Goodreads describes the series like this: Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator — a law enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world.











Individually each of these books is all alright. Mallory has an easy, comfortable writing style that allows the reader to coast along unhindered. It is much like your best friend is telling you a story over a tall glass of some from-frou alcoholic beverage. There are some interesting characters, a couple steamy sex scenes, and a lot of sexual tension. Taken as a whole, however, I was underwhelmed with the series. 

To Kill A Warlock introduces Dulcie and her friends/coworkers, who share the limelight. However, as the series progresses each book focuses more and more tightly on just Dulcie, which I think is too bad. I know she is the main character, but she isn’t the centre of the world(s). She is like Netherworld crack apparently. All beings lust after her. She almost gets raped more times than I could count. The leaders of The Resistance listen to, and even seem to take orders from her, as soon as she makes herself known. (Guess there isn’t a need for her to prove herself in any manner.) She is the daughter of someone important, the best at her job, etc. The books just seem to spiral closer and closer to her and therefore allow for less and less development of the other characters. Though I did love a few of them. Bram is AWESOME and I really wanted him to find some happiness for himself. He was my favourite character by far. Knight is darned sexy all the way around. Quill keeps you guessing. Dia is a hoot and Sam is Dulcie’s Samwise Gamgee. You can’t help but like her. 

The books do seem to be getting shorter with each new one and ending on sharper and sharper cliffhangers. Book four was especially abrupt. It ended on a such a dun-dun-dun moment that I was almost afraid to even start book five. It is the last one currently available and I didn’t want to commit to another book only to get to the end and find that the pattern of the story not ending on the last page continued (which it does). Toward the end I started to feel like these weren’t even complete books. One bled too easily from one to the other and to be honest I would have preferred it if they weren’t so broken up. Each book recaps each of the previous ones. So, book one was recapped in book two. Books one and two were recapped in book three. Books one, two, and three were covered in book four. You get the point. It got really repetitive and took up a lot of space in the already short books. If there weren’t so many of them this wouldn’t be necessary and I wouldn’t have had to read the same passages over and over again. And considering book five literally started in the middle of the same conversation that book four ended with (to continue the previous example) it is safe to say the two books read as one. 

(I don’t know if it is coincidence, but I seem to be seeing this happen a lot lately. I have to wonder if the spread of the cheap ebook has somehow made it appear OK to create series that are almost closer to extend chapters of the same story instead of actual separate books. -Food for thought)

All-in-all there were aspects of this series that grated on my nerves, mostly because they emerged so often (same phrases used in every book for example). But I wouldn’t have read all five of them if there wasn’t some value to them. The story is an interesting one. You want to know what happens in the end…whenever that might be. There are enough alpha males pumping testosterone into the air to keep a hot blooded female smiling. Mallory lets her imagination run wild on the mystical creature front (though is is also a distraction and could be considered a detraction) and the writing is quirky and fun. I might have enjoyed it more if I had put some time between the books, but that’s just not the way I like to read a series. It’s worth picking up if you have the patience for it though.