Saturday, April 18, 2009

WOULD-BE WITCH by Kimberly Frost

WOULD-BE WITCH needs a minor "friend full disclosure." While I don't know Kimberly all that well, we travel in the same circles. Just FYI.

A reviewer compared Frost's first novel to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, and I totally see it. Tammy Jo Trask, Frost's "would-be witch," is sassy and funny and quick to whip out the feminine wiles to get what she needs or wants.

The Trask family isn't the only family of powerful witches in the tiny town of Duval, TX-- in fact, Duval may be to witches what Cabot Cove was to murderers. There's also the Lyons family, including hunky Bryn Lyons who may be a bad ass good guy or may be the bad guy. And werwolves. And a ghost of a witch who lives in a locket. And gay vampires. And...

The story revolves around the theft of the previously mentioned locket. As luck would have it for Tammy Jo, who didn't inherit her family's serious witch mojo-- we think--, the powerful members of her family are out of town and not due back for a while. Not only that, but she's just been fired and she's dead broke and her ex-husband is all up in her grill. So it's a bad time, but it's up to her to get the locket-- and her family ghost, Edie-- back. With the help of a truly awesome kitty cat (my favorite character in the book) and the suspicious aid of Bryn Lyons, Tammy Jo gets tangled up in a dangerous subculture (for lack of a better word) as the hidden magical world of Duval spins out of control and begins to threaten the safety (and ignorance) of the town's non-magical citizens.

Frost has an excellent sense of humor-- great comedic timing. That's the best part of this book. I'm not the ideal audience for chick lit/romance. Most of the reviewers of Frost's book, both on Amazon and on her own site, say that the love triangle between Tammy Jo, Bryn, and Tammy Jo's ex-husband Kyle is "hot." I found her damsel-in-distress-ness kind of unappealing after a while, and both men in her life made me a bit squeamish. (Especially Kyle, who is wicked pushy and alpha-male-y and doesn't even believe in the ghost in the locket or all this witch stuff-- why would she marry this guy in the first place, and why the heck is she still schtupping him??)

But this book bummed me out in the way that Christopher Moore's books sometimes bum me out. I love Christopher Moore, and I love the humor in WOULD-BE WITCH. CM's books are must-reads, but their female characters are total stereotypes more often than not. Frost's writing rocks; I just wish Tammy Jo was a character I could sink my teeth into (bad vampire pun).

WOULD-BE WITCH is the first book in a series, and my hope is that as Tammy Jo develops as a character, she'll whip out her inner ocelot and start saving herself a bit more often. (And she can start by saving herself from her jerkoff ex-husband!!)

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