Playing with Fire

A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count)

Fiction - Paranormal
294 Pages
Reviewed on 02/13/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Playing with Fire by RJ Blain is a romantic comedy (with a body count) that brings surprises, laughs, romance, and genuine eccentricity. Bailey is known for three things: being able to find anything, being immune to all the nasty substances like gorgon dust, and her barista skills with pixie dust induced coffee. She gave up finding people to be a full time barista years ago when Police Chief Samuel Quinn came into the shop, asking her to find his cheating wife. He's hated her ever since. When his brother-in-law comes in asking her to find someone, and offers a significant amount of money to do so, she's skeptical yet intrigued enough to find out why. A gorgon dust phone bomb later, she realizes she's in the middle of something much more complicated than her attraction to Chief Quinn.

Playing with Fire is an eccentric, charming, and humorous oddity, a rare gem, and definitely unique. RJ Blain brings a refreshing whimsy to well-known mythology. A nervous and anxiety ridden moment becomes humorous when the Incubus that has helped kidnap her suggests playing poker. Blain has a talent for flipping serious moments and turning them into comedy, but then just as easily turning it back into something serious. Each comedic moment flows into a serious one with ease. A lot of that has to do with Bailey's narration. Bailey is headstrong, has no filter, but she's also quirky and charming.

The characters are larger than life and eccentric, but the craziness of the story fits those personalities perfectly. It's the fun kind of chaos. I couldn't help getting hooked. When Quinn has his family gathered together and they just keep growing, with a centaur and an angel and so on, it's one moment that's completely ridiculous and that's the charm. Bailey spends a good chunk as a unicorn. Each bizarre moment just shows how witty this story is. A must-read for anyone eccentric and craving a good romantic comedy!

Mamta Madhavan

Bailey Gardener and Samuel Quinn take readers on a romantic and fun ride in Playing with Fire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) by R.J. Blain. Bailey Gardener is the only human barista working at a coffee shop, and Faery Fortunes Coffee and Book Shop is not far from where police chief Samuel Quinn works. She gets entangled in Quinn’s personal affairs as he wants her help in finding his wife. She knows that without her help he would still be married and not be Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor. Though she is able to help him, Bailey finds out that his ex-wife is looking for revenge. Will Bailey be able to get out of the mess she has put herself in?

The story is a heady combination of magic, excitement, fun, adventure, and romance, and the author weaves these elements effortless through the plot, making the book a compelling read. I liked the characters of Samuel and Bailey, and their love story will make you wonder how a romance between a human and a faery could be! All the supporting characters in the story do full justice to the plot and complement the main characters nicely.

The dialogues and descriptions make the scenes vivid and the characters palpable to readers. The writing style gives a good pace and movement to the plot, making the story entertaining, interesting, and fast paced. The combination of pixies, fairies, gorgons, and others, along with human characters, make the book refreshingly original and a good read.

Melinda Hills

A young human woman (with plenty of secrets of her own), working as a barista in a Faery coffee shop, has a much more interesting life than most would believe in Playing with Fire: A Magical Romantic Comedy (With a Body Count) by R.J. Blain. As a CDC certified specialist in the clean-up and removal of magical contamination, Bailey Gardener encounters more than her fair share of paranormal problems, including her own transformation into a fire breathing unicorn in New York City where humans and non-humans live side by side. As if her job is not complicated enough, proving the infidelity of the wife of the Chief of Police brings Bailey into frequent contact with Sam Quinn, considered to be the most eligible bachelor in town, a fact that she completely appreciates but tries desperately to hide. As problems with Quinn’s ex-wife escalate, Bailey and Quinn are forced to take drastic action to save the residents of the city. Dealing with their own personal chemistry may be the more difficult task, though, and it takes divine intervention and a whole lot of explaining to get their budding romance on the right track.

R.J. Blain has created a delightful, romantic, and entirely engaging story where Men in Black meets the Fantastic Four. With an abundance of humor, barely suppressed sexual tension, plenty of paranormal rules, regulations and fireworks, and a cast of characters including the lowest of evil creatures to faeries, centaurs and even the Divine, Playing with Fire pulls out all the stops for a great read that keeps you turning pages to see just how Bailey can manage the next disaster and if her dreams regarding Chief Quinn will come true. Great story! I truly enjoyed reading it and hope to see more!