Charmed, I'm Sure
by Liz Ireland, paranormal (2003)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7474-3


As a descendant of great Wiccans from the Germanic Black Forest line, Callie Hausemann has really lowered the bar when it comes to following her ancestors' footsteps. She's a college dropout (couldn't submit her papers in time) and while she knows a lot about movies, she's an underpaid, overworked administrative assistant to Sy Teller. Sy Teller is the boss from hell. One winter's evening, he pushes Callie over the edge so she tells him off in her magical Wiccan tongue, "You son of a bitch."

Poof! Next thing she knows, Sy is the son of a bitch. He's been turned into a cute golden retriever pup that urgently needs potty training. Callie is aghast at what she has done, even more so when she has no way to reverse the spell unless she gets her aunt's help, and the aunt is traveling and she's nowhere to be found. Callie decides to keep the pup, much to the disgust of her flatmate. She stammers and shrieks but she's really in trouble when Sy's nephew David Teller starts coming around to see why his uncle hasn't RSVPed his wedding invitation.

Soon he learns what Callie has done and together they try to break the spell. Hijinks ensue. Oh, and David's engagement falls apart.

I don't know why the author wants to make David engaged to another woman. The engagement is easily broken and becomes a non-issue later in the story, so there's really no reason why this subplot should even be here unless there's a huge market out there for infidelity romance. Okay, David doesn't actually do anything with Callie while he's engaged - except for a kiss which they both pretend they regret when they really don't - but there's something really unconvincing about a man three weeks away from marrying a woman breaking it off to snog another. I expect a sequel. David is marrying Callie now... or we'll see in sequel, taking place three weeks before David's second engagement party in a year, will we? The author is aware of the probability of her romance coming off as merely wedding jitters. Why she doesn't address this issue more, probably only she will understand.

The romance is underdeveloped but I am entertained by the farcical elements of the story though. I laugh at many of the lines here, some even out loud, and by the last page, I realize that I don't really mind the underbaked romance (that doesn't really happen until the last third of the book, everything else is a wacky adventure). Callie is dim in that she just cannot lie, only stammer and dig herself into a pit every time she opens her mouth, and she is incredibly, pathetically naive at times, but what the heck, she's funny enough in that I laugh at her stupidity. Dave is quite stupid too. I laugh at him too. Come to think of it, the whole story is stupid. What the heck - ha, ha, ha, hee, hee, ho, ho!

I guess this book is like a pretty good cartoonish fantasy story. The romance is probably a given, so let's leave it at a superficial level and bring on the funnies. And how nice that Liz Ireland manages to bring on the funnies. I'm shallow. As long as I can laugh and forget a little about the world outside today, it's enough for me for now. Ooh, funny stupid people - ha, ha, ha! Bring 'em on!

Me, charmed? I'm sure.

Rating: 84


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