Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review - Toil and Trouble (Jolie Wilkins, Book 2) by HP Mallory (4/5 stars)

Toil and Trouble, a Paranormal Romance (Book 2 of the Jolie Wilkins Series)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Size: 270 pages
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release Date: December 1, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1456428815
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Jolie Wilkins series
Source: Ebook from author
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got a copy of this in e-book form from the author in exchange for an honest review.  I have previously read both the first book in this series, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, and really enjoyed it and To Kill a Warlock (the first book in her Dulcie O'Neil series) and like that one too.  So I was excited to read this book.  It was an entertaining read; the plot doesn't progress a lot but Jolie has a lot to deal with and it is all entertaining.

Jolie is with Rand and Christie and Sinjin recovering from her battle at the end of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble.  They are grouping together all of the paranormal allies that they can find so that they can go to war against the evil Bella.   Jolie is torn between Rand, who still won't commit to her because he is afraid of what will happen to him in the war, and Sinjin who is increasingly understanding and supportive of Jolie's need to fight in the upcoming war.  Jolie wants to fight in the war but Rand has forbidden it; so Jolie comes up with a complex plan to fight no matter what.

This was a fun and entertaining read.  Rand and Sinjin are both absolutely wonderful characters and completely swoon worthy.  Sinjin especially gets a lot of page space; he is super yummy and we learn a lot more about his past which I really enjoyed.  Rand comes off as a jerk half the time and as misunderstood the remainder and I found him a frustrating character to read about.  Jolie remains her determined, slightly silly self and is fun to read about.  Christie seems like she is baggage throughout this book and is quickly shoved out of the story because she just doens't have a place in this book.

I liked some of the turns the plot took in this book; Mallory does some neat things here.  Parts of the ending are especially ironic and satisfying.  This is definitely more of a paranormal romance than an urban fantasy.  A lot of time is spent with Jolie angsting between who she likes better Rand or Sinjin; this ended up being well done but I had hoped we would see more action.  There is a lot of build up to this big war between the paranormal races and then when the war comes it is not very long or very well described.  I thought the actual scenes with the war were a disappointment compared with all of the build up.

I still would like a better explanation of the magic system; it just seems like the witches can do whatever they want with magic without much limitation at one time and then at another Jolie is too worn out to do much.  It is a bit inconsistent and I would like more clarification.

Things between Jolie and Rand remain frustrating throughout the book.  Mallory throws in a big cliffhanger type revelation at the end of the book which really hooks the reader in and made me immediately want to find out what happens in book 3.  I am not a huge fan of authors doing that; but it does keep the readers coming back.  I would have liked a little more closure for the story than I got.

Overall this was a good addition to the series.  It is a fun, light read and I enjoyed reading it.  I love the characters and the writing style is easy to read and natural sounding.  I would have liked a better war after all the build up there was to it.  I would also like a more consistent structure for the magic system set up here.  The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger and will make you desperate to read the next book in the series.  If you are a fan of light-hearted and fun paranormal books this is the book for you.  I would recommend this for fans of Molly Harper, Katie MacAlister, and Charlaine Harris's earlier Sookie Stackhouse books.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- E-book Reading Challenge

Toil and Trouble, a Paranormal Romance (Book 2 of the Jolie Wilkins Series) 

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