H.P. Mallory / Urban Fantasy
Book 2 in the Jolie Wilkins series
Smashwords / December 2010
The Underworld in civil war. The cause? A witch who can reanimate the dead.
A sexy as sin vampire determined to claim her. An infuriatingly handsome warlock torn between duty and love. Who says blonds have more fun? After defending herself against fairy magic, Jolie Wilkins wakes to find her world turned upside down-the creatures of the Underworld on the precipice of war. The Underworld is polarized in a battle of witch against witch, creature against creature, led by the villainous Bella, who would be Queen. While Jolie has one goal in mind, to stake the vampire, Ryder, who nearly killed her, she also must choose between the affections of her warlock employer, Rand, and the mysteriously sexy vampire, Sinjin. And as if that weren't enough to ruin a girl's day, everything Jolie knows will be turned inside out when she's thrust into the shock of a lifetime. Toil and Trouble is the second book in the Jolie Wilkins series, the follow up to Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
I seriously lost major pounds reading this book because it seemed like every time I turned the page I was jumping up and down with excitement over a new plot twist, swooning with giddiness of the TWO extremely sexy male characters or so engrossed with what was happening with Jolie that stopping to eat was a major inconvenience. I absolutely loved the first book, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and expected pretty much the same for Toil And Trouble so I was completely blown away with just how incredible this book was to read and just how tied up my emotions became because this was definitely one of the BEST books I read all last year. The book had me completely turned inside out and upside turn and I LOVED every single word of it!!
Toil and Trouble picks up where the last book left off and straight away I saw a difference. Jolie had just won a bet with Odran and wakes up to find a concerned and protective Rand. She’s now weak from overusing her magic and needs plenty of TLC to regain her strength. With the Fae now joining in the war against Bella, things begin to heat up as all the different groups come together to Pelham Manor to train. Desperately wanting to be a part of the preparations and her need to destroy Ryder for what he’s done, Jolie is frustrated when it seems Rand is making the decisions for her. The sexy warlock is different now, more attentive to her and although she slowly begins to understand why he’s so adamant about not bonding with her, it still hurts. To add fuel to the fire, things begin to heat up with Sinjin, the seductive vampire who always seems to be around when she needs him and it doesn’t take long before she sees an opportunity to help her in the battle. It involves working closely with Sinjin and everything must be done away from the watchful eye of Rand. Things don’t go as strictly as planned and things blow up, leaving Jolie to take drastic, dangerous steps that will put her on the frontline. Along the way, Jolie’s heart takes different turns and her feelings begin to deepen for Sinjin, confusing her as she once again has to evaluate her heart. Just when Jolie thinks that everything’s going according to her plan, a shocking turn of events happen that completely pulls the rug out from under her. Suddenly things become way more complicated than before, the risk is greater and even though she has the opportunity to have everything she’s ever wanted; Jolie has to make a heartbreaking decision. What will she chose? LOL you have to read it to find out but prepare yourself because the twists in this book are AMAZING and will leave you utterly speechless.
I honestly don’t know how the author does it. I went into the book thinking I knew it all. I figured that I knew roughly how the story would be; I was certain that Rand had blown his chance with Jolie and that my lust buddy Sinjin would swoop in and whisk Jolie away. Done deal. End of story. SOOOO not how it went and I have to say I absolutely LOVED the uncertainty of it all. HP Mallory has a really great sense of humor that I really enjoyed throughout the book and it had me chuckling, sometimes so loud I’d wake my husband out of a dead sleep. There was one scene earlier on in the book that was so hilarious, it took several attempts for me to catch my breath long enough to stop laughing. She wrote with great emotion which for me is such an important aspect of a great book. Whether it was in a tender moment between Jolie and Rand, a seductive one with Sinjin or a terrifying battle scene, I was completely hooked and unable to separate myself from the characters. I wasn’t just given a bunch of scenes stringed together; I was given an experience that felt very close to a cardio workout. One that was thrilling to the very end and I closed the book impatiently eager for book three.
Jolie was fabulous in this story, becoming much stronger as I read. I loved that she was so determined and that she was willing to do what was needed to put her plan into action. I totally understood her need for revenge because Ryder was a monster, a vile and disgusting vampire that I’d gladly hop in line just for a shot at staking him. Ryder aside, she knew she needed to be beside Rand in the battle and she knew if she didn’t do something she ran the risk of being “stashed” against her will in safety, which wassn’t Jolie at all. She’s the woman that fights for what she needs and although I was sad that she had to go to such measures to do it, I loved that she wasn’t deterred and that she was so creative. She had incredible heart throughout the book and her poor heart gets pulled through the wringer a few times but Jolie’s resilient and I just loved watching how she dealt with every situation. I laughed with her, cheered for her and sadly there were times my heart broke for her. The lengths she goes to for love and to do what was right was extraordinary and I couldn’t help but admire her for it.
You need to know I went into the book a strong supporter of Sinjin. My gosh that man was like liquid chocolate, so smooth and seductive and with the back and forth of Rand and his emotions; I was completely ready for Jolie to kick him to the curb for my favorite vampire. So when I began to see a different Rand, a more attentive and openly affectionate Rand, my “lust” for Sinjin began to be overshadowed by how strongly my heart started to chant Rand’s name. How did Jolie stand it all? Two deliciously sexy men, both with their own strengths and weaknesses and both were vying for her attention. Sinjin was openly ready to commit to her and I could definitely see why he was such a temptation because he was always available whenever Jolie needed him. There was no holding back and how could Rand possibly compete with that when his fear of bonding still played a huge part in his relationship with Jolie. His fear was so understandable as Rand shared his heart with her and it wasn’t long before I switched camps and became Team Rand. What can I say, heart trumps lust any day but what a rollercoaster and what incredible male characters. I really believe it doesn’t matter whether you love Sinjin or Rand because both of them hold the power to make you swoon and go giddy at the knees. Wickedly hot men that leave your insides gooey and breathless *sigh*
This is one of those books where I could sit and gush about it for hours because it was such a wonderful read. I loved what I read and I loved how I felt, making it a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone. For me, HP Mallory is one heck of a writer because she managed to top a great first book with an amazing second one and I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeves for Jolie, Rand and Sinjin. With the way my heart beat in Toil and Trouble I know it’s going to be incredible. Happy reading!!
In honor of just how hard my heart fell for Rand
and for all my wicked thoughts of Sinjin LOL