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Book Savvy Babe
on Aug. 22, 2011 :
Toil and Trouble picks up right after book 1. This story is a little bit more focused, as there is not as much need for in-depth explanations. With impending war, relationship drama, and surprising plot twists, book 2 in the Jolie Wilkins series is even better than the first book.
In this book, war is imminent, the characters have chosen sides, and war preparations are made. Jolie and Rand still face relationship problems, even though the attraction between them is stronger than ever. If possible, Rand is even more annoying because he keeps holding back on Jolie. At the same time, Sinjin, the vampire, ramps up his pursuit of Jolie making a nice complicated love triangle of sorts. I have to say, I really love Sinjin in this book, his character becomes more prominent and I found that I was really rooting for him at times. Jolie's love life is a hot mess in Toil and Trouble, and it totally fits this book.
Jolie still has self-worth issues in Toil and Trouble. However, I really like that she stands up for herself more in this book. Despite the war preparation and training that doesn't include her, Jolie continues to train in her magic and other abilities. She keeps her independence, and I admire that about her in this book.
I don't want to give away spoilers, but I will say that Toil and Trouble is very surprising. Just when I thought the climax had hit, the story turned a whole new direction. I was completely caught off guard with the plot twists, and I questioned what I previously wanted for the characters. By the time the book ended, I was still surprised, but again I wanted more. I can not wait to see where HP Mallory goes with this series, I am fully hooked on the Jolie Wilkins saga.
The Jolie Wilkins series is original and sensational, a must-read new series. Paranormal fans, you will not be disappointed with these books, I definitely recommend reading them.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on July 18, 2011 :
Toil and Trouble picks up right after Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble ends.The power struggle for control of the Underworld continues and the battle between Bella's and Rand's forces is imminent. While the politics, strategy, and preparation for the battle move forward, the love triangle between Rand, Jolie, and Sinjin continues as well.
Rand is his usual conflicted yet sexy self, but we learn a little more about why he has an approach/avoidance issue with Jolie. Then there is Sinjin, our bad-boy vampire who also wants Jolie, but is it because he really likes her or does he have some other agenda? Sinjin plays a much bigger role in this book and the affections of Rand and Sinjin continue to yank Jolie in two different directions for most of the book. However, events toward the end of the book will seem to move her more in one direction than another and makes me wonder how or if this love triangle will be handled in the next book. I have to admit that Jolie's character grated on me a little at times, but I liked the romantic tension between Jolie, Rand, and Sinjin.
There is an element of time travel in this book and during this part we learn more about Rand, Sinjin, and others and get answers to some of the whys and whats of the story. We also learn more about the source of the bad feelings between Sinjin and Rand. If there were any time travel continuity issues I couldn't tell ya.... thinking about the mechanics and issues of time travel tends to give me a wee headache, so I don't worry about it and go with the flow. :)
Mallory has notched up the heat level in this book and the sex scenes are more explicit, though I didn't think they always flowed well--maybe even a little rushed at times--and I felt there were some inconsistencies or continuity issues.
The beginning was a little slow but it picked up soon enough, especially when Sinjin started to get more involved in the story. (Well c'mon..it's Sinjin!) The story kept me turning the pages and I got all the elements that I liked from the first book... a light paranormal romance with a dash of humor and snark, paranormal characters galore, and a romantic conflict but with some extra spice this time around. Since this is a series with a continuing story line that uses the same main characters in each book, I recommend reading it in order so you understand the conflicts, relationships, and history between the characters.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 08, 2011 :
This story was as good as the first book. Sad that this story is over and hope Mallory would write another story with Jolie and Rand. Unfortunately I felt that this ending was abrupt and there was no ease with the love story. The detailing in the middle was well thought out, but when it came to the climax it was abrupt and the ending was cut very short.
(reviewed long after purchase)
Karissa's Reading Review
on April 01, 2011 :
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.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 27, 2011 :
Jolie Wilkins is preparing for war. Or she would be if she could move, and if her boss-slash-boyfriend Rand would let her. While she rests to regain her strength, Rand and his army train for the upcoming battle. But after being attacked in her own room, and then saved thanks to the vampire Sinjin, Jolie is perfectly healed and begins to plan her own way to join in on the fight. Filled with plenty of action and even more drama, Toil and Trouble is the tale of a woman who just wants to get her own fight on, no matter what the boys say.
My Review: Toil and Trouble is the second book in the Jolie Wilkins series, follwing Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, and certainly doesn't let up on the action. Most of the book takes place on the training ground, where Rand's forces practice their technique in the hopes that they might actually be able to defeat their enemy, Bella. I am always a fan of big training and battle scenes, because you can feel the desperation and hope of the characters. This book is certainly chock full of emotional rides, from the frustration of Jolie in being told she is not allowed to participate, as well as her anger for Rand for holding himself back from her, to the fear the characters and audience feel when the opposing side lists their demands should they win the war. Jolie is frightened of being made into someone's pet to use as they will, and I felt that right along with her.
My biggest upset with the book was with the battle itself. After all the build up, the talk of how much training everyone went through, including Jolie - even if it was in secret, the end of the battle was so shockingly abrupt. It wasn't a terrible ending, mind you, just a little startling. That said, it was still a very good resolution to the conflict, and after finishing the book, I eagerly anticipate the release of the third.
And I won't go into details so as to prevent spoilers, but readers finally get to see details about who Rand bonded with in the past that nearly killed him - and it's pretty dang heart breaking! Now I definitely need book three to see how Rand and Jolie deal with this new bit of information!
Fans of paranormal romance should definitely check out author HP Mallory, if you haven't already! I love her Jolie Wilkins series - Rand is more than yummy!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 16, 2011 :
I love this series! After finishing Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble I couldn't wait for the next Jolie Wilkins book to come out. Especially after the cliff hanger that happened at the end of book one. I mean Jolie is an amazing character that continues to grow, especially in Toil and Trouble. And you get an epic paranormal fix with everyone gathering for battle in the second installment.
Jolie after fighting the fairies so they will to join Rand and her in the epic paranormal world battle, is worn out and unable to use her magic. As her magic returns and she's able to continue on fighting for the rights of the paranormal world, the real battle begins to wage between Jolie and Rand. Because Rand won't allow Jolie access to his heart and she feels the need to show him her worth in this new world she's entered. I won't say more except in the last one hundred pages there is a major twist that makes you smile and think why didn't I figure it out before.
But I love this series, the magic, the vampires, the fairies and more, make it so easy to read and H.P.'s writing is easily understood. No wonder I can finish her books in less than a day! Check out Fire Burn and Caudron Bubble and Toil and Trouble if you haven't read them yet!
(reviewed long after purchase)
The Bookish Snob
on Jan. 04, 2011 :
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 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 wasn’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!!
(reviewed long after purchase)
Escape Between The Pages
on Jan. 02, 2011 :
Toil and Trouble takes off where the first book, Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble left off. Jolie had just dueled with Dougal, champion of the fairy king Odran, in order to win thier allegiance against Bella and her minions. Thankfully, she won. But, in order to do so, she had to take in much of Dougal's negative energy and use some of her own life force. It not only put her in a coma for three days, but after waking from it, left her incapacitated. While she was resting and waiting to regain her strength, Rand had assembled thier allies to Penlham Manor and was overseeing the preparations for the upcoming war. Among those allies was the sexy and suave vampire, Sinjin, who much to Rand's chargin, had more than a passing interest in Jolie. While bedridden, Jolie was attacked by one of Bella's minions, a werewolf who had hidden among the allies. In order to prevent her from turning, Sinjin had to suck the wound. This was an intimate act that pleased Sinjin, aroused and confused Jolie, and pissed off Rand. When Sinjin healed the werewolf bite, he also managed to return her strength and heal her completely.
Unfortunately, while Sinjin was making every effort to get closer to Jolie, Rand kept pulling away from her. First, Rand left her hanging during a very intimate moment, then he refused to let her participate in the war. He was afraid of her being in danger...Men can be dumbasses! She was at the core of the war...of course she was in danger, no matter what he did. *rolls eyes*. When he forbade her from the war, she was not a happy girl. She swore off anything with a penis. As far as the war went, she had her own reasons to enter it and wasn't going to be left out. She secretly turned to Sinjin for help. Naturally, as Jolie and Sinjin worked closely together, a war of another kind was brewing between Sinjin and Rand.
I loved Jolie's character. Even bedridden, she still maintained her straight forward, blunt and fantastic spirit. I loved that although she was a witch, she had very human thoughts. Her time rehabilitating, gave her the time to reflect on her relationship with Rand. In the first book Rand struggled with his attraction for Jolie.In this book, he struggled with commitment. She just wanted him to accept her...all of her. She loved him, but a girl can only take so much rejection. So, it was completely understandable how Sinjin had begun to appeal to her, the more she was around him. I could understand Rand's perspective, but, I didn't think, he should have prevented his current relationship with Jolie from moving forward, just because of a past love he didn't even remember. Hell, I was just as fustrated as she was with him. I also appreciate Jolie's determination...she was one of the core reasons for the war in the first place. After all it was her talent Bella was determine to control. Not to mention, she wanted a little payback and satisfaction of knowing she killed Ryder...Hell no, she was not going to be left out. I love that she did what she had to, what she knew was right.
Overall, Toil and Trouble is an amazing balance of love and war. There was never a dull moment and plenty of surprises. In this book, feelings were questioned, time was tavelled, truths were revealed, and war was fought. As I finished reading the book, the romantic complications for Jolie and Rand looked like they were finally resolved....but, with the unpredictability of H.P. Mallory, one never knows. The author has an uncanny ability to satisfy the reader, by blending action, magic, love, time-travel, and battle into a wonderfully coherant and entertaining story. Not to mention, she taunts the reader with a teasing last word... making them eagerly anticipating the next installment. If you're a fan of urban fantasy and paranormal romance that is light hearted and fast paced, then I think you will like this series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 26, 2010 :
I was really impressed with Toil and Trouble. When I had finished Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, I knew that I would read the next book but wasn't really anticipating it. I started out the book with reservations but H.P. Mallory has really grown as a writer. Toil and Trouble is evidence to this.
Jolie is becoming stronger in her role as a very powerful witch. She's also down to only two love interests. Rand and Sinjin are still vying for Jolie's love. Jolie loves Rand but he can't risk letting himself fall in love with her. For about half of the book Sinjin and Jolie really seem like they could be headed somewhere. Rand won't let Jolie fight in the big battle and Sinjin helps her gain strength and experience. He also helps sneak her into the battle. During the battle Jolie is in grave danger when all of a sudden she finds herself in 1878.
Getting herself back to her time reveals a lot more interesting story line aspects. I don't want to get too detailed or it will spoil the story. Toil and Trouble is an awesome read for just $2.99. If you are going to pick it up, it is imperative that you read the first book or read a detailed review. This book picks up exactly where the last left off.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 17, 2010 :
I couldn't put down the book down. I just had to find out what would happen between Rand and Jolie. The end result was worth the wait. I absolutely loved the first Jolie Wilkins book, and didn't think it could get better. Boy was I wrong!!! The book is full of action, love, jealousy, devotion, character building, and all things that make paranormal romance such a wonderful read.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Dec. 14, 2010 :
Jolie Wilkins' magical powers are strong enough to raise the dead, and she may have to do a lot of dead-raising very soon if the impending supernatural war goes on as planned. The evil Bella wants to rule all otherworldly peoples, and she has a huge army on her side, while the good guys (led by Rand, Jolie's warlock boss) have a relatively small group of fighters to back up their noble intentions. Jolie's got to get stronger if she wants to convince Rand to let her fight in the battle, and when Sinjin, the sorta-bad vampire from the previous book, starts showing an interest in her, she has to decide where her heart and her allegiances truly lie.
Toil and Trouble is action-packed, but I like how Jolie spends the first portion of the novel incapacitated. At the end of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble she beat the fairy king Odran's champion in a duel, in order to convince Odran to support Rand in the upcoming war. She succeeded, but the fight has drained her energy so badly that she's bedridden for awhile, then spends a few chapters regaining the use of her limbs. It's always good to see a heroine with weaknesses as well as strengths; it makes Jolie very humanized, despite her extreme magical talents.
Rand and Jolie's love story is the emotional core of the book. They both love each other, but because of their magical natures, if they decide to commit to each other, it'll be a forever-and-eternity no-going-back sort of thing, which is a weighty prospect, even with all they've been through together in the past months. Rand is all the more leery of the commitment because he had a former love who died, and apparently the experience of losing her was so painful, almost all of his memories of her had to be erased. Rand and Jolie are really at a stalemate, and are frustrated by the fact that they can't be together and can't really be apart, either.
Enter Sinjin. Jolie's love life is a little complicated even with just Rand around, but now that Sinjin is on their side, he's constantly around her and he seems more appealing as time passes. They start spending even more time together because Jolie needs Sinjin's help. Rand doesn't want her to fight in the war, but Jolie knows that she needs to be the one to kill the super-evil vampire Ryder, so she gets Sinjin to help her train in secret. Sinjin's not so bad (and I know he has some major fans), but I'm not fond of the back-and-forth triangle that starts. It would be great if Sinjin were the main guy, but he's less of a leading man and more of a temptation away from Rand. But ultimately, a good clue about the guys is how they treat other people: Rand is a gentleman, and while he may prefer keeping to himself, he's a generous person when placed in social situations. He's nice to ladies other than Jolie, and even kind to complete strangers, while Sinjin's kindness and gallantry are directed almost solely at Jolie.
Luckily, after extensive fight training, a lot of magic-using, some time-travelling, and a hardcore battle, things look like they're finally resolved once and for all on the romantic front. Plus, we still have plenty of adventure left to look forward to as Jolie takes on some new challenges and responsibilities. Jolie's still got that great, smart but not too sarcastic narrative voice that feels like a good friend is telling you about her joys and misadventures, so her stories are always going to be fun to read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 04, 2010 :
Jolie is preparing... preparing for a war that has been brought upon the creatures of the underworld because of her. Jolie is a witch that can reanimate the dead. Reanimating the dead is a very desirable trait when your legions are dying. Bella is a vampire that is set on claiming Jolie as her own, and make her reanimate dead creatures to make herself more powerful... so powerful that she will be the queen of the underworld if she succeeds.
Not only does Jolie have to deal with the guilt that she has put all the creatures of the Underworld at risk because of what she can do. Jolie also has some romantic issues, Sinjin is a sexy vampire that wants Jolie to be his and his alone. He will stop at nothing to protect her, even if that means risking his reputation. Rand is a warlock who Jolie has fallen in love with, but lately he seems to be pushing her away. She can't get any time alone with him. So as Sinjin is drawing Jolie closer, Rand is pushing her away and Jolie can't decide who she wants to be with.
Jolie has a lot to think about. First things first though, she must prepare for war. Jolie has victory in sight but has reasons of her own for wanting to fight in the battle. Just when things seem to have taken a horrible turn, Jolie gets thrust into the past... will she make it back in time to save the Underworld? or will she alter things in the future and change her own fate?
Toil and Trouble is an all around awesome read. It has romance, violence, action and adventure. All the characters are well written and composed. You get to know each character on a personal level, which is something I really enjoyed. By feeling that I knew the character it was easier to see myself along Jolie and her friends, experiencing everything right along with them.
The book kept me turning the page from page one to the very last page, I just couldn't get enough! I believe that I have read this book so many times that I could recite it by heart. At the current moment I have read it around 75 times I think. But its just that good.
I can't help but feel for the characters and route for Jolie to figure things out in her love life. How can you not? Jolie isn't the damsel in distress type, which was a wonderful change of pace. She doesn't need saving... she can save herself! I love that! She is a kick ass first, take names later type of girl, with a strong attitude, confusion about her future, and the confidence to see it all through. Toil and Trouble is a curl up on the couch and read book, trust me you won't want to put this one down. In a phrase Toil and Trouble is .... KICK ASS!
(reviewed the day of purchase)