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 30 days after purchase)