Review: Witchful Thinking by H. P. Mallory ★★★

Witchful Thinking by H. P. Mallory
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Jolie Wilkins #3
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
ISBN: 9780345531452
Page Count: 352
Review Copy: Amazon purchase
Rating: 3 Stars ★★★

A self-deprecating witch with the unique ability to reanimate the dead. A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss and her would-be lover. A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda; one that includes an appetite for witches. The Underworld in a state of chaos. Let the games begin. Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend. Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life! Word of Jolie’s incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the Underworld’s most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand.


Decisions, decisions, decisions.

This is the third instalment of the Jolie Wilkins series, and the first one to be published by Bantam, rather than self-published. The series follows the trials and tribulations of Jolie who is a witch, and who also very recently became Queen of the Underworld. It also follows her somewhat complicated love life between the man she loves, Rand, who won't commit, and the man that lusts after her, Sinjin, who is seriously confusing her feelings.

And essentially, that is all this book was about; the love triangle. Which I did enjoy up to a point because I do enjoy the characters of both Rand and Sinjin, and of course Jolie, and I'm quite invested in the outcome at this point. And I even enjoyed some of the unusual complications and roadblocks Mallory has thrown in the way to keep things interesting, and to delay that ultimately inevitable Happily Ever After. But I would also have liked a plot to go with it. Which sadly this book did not posses.

It's actually funny that in my last review I commented on how much stuff Mallory likes to squeeze into each instalment, and regarding books one and two, that statement holds true. Unfortunately not so with this book. There was boy drama and indecision, a house move, some more boy drama and indecision, a few meetings and things for Jolie's new role as Queen, some more boy drama and get the idea.

No fighting, no mystery, no bad guys, hardly any magic, even. Just lots of dialogue and angst. I wouldn't go so far as to say the book wasn't enjoyable, and in terms of the Rand- Sinjin- Jolie storyline, it's essential reading, but I was just expecting more.

It was also filled with lots of recaps in the form of journal entries which it's never had before. I can only guess the reason for this is because, with it now being backed by a publishing house, they have assumed people might start the series with this one, and therefore felt the need to try and recap two whole books' worth of stuff. Which is just not possible. It will only serve to be very annoying for readers of the series who don't need the recaps, and for new readers, to be thrown in half way through a war, with existing, complicated inter-character relationships, it will be just too much to take in or connect with and recaps just won't cut it. What folly.

I have to mention as well, I thought I'd accidentally picked up the wrong book when I started reading it and found myself reliving chapter one of book one. Don't worry, you haven't gone mad. (Or at least I don't think so. I'm not a doctor). There is a reason this scene is replayed and it will all make sense by the end of the book.

Whilst I found some of the boy drama overdone, I do appreciate that Jolie, unlike a lot of UF heroines that are all of sudden handed a title like Queen (for no apparent reason- just for being super special) and do nothing but complain about it, Jolie was actually pleased and thankful for it and never (well not much, anyway) bemoaned her new powerful status, even with its drawbacks. She admits it's cool to feel powerful.

Another favourite aspect is how Mallory manages to squeeze a nice dose of  drama out of every plot. Even a rather dull one. There were a couple of scenes with Rand and/or Sinjin that were nice and emotive. But, again, only if you've read the first two books and know their history.

I didn't like the amount time it took Jolie to tell Rand about the binding that happened in Toil and Trouble during her sojourn to the past. I didn't fully understand her reasons for keeping it from him. Also, everybody's acceptance of Jolie's new queenly status, which to me seems to be based solely on one woman's assurance that "It's her destiny," is a little suspect. Especially since the entire war they just fought was to prevent another witch becoming Queen and having too much power. Not that I'm comparing Jolie to that evil cow Bella, but still.

I also suffered confusion over some inconsistencies: Did Mathilda make 1978 Rand forget as she kept saying? Or was it as Mercedes said, that the magic of time travelling rinsed them from the minds of anyone who saw them? Answers on a postcard, please.

But, ultimately, it doesn't matter what happened in the beginning and middle this book, or even what didn't happen, because after that KILLER cliffhanger ending, I am now desperate to get my hands on the next book! Just when I thought Mallory had forgotten her knack of keeping the plot fresh and exciting... No, no. She was just saving the best bit for last.


  1. Hi! Thanks for the follow! You have a great site, will enjoy reading your updates... new follower. :)

    I could not agree more with your review of Witchful Thinking! I understand the need for a light recap when it's the first book properly published but I felt it just went way too far. I was so wanting a lot of new material and I found myself almost pulling my hair out by about 45% in. I do agree that the cliffhanger is to die for. I read The Witch is Back the day it came out. Liked it but felt it was way too short. Once you read it I would love to talk to you more about it. :)

    Rainy Day Reads

  2. BTW.. here is a link to my review if you wanted to read it. :)



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