Mallory started as a self-published author whose third book has been picked up by Bantam Books. You do not need to have read either of the earlier books to pick this one up; Mallory provides enough background to bring everyone up to speed. That, unfortunately, leads to one of the problems with this book - the massive "data dumps by journal" which most of the chapters begin with. I understand the need; there are many new readers who need to know what's going on. But, I just wish the author had figured out a different way to present the information.
I had a little difficulty with Jolie (the main character) as well. So many of the problems that she encountered could have been resolved quickly by just talking to the folks involved. It's a common trope in romance novels, it just felt a little overdone here.
That said, this actually was a enjoyable light read and it was much more polished than her first book. I'll be looking for the next in the series when it's available.