Review: Unraveling by Sara Ella

Unraveling (Unblemished, #2)Unraveling by Sara Ella

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh. My. Goodness. I think I just died. This book, people–if you’re going to preorder a book in 2017, then make it this one. It is so worth it.

Okay, this review is going to sound totally fan-girly, and will probably contain spoilers from the first book. You’ve been warned.

SQUEAL! I loved this book so much. It has the best romance since Parvin and Solomon, and some of the swooniest scenes in all of romance history. The best part? It’s totally clean!! That makes me so happy. 😀 There is a few content issues, which I will mention in the content guide below, but nothing to cause me to rate it under 5 stars. (view spoiler) I loved most of the characters in this one. The author did an amazing job with their character arcs, transforming them just enough without making it seem unbelievable. (view spoiler)

I am amazed by all the worlds–or rather, Reflections–that Sara Ella keeps coming up with. It’s so cool how she ties them altogether as well! She mixes all sorts of cultures, real and imagined, in her world-building. Like El says in the book, perhaps we ought to already be expecting the unexpected. (view spoiler)

The plot kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I raced through it in record time. Unfortunately, that also means I have to wait for book 3, which isn’t even on the horizon yet! The life of a reader. Sigh. Anyway, I was curious where Sara Ella could go with this one. After all, Crowe is dead, the Reflection saved, and El is about to be crowned queen. What could possibly go wrong? (Hint: the answer is anything and everything, my friends. Anything and everything.) The only part I didn’t care for a whole lot out of this book (view spoiler) was the allegorical aspect. I’m not totally sure where the author is going with this. It’s not a Biblical allegory, so far as I can tell. Or if it is, it’s a twisted one. And those always make me a little twitchy. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next (and last!) book.

Overall, I adored this book. I loved it even more than the first one! (Which is very rare–the only other sequel I liked more than the first is A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes.) I highly recommend this one (and it’s definitely a buy-it-instantly kind of book)!

Rating: 5 glowing butterflies

Recommended: Yes. 14 and up. (Too confusing for younger readers, and some content issues.)

Content guide:

Language: 0/10 (that I can recall)
Sexual content: 5/10 (some non-sexual nudity, desire to kiss or touch, heavy kissing, some touching, innuendo, one scene could be interpreted the wrong way)
Violence: 7/10 (quite a few injuries and deaths, but most non-graphic. definitely some darker content in this one.)

*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy to review!*

For more book reviews, or to request your own book to be reviewed by yours truly, visit gabriellenblog.wordpress.com

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Review: Unblemished by Sara Ella

Unblemished (Unblemished #1)Unblemished by Sara Ella

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy cow, that was intense. I wasn’t expecting Unblemished to be that good. I saw all the rave reviews on Goodreads, and felt skeptical. “Well, might as well give it a try, I suppose.” I’m glad I did.

I’m normally not a fan of allegories–I suppose that only contributed to my skepticism. However, it was really well done here. Very subtle, and not in your face at all. I’m interested to see where the author takes it in following books. The entire story kept me riveted, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened to Eliyana next. I found the world-building to be believable, and very fascinating. I’m not normally of fan of alternate reality stories, but…this book is an exception to a lot of my dislikes.

But not all of them. (Warning! Warning! Minor spoilers ahead!) This book does have a love triangle. And yes, it is very frustrating. It was convincing at the beginning–the author had me rooting for one guy, until the tables turned and I was rooting for the other, just like Eliyana. Unfortunately, I remained rooting for that one character for the rest of the book. Guy #1 totally and completely lost my vote by acting like a total jerk. ‘Nuff said. Most of the characters were well-rounded, and sympathetic. Eliyana was especially endearing, as we spent the most time in her head, experiencing her every emotion. Her character transformation was excellently done.

I liked how it started in our world, before transitioning into the fantasy realm. All the pop culture references were really fun. It was neat to watch El transition into the new realm, and start to unconsciously use 2nd Reflection phrases in her thoughts and dialogue. I also loved the idea of Callings, and Thresholds. However, quite a bit of the world-building was very confusing. What, exactly, happened to Reflections 5-7? (Is that correct? There are 7 Reflections total, right? Ugh. See, it’s totally confusing.) And I’m not sure I totally got the concept of what the Verity and the Void are, and what they can do. Things only got messier towards the end, and I’m still not sure what happened. I can’t share much more details, as I’ll only spoil the plot.

Overall, I’d rate the book 5 stars, minus 1/2 for confusion, and another 1/2 for the love triangle. I can’t wait to start Unraveling, as Unblemished left me with a bit of a cliffhanger. Let’s hope it’s just as good–or dare I say, even better–than the first!

Rating: 4 stars

Recommended: Yes. 14 and up. (Too confusing for younger readers, and some content issues.)

Content guide:

Language: 2/10 (at least one bad word and unfinished sentence that implied foul language)
Sexual content: 6/10 (frequent non-sexual nudity, desire to kiss or touch, heavy kissing, some touching, innuendo, implications of rape, adultery, fornification)
Violence: 6/10 (quite a few injuries and deaths, but most non-graphic)

*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy to review!*

For more book reviews, or to request your own book to be reviewed by yours truly, visit gabriellenblog.wordpress.com

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Review: Twinepathy by C.B. Cook

Twinepathy (IDIA #1)Twinepathy by C.B. Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one was really fun! Though it did have some writing issues, such as plot holes, logic problems, and iffy characterization, it was very entertaining and kept my curiosity. A solid 3.5 stars.

What I liked:
1. Blaze. C’mon, how can you not like him?
2. Superpowers. ‘Nuff said. But really, there was a good variety of different kinds of powers. Very creative uses of those powers as well–a lot of them I wouldn’t have thought of. I wish some had been better explained (like Anvil’s), but maybe the next book will clear some things up.
3. IDIA. I found it interesting how it was set up in a hierarchy of sorts. I’d like to learn some of the backstory of how it got set up.
4. The narration. This was kind of a mixed bag for me, as sometimes I enjoyed Albany’s narration, and other times it got annoying. However, I liked it more than I didn’t, so I’m putting it under the “like” category.

What I didn’t like:
1. Lack of information and/or explanation. I NEED ANSWERS! Ahem–please?
2. Denver’s character. He just seemed to behave kind of oddly for an older brother.
3. All the lying. I really wish they would have just told the parents the truth in the first place. And they didn’t seem to have a whole lot of problems with lying, either.
4. (view spoiler)
5. (view spoiler)

Wrap up: While I did have some issues with the writing quality and content, I found the book to be very entertaining on the whole. I’m looking forward to reading the next addition in the series–Lightporter–and I’m hoping that it will give me some answers to the many, many questions I have after reading Twinepathy.

Rating: 3.5 stars.

Recommended: Yes. Ages 8 and up.

Content guide:
Language: 0/10
Sexual Content: 0/10
Violence: 6/10 (battle–both good guys and bad guys die. little value placed on human life. some injuries–non-graphic.)

*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review!*

For more book reviews, or to request your own book to be reviewed by yours truly, visit gabriellenblog.wordpress.com

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Unboxing The Book Drop

Looky looky what arrived in my mail box today….

 

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That, my friend, is The Book Drop YA Box. It’s a subscription book box run by the folks at Bethany Beach Books. They also have a box for children, and two different boxes for adults. Here’s what they have to say about The Book Drop:

Our mission is to spread the love of reading by exposing people to really amazing books. We all have busy lives and unless you are surrounded by books all  day (like us lucky folk), it’s a bit overwhelming to pick out one REALLY  good book when there are so many options. That’s what we are here  for… to pick out the best of the best and mail them your way, to be dropped on your doorstep or mailbox.

We understand that you can get a better deal on that site-that-shall-not-be-named, but this box isn’t about getting the cheapest price, it’s about having a small independent bookstore hand-select the perfect book and sending it your way once a month. It’s about helping people discover fantastic reads and putting marvelous books into the hands of readers, books they probably would never have discovered  otherwise. If you’re looking for the cheapest box or the cheapest book,  then this box isn’t for you… we don’t deal in cheap, we deal in fantastic, fabulous, & marvelous books.

The Book Drop is a subscription for those who would choose a local indie bookstore over Barnes & Noble. It’s for readers who love to hunt for a hidden gem in the stacks, but may not have the time to do so. That’s what The Book Drop is for–to seek out those fantastic reads that are flying under the radar, and deliver them straight to your mailbox. If you want more information on who they are, and how they select their books, look here. Now for the unboxing!

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Upon opening the box, I was greeted with a gorgeous, brand-new paperback. This month’s selection is Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman. Here’s the synopsis:

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves?

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I can’t wait to dive into this book. It looks like the perfect book to take with me to the pool. Or maybe the beach.

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I pulled the book out, and underneath was tucked a small pamphlet with tons of suggestions for books to read over the summer. All of the recommendations come with a short endorsement from employees at various indie bookshops around America.

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Inside the book was a bookmark, a signature from the employee who packed my box, and a short note from Amanda Zirn, the creator of The Book Drop, talking a little bit about what the book is like. Very nice–I like the personal touches.

 

While this may not be the cheapest book box, and while it may not have the newest releases, it’s definitely still worth considering. What makes this subscription stand out from the rest is its loyalty to hidden gems. The Book Drop is dedicated to promoting books that are worth reading, even if they haven’t made the bestseller list. They actively select books that you could only find in an indie bookstore, or by talking to a fellow book lover. It’s all about the book community, not the book business.

If you’re a fan of unusual authors and independent book stores, then The Book Drop is for you. I highly recommend looking into this one.

 

Cheers!

*A HUGE thanks to Amanda Zirn and the rest of the folks at The Book Drop for sending me a complimentary box to review!*