Book Review Club ~ January 2012

Happy New Year!  Today is the first meeting of the year for Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club, and I will be reviewing UNRAVELING ISOBEL by Eileen Cook.  The release date for this book was January 3rd (yesterday), and I did not have a early copy, so…if you hazard a guess, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that I have not finished this book yet.  That doesn’t bother you, right??

Why, you might ask, did I pick this book if I haven’t finished reading it yet.  Well, LOTS of reasons, so I’m glad you asked…

1.  As crazy as my holidays were, with interruptions every few minutes to chat with someone, pull cookies out of the oven, or hare off on yet another errand, I found it comforting to stick with a couple of my comfort reads:  MURDER ON A BAD HAIR DAY by Anne George and THE SPELLMAN FILES by Lisa Lutz.  Love ’em both.

2.  I have already reviewed a book from each of the two series to which the above books belong for the Book Review Club.  See the archives.

3.  I have read Eileen Cook before (including her blog), and she is hilarious.  I was in the mood for hilarious.

4.  I’m a big judge-a-book-by-its-cover girl, and I LOVE this cover!

5.  Agree with me or not, I buy based on reviews (and, of course, the cover).  Check out the reviews for this book:

“Isobel, all snark and sharp edges covering some intense vulnerability as she continuously checks in to see if she has crossed into mental illness (as her father did when she was young), is a compelling narrator.” –The Horn Book, January/February 2012

“Spine-tingling setting….Isobel’s sass and her steamy romance with her new stepbrother will help readers race toward the dramatic conclusion.” –Publishers Weekly

“This blend of paranormal romance, murder mystery and quirky, coming-of-age narrative offers tasty moments….Cook gives readers a fast-paced plot, a likable narrator, and interesting characters.” –Kirkus

“Ideal for readers who like their stories supernatural but their dream guys human.” –The Bulletin

6.  The blurb, baby, the blurb!

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

7.  I’m now a quarter of the way in, and I’m hooked!  Everyone’s got issues!!  Isobel’s got a chip on her shoulder from having to move away senior year; her stepbrother is still reeling from his mother’s and sister’s deaths a mere seven months ago (!); her mother seems a little delusional about their new life, and her stepfather is pretty creepy.  But indefinably so, curiously so.  Plus, there’s a weird paranormal element PLUS a mental instability element PLUS a Gothic setting and a not-so-socially-acceptable crush between step-siblings.  I can’t wait to get back to it!

I think I picked the perfect book to launch 2012!

Looking for more great reads to jump start your year?  Head over to Barrie’s website! 

Want to see an awesome flash mob…click here first!

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Posted in book review club on 01/04/2012 12:04 am


  1. I buy based on covers and reviews myself. So important and yet many writers skimp on those important details.

    Somebody who has marvelous covers: Alyssa Goodnight.

    • Alyssa Goodnight

      You just might be the third Charmer in the family, David! 😉

      Thank you!

  2. I always read Eileen’s books. Because they’re so, so enjoyable! I’m looking foward to diving into this one. And, Alyssa, your blog/website looks great!

    • Alyssa Goodnight

      I got a lot farther in this one at the DMV, and it kept me totally engaged. I love Eileen!

      Thanks, Barrie!

  3. Oh, Alyssa, thanks for this recommendation–it sounds sooooo up my alley, like Gothic lite. Perfect for reading on a dreary winter’s day!

    • Alyssa Goodnight

      Perfect description, Eve: Gothic lite. I like that. :)

      I think you’ll like it!

  4. I didn’t realize it was out already! I LOVE Eileen Cook’s books – she’s an auto-buy for me! Must go buy now!!!!! :)

  5. This one sounds like a lot of fun, as was your humorous review. I’m 9% through Haruki Murakami’s latest tome and wondering when I’ll ever finish it in time for a review.

  6. Oooh, this one sounds good. Except the “granola” line was a turn-off. (What’s so bad about granola? And how does it fit in the same community as a Gothic mansion?) But I’m in the middle of two HEAVY books, plus work, plus planning a major trip. Light and funny sounds just perfect for my next read, thanks. :)

  7. Alyssa Goodnight

    Honestly, I don’t get the ‘granola.’ I haven’t really seen anything that warrants that description. Don’t let it deter you, Sarahlynn! It’s good!

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