Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review: Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: January 3rd 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

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.
(from Goodreads)

Unraveling Isobel had a great mix of romance, mystery and humour and was an entertaining, quick read. From the first page, Isobel had me laughing out loud and I knew that she’d be a protagonist I’d be able to relate to. She was consistently funny, and some of the comments she made about her step-dad were absolutely hilarious!  I really felt for her, because she had to go through this horrible upheaval, leaving her old life and all her friends behind just because of her mum (who I’d like to grab by the collar and give a good shake – how dense and selfish can one woman be?!). It’s no wonder Isobel was a bit sarcastic and miserable – anyone in her situation would be! In fact, I commend her for not screaming at her mother every day and throwing huge tantrums, because I certainly would have been tempted to if I were her.  Especially if I had to live with such a creepy step-dad like Richard. Seriously, that man. Throw in the horrible people at school and a confusing step-brother - well, let’s just say Isobel was a lot more tolerant than I am :P. She was strong-willed and smart and generally very likeable!

Speaking of confusing step-brothers...Nate. Deliciously attractive, but of course, off limits for Isobel. Also, kind of a jerk (to begin with). One thing I really liked about the relationship between these two was that there was no insta-love. Insta-attraction, yes. One cannot deny Nate’s hotness. But I like that the two sort of got off on the wrong foot and were quite detached and unfriendly at first, because then the whole process of them getting to know each other and start liking each other was a lot more believable, and more meaningful. There were a lot of great tension-filled scenes, and it was the kind of romance that kept me turning the page, constantly wanting more. There was quite a bit more to Nate than just his good looks, and I enjoyed getting to know him slowly, rather than knowing every detail of his life from the first chapter, or not knowing anything about him at all. He could be really sweet and awesome at times, and his scenes with Isobel...ah. Though there weren’t that many (I could have done with a lot more :P), they were all pretty amazing.

Another character I liked was Mandy, one of the librarians. She had a small role, but I thought she was so nice and helpful, and pretty cool and relaxed for a librarian. She was one of the few people Isobel could go to for help, and she had this approachable personality that made me think she could have been a great counsellor.

The mystery in Unraveling Isobel was great and kept me interested the whole way through. I didn’t really know how anything would turn out. I guessed a few things, but I was never a hundred percent what was going to happen, so the ending for me was quite surprising. I think maybe things got solved a little quickly, and the last few pages seemed a bit rushed, but that’s probably my only real complaint about the book. It was mostly very well-paced and engaging, and I think I even read it one sitting – definitely an addictive story!

Overall, Unraveling Isobel was really enjoyable. It had a range of characters, a great story and a lovely romance. I’d recommend it to fans of contemporary who maybe want to branch out to more paranormal books, or just to anyone looking for a funny, romantic read with a thrilling twist.


  1. This one has caught my eye a few times now, definitely one to be added to my TBR pile - just not until I manage to make a dent and some room :)

    Great review as always :)

  2. I've heard great things aobut this book and I LOVE THE COVER! This sounds like a very enjoyable read! I am really intrigued to read this book. Thank you for the awesome review, Liz! So glad you enjoyed it! ♥

    Celine @ Forget-me-not

  3. LOVE the sound of this and such an eye catching cover. Haha, I'm SUCH a sucker for forbidden attraction/romance of any kind, so I think that will appeal to me and I love a sarky heroine. Definitely need to pick this one up

    The Cait Files

  4. Loving the sound of this one! I'm glad that there's a good blend of mystery and romance (+ snarky character!) because I tend to get too freaked out when it's just all scary. Isobel's family (besides the step-brother?) sound so irritating... I can't wait to read about them :P Great review! It's good to have you back! :)


  5. I too love the sound of this book! Love anything with a mix of mystery and romance . . . I'll definitely check it out. Great review! Happy to hear you enjoyed this!

  6. Sounds really good! Brilliant review, Liz. You have convinced me to give this one a try. :)

  7. Ooooh I have been intrigued by this for a while now and thanks to your review, I definitely want to read!! Smart and strong heroine, smexy jerkish love interest with NO insta-love and LOTSA tension and an unpredictable mystery.... um, sounds SO good. Fantastic review, Liz!


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