Review + Blog Tour: Unraveling by Sara Ella

Welcome to the:

Thomas Nelson’s Young Adult Summer
of 2017 Feature

It’s a blog post today all about the stunning contemporary YA/Fantasy sophomore novel from Sara Ella: Unraveling. Read on for my review, a book excerpt, and GIVEAWAY info! Or, you could just take my word for it and preorder this book now. It’s not one to be missed!

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About the Book
Title:  Unraveling
Series: Unblemished, Book 2
Author:  Sarah Ella

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date:  July 11, 2017

Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy

In the second installment of the Unblemished Trilogy, YA author Sara Ella asks, “What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?”

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After capturing the Void and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

With the Verity intertwined with her soul and Joshua finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her connection with Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

Find it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Review

Where do I even begin?! This book is such an adventure from page 1, with multiple twists I didn’t see coming (especially the one at about the 30% mark). Continuing with themes of sacrifice, self-confidence, and even the power of true love, Unraveling delves deeper into the story world and deeper into the characters as they face unforeseen challenges to their world. The world-building alone is fascinating as we learn even more about these parallel worlds with Eliyana.

Side note: I think this book could be read out of sequence, but it would be best to start with book 1, Unblemished.

The hold-on-to-your-seat adventure contained in this story is amped up by the constant, elusive battle between good and evil and the soul-deep ties Eliyana has to the people surrounding her. Contrasting the serious themes, though, are pop culture references aplenty. They are included in a manner which makes the contemporary setting of the story shine brightly against the castle and pirate ship locations(!!!). The Disney references make me happy inside — from straight-up mentions to clever plays on words, chapter titles, or similar themes. And, the MUSIC and movie references are a bonus. (The Count of Monte Cristo or Shania Twain, anyone?)

This book progresses the romantic storyline just enough, building on the (very-plausible-because-fantasy-reasons) love triangle established in book one. It still serves as a usable plot device because it contrasts the battle between good and evil in oneself, and the way opinion is influenced by individuals. I appreciate that Eliyana is not a back-and-forth, I-love-both person, yet a genuine individual who knows her choices have an impact on many people, including her choice of a confidant and romantic interest. By story’s end, I think the direction this situation will take is firmly in place, and I’m totally happy with it. But Sara IS known to throw surprises at us readers! The waiting will be agony (insert Into the Woods musical number here).

Like with the first book, I am intrigued by the symbolism showcasing the battle of good vs. evil, or the Verity and Void, as it’s termed in this series. When this story is examined closely, an observant reader will see detailed Biblical parallels with elements of faith, the power of light to overcome darkness, and even a mirror of the creation story and Eden. I think this book raises important questions about choices and human nature — how much of our life is defined by our own choices or free will? How much because of other people’s influence? Will you choose to embrace the Source of light and truth or “feed” an evil nature?

From dimension-travel to pirate ships and deserts, Unraveling covers the bases of adventure and the young adult genre while still maintaining an overarching plot with elements of faith. I haven’t even mentioned the fun and mysterious secondary characters OR the fairies! And the troll. This is one stunning, well-developed story that should appeal to fans of YA, fantasy, adventure, Disney fairytales, or even contemporary YA romance. I seriously can’t WAIT to find out what happens in the conclusion of the series come book 3!

Thank you to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for the review copy of this book for the purpose of this tour. This is my honest review. 
Excerpt
Taken from “Unraveling” by Sara Ella Copyright © 2017 by Sara E. Larson. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Prelude

I’m not ready for this.My shoulder is going to rip from its socket. My bicep is a torch, igniting my forearm. His fingers are sliding from mine, and I can’t hold on any longer. All I see is the gorge below, the beads of sweat dewing his temples.

He shouts, “Hold on!”

But the cliff crumbles with each passing blink. If we remain this way, we’ll both be swallowed by the chasm below.

I loosen my grip, my clammy palm slipping.

His eyes plead. Beg. Implore. “Don’t!” His cry echoes.

The river crashes and curls. Waiting to swallow. Devour. Obliterate anything entering its territory. But it isn’t the river I’m afraid of. It’s the black hole beyond it. The beginning of the end.

I know if we disconnect he might be lost forever. “I love you” is what I want to say. Instead I ask him, “Find me?”

His expression corkscrews, a mask of raw emotion. “Always.” His voice is weak, his energy drained. He’s not strong enough. Because of me.

So my fingers splay.

I let go.

About the Author

Sara Ella is the author of Unblemished, book one of the Unblemished Trilogy. Once upon a time, Sara dreamed she would marry a prince and live in a castle, and she did work for Disney! Now she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses and conquering realms of her own imaginings. She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away.”

 
CONNECT WITH SARA:  website ⎸facebook ⎸twitter ⎸pinterest ⎸instagram ⎸youtube
 
 
Giveaway

(3) Winners will each win a finished hard copy of Unraveling by Sara Ella, courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Giveaway ends June 2, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST.

Tour Schedule

5/22 – Melony Teague (Author Interview)

5/23 – Thorn & Vine (review) & Between the Pages of This Bookish Life (Spotlight)

5/24 – A Baker’s Perspective (review), Singing Librarian Books (Spotlight) & YA Book Divas (Spotlight & Excerpt)

5/25 – My So Called Chaos (review) & Thinking Thoughts (Spotlight)

5/26 – Reading is My SuperPower (review)

5/27 – The Green Mockingbird (review)

5/28 – Bookworm Mama (Spotlight)

5/29 – Just Commonly (review)

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award: Q&A post

It’s always fun to see these “bloggers award” posts floating around the internet. They are a fun opportunity to learn about bloggers and to have great discussions over all things bookish, in my case. Many thanks to the lovely Amber Stokes over at Seasons of Humility who nominated me to participate! (And thanks for coming up with such cool questions to answer!)Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten blogs.

The Questions

1. Dream vacation this summer, if you could go anywhere?

Anywhere? Other than to see my family, I think I would pick somewhere with mountains. Or a train that goes through mountains, like the Canadian Rockies. After watching the IMAX film “Rocky Mountain Express”, I really want to visit that region!

2. Classic (book) you’re most interested in revisiting sometime?

I’m going to cheat and list a few different ones: the “Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (you guessed that one would be on my list, right?).

3. Latest fictional crush?

Latest would have to be Cullen McGrath from To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander. He’s considerate, faithful, and sweetly loved Maggie. AND he’s Irish, so there’s the accent…

4. Favorite period drama?

This is the hardest question ever! There are so many beautiful period dramas, but my all-time favorite is the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyn. It has such gorgeous cinematography, dialogue, casting, and music. (our recent Twitter convo confirms this!) Plus I love the on-screen chemistry between all of the characters. The Bennets feel like a real family, and Lizzy and Darcy are just <3.

5. One summer book release you’re super excited about?

The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren. I’m excited to see where this next installment in the “Christiansen Family” series will take the characters! Susan always delivers a fantastic story.

6. Music you can’t get enough of at this moment in time?

Photograph by Ed Sheeran, Brother and Rise Again by NEEDTOBREATHE, Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger, Even the Stars Fall 4 U by Keith Urban, and anything on the Hillsong United “Oceans” album.
7. Most exciting discovery this year (book, movie, or music)?

Hmm. I’m going to go with the “Price of Privilege” book series by Jessica Dotta. Man, she can write some drama! I think I can say it’s my favorite book series of all time. (I’ve reviewed book 1 here).

8. Best freebie you’ve found online (ebook, download, subscription)?

I love the fact that so many “classics” are available as free ebook downloads, especially on the Kindle app or on Google Play Books. I’m always browsing the free ebooks list!

Perhaps the BEST freebie I found recently was the piano sheet music to this song (and theme) from the “North and South” miniseries. (You can find the link to download it via the YouTube channel). I could watch the ending listen to the music of that miniseries over and over! 🙂

9. Favorite Jane Austen hero?

Such a tough question! I’ve already declared my love for Mr. Darcy. He is probably my favorite, although Mr. Knightley is quickly moving up the ranks of Austen heroes. His quiet loyalty, understanding, and considerate nature make him the perfect hero and match for Emma. I think he is a bit overshadowed by Darcy sometimes.

10. Most beloved Disney sidekick?

I have to go with Olaf from Frozen here! I know there are so many fabulous sidekicks (shout-out to Maximus the horse from Tangled), but Olaf’s sense of humor and carrot-chasing just make me smile.

I’m nominating a few blogger friends: Beckie (By the Book), Kami (Kami’s Library Thoughts), Cassie (Bookshelves and Windows), Rayleigh Ann (Accelerate the Jesus Movement), and Rosie (Writings of Rosie).

If I’ve nominated you, or you want to join the fun, here are 10 questions for YOU!

1. What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?

2. What are you currently reading? (or reading next?)

3. Tea or coffee?

4. If you could travel (or time-travel) to your favorite book’s setting, where would you be?

5. What did you purchase the last time you visited a grocery store?

6. Latest celebrity crush?

7. Do you own multiple copies of the same book? Which one(s)?

8. What is your favorite movie genre?

9. Have you ever been to a drive-in movie?

10. Favorite ice cream flavor?