Monday, September 30, 2013

Mini Reviews: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris and Tied by Laney McMann

From Goodreads: Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths - and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days. And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about - someone from her own world - has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head - and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed? 

My Rating: 4.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The sequel to Unraveling, Elizabeth Norris’ Unbreakable was even better than its predecessor! Not only did it have all the elements of Unraveling that I liked (e.g. tight pacing, tons of action, great character development, etc.), but I was very pleased that we got to explore some of the other universes as well. I also enjoyed the romance a lot more in this book. Usually when there’s trouble between couples in a YA novel, it’s because there’s another love interest or a superficial problem that's introduced. I loved that the romantic tension in Unbreakable came instead as a result of Ben and Janelle’s individual growth as characters while apart. They still love each other, but have done some questionable things in the name of love and so have to try to reconcile the consequences of their actions with their motives.

Unbreakable was released by Balzer + Bray in April 2013. 

From Goodreads: Normal people don't believe their nightmares stalk them. They don’t fall in love with boys who don’t exist, either. Seventeen-year-old Layla Labelle, though, is far from normal. Her delusions walk the earth. Her hallucinations hunt her, and her skin heats to a burn every time her anger flares. Or is that all in her head? Layla doesn't know what to believe any more because if none of that’s true, Max MacLarnon must be an illusion, and her heart must still be broken. No matter how much she wants to believe Max is real, doing so would mean everything else is, too. How, then, is that possible? The answers lie in an age-old legend the supernatural aren’t prepared to reveal, and with a curse that could tear Layla and Max apart forever - if it doesn’t kill them both first.  

My Rating: 2 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: A huge reason why I decided to read Laney McMann’s Tied was because I don’t know much about Irish mythology. Unfortunately, I found Tied to be a rather disappointing read. The Irish mythology that I was so looking forward to just wasn’t incorporated into the plot as cohesively as I was expecting, and most of the information was typically provided in info dumps. The entire book was pretty much Layla discovering she hadn’t been told something, finding out more about it (for example, researching and looking at a website in one case), freaking out, and then having the cycle repeat.

My reading experience probably could have been improved if I had connected with the characters. Sadly, I didn’t because they weren’t very well developed.

Tied was released in September 2013 by J. Taylor Publishing. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (J. Taylor Publishing) for free.


  1. Unraveling did nothing for me, sadly, and what frustrated me was the lack of a scientific explanation of the time travel. Glad the sequel worked better for you and I'm sorry that the Tied was a big let down for you, Z!

  2. Unfortunately I haven't read either of these two books. But reading about the romance in Unbreakable has gotten me more interested in checking it out since I'm such a big romance buff.

  3. My first comment got eaten, but basically this:

    "Usually when there’s trouble between couples in a YA novel, it’s because there’s another love interest or a superficial problem that's introduced. I loved that the romantic tension in Unbreakable came instead as a result of Ben and Janelle’s individual growth as characters while apart."

    EXACTLY! That's what I loved so much about this one too Z! I dread sequels sometimes because they tend to follow a familiar path, and this one gave us something different and all the more emotional I think. LOVED:)

  4. I *still* need to read Unbreakable.

  5. YES, the way the relationship was handled between Ben and Jannelle was really well done. You're right about the conflict usually arising from something that feels more manufactured, so I respect the way the author did that here.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  6. I really, really, really did not enjoy Unbreakable as a sequel. I find it fascinating that both you and Wendy did.

    I think the difference is probably that I read the novella that comes between the two (Undone), which tells the story of how Ben got into his situation...and it completely spoiled the plot of Unbreakable. There was absolutely no suspense because I knew exactly what Ben was doing and why. The same thing happened with Scarlet by Marissa Meyer--the novella numbered 1.5 tells the story of Wolf's childhood and how he became who he is, and this is a MAJOR spoiler for the book that came after it.

    I gotta stop reading novellas.

  7. I love these covers and definitely putting these on my to read list. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the review :)


  8. Yes, completely agree with what you have to say about the romance in Unbreakable!! Exactly. I just loved Janelle and Ben so much. And Elizabeth Norris sure knows how to write a great, action-packed story!! I look forward to reading more from her.

    Sorry to hear about the other book though. You know, I have yet to be impressed with an Irish mythology-based book.


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