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Saturday, May 17, 2014

3.5 Sniffs Review: UNUSUAL AWAKENING by S.M. Knowles

Title: Unusual Awakening
Series: Rylee Everley #1
Author: S.M. Knowles
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: S.M. Knowles
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Source: Inside Stone ☆ Tour Schedule
Links: Goodreads ☆ Amazon

With tears and a tight hug, Rylee Everley’s dad left for Afghanistan with the Army Reserve. Since his deployment, her mom has been distant, her sisters are constantly fighting, and Rylee, at only thirteen years old, has to be the glue to keep them together. While her mother stays locked in her room, Rylee has been forced into the role of parent.

Now, two years later, a freak accident involving a bus at school promises to restore some normality to her family. In spite of not knowing how their father is, her mother is happy and her sisters don’t seem to fight as much as they used to. Rylee herself is seeing more of her friends and is even trying to sort out her own feelings about Brock Parker. However, something dark threatens to disrupt that normality for personal gain, and that darkness is willing to break every rule to get what it wants.

Rylee Everley has had to hold her family together ever since her father was deployed to Afghanistan. As her mother withdraws into her bedroom, Rylee takes care of her younger twin sister, Ava and Zoe, as any mother would. After all, she's her father's second-in-command.

Now she's 15 years old. After a bus accident that left her bruised and with a broken arm, things are starting to look up. Her mother is happier than she's been since her father left and her sisters aren't fighting each other as much. She's been able to see more of her friends and just has more time for herself.

As she is trying to sort out her feelings for her childhood friend, Brock, something dark and dangerous is lurking. It'll do anything to get what it wants, even kill. And that darkness wants Brock, but Rylee is in the way. All of a sudden Rylee is hearing strange voices and she's having extremely painful headaches, all the while having dreams of death and destruction. What could it all mean?

I really liked UNUSUAL AWAKENING. All the strangeness and mystery keep you hooked. I also liked how every once in a while there were POVs for other characters, namely Adysin and Brock.

There were a couple things that bothered me about the story, though. I didn't like how Rylee basically puts her life on hold, waiting for her dad to return. Basically she just stopped living and is going through the motions. Which makes sense since she acts more like a 13 year old (the year her father left) instead of a 15 year old. And another is her feelings for Brock. It was just so frustrating, but I'll get into that more in other sections of this review.

But there is a cliffhanger at the end that left me wanting to read the next book right away. So the things I liked about UNUSUAL AWAKENING outweighed those that I didn't.

Rylee: At the age of 13, when her father was deployed, she took on the role of mother in her household when her mother withdrew into her room. Her father always told her that she was his second-in-command and had to keep the family together in his place. Now at 15, her father is still not home, she's been hit by a bus, having strange dreams and painful headaches, and to top it off, she's hearing voices. To add to the stress, her childhood friend Brock is scrambling up her feelings - at one moment he's warm, the next cold. Then she meets the mysterious Phoenix, and things get even more strange and dangerous. But at least she's somewhat prepared, right? Not.

Ava/Zoe: Rylee's twin sisters. Ava is the girly one, and Zoe is the tomboy. They have a very deep love for their older sister. They just want to see her happy.

Brock: Rylee's childhood friend. His family has been really close friends with hers for a while. He plays football for their school and is one of the best players on the team. He's had feelings for Rylee for a while, but she's never noticed. He promised her father that he would look out for her and her family, and he takes that promise very seriously. When he begins dating Adysin, Brock slowly begins to change. In a strange and not good way.

Lyla: Rylee's best friend since elementary school. She's like another sister to Rylee and always has her back. She begins dating one of Brock's teammates, Garrett.

Garrett: One of Brock's football teammates. After the Snow Ball, he begins dating Rylee's best friend, Lyla.

Charlie: Another of Brock's football teammates. He took Rylee to the Snow Ball. He starts developing feeling for Rylee, and when she tells him that she's not allowed to date until she's 17, he tells her that he'll wait for her. He's completely smitten.

Phoenix: The mysterious woman from Rylee's dreams. She wants Rylee to walk into the light. When they meet in real life, Phoenix reveals herself to be one of the Highers who govern the witches. When Rylee refuses to walk into the light and have her memories erased, Phoenix sees something in her and asks her for help. That's when she tells Rylee that there is a half-witch working dangerous and unlawful magic, and that Rylee's already met her.

Adysin: A half-witch with an unhealthy obsession with Brock. She's working some dangerous magic to make him hers, and being only a half-witch with limited powers makes what she's doing even more dangerous. She wants to take Rylee out of the picture, and she'll do just about anything to do it.

The villain of UNUSUAL AWAKENING is Adysin. She's obsessed with Brock and wants to make him hers. She comes up with a spell that will make that happen, but something about it didn't go right, because whenever her back is turned, Brock is back with Rylee. And that infuriates her. She uses her powers to terrorize Rylee into staying away from Brock. Not only that but she's got some kind of strange control over him that has Rylee worried.

Being a half-witch living in the human realm, with and unhealthy lust for more power and an obsession that's uncontrollable, makes Adysin very dangerous.

There isn't much romance in UNUSUAL AWAKENING, because Rylee can't figure out her own feeling for Brock, and Adysin shoving her way between them. Not to mention Charlie showing interest in her.

I'll start with Charlie first. He took Rylee to the Snow Ball and after that he kept in contact with her. Sending her sweet texts and telling her that he'd wait for her until she was allowed to date. I really loved Charlie. He was so sweet and sincere. He was just perfect. A guy and girl would love to have.

Now the mess with Rylee and Brock is a bit more complicated. Rylee admits to having a crush on Brock, but then says that she doesn't think of him in that way. All I'm thinking when I read these moments is this, Rylee if you have a crush on him there is no way you could not think of him in that way! It was so so frustrating! And Brock is so obvious in his feelings for her, but she's took blind to see it. Oh my goodness, there were moments when these two made me want to pull my hair out.

But then there were moments when I was thinking that maybe their relationship is moving in the right direction. Especially after Adysin's spell takes place and Rylee and Brock have these really intense make out visions. I thought maybe these visions would make Rylee finally realize her true feelings for Brock. But then Adysin would worm her way between them again.

Like I said, so so frustrating.

Check out a swoony moment between Rylee and Brock 
from this week's Swoon Thursday! Just click the button!

Book 3, Dream Ending, comes out JUNE 17th!!

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