Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#Review: Unwilling by K.D. Wood - 4.5 Wine Glasses

23356854Title: Unwilling
Author: K.D. Wood
Format: ebook, 341 pages
Published: November 11th 2014 by Blue Tulip Publishing
ISBN: 1942246048 
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Reviwer: Linda
Source: Author
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses

Neely McIntire’s dreams warn her about the future but will not protect her from the danger hiding in plain sight. On graduation night, she plans to tell her best friend, Hayden Nelson, that she's in love with him. Instead, they argue. Neely's hurt feelings leave her vulnerable, giving her secret admirer, Andrew Huckley, the opportunity to put his mother’s monstrous plan into motion. When Neely gives in to her broken heart and pushes him away, Hayden knows he must fight to recapture the spark he felt in their last kiss. But will he find her in time to reverse the damage or will she be changed forever?

Linda's Thoughts:
"Oh my God," Mrs. McIntire screamed. She'd dropped to her knees, the dark sand and water soaking into her jeans. "Neely!"
Mr. McIntire held his wife while she screeched her daughter's name over and over. "She's going to be fine, sweetie," he kept saying.
I really wanted to believe him.
"Is she on the other side?" I paced the shore. I couldn't see anything except a piece of driftwood lying at the water's edge. "I don't see her."
Mr. McIntire didn't answer, only pointed across the rolling water.
A log had washed up on the shore. It looked like maybe the water had rubbed all the bark off and left a naked, saturated trunk behind.
"Tell me where she is." Aggravated, I stared until my eyes blurred with stress. "All I see is a damn log."
"Son," Sheriff Mills said from behind me. "That ain't a log."

UNWILLING by K.D. Wood is an excellent read, but very difficult for me to classify. It's a paranormal, a romance, a horror, a mystery, a sci-fi, and, most definitely a nightmare of epic proportions with a heavy dose of inconceivable mythology. UNWILLING is the first book in a trilogy with the second installment scheduled to be released later in 2015. It was a bit out of my normal genre - which I would never have guessed from the blurb - I can honestly say that I've never read anything like this before.

There's a bit of a love triangle as it is the story of Neely McIntire and Hayden Nelson, who have been best friends throughout high school, and Andrew Huckley, a classmate of theirs. 

The story opens seemingly as a sweet romance in a small town Mississippi bayou on grad night. There's to be a party at Hayden's house. Neely has big plans as she's finally going to tell Hayden that she loves him. She'd had a crush on him for ages. This was also the night that Hayden was going to tell Neely that he loved her. He could not imagine life without her. So... what could go wrong? The chilling chain of events that begins on grad night will forever change each of their lives and leave the reader aghast at what happens.

I really liked both Neely and Hayden. They were typical teenagers. Poor Neely; Life's choices were taken away from her in one fell horrid swoop. It was difficult at times to differentiate between her nightmares and her real experiences, but they were all appalling nevertheless. I wanted to shake her to wake her up... but I couldn't blame her for her actions as she was just a puppet with others pulling her strings.

Hayden was the epitome of a  tortured hero. He was such a loyal, faithful, true character. I was rooting for him from the beginning. He is definitely someone you'd want in your corner as he'd never give up on you. My heart went out to both of them for being dealt such a cruel twist of fate.

Andrew was the third character in this pseudo triangle. One part of me felt sorry for him as he was truly a pathetic soul and a pawn for his villainous mother's despicable scheming. I believe he really did care for Neely in his own mind-reeling way. However, in the whole scheme of things, Andrew "McCreepy" Huckley and his loathsome mother both made my skin crawl.

Secondary characters added much to the story from Andrew's siblings to Neely's and Hayden's parents. Their performances certainly served to enhance the dark and twisted plot.

There's a bit of a cliffhanger that took me by surprise. I can only assure you that the next book is a must-read for me.

Following please find a few more of my favorite non-spoiler quotes:

"Do you know why the lotus is one of my favorite flowers?" I cocked my head to one side so I could see his expression.
He shook his head.
"This beautiful flower lives in the most vile, muddy water of swamps and bogs," I said and rubbed the smooth metal of the pendant between my fingers.
He frowned.
"No, seriously... the grosser the environment, the better," I said.
"So let me get this straight. You like a flower that lives in disgusting places?" One of his eyebrows rose. "That ain't right."
"No, I love this flower," I corrected.
He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye, "Seriously?"
"What?" You don't believe me?"
"Sure, I believe you. It's just weird."
"I'll tell you why, but only if you promise not to laugh," I said.
He nodded.
Taking a cleansing breath, I rested my head against the seat, closed my eyes, and took that scary first step.
"This flower stays in the mud and muck all night long."
I peeked at him without moving my head. His face had become set in the smooth lines of one who listens intently.
"Then, at sunrise, it climbs toward the light and opens into a pristine bloom. After the sun goes down, the bloom sinks into the mire. Even though it spends the whole night underwater, the flower emerges every morning as beautiful as the day before." Smiling, I swiveled in my seat to face him. "I love this flower because it reminds me that we get second chances every day, no matter what muck life drags us through."

"Neely McIntire," I said, clamping a sweaty hand behind her neck. "Friendship be damned!"
Hayden yanked me forward. I had time to make a very girly sound before his lips began to move furiously over mine. His touch left behind the tingle of cinnamon gum. One of his hands slowly slid down and pressed into the small of my back. For a second, I thought the sun had washed over me. But this heat cuddled around me, pushing its way through my clothes.
"Stmmmmp," I tried to say around his lips.
My knees wobbled as he wound his fingers into the curls at my neck, holding my face firmly against his.
"No." The hot pressure of his hand increased. A rumbling protest came from his throat when I dug my nails into his collarbones.
"Lemme go," I managed to gasp when he kissed the corner of my mouth.
"No," he whispered. His voice became a yielding puff of smoke. It slipped into my ears and coaxed something familiar from the broken depths.
The urge to fight drained away. This wisp of memory warmed me, relaxed tensed muscles, but tightened other places.
My fists uncurled and gripped his shoulders. "Why are you doing this?"
"I want you to come back to me, Neely," he said, wrapping his arms around my waist to press our hips together. Fiery lips caressed my face and neck. "I know you're in there somewhere. Come back, come back, come back," he whispered between kisses.

"Come in." The kid turned and walked toward the house. "I'll help you if I can." He paused, his brown eyes turned toward Stacy who now stood open-mouthed. "But you'll have to do something for me in return."
I frowned. "Like what?"
"Hide me from my mother," he said. His eyes were shiny with fresh tears.
I snorted. "Do you mean your mother, the beauty queen?"
"No," he said softly. His face suddenly seemed older. "I mean my mother, the monster."

K.D.'s writing captivated me from the very first page. Wow! I absolutely could not go to sleep until I'd finished this gripping, intriguingly unique story. I still can't stop thinking about it and it's been two weeks since I finished it! Just be prepared to be shocked, thrilled and have your heart wrenched when you read it. If you are craving a spine chilling, paranormal romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout and give you major goose bumps, then look no further than UNWILLING!

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