Friday, June 8, 2012

Undertow Blog Tour: review + giveaway

We are hosting the Undertow Blog Tour. Undertow is an intriguing YA novel by Callie Kingston. Reader Girls is giving away one ebook copy (provided by the author) to one reader. Enter through the Rafflecopter form. This tour is presented by AToMR Tours.

Blurb: While she sleeps beside a log on the wild Oregon coast, a rogue wave pulls Marissa into the sea. Now she dreams each night of a merman who rescues her. Obsessed with returning to this beautiful creature, she again risks her life in the frigid ocean.

Will Marissa remain lost forever in the eddies of her mind, or can real love save her from the abyss? Sometimes, the dangers which lie within are the deadliest.

Links to purchase the book: Amazon (US) ebook | Amazon (UK) ebook | Amazon (paperback) | B&N ebook/ paperback | Kobo | Diesel ebook store | Indiebound (paperback) | Books-A-Million (paperback) | Powell's Books (paperback) | Author page (Enter code GB5BMOLE for $3 off the list price) | All links

Book Trailer:

Author Bio: Callie Kingston's home is in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with many furry creatures (including her husband). She holds a masters degree in psychology and has worked in schools for many years. When not writing, she likes to explore the outdoors, especially the forests and beaches along the Oregon coast. She also enjoys a great cup of cappuccino, which happily is easily found in her part of the world.

Links: Undertow blog | Author blog | Twitter | Goodreads


My thoughts: As an avid reader, I find there are not a lot of books that can truly surprise me. Undertow surprised me--in a good way. Callie Kingston gives her story a unique twist I didn't see coming when I began reading.

Marissa, 17, is heartbroken. She's about to enter college, has her future planned out with her boyfriend Drake, until she spots a message on his laptop. Discovering his infidelity, Marissa ends their relationship and takes off to her favorite place to get away from everything. With an unusual home life and a troubled past, Marissa is far from a typical teen. While sitting in her beloved spot on Crescent Beach, she falls asleep only to awaken later, trapped in the clutches of a rogue wave as it takes her out to the sea.

This is where the cover photo comes in. Swept into the freezing sea, gripped by an undertow, Marissa is overwhelmed and begins to drown. She spots something, or someone, in the water and feels the warmth of a strange guy's kiss upon her lips. When she awakens, she is back on the beach, quite alive.

From then on, Marissa believes she was rescued by a 'merman,' and is determined to find him. Her need to seek this watery creature becomes a dangerous obsession until her own sanity is threatened.

Undertow was an intriguing read, its' premise alluring and kept me reading. I found Marissa a difficult character to connect with, probably from the third person narration, but my lack of connection was NOT a negative. After finishing the book I realized this was part of the author's way (as I interpreted it) to show how messed up Marissa truly was and as she begins to change, to heal, I liked her more. The story's set-up, from the opening scene to Marissa's compulsive need to find her merman, certainly kept my interest. When nice guy Jim enters the story, I became his cheerleader, hoping Marissa would see him for the curly haired, upbeat prince of a guy he was.

I found Marissa annoying in parts, especially the scene at her mom's place, where she meets George, mom's new boyfriend. Her behavior did click for me a little later on and so many things made sense. The family dynamics was strange at first seeing this seventeen year old living at her boyfriend's father's house, instead of her mother's. From the scenes between Marissa and her mom it was obvious there was a ton of unvoiced stuff going on between them.

Loss of a sibling. Loss of innocence. Loss of self. Undertow could have been a difficult read and yet under Callie Kingston's deft hands, Marissa's story became a realistic accounting of discovery, forgiveness, acceptance, healing, and understanding true love. Powerful, poignant, and refreshingly different, Undertow is a contemporary YA fans of the genre will want to read this summer.

Rating: Liked it (4 stars)

Favorite excerpt: "Her mother's voice broke the trance. Marissa tightened her fists around the bouquet until her knuckles turned white. Letting go of the memory of her father's phone call, she forced herself to focus on her mother, blushing like some girl at her Junior Prom.

Eyes fixed on George's, she said, "I promise to cherish you, always."

The earnestness and hope in her mother's quivering voice made Marissa want to cheer like a spectator watching a boxer come up swinging before the count. It was time her mom had a shot at happiness, at love.

Maybe I do, too, she thought.

Turning her head slightly toward the audience, she found Jim in his folding chair on the third row, transfixed by the middle aged love birds on the dais. Seeing his smile was like flipping the switch on a gas fireplace in her chest."

Book source: Received a promotional ebook copy for my honest review during a book tour.

Cover comment: I like the photo but I'm not crazy about the title's font--it's clunky.

Undertow Tour Schedule
Click here to view the blog list...

At the end of the tour the author will offer a signed print copy and a $20 Gift Card Julie's blog, A Tale of Many Reviews.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I've been DYING to get my hands on this book! It looks so amazing!

  2. Yay for another Pacific Northwest author! This sounds like an excellent book. I'll be checking it out for sure. Best of luck to Callie with it!

  3. Looks so intriguing. I would love to read this.