Monday, June 4, 2012

Review and Giveaway Undertow Blog Tour by Callie Kingston

by Callie Kingston
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound,

Goodreads Summary:
Reality is slipping away as Marissa sinks deeper into an abyss. Only truth and love can bring her back from the edge.

While she slept on a desolate beach on the wild Oregon coast, a rogue wave pulled her out to sea. Now Marissa dreams each night of a merman who rescued her. Obsessed, she risks her life once again in the frigid ocean. Will Marissa recover or remain forever lost in the eddies inside her mind?

Sometimes, the deadliest dangers lie within.

This one is hard to review. I don't want to give anything away because it will spoil the surprise of the book for you, but everyone on GoodReads has already given the surprise away so if you read any other review, you'll know what happens. And I feel I'd be misleading you if I didn't tell you right away that this is not a merman/mermaid book. This is a realistic contemporary ya book. There, so now you know. But you don't know the big surprise.

I didn't understand the beginning of this book at all. I couldn't figure out what kind of book it was trying to be. I totally went into this book expecting a mermaid story. I could not have been further from the truth. And trying to make it that way made me even more confused. So I didn't like it. Not right away. I kept complaining to my husband about it- "This book doesn't know if it wants to be paranormal, issue or romance!" The truth lies a little in all of that.

Even though Marissa finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her and runs off to a beach to ease her pain, you don't really connect with her. She's living with her boyfriend at his parents' house. Already you know something is weird, about her or her mother or both of them. How many seventeen year olds live with their boyfriend period.  And Shannon aka Marissa's mom is paying for her to go to college. I know times have changed but that wouldn't fly in my house. My son wants to live with his girlfriend I will not be paying his rent. (He's too young yet anyway.) So obviously the relationship between Marissa and mom is very messed up if she wants Marissa gone so bad she's willing to let her live with her boyfriend. 

Slowly the story of a very traumatic life unfolds and Marissa becomes a more sympathetic character. We start to see why her shields are up around her parents always and why she has very few friends, why men are untrustworthy and why she is searching for the merman that she believes saved her that day she was at the beach and got pulled out by the waves after she fell asleep on the beach.

She starts dating Jim, a really nice guy, who is as happy as a puppy all the time. He's got the energy of one too. He reminds me of my yellow lab, except there is this one annoying thing that I fault the author for. He ends almost ever sentence with "sugar" or "baby" both terms which like eating your favorite candy is great in moderation but in great quantities makes you queasy and feeling like you'll never want it again.

The author deals with several sensitive issues very well.  Some could have been left alone, should have in a book for teenagers such as the issue of having children. That's a huge rock to lay on their shore and something they shouldn't have to consider until they are older. You'll understand when you read that part, but I understand why she did it and how it fit in with the ending.

So except for a few minor complaints Callie Kingston did a really good job of turning what I thought was a mermaid story into something much more. And she really had me going. Had me believing. And if she can fool me, I bet she can fool you. I'll be looking for future novels from her.

I will say that originally when I finished this novel I didn't think I could give it more than three stars and I rated it that way on GoodReads. But after I let Jim's "sugars" and "baby's" die away and gained a little perspective, I realized she did something few other authors do. Treated with dignity and respect someone who deserved it. Who'd been a victim her entire life and finally had the courage to stand up for herself. With help.

Thanks to AToMR tours and Callie Kingston for letting me review this novel. I received a free copy in exchange for my review. I received no monetary compensation.



The author is giving away and e-book at each blog tour stop and one signed copy of Undertow along with a $20 gift card to Amazon at the end of the tour.
For the giveaway here, just leave a comment and a way to get in touch with you.

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


  1. I'm glad you cleared that up, that this isn't a mermaid book. I have a love/hate relationship with books when I have no idea if its got paranormal in it. Sometimes it works and other times I'm just frustrated.
    And the cutesy names REALLY get on my nerves. How many guys talk like that?! None I know anyway... if so its only occasionally and not constant.
    Thanks for the review!

    1. Candace- I used to have a boyfriend that called me baby all the time but it was condescendingly. He was trying to put me in my place. We were from different cultures and the man was always right. I can't stand to be called baby. Sugar is okay, but this guy ended every sentence with one of the two. Still, he was a stand up guy and he didn't dessert her when she needed someone.

  2. THanks fot he giveaway. I love reading books by authors that are new to me. schoenherr(at)centurytel(dot)net

    1. Well you have to thank the author for the giveaway, I'm just holding it for her.

  3. Hmmmm - thanks for the honest review. Wasn't sure if I wanted to read this one but I am intrigued now. Thanks for being honest about the book.


    1. You're welcome. I tried not to tell you exactly what was going on but I felt you should know, it isn't a mermaid book. I hate being misled b/c it generally makes me not like the book. This one is good enough to be given a chance.

  4. Hm... I admit I like a little more mermaid/man with my mermaid story so I know I would have been frustrated with it before reading this review. Now I think I could handle it. I could also see how the endearments could not feel more endearing as it keeps getting overused. Still... curious.
    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. It was good Melissa, but one of those books that you have to read all the way through before you understand it. If you only read part way through, you'll be cheating yourself.

  5. Thanks For The Review I Loved It I So Have This Book On My Wish List. butterfli262002(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Good April! Maybe you'll win! It really is worth reading.

  6. Thank you for the review and for hosting the giveaway on your blog. Also, due to overwhelming feedback, Jim's use of pet names is significantly reduced in the second version. Agreed: too sweet. But he still loves Marissa :-)


    1. That's great to hear Callie! But I did love Jim's character!! He's a real sweetheart and you can tell he genuinely loves Marissa, something she severely lacks in her life!

  7. This is the first I have heard of UNDERTOW. It does look interesting. I'm keen to see how issues are tackled.


    1. She does a great job as I am particularly sensitive to the issues she tackles!

  8. Thanks for the review :) I'm putting this one on my wishlist for sure.


  9. Sounds like a great read


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