UNDERTOW – Book 1 in the UNDERTOW series
Common Core Guide Available HERE
AVAILABLE: Local booksellers, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Ingram
Full details click here: Wicked Whale Publishing
Luckless Eila is unknowingly the last of her kind: Rare. Gifted. Breakable. Stunning Raef is her kind’s historic enemy: Soulless. Lethal. Lost. A legendary death 160 years before would set their lives to collide, forcing a beautiful killer to become a savior, a simple wallflower to become a warrior, and ruthless destiny to become a death sentence.
Check out the full summary on Goodreads! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18301716-undertow
Linda Ransom, Michigan YA Librarian: “I was very intrigued by the premise of this book. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a YA book, and this one sounded a little different from the increasingly run-of-the-mill “monster” stories that are beginning to permeate YA literature. Once I began reading it, I couldn’t put it down. The writing is good and sturdy . . . it was extremely refreshing to not have the book be inundated with swearing and sex, two things that, in my opinion, do not make a YA manuscript any better. Eila and Raef’s relationship progressed quite naturally, and the scene where he saves her from drowning was very well-written and exciting. Eila’s partners in crime were invigorating and realistic, and I loved the fact that they each have a secret of their own. Oh, and Kian. Hello! While not a fan of shoulder-length hair on men, he was amazing. I love his passion for Ana. Just wonderful. This is one YA book well-worth buying for our library’s YA fiction collection.”
Head Stuck in a Book reviews – “I absolutely loved this book, such a fresh, exciting and exhilarating read, with such an original concept that I can see this book doing very well. Combining a new paranormal concept with a dash of action and romance, you’ll be taken on a ride as soon as you open this book to its first page and lose yourself in it’s fantastic storyline.”
Reading Diva reviews – “This series takes paranormal somewhere I haven’t been as a reader and I can’t wait to spend more time at the Cape or wherever Eila’s journey takes her. Do I recommend this book? Yes, Yes, Yes, and YES!” (TOP PICK winner)
Lindsey Huges, Massachusetts YA Librarian: “I wasn’t sure if this was a book I was going to enjoy, I have grown tired of supernatural YA books. I COULD NOT PUT Undertow DOWN. Having grown up in the area where the book takes place, was an added bonus. I knew exactly where the author was talking about. However, you do not need to be a native or “wash-a-shore” Cape Codder to enjoy this book. I always enjoy when authors find a way to recreate a popular character type. It is so fun to learn of the author’s idea of a particular “culture”. Ms. Conway makes a great new culture of supernatural beings. I worried in the beginning that the main character was going to end up needing a man to protect her and that she would have a “Twilight” relationship, which I found to be on the abusive side. I was pleasantly surprised that Eila evolved to be a strong female character. The other characters were well developed and really made sense as to why a group that may not normally have been drawn to each other made such a great team. The book moved along quickly, action always moving the story forward. Waiting anxiously for the next book…”
Shooting Stars Reviews – “I really loved the plot of this book. And all of the characters were awesome as well. I can not wait to read more. I really enjoyed this one, and I highly recommend it.”
#30 Something Mel reviews – “Undertow was more than I was expecting. It’s not just a YA/paranormal romance, in fact its a lot more. Eila is a really likeable girl. I like that she isn’t perfect, she isn’t that ‘IT’ girl you have in books. No, she’s a girl character many teens out there will be able to relate too. And Raef, oh Raef. He’s the boy all girls dream of, or the idea of him is.”
Julie, NetGalley reviewer – “What a wonderful book!! I was drawn in from the beginning with such amazing characters. I loved the depth and description that KR Conway gave to each person in this novel. It is quite a ‘gem’ in the paranormal category.”
WOrkS of FiCTioN reviews – “All in all Undertow is a great book that not only keeps you guessing, but doesn’t let you set it down. I loved the characters and their interactions and definitely hoping for a continuation of their story.”
Vicci’s Crazy Book Addiction reviews– “Finally some fresh new worlds in the Young Adult Paranormal series! Wow, the author does a wonderful job of creating a whole new realm of Paranormal. The author has a way of weaving the story so that before you know it, you are falling in love with Eila, Raef, and the whole gang. This book just keeps you spell bound form the very beginning.”
Book Talks by the Library Lady reviews (LIBRARIAN) – “I could not put this one down! Even when I needed to put it down, I had to almost immediately pick it back up. It took mere hours for me to read this entire book and I am truly ticked that Eila’s next story won’t be published until July 2014. I don’t want to wait for this story to continue! This is an addictive read.”
Susan Reid, Author of THE DIVINITY SAGA – “I really liked this original story line and setting. It was well written and established each character well, with a unique take on supernatural beings. All in all, I really did enjoy the story and look forward to the next in this series!”
Twin Spin reviews – “If I had to summarize the whole story in one word it would be refreshing. Although there was one main character in Eila there was a great and entertaining supporting cast that were interesting enough to be able to stand on their own within the story. Often I find that beyond the main character the rest are either boring or annoying. Not in this case. I found myself invested in all of the characters. The romance aspect of the storyline was also intense. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.”
New Books on My Shelves reviews – “A beautiful original paranormal romance full of surprises. I loved it! I have not found any lengths, no downtime. I liked this very dynamic paranormal romance. Can’t wait to put my hands on the sequel.”
This Crazy, Beautiful Life reviews – “LOVED this book! I very rarely want to read books more than once, but this one I do!”
Confessions of a Book Addict reviews – I absolutely loved this book, it is the perfect combination of mystery, adventure, small town life and the supernatural. The plot was suspenseful and unpredictable. When Eila begins to unravel the mystery behind inheriting her new home and her family history, the story takes on twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.
Fantasy Ultimate reviews – “Great book!! The writing was vivid and created great atmospheres and characters. The mystery about Eila, Raef, and the others was top-notch.”
Carrie Reads A Lot reviews – “Wow. This book really blew me away. After reading a lot of YA in the past year, it really takes something special to get 5 stars, but this book really did it. I don’t think the next book can come out fast enough. If you’re into YA paranormal romance, you should read this book. It will have you sighing and smiling like a teenager again.”
Sleeps on Tables reviews – “Undertow for me a combination of a lot of different books, in a good way. The supernatural aspect of it was something that I haven’t read before. It was refreshing to not read another vampire or werewolf supernatural YA book. It’s nice to know authors can still spread their wings in that genre. But anyways, Undertow has some flashbacks and snippets of history that remind me of Cassie Clare’s The Infernal Devices. The way that K.R. is able to work the past into the present storyline is well done so that the reader doesn’t feel like they’re being shoved in opposite directions.
Another comparison some people might make this book to is Twilight. It’s not really the same except for the immortal aspect and the apparent main character “damsel in distress”. But! Eila is not a damsel in distress like Bella. It takes a little time but her character adjusts to this new world that she didn’t know existed. Although she does have Raef looking over her, she makes an effort to try and learn to protect herself. While she is still scared, in the end she makes some insanely brave and difficult decisions that save the day. Let’s see Bella Swan do that. Haha!”
Tipsy-Ink reviews – If it were at all possible, I would rate this title a 5.5! From page 1 I was swept away. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading such a unique read since ‘Scars of the Bifrost’. K.R. Conway’s way of writing first person does not limit the story, quite contrary really, it helps to move the story along in a way that anyone can follow and enjoy.
I think one of the things I love most is the unique and original take on ‘Supernatural’ so different from the books now hitting the shelves. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the ‘traditional’ supes, its just nice to read something different every once in a while. Writers of this day almost always seem to fall into the comfort of writing about something we know and this is different, something we don’t know.
Funny enough, this book was so well written that I found myself hooked (dangerously so, if you count almost burning my dinner). I can honestly say with a clear conscience that there isn’t a thing about this book that I didn’t like. The writing style while done in first person did not deter my ability or my want to read this book. There was way too much I liked. Even some of the twists didn’t register in my mind until a couple of seconds before they were revealed so kudos for that Ms. Conway.
I love every single character, good and bad. Their development was spot on! While I’m aware that there is much we have yet to discover, there is no doubt in my mind that this author spent countless hours meticulously crafting their back stories down to their favorite color and it shows in every loving key stoke.
Julie, NetGalley reviewer – Life for Eila Walker has been anything but easy. Her parents died when she was young, leaving Eila in the care of her mother’s friend – Mae. Times are hard for the duo. Then an unexpected thing happens – Eila learns that she has inherited a home on Cape Cod. Not wanting to snub such a tremendous gift – the duo packs up and leaves Kansas behind.
Eila is amazed at the house she has inherited. It is massive compared to the home that was left behind in Kansas. As Eila tries to find her way around – she soon learns that everyone knows everything about everyone in this town.
She makes friends with Ana and MJ. Both attend the same high school as Eila. Another new student has caught everyone’s eye. Raef is the hot new hunk in town, and Eila finds herself the recipient of his attention. Raef manages to be swoon worthy and protective – all at the same time. The two spend more time together and the attraction is immediate.
Then the night of the beach party happened, and things would never be the same for Eila. Revelations about her ancestors will affect everything Eila knows about herself and her friends. Finding herself in danger, Eila must rely on her friends to help her, including Raef. Will following in her great grandmother’s footsteps cost Eila everyone she loves? Can she stop those that are trying so desperately to stop Eila from her destiny?
What a wonderful book!! I was drawn in from the beginning with such amazing characters. I loved the depth and description that KR Conway gave to each person in this novel. It is quite a ‘gem’ in the paranormal category. My review is a little ’short’, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t give away ANY of the story. I couldn’t get enough of this series…..Totally loved it!! I am so excited to see what the next installment brings. So – when can I start Storm Front??
A Reader Lives a Thousand Lives reviews – Having been given a house which historically belonged to her family, Eila moves to the Cape, where she instantly makes friends with MJ and Ana. She also meets Raef, the most attractive boy in school and she feels an instant attraction to him, which is almost like an electrical charge. But at the same time she feels fear, that she knows is inspired by something about Raef but she can’t put her finger on it. Not really knowing what is going on in her life, it all changes when she is dragged into the water and Raef jumps in to save her.
Wow. I loved this book, even before any real hints of paranormal things happened it really drew me in and captured my attention. The writing style flowed beautifully, and the characters and history that the author has created were interesting and engaging.
Eila (EYE-LA) as a main character is feisty, strong and yet she has an emotional side, which succeeds in making her a well rounded character. Also, and slightly oddly for the genre, you could remember that she was only young, and yet she wasn’t pathetic and in need of saving.
I even managed to work out the secret behind Marsh the dog, well kind of, I was half way there! This book is definitely worth a read, it is full of suspense, emotion and friendship. It really does have everything a good paranormal book needs!
My ParaHangover reviews (LIBRARIAN) – I absolutely LOVE stumbling on new authors who bring with them new worlds and unique supernatural “creatures”. This is Ms. Conway’s debut novel and I believe she really knocked it out of the park! Sorry, lame metaphor but I’m watching the World Series. Either way… it’s a fantastic new world with a deep rooted history!!
Story / World Building / Tempo
The story starts off with a flashback to over 150 years prior. Painting a dank, dark setting on the docks in New England, Ms. Conway introduces us to the protagonist’s grandmother during a clandestine meeting. That’s how we learn of the two main types of supernaturals in this series: Lunaterra and Mortis.
Flash forward to present day when Eila (the granddaughter and voice of the book) is in the process of getting settled into her new home on the cape in Massachusetts. As the house has sat empty for many years, of course the locals are curious about the new neighbors. Add on to that the perils of navigating through the hells of high school and Eila actually manages to make a few friends. But it’s the fact that she’s drawn the attention of the “hottest guy in the school” that makes her the head cheerleader’s enemy number one. Clichè, yep, but what are you going to do? It serves a purpose in the plot.
The story moves along at a great pace and “reveals” come at the perfect moments. And even though this is truly a YA-level romance, the magnetic tension between Eila and Raef is potent. I swooned quite a bit during this one :D. It made me wish for an adult version of this story – maybe these two when they’re older?
Eila was great as a teenager who’s had a whole family history and a new LIFE thrust upon her. She’s very mature to begin with but still waffles and see things in the world like any teenager would. And, of course, her decisions reflect being a teenager. I really loved her spunk!!
Raef completely endeared himself to me because he was written so thoroughly and, dare I say, “fleshed out” well. Figure this one out: Raef is part protector, predator, annoying little brother, sulky teenager, master carpenter, and oh yeah – sexy as HELL!! No, the kitchen sink was NOT thrown in – these character traits work well together. I think he and his “big brother” are the best characters in this entire book.
Speaking of big brother… I want Kian to have his own book. It’s just an idea. Kian, Ana, and MJ are excellent supporting characters and often steal the scene. Seriously, each one could hold their own book, a novella at the very least. Despite a definite ending to the “crisis” in Undertow, there are plenty of loose ends (no spoilers here) to tie up in the next book in the series, Storm Front, expected summer 2014.