Sunday, May 19, 2013

I *heart* Ryan GOING UNDER Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

(Click the picture to follow the blog tour!)

Title: Going Under
Author: S. Walden
Published: March 14th 2013 by Penny Press
Format: ebook 
Website: S. Walden's Website
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review/Won from a giveaway
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N |


Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret. 

(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and an explicit description of sexual violence. Please take the content warning seriously.)
My Thoughts
I knew that I was going to love this story when I read the dedication: "To strong girls everywhere."

I am very lucky to have won this book through a giveaway and for being a part of this I *heart* Ryan blog tour. When I started reading Going Under, it kept me always wanting. Wanting for more. Walden perfectly built the suspense and anticipation which made the story very interesting. The pacing of Going Under was just right for my taste. When Brooke first opened her mouth and said “This dress is bullshit”, I knew that this was going to be something different.

This is seriously one of the most realistic stories that I have ever read. Brooke is one of those MCs that I really love because she is such a strong girl. What she went through in this story is something that I don't think I will be able to survive. 

Going Under deals with a lot of issues. The suicide of Beth. The broken friendship of Brooke and Beth because of a boy. The drugs. The booze. The sex. The rape. The parties. The divorce of Brooke's parents. It's an all-in-one story. Again, this is one of those books that left me speechless at the end. That's why I hope that I am doing this review right...

I think the suicide incident of Beth made Brooke a stronger and a wiser person. She once told Gretchen, her friend, this: "I wanted to tell her real life wasn’t a motivational seminar where you’re brainwashed into believing that writing down daily affirmations and chanting them over and over made them come true."

And speaking of Gretchen, I also loved her in this story. She never left Brooke's side and supported her all the way. She always tried to comfort Brooke whenever she got depressed and lonely again because she's blaming herself for what happened to Beth. I also can't forget this one line that Gretchen told Brooke: “We’re allowed one huge mess-up in our lives.”

Oh and of course, this story wouldn't be complete without the swoon worthy guy and he's called Funeral Guy. *winks* :) His name's actually Ryan and he never ceased to amaze me in this book. I always knew that he was hiding something but the mysteriousness of Ryan made this story even more unpredictably beautiful. 

And it was funny how Brooke already claimed him: "She pointed to Funeral Guy. My hottie. I already decided to claim him."

What just startled me a little was the rape scene because it was graphic and so freaking realistic and in that moment, I wish I was there to be the good guy and do the right thing. Although it was a little disturbing for me to read, I knew that Walden wrote this scene to remind us that yes, this is really happening out there and sometimes, we really can't do anything to stop it. It is a very sad reality, but we must be strong for other women out there and learn to fight for what is right. As what Beth said in this story..

"There’s always time to make it right."

Going Under has it all. It's the story of a painful loss, a broken friendship that was mended through time, a love that was lost and then found, a father who just wants the best for her daughter, a boy who wanted to make things right, and a girl who found redemption in a way she did not expect. 

Don't you guys dare miss this. :)

Click here to see my full review of Going Under on my Goodreads page


“Ryan, why are you so gorgeous and strange?”

My sister told me she laughed her butt off at that part in the book—the part where Brooke gets drunk. I wanted it to be silly and lighthearted to take away from some of the heaviness in the novel. I mean, good grief. If the entire novel were like Chapter 20, who on earth would read it??

But back to gorgeous and strange Ryan. It’s official. The ladies love him, and many of you were a little mad you didn’t get more of him in the book. In my defense, I will say that Going Under was not meant to be primarily a romance. In fact, I purposely wrote the romance as a side item. This did not make for completely happy fans. You were semi-happy, but not all-the-way happy. J So here’s me making it up to you. I’m giving you a little inside information on our leading man that hopefully will allow you to forgive me in some way for not featuring him on every page. xo

Full name: Ryan James Foster
Born: September 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina at WakeMed
Astrological Sign: Libra
Stats: 6’2”; 180 lbs; brown hair; blue eyes
Favorite food: Steak fajitas
Favorite music: The Smashing Pumpkins, specifically their Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album. (His older cousin turned him on to ‘90s alternative rock.)
Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones
Activities: surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding (he’s really hot when he snowboards), swimming, making out with Brooke
Favorite book: The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Favorite movie: Snatch (Hey, what do you want me to say?)
College degree: B.S. Business Finance
Current job: Finance manager for a chain of local skateboard and skateboard supplies stores in Chapel Hill, NC

Idiotic move in college: Hosted a “hurricane party” at a friend’s place half a mile from the beach. These are popular parties during hurricane season in Wilmington, NC, and they really piss off the local authorities. No one was hurt, but a lot of college students got wasted and then naked. Ryan only got partially naked.

Biggest regret about Brooke: Not getting out of the car. He drove to NC State to see Brooke her freshmen year. He sat in the car in front of her dorm. He waited for hours and finally saw her walking towards the dorm entrance. And he wanted to go to her, but he was afraid. So he watched her swipe her key card, open the door, and disappear from view. He wouldn’t see her again for two years.

Sweetest Moment: Marrying Brooke. Simple. No fuss. A courthouse. The important people. A beautiful woman in a little white dress. Saying “I do.” And the next installment in their great big adventure.

Random Stuff:
~Broke his arm three times when he was in elementary school and middle school.
~Had braces twice: once in fourth grade and then again in seventh because he never wore his retainer.
~Played center forward in soccer until he messed up his knee.
~Pledged a fraternity in college and then quit.
~Turned down a make-out session with a girl in his freshmen composition class. Told her he was already committed to someone else.
~Became inseparable friends with Alyssa from philosophy. She was the only one who could stomach his incessant talk about Brooke.
~Wears one contact in his right eye to give him monovision (one eye sees distance and one eye reads up close).
~Does pushups every day.
~Tried vegetarianism for a week at the insistence of his friend, Charlie. Missed his steak fajitas too much to commit for life.
~Wants to give Brooke babies as soon as possible.

Okay fans. If that didn’t placate you, I will be collecting questions about Ryan during the tour that I will answer at the end. You have to email me at to ask a question (please limit them to two), and I will post all the questions and answers by June 9. Sound good?

                                                               About the Author
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it.

She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and follow her blog at where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.

Giveaway Time! :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hey Rachel,

    Thanks so much for participating in my tour. I love love love your review of GOING UNDER. Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough analysis of my work. It means a lot. Can't wait for June! Thanks for featuring me in your indie author event :)

    xo Summer

    1. Hi Summer,

      It's an honor to be a part of this tour. :) Thank you too, for participating! We hope to read more from you! Stay awesome, Summer!

  2. After reading your review, I definitely want to read this one. I'll have to pick up a copy. Thanks!

  3. That sounds interesting!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  4. Thanks so much for the stats on Ryan. What a treat!

  5. Definately looking forward to reading this one!!

  6. Of course, I'll read this one and gotta love the things about Ryan <3

  7. Love the sound of this one! Adds quickly to Goodreads shelf!

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

  8. Yes, this is definitely something I'd want to read. And my gosh, Ryan sounds and looks so hot. *drools* Oh shoot! I didn't mean to drool. *wipes the drool hastily* Sorry, sorry. He's just soo ... *on the brink of drooling*


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