Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blog Tour: In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow ~ Review & Giveaway

Hosted by Xpresso Book Tours
I am super excited to have the In Too Deep tour on my blog today. This was a fabulous book and I have a giveaway from the author and my review to share with you today.

To follow the rest of the tour, click on the link above.

In Too Deep
Author: Michelle Kemper Brownlow
Publication date: June 6th 2013
by Sapphire Star Publishing
Genre: New Adult Romance

Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.

Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.

Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep?

Before I start my review, I felt like I had a few things I needed to say about reading this book because I have never had this hard of a time writing a review. It isn’t because I couldn’t think of anything to say, it is actually quite opposite. I had too many thoughts and emotions flowing through my mind while reading this book. I have never had to stop so many times while reading a book to jot down notes on what I was thinking. I also used the shit out of the highlighter on my kindle. I think there should be a genre called “emotional torture” and this book would be there. In fact, I created a label on my blog and this is the first book I’m adding. Now that my little monologue is over, on to the review!

All I can say is Oh.My.Gosh. From the first paragraph of this book, I could tell this was going to be an intense read. As Gracie told her story, I was enthralled with the events that unfolded. This book literally, almost killed me! It was emotional anguish, beautifully written emotional anguish.

“Things couldn’t get worse. I was broken. They had to start getting better or I may just dissolve in my own sadness.”

Gracie was such a complex character. She changed so much throughout the book and in so many different ways; some good and some bad. In the beginning, she was so lively and confident but she slowly allowed Noah to change her and take all of the best parts of her away piece by piece. By the middle of the book, she was an insecure, emotional wreck. My heart really clenched for her and I can’t count the number of times I felt my chest tighten as Noah emotionally beat her down and devastated her. Each time she made excuses, somehow blamed herself and went back to him, I wanted to scream and shake her. However, I realized that she was so broken and beaten down and she had been sucked into the cycle of abuse and that really reached my soul.

“How could he twist the scenario around on me and make me second guess my own tone? I was going crazy. There was no doubt about it. I was losing myself.”

Noah was, without a doubt, a narcissist. He knew how to pull Gracie’s strings and he said all of the right things when he knew he needed to in order to drag her back into the darkness that was their relationship. He sucked all of the joy and spirit out of Gracie and drowned her in his emotional abuse and mood swings. At first, I wanted to believe that he just loved her so much that he pushed her away because he was afraid to love, but by the end, I had no remorse for him and saw right threw his bullshit. No matter how many excuses he made or manipulative breakdowns he went through, I prayed Gracie would see through it and kick his ass to the curb for good.

“I was silent. I wanted my Noah back so badly that I endured each blow then took the apology too easily.”

Jake was such an amazing friend and an amazing guy. He was always there for Gracie and let her cry on his shoulder each time Noah humiliated and hurt her. It must have been hard for him to comfort and soothe her every time without going crazy and lashing out at her for letting Noah treat her this way. I loved him for that because it would be so easy to call her out but he knew how deep she was in with Noah and she needed someone to just listen and let her cry. I could tell from the beginning that he really loved Gracie and I held out hope that he could make her see what real love is and how a real man should treat a woman. I wanted to kiss Jake when he showed her a little tough love and finally opened her eyes to how bad Noah was for her, how unhealthy their relationship was and how much he was breaking her into pieces. That was her turning point, and it was all because of Jake.

“I moved in sync with him and it was like music. We were two different people singing the same song, and it was perfect harmony.”

I was an anxious, stressed out mess before I was even half way through the book. I wasn't sure my heart could take the second half but I couldn't stop reading at the same time. I’m glad I didn’t because this was a turning point for Gracie and some of my anxiety started to lift as she pulled herself to the surface and started seeing her relationship with Noah more clearly. She opened herself to Jake’s love and encouragement and she allowed him to pull her out of the dark. Along the way, she discovered what true love was and how happiness and a healthy relationship were supposed to feel. Noah changed Gracie for the worse but Jake made her better.

“The juxtaposition of these two polar-opposite men in my life was unexplainable. One man I couldn’t hold onto to save my life, and I knew one would save my life if I held on to him.”

 This book did an amazing job of illustrating that emotional abuse can be just as destructive as physical abuse and that the only difference between the two is the type of abuse being dished out. I can't think of the last book I read where the title held as much meaning to the book as In Too Deep. This title really reflects Gracie and her relationship with Noah. The author did an amazing job of reaching in and latching onto my soul. I felt like I spiraled downward with Gracie and rose up again as she did. When the book ended, I let out a sigh of relief and satisfaction because the book couldn’t have had a better conclusion.

“I had to go through Hell to know how beautiful Heaven was.”

~IPOD Picks~
“Clarity” by Zedd
“Already Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
“Stealing” by Gavin Degraw
“Broken” by Lifehouse
“Drop in the Ocean” by Ron Pope

Michelle Kemper Brownlow has been a storyteller her entire life. Her debut was on the high school cheerleading bus granting requests to re-tell her most embarrassing moments for a gaggle of hysterical squadmates.

Earning her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Art Education and then marrying her very own “Jake,” she moved to Binghamton, NY where she taught high school. After having two children she quit work and finished her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Binghamton University.

The Brownlow family of four moved to Michelle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA while the children were still quite young. A few years after moving, her family grew by one when they welcomed a baby into their home through the gift of adoption. The family still resides in PA, just miles from where that high school cheer bus was parked.

Michelle has been an artist for as long as she can remember, always choosing pencils and crayons over toys and puzzles. As a freelance illustrator, her simple characters play the starring roles in numerous emergent reader books published by Reading Reading Books.

“Writing is my way of making sense of the world. When I give my characters life on the pages I write, it frees up space in my mind to welcome in new stories that are begging to be told,” says Brownlow


*An e-copy of this book was provided to me by Xpresso Book Tours and the author for an honest review. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own, unbiased opinions.*

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  1. I'm with you Chelsea, I really, really liked this book. A hardhitting emotional rollercoaster.

  2. mysemblanceofsanityJune 15, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    Wow! I have to thank YOU for letting your heart feel WITH and FOR Gracie! It was such a difficult book to write so I know it's hard to read, too. Your review was beautiful and so perfect that it made me CRY! :) Thank you!
    I am thrilled that you loved the book...because there's a sequel coming to you soon! :) Keep in touch so I can keep you informed about its release!

    Thank you again for loving Gracie, hating Noah and adoring Jake!

  3. mysemblanceofsanityJune 15, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    Thanks, Trish! Keep your eyes peeled for the sequel! :)

  4. A sequel!! Are you trying to kill me?! :-) I will definitely be watching you and waiting for this sequel. I have read some intense and emotional books, I mean I am an NA addict, but for some reason this one really touched me. I can't believe this is your debut novel, so awesome!

  5. I don't know what was different about this book than some of the other intense books I read but this was one really got into me. I know you are on the tour too so I will be watching for your review :-)

  6. Eeeep! This book. My freaking bleeding heart. :D You wrote a great review Chelsea!

  7. I know! I have mentioned this before but I think this book gave me a permanent heart murmur :-) This was by far the hardest review I have ever written but also my favorite.


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