Friday, July 19, 2013

Blog Hop Tour: "In Too Deep" by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

In Too Deep

The day he said, “I love you” should have been the day she said, “Goodbye.”


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?

My review is kind of long so bare with me :) 

5 Stars 

"I used my arms like underwater oars and sliced through the depths trying to reach what I needed the most, but I was in too deep."

OH-MY-GOD.. prepare yourself for the mother of all emotional roller coasters!! This was one of those books where I constantly wanted to hit something and throw my Kindle against the wall!!!! The ups and downs throughout the story line left me emotionally drained.. seriously. One of the worst book hangovers ever! (Trust me, that's a good thing)

"But when someone consistently knocks you down only to switch gears and be the sudden hero who also picks you up, you start to believe that you are worthless and weak because you couldn't do it without someone else's help."

Okay.. Gracie is the typical all-round good girl.. her only problem was that she fell in love with  Noah. Lately, I've been reading books where the 'bad boy' miraculously goes from being a ladies man, to a one woman kind of guy. Total swoon worthy books... BUT, what happens when that "bad boy turned good" falls back into his old ways?? THIS BOOK is what happens! Gracie knew she should've stayed away, but Noah was genuinely an easy person to fall in love with. 

"Gracie Jordan, the night I met you I knew I never wanted to go a day without seeing you."

"He looked at the ground and turned to walk away, but stopped and looked right into my soul. "Could you just do me a favor?"
"Sure." Why was my heart all of a sudden hurting for him?
"Can you just think about giving me a chance? I just want a chance. I know I can make you happy."

Just as easy as it was to love Noah, it was even easier to absolutely HATE him. He broke my heart!!! He made me angry! He made me want to cry!  And then, every time and I mean every-time he apologized, he made me want to forgive him.. I MUST be some kind of a masochistic moron! Because even though Gracie pissed me off beyond reason with the way she acted sometimes and with certain things that crossed her mind, I kind of understood her.. kind of

"I swear to you. I will never hurt you again."

"I was lying to Noah and myself by saying I forgave him"

"I couldn't take the ups and downs anymore. It was exhausting. It broke my spirit. It broke me."

Thank God and everything that's Holy, Gracie had the hottest, BEST friend in the entire world - Jake! I loved him immediately! He would listen to Gracie and give her the best advice anytime and every time. She cried herself to sleep in his arms more times that I could count! He is that amazing!

"I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. I wish you knew your worth. I wish I could protect you from this pain. I wish you knew how truly beautiful you are and how much more you deserve." - Jake

"In Too Deep" is a phenomenal, well written book that I highly recommend. It hooked me from the beginning and surprised me all the way till the end. 
Even though this book ended in a good place, I'm beyond excited that there will be a sequel, "On Solid Ground," expected out during December 2013. 

"Two people walking in the same direction."

Purchase links:


My phone buzzed.

Jake: Gracie?

I turned off my phone. The doorbell rang before I even had a chance to feel guilty for not answering. I threw the covers over my head and lay there, eyes wide open. It rang again.Can someone please get the door? I’m too busy feeling sorry for myself to get up.

Ding dong.

I groaned as I pulled myself from under the covers and flung my legs off the edge of my bed. The UPS man was going to get an eyeful because I didn’t even have the energy to pull my sleep pants on. The super huge t-shirt I wore to bed was longer than some skirts I had. I would just have to reach around the opened door, sign something on his little clipboard and throw the package on the hall table before jumping right back into bed. No one was home. I could have slept all day. Stupid delivery guy.

But when I rounded the corner into the foyer, I could see Noah through the side window to the right of the door. My heart slammed its next beat so hard I was sure someone standing in front of me would have seen my ribcage lunge forward.

“What do you want?” I said the words on my side of the window. He didn’t need to hear me, he had to be expecting something like that. He knew I wouldn’t be happy to see him. I was pissed that he was at my door. Flashes of my birthday night coursed through my mind one by one. I winced and squeezed my eyes closed hoping to wring the images from my head.

“Gracie, I know you don’t want to open the door, but I need you to listen to what I have to say.” He was talking louder than he needed to for me to hear him. I was instantly annoyed. I shuddered.

“So talk.” If I kept a locked door between us, I could walk away whenever I’d had enough.

“Can I please come in?”


“Okay, I’ll talk through a window if that’s the only way you’ll listen.” He waited a couple seconds like he thought I’d have a change of heart and open the door. When he saw that was not in his cards, he started talking. I leaned my forehead against the cool glass and watched his lips form words that proved introspection, self-awareness and a level of thought so deep I could do nothing but hold my breath and wish he wasn’t doing this to me.

“Gracie. I haven’t had a solid example of how to show love or how to accept it. At least not the depth of love you are willing to give. I don’t know how to reciprocate that without feeling terrified. I never expected to fall so hard for you. I never thought I could love someone so hard it hurt. But I can. I do.

“Gracie. When you look at me and I know you can see all the way into my soul, my first instinct is self-preservation. I instinctively push you away so you won’t climb deeper into me. Your heart is so big, Gracie, it could swallow me whole, and that scares the shit out of me because I shouldn’t be worthy of that kind of love. I don’t deserve you. I guess in a twisted sort of way, I push you away to save you.”

The window steamed from the warm breath escaping between my lips. I remembered the conversation I had with my mom. She said only if it was of their own volition could someone truly make a change. I couldn’t believe what was happening in front of me. A huge part of me didn’t want it to be happening because Noah and I proved to be a disaster. I knew I couldn’t handle one more blow from him. My sanity was already climbing the walls. But, as if they had minds of their own, one hand turned the deadbolt and the other opened the door. Cool air across my thighs reminded me I was still only in a t-shirt. I motioned for Noah to follow me back to my room. I needed to put more clothes on so he didn’t ruin his heart-felt apology by making a move on me. He sat on my bed and I pulled sweats off the hook on the back of my door and slid myself inside them. I sat down next to him. He took my hands in his.

“I am head over heels in love with you, Gracie. I have been since the night you kissed me after the fireworks. I’ve always thought that shock between our lips was a sign that you were the one. I’m terrified of that. If I let myself truly feel the level of love I know we are capable of, then what happens if you leave me? I don’t know how to handle that kind of pain. I am sure I’ve never felt something that severe.”

“Noah, you just described what you have done to me, over and over and over. You have split my heart wide open so many times because, unlike you, I don’t know how to guard my heart. I opened it to you almost two years ago, and I’ve been giving you all I have ever since. I can’t turn it off, I don’t know how. So, when you pierce me with your hateful words, the pain is palpable. It takes me to my knees.” There was no holding back the tears. I didn’t even try to. I was done walking on eggshells. Again.

That’s when he did something I never thought I’d see. He fell into my lap and cried like a baby. I had taken all the pain he had inflicted on me and threw it straight to his heart before he had the chance to get that wall back up.

About the Author:
Michelle Kemper Brownlow

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.

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  1. OHMYWORD! Your review has so many "cc and paste" worthy quotes! I will be quoting you for a long time! Thank you for loving Gracie! :) <3