Monday, June 17, 2013

Blog Tour Stop and Review: In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

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

Long- 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?



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


My Review:

Oh my word! Gah! This book is infuriating, uplifting, realistic and oh did I mention infuriating? Honestly, I am so torn over how to rate this book that I’m going to do my first ever review without providing a rating.

After reading this book, I was forced to consider how to rate and review books. The story itself was intriguing, but I couldn’t stomach the characters at all. I wasn’t fully invested in the characters and it made me not care as much as I should about the outcome of the plot. That being said, I think the author did a great job of portraying a victim of psychological abuse and what that does to the person’s feelings of self-worth.

The plot centers on Grace and her emotionally abusive douchebag of a boyfriend Noah. The book opens with this Romeo allowing Grace to service him after he snuck off to another room of a party where another girl performed oral sex on him. Noah admits that he’s been cheating on Grace and pretty much brags about it to her. Because Grace seemingly has a death wish, she takes Noah back pretty much immediately (even agreeing to go for lunch with his mom the next day?!) and the abuse continues.

I had a hard time understanding Grace’s initial attraction to Noah. The story includes flashbacks with Grace leaving her nice guy boyfriend for bad boy Noah. However, he came off more as an obnoxious a-hole than a bad boy. He tells her on their first outing together to shut up and calls swirling fireworks “spermies” (be still my heart, gag). There didn’t seem to be much of a honeymoon period for these two.

As you can tell, I wasn’t a fan of Noah (which readers aren't supposed to be) and to be honest Grace bothered me as well. It wasn’t her doormat behavior that bugged me because I was able to empathize that she was damaged to the point that she basically let Noah walk all over her. It was her self-righteousness that got to me, i.e. calling other girls sluts, wanting to beat other women up for her boyfriend hitting on them, her constant insistence of being a “good girl.”

Jake was by far my favorite of the book and I’m glad the author included a guy that readers could fall in love with. The way he healed Grace was touching and once their relationship took center stage, the book was a much easier read.
This book handled a tough subject and I respect the author for trying to bring attention to victims of emotional abuse. There are books that romanticize bad boys who treat women like crap and it was refreshing to see a depiction of when that kind of behavior has serious repercussions.

Considering the book garnered such an emotional response from me, I would definitely say it’s worth a look. The author took me on an emotional roller coaster and the novel will likely stay with me for a while. 

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  1. Thank you so much for this amazing review! Sorry I threw you for a loop and had you in a "assigning stars" dilemma! Your review was spot on b/c it proved that you were fully invested in Gracie which is a painful place to be! I think you will enjoy the sequel as you will see a different you will be proud of! :)Thank you for the time you invested in reading and reviewing IN TOO DEEP!

  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    You can find me here: Thanks!

    Loren Mathis

  3. This sounds really interesting. And I can understand the frustrations that you seemed to have. That would annoy me to pieces, but Jake sounds like a great character. Awesome review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  4. Wonderful review. I'm shocked you couldn't put a star rating on the book. hehe! Isn't it strange when we come across those books that leave us questioning everything we know and can't put a finger on how they left us feeling? WRITE ON!