Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blog Tour: On Solid Ground by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Welcome to today's tour: On Solid Ground by Michelle Kemper Brownlow, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. 

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?

Purchase: Amazon | B&N \ Goodreads

On Solid Ground by Michelle Kemper Brownlow
(In Too Deep #2)
Publication date: December 3rd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Gracie survived an emotionally abusive relationship that wrecked her. Her ex, Noah, systematically chipped away at her self-esteem through intimidation, humiliation and infidelity which left Gracie unable to trust her own perception of his intentions. But after falling head over heels for Jake, her best friend and the man who stood by her through it all, she is ready to experience life in the way it was meant to be lived. 

However, Gracie may find it impossible to simultaneously heal from the trauma of abuse while navigating a relationship with Jake. Can she put her heart on hold in order to heal her soul?The sequel to the five-star debut novel, In Too Deep, chronicles Gracie’s steps toward healing as she falls deeper in love, reaches out for help, stands on her own, steps out of her comfort zone, faces her biggest fears, and reconnects with a sensual, talented soul from her past all in hopes of finding herself on solid ground.

Purchase: Amazon | B&N \ Goodreads

In the first book of author Michelle Kemper Brownlow's series, In Too Deep, readers meet Gracie. I was caught up in her situation with an emotionally abusive relationship with crush-turned-boyfriend Noah (my review) and yearned for her to drop him. A close friend, Jake, waited in the wings for Gracie to realize he wanted to be more than a good friend. When she was able to let go of Noah, she pursued a normal and happy relationship with Jake. But in order for Gracie to fully heal, to seek the normalcy she so craves, she first has to seek professional help. On Solid Ground is her journey from being a frightened, wounded girl, cringing when she hears Noah's voice, to a thriving, independent woman able to stand on her own.

I won't delve further into Gracie's story since readers need to read the novel on their own. What I will do is champion what author Michelle Kemper Brownlow has achieved with her New Adult series. She successfully tells the story of a young, emotionally scarred victim of a mentally ill young man who gets off on abusing women. But Gracie does not fold. She fights back. With support from her friends, she seeks the assistance she needs to heal and enter into the proper type of relationship she wants and Jake needs. What the author has done is not easy. Gracie's story is emotionally gripping and will resonate with readers who have experienced or know of someone who has lived through a similar situation. There is hope. There is help. Victims do not need to seek the shadows to hide. We do not enter into relationships thinking we will come to harm, but when it happens we need to recognize it for what is is. Unhealthy. Wrong. 

I know I mentioned Gracie's crying in the first book as being too much. I was wrong. Each person has a different coping mechanism and crying was hers. On Solid Ground shows the inner battle Gracie endures as she learns to stop succumbing to Noah's sadistic whims and games. She not only has a solid wall of support with Jake, she has a warrior. He may seem too perfect but I don't view him that way. Some people rise to meet a situation and Jake does just that. He loves Gracie and hates to see her suffer. He gives her whatever she needs, from support to space to a simple hug. If that isn't love, what is?

I couldn't be happier with the conclusion of Gracie's story. On Solid Ground was a solid story and made me run the gamut of emotions as I read. Gracie has become a strong character and witnessing her transformation was inspirational. Her counseling sessions were realistic and gripping. Reading from Jake's pov really filled in a lot of the story and made Gracie's own journey even more compelling. I viewed parts of Jake's sections not as 'telling' but as sharing and made me like and appreciate him even more. When he tells Gracie "I live to love you," I'm surprised the country didn't hear my sigh.

I can't recommend Michelle Kemper Brownlow's In Too Deep series any higher than I already have with the words in my review. A survivor's story told with heart and purpose, On Solid Ground simply blew me away.

Rating: 4.5

Cover comment:
A simple image speaks volumes. I like it.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review during a book tour.

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.

Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Grand prize giveaway
Prizes - Open to US and Canada:
-signed copies (signed by the whole cast of characters!) of both books along w some swag
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great review, Laurie! This sounds like such an emotional series and right up my alley. It sounds like Gracie goes through so much but also grows as a character through both of these books. I can understand how crying so much could be annoying in a character but it's good that the book makes you realize it's just her way of coping. So happy you enjoyed it! :)