On Solid Ground by Michelle Kemper Brownlow – Pre-ARC – Holly’s 5 Star Review

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*SYNOPSIS*

Emotional abuse can break both your heart and your spirit. Twenty-one year old Gracie is broken and weak but she’s determined to heal. With the encouragement from her best friend, Becki and her best friend-turned-boyfriend, Jake, she is ready to do what it takes to heal from the pain she suffered while with her ex, Noah. Gracie’s post-Noah days are filled with the gentle love she receives from Jake but in her sleep she is plagued by nightmares that she fears will never go away.

It’s summer on UTK’s campus and Gracie, Jake and Becki have all decided to stay at school for the summer, each for their own reason. Gracie wants to be as far away from Noah as possible, Jake knows Gracie will need him to lean on and, because of a late in the game change of major, Becki has a ton of classes to take before her senior year. In the beginning of summer, Gracie and Jake continue to steam the windows with their beautiful love-making but Gracie’s internal struggles with self-esteem and confidence weigh heavily on their relationship. Jake’s point-of-view alternating throughout the book will have readers falling even harder for him.

When Gracie’s new counselor suggests she may have jumped into a relationship too quickly, Gracie knows what she needs to do to make a full recovery. With strength she didn’t know she had, she walks away from Jake to recover her spirit. Staying true to the promise he made her the semester before, although heart-broken, Jake remains her closest friend and support system while trying to give her the space she needs to heal.Gracie has spent years pouring her heart into volume after volume of journals. Gracie starts writing poetry that seemingly pours from her heart, proof that writing is merely an extension of her soul. Gracie also reconnects with her musical talents and takes up guitar again, a talent not even Jake knew about. The beauty in her passion for both playing music and writing renders Jake speechless.

Gracie is inspired by what she’s learning about herself in therapy, writing poetry and lyrics. And as fate would have it, she unexpectedly runs into Calon Ridge, the lead singer of her favorite local band, Alternate Tragedy.Memories of an evening she spent with Calon two years prior and his sudden intense interest in Gracie throws both she and Jake for a loop. Jake experiences something he’s never had to deal with. He is jealous; fist-clenching, pulse-thumping jealous.With broken souls and passion for music in common, Calon and Gracie reconnect on a different level. Calon becomes a creative confidant for Gracie and with his cocky humor, sexy mannerisms and sensitive spirit, he convinces her to begin to explore the depths of her talent by taking the stage. Jake’s new job as a bartender gives him a front row seat to the sensual connection between Calon and Gracie as they practice. But that connection is just what Gracie needs to lift her confidence as she starts to find herself again.

Becki and Gracie spend more time together than usual because of their shared newly-single status and Becki is completely intrigued by Calon. Becki’s honesty and no-filter humor is gut-busting hysterical and keeps Gracie grounded and giggling. She’s up for a summer fling but may not be expecting the intensity Calon’s soul holds.

And when the end-of-summer festival brings the whole cast of IN TOO DEEP back, front and center for a weekend none of them will soon forget, stakes are set, tempers flare, truth prevails, and unexpected plans are made. And Gracie finally finds herself On Solid Ground.

Add to Goodreads: HERE

*REVIEW*

****ARC received in exchange for an honest review****

★★★★★

Captivating, emotional, beautiful, sexy, funny – Michelle Kemper Brownlow has surpassed my expectations with the conclusion of Jake and Gracie’s story. On Solid Ground is a book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page and has instantly become one of my favourite reads of 2013.

Wow! This book, was amazing. Plain and simple. I was a fan of book #1 In Too Deep and was really looking forward to reading On Solid Ground but I was bowled over by how much I absolutely loved it! It really does have everything you need in a book and so much more. It’s hard to convey the depths of emotions this book evoked in me. It was heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time and I had a near constant stream of tears running down my face at times and I was laughing and swooning at other times, and all the while I was falling more and more in love with Michelle’s writing and clear passion for story telling.

In In Too Deep, Gracie understandably cried a lot due to her abusive relationship and sometimes it came across as irritating, but in On Solid Ground she grows so much as a character. I was so proud of Gracie to the point I actually cried! She has a hell of a lot to overcome to get to a place where she is happy within her own skin and seeing her fighting her demons . . . well let’s just say, Gracie is one kick ass herione and I have so much love and respect for her.

Music is a big part of Gracie’s healing process in On Solid Ground and there are songs listed throughout the book that tie in to Gracie’s thoughts and feelings at certain stages in her story. If you like to listen to music as you read then you should definitely take note of these songs so you get a deeper connection with Gracie, but if like me you like to read in silence, I would still suggest taking note of them to listen to afterwards because they are some of my favourite songs of all time and fit On Solid Ground perfectly.

Jake!!!!! Oh, how I love him!!!!! I’ll be honest, Jake was one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book so desperately because he is just perfection! I fell for him hook, line and sinker in In Too Deep and and I now love him even more. There isn’t a single thing I could say to critise him because he really is just the perfect book boyfriend. He’s patient, loving, thoughtful, playful, drop dead gorgeous, and he would do anything for Gracie, even if it means it causes himself heartache. And let’s not forget that he most definitely has “the moves”. Fanning devices at the ready because the passion he shares with Gracie is scorching hot!

And speaking of hot book boyfriends. I have a new one!!! We were briefly introduced to rock band Alternate Tragedy in In Too Deep and we now get the chance to get to know lead singer Calon a little better and *SWOOOOOON* He’s intense and sexy and has a voice that will send your panties flying! He’s a tortured soul and his story is just so sad that once again the tears were flowing. Especially when it came to the lyrics of the songs he sang. I don’t think heartbreaking even begins to cover it. But underneath all the angst and intensity he has a heart of gold and he plays a huge part in helping Gracie overcome her fears. I have myself a slight addiction in Calon Ridge and a little birdie tells me we may just be hearing from him again in the future. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for that one. Alternate Tragedy #1 groupie right here 😉

We also see more from Becki (← I want her to be my best friend), Maverick and Sam who bring plenty of laughs – especially when it comes to Becki’s obsession with Calon, and Sam’s “squirmy worm” (← whatever you are thinking is probably right). I honestly missed this whole bunch of characters as soon as I finished reading and although Jake and Gracie’s story is now complete, I hope with everything I have that Michelle keeps writing for this fantastic group of friends because I have absolutely not had my fill of them yet.

I want to say a huge thank you to Michelle for giving me the opportunity to read a pre-arc of this incredible book. I’m so sad that it’s over now but it was the perfect conclusion to Gracie’s story. On Solid Ground will be available to buy in December 2013 and I strongly suggest that you do. It is a book that without a doubt I will enjoy again and again.

*PLAYLIST*

Michelle Kemper Brownlow has added the playlist from On Solid Ground onto Spotify so you can now listen to the tracks that helped inspire this amazing story. Just click HERE

*QUOTES*

There are some truly fantastic quotes in On Solid Ground, and here are just a few of my favourites. (And I really do mean just a few because I have a LOT of favourites)


“I live to love you, Gracie. This is it for me. You are it. I’m not going anywhere.” ~ Jake to Gracie.


“We’re artists. We’re intense, Gracie.”

“No. You’re the artist and I’m about as intense as your average tree-hanging sloth.” ~ Calon and Gracie.


“That day I saw you in the lobby and you said you fell while you were out for a run.”

“Well, I did fall . . . When I ran into the side of a car.” ~ Gracie and Jake.


“Good grief Becki. Do you have your vibrator in your purse? It’s dangerous to walk around with that much pent up sexual tension.” ~ Gracie to Becki.


Sam: Jake’s a pussy
Me: SAM!
Sam: Sorry, that was offensive. He’s a vagina. ~ Texts between Sam and Gracie.


“No, Gracie, I’m not perfect, but together I think we are as close as it gets.” ~ Jake to Gracie.

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