May 27, 2015

ERIN REVIEWS: Deep Down by Brenda Rothert

Deep Down 
by Brenda Rothert
I’m falling. 
Sometimes you fall so hard you can’t get back up. My closest companions now are shame and loss. But a sliver of hope lies in the only person I have left in this world – the one who’s growing inside me.
Survival becomes living again because of my child, and the town where I begin anew. That’s where I meet the man who starts to melt the ice inside my heart.
As we get closer, reminders of my past become sharper. Clearer. To confront the pain, I have to discover what’s deep down inside me. Is there enough left there to become whole again, or am I too wounded to heal?

**Warning** This book has mature content that some readers may find troubling. It is intended for readers 18 and up.

There are times in your life when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, only to realize there was a whole other level below it that you never knew you’d have to face.  That’s where Ivy is at, after suffering the loss of her mother only to realize that there was an even darker fate awaiting her.  Just when she thought the stresses and loss of her life were her biggest hurdle, she is betrayed by someone who should have always been her backbone, and it threw her onto a completely different path. 

What Ivy goes through in her senior year of high school is something no child should ever have to endure.  It would have left most girls lost and terrified, but thankfully she is strong enough to overcome the judgment and solitude that her situation has left her with. At times she was almost too accepting of her situation and I struggled to buy her reactions, because honestly I think most girls would have had strong doubts about what to do. But this was her story, so I accepted it as she did and there is definitely something to be said for standing up and doing what's right despite how it looks or who doesn't agree.  Ivy pushes through, and with the help of a caring teacher, she finds herself moving on after graduation and starting over in a place where no one knows her story. Exactly what she needed and the perfect place to meet Mr. Right!

 Ivy is settled and content when Reed Lockhart walks into her life, the gorgeous man who makes her heart beat for someone other than her son for the first time in ages.  But she’s guarded and fearful of what opening up her heart will mean for her in the long-run, so Reed has his work cut out for him.  This may have been a case of insta-love, but I really liked Reed so I was pulling for their happily ever after early on. Reed sees the beauty in Ivy that life has tried to destroy, and you can't help but cheer him on as he tries to make her see it as well.  I can already tell that the Lockhart brothers are going to make a lot of hearts melt as this series continues!

Overall, Ivy’s story was filled with unexpected turns and a lot of difficult life choices, so it was an easy read to get lost in. While I wanted stronger emotional depth at times, it was still heartbreaking to picture a child going through what Ivy does. She and Reed absolutely deserved their happy ending, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the Lockhart brothers in the future!


My shame was my secret.  I knew what had happened wasn’t my fault, but I was still ashamed. ~Loc 268

“No choice.  You cast a spell over me, Ivy.  I was interested after we danced that night, but then I saw you with Noah at Jimmy’s, and…you had me.  I felt like I could see into your heart, and what I saw was…everything I could ever want.  So much goodness and beauty.” ~Loc 1802

“I feel like…if you kiss me, things will never be the same.”
He leaned his forehead down against mine.  “They won’t. But that’s a good thing, Ivy.” ~Loc 1807

It happened without warning on a quiet, snowy January day. Or maybe there had been signs that I’d ignored because they were too painful to acknowledge. Either way, the course of my life was changed that day. After it was over I just remember watching the snowflakes through my open bedroom window. Falling silently from the sky, they were the closing curtain on eighteen years of trusting that all people were inherently good. ----------------------- It was the first day back from the winter break and I was wrapped up in the excitement that filled the hallways of Lexington High School. There was an unspoken energy circulating around those of us who were seniors. Home stretch, baby. The last semester of high school is underway. Your future starts now. And, for me, this new term couldn’t end soon enough. My mom’s death this past September had plunged me into a deep sadness I still hadn’t fully emerged from. Over the course of the past four months I’d gotten good at plastering on a phony smile to let everyone know I’d moved on. Putting this school year behind me would be more sweet than bitter. Sure, I had great friends I’d miss when I went off to college in the fall. And dance team…for sure I would miss that. Most of all, I would miss my boyfriend Levi, but somehow I knew that once high school was over I really would be able to move on. A warm, familiar arm wrapping around my waist from behind made me break out in a genuine grin. “How was your day, baby?” Levi asked, pulling me against his side as we walked down the hall. “Good. You?” He shrugged. “Everybody’s talking about graduation. It hasn’t seemed close until now.” “Did you get those scholarship essays done?” “Yep.” He pulled me a little closer, steering me away from a cluster of loud underclassmen who were about to run me over. “Am I riding with you today? I can catch a ride home with Sami if you’re lifting weights after school.” He leaned down and kissed my temple. “The only weight I’m interested in right now is yours on top of me.” I held back a smile. Our after school make out sessions were one of Levi’s favorite things. But between the time off his parents and my dad had taken off over the holiday break, we hadn’t gotten much time alone. Excerpt #2 Today I’d eaten lunch in a closed bathroom stall at school to avoid the stares. And instead I got to listen to Mandy Barton telling two other girls that she’d slept with Levi last night to comfort him over what his slutty girlfriend had done to him. They’d speculated about who the father of my child was, eventually deciding on Mr. Schultz, a teacher and coach at my school whom I’d never even spoken to. I was on the outskirts of our small city, walking past a rusted, abandoned factory, when a car slowed to a stop nearby. I turned to see a marked police car. A familiar sick taste rose in my throat. My dad was giving me a puzzled glance from a rolled down window, his elbow resting on the door. “Ivy, what are you doing out here? It’s the dead of winter and you’re miles from home.” “What are you doing here? Are you following me?” My icy tone was challenging. What was there to be afraid of now? He’d stolen the vulnerable, trusting part of me. He’d shown me that there was no one in my life I could count on. “I was on patrol and I saw you,” he said, glaring at me. “Get in the car and I’ll drive you home. We need to talk.” “Talk? Is that code?” I spat out bitterly. His face was a mix of contrition and anger. “Ivy. Let’s not do this. Get in the car.” “No.” “What’s this I hear about you being pregnant? Is it true?” A powerful wave of nausea swept through me. He didn’t deserve to know, and he certainly didn’t deserve to ask me about it.

Brenda Rothert lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three sons. She was a daily print journalist for nine years, during which time she enjoyed writing a wide range of stories. These days Brenda writes New Adult Romance in the Contemporary and Dystopian genres. She loves to hear from readers by email at

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