20 July 2014

Pulled Beneath by Marni Mann

 What happens when you uncover years of secrets and find out everything you thought to be true was a lie?

Drew Stevens finds her world turned upside down when her parents are brutally murdered. Soon after, she learns she inherited a property in Bar Harbor, Maine, from recently deceased grandparents that she believed had died when she was a baby.

Drew travels north to settle her grandparents’ estate, but finds more questions than answers as the truth starts unraveling. What she didn’t expect to find was Saint, whose reputation is as tumultuous as his past. But the very thing that brings them together is the same thing that keeps them emotionally caged.

With Saint's scars so deep and Drew's so fresh, can the pair heal from their painful wounds or will they be pulled beneath the darkness of their pasts?

Well, hot dog!  It’s a rare thing for me to read a book that is labeled as romance, but has a really good mystery subplot.  I actually think I enjoyed this book more as a mystery than I did the romance aspect.
Drew’s parents are murdered, and with that one action her life is thrown into turmoil.  What she thought she knew about her life turns out to be a virtual spider’s web of lies and deceit.  Grandparents she thought had died long ago have left her their estate, so she moves from Florida to Maine in order to settle their estate.  Once there, she discovers more secrets about her life, as well as meets an intriguing stranger, Saint.  Saint is just as messed up as Drew, so you’d think they’d make a good pair, but Saint is afraid of gambling it all and losing again.  Can they find love together out of the rubble of their lives? And will Drew unravel all there is to know about who her family was?
The mystery in this book was awesome!  It really kept me invested in the book because I had to have all my questions answered!  Hands down, that was the best part of this book for me, it was an excellently told mystery.
I think where this book floundered a bit for me was in the romance portion.  I just wasn’t feeling it for Drew or for Saint.  I just felt the characters were characters that I read about again and again.  There was nothing to distinguish them as original for me.  Saint was your classic bad-boy, and it all just felt a little too over-the-top for me to really feel a connection.
Overall, I did like this story.  As I said, I rarely read a NA book that has such a well done mystery aspect to it.  I am definitely going to read the next book in this series!  4 stars.

I enjoyed this book because it was a smooth and quick read for me even with all the twists and new directions the author took us on in the life of Drew.  It started out as what I felt could be a rather boring story, but she quickly proved me wrong with Drew pulling up in front of her house to police and EMT’s in front of the yellow tape surrounding her yard.  From there it just continued to be the proverbial onion where layer after layer is peeled back until she finally realizes the truth about whom she is and where she came from. 
After breaking up with her boyfriend, Drew falls back into the comfort of an ex for a few nights of fun.  This particular night she was supposed to work with her parents regarding the photographs she took for their business but that seemed rather dull compared to what she wanted to do so she cancelled on them.  When she got home that night, prepared for her mother to question her she instead found that someone had broken into her family home and the only survivor was their dog Bella.  Shattered beyond words, her best friend came and helped her with the plans and what would be her future now.  For Drew the only two things she could find comfort in was swimming and Bella.  Living now with the images she saw from the crime photos and the sounds she feels her parents made when they were being killed, Drew has given up photography in exchange for swimming to try and clear her mind if only for a few moments of the memories.
Shortly after her parents death she was informed by a lawyer that she had been given the Coswell Estate in Bar Harbor Maine.  She also learned that estate was from her grandparents, the same people her mom told her had died years ago and Drew never met them.  If that wasn’t enough, she finds out she has an aunt, her mother’s sister who is still alive.  Her best friend Gianna helps to convince her she must deal with this and not hide in some body of water to swim away the situation so Drew decides to fix up the estate and sell it.  Once she got to Bar Harbor her life takes another major turn. 
She has Shane doing the construction on the house and he gives her the same feelings she remembered when her father was alive.  Shane has a son Brady who becomes good friends with Drew, along with Rae who works at the restaurant. Drew meets Saint and no matter how many times she is warned to stay away from him, her attraction and interest in this man can’t be denied.  Saint has a past that haunts him as well but he is staying by his grandparents in case they need him and is able to shed some light about Drew’s family she never knew.  Their attraction to each other is clearly there but if felt like it wasn’t acted up on in a way that rushed the story or made it really passionate. 
Once Shane found Drew’s mother’s journal up in her old bedroom, the story took a huge turn and we started getting answers that allowed us to piece this puzzle together.  Drew sees now that her mother lied to her about a lot of things, but since the truth came from her own words through her journal, it helped Drew understand her mom’s reasons and motives.  That doesn’t mean Drew still doesn’t have a lot of information to process and a huge mess to clean up, but at least now she has something to go on.  She also has to face her emotions towards her dead parents and the lies they left her with.  
The book ended in what I call a semi cliff hanger.  I wasn’t left on the edge of my seat dying to get the next part of this story ASAP, but I certainly want more answers and I need to know what happens with Drew and Saint, Shane and Brady and Rae.  The author did a great job creating the scenes for us and with her words and description of Maine; you can tell she has a deep love for that part of the country and made me fall in love too.  Her use of water in the story was also a connection for me as she talked about the feel of it on your skin and the escape you get from being in it.  I get that and find water being one of my first comfort zones.  She used her words to create a picture and event that stayed with me throughout the book, but I did want more character development.  I just wanted to know more about them, what made them decide to be who they are.  I would highly recommend this book if you love a story with twists and turns that keep you guessing and wondering.  She isn’t an author who gives you the answers easily, she makes you pay attention and work for it but then that is half the fun with books like this.   

A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann is now a Floridian inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. She taps mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark and breathtaking journey.
When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children. 


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