Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pulled Beneath by Marni Mann (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Pulled Beneath by Author Marni Mann!

Author Guest Post

What Inspired You To Write Pulled Beneath?

We’ve all been there…in a place so dark, so damaging, so debilitating that we’re unable to find the light. Not just a tiny ray of sunlight. I mean even a speck of the glow from a neon bulb. It’s complete and utter hopelessness.

We all deal with those situations differently. Some reach for substances, some communicate their way through the loss, some never find their way out of that emotional cage. But during that time period, we can’t forget about life because it doesn’t just stop while you’re attempting to heal. It claws, bucks, screams, and it adds to the weight that’s already holding you down. When it rains, it pours. That’s a phrase we’ve all heard, but it honestly couldn’t be truer.

I’ve always been fascinated with the decisions people make when they’ve been affected by tragedy. Whether they take the substance route, communicate, or they bury even deeper, so I decided to write a novel that explores all three. Drew Stevens, my protagonist, is at her breaking point. Things can’t possibly get any worse…but they do. The book shows the spectrum of emotions she experiences, the sparkle of hope that shines from the most unexpected place, and the internal struggle when she tries fighting against her heart.

About The Author

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.


Book Review

Pulled Beneath by Marni Mann
Book 1: Bar Harbor Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback - 244 pages / Kindle - 497 KB / Nook - 435 KB
ISBN: 1620152193
BNID: 2940149337309
Genre: New Adult / Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Pulled Beneath

BUY THE SERIES: Bar Harbor Series
Book 1: Pulled Beneath
Book 2: Pulled Within (Publish Date: 9/12/14)
Book 3: Pulled Apart (Publish Date: Fall 2014)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

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?

Book Excerpt:

Yellow tape…I knew what that stood for. I’d seen it in movies and on the news. But what did that mean for my parents?

“That’s my house!” I shouted. “My mom and dad are in there.”

“You’re Drew Stevens?”

The buttons of his uniform, the firmness of his bulletproof vest, the thickness of his belt all pushed against my back. I squeezed his hands, trying to pull them off my body but he wouldn’t budge. “Yes…I’m Drew.”

His posture softened; his grip loosened. “The detectives are going to want to ask you a few questions. I’m going to set you down and escort you over to them, okay?”

“Where are my parents? I need them. I need…”

My voice wasn’t any louder than a whisper. I didn’t know if he could hear me over all the chaos that surrounded us, but that was all I had. All I had left in me.

“There were signs…forced entry…a broken window…blood,” he said.

I couldn’t process any of his sentences, just certain words. Evil words. My head shook; I blocked my ears to keep from hearing him, trying to push the information away, even though I knew. I knew the meaning behind what he was telling me.

I knew my whole family was dead.

I should have been here. I should have been with my parents instead of with David. If only I’d stayed for the meeting. If only I’d had dinner with them. If only I’d slept in my own bed. I could have protected them…stopped this…saved them.

“…sole survivor,” he continued.

Whatever hope that had dropped out of my body suddenly spiked. And the churning, the screaming, the shaking, all came to a halt. “A survivor? Who?”

Because he was still holding me against him, he turned us to the left, facing me toward the parked ambulance. “She’s by the back door.”

I looked to where he pointed. Sitting on the pavement, hooked to a leash that a paramedic held, mouth open and panting, was Bella, my parents four-year-old yellow Lab. They had bought her when I’d gone off to college. Mom said she helped with her empty nest syndrome. Now she was all that was left.

“Why?” I asked.

“Your neighbors came outside after they were woken up by Bella,” he said. He obviously knew my question extended far beyond our dog, how she’d gotten out of the house and how she’d survived. “She must have escaped through the doggy door and was circling your front yard, barking. When they saw the broken window, they called 9-1-1.”

Bella’s eyes had found me. She was bucking against the leash, her front paw lifting off the ground and her body wiggling, trying to free herself from the restraint. I was doing the same.

“Put me down,” I begged.

“Are you going to try to go inside the house?”

I dug my fingernails into his hands as they gripped my stomach even tighter, and I pinched his skin as hard as I could. “No! Let go of me! I just…I just want her,” I shouted. I needed to feel her fur against my face, to wrap my arms around her, to be comforted by the one remaining member of my family.

He placed me on the ground but my feet didn’t hold me. My own weight was even too much. My knees buckled and I collapsed, tiny rocks digging into my palms as my hands landed on the pavement. The hard surface scraped the skin off my shins. When the wail burst through my lips, Bella’s tail stopped wagging. Her cries then pierced the air.

I slapped the officer’s hands away from me. I didn’t need his help. I needed Bella. I dragged myself closer to her. She kicked and jerked against the leash, her whining getting louder as I moved toward her.

“This is Drew,” the officer said, following directly behind me, but speaking to the paramedic who was holding Bella. “She’s the daughter.”

The paramedic nodded and walked Bella over to me. Her wet nose pressed against my cheek. She licked my tears, drying them as they fell. I pushed myself to my knees, my hands moving to her ears, rubbing the soft, velvet-like hair that covered them. My hands and legs were bleeding, but I didn’t stop touching her or move to give the cuts any relief. I couldn’t let her go…I could smell the faintest scent of Mom’s perfume on Bella’s coat.

She sat down in front of me, the massaging of her ears began to relax her. I held her face in my hands as her tongue reached out to lap my cheeks again. I brushed my nose over hers. “Oh, my girl.” I pulled her even closer, burying my face in her neck and wrapping my arms around her.

She whimpered against my shoulder. She knew. She could sense the emotions that lingered around us, that wafted from me…the loss, the pain, the darkness, the unknown. I had seen nothing but dread in her eyes…the same dread I was sure she had seen in mine.

“I’m scared, Bella…I’m so scared.” My hands circled her face; she kept her snout pressed to me as her breath floated over my skin. Sweat dripped from my forehead, but I shivered from the chill I felt within. “All we have is each other now.”

My Book Review:

What would you do if you discovered that your life has been an intricate and tangled web of lies? Do you let the loss, secrets, and betrayals from your family's past pull you beneath the surface into a deep hole, or can you rise to the surface and move forward?

For Drew Stevens, this is what she faced after the brutal murders of her parents in their Sarasota, Florida home left her broken and disconnected ... only to have her world turned upside down even more when a letter from an attorney in Bar Harbor, Maine reveals the news that she had a family in Maine, one that she never knew existed. The estate of her grandparents on her mother's side gifted her a house and oceanfront property. From an intricate web of deceit, everything in Drew's life is different now ... Drew travels to Bar Harbor in search of the answers to her family's past, a search that will lead her on a journey of self-discovery and healing as the truth of her family's past is unraveled one strand at a time.

In Pulled Beneath, the first book in the Bar Harbor Series, author Marni Mann pulls the reader into an intricate and complex tale filled with loss, lies, secrets and betrayals ... a tale of struggle and heartache ... and a journey of self-discovery, healing, and redemption. Written in the first person narrative, the reader follows Drew Stevens on her emotional journey in search of answers to her family's past.

The author does a wonderful job of weaving a tale that is complex and full of angst. The drama and mystery of Drew's family's past takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride. With an intriguing cast of characters who are realistic and flawed, to a richly detailed setting that transports the reader from the warmth of Sarasota to the cool oceanfront of Bar Harbor, you can't help but get drawn into the mystique of the family's past as it slowly unfolds. Add in a mysterious neighbor named Saint who has his own painful past, Drew finds herself pulled to him  ... two broken people drawn to each other by the intertwined bonds of pain ... but can they help each other heal?

I loved the mixture of the mystery and the slow building romance between Drew and Saint. The intricate complexity of the story had enough drama and intriguing twists and turns that kept me captivated and turning the pages. I loved the chemistry and deep emotional development of their relationship, especially their shared bond of swimming as a means to disconnect and find peace. The author does a great job of letting the reader feel a real connection with the characters as the story unfolds. I enjoyed following Drew's emotional journey, but at times her indecision and self-wallowing had me wanting to smack her upside her head! I loved Drew's best friend Gianna, her love and support for Drew was phenomenal, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention Bella, Drew's Yellow Lab, who was faithfully by her side throughout the journey. I can't wait to read the next two books in the series: Pulled Within and Pulled Apart.

Pulled Beneath is a breathtaking story of one young woman's journey of overcoming tragedy, survivor's guilt, and a painful family past through self-discovery and a healing kindred spirit.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

March 31 – Agents of Romance – Review & Excerpt
April 1- Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 2- Keep Calm and Blog On – Review 
April 3 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Q&A
April 4 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
April 7 – Little Whimsy Books – Review & Excerpt
April 7 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt