Monday, September 17, 2012

Book review: Pulled by A.L. Jackson

Pulled by A.L. Jackson
Genre: Contemporary romance
Format: paperback (351 pages) & ebook (535 KB)
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing; 2nd edition (April 4, 2012)

Summary: For nine years, they drift through life, unable to forget the one who holds the strings to their hearts. In an attempt to escape the pain of her past, Melanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, while Daniel loses himself in a career that means nothing without Melanie by his side.

Now, when their lives intersect, neither can deny the connection they felt so long ago.

But will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past, and do they have the courage to overcome the insecurities and fears that threaten to keep them apart?

Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.

My thoughts: Pulled is an interesting, at times, intense, other times frustrating, fast-paced novel. **(Spoiler alert!)**There are two stories woven here: the 'past memories' from the original relationship of high school student Melanie and college student Daniel, then their present day (nine years later) as their independent lives intersect once again. Prevalent in both is the theme of undying love--the "pull" of soulmates. The amount of heartbreak, misunderstanding and suffering they endure is tremendous. The loss of a girlfriend can be rough on anyone but add in the loss of a child and the pain is unfathomable. 

Since this could easily become a Jekyll and Hyde review I thought I would split my thoughts into two sections: what I had reservations about and what worked for me. 

My reservations: Though this is ultimately a love story, I wasn't convinced by the rushed insta-love between Melanie and Daniel's the first time they met. For some reason I did not connect with them and I believe the instances of their telling me how they felt instead of showing me at times took me out of the story and shaped my reading experience. There were overly sweet or brooding/melancholy passages which bogged down the pacing and seemed repetitive. 

What frustrated me was the lack of communication between these two. Pick up a phone! Call again! Visit one more time! These were things I wanted to yell at them. Each time a visit or call misfired, their reactions bordered on melodrama. My common sense meter went berserk when Melanie's mother witnesses her son-in-law abusing her daughter. I could not believe she didn't grab her girl and flee. Also, why Melanie thought she had to wait and "plan" to leave a man whose anger was simmering like a threatening volcano seemed preposterous, especially when she had the wealthy and powerful Montgomery family in her corner

What worked for me: I gave these two lovebirds the benefit of the doubt because I wanted them to find each other (OK, I wanted the soulmates to give me a predictable HEA ending). I am so glad the romantic in me kept reading PulledWhen the characters acted out the scenes, I was touched by the raw and emotional writing in these spots. The moments between Daniel and Eva (and later between him and Vanessa's baby) were beautifully described and A.L. Jackson packed a lot of emotion in these scenes. When Melanie finds the picture of Eva during a bad moment in her life, my perception of her as weak changed instantly because she changed into someone who had a reason to fight back. 

What I really liked was the idea of the title's "pull" on those meant to be with each other. Daniel and Melanie's pull bordered on the mystical or magical with the power they felt tremble inside them when the other was close by. By employing the dual perspective, readers learned how both characters dealt with everything and expressed themselves.

This was one instance when I kept reading with my heart first and it paid off. Despite some things, ultimately I did enjoy reading Pulled.

Rating: 3.5

Cover comment: Looks more like a paranormal cover. If the story is about a couple and is told from both pov's, the cover should feature them, not just her. I would have liked to have seen Daniel's blond curly hair.

Book source: I received an eARC from the author in exchange for my brutally honest review during a book tour.

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