Wednesday, October 23, 2019

REVIEW: Before You by Marni Mann

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Before You by Marni Mann
Release Date: October 22, 2019
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Having read and enjoyed one other novel written by Marni Mann, I knew when we had an opening and an opportunity to read something else, I'd take it.

Before You had an interesting organization. It started with a mysterious prologue and then it followed a couple's storyline from the past and a couple's storyline in the present. Obviously these storylines would have to intersect at some point, and I had some guesses early on (that were somewhat correct, kudos to me), but it wasn't until the end that the intersection was clear. Up until that last 20%, I was curious and continually modifying what I thought the big reveal would be, soaking up details as I quickly read from chapter to chapter to try to figure things out: how were Honey and Billie and Jared were all connected and how would all of this end?

Of the two storylines, Billie and Jared's was the focal point. Their crazy beginning (gah-- there was one scene that was heartpoundingly too real) and aftermath were not what I was expecting and I liked how from the start this novel was trying to keep me on my toes. They had a connection that was forged by a harrowing event and as time passed became one of shared interests and passion. There's was a love that seemed to be perfect, even though we kept being warned that it wasn't supposed to be happening. But the heart wants what the heart wants and my heart wanted them to be together, dang it.

As I mentioned earlier, I had a few ideas and some were correct and some were so embarrassingly wrong, but it was that anticipation and desire to know what was going on that made this such a fun and unique read. I grabbed every spare second I had to try to read and when I got to the last 10%, I honestly felt it could go in one of two ways and I would've been okay with either, because either would've made sense--though I'm sure some readers would've not liked one of the scenarios. As this is a novel in the romance genre, it ended with the HEA and it worked but if I'm going to be honest, I wish there had been more chapters delving into that a little more. I finished the novel a little worried about how things would work...could they work...and that,my friends, is the sign of a good story. That I was still concerned and thinking about them after I finished means Marni Mann had me fully engaged and all in with her characters. Looks like there's a nice long backlist to keep me entertained until she comes out with something new.
Before You, a contemporary romance and a devastating examination of the people we meet, the life we create, and the things we lose from USA Today best-selling author Marni Mann.
It was supposed to be a typical work trip. New York to San Francisco, window seat, exit row. Maybe a mimosa.
Then, seat 14B sat down. When our eyes met, the flight became anything but routine.
I could pinpoint the moments in my life where everything changed forever.
Meeting Jared on that flight was first.
Falling in love with him was second.
Discovering the secrets he kept was third.
Putting my broken self back together and forgetting what I learned would be difficult. Forgiving Jared would be impossible.
He said, before me, nothing mattered. But after him, nothing would ever be the same.
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“Are you willing and able to help in the event of an emergency situation?” the flight attendant asked as she stood beside our row. She had appeared directly after the announcement that informed us that all of the passengers were now on board the plane to San Francisco and the pilots were doing their final preparations before Flight 88 pulled away from the gate. “Yes,” I answered, and I should have gone back to the article on the housing market in lower Manhattan that I’d started when I was waiting to board. Instead, my eyes were on her. The girl in seat 14A. She had dark hair that went well past her shoulders, a patch of freckles under each of her eyes, and lips that were pouty and full. She wasn’t beautiful. She was exquisite. And she had no idea at all. In the forty-seven years I’d been alive, I’d learned something about women. There were those you couldn’t help but look at and those you just shouldn’t look at. She was both. That was rare. “Yes,” she replied to the flight attendant, and then she looked at me. Before all of the interruptions, she had asked why I was going to California. I finally answered, “Some work, some pleasure. And yourself?” “Same.” Her eyelids narrowed. “Are you from Manhattan? I don’t detect an accent.” I felt the paper in my hands and knew there was no way I could go back to it. Not yet at least, not with her fiery green gaze on me. “When you’ve lived in New York for as long as I have, you tell people you’re from there. It’s easier.” She laughed, and it caused me to keep staring at her. “I’ve been here a while, too, and I agree. Once New York becomes home, you seem to forget everywhere else you’ve lived.” She tucked some hair behind her ear. “Why is that?” When I’d asked my assistant to book this flight, I hadn’t considered flying commercial would put me in a position for conversation, like the one she’d just started. I hadn’t thought much about the actual flight at all besides knowing I had to be on it. But now that I was here, I had no idea what the fuck I was thinking. I really shouldn’t be going to San Francisco at all. I looked away from her to glance up ahead. The main door was closed, telling me it was too late to get off the plane. The only thing I could do at this point was get some air. I excused myself, halfway to my feet, knowing we were minutes from leaving the gate and supposed to be in our seats, and I went down the aisle. “I’ll be quick,” I said to one of the flight attendants as she approached me, and I continued to the lavatory. When I got inside, I locked the door behind me, guessing I had about thirty seconds before I heard a knock. If I were in any other restroom, I would have washed my face, but I wasn’t going to do that with the water from a plane. What I needed from this tight, crammed space was to catch my breath. Because all of it had been sucked out of me, and there wasn’t any air to be found in row fourteen.
About Marni:
Best-selling Author Marni Mann knew she was going to be a writer since middle school. While other girls her age were daydreaming about teenage pop stars, Mann was fantasizing about penning her first novel. She crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books.
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