26 June 2014

Inside Out: Series Review

If I Were You:
When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she's shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer--until the terrifying final entry.
Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca's life. Soon she's working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca's friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she's going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she's not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.
If I Were You - Review: (This review was originally posted in Nov 2013 & can also be found here). Adult contemporary fiction comes in many different forms these days, but I have to say I found the journal entry concept really intriguing (albeit in a different way to Sara). In a very general and rather small nutshell: Sara finds some er smutty diaries and makes it her mission to track down the owner Rebecca, who has apparently gone missing. The diaries describe Rebecca's life working in an art gallery and how she becomes a Submissive for a guy known as 'Master'. In her hunt for Rebecca, Sara finds herself drawn into Rebecca's world and seemingly faces the same danger.

Along the way Sara meets the extremely alluring and grumpy artist Chris Merit. She begins a relationship with him but is left asking is he the Master? Another candidate is gallery own Mark, who definitely screams dominant!

I haven't fully been able to decide how I felt about Sara. On the one hand I can sort of understand her fascination with finding out what happened to Rebecca, but on the other, I often found her obsession and Rebecca-like transformation disturbing!  BUT and it's a big one, I think this is kinda the point! As readers we're supposed to question everybody and any sane person would wonder if Sara was getting too involved. 

Sara and Chris's relationship is super steamy (I personally hope the window scene makes it into the TV show), but be warned, although there isn't any real BDSM YET (or at least in this book) it's mentioned and the books belong in the smutty category. Chris is super mysterious and potentially dark. I loved the whole tortured artist thing he had going on. I did find his over confidence a bit overbearing at times but everybody loves an Alpha, right?! 

If I Were You is the first in a series so there are a lot of unanswered questions. What is Chris up to? Where is Rebecca? Who is the Master? What's up with the club?

On a side rant...I'm really bored of 'this book' or 'that book' being described as "the new Fifty Shades of Grey." It's never something which would make me read a book and as much as I love CG, 50 Shades isn't exactly up there with the great works of literary fiction. That being said I do love the story but would never read a book because it was described as being similar to 50 Shades. I read If I were You because it was recommended to me by a trusted blogger and I heard the TV rights have been sold.

4 Stars in my Sky!

Rebecca’s Journal—A Novella:
Kept under lock and key, discovered by chance, dangerous new secrets and scintillating adventures lie within Rebecca’s private diaries—searing scenes from a passionate journey inside a world where pain is pleasure, pleasure is pain, and where every limit she once had is no more.

Being Me:
I arch into him, drinking in his passion, instantly, willingly consumed by all that he is and could be to me. . . .
Sara McMillan is still searching for Rebecca, the mysterious woman whose dark, erotic journal entries both enthralled and frightened her. Tormented by a strong desire to indulge the demands of her new boss while also drawn deeper into her passionate bond with the troubled artist, Chris Merit, Sara must face a past as deeply haunting as Rebecca’s written words. In one man’s arms, Sara will find the safe haven to reveal her most intimate secrets and explore her darkest fantasies. But is safety just an illusion, when the truth about Rebecca has yet to be discovered?
Being Me - Review: The story picks up right after the end of If I Were You and Sara is still shocked by what she discovered and is on the hunt for answers surround Rebecca's whereabouts. 

She goes through a lot in this book and it seems Chris is always pushing her with his need for control and emotional meltdowns. Sara is still determined to solve the Rebecca mystery and track down Ella. She also wants answers from both Chris and Mark. Mark ups his intensity and we learn more about the issues between him and Chris.

We do get some answers in terms of Rebecca, although there are definitely more questions left answered. The past is a big source of conflict in Being Me, I really wanted to shake some sense into Chris when he’d flip out. Oh boy! The man can brood!

Chris is as swoon-worthy and intense as ever. It was good getting to know him better. There was one scene where I kept thinking of Jesse Ward and his er…coping mechanism. We do get more of an insight into Chris’s kinkier interests and Mark’s world.

Sara faces a choice of becoming more like Rebecca or staying true to herself.

4 Stars in my Sky!

The Master Undone—A Novella:
I told him goodbye, and I will not call him. I know if I do, it will be my undoing, and I’ll once again be caught up in his spell. I will once again be…lost.
In her private journals, Rebecca laid bare her soul, revealing her obsession for the one man whose erotic demands captivated her imagination—and enslaved her forever. Now, with Rebecca no longer in his life, her former Master is lost—questioning everything he thought he knew about himself, and the control he holds in such high regard. One woman will reach out to heal him and then turn away, leaving him haunted. She is nothing he thought he wanted, and somehow everything he needs. He tells himself to forget her, but he cannot escape his desire for her. He has to have more...

Revealing Us:
You've discovered Rebecca's secrets. You've discovered Sara's secrets. Now Sara will discover "his" deepest, darkest secrets...but will those secrets bind them together--or tear them apart?

Revealing Us - Review: In Revealing Us we finally get to get some answers from Chris in terms of his secret and we get to learn more about his past. Sara and Chris head off to Paris where he has no choice but to confront his demons and face his past.

Chris is extremely protective of Sara and when she finds herself dragged into the Rebecca investigation he’s prepared to do anything to protect her. There are a lot of misunderstandings between the two of them mostly because of Sara’s issues with her father and Chris’s inability to tell her the truth.

Both characters are extremely jealous when it comes to the other, and although I did find Sara’s ranting a bit much at times, I wouldn’t have been happy about all the women in Chris’s life either *ahem Amber*!

We get a softer Chris in Revealing Us with some really sweet and sad moments. I do prefer the more alpha version of Chris but it’s nice to see he has a more approachable side too. Some of my favourite aspects of the book are when Chris uses his painting to help cope with his demons. I want a Chris paintbrush!

I did find there was a lot of back and forth before we got to the big reveal. Also Sara is looking for Ella and is still involved in the Rebecca mystery. I was a little underwhelmed by Chris’s secret but could understand why it was so upsetting for him. I couldn’t help thinking that if he had just told Sara from the start she’d have been fine with it and helped hum. But the story is about Chris working through his issues.

Lisa Renee Jones leaves us with unanswered questions, which I hope will be tackled in the next books and the novellas. But she manages to keep her readers engaged throughout the series and I think it'll make for a fab TV adaptation!

3.5 - 4 Stars in my Sky!

Author Spotlight:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Austin Powers, Must Love Dogs) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today and USA Today lists.
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.


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