Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: If I Were You, by Lisa Renee Jones

How it all started…

One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I’d question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She’d bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expired.

Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman’s life, feeling uncomfortable, as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman’s life, and yes, read her journals—-dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I’d never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.

Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn’t know. I was becoming her.

The dark, passion it becomes…

Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I’ve been delivered to the doorstep of several men, allof which I envision as one I’ve read about in the journal. But there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn’t find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don’t understand why his dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.

All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don’t even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself — do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn’t it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.

4.5 out of 5 stars

A couple of weeks ago I read and reviewed Rebecca's Lost Journals.  When I started that book I had no idea it was bonus material put together for the Inside Out Series, nor did I have any idea how quickly I would find myself sucked into this series!  And yes, I did read the included bonus story Master Undone at the end of the Lost Journals, so going into If I Were You I did kind of have an idea as to the direction the story would go.  However, even though some might consider that knowledge a major plot spoiler I can say without a doubt it did not take away from my enjoyment or excitement when reading If I Were You.  I loved every minute and if anything I walked away even more captivated than before!  No joke, as soon as I finished the last page I immediately one-clicked Being Me, it was such a cliff-hanger I couldn't go to bed without knowing what was going to happen next.  Talk about being engrossed!

Sara is a school teacher on break for the summer when she finds herself in possession of a storage until filled with fine art, furniture, and a set of personal journals with entries Sara cannot seem to stop reading.  The more she reads, the more she feels as though something isn't right.  Not able to shake the feeling Rebecca's things should be returned to their owner she makes it her mission to track down Rebecca, which leads her to a fundraiser at Allure.  When Sara cannot find anyone who knows the details of Rebecca's "vacation" she becomes even more suspicious.  A job offer from the dangerous, good looking, and powerful Mark Compton, who Sara suspects may be the "Master" from Rebecca's journal, has her saying yes and it's the first step on what's about to be a confusing, dangerous and life changing journey.

Honestly I liked Sara from her first introduction.  She is just so sweet, thoughtful and definitely protective of those she loves.  She's a hard worker and I loved watching her passion for art come to life.  I was also surprised there was more to her story than I first thought.  Actually I was shocked to find she had some very juicy secrets in her own past.  I'm telling you, Lisa Renee Jones holds nothing back and this sense of mystery, suspense and romance made were the perfect combination in making this story so addictive.

Now, let's talk about Chris...he's a brilliant artist, filthy rich, drop dead gorgeous and he's got that whole tortured soul thing going on.  He's also a very private person, one who doesn't flaunt around his wealth or power, and his feelings for Sara shake him to his core.  This element alone is a story in and of it's self.  You will be dying to know what secrets he's holding onto and why he's so afraid he will scare Sara away.  Since the story is all told from Sara's POV, you only know Chris through Sara's eyes and his actions, which are without a doubt a dominate man who likes control, but who is also falling head over heels in love.  I absolutely loved watching these two dance around their feeling and attractions with one another.  I love how he takes care of Sara, how protective yet supportive he always seems to be.

I don't know how to fully put it into words, but the love story between Chris and Sara alone would make a great book, but then add into it Sara's missing friend Ella, her mission to find Rebecca, her struggle to deal with Mark, and Chris' secrets and you find yourself with a bestseller.  I totally get why this series is being turned into a TV show.  I for one cannot wait to see it come to life, hopefully it will be every bit as good as the books themselves.  Take my word for it and loose yourself in this series!

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