Allow me to preface this review by stating this was my very first Lisa Renee Jones book.. I can guarantee it won’t be my last. If I were you is the first book in her Inside Out Trilogy and I am rather irked that I am going to be forced to wait for the next two. While I am not sure when the next book will be coming out, the books in this series are:
Book 1: If I Were You
Book 2: Being Me
Book 3: Revealing Us
By Lisa Renee Jones’ own definition this book is guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat and wanting to be ravished while sitting there. She proclaims in on her website as Fifty Shades of Grey meets Basic Instinct
and is that ever an accurate description.
Sara McMillan is a self professed Mama Bear, an English teacher with a tendency to nurture. She has escaped a life where her every action is controlled, her choices are non existent and she is enjoying her life. UNTIL, her neighbor leaves a journal at her house. A journal full of dark passions and pleasure tinged with pain. A journal giving Sara a view into a lifestyle she can barely understand. When her neighbor shares that this journal was part of the treasure from an abandoned storage locker, Sara wonders. When that same neighbor leaves on a surprise elopement with the fiance Sara has never met and gives Sara the items in the locker Sara decides to find the journal’s owner and return them to her. And then life gets really crazy.
Sara’s connection to Rebecca, the journal’s owner leads her to an upscale art gallery where she almost seamlessly slips into Rebecca’s life. With every step she takes the links between them tighten. Every person she meets causes her to question who Rebecca was, who Sara is and what did this person have to do with it. Added to the fact that Rebecca’s job is Sara’s dream job. That working in a gallery is more carrot than whip Sara is just confused. Then there are the men... strong, dominant men. Men who have secrets that pull at Sara.
First there is Mark, her new boss.. the gallery owner, the man every woman in the gallery seems to fear.. The man who expects you to drink the coffee he poured you without asking, gives you tests on wine and opera in order to see how well you will fit in, in the art gallery. The man who is rich, sexy, controlling and yes oh so compelling. A man who promises much and wants more. A man who can offer Sara the job of a lifetime. Help her fulfill the dreams she kept deep in her inner self. Hidden.. The man she thinks could be the bad guy in all this..
Then there is Chris, the mysterious painter. Sexy, fun, controlled rather than controlling, Determined to “protect” Sara. A Man who promises nothing and yet somehow seems to offer her everything. The man who says he wants nothing to do with anything but the right now and yet shares pieces of his past and wants to know hers. The man who helps her stay on even ground when the rest of the world seems to be quicksand..
This book was tense, exciting and compelling it commands your senses and DEMANDS that you pay attention. While I am not the type of person who handles suspense well, I could not put this book down. Every page was steeped in tantalizing mystery. The ultimate who done it... or rather was anything done at all. I would be equally unsurprised to see the mysterious Rebecca walk in one day after a world cruise as I would to find out her body was found in a ditch somewhere.. Or she was captured by aliens, or became a Vampire (oh yeah this is so not a PNR series). At this point Ms Jones has created a world where nothing is what it seems to be or everything is.
Along with the main theme of well.. Finding Rebecca.. Elsa, Sara’s neighbor is off on this honeymoon that we aren’t sure is legit. And then Sara meets a new friend Ava, who we aren’t sure is at all what she seems. She is a cafe owner who is always off on some mysterious business. At least I thought so, maybe she is just doing what normal cafe owners do. But Ms Jones makes you wonder..
The only thing I don’t like is the current trend to make the D/s lifestyle something that only true deviates enjoy. That people who live this lifestyle do so because there is something damaged about them. I know there are honest to goodness real life submissives out there and real life Dominants that are bankers and teachers and artists and lawyers and... They aren’t traumatized or come from some sort of disturbed childhood it’s just who they are. In this Ms Jones most definitely follows Ms James Fifty Shades of Grey example.. That bothered me as this story is just so intense so compelling so excellent. It’s characters don’t need an excuse to be who they are, they just are. That being said.. I won’t know more until the next two books come out and believe me I hope they come out really really soon. I don’t know that I can wait an entire year!
For more reviews by Shauni check out Tea and Book
andBodice Rippers, Femme Fatales and Fantasy
This review is based on the ARC of If I Were You provided by netgallery