Jill's Reviews > If I Were You

If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
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bookshelves: contemporary-romance, romantic-suspense


3.5 stars

Sara McMillan becomes enthralled reading a stranger's journal that her neighbour got from a storage sale. The journal belongs to Rebecca Mason and details Rebecca's pull into a darkly erotic and possibly dangerous relationship. Deciding that her possessions and journals should be returned, Sara tries to track down the missing Rebecca.

She finds out that Rebecca works for Allure Art Gallery, San Francisco's largest and most prestigious gallery. But when told that Rebecca is on leave, Sara a high school teacher, offers to fill in at the gallery over her summer break. Since Sara loves art, has an Art degree and has interned at an Art Museum, she's hired. Working at Rebecca's job, Sara may be able to find out more about Rebecca and where she is.

Chris Merit is an artist whose work is displayed at Allure. Soon Sara is drawn into a relationship with the artsy rebel, who hints at a dark and twisted past. But she also attracts the attention of Mark Compton, Allure's manager. Both these men are attractive, successful and hiding secrets.

This is the first in the Inside Out Trilogy, a combination of romance, erotic themes and mystery. If I Were You has a lot going for it, but by far the mystery was the real drawcard for me. The journals were written with just the right amount of intrigue, suspense and eroticism that had me wanting to know more of this mystery woman, Rebecca Mason.

The romance between Sara and Chris didn't work as well. As in a number of romances, I really couldn't see why Chris (who can have his pick of any woman in the world), chooses Sara specifically. Their relationship felt rather abrupt and quick. The 'dark' part of the hero did feel a little contrived, often talking about his dark side, without ever giving any real indication, until near the end of the story where a piece of his disturbing past is revealed.

I'm surprised that If I Were You is promoted as Fifty Shades of Grey meets Basic Instinct. Though I've not read FSoG I know enough about it and I couldn't really see the connection, nor with Basic Instinct. However, the author must know what she's doing and perhaps this comes into play more in the next books. Comparing If I Were You to FSoG though could also be seen as a bit dicey and a turnoff for a number of readers.

If I Were You is much more akin to Bared to You (Bared to You) meets Scandalous (Scandalous).

Where this book has the advantage is in the gripping mystery woven into the story. The journal entries are dark, edgy and hints at some kink and possible danger that Rebecca may have gotten into. Readers are left with some burning questions at the end of this book.

Who really is Rebecca Mason, the writer of the journals? Where is she now? Is she really missing? Is her non-appearance (or disappearance) suspicious? Who is the man she refers to in her journals? Could it be Mark? Chris even? Or is it someone else altogether?

This was a very difficult novel to rate as certain aspects worked very well, others didn't. So if I could divvy if up like this -

Mystery 4.5/5
Sex scenes 4/5
Writing 3.5/5
Plot 3.5/5
Characterisations 3.5/5
Hero/heroine 3.5/5
Romance 2/5

Overall, I'd give it 3.5 stars. I'd recommend it to readers of erotic contemporary romance, readers who enjoyed Bared to You and possibly those who enjoyed FSoG.

Kudos Ms Jones for drawing me into this mystery so deftly that despite my lack of enthusiasm for the actual romance, I did find the mystery compelling and enough to draw me into the next book to find out more about Rebecca Mason.

Steam: 3.5


ARC courtesy of Lisa Renee Jones via NetGalley

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 1, 2012 – Finished Reading
July 20, 2012 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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message 1: by Baba (new)

Baba  Excellent review, Jill! I'll be giving this one a miss since I disliked BtY and FSoG.


message 2: by Kristen (new)

Kristen As always, fabulous review, Jill. I might have to give this one a try.


message 3: by Hannah (last edited Jul 20, 2012 12:31PM) (new)

Hannah See, this is why I would never write down my erotic escapades (if I had any) in a journal - someone else would get a hold of it and read them...
;P


Jill Baba wrote: "Excellent review, Jill! I'll be giving this one a miss since I disliked BtY and FSoG."

@ Baba
Thanks B! I don't think you would like it.


Jill Kristen wrote: "As always, fabulous review, Jill. I might have to give this one a try."

@ Kristen
Thanks Kristen, overall I enjoyed this. And I think you would as well.


Jill Hannah wrote: "See, this is why I would never write down my erotic escapades (if I had any) in a journal - someone else would get a hold of it and read them...
;P"


@ Hannah
Lol! Ditto, Hannah!


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish OOoh, your review has me adding this one to my ever increasing TBR shelf! Nice job!


Jill UniquelyMoi *~*Dhestiny*~* wrote: "OOoh, your review has me adding this one to my ever increasing TBR shelf! Nice job!"

Didn't I send you a rec, Dhes? Sorry, I thought I had. Anyway, I'm sure you'll enjoy this. I am very sucked in to the mystery here!.


KatLynne This sounds really good Jilly! Thank you so much for the rec. I've just downloaded it to my Kindle!

Wonderful Review!


message 10: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill KatLynne wrote: "This sounds really good Jilly! Thank you so much for the rec. I've just downloaded it to my Kindle!

Wonderful Review!"


Thanks KatLynne! I really look forward to your thoughts!


message 11: by Dee (new) - added it

Dee Great review Jilly ☺

When I originally read the blurb a while ago I wasn't sure then and I am stillnot sure now....Maybe I will give it a miss for a while!


message 12: by Wendy (new) - added it

Wendy Nice review Jilly! Sounds interesting enough. Thanks for the rec too. :)


Susan I really couldn't see why Chris (who can have his pick of any woman in the world), chooses Sara specifically

As much as I really liked this book, I do have to agree with you on this point. I remember wondering about that as well...


message 14: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Susan wrote: " I really couldn't see why Chris (who can have his pick of any woman in the world), chooses Sara specifically

As much as I really liked this book, I do have to agree with you on this point. I rem..."


It does seem to be a common occurrence in romance novels. I've seen it so many times. Authors often fail to explain what makes this particular woman (usually the heroine) so special.


Crista Loved your review Jill...especially the breakdown. Now I know how to set my expectations going in. Thanks:)


message 16: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Crista wrote: "Loved your review Jill...especially the breakdown. Now I know how to set my expectations going in. Thanks:)"

Thanks Crista! Most of my other friends have really enjoyed this.


message 17: by Eshani (new) - added it

Eshani can I ask if Basic Instinct is a book and is so who the author is??


message 18: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Eshani wrote: "can I ask if Basic Instinct is a book and is so who the author is??"

Hi Eshani, Basic Instinct was a thriller movie from the 1990s. Personally I can't see the connection to this story. Perhaps in book #2 it will come into play. As far as I know it wasn't based on a book and there's no book of the movie.

Here's an info link to the movie - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_In...


message 19: by Louise (new)

Louise Fabulous review Jill!:)


message 20: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Louise wrote: "Fabulous review Jill!:)"

Thanks Louise!


message 21: by Kathleen (new) - added it

Kathleen Hello, my dear. Tonight I was in the mood for something steamy hot, yet also tender at times, and well plotted. I hoped for some slight humor, too. Nope.

For me, this book didn't make the cut. Not steamy, just sex. Not tender. There was anger, but I didnt understand why. As you said, there was no reason given for Chris to be a bad-boy rebel. I felt like I didn't know him. For me, it's a DNF.

So hard to find erotic romance that really is romantic. Also, I'm not into BDSM — not even the slightest. (view spoiler)


message 22: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Lol! That makes two of us so not into bdsm, Kathleen! Hope you eventually found something to read. :)


message 23: by Kathleen (new) - added it

Kathleen Jill wrote: "Lol! That makes two of us so not into bdsm, Kathleen! Hope you eventually found something to read. :)"

Actually, I didn't. Just went to sleep. Better luck next time... :)


message 24: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Very good review, Jill.


message 25: by Jill (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jill Tanya wrote: "Very good review, Jill."

Thanks Tanya! :)


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