Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones

If I Were You (Inside Out Trilogy, #1)

Blurb from Amazon:
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.

My Thoughts:

  • Star Rating 5 of 5
  • Heat Rating: it will turn your cheeks RED

IF I WERE YOU is the first book of the Inside Out Trilogy (I am warning you now that there is an AMAZING cliffhanger ending that will make you FREAK out wanting the next book BEING ME that has a release date of June 11, 2013)
Sara McMillan is a high school English teacher on summer break, an English teacher that had to put her dreams of having a career in the art world on hold.  When Sara starts to read Rebecca’s disturbingly erotic journals she is thrown for a loop and finds herself needing to know more about Rebecca and her life.  What happened to her?  Why did she put all her stuff in storage and not keep up payments?  The mystery of the abrupt ending to the journal entries and where Rebecca really is starts to take over Sara’s thoughts.  Sara needed answers and searches for information on Rebecca.  By going through the creepy storage unit to find any information that could help her reach Rebecca and return her private journals, Sara ends up at the Allure Art Gallery. 
“I feel like I am Alice in Wonderland about to be sucked down the rabbit hole”
“I’d become Rebecca while I was reading those journals.  I feel a connection so intimate to this stranger that it is downright eerie”
While looking into the disappearance of Rebecca, Sara ends up practically stepping into Rebecca’s old life.  She gets hired to fill in for Rebecca during her absence and starts to form relationships with people that knew Rebecca: enter Mark and Chris (and other fun characters too but Mark and Chris take the cake).  Mark, the owner of the gallery and a prestigious auction house, takes Sara into his gallery and starts to test her and mold her into what he wants/needs for his gallery.  Mark is a very controlling, dominant man.  Chris, is a famous artist, that struck an instant connection with Sara the moment they first meet.  He is funny, charming, laid back and makes it clear that he wants Sara.  Chris is a darker character than what I expected and is a fascinating character to watch develop throughout the book.  He stakes his claim on Sara and doesn't mind pissing off Mark in the process.
“Be warned, Sara.  I’m no saint.  If I take you upstairs, I’m going to strip you naked and fuck you the way I’ve wanted to since the moment we first met.”
This book is a great read; you start reading a book about Sara trying to solve the mystery of Rebecca’s abandoned storage unit and spend the first part of the book thinking every male character could be the guy from the journals but then there is the shift.  Sara stops spending so much time obsessing over Rebecca and starts really enjoying her own life (even though it is paralleling Rebecca’s) and her relationship with Chris.  As Sara and Chris’s relationship progress we learn that both people are damaged and are overcoming personal and private struggles.  
“We are no longer ourselves, no longer the damaged, thinking creatures who can hold back and control what we say and do.  We are simply two people who have lost the world around us and found this powerful, passionate moment.”
Watching Sara and Chris come together in something this new was full of ups and downs, twist and turns which made for an exciting read that pulled at your heartstrings, made you groan in frustration and sigh in satisfaction. 
“...this ‘crazy’ thing you’re making me feel is the best crazy I’ve felt in a long time.  I’m not ready to let go of you.  I don’t what you’re doing to me, Sara, but please.... don’t stop.”
Ms. Jones does such a great job of pulling the reader into the story with Sara that you too lose your focus on Rebecca and the journals... then just when you are ready to settle in for your happily ever after... WHAM!  The end of the book cliffhanger jumps out at you and leaves you BEGGING for more book (trust me I tried to conjure up more pages from my Kindle but sadly the book was done until the second part comes out this summer).  
I loved this book, from the first chapter all the way up until the very end.  Yes, I whined and wailed about the cliffhanger ending to all that would listen, but you know what?  That is a sign of a book you never want to end.  Well done.  I loved reading about a story within the story and not taking any character at face value.  It made me feel more involved in the story and that much more entertained.  Would I recommend this book?  HELL YES!!  I would even buy it for somebody because I think everyone needs to read this series; it is that good.
I rated this 5 out of 5 stars right after I finished the book and now writing up this review a week after reading it, I still stand by that rating.  This book has stayed with me and I am constantly wanting to know more!  Luckily, the brilliant Ms. Jones wrote up four novellas based on Rebecca’s Lost Journals, that give you more about Rebecca and her journey (the journals are not a sequel or a continuation of Sara’s story, but a peek inside the journals that Sara read.  The journals are strictly about Rebecca’s life, which you find lots of familiar faces in too.) These journals definitely will help you get over your book hangover and tide you over until BEING ME comes out this summer.  

Now go get this book and start reading!

*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review