Early Review: Revealing Us (Lisa Renee Jones)

Review: Revealing Us Amazon| Goodreads

SPOILER ALERT: I’ve tried to avoid spoilers for the earlier books, but if you haven’t yet read Being Me, I’d recommend skipping this review for now. If you haven’t yet started the series, the first book, If I Were You, is available to read free at XOXO After Dark until October 7th!

Summary (From Goodreads.com)

The third installment in the sexy Inside Out erotic romance series—in the seductive tradition of Fifty Shades of Grey.

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?

Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Length: 336 pages
Series: #3 of Inside Out series (read my review for #1 If I Were You  here)
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: 10th September 2013, by Gallery Books

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

My opinion:

If I Were You and Being Me dealt with Rebecca’s disappearance, a mystery that has now been explained, if not completely resolved. The mystery element to Revealing Us focuses on Sara’s best friend Ella, who left for a honeymoon in Paris but never returned.  Revealing Us starts right after the ending to Being Me, with Sara having to make the decision of whether to follow Chris to Paris.

I felt that Revealing Us read quite differently from the first two books in the series. Whilst the first two books were a perfect blend of mystery and romance, Revealing Us felt a little slower in comparison. The action in the story comes from two real areas: Sara’s encounters with Chris’ old friends from the lifestyle and complications with the trial for Rebecca’s murderer.  I didn’t particularly love Sara’s encounters with Chris’ old friends, as although sometimes Sara came off strong and feisty, there were also times when I wanted to shake her for acting recklessly.

Ella’s disappearance is still left very much unexplained, which makes sense in light of the fact that the Inside Out Trilogy is now branching out, with books four and five covering the trial and more about Mark, and a new separate spin-off series about Ella. While I’m (very) excited about the prospect of more books, Ella’s mystery sometimes felt more like a distraction than the main story, which meant that Revealing Us felt a little dragged out.  The fact that Inside Out will no longer be a trilogy also means you don’t finish the book with the closure you were expecting to.  I imagine for a lot of people, Revealing Us will be the deciding factor for the rest of the books. If you’re happy enough with the revelations regarding Rebecca, and the end point of Chris and Sara’s relationship, you may not see a need to read the rest of the series, or Ella’s spin-off series. If you’re curious about the trial, Mark, and Ella’s disappearance, Revealing Us just won’t be enough, and you’ll want to keep going with the rest!

In Revealing Us, Chris’ big secret is finally revealed, and I can understand why it has taken him a long time to open up and reveal it to Sara. However, I have to also admit it felt a little anti-climactic given the long build up and hints throughout the first two books.  Although it felt like there was less sex and explicit content than the first two books, Chris and Sara’s relationship grows beautifully, with Chris finally facing his demons.  Having become so attached to the couple in the earlier books, Revealing Us will have you racing through, desperately hoping they can get over their remaining hurdles and live happily ever after.

As always, Lisa Renee Jones’ writing is fabulous.  She brings the characters to life until you can practically hear their thoughts. Her writing style, combined with the first person point-of-view also make Revealing Us hugely emotive, so if you’re looking for a book that makes you feel, Revealing Us is definitely a good bet!

In all honesty, I didn’t enjoy Revealing Us quite as much as the first two books in the series. However, I suspect that may be due to the fact I went in expecting a series finale, rather than the middle book of the series.  Despite the somewhat different feel to the earlier books, Revealing Us still had me hooked, and I devoured it in a day, even quicker than the first two! Lisa Renee Jones left me stunned by some of the plot twists , desperate to know whether Chris and Sara could make things work, and emotionally invested from page one.

Buy it? This is a buy for me, but I’d probably wait and get it on a deal.
In a nutshell: Another great read from Lisa Renee Jones, but not quite as good as the rest of the series.

Other Reviews of Revealing Us: Talking Supe | Peace Love Books | Jessy’s Book Club

Early Review: Escaping Reality (Lisa Renee Jones)

Review: Escaping Reality Escaping Reality| Goodreads

Summary (From Goodreads.com)
Infinite p
Infinite danger….

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn’t trust him. I shouldn’t tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loves to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she’s finally dared to believe she is forgotten–even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard down, the ghost’s of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take “no” as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam than meets the eyes?

Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Length: 250 pages
Series: Yes – #1 in The Secret Life of Amy Bensen
Source: NetGalley

Plot: ★★
Characters: ★★★
Readability: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★

My opinion:

I loved Lisa Renee Jones’ Inside Out Trilogy (you can read my review for book 1 here and for book 2 here) so I couldn’t resist requesting Escaping Reality when I saw it on NetGalley.

Amy Bensen is a girl running from her past, hiding from a shadowy history with a new name and identity. When her ‘handler’ announces Amy needs to run again, Amy dreads starting yet another life, but when her survival depends on it, what choice does she have?

On the flight to her new destination, Amy meets Liam. Despite her instincts to stay unnoticed, Amy and Liam have an instant chemistry she just can’t resist.

Escaping Reality was an easy read with an interesting idea.  It didn’t quite live up to the Inside Out Trilogy in my opinion, though I admit that may be because I’m not a huge New Adult fan. Similar to the Inside Out Trilogy, this is a sexy blend of romance and mystery. I felt the romance was the predominant plot point, and that little really happened on the mystery front. There was too much intrigue for me – I don’t feel like any of the questions I had were answered. That combined with a cliffhanger ending mean I definitely want to read the next book, but I ended this one feeling just as frustrated as intrigued.

The main characters were likeable enough. Liam is a fairly standard alpha male; I liked him but he didn’t wow me or strike me as especially different to the many similar characters around at the minute. Amy was great, and not afraid to tell Liam exactly what she thought of him! However, I didn’t really understand enough about why she acts the way she does, and so sometimes I was frustrated with her wavering back and forth about attraction to Liam and her instincts to stay away.  The minor characters, Jared and Meg, were okay; I got the impression they were deliberately somewhat mysterious, and I’m intrigued to learn more about both.

All in all Escaping Reality was an enjoyable, easy read, but unless you’re a big New Adult fan or looking for your next Lisa Renee Jones fix, I’d recommend the Inside Out Trilogy first.

Buy it? I wouldn’t mind paying the £2.01 for the kindle edition.
In a nutshell: Likeable enough but it didn’t wow me the way If I Were You/Being Me did.

Other Reviews of Escaping Reality Under The Covers Book Blog | Abigail Robyn Brown | K&T Book Review

Early Review: Being Me (Lisa Renee Jones)

Review: Being Me Amazon| Goodreads

Summary (From Goodreads.com)

Fascinated by the dark fantasies in the journals she’s discovered, and the two men who have now found a place in her life, Sara McMillan finds herself torn between her new life and her past. Now, more than ever, Sara identifies with the lost journal writer, Rebecca, and is certain that something sinister has happened.

In the arms of the sexy, tormented artist Chris Merit, Sara seeks answers about Rebecca and ends up discovering things about herself she never knew existed. Chris forces Sara to reconsider who she is and what she truly wants from life, but not before his dark desires threaten to tear them apart. Her boss, Mark Compton, offers her the shelter to understand just what those needs mean to her, and what they might have meant to Rebecca, but can she trust him to lead her to a final conclusion to Rebecca’s story?

: Lisa Renee Jones
Length: 336 pages
Series: #2 of Inside Out Trilogy (read my review for #1 If I Were You here)
Source: NetGalley

Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

My opinion:

If I Were you followed Sara as she tried desperately to find out how and why Rebecca disappeared. Armed only with Rebecca’s journals, full of tantalizing hints about Rebecca’s ‘Master’, Sara steps into Rebecca’s life to try and determine whether she left by choice…or by force.

In Being Me, the hunt for Rebecca is ongoing, but it felt like a slightly smaller part of the plot than in the first book. There’s a larger focus, in my opinion, on the development of both Chris and Sara, as well as the growth of their relationship, in this book. Lots more about Sara’s past will become clear, and she grows a lot as a character, attempting to live her own life, rather than living Rebecca’s as she arguably did in If I Were You.

If I had to try and quantify the slightly different feel to the novels, I’d have said If I Were You felt like 60% mystery:40% romance, whilst Being Me is the other way around. There’s certainly still enough mystery to keep you engrossed, but I felt more invested in Chris and Sara (as well as their relationship) as a result of the increased focus on them in Being Me. Chris and Sara’s pasts and troubles mean their relationship faces some serious bumps, and you may well find yourself wondering whether you’re rooting for the wrong man at times! Obviously as well as the emotional side to their relationship, there is some seriously steamy romance, without any graphically kinky or intense elements that may offend some readers.

As well as Chris and Sara, the supporting characters are wonderful. Dylan is a fantastic addition to the plot, managing to sometimes lighten up the story and at other times put you through an emotional rollercoaster! We also find out a lot more about Mark, and see some other sides to him, which made for great reading.

The mystery, though not as dominant in If I Were You will still have you reading on desperately, feverishly trying to put clues together to determine the Master. The story is faster-paced and I know I personally found it hard not to say “I’ll just read one more chapter”. Still filled with the clues from the journals and Sara’s musings on various characters in Rebecca’s life, the apprehension and suspense that kept me glued to If I Were You persist throughout Being Me. Having said that, there is also more ‘real-life action’; dramatic events and revelations that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.

It’s very difficult to say too much more without giving away spoilers, so I’ll leave it there! What you really need to know is that questions about Rebecca’s disappearance will be answered, including the identification of her Master. Chris, Sara, Mark and various minor characters are fantastic, and as always Lisa Renee Jones’ writing is wonderful. The only limitation for me was that sometimes I felt like Chris and Sara were a bit too up-and-down, occasionally making me want to give one or the other of them a good shake!

Buy it? The kindle version is still £5.89, so I’d probably pay the extra for the paperback since the cover is gorgeous!
In a nutshell: Another great read from Lisa Renee Jones, a favourite so far this year.

Other Reviews of Being Me: Unwrapping Romance | My Keeper Shelf | Fiction Vixen

[After Dark] 250 Word Review: If I Were You, Lisa Renee Jones

250 Word Review: If I Were You (Lisa Renee Jones)

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

Summary (From Goodreads.com)
How it began…

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 expires.

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, all of 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.

Title: If I Were You
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Length: 313 Pages
Source: ARC for review
Release Date: 24/08/2012

Plot: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Readability: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★

My opinion:
If I Were You is a must for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey – but those who weren’t a fan of Fifty Shades may also enjoy it.

Like Fifty Shades, If I Were You is an erotic romance; a genre which has exploded into the public eye with the success of Fifty Shades.  The men in the books are fairly similar too – rich, powerful and damaged (as described by themselves).

However, there are some distinct differences between If I Were You and Fifty Shades – firstly, I found the writing in If I Were You MUCH better, so if that was one of the reasons you couldn’t stand Fifty Shades, I strongly urge you to take a look at this.  Secondly, I found Sara a much stronger, more intriguing character.

The third and biggest difference between the two series for me, is the premise behind If I Were You – the mystery behind Rebecca’s disappearance, and trying to put together the pieces of where she’s gone and why, made the whole book feel less….fluffy than Fifty Shades (which at times felt like just sex…filler….sex, with no real plot).

One possible negative: the book did feel a little slow at times.  Obviously as it’s the first of three we haven’t found out where Rebecca has gone, so if you’re looking for a quick resolution to the mystery this probably isn’t for you.

Buy it? I would, personally.  Can’t wait for book 2!
In a nutshell: Sexy with a plot.