June 11, 2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: The Inside Out Series

I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Lisa Renee Jones' INSIDE OUT series, organized by Inkslinger PR. This series... wow. Read on for a series review and then enter the giveaway for a Waterford Crystal rose and a $50 Amazon gift card!

The Inside Out Series, by Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: e-ARCs, provided by Inkslinger PR and Gallery Books
Genre: adult contemporary romance

Series Rating: 4.5 STARS

If I Were You (Inside Out #1):

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.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Rebecca’s Journal—A Novella:

Kept under lock and key, discovered by chance, dangerous new secrets and scintillating adventures lie within Rebecca’s private diaries—searing scenes from a passionate journey inside a world where pain is pleasure, pleasure is pain, and where every limit she once had is no more.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Being Me (Inside Out #2):

I arch into him, drinking in his passion, instantly, willingly consumed by all that he is and could be to me. . . .

Sara McMillan is still searching for Rebecca, the mysterious woman whose dark, erotic journal entries both enthralled and frightened her. Tormented by a strong desire to indulge the demands of her new boss while also drawn deeper into her passionate bond with the troubled artist, Chris Merit, Sara must face a past as deeply haunting as Rebecca’s written words. In one man’s arms, Sara will find the safe haven to reveal her most intimate secrets and explore her darkest fantasies. But is safety just an illusion, when the truth about Rebecca has yet to be discovered?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The Master Undone—A Novella:

I told him goodbye, and I will not call him. I know if I do, it will be my undoing, and I’ll once again be caught up in his spell. I will once again be…lost.

In her private journals, Rebecca laid bare her soul, revealing her obsession for the one man whose erotic demands captivated her imagination—and enslaved her forever. Now, with Rebecca no longer in his life, her former Master is lost—questioning everything he thought he knew about himself, and the control he holds in such high regard. One woman will reach out to heal him and then turn away, leaving him haunted. She is nothing he thought he wanted, and somehow everything he needs. He tells himself to forget her, but he cannot escape his desire for her. He has to have more...

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Revealing Us (Inside Out #3):

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?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

My Review

I've got to be honest with you. Before a week ago, I had never read anything by Lisa Renee Jones. I'd heard of her Inside Out series, and had it marked to read, but, like many books on my TBR, I hadn't gotten around to it yet. So, I started If I Were You in preparation for this tour, and before I realized it, I had blown through all three full-length novels, purchased the novellas for my Kindle and flagged the remaining novels for my TBR on Goodreads.

Sara McMillan's BFF, Ella drops a stack of journals and a storage shed in her lap before running off to Paris to get married. Sara reads the journals and is intrigued by the sexy and somewhat scary life the journals' owner, Rebecca, led. Sara is compelled to try and find her to return her things. As Sara searches for Rebecca, she's led into a life she's only dreamed of having before. She meets the famous artist Chris Merit and falls in love with him. But, he demands she let him in on all her secrets, and Sara's not sure she can do that. Because Chris is hiding a lot himself, and how can they have a relationship without honestly and trust?

Chris is absolutely the best kind of alpha. He's demanding and controlling but not degrading or douchey. He's extremely protective of Sara and incredibly romantic. But, he has some deep seated issues that he fears nothing and no one can help him with. Sometimes he seems well on his way to doing what needs done to make a life with Sara, and then something happens and he regresses.

Sara has her awesome moments and her WTF moments. She had some nasty stuff happen to her in her not-so-distant past, some of which at the hand of her father, so I can certainly see how she might be a little messed up still. I love her determination and her fierce need to be independent. I love that money means nothing to her. I love her love of art and all things beautiful and that when an opportunity is very unexpectedly dropped in her lap, she goes for it wholeheartedly.

However, Sara's indecision and insecurities frustrated the hell out of me at times. One chapter she was solid in her feelings for Chris and had a good plan for finding Rebecca and living the rest of her life the way she wanted to. The next chapter, she was running away from Chris without talking first, had convinced herself that Rebecca was dead and decided that she couldn't fit in in the art world and she should just go back to teaching high school English. She would read Rebecca's pain-filled journals and paint herself and Chris in the roles of Rebecca and her Master, which would send her into a downward spiral. Then, Chris would give her a pep talk and she'd once again be sure of her relationship with him. GAH - make up your mind, woman!

For a bit in the beginning of the series, I was afraid there was going to be one wicked love triangle between Sara, Chris and Mark, the owner of the art gallery where Sara takes a job (and where Rebecca worked too). Thankfully, that never materialized. There's bad blood and jealousy between Chris and Mark, but once Sara spent a little bit of time with Chris, she was ruined for all other men. Thank goodness.

This series has been likened to the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and I can see why. Chris is a rich, powerful, enigmatic gorgeous hunk of a man whose past continues to affect his present. He appears outwardly to be all together, but inside, his past continues to haunt him to the point where he needs physical pain to help him deal with it. This leads him into the BDSM lifestyle, which he lives, but doesn't particularly enjoy. Then, along comes a girl at the most unexpected time, and she makes him feel and do things that he has never done before. Before he knows it, he's fallen completely in love with her, but that scares the crap out of him, because she could run when she learns more about him.

Sound familiar?

But, here's the thing. I found the Inside Out series so much more compelling and Chris Merit so much more interesting. Using Rebecca's journals as an initial hook to draw the reader into the story was brilliant. I was captured from the first paragraph by this girl and what happened to her. Then, later, the addition of Chris and Mark helped speed along the story. I had a yearning to know all of Sara's and Chris' secrets. Chris' took a lot longer to come out than Sara's did, but that slow reveal is why it only took me five days to finish all three books. I simply could not put these books down. The mysteries, the incredible characters, the fantastic writing, and the super steamy scenes between Sara and Chris kept me reading well past my bedtime for several nights in a row.

I'm completely hooked on this series now. I can't wait to find out what has happened to Ella (she's been missing almost since the very beginning of the first book) and what is in store for Sara and Chris next, as well as Mark who seems to have a story to tell of his own. Despite Mark's sketchy moments and my waffling feelings for him (sometimes I love him, sometimes I think he's a class-A jerkface), I do think he deserves a HEA.

I'm moving on to the novellas next, and although I'll be reading them out of order (check out the correct reading order here), I still am anxious to find out what other secrets they hold. I'm especially interested in getting inside Chris' head, since all the full-length novels are told from Sara's POV. That man... *sigh*  Christian Grey who?

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Austin Powers, Must Love Dogs) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today and USA Today lists.

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.


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Cali Willette said...

THanks for the giveaway! Great books! <3

Marcy Ayala said...

Thank you for this giveaway!!