I originally published this review in August 2012, when Lisa Renee Jones began self-publishing her Inside Out series. WOW has a lot happened since then. Since last August IF I WERE YOU has been picked up by Gallery Books, releasing the print edition TODAY! Most excitedly, not only is this now being traditionally published, BUT it has also been optioned by STARZ network! That's right, they are seriously talking about bringing this sizzling series onto cable TV. :)
When Sara McMillan receives a scintillating stack of journals from an auctioned off storage unit, she is both shocked and fascinated by the content of those pages. The more she reads the more she can't help but wonder why Rebecca, the owner of the unit, left everything behind. Did something sinister befall her or did she simply decide to leave her life behind to start anew?
In her quest to discover what happened to Rebecca, Sara finds herself immersed in Rebecca's life. Taking her job, becoming involved with the people who may know Rebecca's fate. Opening herself up to new experiences, and opening herself up to danger.
The men she meets unwittingly enable her to deepen her investigation. Mark Compton, manager of Allure Gallery and Chris Merit, a famed artist, are sexy rivals that have no qualms showing their dislike for one another, but what has caused their rift? What dark secrets do they hold? Why do they want to press Sara in the middle of it all?
And most importantly, where is Rebecca?
Lisa Renee Jones has composed a captivating tale of one woman's journey to discover the fate of another, only to find her own world shaken and turned on its head, as she starts to fulfill her own dreams in the process of uncovering a mystery.
The characters in IF I WERE YOU are captivating and well fleshed out. These are people I felt like I knew as I read their tale. Sara isn't a timid person, she's shy and has been denying her true self. Finding these journals opens her up to discovering what she gave up, when she decided to choose a stable job instead of following her dreams and her love of art. There were other factors that played with her choices, and I love how her character grew from the beginning of this story to the end. Chris is HOT, he has some control issues, his moods can flip in a heartbeat, he has a dark secret which he uses to keep his distance from Sara, and I absolutely adored him. Sara and Chris scorched the pages with their sizzling passion, so much so that I needed to turn the air conditioning up and eat a popsicle as I read their love scenes, as I'm fairly certain I was about to melt more than once! I think that Lisa Renee Jones has done a phenomenal job developing there relationship, there is no rush to love here, though you can see it as it takes shape.
Not only were the main characters well developed, but so where the side characters, Amanda was such a sweety, Ralph is a card, Ava has some spice, and Mark is a controlling dick—though he seems to be willing to help Sara, the question is why.
I love the whole Storage Wars concept of this book. It ponders the very questions I always wonder when I see that show: Why do people let their belongings go? What circumstances make people just abandon their things? You know that there has to be a story there, sure, maybe it's a simple story, but I love the spin Lisa Renee Jones has thrown on it.
I can't wait to see where Ms. Jones takes this series, and I can't believe I have to WAIT to see where it's going! But I will be EAGERLY awaiting the next installment, because there are so many unanswered questions I have.
IF I WERE YOU gets a solid 5 out of 5 rating!