Publisher: Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster
Review source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Kathy Davie
Series: Inside Out Trilogy, 2
Ooops, looks like someone else noticed that Jones forgot to explain how Sara got involved with Rebecca's storage unit. Read this free short story first, "Behind Closed Doors" (Inside Out Trilogy, 1.5).
Second in the Inside Out Trilogy in this erotic romance/suspense series based in San Francisco with the couple focus on Sara McMillan and Chris Merit.
This is an ARC provided by the publisher.
Oh. My. God, what a whiny, melodramatic wimp...she was nauseating. I tried, I really tried to like this, but it had two major problems going [for me].
The editor in me was appalled as the story badly needed a proofreader to put a space between the period at the end of a sentence and the start of the next sentence. I suspect there were more sentences that ran together than sentences with proper spacing between them. And someone needs to review the rules about commas...PLEASE… I do get that this is an ARC, that it's not perfect, but I find it very difficult to imagine that something this poorly proofed could have gotten through with the above problems and the run-on words and the lack of paragraph breaks, and...yeah, I'm whining. This sort of thing irritates me as it is, but when combined with such a drama queen...it was enough to send me over the edge.
Jones actually does write well. I may not like her characters and she doesn't provide much in the way of reason for events, but she set the individual scenes well, her characters are, um, colorful, she shows well, and her erotic scenes are well done. The fact that they did nothing for me because I couldn't stand Sara...is neither here nor there. Jones also tortures well in terms of drawing out the mystery of what happened to Rebecca; I wish she had done as well with the mystery of Ella's disappearance. I suppose Jones will concentrate on this missing friend in Revealing Us, the next and last in this series.
Sara has a horrible past and doesn't seem to want to be past it. She is the most annoying drama queen who lives constantly in a state of tension, woe is me, and poor me. She has much too much fun with being a hypocrite and wanting everything both ways as she leaps to conclusions faster than a speeding bullet. Not that anyone else is allowed this luxury. She expects to have the time to bring her past up, god forbid Chris should have that same chance. She expects him to trust her with everything about him, just don't make her do the same thing. It was impossible for me to empathize with her; I almost hoped she would get offed! Not a good sign.
She whines that "You can't just shut this all out, Chris. You can't just meet me and be who you were before." And I am so confused by this sentence. What? Chris HAS to change and not be who he is? Doesn't sound like love to me… Chris is constantly showing her how much he loves her, and Sara leaps onto one word and decides he's dumping her. God forbid she give him the benefit of any niggle of doubt OR take into consideration the extreme emotional upheaval he's feeling at the time.
I had a great deal of sympathy for Chris in having to cope with Sara; why he chose to do so, I'll never understand. I do understand Sara wanting to make it on her own merits and not the artist Merit, but she just whines too much.
Jones never does explain why Sara gets so caught up in Rebecca's disappearance. Or why she'd have access to Rebecca's storage unit.
Sara keeps going off on how she just knows that Rebecca met with foul play, so when Chris tries to keep her safe. Yup, she goes off on him about how she can take care of herself...all evidence to the contrary. Yep, she's so independent that she wants to make herself over into the woman Chris will need. Gag…
Um, I'm confused about how a video of Chris kissing Sara in the art gallery can be used to stake his claim on her. Unless Chris wanted it seen, used, to make sure Mark stays away from her.
There's a lot of innuendo back and forth between Mark and Sara. I'm guessing it's supposed to raise tension levels. It might have if Sara's own constant state of melodrama didn't overshadow everything else going on.
There's a lot of whining about Ella not contacting Sara while Ella is on her honeymoon in France---yeah, 'cause that's the only thing that would be on my mind if I were honeymooning in France---but we never hear about Ella's actual wedding. Nor does Sara appear to have met her best friend's fiancé-now-husband. Maybe this all happened in book one and Jones expects us to have read it---shudder, don't make me go there...
The two-on-one hit they do on Sara when she's worrying about Chris was...oh, brother… I'm sorry, but Mark just doesn't strike me as that gauche. He may be that much in want of Sara, but not that inept. Gimme a break.
Oh, man, I just realized how very much into pain Chris is...he still wants to be with Sara...
I'm trying to think if there was one under all this overemotional, overwrought crap. Oh, yeah, Sara is trying to make the decision as to whether she embraces her new art gallery job---the one she's always dreamed of---or keeps working as a teacher. In the meantime, she's whining about investigating Rebecca's disappearance while making Chris miserable as he tries to protect her. Although Jones is so busy with all the melodrama, she forgets to create a reason why Sara needs to be protected. Of course, there's the sexual tension with the very amateurish manner in which Jones has Mark pursuing Sara's "favors", not to mention Ryan, Ricco, and Michael expressing an interest in her. God knows what they all see in her...
Sara McMillan is both teacher and art gallery something---this never is defined. Chris Merit is an extremely wealthy, famous artist who has his own issues and a strong desire to protect Sara.
Ella is the friend who's gone off and married Dr. David, and they're supposedly on their honeymoon. Unfortunately, whiny, bitchy Sara can't seem to let go, and she sees conspiracy everywhere. I think Ella disappeared to get away from the drama queen---she can't take the constant hysterics...
Mark Compton used to be Chris' friend and his family owns Riptide, a famous auction house. I think the family also owns Allure, Mark's art gallery. Mark owns a BDSM club. Ralph is the gallery accountant. Amanda is the sweet receptionist. Ryan Kilmer is client, friend, and sex partner with Mark. Ricco Alvarez is another artist on the outs with Mark and Chris. Mary is a nasty virago who also works at the gallery.
Jacob is Chris' building's security officer. Blake Walker, former ATF, and Kelvin Jackson, former FBI, are with Walker Security whom Chris hires to find out what happened to Rebecca and Ella as well as protect Sara. Greg Garrison is a low-life PI hired to find the journals.
Dylan is a young boy who is dying of leukemia. Chris takes a proprietary interest in supporting the medical charity and in helping Dylan and his family: Brandy is his mom and Sam is Dylan's dad. Katie is Chris' godmother who owns a winery. Ava works at the coffeeshop next door to the gallery. Gina Ray is a famous actress whose name has been linked to Chris' in the past; she's amazing in trying to help the stupid twit of a Sara who just has to rush off to do another one of her dumb, hackneyed, clichéd bits.
Michael is some jerk who works for her dad and wants to control her; Thomas McMillan is the wealthy father whom Sara hates and despises, even as she yearns to mean something to him.
I'm assuming it's Sara wrapped up in the subdued royal blue sheet...
The title is all about Sara Being Me. It's a shame really, she'd be a better person being someone else...