Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Inside the Lines (from Goodreads):
What happens in love might destroy you…
Or remake you altogether.
I make a living offering men and women their ultimate fantasies…as submissives of the mysterious Mistress Hathaway.
I’ve never surrendered to anyone. That’s not the way it works. Or rather, not the way I operate.
But when the gorgeous Fin MacKenzie shows up in my life, he throws everything out of balance.
Now I’m not sure who I am anymore, and I’m questioning everything.
What woman can turn away from a gorgeous Scotsman, especially when he sets her body on fire and her heart ablaze?
I have to stop it…us. I can’t keep going like this. It will ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to build.
Who am I if I surrender to him? Worse yet, who am I if I don’t?
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Best Adult Contemporary 2015
Series: Without a Trace
Author: Ally Bishop
# of Books: 4 (Inside the Lines, Crossing the Line, Tracing the Line, Outside the Lines)
Book Order: Connected
Reading Order: In terms of chronological events, the books should be read as Crossing the Line, Inside the Lines, Tracing the Line then Outside the Lines
Complete?: Yes, possible spin-off series in works
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild, BDSM: mild [Inside the Lines; Tracing the Line, Outside the Lines])
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: March 2015 – November 2015
Source & Format: Upgrade Your Story–eARC | Thank you!
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I was contacted to review the latest in the series, Tracing the Line when I realized I had Crossing the Line already on my Kobo. Taking that as a good sign that I would be interested in potentially reviewing this series, I decided to fulfill the request.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a straight Adult Contemporary Romance, but these books had everything I like in their synopsis: plenty of heat and unconventional situations that promised some interesting drama. They aren’t very long (~200 eBook pages), so these books were the perfect end-of-midterm-time books to dive into after two stressful weeks.
I was told by the agent that contacted me to read Crossing the Line first and then read Inside the Lines and Tracing the Line afterwards. This is because the events of Inside the Lines actually take place after Crossing the Line despite Inside the Lines being published first.
Of course, you don’t have to read these books in any order as they work as standalones in their own right. I think you just get more out of the experience if you read them in chronological event order.
These books all have the same basic premise: female heroine discovers more about herself through a brand new relationship. I was worried that that meant she was going to lose herself to her new relationship (you know, become one of those Bella-Swan-I-Can’t-Live-Without-Him sufferers) but those fears were for naught.
These books have a great tone of female independence but recognizing what it means to be an equal partner in a relationship. Something that I strive to look for in my romance novels. They are also very sex positive which is also great and I like the message the books promote.
There are also some interesting plot twists along the way. I never felt like I was reading a regurgitation of the previous book because each of the leads has her own “issues” to work out and the situations they find themselves in are different. These books were just as much fun as they were about dealing with serious issues.
Like I said before, I found all the heroines had unique personalities that helped make the book their own. It was great watching them develop and become independent.
As for the “heroes”, I really liked them too. They were great catalysts for change but didn’t totally consume the heroine in any way or smoother her character development. All and all, they were are fantastic, equal partners for the girls and I really appreciated that.
I was really hesitant to start Crossing the Line simply because the synopsis hints at a very fast, pretty much love-at-first-sight type of situation–basically my least favourite romantic trope ever. However, once I started reading, it didn’t really feel like that to me (much to my relief). Sure, the romance happens fast but I definitely saw the connection these two had. It made sense to me that they would be drawn together and so it didn’t really bother me that they were falling fast. It also helped that Ella recognized the situation and acted accordingly. Overall, I really found their story to be very addicting to read and that really surprised me given my preconceived expectations going into it.
And the rest of the books where the same way. They all have a strong initial connection but that connection really develops as the story does so it was easy for me to see why all these couples would work out in the long run.
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
I really hope there are a few more books in this series. There are two characters in particular that I would love to see have their own stories (or perhaps, story?). (I was told by the agent that contacted me that there is a new book called Outside the Lines that will be published in the near future!)
–December 23, 2015– Book 4: Outside the Lines
This book just hit all the right notes for me. I thought there was a fantastic balance between character growth and the romance. There was plenty of steam to keep me satisfied but there was also the right amount of character stories. I loved watching Blue’s journey to find herself. Her story is heartbreaking but so well done and realistic. I thought her story was told beautifully and it definitely the strongest of the series (at least I think so). I also like how it links back to the previous novels. It felt like the best way to wrap up the story of the Trace sisters (though I hope we get those spin-offs soon!).
The romance was also strong and I loved how well they worked for each other. and I thought her romantic match was just perfect for her. It complimented Blue’s story in the best way possible.
Series Rating: 4/5
Inside the Lines 4/5 | Crossing the Line 4/5 | Tracing the Line 4/5 | Outside the Lines 4.5/5
One of the most balanced Adult Contemporary reads I’ve read in a long time. These books aren’t dripping in BDSM or alpha males; rather they focus on the heroine’s development and the start of a great romantic partnership–they just happen to be loaded with lots of sexy scenes. Highly recommended for those who want a quick and satisfying adult contemporary romance read.
Read if You Like: Adult Contemporary Romances, sex positive novels
Avoid if You: dislike adult contemporary romances, erotica
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