Make sure to check out the quick author Q&A and 2 GIVEAWAYS below!
My Review: If you are a fan of erotic romance with a mix of hilarious laugh out loud moments, then you are in for a treat. If you've never read an erotic romance with large amounts of humor, then this is the series to start with. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Under My Skin is the 2nd book in J.M. Stone's Skin Deep series. About halfway through this book, I was fist pumping in the air. Why, you ask? Well, let me go back. Quite a few months ago, I came across Skin Deep, which was Emma and Luke's story. While I enjoyed it very much, there were some problems with the writing, such as excessive bouts of detail. I of course spoke about this in my mini-review on goodreads (which you can view HERE) and soon noticed that other reviewers had complained about the same thing. So why was I fist pumping in the air halfway through Under My Skin? I guess what I was feeling was a sense of admiration. I was proud of J.M. Stone for taking some of the negative (or helpful, depending on how you look at it) criticism that she received from Skin Deep and using it to clean up the problems going into Under My Skin. Now, I don't want people thinking this changed Stone's style of writing. Thankfully she was able to keep it intact which I was praising the heavens for, because this woman creates some of the most hilarious (and hottest!) scenes I've ever read, which is saying something!
I also liked that Under My Skin picks up where Skin Deep ends. There's no monkey business, we just dive right into the story. Allie, who for the majority of Skin Deep, was dodging both Jackson and Brandon's advances, gets tricked by her best friend Emma in the beginning of Under My Skin. She finds herself alone with the two hotties, where they both finally admit how they feel about her, forcing Allie to confront her own feelings. With some persuasion, they convince her to give the unconventional relationship a shot.
Now I must say that while this book could technically be read as a stand-alone, Under My Skin would be better enjoyed if Skin Deep is read first. There is some backstory in book 1 that is quite beneficial going into book 2, such as how Brandon and Jackson start to show their interest in Allie and how she doesn't really know how to handle it. Are they just looking for a threesome, or do they want something more serious? If they do want something serious with her, what would other people think? Also, Stone truly has a gift when it comes to creating lively, memorable characters. In most sequels, you are lucky if you get a few scenes with previous characters popping in for a visit. However, in Under My Skin, almost all of the characters from book 1, especially Emma (Allie's best friend) and Luke (Brandon's brother and Jackson's best friend), make an appearance in book 2, and they all have their important roles to play, especially to keep the...
momentum of the humor alive. So my point is, if you haven't read Skin Deep, I'd make it a priority before delving into Under My Skin.
Speaking of humor...have I mentioned how FREAKIN' funny Under My Skin is??? Okay, you probably are all getting tired of me saying it but this truly is J.M. Stone's signature style. She has the ability to start a scene with a serious tone but then before you know it, she has created this scenario that has you laughing out loud. I think what makes it work is the majority of these humorous scenes could actually happen in real life. It made the characters feel more realistic, more human, especially Allie and Emma's best friend relationship which reminds me so much of my 18 year relationship with my best friend. I wish I could explain in detail every single hilarious moment in this book but then that would be spoiling the story, so I will only go as far as to hint at some of my favorites: Luke and Emma's mischievous dog named Doug, Allie's cantankerous grandmother, Allie's adult sex toy party, in particular, a dildo nicknamed "Big Kirk", the cat shaving incident, and the list goes on!
Under My Skin wouldn't be considered an erotic romance novel if it didn't have some sexy time, right? Well ladies, you are all in for a treat, because not only is J.M. Stone gifted with writing humor, she can set the pages on fire with her HOT HOT HOT sex scenes! Oh, and did I forget to mention there are TWO tattooed alpha males to drool over??? I mean, just check the book cover!!! Which I love, by the way. Anyway, I digress...sometimes writing threesome love scenes can be tricky, because you want to make sure the reader doesn't get confused as to who is doing what. J.M. Stone does not have this problem at all. She was very clear in her distinction between Brandon and Jackson, which was awesome, because there is nothing more annoying then when you are getting into a really good sex scene but have to go back a page or two because you can't figure out who is who. I also like the fact that Allie gets her alone time with each guy. I think this was a brilliant idea because it's in those scenes when you get to see how different each man makes love to Allie, so that when all three come together, you get a pretty good idea who is doing what with and to her, without having to constantly say, "Brandon did this" or "Jackson did that." Stone definitely has some mad skills in that department!
So you're probably wondering why I gave Under My Skin 4 out of 5 stars after raving about it-- and make no mistake, I will always rave about it because it is really good. There is only one issue that troubled me and it's extremely hard to discuss in detail here because it would be a huge spoiler and the last thing I want to do is spoil the whole damn thing. So I will do my best to explain the issue while being vague. Kinda like a ninja! Anyway, something happens towards the end of the story that I truly didn't see coming. Apparently, I am not alone after skimming through some other reviews. I had the unique chance to vent my feelings to the author and she told me that she felt it was pretty obvious early on and that there were signs along the way. I'm glad I didn't write this review right away because it gave me some time to figure out exactly what bothered me about this surprising turn of events. This is what I came up with. Authors sometimes forget that they have a closer relationship to the characters then readers. So what may seem so apparent in their eyes may not be so easy for the reader to see. Was there 1 or 2 moments in the story that made me pause? Yes. But those particular things were so subtle and they definitely did not set me on the track the author clearly intended for me. What bothered me is not so much what happened, but how it happened. The series of events to get to that point in the story was poorly executed. Unexpected endings are cool IF the author can sell it to me, justify it. But unfortunately, the "signs" that J.M. Stone thought were so apparent in her eyes were really not so apparent, at least for me. That's why the suddenness of this particular choice near the end of the story felt so out of place. While some may feel the ending should be changed, I don't feel it needs to. Again, if that is what the author intended, then that is fine. But the transition for the reader to this big event towards the end could have been easily fixed with a few embellishments in a couple of scenes.
Under My Skin is truly a hilarious, erotic read by an extremely talented author. To see the growth in her writing between books 1 and 2 is very admirable and remarkable. J.M. Stone does this while keeping the integrity of her style, which is so important, because while you want to please your readers and grow as a writer, you don't want to lose the skills that are uniquely your own. I know I was being vague as hell towards the end of my review, but again, I didn't want to spoil anything or discourage anyone from picking up this book. Remember, if you haven't read Skin Deep (#1) yet, I highly recommend checking it out before Under My Skin. :)
1. As you know, I really enjoyed Skin Deep, book 1, but it had a few issues, mainly with the info dumping. Under My Skin almost felt like a completely different book, which shows how serious you take your writing. Some authors may have taken the criticism personally, but you used it in a positive way which shines in Under My Skin. What was your thought process going into writing Under My Skin? Now that both books are finished, do you see the difference in your writing when you compare Skin Deep to Under My Skin?
Going into the story for Under My Skin, I already knew that it would be different from Skin Deep, not only because it was a different character, but because I did take criticism that I received and used it to (hopefully) better my writing. Some of the style remained the same, just simply because that's the feel of my characters, my "world." Honestly, when I started writing Under My Skin, I knew that I wanted to address what seemed to be a recurring complaint with Skin Deep; that being too much detail, or info dumping, as you called it. I started writing with that in mind, paring down some of the needless details that I didn't cut in the first book, but my main goal was to (again, hopefully) present a cohesive continuing story that would draw the reader in and let them get to know more of and love my characters as much as I do. As far as noticing the difference, I definitely did, especially because it was a conscious effort at times to make it different, all the while keeping the same feel to it.
2. I know this is getting into spoiler territory, but it's no secret that some fans who have already read Under My Skin were in a bit of shock as to how the book ends. Some loved it and then there were those that hated it. I even struggled a little bit with it myself. I know you told me that at one point you were having issues with one of the characters as you were writing Under My Skin. Can you shed a little light as to why you chose that ending? Maybe this will help those that are having trouble coming to terms with it!
Ha! That's a good question! You know, I struggled with the ending of this one myself, because when I finished Skin Deep and started writing Under My Skin, I pretty much knew what the end result would be, because that's how I saw it play out in my mind. But the further I got into writing it, things started evolving in ways that I didn't expect; I generally write as it comes, and I would find myself sitting back and going, "Well, damn! Where the hell did that come from?" because it was no where near where it needed to go to get to the outcome I had set in my mind. That's when I started having difficulties with one of the characters because, well, let's just say he and I didn't have the same end in mind. After a couple serious heart to heart talks with a few people, and a come to Jesus talk with a certain character, I realized that the way I initially envisioned the book ending just wasn't going to cut it. And frankly, that certain character wouldn't let me have my way. I can honestly say I'm happy that I did change it; if I wouldn't have, there would have been one less book in the series and I'd probably have some pretty sad and pissed off readers! All in all, Under My Skin played out exactly the way it needed to, and while I'm sorry that it upset some readers, hopefully they'll stick with me and maybe feel a little bit better about it when they read Skin to Skin!!!
3. What can we expect from Skin to Skin, book 3 in the series? I know you just started writing it, but is there anything you can tell us about it? Tease us with?
Well, I can tell you that it's the story of who you think it is...but I'm not naming names! You'll definitely get all of the characters you had in the first two books, and maybe even some new ones? You definitely can expect hilarity, especially from a couple extra hormonal women, some zany furballs, and off the charts, sizzling hotness between the sheets...on the counter...against the wall...who knows where else!?! Anything more than that...well, I guess you'll just have to wait and see!
Want to know more about the Skin Deep series? Want to be kept up to date on teasers for J.M. Stone's upcoming third book in the series, Skin to Skin? Check out her facebook page HERE
SKIN DEEP (Skin Deep, #1)
Haven't read SKIN DEEP? Want to read book 1 before jumping into Under My Skin (#2)? Then you are in luck! Enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 E-book copies of SKIN DEEP. A total of 3 e-book copies will be given away. This is a WORLDWIDE giveaway! Anyone may enter for a chance to win. Giveaway ends Sunday, March 2nd! (3/2) (click HERE for the book blurb for Skin Deep)
UNDER MY SKIN (Skin Deep, #2)
Ready to read about 2 hot, sexy, tattooed alpha males and the woman caught in the middle? Enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 E-book copies of UNDER MY SKIN (book #2). A total of 3 e-book copies will be given away. This is a WORLDWIDE giveaway! Anyone may enter for a chance to win. Giveaway ends Sunday, March 2nd! (3/2)