Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“If you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, who gets to tell the story of the journey?”
Diane Michaels seems to write books at lightning speed, but don’t let that fool you! Her books are always getting rave reviews and are incredibly uplifting reads. Even though I’ve only read and reviewed her first (Splitting Heirs) aside from this book, I knew her latest would be just as delightful, funny and heartwarming, and it didn’t let me down! I’m so happy to be sharing my review of Inked Together, a fantastic chick-lit with a hint of romance that’s the first in a brand new series of books.
About the book
Magical ink. Two wishes. Now Violet and Ben don’t know who is who.
Violet Pensky needs to land a contract—and fast—to save her job. But the harder she tries, the more she realizes she’s asking for a miracle.
Ben Harris’ career thrives on luck. If he could share his good fortune with Violet, he would.
Their wishes come true, thanks to a freaky incident.
After they trade bodies, their worlds turn upside down. The only way they’ll survive the next week is to face it together. Their plan works perfectly until their instincts for handling a situation with their boss send them in opposite directions.
Now they’re on their own, fighting to save the other’s job. Can trusting their friendship help Violet and Ben switch their lives back to normal?
This book reminded me a little of A Wish For Jinnie by Audrey Davis – it’s filled with hilarious characters with a feel-good atmosphere and even a little bit of magic thrown in. I feel there’s such a fine line when getting the balance just right; it’s either going to work well, or be a bit cringy. As expected, the author perfected that balance, and it was so great to get away from reality a bit and read something so different and refreshing! We’re introduced to the two main characters instantly, as well as the author’s wit and charm that I remember so well from her first book. I just knew that reading this book would be the break from the world that I needed!
Violet is having a tough time in her sales job and either needs to turn things around or get a job she’s happy with. We’ve all been in a similar situation, I’m sure, and it’s not the nicest place to be mentally! I loved meeting Violet’s friends; they were just as fun-loving and easy-going as she was, with one of her friends in particular, Anja, on the hunt for a decent guy. There’s got to be one somewhere, right?! With the group of friends setting a deadline for them all to get their lives in order, time was ticking to start making some positive change! I liked the way the story alternated perspective from Violet to her colleague, Ben, someone whose career seems to rely heavily on luck.
‘Thanks, but I don’t plan on quitting my day job.’ Not until I’ve had a shot in a man’s body, at least.
I loved meeting Saffron, Ben’s tattoo artist – she seemed the kind of gal everyone wants to be friends with, and I became curious as she uses a new black ink for Ben’s tattoo… Violet also makes the impulse decision to get a tattoo of her own, something very unlike her. However, if she’s to grow that inner badass, she needs to start somewhere! I really liked the author’s pacing with this book – it’s fast, but doesn’t feel rushed in the slightest, and I always felt in the loop with what was going on. The enjoyment and entertainment factor was always high, and I was even feeling a bit nervous about what could happen next after reading that synopsis. Could Violet and Ben cope with what they were about to experience?
No matter how unrealistic and a little bit daft it seemed, the magic of Violet and Ben switching bodies was just great, and I couldn’t help but smile as they tried to fathom out what on earth was happening to them! The humour was well written and following their awkward situations and thoughts was such a fun experience. The author has thought about so many intricate details, even the minor things you probably wouldn’t have thought about, to really help you place yourself in the shoes of these characters. How would you go to the bathroom as the opposite sex? What happens if you skip lunch? These are just some of the things these characters have to think about, and it even got me thinking about all the things I could potentially experience if I changed bodies one day. A very weird thought, I must say!
Violet’s attempt at hitting the gym with Ben’s body was hilarious, and I felt on edge sometimes as both Violet and Ben were acting so out of character. What would happen if someone picked up on the fact that something was wrong?! Or they ‘forgot’ something really important that could be detrimental? I also really enjoyed conversations between Ben and Violet’s friends (as he is in Violet’s body, of course) and vice versa. I live for this kind of awkwardness in a rom-com, it certainly makes you feel better about yourself! Aside from all the awkwardness, it was very heart-warming seeing Violet and Ben’s friendship blossom. They begin to learn things about each other which I really appreciated. I felt they needed to hear each other’s views on life more than they realised at first. There was so much potential for these characters to grow from their new experiences!
The more I read, the more it began to sink in just how much work had gone into writing this book and just how complex it must have been! Switching the lives of these characters around must have gotten confusing when writing this story, but the author takes it in her stride and the result has been a resounding success. Every event is so entertaining, but the author starts to balance all the humour with a more gentle exploration of emotions and a growing attraction. Let’s be honest, it’s what anyone reading this book wants! The chemistry and the banter between Violet and Ben has been written extraordinarily well and develops at such a great pace, and I just wanted to read more and more of it!
“While hugging myself with her arms is bizarre, for the first time since the swap, I feel ten times less alone.”
Violet and Ben become more aware that they’re falling for each other at this point, and it almost felt as if the author was changing her way of writing as things become more serious. It felt a lot more meaningful than the banter between the two at the start, and knowing they might be onto something was really quite a beautiful thing to experience. The author cleverly helps readers to understand this relationship, and just how important one character is to another, even though the idea of these characters swapping bodies seems a bit silly. Is there really anything this author can’t pull off?!
There are many scenes where Violet and Ben have to pretend to be the other in a public setting, and each one has been written with such attention to detail. I really enjoyed reading how Violet, in Ben’s body, goes into one of Ben’s important meetings that she really can’t afford to mess up. Some of it was delightfully cringy and completely hilarious, something the author always manages to write incredibly well! However, on a more serious note, this one meeting makes Violet realise something, something she had needed clarification on for a long time. I felt some relief, and reading this part of the book also helped me to understand a few similar things. I think myself and Violet are more alike than I first thought.
It’s saddening to experience what Violet has to put up with at work and the bullying starts to get to Ben as he learns how her colleagues treat her. Ben tries to fix things for Violet, and Violet tries her best to secure that big lead and reverse the damage she’d caused at the previous meeting. It was really nice seeing all the hard work each of these characters was putting in for the other, even though they’d not known each other properly for long. Derek is a character you’ll come to hate more nearer the end of the book than you do at the start, which I didn’t think was possible! Keep an eye out…
There’s so much in this book that provides food for thought, and I really enjoyed the progress each of these characters make and their individual determination they have to better their lives. As the end of the week approaches and they’re nearing the time where they will be reunited with their own bodies, I thought back to these characters at the very start of the book, and was really happy with the changes they’d made and the people they’d become. However, what I really wanted to know was if the experience would bring these two characters even closer, or have the exact opposite effect. Violet and Ben NEEDED to get together after all they’d been through!
“I creep myself out when my eyebrows raise appreciatively. Could anything be weirder than being attracted to yourself, even if it’s not actually you?”
As the final day of their ‘curse’ arrives, Violet and Ben must mentally prepare for the swap into a more familiar body. The pair have some issues to iron out, and at times, it was difficult to know whether they would admit to each other how they really feel, or if they’d agree to go their separate ways. The theme of sexual harassment at work is explored well and the steps to take to overcome it and ask for help has been so well written without the book taking a dark and negative turn. Of course, with my previous experience of this author and reading other reviews for this book, I knew it would have been written flawlessly and delicately, but in a way that ensures the book is just as heartwarming as ever.
I did genuinely enjoy the book’s finale! It filled me with a sense of pride and admiration for Violet in particular, but I also felt very thankful for Ben and everything positive he’d done over the past week. The build up to Violet and Ben switching back into their own bodies once again was great, and I found myself going through a few unexpected emotions! I felt nervous and excited, not to mention a bit stressed about what could happen if this ‘spell’ didn’t break… However, I wasn’t left disappointed with this ending, and it was everything I’d hoped for and more. The way the book was rounded off made me very curious for the next book in this series where we follow Anja’s story! The author had yet again created such a stunning book that left me thinking about it for a long time afterwards. Another fantastic achievement for Diane Michaels!
Lovely Diane doesn’t let us down with book one in her brand new series – I really enjoyed the concept of trading bodies and magical ink! Even though switching bodies has been done countless times already, I was surprised by just how much of a unique angle the author has taken here. I was amazed by how brilliantly paced and perfectly explored this book was, even though there was a lot going on at times. The author takes her great ideas and fantastic writing style to new heights in Inked Together, and weaves it together in ways that not only have you laughing, but also make you feel every emotion alongside these characters. Themes of sexual harassment and even imposter syndrome are explored so well, and despite this, I got an overall uplifting feeling from the book, something that really brightened my spirits after a particularly difficult couple of months – thank you Diane!
A huge thank you to the author, Diane Michaels, for my copy of this book to read and review! You can purchase your own copy of Inked Together now, available on Amazon. Make sure you’re following the author over over Twitter and Instagram for more updates!