Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen) {2* Review}

Escaping RealityEscaping Reality
Series: The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #1
by Lisa Renee Jones
Published by Julie Patra Publishing on July 22, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 250
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

**I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

Infinite possibilities….
Infinite passion…..
Infinite danger….

His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn’t trust him. I shouldn’t tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loves to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she’s finally dared to believe she is forgotten–even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets down her guard, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing recluse billionaire, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take “no” as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give? And what if there is more to Liam than meets the eyes?
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Opening Sentence:

“Amy…My name is all that is written on the plain white envelope taped to the mirror.”

My Review:

I received a notification from NetGalley that this title was going to be available for review and after about two-seconds of deliberation I ran for it. I mean, come on, that cover is GORGEOUS!!! And I am not above telling you that I am a “cover whore”. Pretty covers get me everytime and I have been known to purchase books based on the cover alone.

Unfortunately, every once in a while (Ok, maybe more than I like to admit) these gorgeous covers house nothing more than literary fodder. Cliches and unoriginal plot twists that have been pulled from the latest hyped books and regurgitated. This book was one such case.

“Amy”, as she is now called, is on the run from a traumatic past that is still hunting her down. Want to know what she’s on the run from? Well, I can’t tell you because the book never. reveals. it. Yep you heard me right. If you are one of those people that likes a nice pretty bow on your books, or heck, even to know what the heck the book is about, you won’t get that here. In fact, this past that she is on the run from really took a back seat to the real message of this book…

Sex. A lot of it. This is the biggest part about this book and that bothered me. Those fighting for the category of New Adult are working hard to remind people that it is not just YA with sex. And then this book comes along, claiming to be New Adult, and it is so explicitly sexual I am having a difficult time figuring out how this is not just an adult romance book with a slightly younger MC. Even at that, “Amy” is twenty-four years old…Um…that’s not exactly breaking out into adulthood. That’s a full-fledged adult in my book.

The very first three chapters of this book had me on edge. “Amy” lets her entire life be led by a mysterious “handler”. The fact that she calls him her handler is bad enough, but she has not met the man (that we know of) and he is only in contact with her via notes and criptic emails. And even with this lack of knowledge of her handler, she blindly follows him wherever he says to go. She is letting her entire life be controlled.

Because of this I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that she lets Liam control her as well. But she just keeps dwelling on and fighting his control. Um Hello honey you are letting your entire life be controlled by your handler why not give it over to Liam too?

This is such a rising craze lately in books and it makes me very nervous. Why are we portraying controlling and border-line abusive guys as somehow being more masculine and something to be desired? I like to be taken care of by my man..but “controlled”…..Um, absolutely NOT!! Case in point from this book -

“The easy way he assumes control of my tiniest actions, and seems to enjoy doing so, should bother me. For reasons I don’t have time to analyze, it only makes him more tantalizingly male.” – Location 167, Kindle edition

I had so many other problems with this book, but many of them are spoilery so I won’t be sharing them here. If you have read this book and want to rant with me about it, you can find me on Goodreads or Twitter. :D

So, you may be wondering to yourself…if you disliked this book so much, why the two-star rating?

Well, because I didn’t hate everything about the book. The underlying story-line of her being on the run, trying to escape a past that is trying to hunt her down, was what kept me reading until the end. I was completely invested in the mystery, making my own assumptions (which kept changing) about who her handler really was; who was hunting her; and what exactly happened in her past. If the whole book had been more centered around this part of the plot, it would have been a 4-5 star book.

As it was, this was a tale of two stories smashed into one novel. One a thrilling, quirky suspense. The other one a Fifty Shades fanfic. I would highly recommend this book to people who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey but are looking for something with a younger MC and a plot twist. But if you disliked Fifty Shades, like I did, you should stay away from this one.

2 Stars

How do you feel about the rising trend of controlling men in New Adult?

About Lisa Renee Jones

Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT TRILOGY which has sold to more than ten countries for translation with negotiations in process for more, and has now been optioned by STARZ Network for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland).

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 30 books with publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Avon, Kensington, Harlequin, NAL, Berkley and Elloras Cave, as well as crafting a successful indie career. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

About Meagan

Meagan is a Reviewing Wonderland founder and featured reviewer. Because reading books does not go far in paying the bills, Meagan is also an established certified public accountant (I know, right) and spends most of her time working or spending time with her family.
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5 Responses to Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen) {2* Review}

  1. Angie says:

    I sooo agree with this post. It seems that, especially in NA fiction, almost every woman wants to be pushed around and handled roughly. These authors are portraying sex as nothing but full of lust, in my opinion. But it’s much more than that. I think that’s fine…for people that like that stuff…but it should be targeted at a much more mature audience. I really think that New Adult is a pointless genre, honestly. I’d like to see something that actually does redeem it, as I haven’t read anything that’s redeemed it yet.

    Rant over. I loved your voice behind this review. Passionate and informed. :)

    • Meagan says:

      Thank you Angie! If you want a redeeming NA book, check out The Space Between by Victoria H Smith. Is there sex? Yes. But it is written the way it should be in NA. IMO.

  2. Not surprised to see another book ‘redeeming’ the NA category. I find NA even more unnecessary after reading this review. Abusive relationships are not sexy. Gosh. Why is that a trend?
    Check out Christine @ Oh, Chrys!’s most recent post! – Let’s Discuss, #12My Profile

    • Meagan says:

      Agreed. I hate seeing it in adult books but when it is targeted to a younger audience it makes me cringe. Young women: This is NOT how you should let a man treat you! It is NOT sexy! It’s demeaning.

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