Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #1) by Lisa Renee Jones


Arc provided by Julie Patra Publishing through Netgalley

I knew, right near the beginning, that this would be bad. Let me give you the exact moment I realised this:

"I can’t seem to make myself reach for the envelope and my gaze goes to my image in the mirror, to my long white-blond hair I’ve worn draped around my shoulders tonight rather than tied at my nape, and done so as a proud reflection of the heritage of my Swedish mother I’m tired of denying. Gone too are the dark-rimmed glasses I’ve often used to hide the pale blue eyes both of my parents had shared, making it too easy for me to see the empty shell of a person I’ve become."

Why is this familiar?
Perhaps because it's the standard Mary Sue intro. Seriously, the difference between this and:

"Hi my name is Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way and I have long ebony black hair (that's how I got my name) with purple streaks and red tips that reaches my mid-back and icy blue eyes like limpid tears and a lot of people tell me I look like Amy Lee (AN: if u don't know who she is get da hell out of here!)."

Is that My Immortal does it on purpose.

I made myself read the whole thing, because I did request this from netgalley, so I can only blame myself here. Not that I would need to keep reading because what came afterwards was completely obvious:

"And that’s when the room falls away, when my gaze collides with his. He is sitting in a seat that faces me, one row between us, his features handsomely carved, his dark hair a thick, rumpled finger temptation. He’s dressed in faded jeans and a dark blue tshirt, but he could just as easily be wearing a finely fitted suit and tie. He is older than me, maybe thirty, but there is a worldliness, a sense of control and confidence, about him that reaches beyond years. He is money, power, and sex, and while I cannot make out the color of his eyes, I don’t need to. All that matters is that he is one hundred percent focused on me, and me on him."

Yes. Insta-love. Followed by some inane dialogue with such gems as the main character smiling because the love interest said, and I quote, "sleepy." I'm not kidding, that's seriously all it takes:

That’s what you said that made me smile. You don’t seem like a man who’d say sleepy’.

"Maybe I'm being too harsh," I thought to myself. There are plenty of awkward beginings, but the characters are well written, and relatable.
Not here, I'm afraid.

Amy just got a new identity, she needs to leave her entire life behind and become a whole different person because she's in danger, so what does she do? She reads through  the paperwork she has to memorise about her new identity while sitting next to a complete stranger on a plane.
Whom she wants to trust because... well, because.

While leafing through these confidential files (which she lets him grab from her hands) she then falls asleep and has a nightmare, from which she wakes up screaming.  Then there's some more nonsensical dialogue:

"“And hey—at least there weren’t any hippos crossing the road in this nightmare. I’ve had that one a time or two, as well. Actually, I don’t think the hippos felt like nightmares. Just strange dreams.”"

Who sits down, writes this, and thinks, "Yeah, this sounds like a completely plausible conversation for a runaway to have with a complete stranger."? You can either write a naïve quirky girl, or a hardened runaway. You can't do both.
Well, obviously you can, since it was done, what I mean is you can't realisticaly do both.

This girl is so pathetically naïve you just want to shake some sense into her. She's been warned she's in danger, she's on the run!, but she just falls into Prince Charming's (I'm serious, she thinks of him like that) arms without knowing a single thing about him. A woman with a normal life wouldn't do this. This is how you end up dead in someone's trunk. Why would someone in her situation be so trusting of a very sketchy and over controlling guy who feels the need to tell her "I’m not a serial killer"? Because he's hot and rich? What a great message.

Maybe it's the romantic things he says?

You’re a beautiful woman who deserves to be properly fucked, which I conclude from both your actions and answers to my questions, that you have not been. I want to be the man to remedy that. I want it very much.

Okay, so that's a no, too.

I can't say anything about what little there is of a plot without spoiling it, so I won't, but suffice to say it's extremely weak and peppered with overblown drama.

So, in conclusion: Mary-Sue, too stupid to live main character, plus insta-love with Gary-Stue, multimillionaire genius, over controlling love interest.
Lisa Renee Jones' official site
Buy Escaping Reality
@ The Book Depository (with free worldwide delivery!)