Thursday, July 25, 2013


Pages: 250
Date: 24/07/2013
Grade: 4+
Details: No. 1 The Secret Life of Amy Bensen
            Received from Julie Patra Publishing
            Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

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?

Allow me to start my review with a confession: this book is marketed as a New Adult title and I’m not entirely sure what that means. I get Young Adult and I get Adult Fiction but I can’t quite get my head around this new concept; I couldn’t before I read this book and I’m not any clearer about it now.

Be that as it is, and leaving genre issues aside, I did really enjoy this book. Lisa Renee Jones once again brings us an intriguing story and compelling characters. And she builds the story up in such a way that it isn’t instantly clear to the reader what exactly is going on. Why is Amy on the run? What has happened in the past? And why is Amy still in danger, six years after a rather mysterious but obviously devastating event destroyed her life?

If Amy has learned one thing over the past six years it is that she is alone. She can’t trust anybody because she doesn’t know exactly what or whom she’s running from and because she realizes that everybody associated with her will be in as much danger as she is. And while she has, in the past, successfully kept people at arms length, she finds this is something she can’t do with Liam after she meets him. With him she feels an instant connection, although that doesn’t stop her from deflecting his questions and feeding him convenient lies:

“I’m so good at lying. I almost convince myself it’s the truth.”

Liam, a prodigy billionaire architect with a reputation for being reclusive takes an instant interest in young Amy and seems determined to stay close to her, despite her best efforts to run away from him. He appears to be aware that Amy is holding back on him but doesn’t push her to reveal more than she feels comfortable with while at the same time insisting that she accepts his help and attention.

For Amy, her attraction to Liam and his interest in her leads to confusion:

“You’re you, he’d said. Only that’s the whole problem. I’m not me.”

Because the biggest problem Amy faces is that although she knows she is in danger and suffers from horrendous flashbacks, she isn’t entirely sure what exactly happened six years ago and has no idea why her life was hit by disaster:

“This man who knows where he has been and who he is. I know nothing of me, not even where I have really, truly been and why I am here. Why I exist.”

And while Amy knows that it would be better, safer, for both of them if she could just stay away from Liam, her attraction to him and the way her mind and body respond to his attention seem to make this impossible:

“I am naked before this man but I am so much more. I am exposed, vulnerable, and somehow I feel protected and safe.”

Liam seems to see, to understand, that Amy is lost, alone and afraid. He seems to instinctively know what she needs - an escape from her problems - and he is determined to give it to her:

“The lack of control is control. When you’re hanging on to each moment, anticipating what comes next, it leaves room for nothing else. That’s what I want to do for you.”

Liam makes Amy feel things she’s never felt before and never expected to experience. And while his need to control her and her life is both scary and overwhelming he also brings her the peace she needs to sleep without suffering from nightmares and sexual pleasures she didn’t know she could experience:

Your new territory to me, Liam. I have never met anyone like you. You’re overbearingly generous and overwhelmingly male, or maybe it’s the reverse.”

Liam seems to be well aware that Amy is at all times only one step away from disappearing from his life and does what he can to make sure she doesn’t:

“And baby, I want you, and all I can say is you might be smart to run before I get any more into you, but please don’t.”

Until Amy overhears something that makes her question everything she thought she knew about this man, something that makes her take a radical decision…

This is another one of those books that ends on a cliff-hanger. And while it completely achieves its intended goal and leaves me yearning for the rest of the story it also leaves me a bit frustrated. Lisa Renee Jones writing and stories are more than good enough to make me go back for more without being “forced” to do so by cliff-hangers. Yes, I completely get why books end on cliff-hangers but that doesn’t make me like them any better.

Initially I had one or two questions marks about this story-line. I just wasn’t convinced that somebody who has been on the run for six years and has built her life around not trusting anyone and constantly looking over her shoulder would instantly trust a stranger, like Amy did when she meets Liam. I also felt that all the mysteries surrounding her new life and the coincidences she suddenly notices would have worried her more. After finishing the whole book though I’ve come to accept that after six years in the dark Amy has probably reached the point where she needs to change her life, take control of it, and Liam just happens to be the trigger. And once I accepted that, the whole story made perfect sense.

Lisa Renee Jones has given us a story that delivers on several levels. This is one hot love story as well as a compelling mystery. Add to that some fascinating characters and lots of tension and you have yourself a book that is almost impossible to put down.

So, cliff-hanger not withstanding, or thanks to a very gripping cliff-hanger – who knows – I will be trying to get my hands on “Infinite Possibilities” as soon as it becomes available. I’m looking forward to finding out exactly what has happened in Amy’s past and why, and can’t wait to discover exactly what is going on with Liam. It appears that this sequel is planned for October and that date can’t come soon enough. Taking into account all the questions that need answering, I’ve got a feeling “Infinite Possibilities” is going to be even more exciting than this book was.

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