Monday, May 5, 2014

Escape from Reality by Adriana Hunter

The Basics:
Escape from Reality by Adriana Hunter
Fido Publishing
Book Four in the Invitation to Eden series (Various authors)
Published April 17, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I liked the blurb, and the idea of escaping from reality ;)


When curvy single and struggling romance author Leila Connors receives a mysterious invitation to spend an all-expense paid week on a tropical island, it simply seems too good to be true.

Who is responsible for sending the invitation? Why does the envelope smell of dominant male possession? And most importantly, why her?

With a string of failed relationships and a career on the down-slide, Leila feels she has nothing to lose and agrees to the trip. But when she arrives at her destination, far away from everything she knows, she can’t help but wonder if she made a mistake.

That is until she comes face to face with the incredibly handsome Sebastian Phillips, a tortured stranger with dark secrets, and a man who will take without asking. With just one touch he awakens a desperate need within her. Before too long Leila finds herself caught up in a game of irresistible obsession, where truths are exposed, and the dangerously blurred line between fantasy and reality threaten to drive her to the point of no return.

My thoughts:

This novella makes some BIG promises in the blurb that it doesn't live up to on the page. Truly, I wanted to read that blurbed book, but this wasn't it.

Leila's likeable enough. As an aspiring romance author, she's a little timid, but determined and she's open to advice (and also beaten down by critiques), which all felt honest and real. The island she's invited to is a lot like the island in Fantasy Island, or at least it was in my mind. It's a great getaway, a lush location, and I had no problems with this gorgeous, exotic and *magical* setting.

I did have problems with the story. Leila's romance with Sebastian is not about romance, it's about sex. This story would have been better billed as erotica, I think, because there's no authentic emotional connection between Leila and Sebastian at all. That was a problem for me and it contributed to the mechanical nature of the story.

The other component that really made this feel like an unfinished or fill-in-the-blanks story was the mentoring that Leila received. There are very few references to any specifics about the story that she's instructed to write. Everything is referred to as being 'the climax of the story', 'the conflict of the story', 'the ending'. I wasn't able to connect with Leila's work at all, and that made it hard for me to have any emotional connection to whether or not she met with success. This, combined with the difficulty I had accepting the romance in this book really ruined the whole story for me.

I also had problems with the travel sections that bookended the story. The travel to the island was unnecessarily detailed and could easily have been described in a paragraph or two, freeing up those pages to develop the romance in more detail. Similarly, the end of the story features a run-in with characters I'm sure belong to other stories in the series. Unfortunately there was no frame of reference for them within this novella, and I felt like they were an odd loose end.

Bottom line:

I was drawn in by the blurb but the book did not deliver. I still want to read the story that's described in the blurb. Have to suggest you skip this one.

1.5 stars
For fans of the Invitation to Eden series

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