Monday, May 9, 2016

Dangerous Kisses by Alice Lake

Miss Lavinia Halls is a member of the Guild of Hybrids, a secret society dedicated to helping women in need. When faced with a terrified new client, Lavinia declares that her client’s fiancé must pay for his sins. The fact that she can’t take her eyes off the man’s kissable lips only spurs her resolve to bring her assignment to a quick conclusion.

Eric Yorke, Viscount Mathieson, wishes nothing more than to distance himself from his treacherous fiancée, but in his quest to do so, he finds himself trapped in the clutches of the unconventional Miss Halls. The delectable yet annoyingly persistent woman seems intent on ruining his life no matter how much he tries to thwart her attempts.

Her efforts to seek and destroy meet their match in his determination to foil her plans, until their struggles collide in a scandal of enormous proportions. Fated together, they must overcome ruin, danger and heartbreak. Will they be able to survive their past or is their future together doomed?

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 chaotic stars.

Alice Lake is a new-to-me author, and I found her writing style flowing at a rapid, chaotic pace, with intriguing storyline threads. I will warn, while the premise of Dangerous Kisses was addictive, there was a level of frustration while reading every single page for me. Basically, the book stressed me out from page one on. It took about a quarter of the book for me to become hooked because of this frustration.

Lavinia is a member of the guild of hybrids (this sounds paranormal in nature – it's not). A group of women who help women in need for a fee, of course. Overall, this part of the storyline is intriguing. Lavinia took on a new client, a woman who wanted to break off her engagement by ruining her fiancé so she would look like the injured party without harming her own reputation.

From that moment forward, it was cat and mouse between Lavinia and Eric. The only parts of the book that I truly enjoyed were when Eric, the innocent man who was targeted, was able to get the upper-hand on Lavinia. Finally, justice for the injustice he was dealt.

To be honest, I felt Lavinia an irredeemable character from the first page to the last. What was meant to look like an empowered woman, left me feeling cold with her calculating and abrasive, non-apologetic personality. Even after Lavinia knew she had targeted an innocent man, she never apologized and continued to act like he was in the wrong. In fact, every time someone blamed Eric for what happened, I became more and more irritated and frustrated with the read.

A woman doesn't become empowered by denigrating a man. She becomes empowered by her actions, and Lavinia's actions were just as bad as the villainess of this tale.

While most readers will see her as a strong character, I felt her very weak, arrogant, and narrow-sighted. Half of the time she was a plotter, yet she committed TSTL actions and never took responsibility for her actions. All the way to the end, she played games with Eric's head, not even realizing it. In reverse, with a man treating a woman as such, readers would have been calling foul. I realize this was to add a humorous bent, but it just left me frustrated and stressed out, as I'm someone who appreciates injustices being righted, not pushing the blame off on the injured party because he was male.

While the premise is exciting, the morality of it was hard for me to swallow. Right or wrong, there are always two sides to every story. Case in point, Clara and Eric. How many times had the guild inadvertently destroyed lives to satisfy one side's perception of injustice? In a way, at least Clara was honest about being a horrible person, while Lavinia hid behind it as if she was Robin Hood. Even her ultimate reason for marrying Eric left me cold – not because she couldn't live without him, because she felt him too stupid not to marry Clara and she didn't want the woman to have him. Then she pouted because their nuptials weren't romantic, meanwhile she turned down every single one of his proposals.

Sorry for going off on a tangent, but when you are personally offended by the heroine for the sake of the hero, it's hard to enjoy the book.

With my annoyance aside, there was a great deal of banter, cat and mouse between the pair at the expense of developing romance, and a handful of lusty scenes.

Alice Lake's interest in the unusual is reflected in the stories she puts down on paper. Along with her passion for romance and 19th century history, she is a champion for women's rights. Who said women had no voice, no say and no choice during Victorian times? According to Alice, they had all that and more. They could teach and build, fight and heal, and do so many other things not traditionally deemed proper.

Alice is an unusual case herself. She grew up in three countries and on two continents. Suffering from a lack of cultural identity, she borrows whatever traditions suit her. Nothing is rigid, and fluidity encompasses her world. This philosophy of open-mindedness spills into her writing, making for unexpected romance stories.

She also writes contemporary romance under the name Mila Rossi.

When she's not writing, she's beating her husband at whatever they're currently competing over, or chasing her girl around the house.

Connect with Alice

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Dangerous Kisses (Guild of Hybrids #1) by Alice Lake to read and review.

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