If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Dangerous Kisses by Alice Lake / @AliceLakeAuthor

Title: Dangerous Kisses
Series: The Guild of Hybrids, Book 1
Author: Alice Lake
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: 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 fiancĂ© 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?

The assignment was supposed to be easy: get in, ruin the man, and get out. Sounded simple, even to me. So what happened?

Halfway through the story, Lavinia was trying to figure out that very thing. It wasn't that she couldn't find anything wrong with Eric. It wasn't that he creeped her out. It wasn't even that he refused to be cowed by her outspoken, argumentative self. What happened, what she refused to acknowledge until much later, was her heart got in the way of her work. For the first time since becoming a member of the Guild of Hybrids, Lavinia was uncertain at how to proceed with an assignment.

Eric, for his part, was one upstanding man. He was wealthy, titled, and honorable. He just couldn't figure out what Lavinia's game was. Of course, he might've had a little too much on his mind at the beginning what with his former fiancee's betrayal, the death glares she sent his way whenever possible, and the demands from his father that he marry. But the man is a quick learner.

Discovering what Lavinia was up to and why wasn't enough to quell his desire for her though. The woman drove him crazy but intrigued him like no other woman had. Getting caught in a compromising situation should have tipped the scales in his favor, right? He wanted the passion they shared to be his and his alone for the rest of his life. Except, as he found out, Lavinia wasn't the type of woman to jump merely because it was expected of her.

This story is equal parts intrigue and romance, though the intrigue has nothing to do with mystery, suspense, or horror. It stems from the simmering attraction between Eric and Lavinia who, initially, want nothing to do with one another yet end up completely enamored with each other. It comes from watching them come to terms why they feel the way they do, their reluctance to accept those feelings, and the uncertainty of eventually acting on those feelings. Given that their relationship didn't start on the right foot, it made sense why all of these things were slow to play out.

Attraction, anticipation, and lust between two characters almost always makes sex inevitable and (sometimes) easy for me to accept. But it's the matters of the heart that I need to have drawn out for me. I need to be a part of the characters coming to terms with the change in themselves and what they feel for each other. If it's quick, it's harder for me to accept they can have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship. Thankfully, Ms. Lake didn't do that.

Eric and Lavinia's story is the most interesting historical romance I've read this year. Ms. Lake has a solid beginning to what promises to be engaging series. She is definitely an author worth watching.

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.

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