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The Black Lotus
Claire Warner
Release Date:June 29th 2014

Summary from Goodreads:

….though I would dearly love to play court to you, I would hurt you more than any other.

It is 1752.
The year that will change the life of heiress Melissa De Vire. As she makes her first fumbling steps into society, she meets the handsome young cad Justin Lestrade and his world tears her perceptions apart. For Justin is more than he appears and his secrets and enemies are manifold. Drawn irresistibly to him, she finds herself sinking into a realm of feuds, magic and old curses and her life will never again be the same.

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About the Author
When I was a child, I made up games and characters when my sister and I played with dolls. As I grew older, I would make up scenarios and scenes, fully intending to write them down but never finding the time. In my late teens, I discovered the world of role playing and settled into an avid ‘geeky’ life of D&D, comics, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Years passed and I finally gave voice to the stories in my head. I write romance, fantasy, action and adventure. I love tales of steampunk and history, tales of magical powers and dark curses lurking in the shadows. Though The Black Lotus is not my first attempt at a novel, it is the first I have finished.

And some fun facts about me:

I sew.
My favourite Disney film is Atlantis.
I’ve been a film extra and stood 5 feet away from Sam Rockwell.
Babylon 5 is my fave sci-fi show.
I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.

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Excerpt (1):
“I’m Justin Lestrade, I’m sure you’ve been told about me.” In his warm voice she could hear suppressed laughter and she smiled, answering his amusement with some of her own. Even so she wondered at his hidden laughter for she felt that it was not directed toward the conversation but at something she couldn’t quite understand.
“My brother did mention you,”
“Of course he would have done,” The amusement thrummed through his voice and she was sure that he was quite aware of her brother’s warnings. “And you would be Melissa De Vire? Yes I’ve heard quite a bit about you. You’re the toast of the room.” The laughter spilled from his voice and spread across his face, it made his features look less jaded, more human. There was something magnetic about his voice; it held a confidence beyond the norm for a man his age and a mildly derisive humour that she couldn’t fathom.
“Only because I’m a fresh face,” Melissa replied, a soft smile touching her lips. “I got the impression that I was a shiny new toy.” She took a sip of the sweet wine and relaxed a little more.
“Well that silk does suit you well,” Justin responded, the compliment falling easily from his lips. “Green is your colour,” He beckoned a waiter carrying a laden tray forward and removed a small glass of canary. Dismissing the servant with a wave, he turned his attention back to Melissa. “I daresay shiny new toy is the best description for you at this point. It’s your first night in society; people are supposed to be curious and intrigued.”
“Intrigued?” Melissa asked, her eyes shifting from his handsome face with required modesty.
“You are an unknown. And the unknown is always to be explored.” His eyes sparked as he regarded her and he smiled. Melissa felt her breath catch as he turned that devastating smile full on her. There were layers to his conversation, meanings that she knew were not for a lady or at the least were meant for someone more versed in the arts of seduction. Ordinarily such a conversation would leave her tongue tied and stammering, yet he put her at such ease that she felt confident in replying.
“Perhaps the unknown is best left a mystery.” She answered finally, her fingers sliding over the smooth glass in her hands as she stared at him.
“Perhaps,” He conceded, “but exploring a mystery is a wonderful venture.” He lifted the glass to his lips and delicately took a sip. Melissa followed the motion, drawn to his mouth and its sensual twist with an interest that could not be considered academic.
“What if the unknown wishes to remain unexplored?” It was a bold question and one she should not even be thinking of saying, yet his manner seemed to draw it from her. His rakish smile encouraged indiscretion and for once in her ordered existence she revelled in the opportunity to be free with her thoughts.
“Does the unknown have a choice? What if the explorer decides to find out all he can?” His voice was honey soft and seductive.
She met his eyes boldly. “Then perhaps the unknown will poison him unexpectedly.” Shock flickered through his gaze like summer lightning at her daring and for a second, their conversation stuttered to a halt. Melissa did not drop her gaze as a modest lady should and they both stared at each other. Melissa’s frank gaze meeting his startled one as the room gossiped and danced around them.
Justin laughed; a low chuckle that broke the unnatural silence and relaxed the tension surrounding them.  “This explorer always treads carefully,” He conceded finally as the chuckles subsided. “And chooses the safe path,” He sipped the canary and sat back, regarding the girl before him with more interest than before. “What has your brother imparted about me?” His eyes laughed as he looked down at her. “All bad I daresay,”

Melissa De Vire is about to make her debut into society and find herself a husband. But Melissa would rather shooting with her brother than attend balls any day. As the pressure of being a young lady who’s family’s reputation depends on making a good match weighs on her, Melissa starts to hate the hypocritical and voracious gossiping nature of her society, If slapping a lord at her first ball didn’t already make her the subject matter of every conversation, catching they eye of Justin Lestrade did. Justin is a handsome and rich young lord with no history and no attachments to any woman despite his constant flirting but Melissa’s outspokenness and vivid honesty catches him unaware and what was once a challenge becomes true affection. But Lestrade isn’t who he says he is and his secrets will put Melissa’s life in danger.

I think my only issue with this book, was the length. It was quite long and had a very slow start and tended to drag on at times. Other than that, the plot did pick up after a while and i can’t say much without spoiling everything,.I can say that it was a fresh and unique take on immortality. I know, when you read immortality you think vamps and angels right? This kind of immortality is much darker and less,,,sparkly (Edward ref lol :P)! It’s more on the lines of a dark, dangerous curse and people wanting revenge for being victims of the curse! Plus there was this really subtle but present piece of a thriller due to the murders of the young women.

Marcus De Vire, Melissa’s brother, is one of my favorite characters! If you’ve read some of my other blog posts then you might know i’m a total sucker for cutesy and adorable bro-sis relationships! Marcus was so sweet and protective of Melissa throughout the novel. And most importantly, he understood her, he didn’t dismiss her problems but went to talk to her about it. He understood that she was sick of being treated like and object and even took her shooting! Yeah LOVE THIS DUDE!

Melissa and Justin were such an awesome pair. Melissa was the fiery, determined and headstrong girl and Justin was the insufferable flirt that could be such a softie sometimes! The setting was perfect! Super well described with all the Victorian feels and balls and visiting old ladies and hearing them rant about gossip-just a perfect representation of the time setting!

Overall, a great and rich tale of love, curses and societal pressures! If you can get past the slow start then you will definitely enjoy this book!

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  1. I was intrigued when I read "It is 1752" in the synopsis but your review totally won me over. It really sounds like my kind of read so it definitely goes on my wishlist!

  2. That moment when you realise you're never gonna finish your TBR 😛

  3. Ugh. Tell me about it. lol

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