Welcome to one of the March 5th stops on the blog tour for Takakush by Raine Reiter, organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for excerpt spotlights, reviews, guest/interview stops with the author, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
Yes, you have seen this book on my blog already! I was so drawn to it that I apparently volunteered twice. Check out my February 15th excerpt spotlight from the Bewitching Book Tours blog tour and look for my review of Takakush coming in April!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
Tease us with some lore about those Lithuanian deities!
Lithuania was the last European country to adopt Christianity and the peasants practiced their pagan religion into the 18th century. Today, neo-paganism is the fastest growing religion in the country. Takakush takes inspiration from these brave tenacious people and their ancient mythology.
This dark contemporary fantasy is the story of Elena Lukas and her family of powerful hereditary priestesses. All four human women manifest a powerful Goddess and practice the old ways of pagan Lithuania. The great powers they possess come with costs.
Mina Lukas, the family matriarch, is the priestess of Zemyna, the Lithuanian Earth Goddess, representing birth, rebirth and renewal. She became a consecrated servant to the deity in her twenties. A world traveler, Mina speaks many languages. Her major gift is healing.
The proprietor of the Swan House Inn and Retreat in the Pacific Northwest, Mina pays bills, raises her teenage daughter, an emerging fire goddess, and cares for her aging mother, Regana, priestess to the goddess of the occult, fate and death.
The goddess gifted Grandmother Regana with the powers of transformation and prophecy. She seldom leaves her bedroom, preferring to wander the “Penumbra”, a magical dimension where she is young, powerful and vital. No-one knows the human woman’s actual age, but she appears to be well over one hundred. The old woman’s mental capacity is declining as her individuality in being subsumed by her goddess.
Fifteen-year-old Gabby Lukas is a postulate of Gabija, the Lithuanian goddess of the fire. Gabija’s gifted her novitiate with pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires at will. This dangerous gift is only just emerging and will take practice to control. Goddess Gabija’s nature is assertive, volatile and fiery. She has a temper. Gabby Lukas shares these traits.
Professor Elena Lukas believes she turned her back on her destiny until her fiance cancels their wedding. Broken-hearted, Elena retreats home to her eccentric family. At her birth, her family dedicated her to the Lithuanian Forest Goddess Mediena, but she hadn’t committed to the bond. Elena must decide if she will serve as a priestess and avatar, sealing her powers. Or turn her back and live a normal life. The goddess gifted Elena with a spiritual connection to nature and a raven familiar.
When Elena discovers a series of so-called animal attacks terrorizing her forest. With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area to quell its insatiable hunger.
Takakush is available on Amazon in Kindle Unlimited, paperback and ebook format. http://tiny.cc/TakakushNovel.
About the Book
Genus Magica Book One
by Raine Reiter
Published 28 December 2020
Cover Artist: Kim Dingwall
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Page Count: 284
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Evil stalks the rainforest.
When Professor Elena Lukas returns to her cozy Pacific Northwest hometown with a broken heart, she’s plunged back into the fate she tried to escape. Like her mother and grandmother before her, Elena must now dedicate her life to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess. Although she is prepared to live as a priestess hiding in a contemporary tourist town, she arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest.
With the help of a handsome detective from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Elena uses her expertise in invasive and endangered species to identify that these are no normal animal attacks. The woods are stalked by a dark, mystical creature bent on ravaging the area in an attempt to quell its insatiable hunger. When her little sister goes missing, Elena realizes that the beast can only be vanquished if she is brave enough to face it in-person, embrace her identity as a high priestess, and expose her powers to the man she is growing feelings for.“A fantastic tale that weaves a spell of ancient mysticism and modern charm.” –Tim Marquitz, Author of the Demon Squad series, The Enemy of My Enemy series, and more
Elena stowed her equipment in her pack, slung it on her back, and took off at a slow jog.
Breaks in the canopy peppered the forest floor. Stripes of darkness and light alternated across the wood plank trail.
Considering the morning overcast, today changed into the perfect spring day.
She loped along, and soon, sweat accumulated on her skin. In the first large patch of sunlight, Elena stopped and unzipped her emerald green goose-down jacket. She stuffed the garment into a tiny nylon bag and placed it in her knapsack.
Wild birds rioted in the branches overhead. Elena turned her face into the sun, closed her eyes, and stretched out her senses, opening to the spirits of nature.
Her goddess whispered, “I am here.”
Elena smiled and began the prayer. “I offer myself to you, Mediena, protector of the forest. I am your vessel. Be with me, be in me.”
A bubble of joy rose from her core. The world burst into a spectrum of vibration and color when her dievė neared her.
Elena remained the college professor, but she was also Mediena — ancient, wise, and powerful. Her soul merged with the eternal.
A nearby mother tree called the names of the young ones she mentored across the mycelium network. Each connected birch and fir acknowledged and welcomed them with a release of resin.
In that moment, Elena was one with the insect foraging beneath her feet. But she was also the mother squirrel nursing babies in the nest above, as well as a chevron of mallards flying over the canopy. They were bound for a pond two miles from-
Wait. What’s that?
An alien presence brushed them. The spirit of the goddess probed.
The other flinched and stiffened.
Nausea and otherness filled Elena.
The darkness turned on her.
Elena’s eyes flew open, her heart racing.
Clouds engulfed the sun, the wind kicked up, and the trees creaked and moaned.
“I see you,” a voice rasped. It was close.
Elena’s soul latched onto her body, and she gasped. A dull pain throbbed at her temples, and the bitter taste of fear filled her mouth.
The goddess was no longer with her.
Hold still. She listened. Silence. No, less than silence. Life holds its breath.
In the underbrush, a single twig cracked. Elena spun to confront the danger. Her lizard-brain screamed, “Run.”
Haltingly, like the mixing of a soundtrack, the forest noises reemerged. First, the shriek of a hawk, a lone gust of wind, and an owl’s call. Sounds from each source returned in succession until it was just another day.
About the Author
Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson.
A fifth-generation Washingtonian, Raine lives in the gloomy Pacific Northwest and prowls the rainforest with her silly spaniel, Luke.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Takakush. 4 winners will win a Takakush prize pack containing a Takakush t-shirt, sticker, magnet and a signed copy of the book. US Only.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.