Tag Archives: gothic

Review of “Dying for an Invitation” – Theresa Braun

~~ Under 50 pages ~~

Dacie returns to Romania where she’s ready to coax her invisible childhood playmate to reveal himself to her. Tension and passion fire up between them. Dacie’s mother spouts cautionary advice regarding the supernatural; however, Dacie shirks the warning as nonsense born from local legends. A lost letter lands in Dacie’s hands, suggesting the powers of the undead might have a grip on the family lineage. When her mother dies, so do the answers. And, Dacie needs the comfort of her unseen companion more than ever…

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I truly believe vampires are not real. But, what if they are? What if they watch us, biding their time until they make us one of them? What would you do to protect your home and your family?

Dacie grew up in Bran Village (Transylvania). There, people absolutely believed you must be careful of the strigoi (vampires). That’s why they took extreme measures to make sure the dead stay dead.

Theresa wrote about the staking of the heart, burying them face down and burning the deceased. What she added and what I never heard before was mixing their ashes with holy water and then drinking the concoction. I guess if it works and I was a believer I would say bottoms up.

She also wrote about the importance of garlic, thorns along a home’s threshold, and how easily a vampire can seduce their victim. As for Dacie, her fate was set years before she returned to Bran and came face to face with her invisible, childhood playmate.

While Dacie was attempting to figure out the past, Theresa gave us a history lesson regarding Vlad Tepes. It was a most interesting tale and proved very important to Dacie’s fate and the fate of others.

Like I said, I am not a believer in vampires BUT I have no plans to visit Romania/Transylvania just in case I’m wrong and the fanged monsters are really there waiting for me like one waited for Dacie.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤1/2 

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Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre.

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Author Showcase – Sorchia Dubois (Witchling: An Anthology of Zoraida Grey Short Stories)

Follow Zoraida’s magical journey with three short stories about her life as a small town fortune teller in the Midwest–Plus a tale about Castle Logan and how it got its dark reputation.

This collection makes a great introduction to the Magical World of Zoraida Grey. If you enjoy these stories, take a look at Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones in which Zoraida leaves her hometown and winds up in a haunted, witch-infested Scottish castle–Book 1 in the Zoraida Grey Trilogy.

Stories in the collection:

“Zoraida Grey and the Skinwalker”

“Zoraida Grey and the Twisted Sisters”

“Zoraida Grey and the Surly Spirit”

“The Witch and the Spaniard”

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Excerpt from “Zoraida Grey and the Skinwalker”

 

Why it works or how it works is a mystery to me. My spirit-self is somehow separate but not separate, the same but not the same. A glowing filament of ether connects it to me. It sees and hears and smells but it can’t do anything. Nobody else knows about it but me. And Granny. One time I sent my spirit-self to stand right beside her while she was cooking beets—just to see if she would notice. She jumped a little but then she smiled in a sad way. Then she hugged me real tight, leaving beet stains on my t-shirt. She never talked about it, but I got the feeling she knew somebody else who had a spirit-self long ago and thinking about it mad her sad.

Tonight, my spirit-self is uneasy. The odor of carrion mixes with the musk of stagnate water. My spirit chases the glowing wisp of scent past the scummy pool, gliding across the choked stream, over the ends of worms and half-chewed bones in the ooze, into the dense brush surrounding heaped stones to a dark opening.

A raccoon’s den, perhaps. Or the abandoned home of any of a hundred animals who live in the lush woodlands. I move closer, peeking into the gloomy cave. Spirit journeys are absolutely silent, but something inside the cave stirs at my approach. It’s too late to run.

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Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband.

A proud member of the Scottish Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

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Author Showcase – Sorchia Dubois (Just Like Gravity)

  • Take Anna, a reluctant fortuneteller driven half-mad by nightmares.
  • Add one large, arrogant Scotsman on the run from Glasgow gangsters, a crazy ex-wife, and a brother-in-law who wants him dead.
  • Stir in murder, lost treasure, tarot cards, ghosts, past lives, and karma.
  • Sprinkle repeatedly with generous portions of Laphroaig Scotch whisky.
  • Let simmer in the Highlands for 300 years.

What you get is Just Like Gravity, a contemporary paranormal romance set in the Scottish Highlands. Just Like Gravitycombines reincarnation and mystery in an action-packed tale of star-crossed lovers.  Can Anna navigate the churning waters of Destiny? Will her dreams and tarot cards show her the way or is she doomed to relive the same tragedy over and over and over?

 
 
 
 
~~ Excerpt ~~
 
The sense of smell is the most evocative of the senses. An odor coaxes hidden memories into the open more efficiently than sight, sound, or feel. The scent of cinnamon and cloves takes me back to Yule celebrations when Mother was alive. Sage, fennel, and oregano put me in her herb garden at the summer solstice. Now the peaty, iodine-laced whisky spun me backward in time to the stairwell at the pub in Laggan the night before. I smelled Davy MacKintosh’s warm Laphroaig-laced breath on my neck and felt his solid weight against me.
 
What was it about the smell of peat, the taste of whisky, even the damp chill in the air that pulled unbidden images to the edge of remembrance? I closed my eyes, inviting visions in from the dark. They danced tantalizingly on the border of awareness, feral cats just out of reach. A voice called for me, familiar, compelling, promising pain. My eyes sprang open. My hand rose to touch my throat. Eternal, enduring, infinite agony seared me. I stepped back from water deeper than my craft.
 
The answer was here. Somewhere amongst the hills and lochs of the Highlands. But it would not be coaxed into the open just yet.
 
 
 
 
Amazon reviewer, Laura Hartland 5⭐: This is not your average romance, or your average paranormal romance, for that matter. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much—I tend to favor the offbeat and the unusual. From the first words of the first scene, when Anna and Davy meet in a downpour on a Scottish hillside, I was hooked. No ordinary hero, Davy MacKintosh begins by insulting the woman who will not only become his love in this lifetime, but has been his love through many lifetimes. The story, written in three distinct parts that move through various periods in Scottish history, shows us that Anna and Davy, in other guises, have failed over and over again to find togetherness. Now he’s an apparent hard-drinking, fist-fighting Highland ne’er-do-well and she’s fed up with men, but there’s magic at work here…magic that spans the centuries. There’s also a villain who travels with them through time and treasure and a spooky Pictish broch and …
I won’t spoil it by telling too much here. I’ll just say I enjoyed every word, lapped up the love scenes and sighed over Anna and Davy’s need for each other. True romance and some of the best writing I’ve read in the while. It deserves six stars.
 
Amazon reviewerSumner Wilson 5⭐: A wonderful paranormal tale seen through the eyes of Anna Farquharson, a North American woman on vacation in Scotland.

Mariel’s story begins in Scotland in 1604.

Barney’s begins in Scotland in 1939.

All three are linked, and in case of Mariel and Anna, are more than linked. Keep your eyes on these two. This tale has great adventure. There are murders and murderers in the book. We have love and much lust. Anna and her boyfriend. Davy McIntosh drink enough scotch whiskey to float a you-know-what, But no more than what’s needed. They go through some really tough times. Whiskey is needed, and they find it by the barrel. Plus they never miss a chance to shed their clothes, inside, outside, and by the side of the pond.

Scorchia Dubois can really write. Just Like Gravity moves fast, has great humor, and even greater suspense.

I loved the book. I’m fixin’ to give it 5-stars.

 
Amazon reviewerJClark  5⭐: Spellbinding from beginning to end and a lovely jaunt through Scotland to boot. Makes you look at your enemies in present time in a whole new light.
 
 
 
 
 

Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband.

A proud member of the Scottish Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

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Author Showcase – Sorchia DuBois (Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen)

Zoraida Grey needs help. With the witchy Logan clan holding her best friend hostage in a haunted Scottish castle, she can’t trust anyone—certainly not beguiling but dangerous Shea Logan. And Al, her overprotective boyfriend, doesn’t believe in magic.

Only one creature strikes fear in the blackened hearts of the Logan witches. Trouble is Jock disappeared five centuries ago leaving a trail of destruction across the Gulf of Mexico. Now he’s stepped into a steaming pile of Voodoo.

Can Zoraida drag wayward Jock back to Scotland? And what’s she supposed to do with two men who promise completely different futures?

A Scottish wizard, stripped naked and painted blue—a Voodoo priestess bent on immortality—a yacht-load of Caribbean pirates. What can possibly go wrong?

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ExcerptFrom Chapter 7: Azili’s Little Shop of Hypnotism

 

Her dry, cool hand on my arm guides me through the store, steadies me when I trip on uneven boards, pulls me through the blue-curtained doorway. Red lips blow sparkling powder from long, elegant fingers. The particles hang in the air, spinning and swirling. I inhale instinctively.

My knees give way and down I sink. Down onto the red velvet chair. Past the weathered floorboards, down into the silt and mud of the Delta. Down to the center of the earth. Satin folds of mesmerizing ensorcellment coil around my shoulders, pulling me deeper still into the space between time. Reality wastes to silence.

“Don’ fight, my girl. You can’t do it. Let it take you,” she whispers. We face each other, sitting in matching red velvet chairs. Our knees touch. She holds my hands, massaging my palms with her broad thumbs.

Fresh sweat pops out on my forehead. The powdered drug slows my heart, my breathing, my mind. Each second stretches into infinity. Colors spiral around a green face. My eyelids weigh fifty pounds each. I yield to the irresistible need to let them slam shut. Cigarette smoke on her breath. A cold hand on my forehead. I’m helpless, bound, and sedated.

This won’t do.

My toes dig deep into the rich Mississippi silt and curl around the bones of the earth. Ancient, patient life grounds me, reminds me who I am. A molecule at a time, I transmute the drug to saline, a trick I did not learn in high school chemistry. A trick I didn’t know I could do. The effort leaves me gasping but my mind is once again my own. I open my eyes.

“You got de juju in you, bébé.” Azili laughs, red lips wide, teeth white. Her coils tighten. “But I got de juju in me, too.”

This time, I can’t keep her out. Like rising floodwaters, she seeps into every corner. A scream gurgles in my throat and dies.

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 ~~ Check this out, too! ~~

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Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland—in a haunted castle—guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.

Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches.

Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything. 
Not by a long shot.

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Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband.

A proud member of the Scottish Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.

Website Link 

Blog Link

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Amazon Author Page Link

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Review of “Divergent Bloodline” – TJ Shaw

 

While tracking down a killer, clues lead homicide detective, Viviane Taylor to suspect, Julian DeMatteo. From the get-go, DeMatteo unsettles and irritates her. He’s a force she has never encountered, someone who excites her even though he’s forbidden. Her instincts warn that he’s hiding something and she is determined to uncover those secrets.

As king of the vampires, Julian DeMatteo protects the immortal clans. So, when the beautiful, bullheaded cop embroils herself within his world, he must choose between the woman who reminds him of the humanity he’s lost or his loyalty to his people.

As confusing emotions awaken inside her, Viviane can either accept her fate as the one chosen to save the immortal race or lose her soul to darkness. With Julian’s help, she fights an evil that would rip her apart in order to forge a new future with the homicide suspect who’s stolen her heart.

 
 
 
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
 

We are all familiar with the allure of vampires/immortals. Through television and movies, we have grown to love many: Angel and Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Bill and Eric (True Blood), Tom Cruise as Lestat de Lioncourt and Brad Pitt as Louis de Pointe du Lac (Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice), and (not my favorite vamp but….) Edward (Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer). 

So, it is not surprising Viviane succumbed to temptation; otherwise known as Julian. He is strong, like her. Commands attention, like her. And demands obedience, like her. (No spoilers, sorry)

These two at the helm will be a force to reckon with but I’m sure someone will — again.

I had only one small ‘eh’ moment. It was when Viviane called him for help, screaming for it. He actually used mortal instead of immortal means of transportation to reach her. 

Ok, at first I was thinking…. he must abide by the Code (don’t draw attention to their kind). However, a few pages later, he threw the rulebook out the window when her body convulsed at the park.

You’d think he would’ve used his super speed earlier, but nope.

Besides that, nothing screamed at me saying WTBH.

All in all, a bloody good read. (pun intended)

  
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
  
As a child, TJ thrived in the Arizona desert. By the age of five she was riding horses through cotton fields and by eleven bought her first motorcycle, a Honda 125cc dirt bike. Growing up with teachers as parents meant traveling during the summer. Hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, climbing pyramids, surviving earthquakes, and flying in hot air balloons were just some of her adventures. An avid day dreamer, she would lose herself in mystical worlds and far off places limited only by her imagination.
 
After choosing an academic scholarship over an athletic basketball scholarship, she graduated law school and accepted a position as a Deputy County Attorney. However, prosecuting felony crimes was not as exciting as she hoped, so she traded in her briefcase and the courtroom for a Glock and patrol car. She worked the road as a police officer for five years and now tells officers what to do as a policy writer for a police department.
 
TJ writes from her heart by incorporating her dreams and experiences to create strong, passionate characters who must overcome personal flaws to survive against the challenges of traversing through magical realms, undiscovered planets, and apocalyptic catastrophes.
 

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