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“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

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.

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.

186 pages, Paperback

Published December 28, 2020

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About the author

Raine Reiter

2 books37 followers
Raine Reiter is a paranormal suspense author. Her first novel, Takakush - Genus Magica Book One will be released on Amazon in early 2021. Genus Magica Book Two is due in late 2021. Raine lives in the gloomy Pacific Northwest with her silly dog Luke. Raine’s favorite authors are Jim Butcher and Steven King.

Raine is a member of Sister's in Crime, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI) , Horror Writer's Association, Pacific Northwest Writer's Association, and her friendly neighborhood critique group. She teaches genre fiction writing at a local community college.

She loves mythology, ancient cultures, travel, and any topic on a Ted Talk. A favorite is https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_sim....

Follow Raine on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and read her blog on http://www.twanohpress.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Sadie Forsythe.
Author 1 book262 followers
February 5, 2021
3.5, round up

I generally enjoyed this. I’ll concede that it definitely had some cliched content, there’s some icky sexualization of a 14/15-year-old, and the teenagers speak more like an exaggerated SNL parody of teens than real teens (I have a 13 year-old and even considering they speak to their friends differently than their mother, they sound NOTHING like the ridiculous dialogue here.) But outside of those critiques, I liked the characters, the Lithuanian mythos, the humor, and the wisp of romance. I’d have liked to have seen a bit more development in the relationship department. Not necessarily even in the romance aspect, just in the two people getting to know one another. The love is a little too instant to believe, even given divine intercession, as is Boone’s acceptance off the weird. All in all, however, I was happy with Takakush and would read another Reiter book.
Profile Image for gwendalyn _books_.
881 reviews31 followers
January 25, 2021
This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

This is a non spoiler review, because you as reader need to read this book. Also, I feel sometimes I have in the past gave away to much of the plot line. This has diminished the pleasure for would be readers.

A riveting paranormal, Takakush by Raine Reiter is steeped in folklore, along with elements of a darkish fantasy.
Takakush is rich with imagery making for the perfect atmospheric read,

Professor Elena Lukas returns home to Swan House, her family’s Inn and Retreat. With its cozy array of ornate gingerbread gables, and covered verandas.
Leaving behind her Job, and a broken engagement she goes home to start her life anew. Welcoming her back are three most important women in her life, her younger sister Gabby, her mother Mina, and her beloved Nana Ragana.
The woman in the Lukas family are a long line of dedicated priestess to a powerful ancient Lithuanian goddess.
Boone Anderson is a Detective Sergeant, from Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Investigating a series of bizarre animal attacks when his path cross with young Elena Lukas a visiting professor of Ethnobiolgy at Rainforest University.

The woods are being stalked by a mystical creature, that both Boone and Elena must work together to stop its vicious attacks. In a series of events Gabby, Elena’s sister has gone missing things really take off.

Raine Reiter delivers a well-written, unique and twisty read here, that had me pretty much. questioning everything that was happening within the pages of this book.  
The way that the details were revealed to us was extremely well-done and the setting was creepily atmospheric imagery .The story was brilliantly executed, from start to finish. Told in multiple POV’s that gives the reader an insightful look to actions and and feeling to each of the characters. The character development and complex relationships, were superb. The setting and world building are stunningly brought to life under Reiter precision narration. I loved the way the plot unfolded, and was completely invested in the storyline.
Rich in folklore with just the right amount of suspense.
Profile Image for Emmett J..
Author 1 book14 followers
January 21, 2021
A ripping good story - not sorry about the pun..

Do you like camping? Then read this in the winter so the books affect on you will wear off by summer.

Scary as hell. Twists and turns to unravel. Not to despair, Author Rainer wraps them all up in the end. Set in a lush forest of Washington States corner of the Pacific Northwest Raine brings the characters to life. People I came to love and fret about their survival.

This story has something for everyone, magic, touch of fantasy, a huge dose of horror, and a strong hint of romance. Raine's book will linger in the mind long after the final page is turned.

Sorry I can't give it 10 stars- oh, here I just did. I won't say more for fear a giving out a spoiler. If you like any kind of reading, this book is for you.
Profile Image for Il confine dei libri.
4,214 reviews139 followers
February 17, 2021
Voto libro: 2.5
Per leggere la recensione in blog cliccare qui:

2.5 - I have received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

I decided to read "Takakush" by Reine Reiter because of the cover (obviously), with a big bear in the background that reminded me of the Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden, and for references to the Lithuanian culture.

The main characters are the women of the Lukas family, the grandmother Regana, the mother Mina, the eldest daughter Elena and the younger Gabby.
They live in America, but have Balkan roots, Lithuanian to be precise. All four women are banners for ancient Lithuanian goddesses, they pray for them and receive their powers in exchange, but using them has a price: they suck their strength. The grandmother represents Laima, the goddess of fate, in fact she can visualize the threads of destiny and slightly modify them; Mina serves Žemyna, the goddess of earth and fertility, she manages to follow the spirit of a dying person and bring it home; Elena is linked to Medeina, goddess of the woods, she is an ethnobiologist and somehow pays homage to the goddess with her work; Gabby is a teenager and hasn't heard her goddess yet, but her name, Gabija, is also that of the goddess of fire.

The story begins with Elena, who returns home to recover from a breakup; she thought she had to get away to be okay, but actually going back to Swan House is liberating, she is close to her goddess again.
In the woods of the city, however, men and women are dying terribly from the attacks of a ferocious animal. Sergeant Boone Anderson of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating on them, requesting Elena's help on some very interesting DNA results.
So Elena and Boone get to know each other and a rope is immediately stretched between them, that neither of them can identify.
Mina is attempting to save Swan House, a bed & breakfast, by inviting a famous critic. Gabby, on the other hand, is a teenager, and between school and her misunderstandings with her mother, she no longer feels okay.
In the meantime, the attacks become more frequent, something cruel and terrible is in the air, and it seems that in the woods there is something from another world and another time.

I start by saying that the story is original, because it talks about a type of mythology that I had never found before in a fantasy, the Lithuanian. Generally, it's not a highly regarded country, so finding it in a fantasy made me very curious. I also appreciated that Lithuanian terms or sentences were used, but a translation would have been very useful, because having to stop reading to go to Google Translate wasn’t very pleasant.
The magic of the main characters, which derives from the goddesses, was interesting. They offer their powers to these women who are dedicated to them, but, in my opinion, it has not been developed well.
Being a little known culture, it would have been nice, and useful, to receive some information on the divinities or other magical beings that appear: how did this bond come about, how are they chosen by the goddesses, who are these divinities? Everything is hinted at while things were happening, but nothing is elaborated on, which is a shame.

This book gave me the idea of ​​one of those novels focused on a family and their difficulties, in this case with the B&B, in fact there are these inconclusive chapters with the critic. But basically at the center of everything is the love story, which unfolds over five days.
Then we have some clichés thrown in the middle.

I think the main problem with the novel is the fact that it is short and the author did not have the opportunity to develop the story well; it could have been much more, both for the magical part and for the relationships.
In any case, there are positive sides: despite being fast, the story is interesting and involves the reader, moreover it is very well written, with detailed descriptions of the environments and various moments of tension.

I liked the idea of the magic and the use of Lithuanian folklore, almost unknown but full of potential.
The characters are nice, especially Elena and Boone, the instalove was faster than a snap of the fingers, but we can blame a very ancient bond between the two.
The structure of the novel is interesting, divided into days and paragraphs, each from the point of view of a different characters, not necessarily human, accompanied by the place where it was.

This novel is good for a quick reading, it also introduced me to Balkan mythology and its goddesses, and I praise it for that.
Profile Image for Julia.
104 reviews12 followers
January 25, 2021
I received an ARC to complete a review for Reedsy Discovery.

Vibrant, unique fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest. Compelling smart characters, snappy pacing, and Lithuanian mythology make this a hit.

I loved this book. I can't say enough how much I loved this book. I want to start with that.

In Takakush - Genus Magica Book One, Raine Reiter weaves a character-driven contemporary fantasy starring a matriarchal family of nature priestesses in search of a magical creature who has killed people in the area.

The main character, Elena, is a professor at the local university. She is called in to assist Fish and Wildlife expert Boone Anderson on what is first suspected to be a bear attack - but may be something quite different. Elena relies upon her intelligence, her strength, and her goddess-given harmony with the forest to help Boone. Snarky back-and-forth that gets serious fast when necessary makes enjoying this pair easy, as in this cafeteria scene:

"I'm leaving, and you can't stop me." Elena twirled away.

"Dr. Lukas?" he called.

"What?" she spat, her back to him.

"You rode to the hospital with me." His deadpan was perfect.

Support characters work together to help Boone and Elena, and they really make this story shine. From Elena's family, her grandmother, mother, and little sister, to the animals (a raven, a cat, and Boone's Karelian Bear Dog, Ohto), every character is lovingly crafted and detailed. Ohto the dog is my favorite, though the grandmother is a close second. The family is of Lithuanian descent, and Reiter's writing is so vivid that I really felt as if I were in the bed and breakfast Elena's mother owns. Elena's grandmother speaks in broken English with Lithuanian phrases delivered in such a way that one can almost see the white-haired, good-natured elder standing there insistently speaking them:

"Jūsų rankos." Ragana stretched out her tattooed hands and displayed her palms.

"I'm sorry?" Boone didn't budge. "You want my hand?"

"Jūsų rankos." Her countenance declared this was not a request.

The reader can feel both Boone's awkwardness and Ragana's confidence in what she's doing.

The backstory is there, but it isn't overdone, so a full, rich story is delivered in 70,000 words. Boone's PTSD is revealed essentially in one line: "Here in the wild places far from the war fields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Boone could relax." Will it come up again? We'll see, but this is an author whose writing allows us to trust her.

While this is clearly a work that supports strong female roles, it doesn't make the mistake of eliminating or minimizing male contributions. Boone is a strong yin to Elena's yang, and although they have differing viewpoints, they are able to work together. So many different personality types come and go through this work that it is a truly well-embroidered reading experience.

Frankly, my only wish was for more story, but hopefully, that will come in time. Takakush - Genus Magica Book One will appeal to most contemporary fantasy readers, readers in search of great feminine leads, and fans of mythology, particularly Eastern European or Russian mythology.


Julia Hoover

Profile Image for Alice Moon.
104 reviews9 followers
February 2, 2021
I received Takakush from @lovebookstours in exchange for an honest review and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read it. This book is something else! First of all, that cover is stunning. It's creepy and beautiful in the same time. How you can say no to this?

Second, the plot is marvelous. I was captivated from the first page. A priestess who is dedicated to a Lithuanian goddess, a mysterious beast, dark secrets and twists. What you need more? The author knows what she is doing and now I can't wait for the second book.

If you are a fan of paranormal fantasy then you should put this book on your list because trust me you'll not be disappointed!
Profile Image for Marion Over.
250 reviews3 followers
March 2, 2021
This was a phenomenal book. Full of great characters that are easy to get attached to.
I am very partial to working dogs and their partners already, so that part of the story was icing on my cake.
I loved the forest setting with the different Native magics trying to find balance.
A great storyline, it was masterfully written for a first book. Truly a hard to put down suspenseful, paranormal thriller.
I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series.
This was an ARC copy I received free for my honest review.
The cover art is amazing also.

I just reviewed Takakush by Raine Reiter. #Takakush #NetGalley
January 30, 2021
Ancient magic

Reiter brings an ancient Lithuanian to life in present day Pacific Northwest in a spine tingling paranormal. Takakush kept me riveted to the page from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Ilana Costello (patel).
145 reviews2 followers
February 28, 2021
I was lucky to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved the use of nature magic in this book! The characters welcome you into their home and family. The story quickly grabs your attention and keeps it. I look forward to reading book 2 as soon as possible!
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,448 reviews465 followers
March 1, 2021
Takakush is the first book in the Genus Magica series by Raine Reiter, and it was a quick and addictive read. It’s one I was happy to power through in a single sitting, eager to see how everything came together.

I’ll be honest and say, as addictive as this was, it did take me a little while to get into it. The magical world that was introduced was interesting, but it took a while for me to understand it. Even then, there were some details that weren’t quite as clear as I would have liked them to be. Due to this, there were some details that did not hit me quite as hard as I would have liked. Despite this, the story did keep me hooked throughout and there was enough packed into the pages to ensure I was gripped by the unfolding storyline.

All in all, Takakush was an interesting start to the Genus Magica series. Takakush introduces mythology that is not often seen, making it great for those looking for something a little bit different.
Profile Image for Mes.
112 reviews53 followers
February 7, 2021
Thank you for the gifted copy to Love Books Tours and Raine Reiter in exchange for participation in the bookstagram tour!

I LOVE urban fantasy, it's one of my favourite genres so I'm always on the hunt for new ones to devour.
Takakush has a fascinating and lush backdrop of Lithuanian lore, something I have never encountered in a book before. That was probably my favourite aspect of the story, I adore exploring the myths of other cultures!
However, I had one main gripe which was the use of multiple POVs. I wasn't a fan. I feel like there were just too many and it made the narrative feel a wee bit scattered, and some of them I just could not care less about. It felt a bit like a TV series in that regard, jumping from character to character and spending some time within their shoes. I feel like a dual POV would have been more than enough to tell the story, and it would have made the narrative tighter and speedier.
The romance was quite slow burn and a lot less prominent than I expected but I found I wasn't made about that. I wish it was a bit more show and less tell, though. Our main characters are both very independent in their own rights and I liked that about them, they complemented each other nicely. Elena, in particular was a well-rounded heroine to follow and I enjoyed her POVs. Her little sister, Gabby got on my nerves. I suspect some of that was intentional but good lord, she was annoying. Am I getting old? Anyhow, I still would have preferred to have less of her.
The suspense part was quite well done, the escalating "animal" killings kept up the tension nicely, and the resolution was also satisfactory.
Overall, Takakush was a very atmospheric paranormal suspense debut, and while it didn't completely win me over, I did enjoy reading it.
147 reviews1 follower
January 28, 2021
For someone who is rarely engaged in the paranormal suspense genre, I wasn't sure if I would've liked this book or not.
Right from the first page, I was astonished by how magnificent Reiter's writing was. I adored the narrative. I immediately loved this book!
Takakush follows the story of Elena, a young woman who serves a powerful forest goddess. She works with Boone, a game warden, to find and capture the beast that roams the rainforest.
After investigating the attack scenes, Elena struggles with telling Boone who she is and revealing the truth.
Filled to the brim with heart-racing cliffhangers, characters, and suspense, Takakush is highly recommended.
Even if you feel like the genre isn't in your style, give it a try!
I'm sure you'll love this book.
All in all, thank you to the author/publisher for offering me a free ARC of this book. I am looking forward to seeing what's next in this series!
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,547 reviews191 followers
February 12, 2021
Ok I have to start by mentioning the absolutely gorgeous cover which captured my attention. A new author to me and it’s a difficult story to categorise. A little bit magical with myths and legends, a budding romance and then there’s the dark aspects that certainly were intriguing. I enjoyed this the first book in this series and thought the family who dominated this story have a lot more to share with the reader as their Lithuanian and innate magical heritage certainly felt unique. If you enjoy suspense that’s a wee bit gothic than this is certainly worth your time. Plus the author brings the landscape she’s writing about to life. My only real criticism is that I’d have preferred a little more of the couple getting to know each other. Plus there’s a lovely dog and a rather unusual cat but my lips are sealed. I believe this is aimed at adults but I see no reason why younger readers wouldn’t enjoy this too as it certainly would fit into the YA category too.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
Profile Image for Jessica Belmont.
1,482 reviews44 followers
February 17, 2021
I LOVED Takakush by Raine Reiter so much, when I was finished reading, I wanted to pick it up and read it again. I don’t know what I expected, but this book took me.by surprise.

I absolutely loved the characters. We swap to different POVs, and not once did I feel it unnecessary or confusing. Having the different perspectives really maximized my enjoyment of this novel.

The plot is excellent. The build up yields an amazing result. I’m so in awe of the lore that has been build in. Action, tension, magic, romance…this story has everything.

Highly recommended!!

*I received a free copy of this book from R&R Book Tours to review honestly on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*
Profile Image for Hannah Rae.
208 reviews26 followers
February 3, 2021
Can we talk about how amazing this cover is?! All of those rich colours are so eye catching, and I have to confess that it was one of my main reasons why I immediately signed up to this book tour. That and the synopsis of course.

I loved this. It was such a quick read, but don’t let a quick read fool you. It still contained a lot of depth, a lot of emotion and action, that I honestly could not have put it down. Elena and Boone were a good match, and they worked well together to find what creature is terrorising their local forest. And the Lithuanian dialect that seeps through the text is so lovely to read and to learn, you really get a feel for Elena’s family.

This is the first book in the Genus Magica series, and I need book two now! I need more Elena and Boone - and don’t forget Boone’s faithful companion Ohto.
33 reviews1 follower
February 1, 2021

Review: The gorgeous cover of this book is what grabbed my attention but it was definitely the story between them that held my attention. I don’t want to give away any spoilers for those who have not read the book and I would recommend that everyone does. This book really does have everything; romance, folklore, the paranormal, magic and mystical creatures as well as enthralling cliffhangers. The story is written exceptionally well and is so captivating and full of details. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Georgina Power.
330 reviews4 followers
February 12, 2021
Thank you to the author for a gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

“I am this place, I am the Takakush”

Takakush follows the main characters Elena (who is an ethnobiologist professor and nursing a broken heart after the breakdown of her engagement) and Boone (detective for the Department of Fish and Wildlife) as they discover there is a creature hunting animals and people in the forest.
Elena is from a family of priestess to powerful Lithuanian goddesses, so along with her sister Gabby, her mother Mina and grandmother Regana, the four of them summon their powers to help Boone discover and capture just exactly what is seeking prey in the woods

The first thing I noticed about this book is that it is a beautiful cover, and the book is smaller than expected, this made it an easier and quicker read. This book is very well written with its descriptions you can really envision the scenes that the author is describing, as well as that, the character writing is good, I completely despised Seth and Stephen, the way they behaved was abysmal, they made me so mad, especially Stephen and the way he speaks and treats Cecily
However I feel that some of the descriptions of objects were unnecessary, it shows that the author knows what they are talking about, however I did have to research what a “Remington” was (it would have been easier to just say that the character had a rifle or watch etc.) Additionally I felt that some of the scenes come across as fillers, unnecessary to be there to be honest as some did not really add much to the book, especially those of the victims, I feel they were there to build suspense, but this kind of fell flat

I really like the books format; it is multiple points of view so we switch between characters quite often, and the concept of the book being split into parts, with each part being a different day makes the book more realistic in regards to the events taking place, this also makes the book very easy to read and follow. Plus the addition of some sentences that are written in Lithuanian was very unique to me and made the book different but also required google translate (there are some translates in the book, but I wanted to know word for word the descriptions in English)

I did find that some of the characters behaviours are unrealistic – such as Elena randomly touching Andersons arm multiple times during their chat at the hospital, I feel this wouldn’t happen on your first meeting with a detective. Plus the action scenes were great, they were very fast paced and engrossing, I just feel they were just too short in my opinion and over way too quickly.

The magic system in this book is an interesting take, in which the characters all draw on their individual goddess to help them with the respective power, however I feel the magic system needed a bit more explaining, it would also be nice to have a history into how they got their powers
This is a very twisty turning book with some elements of the supernatural, some of the plot twists you could easily see being built throughout the book but were still executed very well, and some of the plot twists were unexpected, such as that of the black cat

Overall, this was an interesting read, it did keep me gripped, I just feel that the book had such amazing potential, but with the author having so many ideas running through the book it made the impact a bit less punchy
Profile Image for Sharyl.
481 reviews15 followers
February 28, 2021
𝑻𝒂𝒌𝒂𝒌𝒖𝒔𝒉 is a paranormal fantasy that mostly focuses on Elena Lukas, a young professor, who has just returned to her childhood home and family B&B business in Olympia, Washington, after a painful romantic breakup. She is to start a job at a local university in the fall.

Elena's family has the fate of serving a powerful Lithuanian goddess. At first, she is not ready to accept this, but when she is contacted by a local wildlife ranger for help in dealing with some strange animal attacks, she naturally calls on the goddess's powers.

I chose to read this because fantasy is a genre that appeals to me, and I enjoyed the premise of this tale. Once the story gets moving, I found that the mood was expertly set, the details of The Capitol Forest were well-written, and the mood was fittingly eerie. There is a mythical creature stalking the forest, a mutant-looking bear, using a kind of black magic on its prey. And now, it's after Elena.

A later part of the story involves Gabby, Elena's younger sister, a high school freshman. One night, she goes missing. It is during Gabby's encounter with her attacker that we are finally introduced to Takakush. At this point, I must confess, I became somewhat confused about the relationship between these two creatures-- I'm not sure if I missed something, or if there is to be a sequel.

I enjoyed the characters in Elena's family, and the backstory about the family B&B, complete with her mother Mina's struggle to please the over-the top eccentric travel column critic. Elena's romance with Boone, the Capitol Forest ranger, escalated quickly, but then, this is a fantasy--I'm personally not bothered by that. Also, Elena's grandmother was a treat. And, of course, Boone's dog Ohto. Ohto was great. I did think that some of the dialogue seemed unlikely, but it didn't really detract much from the storyline.

One critical note I would add is really just a formatting issue: the book is not only separated by chapters, but by subtitles, informing the reader of the point of view and location that follows. This is really not necessary, and I felt it hindered the flow of my reading. It's possible that these subtitles (if that is what I should call them) are not present in the final draft of the book.

Overall, this was an interesting read for those who enjoy an exotic fantasy. Many thanks to Netgalley for this pleasant opportunity!
Profile Image for Jenna Rideout.
651 reviews53 followers
April 30, 2021
I was granted complimentary access to Takakush to review in conjunction with multiple blog tours I participated in during the spring of 2021, and I would like to thank everyone involved in granting me this opportunity! This review is being posted in accordance with my review deadline for Lola's Blog Tours, but I would also like to acknowledge that Bewitching Book Tours sent an e-copy my way as well. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

I accepted multiple tour spots and a review deadline for this book because the cover is stunning and I love a paranormal story born of mythology. With that said, this didn't end up being the book I thought it would be. Around the time I accepted the review deadline I had just read Ashley Poston's A Beast Among the Briars, and I was somehow expecting something with more of that feel, but focused on the bear. That's not at all what this book is, but it was great anyway.

A bear-like, possibly mutant creature is terrorizing and killing people left, right and centre, and one family seems to know what's going on. What will happen when one of their own is taken? This is a story of old gods taking revenge in the modern world in a grotesque way, and it is not for the faint of heart. I would very much classify this as dark fantasy, with an emphasis on dark. If that's your thing, read on! This book is full of magical nightmare fuel.

The reason this one isn't a five star for me is the that the multiple POVs felt a little muddled at times, and the way certain related characters addressed each other didn't feel natural. It felt like language barriers were being hinted with certain characters' dialogue no matter who they were talking to, and while some of the younger characters don't have a strong grasp on their ancestral language and do struggle to understand their elders at times, the affectionate terms they use for each other would be familiar and commonplace. Having them address each other by relational titles in English rather than using names or affectionate terms in any language just felt clunky.

If you like dark fantasy and European mythology, read this book!
Profile Image for Flik Foster.
70 reviews2 followers
March 14, 2021

Takakush is a whirlwind ride of magic, wildlife, and just a dash of romance. I was instantly compelled by the priestesses in the Lukas family, and it was refreshing to experience a different type of magic system.

Well plotted, and with great pacing, I found the story to be original and surprising. Takakush does not rely on usual fantasy tropes, and is much the better for it. My favourite parts of the novel by far were the times where one of the family used their powers, and I look forward to learning more in future books.

I also felt truly tense when faced with the monster at the heart of the novel, and Reiter easily creates a feeling of disgust and fear through her descriptions. These contrast with peaceful passages about the beauty of the forest setting, and led me to fully identify with Elena as she seeks to rid the countryside of this evil blight.

Elena is an excellent protagonist, relatable and logical in her decisions, with enough humour to darken this otherwise fairly frightening novel. We also hear from her love interest Boone, and whilst I didn’t find him particularly attractive, he was an interesting character, and I was invested in Elena enough that I rooted for their relationship to thrive.

The portrayal of Gabby, the youngest in the Lukas family, was a sour note in an otherwise enjoyable read. Her dialogue was unrealistic, almost a parody of how teenagers speak, and she shifted between thinking of adults as ‘grown ups’ and attempting to seduce an older man. Her text speak, which reminded me of how I texted as a young person over 15 years ago was particularly egregious. This is a shame, because the remaining characters felt well rounded and believable.

I’ve rated Takakush four stars, for its creative and unusual plot, great world building, and visceral descriptions. I would recommend it particularly if you are looking for an escapist read with a compelling magic system. Content warnings for (Major) Blood, Kidnapping and Violence, (Moderate) Animal Death, (Minor) Adult/Minor Relationship.
Profile Image for Permanently_Booked.
778 reviews55 followers
February 10, 2021
"Where we're from there is a proverb: Let us turn this page down for now."

❇Adorable Familiars ❇Magic ❇Lithuanian Lore ❇Evil Beasts ❇Spunky Grandma

I love the books that take you by surprise and keep you hooked the deeper you go. Takakush was not what I expected in the best way possible.

The characters have excellent depth and I liked how Reiter tied ancient Lithuanian gods/goddesses and lore into the generational family in this book. Bringing to life their magic, familiars and the persona of the powers at play.

The chapters effortlessly swap from different POVs. Though Elena and Boone are who I'd consider the MCs, we also get perspectives from the familiars, beasts and other family members. I personally enjoy multiple POVs so this worked well for me. I will say that Gabby was my least favorite. She played out a very immature role but I also do not have kids, so her character actions may be normal to some readers. She drove me nuts though.

The biggest draw is the plot. There is an unfurling buildup into the characters and their lives. Reiter flows the lore into the different scenes and builds an exquisite feeling of magical realism. Then comes the action, building tension on top of this layered cake. The icing? The budding romance between Elena and Boone. It may have blossomed quicker than I'm used to but I love their banter and overall connection. My one drawback is pretty minimal and surrounded the climactic points. They seemed too quickly wrapped up. Possibly just me wanting more though. 

I highly enjoyed this novel and have already started tracking the release of book two. If you like adult urban or paranormal fantasy, I have no doubt you'll enjoy this as much as I did.

Thank you again to Reiter and Lovebookstours for the opportunity to be on this tour and to review this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5, rounded

Profile Image for Annie.
3,377 reviews62 followers
February 22, 2021
Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Takakush is the first book in a new paranormal suspense light horror series by Raine Reiter. Released 28th Dec 2020, it's 186 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

I was expecting something vaguely comparable to Katherine Arden's Winternight trilogy. Takakush is Eastern European (specifically Lithuanian) folklore inspired, but this is definitely not cozy or warm and fuzzy - lots more sharp pointy teeth and claws in this one. The author has a good grasp on plotting and dramatic tension. The story is told in alternating PoV which I found a bit distracting, but the chapters are clearly delineated, so it's not untenable.

There is a strong instra-love romance subplot alongside the paranormal/horror as well as some graphic violence and death. I did enjoy the beautiful descriptions of the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest - clearly an area with which the author is familiar.

It was a little too creepy/gothic/violent for me particularly, but will be enthusiastically received by fans of the paranormal light horror genre. Three and a half stars; likely 4+ for fans of the genre.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for J. Else.
Author 7 books88 followers
March 15, 2021
An intriguing read about Lithuanian myth and magic. The cover is absolutely stunning, by the way!

The book is very suspenseful in parts and almost gave me a horror/thriller vibe at times. The beastly attacks are quite gruesome. Reiter does a good job with rapid plot movement. There are multiple points of view in the novel with helped enrich what was happening from different perspectives. It was very creatively explored and well-written.

However, the book felt short on the most intriguing element: the Lithuanian magic. All the women of the house possess some sort of magic. However, their relationships with the goddesses aren't really explained. Do they share the same name as their goddesses, because there were a few parts that were confusing as to who was being referenced, our MC or the goddess? I didn't understand a lot of the backstory, which could have arisen with further character development. I wanted to know the characters a lot more than was revealed; thus, they came off a bit stereotypical. I'm also not sure about the texting that the younger sister was doing. It didn't feel like a 14-ish year old was actually writing that. My last gripe was about the confrontation with the big baddie.

Overall, very mystical with lots of captivating elements. In the next book, I hope the author fleshes out the mythos a lot more for readers unfamiliar with the gods and goddesses as well as explores these powers through character development. Let the audience in a bit more on this fascinating cultural lore.
Profile Image for Meigan.
1,107 reviews67 followers
February 18, 2021
What a delightful little gem this turned out to be! Atmospheric and mysterious, TAKAKUSH blends magic, folklore, and a dash of the macabre to bring readers a delightful series starter set against the lush Washington forest.

The action starts immediately, when in the first few pages a strange creature mauls a very large horse. It doesn’t stop there, instead leaving a trail of bodies in its wake and scratches on trees that are much too tall for any bear to have made. Detective Anderson is trying to puzzle out what is terrorizing the area when he happens upon Elena, who is also dealing with her own mystery of sorts. This surprise meeting leads to them eventually teaming up to figure out what’s stalking the area...and it’s certainly something Boone is wholly unfamiliar with.

Filled with magic and rich with folklore, I loved the Lithuanian influences that were peppered throughout the story. Elena and her family are priestesses to Lithuanian goddesses, and Elena is struggling with whether or not to accept and serve her goddess. I absolutely loved the parts where each would converse with their respective goddess, and it added such an interesting layer to this story. I also loved the inclusion of a little bit of romance and I can’t wait to see how that grows in the next book. 4 stars.

*Review copy provided by R&R Booktours and the author.
February 9, 2021
The front cover of this book is a beautiful design, so mysterious, magical, intriguing and a little bit spooky looking! I love the purple, black and gold.

When a body is found badly mauled in the forest, Sergeant Boone and his bear hunting dog Ohto are called to the scene. At first he thinks that a bear is responsible, but soon realises that this case is a lot more complicated. Boone asks Professor Elena (who specialises in invasive and endangered species) to help him with the investigation. There is a chemistry between them that grows.

Elena and her family have psychic and supernatural abilities. They serve a powerful forestry goddess. She must confess all to Boone. Will he believe her in time to save them?

I absolutely loved this suspenseful story, it would make a brilliant supernatural/horror film. All the characters were well written and the evocative descriptions of the scenery make this a book to remember. I loved Varnas the raven and his spooky observations, keeping a watch of all the mystical happenings. This is the first book I’ve read Raine Reiter and its left me eager to read more. The preview of the next book in the series sounds amazing!
March 9, 2021
Raine Reiter delivers an image rich, captivating experience for the audience. Dripping with folklore and earth magic, this is a fantasy you won't want to put down once you start.

Professor Elena Lukas returns to her family home, The Swan house, which is also a struggling Inn hanging delicately in the balance. Not only is she returning home to her matriarchal family after a broken engagement, she is returning to a rich family history centered around Lithuanian magic. Elena is greeted by her sister Gabija, her mother Mina and her colorful, seer grandmother who speaks in a disorienting dialect of English blended with Lithuanian.

In order to face the challenges arising within herself and the darkness that is stalking through the wilderness of the local based National Forest, Elena must embrace a part of herself she for so long wished to leave behind. With a strong female power base set in place, we are introduced to Sergeant Boone Anderson of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Boone struggles with his own scars of his past which is touched upon briefly, yet is ready to run headlong into the unknown before Elena.

I rated this as 4 stars because I think it is just the tip of the iceberg in what this series will offer. As someone with Lithuanian grandparents this was a captivating experience.
Profile Image for Duckfacekim09 (Kim Howell).
272 reviews23 followers
February 6, 2021

"I am this place, I am the Takakush."

Firstly, how beautiful is this cover?? And it's such a dinky book that everything about the appearance of this would have you thinking it's going to be some cute story... But it wasn't.

Wow. This was my first ever fantasy book and I think it was the perfect book to allow me to dip my toes into the fantasy pond because it wasn't too heavy on the well, fantasy. It was super easy to read and I especially loved that you went to different people's perspectives throughout the chapter and that it told you their location - I thought that was a really nice touch.

The paranormal mystery element to it kept me hooked and I really wanted to know what was going to happen to every character, and every animal! I've never read a book told from animal's perspectives before! I just loved so much about this book and I cannot wait for book two!

My only slight criticisms were the text talk (no one texts like that anymore) and the love story; I love a good love story but it didn't feel like it fit in this book.
Profile Image for Brandy Michelle Dull.
Author 1 book50 followers
February 15, 2021
Takakush is not my typical read and it took me a while to get into it, but I stuck with it and finally found the flow of the story.  The story introduces many characters,  but I don't know if all of them are necessary to the story.  They really felt like they were included to bulk up the page count. If Raine Reiter took them out it would be a better story that would catch the reads attention quicker.
We follow two main characters as they work together to uncover and solve a mystery or what is attacking and killing people in the nearby forest. I found the Elena character interesting because she was more thought out and fulfilled. She had so many sides to her that I was excited to learn about and found it made her a valuable asset to the investigation.  There is magic and mystery that surrounds this journey we go on and it does have a payoff in the end.
If you stick with the story you will not be disappointed,  you just have to give this one a chance.  Overall I enjoyed the adventure and am glad I went on it.
Profile Image for Montana Cheyenne.
142 reviews10 followers
March 14, 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel! The story follows a family of priestesses who have varying powers where they connect strongly to nature. When an unknown animal begins hunting humans in the nearby forest, Elena is asked to assist with the case. Once she realizes the animal is corrupted with dark magic, she realizes the case won’t be going as planned.

I really enjoyed Elena and her younger sister Gabby. Beside the magical powers, the characters live a fairly normal life that’s relatable. This book has a little of something for everyone: magic, a strong female lead, romance, an all knowing grandmother, family ties, and an adorable detective/pup bond.

I honestly wish this book was longer and I am looking forward to the second genus magica book that will be releasing this year.

Thank you Raine Reiter and Lola’s blog tours for my copy in exchange for participation in the blog tour.
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