October 20, 2015

Loved It: Raging Sea by Terri Brisbin + Celtic Trivia & Giveaway

Series: Stone Circle 2
Format: ARC
Release Date: October 6, 2015 
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Source: Publisher
Genre: Epic Fantasy | Romance

Eons ago, seven ancient deities trapped the goddess of chaos under a ring of stones. But now, in the darkest days of the 13th century, Chaela threatens to escape, leaving the fate of all humanity in the hands of two young lovers...

Ran believed herself to be a normal fisherman’s daughter, until a turbulant storm unleashed within her powers she never knew she had. Those powers have drawn her into the battle of two warring factions: the Warriors of Destiny, whom she knows in her heart to be noble, and a menacing army holding her father captive. Her hope for survival is in the hands of Soren, the man she once loved, the man who betrayed her, and the only man she can trust in a raging battle against evil.

The descendants of the ancient gods who imprisoned The wicked fire goddess, Chaela, are surfacing and forming yet a new circle to ensure that Chaela remains locked by defeating her acolyte, Hugh Di Gifford. Set in the 13th century Orkley (a Scottish island), Terri Brisbin's second Stone Circle novel, RAGING SEA, is tempestuous as is urgent. Without the complete and perfect knowledge on how to defeat Hugh and Chaela, Ran and Soren, together with the other Warriors of Destiny, can only rely on their instincts and what information they can gather to defend mankind from the rise of the evil goddess. 

I struggled with the first Stone Circle book, Rising Fire, thankfully RAGING SEA managed to pull me in. The tone is more pagan and ancient, the magic is much more defined and foreboding, the rituals bloodier and explicit in its intent. RAGING SEA showed more than it told, we witness the extent of what a Waterblood and Stormblood can do and why they're crucial in the big scheme of things. 

Ran and Soren are great characters individually and as a couple. I love how they're cautious with their powers but didn't shy away from their destiny. There's been a strong attraction between them from the beginning and I loved how Ran and Soren approached their eventual romantic relationship. Very realistic in that Soren has some baggage and Ran was very respectful of it and careful with not just her feelings, but Soren's as well.

My favorite part of the Stone Circle is how the villain, Hugh, is so involved in the series to the point where he's the one driving it. A megalomaniac, how can you not root for the heroes and thirst for Hugh's blood and Chaela's defeat?

P.S. The series features a different couple in each book and the perspective shifts to the current MCs. That said, you should read the book in order otherwise you'll miss a big chunk of the series arc.

P.S.S. If you're fond of medieval fantasy, I recommend TBrisbin's Stone Circle for you to try, it's as earnest and romantic as Nora Roberts' Circle Trilogy, and as raw and intense as Terry Brooks' Shannara books.

“Come, Grandfather,” Soren said, sliding his arm under the old man’s and stepping back from the edge. “Aunt Ingeborg will think you lost once more.”
His aunt had claimed just that when asking Soren to find him. Old Einar roamed the coast, day after day, starting at dawn and ending only when someone dragged him back across the miles to Ingeborg’s cottage. The broch at Gurness was a favorite destination and Soren found him here more times than not, usually at the top of the tower, staring out across the rolling lands of the island or across the strait to Eynhallow or Rousay. Always watching.
“You are a good boy, Soren,” Einar said, turning to face him. “You have listened to my words and never mocked me.” His grandfather’s voice was sure and clear and his gaze now focused on him, something it had not done in years. “It is time. It is coming.”
“Aye, Grandfather, the night is coming and ’tis time to get you home,” Soren replied. “I brought the cart. It is just over the hill,” he said, nodding in the direction of the dirt path.
“Some say that the Old Ones left our lands eons ago but they are never forgotten. I have remained faithful, but, I am the last of my line and too old to fight as I should.”
“Nay, Grandfather, we have no battles to fight. The earl’s claim to Orkney is clear and he is high in the king’s esteem.”
He’d seen the man get overwrought before, but this felt and sounded different from those times. His grandfather was coherent and clear-eyed. Soren continued to urge him away from the water.
“Do not ignore my words, Soren. You have the blood of the gods in your veins. You have a place destined in the coming war,” his grandfather whispered. “There is so much you need to know. We must speak on these matters.”
“And we will speak,” Soren agreed. “But we can do it before the fire in the comforts of your daughter’s cottage. Come, Grandfather.”
The man’s mouth opened and then he shook his head as the strength leeched from his body. Soren caught him up, wrapping his arm around the frail figure and helping him along the sand to the path and the waiting cart. The sun descended in the west and the winds began to whip around them in the growing cold as they traveled along the road.
Blood of the gods? Soren chuckled at that. Which gods would that be? Many had been worshipped here in Orkney, from the Picts to the Norse, and now the One True God of the Christians held sway. Not a particularly religious man, Soren had done whatever duties were expected but never truly thought on matters of faith.
His family was of Norse descent as were most who claimed lands on Orkney. Though the Christian god had supplanted the old Norse gods centuries ago, there were many signs and places all over this and the other islands marked with the Norse symbols and runes for them. Even his father had borne the name of one of the most known—Thor, Odin’s son, the god of thunder who bore the mighty battle hammer Mj√∂lnir. A god who was linked to both farmers and sailors—the two main ways men made a living here in Orkney.
Soren had no time to contemplate those spiritual matters for his concerns were more about the timing of preparing the land for planting. And about when the soil would thaw and warm. And whether there would be enough sun to cultivate their fields before the winter’s winds and cold blew once more across the islands.
His grandfather now huddled on the bench next to him, shivering as the coming night’s chill grew. Soren glanced west to gauge if they would get to Ingeborg’s and its promised warmth before darkness fell. He’d not brought a blanket with him, so he tugged the old man closer to share his body’s heat for the rest of the journey.
If only he could control the winds or the weather!
His grandfather’s mumbling began anew—he was whispering those words again. The ones he’d sung at the water’s edge. Soren could not help himself, he fell into the pattern of sounds and cadence and sang the words under his breath.
If he could do that, he would turn the winds warm, like midsummer’s winds that blew across his fields and helped his crops. If he could, Soren would make them gentle and soothing rather than bitter and stinging.
If only . . .
Old Einar lifted his head and smiled. “Blessed by the gods, Grandson. I told you.”
Soren was about to argue when he noticed that the icy, strong winds had ceased. Glancing about, he thought they might have passed into the protection of a thick copse of trees or some other shelter that blocked the winds, but they had not. They rode along the open path, away from the sea. Then the winds turned warm, warm as he’d wished them to be, and his grandfather laughed.
“Make them cease, Soren,” he urged. It was daft to think he could make a difference. Mad even. Old Einar nudged him, pushing against his arm. “You made them warm, now stop them.”
As much as Soren wanted to laugh off his grandfather’s words, something deep inside of him loosened and a desire to attempt it urged him on to . . . try it. Even knowing he did not, indeed could not, control something as powerful and uncontrollable as the winds, he pulled the reins and brought the horse and cart to a stop.
“Grandfather,” he began. “You must know . . .”
“I know more than you imagine,” Einar whispered. Then he nodded and began the chanting again, low and even.
Now Soren’s blood stirred, in a way he’d never felt before. Some force raced through him and, for a moment, he believed he could stop the winds. And, for another scant moment, they did. Soren lifted his face and felt nothing. He tilted his head in a different direction . . . still nothing.
“Summon them now, Soren. Bring them forth,” the old man said. His voice, more forceful and steady than Soren ever remembered, echoed around them. Soren thought he heard another speaking, too, but only his grandfather was there.
Foolishly, he began to follow his grandfather’s order and imagined the winds rising and encircling them. He closed his eyes and asked them to warm again.
And they did.
The winds swirled around them in a cocoon of warmth, gently at first and then faster when he but thought the command.
Wider, he thought.
The winds loosened their hold on him and his grandfather and swirled in a larger circle, enclosing the cart and the horse. The animal tugged against the bit, whinnying its dismay and fear.
Away, Soren said.
Within seconds, the winds blew wider and wider, softer and softer, until they were gone and only silence filled the area. Shocked, Soren turned slowly and found his grandfather’s knowing gaze on him.
“How?” he asked him. “How is such a thing done?”

Don’t Know Much About Celtic Mythology….? 
By Terri Brisbin

Most people, most readers, know little more about Celtic mythology than its link to the upcoming holiday – Halloween. Called Samhain and pronounced Sow-in, Halloween celebrates the night when the ancient Irish and Celts before them believed that the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thin and could allow spirits and demons to pass between the worlds. Of course, those spirits and demons intended to cause mischief and mayhem.

So, the Druids (the priests of the Celts) would gather the people together and burn bonfires, sacrifice animals and crops to honor their gods. They would wear masks and parade around the fire. And, at the end of the night, they would light torches and carry the fire to their homes, lighting their hearths with it. 

That was pretty much my knowledge of the Celts until I met an author named Kenneth C. Davis at a book tradeshow and picked up a copy of his upcoming book titled Don’t Know Much About Mythology. Over the next year or so, I would browse through it, reading about different cultures and the way their belief in god/gods/goddesses developed. When the idea for my new Stone Circles series started swirling, I pulled the book from the shelf and read the section on Celtic Mythology.

Wow! The information about the Irish gods and goddesses was somewhat familiar but when I looked at the section about the ancient Celtic gods – worshipped by the Celts while they lived in Europe—I was blown away. . . and intrigued. And one of the biggest questions that drove my series struck me then: if seven is a number sacred to the Celts, why were there only six gods and goddesses worshipped?

What happened to the seventh one? What if there were indeed seven gods and goddesses but one decided she was more powerful and more important than the others? What if the six had to band together to defeat that one goddess to protect humanity and the world? What would have happened? What would happened later, years or centuries later, if the goddess rose once more?

All of those questions, and so many more, led me to create my series – The Novels of the Stone Circles – about the human descendants of those ancient Celtic gods and goddesses (even the evil one!) who are called on to serve humanity when that very threat happens. It’s a four book series that follows the Warriors of Destiny as they search for the places meant to imprison the evil goddess, even as they discover their own powers and the parts that the Fates mean for them to play.

For me, it’s a departure from my historical romances. Adding in the fantasy elements (gods and goddesses with elemental powers of nature, humans who can control the sun and storm and fire and earth and animals and more) made it both hard work and fun. I’ve just finished writing the third book of the four and it was some of the hardest and yet most exciting writing of my career! I’m what writers call a ‘pantser’ – I write by the seat of my pants! – and plotting out stories is difficult for me. With this series, I’ve had to plot and plan until my head hurt….but it was fun and I loved the overall result.

And, of course, since this fantasy story is based in real history (the chaos in Scotland that began with the death of King Alexander III), I had even more fun researching and working real historical tidbits and locations into the stories. In RAGING SEA, I was able to use a lot of information I gathered during my last trip to Scotland and to Orkney.

As I wrote this book, some strange and mystical things happened. Each of my stories involves a search for a circle of standing stones and I purposely did not use a famous or known circle, rather I found or ‘created’ one nearby those. In RAGING SEA, I looked at the map of the area known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site and decided to place ‘my’ circle in the middle of it and in the middle of the lake. While researching, I found recent sonar studies that reveal a large, circular, building or formation under the water, in the middle of that lake!

Cool, huh? Lots of weird and magical moments like that happened while writing RAGING SEA and the next book, too. Things I could not rationally explain. Things that I wrote that turned out to exist. Things that I ‘created’ that turned out to be real. But I consider that the magic of writing about the ancient Celts.

So now, this year, on Halloween as you celebrate by donning your masks and parading in them, you know that you are actually honoring ancient Celtic traditions and Druid practices! Happy Halloween!

My question for readers/visitors: Do you dress up on Halloween? What is your costume this year or what was your favorite costume in the past?

Terri is now finishing book three of the Novels of the Stone Circles series – BLAZING EARTH- which will be released in April 2016. For more information about all of her books and upcoming events, visit her website at

Terri Brisbin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author and three-time RWA RITA finalist, and has had her historical and paranormal romances published in more than 20 languages and 25 countries around the world since 1998. She’s written more than 33 novels, novellas and short stories for Berkley/Jove, Harlequin and Kensington Books. Now working on more romances for NAL/Signet and Harlequin, Terri has also self-published her backlist books.

When not living the glamorous life of a romance author in the southern NJ suburbs, Terri spends her time being a married mom as well as a dental hygienist to hundreds while plotting and planning future stories.

Follow Terri
Website | Facebook | @Terri_Brisbin | Goodreads

Something Wicked Rises Schedule:
Monday October 19th: 
Rainy Day Ramblings: The Uninvited by Cat Winters: Interview, Review and Giveaway

Tuesday October 20th: 
My Guilty Obsession: Hoodoo Apprentice Series by Lea Nolan : Guest Post & Giveaway
Talk Supe: Raging Sea by Teri BrisbiN Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

Wednesday October 21st:
Rainy Day Ramblings: House of Whispers by J.L. Bryan: Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

Thursday October 22nd:
Rainy Day Ramblings: Tour Stop: Illluminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman: Review and Giveaway
My Guilty Obsession: Donovan Circus Series by Liz Long Guest Post and Giveaway

Friday October 23rd: 
Rainy Day Ramblings:: The Imperial Series by Tyler H. Jolley Guest Post and Giveaway
Talk Supe: Persuasion by Martina Boone Guest Post and Giveaway

Monday October 26th:
Rainy Day Ramblings: Bitterroot by Heather Hildenbrand and S.M. Reine: Guest Post and Giveaway

Tuesday October 27th: 
Rainy Day Ramblings: Against a Brightening Sky by Jaime Moyer: Guest Post, Review and Giveaway
My Guilty Obsession: Under the Blood Moon Series and Dead Girl Running by Ann Noser Guest Post and Giveaway
Talk Supe:  Owl & The City of Angels by Kristi Charish Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

Wednesday: October 28th:
Rainy Day Ramblings: Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep: Review, Interview and Giveaway

Thursday October 29th:
Heidi@ Rainy Day Ramblings: Pirateship Down by Suzanne Johnson: Interview, Review and Giveaway

Friday October 30th: 
My Guilty Obsession: The Last Descendant by Megan Haskell

Saturday October 31st: Wrap up/ Giveaway

Talk Supe


  1. It sounds like a really nice series! I like the fct that we have a mythology like that behind the story!

    1. I do love it. I thought it was all make believe, I was surprised to know that the series has more than a grain of "truth" in it

  2. I love candy corn!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for sharing your favorite with me too :)

  3. Okay that is seriously cool about the "real" circle actually being there, I mean how crazy is that? Great post!!

    1. I'm starting to think TB is fae or something like that

  4. I really do appreciate when a series has a new heroine every book, even though I do have a few favorites where it's the same MC. I really have wanted to get more into UF lately so I'll have to give this series a shot one of these days. Glad to hear Raging Sea was a better experience than book 1 for you!

  5. OOH Braine I LOVE Celtic mythology thanks for the giveaway and great review!

    1. Fantastic! One customer is better than none ;)

  6. I love Celtic mythology and Shannara and Nora Robert's Circle trilogy are two of my all time favorites...though I am so behind on the Shannara books! I'm definitely adding this to my wishlist with those comparisons!

    1. I was so excited that I commented before I saw the giveaway! LOL

      My fav Halloween candy is Reeses and I'm dressing as a witch to hand out candy!!

    2. Hahaha, that's okay... also Reese's is fast becoming the favorite

  7. Thanks so much for your review! I'm glad you liked it...

    1. You're welcome. Thanks for the fantastic GP :)

  8. Love them characters who are first impressive as individuals, and then as a couple. Hate those defined by whoever happens to share their bed. Urgh! :\

    1. I'm guessing you don't like erotica? BDSM? Virgin heroines?

  9. This sounds fantastic. I want to read this. I love the sound of the mythology.

  10. They sound like good characters to read about on their own and together.

  11. I thought this one was much better than the first book, too. I can't wait for the next book.

    1. Saw your review before I started reading. Thanks for the encouragement. I wasn't keen on it as I was so so with the first book

  12. I love that cover. I wanna read it now

  13. That as definitely an interesting excerpt.

  14. That's good you enjoyed this one mroe than the first book. It sounds like a great fantasy books with interesting characters. And that's fun to have a fantasy series where each book features a different couple.

    1. Yeah it keeps things fresh while the series arc moves along

  15. I love a good Celtic mythology, and I don't read enough of it. This looks like a fun one. Great review.

    1. Thanks Melanie, I hope this rec will work for you :)

  16. Ahhh the PS is my problem right now. I got book 2 for review (and was sent book 1) but haven't had a chance to fit two into the schedule vs 1. I am determined though. This one sounds great!

    1. It's hard to squeeze in books, I feel your pain that's why I'm looking for more and more standalones. Dive and enjoy

  17. Oooo. Now you've caught my eye with this one. I'm curious about the series now. :) Thank you. I'm wondering if the first book was the way it was for it's the start of the series. Or maybe it's the characters in it. :)

    Halloween... I'll be partying with friends so my favorite treat will be an Apple Ale. ;D lol. In candy, I love Smarties!

    1. I think it's best if you read it back to back in case you struggle with book 1 like I did

  18. I am a big fan of Harley Quinn and loved the year I was brave enough to do a costume based on the character.

    1. I saw some amazing videos and photos in IG of the make up, so awesome!

  19. This series sounds interesting. I like how the story continues, but with a different couple. Glad you enjoyed the sequel despite the first book being a bit rocky.

  20. I'll leave the UF/Paranormal Fantasy to experts like you, B. :)

  21. I can definitely go for some epic fantasy romance right now.

  22. Ooo I like that the rituals are darker and bloodier. Celtic mythology just speaks to me. Glad to see book two really picked up the pace and worked better for you.

    1. We need more of Celtic myth, it's one of those pantheons that haven't been "overdone" yet.

  23. I am loving the setting of this one, ancient gods and a mega villain! That sounds really cool, especially with the magic and the myhology. Awesome review Braine!

    1. If you love villains like I do, you will definitely enjoy Hugh

  24. I love stories set in medieval times, Braine, and Raging Sea sounds very good! Especially because the female MC didn't know she had powers until the storm. Both magic and mythology are high up on my list of features that makes a good story better, so I'm definitely adding this to my TBR.
    Great review, Braine!
    I hope you're having a fantastic week xoxo

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. Thanks, lexxie. I am but I can always spend it in Spain ;)

  25. Ooh, I love getting the story of where her inspiration came from! I love Celtic mythology and that Brisbin incorporated history as well, so I'll add this series to my tbr. (although, I'm pretty sure book #1 is already there thanks to you) I'm glad Raging Sea really pulled you in, Braine. And who could resist rooting for a megalomaniacal villain?!?

    1. I love those eerie coincidences. I'm thinking is she Fae?

  26. I love it when the characters are great individually and as a couple! I don't dress up anymore, but I still love seeing everyone's costumes at Halloween. Excellent review and wonderful guest post!

    1. Me too! I wish I'm skillful or talented enough to do face painting/costume make up. Alas I'll just watch from the sidelines

  27. I am very tempted :) Any vikings especially with the name like Soren? :) Might skip the first book and go straight to this one :)


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