Zoraida would rather eat nails than leave her quiet, comfortable life in rural Arkansas where she and her ex-boyfriend Al run a little head shop, er, natural food market. But crazy Granny is dying and the only thing that will save her—according to the old witch—is a magic crystal.
Trouble is the crystal is in Scotland.
In a haunted castle.
Surrounded by a family of psychopathic witches.
How hard can it be to steal one little crystal? What could possibly go wrong?
Find out in Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, book 1 in a modern Gothic romance trilogy. (Hint: the answers are VERY and EVERYTHING.)
We are in a land of green hillsides and bubbling brooks. Jagged ridges drop sharply to murky lochs and craggy mountains. The highway winds up the side of a hill and whips ninety degrees around, heading down the other side.
“You don’t suppose that’s it, do you.” Zhu sticks her head out the window like a puppy. The wind lashes
her long hair around her head. She points across a wide valley.
I suck in a sharp breath, and it’s all I can do not to stomp the brakes. On the very tiptop of a rocky crag, a castle overlooks the steel blue waters of a narrow loch. Gray walls and turrets cast long, dark shadows across the clustered houses of a village huddled beneath the curve of the hill. Flickers of green and blue shimmer around the castle walls, subtle but steady. The entire place glows with magic.READ MORE
“Sweet Mother Merryweather!” I cast quick glances from the twisting road to the castle. A green roadside sign reads Black Bridge with the Gaelic name Loch an Drochaiddubh below.
As we approach the village, the castle looms against the darkening sky, and the buzzards in my stomach do stunt dives. A tall black tower juts far above the rest of the castle walls. I squint, trying to focus on the tiny figure behind the crenelated fortifications at its very top. The back of my neck prickles as if unfriendly eyes are on me.COLLAPSE
Heather Gabriel on Paranormal Romance Guild wrote:
I had a hard time deciding what I liked most about this read: the zany, endearing and sometimes fearsome characters; the atmosphere, thick as a Scottish stranglehold mist; the deep vortex of dark magic that swirls around every conversation and description or the sheer beauty of the writing that, in some spots, was so good I paused to read a line a second time, just so I could relish it all over again.
The writer keeps you guessing between two gorgeous male Scottish witches as to who’s the bad ‘un (and I’m not telling) just as she makes you squirm on Zoraida’s behalf from time to time. Does Zoraida, a babe in the woods compared to her magically-endowed Scottish relations, have the power she’s going to need to survive Castle Logan, save her best friend and accomplish Granny’s mission? And just what is Granny’s real mission after all?
If you enjoy stories full of black humor with an intelligent plot, this is for you. I loved every word and I hope the next book in the series makes a speedy appearance, ‘cause even though this story stands very well on its own I’m hanging off a cliff and I absolutely need to read on!
Laura Dinsdale on InDTale Magazine wrote:
I absolutely loved this book!!! I have read so many books over the years; it is very hard to surprise me in a story. This story had surprises every few chapters. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, bam! Something occurs that changes your mind completely.
I loved the characters; they bring you right into the story. The magic, old family feuds, mystery and intrigue draws you in from the start of the story, keeps you interested during and wanting more by the end. I can’t wait for the next book in this series, I just have to see what happens next. What is Zhu up to? What is Granny up to? Who, if anyone can Zoraida trust? So many more questions, I can’t wait to find out the answers!
Lia L on The Romance Reviews wrote:
This spirited story has great insight to what it would be like to be able to read other people's minds. The author intertwines details from past to present to create a charming connection to Zoraida’s childhood that gives readers instant relatability to her. Friendship to the end is written with a new twist for Zoraida and Zhu. The characters grow in depth somewhat throughout the chapters and the story has a beautiful flow to it that makes it an easy read.
Riley Moreland on Whiskey With my Book wrote:
The story unfolds quickly with plenty of action to move it along. I like that the author does not do a lot of build-up but lets the action unfold as we meet the characters. You do get some backstory but it is clear that the author is keeping a lot of the story on hold for the next parts. If you don't enjoy cliff-hangers, you will want to pass on this story. You definitely have to read the next two to get the answers you are looking for.
This is a really fun magical adventure. It is light-hearted but has a serious, suspenseful edge to it as well. Zoraida is a great narrator for the tale and hearing everything from her point of view allows the author to surround her with characters who we are not really sure of their intentions. This is the first part of the story and I am looking forward to the next part. The author has delivered a fun experience and a great choice for those who enjoy paranormal stories with romance in the mix.
Family Stones is a contemporary fantasy that encompasses magic, mystery, wisdom, history, whiskey, tea and a cat. Most of the story takes place in an old castle in Scotland that is just filled up to the towers and and down to dungeons with atmosphere. The descriptions of Castle Logan bring the drafty medieval abode to life, complete with gates, crenelated fortifications, a keep, and, perhaps my favorite, an oubliette (a secret dungeon, with access only trough a trap door in its ceiling).
Magic runs in Zoraida’s family. Ms. DuBois paints magic as natural and logical, dark and light. Experience and training, of which Zoraida has the least, determine how well a person can wield its power. I do love it when the heroine has a challenge. Yes, she can read other people’s thoughts, but among the Logan clan, that talent is meager.