Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Interview: Viking Fire by Andrea Cooper

I have the great pleasure of having author Andrea Cooper with me on the blog. Viking Fire sounds like such an interesting story that I just had to pick Andrea's brain about it. Enjoy the interview, and stick around for the giveaway! 

Where did you get the idea for Viking raiders? The premise sounds quite intriguing.

I love history. Just reading through events can spark an idea for me. The Vikings weren’t just raiders, they were also traders and explorers. They traveled as far as Egypt, Greenland, Iceland, and Asia. We even have who discovered America wrong, it was the Vikings

Did you already know quite a bit about Vikings, or did you have to conduct much research?

I do know a lot about the Vikings, but I still did research to check a few things. I love research, when it’s a favorite subject, so I have piles of notes and books.

While conducting your research what was one unique, intriguing, or mystifying fact you have come across?

Actually it was the start of the idea for this book. I read that my great-grandfather’s name McLaughlin or Laughlin was thought to be derived from Lochlann which is the Gaelic word for Viking. Some historians believe a Viking could have married an Irish princess and their son would have been called McLochlann (meaning son of Lochlann).

Vikings married other nationalities to gain land, money, etc. On the wife’s side, her family gained protection against raiders and a Viking to help fight against other clansmen.

All of this information made me think about this arrangement, and what if the heroine hated Vikings, and refused to succumb to her families’ agreement of the marriage?

What was your favorite part in writing Viking Fire?

The dialogue between Kaireen and Bram. He banters with her while she won’t let go of her stubbornness. Also Elva snuck up on me. She starts off in the book as Kaireen’s handmaid, but she has secrets of her own. Even I didn’t know her secrets until writing the story when she revealed them to me and Kaireen.

What can readers look forward to from Kaireen and Bram in Viking Fire?

A sweet love story between a feisty Irish lass and a charming Viking. I loved writing the maturation of Kaireen into a woman who accepts love no matter preconceived notions, and Bram’s persuasion. 

***Giveaway Time***
Andrea Cooper is kindly giving away one (1) ebook copy of Viking Fire to one lucky commenter. Open Internationally! To enter, please leave a comment for Andrea about the interview or Viking Fire. For extra entries, tweet this post, and leave a comment saying you tweeted. 

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Viking Fire by Andrea Cooper

Today author Andrea Cooper celebrates the release of her second novel, Viking Fire, a historical romance published by Crimson Romance. To celebrate with Andrea Cooper, Leatherbound Reviews is hosting a cover reveal for Viking Fire
Stop back on Wednesday for an author interview and ebook giveaway! 

856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.
Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

Excerpt Viking Fire : Chapter One
Ireland 856 CE

“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown. Dressed only in her
leine, she glared at the new gown on the stone floor.

“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.” She wore her white hair twisted in a chignon, underneath a linen head cloth. Strands of white hair poked out the sides of her covering.

“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.

Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor. Why was she not born plain like her two older sisters? Already they had married and expected their second bairns by spring. Well, at least so far she had enjoyed twenty years of freedom. Neither of her sisters had had matrimonial dreams of love matches. Both were arranged marriages.

“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.

Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Many a raid has come from them. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”

Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight.
Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of
Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.

“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.

“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”

“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled at her. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.”

Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”

“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.

“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: This Love by Nazarea Andrews

Needing money to attend her sister’s destination wedding and for rent, Avery Emili searches for a summer job—not how she planned on spending the summer before her senior year at Branton University. When Avery comes across a research assistant’s position, she could not be happier. If she is going to have to work this summer, why not do something up her ally? The summer position sounds perfect, until she meets her boss, Professor Atticus Grimes.

Atticus Grimes needs to find a research assistant for the summer or face losing his research grant.  The minute he sets his eyes on Avery, he knows this is a bad idea. How can he have a research assistant who looks like that and manage to keep the business strictly professional?

Avery and Atticus, both, are broken and have unresolved pasts. When their past relationships refuse to let go peacefully, they each must find a way to help the other overcome the pain and the past before they can move forward.

As I read, I began wondering if Nazarea’s characters had a limited vocabulary. The amount of expletives used was staggering. The F-bomb, or a derivative of, was used a total of 139 times in this 331 page novel. And that’s not mentioning the cornucopia of other colorful words repeatedly used. Now, I do not mind swear words or crass language in a novel; I am fully aware that this is how some people talk. And if it is used for effect, even better. However, the superfluous swear words became grating.

Andrews gives her readers one steamy novel. I enjoyed seeing the lack of restraint Avery and Atticus have. In spite of their efforts to keep their relationship strictly professional, their closeness and desires get the best of them. I kept finding myself asking how, exactly, their relationship was going to work out. While I feel any girl would be lucky to have Atticus as a boyfriend—the dude has some mad skills—I wasn’t a fan of every juicy detail each time they copulate. Sometimes more is less. It would have been nice to have had something left to the imagination, but that was taken away by each detailed scenes.

While I have these two issues with This Love, they are not too deterrent as I am eager to read Andrews’s second Branton University novel, Beautiful Broken.

This Love is a fun summer novel. I suggest reading it by the pool, so when things get too hot, you can take a dip and cool off.

FTC disclaimer: review copy provided by author

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Kindle | Nook