Friday, January 31, 2014

**Blog Tour Review & Giveaway ~ Eire's Viking ~ Sandi Layne**

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Sandi Layne's Éire’s  Viking. This is the second book in Ms. Layne's Éire’s Viking Trilogy. I read and reviewed Éire’s Captive Moon last year. I LOVED it! You can read my review by clicking here. My stop today includes all the details for the book, my review, my interview with Ms. Layne, and a giveaway.

This tour is presented by The Writer's Coffee Shop.

Éire’s Viking by Sandi Layne 
Published by The Writers Coffee Shop
Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ten years after Charis marries Cowan at the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, Agnarr Halvardson returns to the Green Island—this time, to stay.  He wants what any man wants: To make a life for himself, wed, and have sons.

Before he can express these goals, he is injured and taken to Bangor Monastery.  There, Aislinn—adopted daughter of Cowan and Charis—treats him as a patient while she ignores the immediate attraction he holds for her.

Agnarr decides Aislinn would be a good wife for him as she teaches him her language and customs. She commands his respect and wins his affection. The past is just one barrier of many between them, however.

There are new invaders to Éire. Pledging his loyalty to the new king of Dál Fiatach, Agnarr prepares to defend his new home while persuading Aislinn to be his wife.

Success or failure will affect the lives of many.

I'd like to begin by saying that Ms. Layne's storytelling abilities made such an impression, creating such a vivid, rich, and detailed story with Éire’s Captive Moon, that although it's been a year since I read it, I was immediately immersed in the story and this world.
In Éire’s Captive Moon, the first book of the trilogy, we are introduced to three different cultures that would eventually combine in Ireland as the Vikings (and others) began settling there. Éire’s Viking gives us the story of Agnarr as he leaves his home to begin a new life in Éire

Éire’s Viking sees Agnarr give up his warring ways in favor of fulfilling his dream of finding a wife and having sons. We see him struggle as he learns a new language, works at winning a wife from this land he now calls home, and desires to hold onto the religion of his homeland even as he questions the power of his gods in this new land. His beliefs are shaken as he witnesses Aislinn, who he'd like to call wife, live her life as her One True God would wish - even forgiving the Northmen of their trespasses.

Although Éire’s Viking is not as action-packed as Éire’s Captive Moon - no sea voyages or the battle scenes of the Vikings' plunders - it is every bit as exciting and enjoyable. There is still the ever-present threat of invasion, not only from the Northman, but also the Danes. There is illness. And there is the concern over damage from the sharp tongues of Charis and Aislinn. :) The feel is different in this story. It's almost as though the first book was Agnarr as a brash youth, and this second part of his story shows his softer side.

I'll admit I was 'Team Agnarr' in Éire’s Captive Moon. It's not that I don't love Cowan - I do - but I really admire the Viking. I believed Agnarr's fate was Charis. However, after meeting Aislinn, I championed her. I do believe in things working out as they're meant to (even in fiction ;) and although Agnarr's fate did lie in Éire, it wasn't as he had imagined. Ms. Layne did a phenomenal job describing the inner turmoil Agnarr felt at feeling vulnerable, and giving up some of his culture - some of himself - in order to cultivate his new life.

Aislinn was a young daughter of Ragor, the village Agnarr and his men destroyed when they captured Charis. Upon Charis and Cowan's return, they adopted Aislinn as their daughter. Aislinn has been trained as a healer, which is how she and Agnarr come to meet. It seems as though Aislinn's One True God has a few lessons for both she and Agnarr.

Aislinn is spirited and strong, as any daughter of Charis' would be. She's talented, beautiful and spiritual. It was a joy to witness her fight against the feelings she'd always harbored against Agnarr for what he'd done to Charis and Ragor, and the feelings that grew as she spent time healing him. It was also a pleasure seeing Aislinn fall in love but also stay true to her beliefs in the face of such intense emotion where Agnarr was concerned.

Charis and Cowan are huge presences, of course. I delighted in seeing them again and was greatly satisfied with the life they've built together over the last ten years. The love they share together and with Aislinn is beautiful. And although I was holding out for a union between Charis and Agnarr, I found myself thrilled that Agnarr found his true wyrd. The mystery of Charis' otherworldliness - her agelessness, her ability to touch fire without being burned, among other things - still exists. I'm anxious to see how Ms. Layne resolves this.

Again, I feel Ms. Layne did an incredible job of conveying life in the early 800's. She is a gifted storyteller and I appreciate her research and the historical accuracy of her story. Éire’s Viking was every bit as captivating as the first installment and I'm eager to see how this story will end.

**I received an eARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. **

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

An, very open-ended. I like it. *grin* A little bit about myself? I love storms. Sandstorms, hurricanes, lightning. When I was a little girl, I'd sometimes awaken in the middle of the night, bundle up in a blanket, and sit by a large window to watch a good storm. Sometimes, I still do.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Well, for me, writing is a constant. If I'm not actually typing, my head is working through story issues, creating character seminars, or making up backstories for other characters. This is done while I am doing laundry, running errands (I talk to myself while driving), and cooking dinner. 

But I also enjoy other forms of entertainment. I like watching classic movies, like The Lion in Winter, The Philadelphia Story, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I love to read, of course. I also lift free weights and am working on increasing endurance with them.

In addition to all of this, of course, I have a husband and two sons (aged 19 and 12) with whom I weave a life. :)

How did you choose the genre(s) you write in?

I began writing historical romances and I still really enjoy that genre, of course. But I also like contemporary inspirational romances as well as historical fiction. Why romance? I honestly don't know if I have a "good reason" for that. I am possibly the least romantic romance writer I know. I think it's because there's a challenge in writing a romance. I find I am challenged by a character pairing ("How to make a deaf pianist and arrogant composer fall in love?") or a situation ("How does a man fall in love with a woman he has wronged, and how does he get her to love him in return?"). But sometimes, I just have an idea and have to run with it, even if it doesn't turn out to be all deep and meaningful. 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Oh, wow. There are so many authors I could name. Stephen R. Lawhead and his Pendragon Cycle, Harper Lee, Anne McCaffrey and he world of Pern, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Julie Garwood, Francine Rivers...And of course, I got into reading (and later writing) romances when my mother introduced me to a pastel-covered paperback titled Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I learned from all of these authors as well as a library of others, and I hope I always will. 

Why are readers going to love Éire’s Viking?

I think readers will enjoy this historical romance because I present them with rich, complex protagonists who overcome some serious obstacles on their way to loving one another. Angarr, my Northman, is a strong male character with a definite plan for his future and the means to achieve it. He's handsome, charismatic, and a protective warrior. But he's working from a position of unaccustomed disadvantage as the story opens, and I think this will appeal to readers who want to relate to an alpha male character.

Readers will also like Aislinn, my heroine. She's smart, is waiting to marry until she loves someone, and is completely taken aback when she is attracted to Agnarr at first sight. It's chemistry at first, but even though there are many strikes against Agnarr, Aislinn is able to forgive from a position of strength and with options. She's a good heroine for her age, I believe, but one whom todays' reader will relate to as well.

And, too, anyone who wants to read more about Irish culture or Viking beliefs should enjoy this middle book of my trilogy. There is more than a romance involved in this story; there are concepts of culture-breeding, understanding, forgiveness, self-determination, and self-discover that should resonate with the modern reader.

What was your favorite part or character to write and why?

One part I particularly had fun with was when Agnarr and Aislinn draw pictures to communicate early on in the story. In order to allow there to be chemistry between these two characters, I had to make it so that Agnarr couldn't tell Aislinn who he was, at first, and I had to give her reason to maintain a relationship of sorts (physician/patient) with him. This led me to researching what kind of injury would rob him of his speech and possibly his short term memory-even for a very short period of time.

But, I will say that though I very much enjoy a challenge, I do not plan on ever giving such a major communication problem between my hero and heroine again!

What project are you working on now?

Right now, I'm working on the third book of the trilogy, Éire’s Devil King. I'm also working on a Regency Romance.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for reading. Thank you for letting me take you with me into my interpretation of the world. I hope you find the time we share to be memorable and that you'll come back soon.

Thanks, Sandi!

There are many profiles that detail the author’s lifelong dream of authorship being realized with the publication of their first novel or short story.  This is not one of those profiles.To make an exceedingly odd story more so, Sandi Layne had no wish to be a writer, but went through a storyline bootcamp in the form of strange dreams for a month and took careful notes.  Fifteen years later, she’s still writing stories that veer slightly off the beaten path, both in Christian and historical fiction.
Married for more than twenty years to a very tolerant (and brilliant!) man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends.  Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction for both reading and research. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions. 
If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter.  She invites you to visit her online space at Bring coffee.

Connect with Sandi Layne on Facebook and Goodreads

Other books by Sandi Layne
(on Goodreads)

reviews: 19
ratings: 41 (avg rating 4.44)

reviews: 18
ratings: 30 (avg rating 4.40)

reviews: 2
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.40)

reviews: 4
ratings: 3 (avg rating 5.00)

Summer's Music
reviews: 1
ratings: 4 (avg rating 5.00)


  1. Thank you, Brandee, for hosting! So glad you enjoyed. :)

    1. It's my pleasure, Sandi! Thanks for sharing this world and these characters with me! :)

  2. The rich and vivid storytelling makes this sound amazing

    1. It is sooo amazing, Brandi! I love this series. :)

  3. I went back and read your review of the first book. You had me hopping on the rafflecopter but quick. I still haven't tried my hand at historical romance. The author mentioned three movie classics I absolutely love! And I miss staying up late and watching a good storm. We just have rain, drizzle, downpour. I'm adding this series to the list, of course!!

  4. It seems that Ms. Layne did an excellent job on the research and turning it into a really captivating story. Great review, Brandee!

  5. Ohhh Viking? now that sounds different- I dont read much historical but I may have to check this one out! Great review

    1. Vikings were not originally my thing, but I really got into the Norwegian society when I worked on these stories.

  6. I love TWCS... I wonder why I didn't get an invite for this?! LOL

    Anyway, I love vikings & this sounds like another winner. Norse myth is so interesting for me and that surely seeps in their society. Them Vikings are so frickin sexy!

    Lovely interview too, Agnarr & Aislinn sounds lovely with their drawings (although I don't think lovely is the best word to use)

    1. Hi, Braine TS!

      If you're into Vikings, check out the first book, Éire's Captive Moon, as that spends most of its time in Nordweg, with the Northmen. I hope you like Agnarr. :)

      And doesn't Brandee present a great interview? :)


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??