Book Review: VIKINGS: THE TRUTH ABOUT LAGERTHA AND RAGNAR

Since the TV series hit our screens, there has been a great deal of interest generated in the Vikings. Personally, and not having seen the series, I wasn’t bothered in finding out more about them. But then I read Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar by Rachel Tsoumbakos.

Before we go any further, here’s the fantastic front cover:And now here’s the blurb:

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel?

And just how long did their marriage last?

Plus, was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today?

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ will unravel all these secrets and reveal a story that is more interesting than anything you knew about them previously.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

Discover the truth today!

The ‘Viking Secrets’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and the extraordinary women who existed in the Viking era.

PLEASE NOTE: Each of the books in this series can be read as standalone books due to the nature of the sagas involved. Therefore, the book numbering indicates the order in which the stories were published and not the order in which they are required to be read.

My review:

This book has been cleverly written in two parts: the first part is what happened to both characters in story form; the second are historical facts. Both parts make for an extremely entertaining and interesting read.

In part one, Tsoumbakos brings the characters to life to such an extent that I was totally hooked and had trouble putting the book down. I became so invested in Lagertha and Ragnar’s story due to how well the characters were drawn. The emotions portrayed were relatable and not exaggerated giving additional intensity and showing the complexity of the characters. This shows the talent of the author.

The story itself was easy to follow and flowed effortlessly. The descriptions used, while not overdone, were sufficient for me to picture each scene as clearly as if I were there.

The dialogue was realistic, although we obviously don’t know for sure exactly how they spoke in the Viking era, but it gave extra depth to both the story and the characters.

Overall, I can honestly say it is one of the best stories I’ve read in the past six-months (and I’ve read quite a lot)!

With part two being more factual, I wasn’t gripped like I was with the story. However, the facts were well-presented and interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. Tsoumbakos has obviously researched the subject thoroughly and with the way this part is written, it’s easy to make correlations with part one.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book, even if you aren’t into Vikings. The story alone is exceptional enough to capture your interest and well worth investing in!

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Author Bio:

Rachel Tsoumbakos has had several articles published through mainstream magazines and currently writes extensively for The Inquisitr.

Over the years, Rachel has been interested in many aspects of history. When studying a Library Studies diploma, she discovered just how much she enjoyed researching and has since used these skills in several of her novels. However, it was her work with The Inquisitr that brought her into the world of the Vikings and she has spent several years delving into the sagas of this culture as well as the history of the Viking Era.

Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and a flock of chickens in the idyllic Yarra Ranges, Australia. When she isn’t writing, she is working on her cardio as she trains for the zombie apocalypse.

Amazon Buy Links:

hyperurl.co/LagsandRags

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And it’s 5-stars From Down Under

Today everything seems to be fine on the Heart Search: Betrayal blog tour. No technical problems so the gods are behaving themselves!

First up is the lovely Deborah Jay. She and I first met on Twitter and then in person at the Wold Fantasy Convention in Brighton, and again at FantasyCon in York, She has interviewed me so click here to read more.

We also have a review from my friend, the fabulous Rachel Tsoumbakos. You may remember she interviewed about a week ago and is a fellow author at Myrddin Publishing. I’m ecstatic over this review as Rachel is very discerning, Click here to read it.

Don’t forget, there’s still a week left to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway. Click on the link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Balls of Fire

I have to say, yesterday didn’t quite go as planned. One of the two scheduled posts went live, but the other one didn’t. I kept waiting and waiting, but by the time midnight rolled around, I was too shattered to check anymore and went to bed.

So today I’m combining two days in one post. What has she got in store for us I hear you ask. Lots including a competition, is my reply.

First there is an excerpt posted by the lovely Joy Keeney. Someone discovers they have a new gift and to say it’s explosive is an understatement. Click here to see what it is and who’s got it.

Secondly, we have an interview with my friend and fellow author at Myrddin Publishing, Rachel Tsoumbakos. She’s just released a new book called Unremembered Things, which I’m reading at the moment, so you’ll be seeing my review on this soon. It was fun to go ‘down under’ and visit Rachel again. Click here to read more.

Thirdly, my friend and the person who made virtually all the fantastically gorgeous items for my giveaway, Sarah-Jane Bird (Made by Birdies), and the amazing trailer for the book, posts her review of Heart Search: Betrayal. Click here to see if she loved it or hated it.

Here’s a reminder of that amazing trailer:

There might be a fourth post to add to the list, but I’m waiting for the time difference to catch up to find out. That’s the only problem when you have people in different time zones, however, I wouldn’t have it any other way, especially with those people who have been with me ever since Heart Search: Lost was first launched. I count everyone of those people my friends and am eternally grateful for all the help and support they’ve given me along the way.

Now for the competition. Just to see if you’ve been paying attention – who was the first person to give Heart Search: Betrayal a 5-star review during the blog tour. All the correct entrants names will be put into a randomizer and one person will receive a free eBook of Heart Search: Betrayal. Deadline for entries is midday GMT on 18th Feb.

Now don’t forget to enter the Giveaway if you haven’t done so already. Here’s the link in case you missed it before.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember, you could win things like this:

DSC_0063DSC_0061DSC_0021

Cover Reveal – Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos

Rachel Tsoumbakos is another of the shining stars in the Myrddin Publishing stable. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of her next book and now it’s getting much closer. Have a look-see at this great cover, read the blurb, and you’ve also been treated to an excerpt! Oh, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos

Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos (Genre: Paranormal Romance)

Unremembered Things (Wood Nymph Chronicles #1) by Rachel Tsoumbakos
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb

One woman, two worlds and nothing but UNREMEMBERED THINGS separating them.

Indiana Shamira has a dark secret that could shatter her version of reality and get her killed in the process. Now if only she could remember what it is…

When Indiana wakes with no memory of her past life and a vampire called Sam hanging from the rafters in her cellar, she knows things are about to get nasty. Not only does Sam know all about her previous life, but he seems intent on seducing her as well. Of course her boyfriend, Kurt, has different ideas – like making her open the portal to hell!

And then there is the nagging suspicion that Indiana is not entirely human, now she can see ghostly images from the Otherworld. Or could it be from the life she can no longer remember? They include the flickering effigy of Kurt and a redwood forest that conjures up deeply repressed magic.

Not only will Indiana have to risk everything to keep the door to another dimension closed, she will have to decide whether she is ready to lose her heart to someone who has more secrets than herself.

Set in the lush Australian bush, UNREMEMBERED THINGS is a fusion of fantasy, paranormal and forbidden romance.

Add to GoodReads

Purchase (Pre-order)

AMAZON

Excerpt

“It is time.” Her voice purred like a kitten, but Indiana suspected she was really a feral animal on the inside.

“For what?” Her voice was raspy, hesitant and unsure if she really wanted to know the answer. Somewhere, deep inside, she suspected she already knew.

“Just remember I’m doing this for us,” Sam whispered into her ear. “So we can be together forever.”

Before Indiana could question him further, she felt a flurry of hands over her body. Indiana tried to open her eyes, but a warm hand reached up and carefully covered them.

Indiana was bitten – hard, and she groaned in pleasure. Shocked by her unexpected display, she clutched her hands outwards. Feeling the writhe of skin on skin, she tried to pull herself free. The tickle of fingers across her neck and down her spine calmed her with their warm familiarity.

“It’s okay, Indiana.”

The feathery words danced across her skin, warm like a summer breeze. She stilled and let Sam’s fingers intertwine with her own, relieved by his simple touch.

Time seemed to move forward and Indiana was presented with brief snippets of fleeting images; Camilla biting Sam, biting her. Indiana enjoying the pain of Camilla’s sharp teeth as they gnashed at her neck, her thighs and her wrist. The flurry of skin and hands and teeth as they writhed together in the height of passion. Pale hands slithered over her own luminescent skin, then Sam’s darker skin brushed against her own, warming her and protecting her but against what she was unsure.

Then Camilla poised over Sam, a knife in her hand. A flash of blood as it splayed out from a gaping neck wound. Indiana’s involuntary gasp and then choking sob at the sight of the cavernous hole. Hungry sucking as Camilla drank her fill. A warm hand, its fingers still laced through hers, slowing turning ice cold.

Giveaway

PRIZE (international):

  • 1 x eCopy of Unremembered Things
  • 1 x eCopy of Metanoia
  • 1 x eCopy of The Ring of Lost Souls
  • 1 x $10 Amazon gift card

Rafflecopter giveaway. Click to Enter

About the Author

Rachel Tsoumbakos. Author of contemporary horror and paranormal fiction.Rachel Tsoumbakos is a stay home mother of two.

Her main passions are writing, reading and organic gardening. Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and eight chickens in the hills surrounding Melbourne, Australia.

While she has had several articles published through mainstream magazines, she has also written extensively for True Blood Net and the now defunct Suite 101.

When she is not tending to her organic veggie garden, she is working on her cardio as she trains for the zombie apocalypse.

Author Links

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | GOOGLE +PINTEREST

              

 

Cover Reveal: Unremembered Things by Rachel Tsoumbakos

As some of you may remember, I reviewed two of Rachel’s books earlier this year (Click here for a recap), so when I heard she’d written another one . . . SQUEEE! She’s a fabulous writer with a great imagination.

I’m honoured and excited to be able to reveal the cover of her latest book ahead of the launch and share the blurb. So . . . drumroll please . . . here is the cover to Unremembered Things:

Unremembered_Things_Cover_for_Kindle

Ooo, a heart drawn in blood – nice yet slightly creepy touch. Does that tell us anything about the sort of book this is? Well, let’s take a look at the blurb and find out:

One woman, two worlds and nothing but UNREMEMBERED THINGS separating them. 

Indiana Shamira has a dark secret that could shatter her very existence and get her killed in the process. Now if only she could remember what it is…  

Life is hard when you have amnesia. Indiana Shamira found that out the hard way when she woke one morning and found her whole life had been erased. Getting up out of bed and slipping her feet into fluffy purple slippers she could only assume were hers; she had the task of having to discover the world around her once more. 

When she finds a vampire called Sam hanging from the rafters in her cellar, she knows things are about to get nasty. Not only does Sam know all about her previous life, but he seems intent on seducing her as well. Of course her boyfriend, Kurt, has different ideas – like making her open the portal to hell! 

And then there is the nagging suspicion that Indiana is not entirely human, now she can see ghostly images from the Otherworld. Or could it be from her past life? They include the flickering effigy of Kurt and a redwood forest that conjures up repressed magic. 

Not only will Indiana have to risk everything to keep the door to another dimension closed, she will have to decide whether she is ready to lose her heart to someone who has more secrets than herself. 

Set in the lush Australian bush, UNREMEMBERED THINGS is a fusion of fantasy and forbidden romance.

Hmmm. Well, I don’t know about you, but this has definitely piqued my interest! Keep your eyes open on social media for news about the launch (I believe it’s due out sometime in December 2013) of this New Adult Paranormal Romance and be one of the first to get your hands on it. Don’t forget to leave the author a review!

I wish Rachel every success with her new book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it (hint, hint)!

ABOUT RACHEL

RachelRachel Tsoumbakos is a stay home mother of two.
Her main passions are writing, reading and organic gardening. Rachel lives with her husband, two kids, three cats and seven chickens in suburban Melbourne, Australia.

While she has had several articles published through mainstream magazines, she has also written extensively for Suite 101 and True Blood Net.

In between writing novels, Rachel also runs a successful copy-writing and formatting business.

Emeline and the Mutants is her first published novel and available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/EATMUP A new novel, The Ring of Lost Souls, set in an abandoned mental institute on the outskirts of Melbourne, is also available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/TROLSRT

Her current work in progress, Unremembered Things, is an edgy paranormal trilogy about a woman who is in charge of saving the world even though she suffers from amnesia. Make sure you follow her blog at  http://www.racheltsoumbakos.wordpress.com for more information.

Her newest endeavour is Zombie Apocalypse Now! This is a zombie apocalypse serial written entirely from a female perspective – and these gals know how to kick some butt!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rtsoumbakos

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/mrszoomby

About.Me: http://about.me/Rachel.Tsoumbakos

GoodReads link for Unremembered Things :  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17061976-unremembered-things

Links to other books by Rachel Tsoumbakos:

Emeline and the Mutants

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004PGNBCO

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/ie/book/emeline-and-the-mutants/id580299051

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/212929

Angus & Robertson: http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebook/emeline-and-the-mutants/39524764/

The Ring of Lost Souls

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00879OR6O

iTunes: https//itunes.apple.com/ie/book/the-ring-of-lost-souls/id551780796

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/212931

Angus & Robertson: http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebook/the-ring-of-lost-souls/36845144/

Zombie Apocalypse Now!

Amazon:

Part 1: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-Now-Part-ebook/dp/B00B7T1EXU/

Part 2: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-Now-Part-ebook/dp/B00BMH1B12/

Part 3: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-Now-Part-ebook/dp/B00C0KMGTQ/

Sanitarium Magazine (Parts 1-10): http://sanitariummagazine.com/

Book Reviews – Emeline & the Mutants / The Ring of Lost Souls

Well, I have a double whammy for you today – not one but two reviews!

I’ve recently read both of Rachel Tsoumbakos’s books back-to-back. Here’s what I thought of them:

Emeline And The Mutants

EATM

I’d heard some good things about this book and had wanted to read it for a while – I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.

It did take me a few pages to really get into this; the meticulous world building at the beginning read like a bit of an info-dump yet the author managed to keep my interest. Once I read past this, I was engrossed.

Emeline is feisty, independent and doesn’t take crap from anyone. She’s also a crack shot with both gun and bow and has a very keen sense of smell. With the exception of her brother, Warwick, all her family are dead, so when he’s murdered in their kitchen her world turns upside down.

I loved Emeline’s character. She is very well crafted as a sort of urban warrior who’s in the Australian bush. Her hardened exterior makes her a little aloof from people around her yet it’s understandable with all she’s been through. It was nice to see her vulnerable side emerge as a result of Warwick’s murder and endearing the way she grows to really care about Gwennie (Warwick’s girlfriend). When she sets out to discover why her brother was killed, Emeline has to dig deep in an effort to piece everything together whilst coping with her grief. What she uncovers shakes her foundations, especially when someone she trusts turns out to be the biggest villain of them all.

The supporting cast are equally as well drawn. Gwennie grows on you as she becomes Emeline’s companion; she has a gritty determination which blends well with her softer and more caring side. This makes her a perfect sidekick for Emeline. Milosh, the charismatic, caring and handsome leader is not all he seems and as the author’s skilled hand reveals his ‘alter ego’, we see a deliciously cold, power-driven, murderous individual who doesn’t care how many lives are lost (including that of his own brother) as long as he can continue down his chosen path. Besnik (Milosh’s brother) is a little difficult to puzzle out at first – can he be trusted or not? It is a testament to Tsoumbakos’s characterisation that she keeps you guessing as to his true intentions for a while.

The plot is well thought out and scarily believable. Tsoumbakos portrays the mutants and how they came into being in a plausible manner and the story races along at quite a pace. At the end I had a few unanswered questions, leading me to wonder whether a second book was being considered. However, there was enough closure for this to be a standalone novel and a damn good one at that. One of the things I liked most was the originality; this book is a blend of genres which work really well.

My only criticism of this very enjoyable read was the number of mistakes I found which should have been noticed and corrected prior to publication. This didn’t really spoil my reading pleasure, but did lose it one star.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this!

The Ring of Lost Souls

TROLS

This second novel by Rachel Tsoumbakos is an exciting blend of fantasy, paranormal and suspense.

Isobel, the main character, is starting to get her life back together after a painful break-up with her boyfriend and losing her job. She takes up jogging, and what she finds in the grounds of an abandoned mental facility radically changes her life.

Isobel has been well-crafted. She’s strong and determined, but also vulnerable and to a degree, a little too trusting – at first. The way she deals with events are totally realistic and readers can share her burgeoning love, fear, distrust and puzzlement as things unfold. This woman could have done with a little more laughter in her life, but it wasn’t the path she was meant to tread, so you never feel that it’s missing from the story. That, to me, is the sign of a good writer.

The supporting characters were also well written, especially Lottie. She’s quite mysterious and it’s not until the end you find out who she really is and what’s on her agenda.

The setting, Larundel, actually exists. The former mental hospital, as it’s depicted in the book, is a broken down building covered in graffiti, which is slowly being reclaimed by the flora and fauna surrounding it. It’s been plundered for most of its valuable assets and now resembles a bomb site with rubble, abandoned furniture and general rubbish left around to trip up the unwary. As Tsoumbakos takes you through the halls, wards and various rooms, you get a real sense of how it looks. It’s so well depicted you can easily picture it in your mind.

I loved the blending of genres in this book and the author builds the suspense in an artful way. Many a night I read into the wee small hours, because I just had to find out what was coming next. The fantasy and paranormal side is believable and put together in an interesting concept – one that I really enjoyed.

If there was one thing I didn’t like about this book, it was the number of missing words. However, putting that aside, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this – it’s a fantastic read!

So there you have it. Rachel Tsoumbakos sure knows how to spin a tale and keep a reader entertained. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! If you want to find out more, or better yet get a copy for yourself, click on the titles for links to Amazon.

Rachel

The lovely Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

For me!

I’ve just been nominated for this awesome award by my fellow blogger and friend Laura Thomas, and I’m blown away by it – thank you so much, Laura!

If you don’t know Laura you can find her on her blog http://fuonlyknew.wordpress.com . Her blogs are always entertaining and fun!

I understand I’m supposed to nominate 7 bloggers and tell you 7 things about myself. this is going to be the hard part, but I’ll try and give you a chuckle or three.

1. I love watching Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With The Stars in the US). Being a pro dance teacher, I love picking out faults and arguing with the judges, even though they can’t hear me.

2. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had three main cravings; white chocolate, lemon curd and hot cross buns. Guess what some of my daughter’s favourite things to eat are . . . yep, the three things I craved!

3. I read Tarot cards. I’ve had the ‘gift’ since I was a child, but didn’t realise what it was until my mum explained I come from a line of psychics (my grandmother was particularly strong). It’s only been the last year or so that I’ve properly started using my gift, having received training from my best friend who is a fabulous medium and teacher.

4. I hate ironing with a vengence and do as little as I can get away with. My mum used to iron everything, even underwear and it was a standing joke in our house that if you stood still too long, mum would either iron you, wash you or dust you!

5. I used to be in love with Patrick Swayze and it was my dream to dance with him (especially after I saw Dirty Dancing for the first time). When he died, I actually cried my eyes out. (I know it’s sad!)

6. I hate having grey hair and will go to any lengths to cover them up – not that I have very many but they’re right at the front in my fringe (I think you call them ‘bangs’ in the US) and stick out like the proverbial sore thumb! I don’t look my age and until recently I didn’t feel it so grey hair does NOT fit with the me I am and how I see myself. Usually I hide them subtly by having highlights of light blonde and bright red in my dark blonde hair but as my highlights had grown out and the grey was starting to show again, I decided to get one of these home colouring kits and have now gone a ruby red. This was quite a major step for me as I’ve never had an all-over colour change since I was about eighteen, &*?/^ years ago, but I’m happy to report it came out really well and I actually like it. It took a bit of getting used to though; I kept glancing in the mirror everytime I passed it to make sure it really was me! I’m past the narcissism now! Lol

7. I have quite a weird and wacky sense of humour. I use word-play in my humour, subtle remarks, and sometime sarcasm. I enjoy a good joke and love to laugh. It’s funny though, there are very few ‘comedians’ on the tv which really make me laugh.

Ok, now that I’ve revealed some of my inner self (some of it to my embarrassment) it’s now time for me to pass on the mantle.

My job now is to nominate 7 ladies who, in my opinion are worthy of this award. There are so many great bloggers out there so in some ways this is going to be a dificult choice. However, my first two nominees are easy to choose as their blogs are amazing, informative and entertaining. So without further ado,

My nominees are:

1. Alison DeLuca    http://alisondeluca.blogspot.com

2. Connie J Jasperson    http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com

3. Christine Nolfi     http://www.christinenolfi.com/blog/

4. Brianna Lee McKenzie    http://briannaleemckenzie.blogspot.co.uk/

5. Rachel Tsoumbakos   http://racheltsoumbakos.blogspot.co.uk/

6. Kathleen Barker   http://kateinla51.blogspot.co.uk/

7. Danielle Raver     http://danielleraverauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Good luck, Ladies, and congratulations!