Sistersong by Lucy Holland

In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, there is old magic to be found in the whisper of the wind, the roots of the trees, the curl of the grass. King Cador knew this once, but now the land has turned from him, calling instead to his three children. Riva can cure others, but can’t seem to heal her own deep scars. Keyne battles to be accepted for who he truly is—the king’s son. And Sinne dreams of seeing the world, of finding adventure.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold, their people’s last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. However, change comes on the day ash falls from the sky. It brings with it Myrdhin, meddler and magician. And Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear them apart.

Riva, Keyne and Sinne—three siblings entangled in a web of treachery and heartbreak, who must fight to forge their own paths. 

Their story will shape the destiny of Britain. (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Orbit and Angela Man for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Sistersong will be available on October fifth.

Sistersong is a study in contradictions. Beautiful but brutal. Sad but hopeful. Large but intensely personal. I suppose that it only makes sense that my impressions would be rather contradictory as well.

The book tells a tale of change, of the way a single choice can turn a world on its head. Riva, Keyne, and Sinne are three siblings, each with their own struggles and desires. Keyne wants to be accepted for who he is, but is struggling against the preconceptions of others. Riva considers herself “broken” after a childhood accident and it colors her choices. Sinne longs for something more than her daily routine. Together, these three might either lose- or save- their people and themselves.

The tone was set from the get-go. The reader is introduced to a land and time that is divided, with older traditions being assimilated into the newer ones started by the arrival of Christianity. There was an interesting give and take between the old and the new, with the struggle being represented by two very different and distinct characters: Mrydhin, magician of legend; and Gildas, the Christian priest. While I found the struggle between the old and the new interesting, I was also a little disappointed. The changing of religions and cultures can be fascinating, but instead of a nuanced exploration of the meaning behind the changes and the possible ramifications, Gildas was reduced to a typical villain. I would have liked to see a more complex range of motivations for his actions, instead of seeing the old magic as “good” and the new religion as “bad”. That being said, Mrydhin was written brilliantly. I loved his world-weary wisdom and the way he put people and things into position before letting everything play out as it willed. He manipulated those around him like he was playing a game of chess and I was completely on board with it.

The book was told from the points of view of the three siblings. First, there was Sinne. Sinne was beautiful, stubborn, and capricious. She also had the ability to see bits and pieces of the future. I wanted to shake her ninety percent of the time. I believe that is the reaction the author was going for, and she succeeded magnificently. I refrained from yelling at a fictional character, but it was touch and go there for a bit. Her storyline ended up being incredibly important, and she was a catalyst for some of the biggest moments in the book, so I can’t resent her too much.

Keyne wanted to be seen and accepted. His storyline was one I really enjoyed, as he grew in confidence and knowledge. His was the most fantasy-esque part of the book, with battles, sieges, and magic. He added immensely to the feel to Sistersong, showing magic always lurking just under the surface and around corners.

Then, there was Riva. Riva was horribly burned in an accident as a child. As a result, she only had the use of one hand. She grew up accepting the lie that she was lesser than, a broken thing to be pitied. All of her choices revolve around this belief. I felt sad for her, while at the same time being frustrated at the way her insecurities were easily exploited.

Taken separately, none of these characters would be able to carry a story of this magnitude. After all, the fate of a kingdom lies in the balance. Together, a tale is told that is captivating. I have read that it is a loose retelling of an old ballad called ‘The Twa Sisters’. I’ve never heard the ballad before, but Sistersong does have a songlike quality to it. It flowed well and ended in a way that was both satisfying and a little sad.

The book moved along at a good pace, starting slowly and building up to a breathtaking climax. I had a “holy whoa” moment when the reason behind the title was explained. I did not see that coming. While I didn’t love Sistersong (mainly because of the way the struggle between older beliefs and new was simplified), I did find myself eagerly picking it up whenever I had the chance. It was enthralling and utterly unique.

I recommend Sistersong to readers who have grown up on Arthurian myths or who like hints of magic shining in-between the struggle to survive.

Giveaway: Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde

Can you find the famous person hidden in every story?
Dreamers, singers, heroes, and killers – they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves, they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth?
These are people you know, but not as you know them.
Peel back the mask and see. (taken from Amazon)

I really enjoyed Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde. It is unique and thought-provoking. You can find my review here.

Author Simon Van Der Velde is giving away three signed, limited edition copies of Backstories. To enter, take the Backstories Challenge: can you figure out who this is?

TAKE THE BACKSTORIES CHALLENGE
Find the lost little boy in this story for you chance to win – one of three signed, limited
edition review copies of the Amazon bestseller, Backstories

To enter, click on the Backstories Challenge. Solve the challenge and submit your guess. Good luck!

Dragonlance Chronicles Giveaway: And the Winners Are…

Image Credit: Larry Elmore
Logo Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Banner Credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

I have had a great time discussing (okay, gushing over) the Dragonlance series this week. Now I get to announce the winners of the Dragonlance Chronicles trilogy.

Drumroll please…

And the winners are:

The Swordsmith

and

Tom’s Book of Grudges


Congratulations! Please contact me (wittyandsarcasticbookclub@gmail.com or dm me on Twitter @WS_BOOKCLUB) and I’ll get your prizes to.

Last Memoria Giveaway: And the winner is…

Prior to her upcoming release of Scars of Cereba, (the cover is gorgeous!), author Rachel Emma Shaw has generously offered to give three people ebook copies of Last Memoria, the first book in the duology. Without further ado, here are the winners:

Sue’s Musings
Bees and Books
I’m All Booked Up YA

Congratulations! Please contact me so I can get you your books. Enjoy!

Scars of Cereba by Rachel Shaw: Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Today, I get to exclaim over a book, one that I am very excited for. I have been fortunate to have read Last Memoria (review here) , which is book one in the Memoria duology. I say fortunate, because it was really, really good. Scars of Cereba, the continuation of the story, will be available to purchase on May tenth! It looks absolutely fantastic and the cover is a thing of beauty. If you haven’t yet read Last Memoria, now is the time, so you can continue right on with Scars of Cereba. Keep scrolling to see the cover of Scars of Cereba, and to enter a giveaway for an ebook version of Last Memoria.

And here it is!

Sometimes I loved her. Sometimes I hated her. Sometimes I was her and wanted to die.

Falon’s mind is broken. Sarilla returned his memories to him, but in doing so, she fractured him into the man he was before she took them and the man he became after they were stolen. He’s fighting to rejoin his two halves, but locked up in the prison below the palace with his neck already fitted for the hangman’s noose, time is quickly running out.

But it’s more than just Falon’s memories that are fighting for control of his mind. So are those of the memory thief who caused all his problems in the first place. Sarilla. The woman half of him loves, but the other half hates.

Her memories have stained his eyes black, causing everyone to fear what Falon has become. He needs to find a way out of this mess, but it’s not going to be easy. Especially since all three of the people in his head have very different plans for how to go about it.

Scars of Cereba is the concluding book in the Memoria Duology, sequel to the SPFBO 2020 finalist, Last Memoria, a story about a memory thief on the run and desperate to be forgotten. (Taken from Amazon)


The author has generously provided copies of Last Memoria that will go to three lucky winners. To enter the Last Memoria ebook giveaway, all you need to do is drop a comment. It can be a comment on the gorgeous cover, a funny joke, a “Hey, you”, or even just a “‘Sup”. I’ll announce the winners on Tuesday, February 9th. Good luck!

Sarilla has learnt one thing from stealing memories. Everybody lies.’A dark fantasy thriller about love, lies and memory thieves, perfect for readers searching for a new type of fantasy, one filled with real characters on heart-breaking journeys. Think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but with memory thieves and fantasy monsters!’There’s nothing Sarilla hates more than stealing memories, but the king forces her to do it, needing to keep his subjects in line. Sarilla wants to escape to where nobody knows what she is or what she can do, but her plans go awry when she runs into someone she would much rather forget.Falon has a six-month void in his memories that he’s desperate to restore. He doesn’t know why they were taken or what they contained, nor why the man he loves is acting so cagily about what happened during that time. He hopes to use Sarilla to get back what was stolen from him and isn’t interested in why she’s so desperate to escape. She will help him get back what he’s lost, whether she wants to or not.Join Sarilla and Falon in this twisted tale about how sometimes good intentions aren’t enough to keep the darkness at bay. (taken from Amazon)




Giveaway- The Rome of Fall by Chad Alan Gibbs

The Rome of Fall by [Gibbs, Chad Alan]
              After leaving mysteriously two decades ago, financial ruin and his dying mother have brought Marcus Brinks back to his hometown of Rome, Alabama. Brinks, the former lead singer of ’90s indie-rock band Dear Brutus, takes a job teaching at his old school, where years ago, he and his friend Jackson conspired to get Deacon, the starting quarterback, and resident school jerk, kicked off the football team. Now it’s Jackson, head coach of Rome, who rules the school like Caesar, while Deacon plots his demise. This time Brinks refuses to get involved, opting instead for a quiet life with his high school crush, Becca. But will dreams of domestic bliss go up in flames when repercussions from the past meet the lying, cheating, and blackmail of the present? (taken from Amazon)

I’m so excited to announce my first giveaway on my blog: The Rome of Fall by Chad Alan Gibbs ( find my review here). As I remarked to a fellow blogger, at this point Chad Alan Gibbs could write a book about the color beige, and I’d be excited to read it. The Rome of Fall is an incredibly enjoyable nostalgia-filled book, and is easily one of the best books I’ve read in quite a while.

Chad Alan Gibbs has generously offered five physical copies as prizes! However, if you aren’t one of the lucky winners, you can pick up your own copy on March 17th.

So, now to the rules:
1. U.S. residents only for this particular giveaway
2. Comment below so I can add you to the drawing. Something as simple as “Yo” or “Wazzup!”  works great, but I’d love to hear a memory/song/etc that makes you nostalgic for the 90’s.
3. The contest ends Friday, March 20th. I’ll list winners here, as well as on a separate post, so keep your eyes out.

That’s it. You’re in. While I’ve got you here, I also highly recommend Chad Alan Gibbs’ debut novel, Two Like Me and You.