A Time of Prophecy – Rebecca Crunden

This book contains:

  • Civil war
  • War crimes
  • Human experimentation (without consent)
  • Genocide
  • Murder.

Following Kitty, Nate and Thom throughout the book we’re constantly changing perspectives depending on what’s happening. All three are fighting fit and ready to accomplish anything they set their minds to.

Kickstarting the overall storyline for this book is Kitty being brought back into the Kingdom to stand trial for releasing a strain of the Plague that had no antidote and resulted in millions of people dying. When Kitty goes with them to be interviewed on her part in this happening, she learns the current state of the Kingdom and realises that she can’t continue with her life in the Outlands knowing what’s happening within the Kingdom.

I’m going to come right out with my main gripe about this book.

It needed to be longer.

There, I said it!

Rebecca has created such an intricate, complex world that the events that play out in this book can’t be covered in the same depth as the previous books in the same number of pages. It just doesn’t work.

Kinda like the final Harry Potter book was split into two movies coz they knew they couldn’t do it justice in one movie. This book needed more time than a single book can provide AND give us the same level of detail and quality I’ve come to expect from this series.

So in a way this gripe is also a compliment (because Rebecca has created such a rich world), so you should definitely take that as the positive it is!

I just really wish Rebecca had decided to write a longer final book since we couldn’t make it 6 books given the name of the series (The Outlands Pentalogy). While it’d take longer to read, I definitely think it would’ve been worth it!

A Dance of Lies – Rebecca Crunden

This book contains:

  • Revenge (including psychological torture, physical torture, bloodshed and murder/killing).

Unlike the first three books, this book mostly follows Kitty, but also has moments of following Thom or Nate allowing us to gain perspectives from all three of them during their time in the Outlands.

Kitty, Nate and Thom are building a life for themselves in the Outlands despite Quen constantly attacking them and the others from the Kingdom wanting to return to fight for freedom. As tensions reach breaking point, Riddle and Kitty develop a special bond that has Nate questioning the future of his relationship with Kitty.

Coming straight off the back of A Promise of Return, the pace and drama of this just wasn’t the same. It’s not that it was bad, it’s just that I wasn’t constantly wishing I could stop what I was doing and keep reading.

There were certainly stretches of the book where I felt that way. But to set up for those parts, others needed to be a bit slower, more relationship focused and less adrenaline pumping.

The main reason for scoring this one a little lower was that we’ve gone from following just one character then whole way through, to occasionally swapping perspectives. Being book 4 and the first time this is happening it thew me off a little which also threw me out of my reading zone.

If you go in expecting to suddenly change perspectives a couple times you may not experience that “thrown” feeling quite so much. But I wasn’t expecting it, so it did throw me.

Otherwise, the culmination of all the build up at the end surprised me, drew me in but also left me wondering what was left to cover in the fifth and last book of the series.

A Promise of Return – Rebecca Crunden

This book contains:

  • Torture
  • Slavery
  • Gladiator style ring fighting to the death
  • Sex for information and social advantage
  • Cannibalism
  • Mental suffering.

Thom is the brother to Nate (A History of Madness follows Nate, and he’s heavily included in A Touch of Death) and Complement to Kitty (A Touch of Death follows Kitty, and she’s heavily included in A History of Madness) and a master of words. He’s a politician through and through and has been since he was a child.

Finding ways to advantage his loved ones is something he’s done his entire life, it’s natural for him. Yet there is so much more to him than just making sure his brother and Complement are safe and happy.

Picking up from near the end of A Touch of Death, we follow Thom as he’s caught breaking into restricted government buildings and brought to the King for judgement. From there we follow him throughout his torturous days until he’s reunited with Nate and Kitty (the ending of A History of Madness) and then continues from there as he tries to build a life in the Outlands.

Hearing Thom’s story, how he became who he was, made so many small pieces of his personality that showed in the first two books make sense. He’s a fixer. He needs to make sure those around him are happy, healthy, and safe and if doing so also sets him up for advantage later, all the better.

While I wasn’t expecting the relationship he developed with Charles (purely because this part of his personality wasn’t really mentioned in the first two books), after hearing about his earlier life it made sense. When you’ve only known someone to be straight, it is a shock to discover that’s not the case. For me personally, so long as it makes sense for the characters to suddenly change (and in this case it wasn’t sudden, we just didn’t have the full backstory before this book), I don’t care.

In this instance, Thom’s sexuality played a major part of the storyline and therefore made sense. So I have zero issues, instead, I found it added value, complexity and depth to several characters that enhanced the story overall.

Compared to the previous two books, this is definitely bloodier and gorier. But I found I quite liked it!

Sometimes you need the blood and guts to break up other genres and every part of that added thrill and adrenaline to my reading experience and set me up to want to dive immediately into the next book.

Shadow of a Dead God – Patrick Samphire

This book contains:

  • Attempted murder, multiple times
  • Mass murder
  • Psychological manipulation
  • Corruption.

Mennik (Nik) Thorn is our main mage. Given he’s the main character one would think that he’s a mega powerful mage, but nope. He’s an average to below average mage of dubious origins who can’t seem to do anything right. And he’s meant to be the hero?

Nik is sitting his butt up doing a shitty job he hates but he desperately needs to help him pay the bills. Then his best friend, also of dubious origins, drags him back into the underworld where from there, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

As the story got deeper and deeper into the shit, it got better and better. Every time something seemed to get worse for Nik, it got more interesting, and more and more questions got raised. I mean, how many times can you change who you think the bad guy is in a single book?!

Not to mention the interplay between Nik, Sereh, Benny, Mica and Meroi was classic. The way their various personalities, loyalties, humour, knowledge and skills made for such an interesting story.

Then of course there’s the magical element that underpins the whole story. How are some mages so powerful and some not? How do ghosts exist? How do dead gods work? How do gods even die?

And then there’s the ending!

It’s got me wanting the next book so bad!

Continue to read further down to find out about the author.


I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!


Author Bio

Patrick Samphire is the author of the adult fantasy novel SHADOW OF A DEAD GOD, as well as the middle grade novels SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB and THE EMPEROR OF MARS. He has also published around twenty short stories and novellas.

Patrick has been writing stories since he was fourteen years old and thought it would be a good way of avoiding having to sit through English lessons at school. He was absolutely convinced that he would be famous by the time he was eighteen, but sadly, even infamy has eluded him.

He lives in Wales, surrounded by mountains, with his wife, their sons, and their cat. When he’s not writing, he designs websites and ebooks.

A History of Madness – Rebecca Crunden

This book contains:

  • References to rape
  • Murder
  • Abortion
  • Kidnapping
  • Same sex sexual preferences
  • Religious cult including references to human sacrifice
  • References to scientific experimentation on humans.

We’re following the same characters as in A Touch of Death, but this time, Nate is the main character we’re following. And we’re introduced to a new character I’m hoping will feature more in the coming books.

While we left with Kitty knowing where Nate was, we pick up with Nate entering Redwater prison. Nate’s being pulled left and right, being tested on and finds himself in a workcamp rather than being executed. Nate being Nate finds a way to escape and works on reaching the same goal he had in A Touch of Death, to reach the Outlands.

I can’t believe I took so long to get back to this book!

I got to the end, and while I was able to guess the final surprise, I was still left wondering where the whole story would go in the coming books. Knowing that the series is finished, and I can smash through them when I want, I’m excited!

And yes, I have actually gone and bought the whole series because I can just tell that I’m going to love them and want them on my bookshelves.

There is such a great mix of action, romance, grief, societal change, religious conflict and cultural differences. Rebecca packs so much into a single story, and yet, it doesn’t feel preachy, it doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard, and it definitely doesn’t feel unbalanced or rushed.

It’s got such a great pace and winds the elements together in such a way that they feel natural and like they’re all building to a greater part of the story. To add value to the overall storyline across the whole series. While they don’t always make sense in the current book, I can feel that they’ll make sense in the long run and I’m so excited!

A Touch of Death – Rebecca Crunden

This book contains:

  • attempted rape
  • murder
  • mentions of genocide and terrorism,
  • dictator style government.

Kitty and Nate are our central characters throughout the story; however, the story is focused on being told from Kitty’s view. We also have Evander, Zoe and Tove join us about halfway through in a way that I wasn’t expecting and somehow end up feeling like an integral part of the story.

Kitty is a strong, survivor, who fights tooth and nail throughout the book against everything she believes, and learns, to be wrong about her world. Even her own beliefs.

Kitty, who is Complemented to Thom, starts our story wandering the Nitoib mountains with Nate. A place they aren’t allowed to be. When they finally make it out of the mountains and Thom meets up with them, we discover where this story is going.

In the direction of a dictator government out to get them, while they fight for their lives across the whole breadth of the kingdom in the search for the one thing they need. The one thing that might not even exist. The one thing that might just get them killed or imprisoned.

I’m not a fan of the six parts rather than chapters, but those breaks also make total sense so I can’t hate them. Maybe chapters rather than section breaks would’ve made things a little better?

That combined with a slow start made it quite difficult for me to get into it. But that one little thing got my interest and held it the entire way through the entire book. When I got to the end of the first book, I was actually a little upset that it was ending!

This is the first book in a Pentalogy and I’m really hoping I get to keep reading more coz I have my own ideas of what I think will happen. But that doesn’t mean they’ll happen, so I want to know how Rebecca has it all planned out, well written out since the whole series is done!

Legends Rise – Devri Walls

Welcome back everyone, we’re finally back with the Venators! It’s been a while.

We pick up where we left off, just like the last book. And end somewhere very interesting with some interesting facts shared with us!

As with Promises Forged we get heaps of character development. Some fairly standard, while some took us to a whole new level!

Some of the things we learned about Grey and Beltran really changed my opinion of them. In Beltran’s case, I have no idea what my opinion is anymore. I feel like I only have a part of the puzzle with no image to use to put it together. Even Zio seems to be getting more and more interesting with a few pieces leaning towards one answer, but that answer doesn’t make sense based on other information we have.

Every piece we get makes things that little bit different, interesting and so much more complex!

I am definitely wanting to know more, but I did feel like some pieces didn’t add up which is why it didn’t get 5 stars. Although I’m not sure if they didn’t add up because they aren’t meant to or because it’s so complex Devri has forgotten pieces.

It gives me a feeling of Game of Thrones, which I loved (like everyone, I think once they reached the end of the books the show went downhill) so I can definitely see this becoming an epic! When’s the next one coming out?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mine to Five by Tara September. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

The Summoned Ones – Darryl A. Woods

Welcome back everyone, I’m continuing the fantasy/sci-fi feel this week with a young adult fantasy novel by debut author Darryl A. Woods.

My first thought once I got far enough in to form an opinion of the book was that it was a great story, engaging and interesting. For a debut author this is impressive and needed! How else do they get fans to come back for more?

After I got involved in the story and the fantasy element kicked in, I started to notice a few flaws in the writing. Not enough to say the writing was bad, or the story suffered enough to dislike it. Just little things I’ve picked up on over time being a writer for online learning and an avid reader.

The first was the way the story was written, the technical writing element. I found myself needing to read a sentence multiple times to understand what it was meant to say because it wasn’t succinct. I’m not saying I’m any better, but it’s something that takes practice, distance and often an editor or second set of eyes to pick up and fine tune.

The second was the distribution of the story, how long we focused on a group of characters. This might be a personal feeling, but it felt like each chapter spent on a group of characters should have been shorter, with more changes between the groups. That way you don’t get so involved in one group you forget about the rest and what’s happened to them.

With shorter chapters and more frequent changes between the groups, I think I would’ve spent less time trying to remember what had happened and more time being actively involved in the story. By actively involved I mean me wondering what was happening with the others and wanting to read more.

By the end I still wanted more. I still want to know what happens. I just think improvements in those areas could have made it even more engaging for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Dirty, Reckless Love by Lexi Ryan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Darryl Woods has a passion for telling stories, an appetite for reading fantasy, and a love of old movies. He remembers things in scenes, picturing the background, the clothing of the characters, small details like, wrist bands, jewelry, dogs crossing the street, but most of all the emotions and actions of the each participant in the scene. He would spend time, usually as he waited for sleep, thinking through those scenes, fleshing out details the book didn’t add, or recreating the scenes with differing outcomes. So, as the story of The Flight to Bericea developed the scenes that make up the story easily flowed from his vivid imagination.

Darryl’s favorite authors include Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Brian Jacques, David Eddings, Christopher Paolini, Terry Goodkind, and Piers Anthony. With this collection of epic fantasy authors, Darryl’s chosen genre had to include epic adventures, swordplay and magic.

Darryl’s childhood in rural Ohio, three miles from a small town, gave him plenty material for stories. Tales of his father’s many contraptions, fabricated from old parts, angle iron, and square tubing. These were lawnmowers powered by car engines, minibikes, and various types of cobbled together go-carts, including one with a bicycle front end, a car’s steering wheel and seat, and the backend of a cousin’s wrecked go-cart. His stories also included rural life; gardening, playing in the creek, helping neighbors with livestock, numerous family pets, and farm animals, or playing high school football.

As an adult Darryl graduated college with a degree in Systems Analysis, while at school he met his wife who he married shortly after graduation. Inspired by his father who never once used a repairman, and who built his own house, Darryl developed a passion for remodeling houses. He and his wife have remodeled four houses to date, after each one swearing to never start another.  While working as a computer consultant designing database, Darryl spent his evenings, weekends, and days off helping his father-in-law with his family business cutting timber, sawing lumber in his mill, and making pallets. All these activities gave Darryl an endless supply of stories. Telling and re-telling these stories over the years honed Darryl’s skills as a storyteller.

Promises Forged – Devri Walls

Welcome back everyone, I read the first book in this series a few months ago and I’ve just found out the third book is coming out soon. After reading this review, I’m sure you’ll understand why I can’t wait for that one!

I wasn’t sure where this one would pick up, or how fast paced it would be. The first book spanned barely 2 days, this one ended up covering almost a week. A little bit longer, but in a way just as fast paced as the first.

I learnt more about Beltran. Although I now have more theories and questions about him, his past, his motives and so many other things about him. The same goes for Tate.

What surprised me was how focussed the book was on Feena, while still having time to show us about Ryker and the general politics of the Council. Some of Susan’s comments (or repeated, exclamations) about how you “don’t mess with the fae!” make total sense. Like I already knew that, but this puts it to a whole new level!

Secrets, dark magic, illegal nefarious activities, plotting, missing families, stretching/twisting of the truth and yet romance still finds its way into the story in a way that just felt right. What all of our characters go through in this book is a prime example of a great emotional roller coaster.

I mean, even some characters that I thought might be just “side” characters are slowly having their own development. Which could even put them in line to be a main character as the series continues. I BELIEVE we might be having the tour for the third book in September, so make sure you come back then to find out what I think of the next one!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Crossing in Time by D.L. Orton. Continue to read further down to find out about the.

Author Bio

Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specialises in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny world-building skills and her intricate stroylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice.

Now gearing up for her first national release, Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organises for her readers.

Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

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