These Violent Nights – Rebecca Crunden

This book contains:

  • Extreme class segregation and persecution
  • “Ownership” of people similar in some ways to slavery
  • Descriptions of and the aftereffects of genocide
  • Drugging
  • Attempted rape
  • Attempted and completed murder.

Thorn is the primary character we follow for roughly two thirds of the book, however, we also spend about one third following Lucien.

Thorn is a human who’s suffered immense trauma from the Suriia and is hell bent on revenge for the murder of her family while also trying to do her best to protect her “little sister” Thistle. She’s a tough nugget, strong willed, suspicious of all and entirely dedicated to her cause.

Lucien is a Suriia of unknown origins (until the last third of the book) who’s suffered immensely at the hands of humans. Not initially from the same Earth as Thorn is, he’s suffered similar trauma but responds in quite a different way. For him, he’s all about creating a safe space for his family to live out their days without drawing more attention to themselves than they need to.

Thorn and Lucien are battling their own demons while trying to find a better life for themselves and their loved ones. We follow Thorn until she meets Lucien and then go back a bit to get a bit of Lucien’s history until he meets Thorn. And then everything changes, and we learn exactly how intricate everything is, and follow them as they do their best to fix it.

I’ve read and reviewed the entire of The Outlands Pentalogy, and really enjoyed Rebecca’s writing. So when I discovered she’d entered this book into the 2022 Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA), I thought I knew what I was getting into. But boy was I wrong!

Although I did have mixed feelings about this as I read it. I loved the first third, then was super confused for the entire of the second third and felt betrayed and so conflicted. But then my trust was restored in the final third. If you read this, please give the second third a chance! It will make sense and work out for the best by the end of it!

I promise!

By the very end I was so happy, and while I’d kinda like to know what happens further in the future for all of them, I’m not disappointed in how it ended.

Mara’s Awakening – Leo Flynn

This book contains:

  • Corruption and betrayal.

Mara is a former peacekeeper for the galaxy, and yet she’s now in jail for something she didn’t do. She’s a soldier to the letter and when she reported the illegal activities that come of the Council members were involved with, she soon found herself in jail.

We begin the story with Mara already in jail, specifically “protective custody” where she’s then moved into the general population. There are flashbacks to her past as a peacekeeper early on as we get to know Mara before progressing as she meets her knew cell mates and learners how to live in general population.

I think as I was reading this, I was being overly critical since I read the novella length version a year ago. After my suggestion to write a full book so the characters really get to shine, Leo mentioned he’d received similar feedback from other reviewers and would be releasing a full book, which is this one!

I believe I was being overly critical as I’d read an earlier version and wanted to see how Leo had taken that feedback and improved upon his original novella, and so my teacher/editor brain came into this read. So please take my thoughts with a grain of salt!

I love that the story itself is more fleshed out, the characters have had more character development and generally speaking we gain a much richer world from the time Leo was able to take to develop it.

What got me the most was the flashbacks and pacing. Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen the flashbacks as more of a prologue that could have been condensed a little bit which leads into Mara in jail. At which point some of the thinking back could be incorporated in the various conversations she had with her cellmates.

In terms of the pacing, because of the flashbacks being used instead of a prologue, the first portion of the book is fairly calm and slower and then all of a sudden accelerates as we get to the action portion of the book. In the same amount of pages, if the flashbacks were written as a slightly condensed prologue, the first portion of the book would’ve been shorter which would have then allowed a little bit more time for the very end that felt like it ran out of pages to finish off so was rushed.

A great improvement on the novella, this book has the makings of a really good space opera that can span across multiple books. As Leo matures in his writing I’m really looking forward to seeing where he takes Mara and co.

The Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin-King

This book contains:

  • PTSD from serving in Afghanistan
  • descriptions of the destruction of war, including injury to women and children
  • experimentation on humans
  • torture of humans

The book is broken up into three parts of which the first and last parts are from John’s point of view, with sporadic inclusions of Mackenzie’s point of view. The middle part however is from Mackenzie’s point of view with some sporadic inclusions of John’s point of view.

John has previously served in the UK army in Afghanistan and as a result has severe PTSD. It’s something that’s ruined his life, ended his relationship and as a result driven him back there.

Mackenzie, however, is an Australian nurse volunteering in Afghanistan when she’s kidnapped by her driver on the way home from work.

The general gist of this story is an Afghan warlord is kidnapping people who have magical powers with the intent of learning how to wield them himself. Anything more than that would kinda ruin it for you! And it’s too good to ruin!

I absolutely loved this story and I’m so glad it won the Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award 2020!

Given most of the other books that made it to the finals we aimed at a younger audience and/or were of a lighter theme, I wasn’t sure how this darker story would hold up. I loved the mix of emotional development, different points of view, psychological changes, an amazing villain and the determination and fortitude of John and Mackenzie.

Every time I thought I’d hit the limit of Graham’s mastery, I discovered I was wrong!

Who would have thought such a mix of fantasy, technology and a Middle Eastern war could result in such genius?!

Author Bio

Graham Austin-King was born in the south of England and weaned on broken swords and half-forgotten spells.

A shortage of these forced him to consume fantasy novels at an ever-increasing rate, turning computers and tabletop gaming between meals.

He experimented with writing at the beginning of an education that meandered through journalism, international relations, and law. To this day he is committed to never allowing those first efforts to reach public eyes.

After spending a decade in Canada learning what ‘cold’ really means, and being horrified by poutine, he settled once again in the UK with a seemingly endless horde of children.

To date he is the author of five novels, drawing on a foundation of literary influences ranging from David Eddings to Clive Barker.

Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA)

I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition. All opinions expressed are my own. This tour has been organised by The Write Reads tours team.

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 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or our Twitter account. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 AUTHOR SIGN UP FORM HERE. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering.

If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)! 

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!) And the book blogger support group TheWriteReads.

Fid’s Crusade – David H. Reiss

Dr Fid is an evil genius set to show the world how fake and unworthy of the title “hero” the superheros were. He’s also the alias of one genius scientist out to save the world through medicine and other philanthropy work.

It’s a simple storyline of Dr Fid and his crusade against the hero’s who killed his brother. He’s out to destroy their reputations and show the world how unworthy they are of the title hero. In this, the first book, Dr Fid begins to execute his plan to destroy the hero’s, and in the meantime gets involved in a war to save the world.

I was actually quite disappointed in this story. The writing was amazing, it draws you in and you’ll find yourself almost through the book in no time after practically inhaling the story.

My problem was that ever time I did stop, I realised I was basically reading Avengers End Game. But where Iron Man is a supervillain.

Everything from the tech Iron Man uses, his assistant Jarvis, his fight to not have to join with others, his wit and humor, the way the aliens come to Earth and the ultimate showdown is so eerily similar to this story that it really ruined it for me. I would’ve loved to have experienced this quality of writing in a story that was unique.

Or at least, did a better job of taking an existing well-loved story and making it new and exciting.

If you love Iron Man, The Avengers etc and don’t mind reading a story that’s almost the same as one you already love. Then you’ll love this!

I enjoyed the experience of reading the story, I’m just not one to enjoy reading something I’ve already watched while it’s pretending to be new.

Author Bio

While growing up, David was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer. 

Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-eight years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

Fear not…Two new kittens have since crept into the household and are working tirelessly to repair the hole left in the author’s heart.

David’s first trilogy, the Chronicles of Fid, has just recently been completed; these were his first novel-length projects, but they certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!

I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and/or the BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads tours team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest (or insert your own standard version of the same). 

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 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website ( or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 AUTHOR SIGN UP FORM HERE. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering. 

If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)! 

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!) And the book blogger support group TheWriteReads.

A Shape on the Air – Julia Ibbotson

Welcome back everyone, after so many romances I’m ticking off my first sci-fi/time travel kinda book for the year.

When I signed up for this tour, I was very much on the fence about whether I’d love it or not. Now I’ve finished it, I can assure you that I managed to fall onto one side very easily. Even with a few things that I didn’t like, I still found myself really enjoying this novel.

I liked that Julia created a reason for the time-slipping and created her own rhyme, reason and method. It made this element uniquely hers. The fact that Viv was able to speak to others about what was happening and get their help and support through the confusing time was amazing.

Also, the slow build towards a relationship (remember, this is not a romance!) for Viv was really well done. It didn’t feel forced or weird like they sometimes can. If you’re not a fan of romance, then you don’t need to worry with this one. There’s only a couple of small sections that talk about the romance aspect that you can easily skip over as it doesn’t really impact the story.

There were a couple of things I wasn’t a fan of. Given how descriptive Julia’s writing is, I felt the naming of the friends in both times the same was a bit overkill. Julia could have named them differently in each time and let their personalities and loyalties do the talking. I actually found myself rolling my eyes and thinking “duh” when it was revealed because it was just too much.

Also, Pete’s actions in the early part of the book just felt odd to me. I’m luck enough to have never experienced domestic violence so I don’t know if my perception is off. But it felt like there would have been signs to point towards him acting the way he did. Even if that was a first and only time, it felt more like he’d been possessed, or someone had replaced his personality or something. Although that’s all based on limited knowledge and how it was written.

In the grand scheme of the book, those little annoyances were nothing. They had no real impact on the story. Only on my experience reading it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Wednesday (I told you this was going to be a review heavy period, didn’t I?) I’ll be reviewing When Adam Met Evie by Giulia Skye. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Acclaimed, award-winning author Julia Ibbotson is fascinated by the medieval world and concepts of time travel. She read English at Keele University, England (after a turbulent but exciting gap year in Ghana, West Africa) specialising in medieval language, literature and history, and has a PhD in socio-linguistics. She wrote her first novel at 10 years of age, but became a school teacher, then an academic as a senior university lecturer and researcher. As well as medieval time-slip, she has published a number of books, including memoir/history of food (The Old Rectory), children’s medieval fantasy (S.C.A.R.S), a trilogy opening in 1960s Ghana (Drumbeats), and many academic works. Apart from insatiable reading, she loves travelling the world, singing in choirs, swimming, yoga and walking in the countryside in England and Madeira where she and her husband divide their time.

Check out Julia on her socials and Pinterest.

A Crown in Time – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, it’s officially time to start the crazy few months of Rach Random Resources tours! Today’s is one from Jennifer Macaire, a little over a yr after I first read one of her books.

Although this is set in the same universe as the Time for Alexander series you don’t have to have read them to understand what’s going on. Jennifer has skill at writing a story and repeating information that those who have read the books will know, but new readers wont, in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive.

This is great as it ensures all readers know what going on without boring regular readers. There were even some differences in the reason and way Isobel was sent back in time. This was emphasised at the beginning of each chapter as a nugget of information from her Correctors Handbook was quoted before moving on.

I need to add that I want to talk about a spoiler coz it was part of what made this story so good for me!

The fact that Isobel couldn’t save his life had me thinking that that was going to be the end of things for her. Yet the fact that she was pregnant and able to continue his line after all meant that the key thing that he needed to do, have kids, was achieved.

But it left me wondering what the Institute saw in the history books when they compared the results. Like, did they see that he still died but his line continued? Did the books even record that?

I wanted to know more!

Ok, that’s the spoilers done.

As a stand-alone book using the same universe as the Time for Alexander series, I love the way this story was so different, and had so much emotion and backstory involved in such a short space.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Wednesday I’ll be doing my first Wrap Up post for the yr and on Friday I’ll be reviewing Lillian and the Irresistible Duke by Virginia Heath (book 4 in the same series as Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquees by Jenni Fletcher). Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in France. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

A Different Time – Michael K. Hill

Welcome back everyone, we’re stuck into another massive tour with The Write Reads Ultimate Book Tours. There’s a hint of sci-fi in this one compared to most of the books I read, although I’d love to read more sci-fi in the future coz I know I love that genre in my TV shows and movies.

The first thing I’m going to say is that reading this felt like reading a cross between The Lake House and The Notebook. Both are great romantic stories with tragically sad endings. If you do choose to read this one, I should warn you to have a box of tissues ready because you’ll need them.

The two main characters are set 30 years apart (hence the hint of sci-fi) yet manage to fall in love with each other. Lindsey’s story spans a good 30 years, while Keith’s (after you finish the prologue) spans all of like one month. The prologue is important, and I’m not sure if I was super quick or super slow but I totally keyed in on one tiny little detail and my mind was like “OMG! That’s an anagram of **** and ***! That’s so cool! OOOOOO!!! That means *******!”

I bleeped those out because I doubt you want spoilers for this kind of story. You really do need to read it yourself to realise the genius of it. I literally stayed up 3 hours past my bedtime and 2 hours past my sleep time to read this book in one night. Let’s just say my work colleagues were NOT impressed with my body’s response to the lack of sleep!

On a different note, the day after I finished reading it (same day I’m writing this) I was chatting to Dave from The Write Reads about the story where I mentioned I wasn’t happy with the ending. I really feel like this story deserves a sequel to finish it off. Purely because I have so many questions that I can’t even share with you!

Michael, if you’d like some fan ideas for a sequel let me know! My creativity damn seems to have been well and truly burst open in the last few months so I have a few ideas I think could really work to close off this story without it being overkill.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this really vague review, next week I will be reviewing The Perils of Autumn by Rusty Blackwood brought to me by author request. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Beginning as a sketch comedy writer for American television, Michael K. Hill progressed to become an internationally published writer of fiction and non-fiction. His short story anthology, Anansi and Beyond, published in 2017, and his debut novel, A Different Time, is available now. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, kids, and 7 rescued animals.

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

Welcome back everyone! I was incentivized to grab a copy of this book thanks to Bookmark That who posted on Twitter saying how good this book was and that at the time it was free to download on Kindle. Me being cheap decided “hey why not? sounds interesting and it’s free!” So I grabbed a copy and looked forward to reading it.

So this one was a little confusing to follow as it jumped between various stages of Lorna’s life. We begin at the end of her life on the night that she dies, and then jump to what feels like her teenage years before jumping to the “present”. I got the sense that the whole point of this was for Lorna to choose life, to choose to be the person she always wanted to be but lost in the journey that is becoming an adult. That journey from “I want to save the world” to “I need to just pay the bills”.

I really liked that we learnt about Lorna’s past by her reliving her memories and then being with her while she reevaluated those memories with the perspective of hindsight. We could see what she was feeling at the time, but then also how those experiences impacted her further down the line in her life. This is something I believe many of us struggle with, myself included. And I believe learning the ability to view events that have happened with perspective and hindsight are important for us to be able to move forwards and progress. This can be as simple as realising we spoke in anger and apologising to a loved one, all the way through to putting your foot in your mouth during an important work meeting and needing to go back and fix this with multiple people before it has a negative impact on your career.

During this reflection time we are struggling with the belief that Lorna is dead an in Heaven. With God and his 2IC personally helping Lorna through this transition she’s able to work out what really happened to cause her death. Reading about some of the things Lorna experienced and at such a young age, you gotta feel for her. She had her brother die at a young age and an alcoholic father as a result to deal with while growing up.

On a regular day each of those are traumatic enough, let alone the other emotionally challenging circumstances that occurred throughout her young life. Learning about each of these and how she responded really gave me clarity into who she was and therefore how each of these events impacted her as a person.

By the end of the book I really felt for Lorna, and everything that she had gone through. I really liked how this story was told. Even though it was a bit confusing at times. After reading this book I really hope that there is a sequel to answer all my unanswered questions. If there is a sequel I really hope I find out about it and get to read it!

Next week I will review “Secrets of Agent 13” by Chidi Duru. As always, if you liked this post please like, comment and share!

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