Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Review: Quilt of Souls – Phyllis Lawson

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Quilt of Souls
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1507789750
ISBN-13: 978-1507789759
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This was a beautifully written memoir. The author was sent to live with her grandparents as a young girl. The grandmother Lula Young Horn was born 20 years after the end of the civil war. The story takes you for a walk through history of that time time, and through black eyes, and does so in a very creative way.

The author would sit with her grandmother who made quilts. As she pulls different pieces of cloth from a bag, she tells young Phyllis about the people whose lives that cloth represented. This is where the most interesting parts of the book lie, as those parts really bring to life the struggles of black Americans in a post civil war but pre-civil rights time period.

Even though I’m from a different background, but similar culture to the author, I was really able to relate to aspects of the story. I remember times doing quilting with my grandmother. While I hated it at the times, I’d love to be able to go back and spend an afternoon now, and get her to tell some stories over the quilting.

No matter your ethnicity, for a good look at a section of American life, pick up a copy of Quilt of Souls. I think you’ll like it.

About the Author

In addition to her career in the military, she worked as an addiction and juvenile counselor for the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia. She currently resides in Florida. She is married and has two sons and five granddaughters.

Quilt of Souls is inspired by Lawson’s grandmother Lula—the woman who raised her and served as the catalyst for her success in life. Lula lived to be 103 years old and overcame the ugliness of racism through creating beautiful quilts.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Author for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: The Upstairs Lounge Arson – Clayton Delery -

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Upstairs Lounge Arson
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: McFarland (June 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786479531
ISBN-13: 978-9780786479535
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Synopsis:

Details the fire, subsequent deaths, and lives involved in the Up Stairs Lounge Arson.

Review

On June 24, 1973 in New Orleans Louisiana, an even occurred that the majority have not heard of. A gay bar caught fire, and 32 lives were lost. But what were the events that led up to this horrific event? Author Clayton Delery-Edwards takes us through that time period in a very honest look.

Mr. Delery-Edwards gives us a look at those 32 who died, some gay, some straight allies. He delves into the political climate of the time. The Fire department actually provided a more detailed case against the perpetrator than did the police. The police it seemed didn’t seem to care, it was just a bunch of gays.

This though, was a very difficult book for me to read. At times, it was so heart-wrenching, that I had to put it aside. But it also didn’t match what I thought going on. While I thought before reading it, that these people were murdered due to their sexuality, it appears that it was not the case.

The book is peppered throughout with historical photographs from the fire, and before the fire. Please note though, that some of the images may not be for the squeamish. However, for me they really helpd bring the whole story and case to reality.

A lot of the book reads more like a true-crime novel than a historical memoir. I found myself, despite the initial emotional turmoil enjoying that aspect of it. The author pulled from police reports, fire reports, newspapers, and personal interviews in providing a clear view the days prior to and preceding the fire.

With Pride Weeks happening all around the country, I felt that it was important to bring attention to this subject. There are still many areas of the country, where crimes against the gay community occur without any penalty, and with little to no concern by those in charge.

If you are a fan of history, are interested in LGBT history, or just want a great look into a crime that was never truly “solved”, then you will enjoy this book. So check it out, drop back by and let us know what you thought of it.

About the Author

Clayton Delery-EdwardsClayton Delery-Edwards is a native of Louisiana who grew up in the New Orleans area. He has a B.A. and an M.A. in English from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, as well as a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Since 1989 he has been a member of the faculty of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, where he currently serves as the Director of Academic Services. He has been interested in the fire since seeing the first news coverage in 1973. He married his husband, Aaron, in a Canadian ceremony in 2008. They live in Natchitoches, Louisiana, with their two dogs, several chickens, and a pond full of gold fish.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Kristal Hamby at for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: To Be A Friend is Fatal – Kirk W. Johnson

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476710481
ISBN-13: 978-1476710488
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Synopsis:

A former worker in Iraq details his years of struggle in bringing Iraqi refugees who’d worked for our government to safety.

Review

I was disappointed after reading this book. Not in the book, it was excellent, but in our government. During the years of the Iraq War, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens worked under contract for our government. There were paid dirt poor wages at times, treated great at first, and later treated with distrust and disrespect. Then when the troops began to pull out they were abandoned. Many faced death threats due to helping the U.S. Many were assassinated.

Kirk Johnson worked in Iraq and around many of these Iraqis. When a freak accident during a vacation kept him from returning, he eventually turned to writing an Op-Ed about those left behind. When word of this Op-Ed reached Iraq he started receiving e-mail after e-mail asking for his help.

In To Be a Friend is Fatal he details the struggles he went through to set up a non profit to aid these refugees. The government bureaucracy, wasteful spending, and general attitude of neglect fill the pages.

While the largest section details events during the George W. Bush administration, the resistance to any help continued through to the Obama Administration. There are those who won’t read it, because they’ll think it attacks Bush, but in reality, it exposes the entire mess from the government in general.

To get an idea of how we do those who risk their lives and limbs to ally with us, pick up To Be a Friend is Fatal. I think you’ll find it very eye opening.

About the Author

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Alexsis at Simon & Schuster for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell

Monday, July 15th, 2013
Paperback: 293 pages
Publisher: Anchor (June 1, 1991)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385418868
ISBN-13: 978-978-0385418867
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sReview

If I had a list of top 10 Authors Joseph Campbell would be right up there. He’s always amazed me with his grasp of human history and how it all ties together. In this book, based on the Video Series, we are treated to He and Bill Moyers talking about Mythology in general and the various cultures and how different myths seem to tie together.

One example is when he talks about rituals. I discovered why reading it, what I think is behind one of the big controversies of today. People say our morality went down hill because we quit saying the pledge of allegiance or praying in school. I don’t think that’s the case. Mr. Campbell makes the argument, and a sound argument I think, that we have quit having rituals. Those things were merely rituals and taught people how to behave, many of those rituals in American culture at least have been done away with for right or wrong, but not replaced.

I found myself thinking quite a bit while reading this book. It raises many questions, and causes a lot of introspective thinking on the different belief systems and the similarities in the many stories they have to tell. For fans of Mythology who haven’t experienced Mr. Campbell’s writing, I encourage you to pick this up. For those who have, this is a definite must have for your bookshelf. It is definitely one I’ll find myself reading again.

About the Author

Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum’s collection of totem poles. Campbell was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich. While abroad he was influenced by the art of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the novels of James Joyce and Thomas Mann, and the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These encounters led to Campbell’s theory that all myths and epics are linked in the human psyche, and that they are cultural manifestations of the universal need to explain social, cosmological, and spiritual realities.

After a period in California, where he encountered John Steinbeck and the biologist Ed Ricketts, he taught at the Canterbury School, and then, in 1934, joined the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he retained for many years. During the 40s and ’50s, he helped Swami Nikhilananda to translate the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He also edited works by the German scholar Heinrich Zimmer on Indian art, myths, and philosophy. In 1944, with Henry Morton Robinson, Campbell published A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake. His first original work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, came out in 1949 and was immediately well received; in time, it became acclaimed as a classic. In this study of the “myth of the hero,” Campbell asserted that there is a single pattern of heroic journey and that all cultures share this essential pattern in their various heroic myths. In his book he also outlined the basic conditions, stages, and results of the archetypal hero’s journey.

Throughout his life, he traveled extensively and wrote prolifically, authoring many books, including the four-volume series The Masks of God, Myths to Live By, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space and The Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Joseph Campbell died in 1987. In 1988, a series of television interviews with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, introduced Campbell’s views to millions of people.

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Review: My Journey as a Combat Medic – Patrick Thibeault

Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Paperback: 201 pages
Publisher: Combat Medic with Indianapolis Business Journal; 1ST edition (October 7, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193492265X
ISBN-13: 978-1934922651
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Review:

A memoir of Patrick Thibeault’s career as a combat medic.  As a reader we see not only the duties of the combat medic, but get to experience through his words the entire process from first joining, to paratrooper training, to his medic training.  What unfolds is an interesting life devoted to being the first line medical care for our wounded troops.  Many people think of MASH  and in a lot of ways it did seem to be similar, but unknown to me, there was much more training.  He had to earn multiple combat badges, multiple medical badges, it seemed like he was constantly training.

He also goes a lot into a problem that is often overlooked among all the troops, that of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Suffering from it himself he is able to give a lot of advice on dealing with it.  He also provides priceless advice for anyone who would want to follow in his same career as to how they can get involved as a Medic.

 Overall a very interesting memoir of a little talked about combat role.  We often hear about the Seals, Snipers, etc. but this was the first opportunity to hear about the Medic.  I found it to be an enjoyable and well written story.  If you get the chance, pick it up and see what you think.  Be sure and drop back by and let us know what you thought.

Tour Schedule:

2011

So Many Precious Books  Jan 7 Review & Giveaway                 
JoyStory Jan 8 Review                                     
JoyStory  Jan 9 Interview
Rhodes Reviews Jan 10 Review                                   
Angela Shelton             Jan 11Review                          
Angela Shelton Jan 11 Interview
Every Free Chance Jan 14 Review &  Giveaway
Sincerely Stacie            Jan 15 Review                        
Jolly Blogger Jan 16 Review                                         
Book Lover’s Library Jan 17 Review                                         
Book Lover’s Library   Jan 18 Guest Post & Giveaway
My Devotional Thoughts Jan 18 Review                                
Second Bookshelf  Jan 21 Review & Giveaway
Sugar & Spice Jan 22 Review                                       
wall-to-wall books Jan 23 Review & Giveaway
Eclectic Books & Movies Jan 24 Review                                
Eclectic Books & Movies  Jan 25 Interview
Dab of Darkness Jan 28 Review
Greater Fort Worth Writers  Jan 28 Interview
Teena In Toronto Jan 29 Review                                              
Bibliophilia, Please  Jan 29 Excerpt
MN Girl in LA Jan 30 Review & Giveaway
Greater Fort Worth Writers Jan 31 Review                                                          

2012:

The Year In Books Feb 1 Review                                                 
The Opinionated Me  Feb 1 Guest Post
Everyday Is An Adventure Feb 4   Review                               
Everyday Is An Adventure Feb 5 Guest Post & Giveaway
Em Sun               Feb 5 Review                                                 
Ordinary Girlz Feb 6 Review                                                      
Book Through Garden Window Feb 7 Review                                                     
Book Through Garden Window Feb 8 Guest Post  
Older Mommy Still Yummy Feb 8 Review & Giveaway
Geo Librarian Feb 11 Review                                                    
Geo Librarian Feb 12 Interview & Giveaway
Peaceful Wishing Feb 12 Review                                           
readitallbookreviews Feb 13 Review

About the Author

Patrick Thibeault was born in Kittery, Maine.

His father was in the U.S. Army so he moved around the world as a kid. Glenn is an artist, still living in New York with his wife, a bulldog, a pug and a cat.

Patrick lived in Germany, the USA and graduated from high school in Korea. Patrick served in Desert Storm and in Afghansitan as a combat medic.

He was once a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Patrick was inspired to write the book: My Journey as a Combat Medic: From Desert Storm to Operation Enduring Freedom because of his experiences.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Teddy at Virtual Author Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Journeys on the Silk Road – Joyce Morgan & Conrad Walters

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Lyons Press (September 4, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0762782978
ISBN-13: 978-0762782970
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Synopsis:

In the early 1900s, Word reached Aurel Stein about a hidden library in a cave. This library contained thousands of manuscripts and scrolls of ancient Chinese and Buddhist writings. He set out on a journey that led him along the Silk Road to discover these lost secrets. One of these secrets would surprise not only himself, but the world.

Review

This was an extremely fascinating look at the field of Archaeology. You get to follow the journey not only from the beginning, whispered rumors of great treasures, but you get to follow them afterwards to the museums and further. Along the way, the reader experiences through the text what the work is like, the sacrifices made, and most of all, that it ain’t Indiana Jones.

While the material sounds like it would be rather dry,, the author manages to write in an entertaining style. History unfolds, and the learning experience is outstanding. I learned more than I ever knew about Chinese, Indian, and Buddhist Culture. I also was able to see what happened to these treasures during WW2 and the measures taken by the governments to protect them. You also get to see some of the maneuvering/arm twisting that will go on to obtain these ancient treasures.

If you are interested in books, history, or the field of Archaelogy, then by all means pick up this book. I think you’d find it a fascinating journey as did I. I’d say the book is suitable for all ages, though young readers might not find it interesting, unless they really love the topic. There was really no objectional language, though there were instances of Animals dying due to weather conditions.

About the Author

Joyce Morgan

Joyce Morgan has worked as a journalist for more than three decades in London, Sydney and Hong Kong. Her writing has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Guardian and The Bangkok Post. She has written on arts and culture since 1994.

Joyce is a senior arts writer at The Sydney Morning Herald and a former arts editor of the paper. She has also worked as a producer with ABC Radio. Born in Liverpool, England, she has travelled extensively in Asia, including India, Pakistan, China and Tibet.

Conrad Walters

Conrad Walters has worked in the media for more than thirty years in the United States, where he won awards for investigative journalism, and in Australia, where he is a feature writer and book reviewer at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Conrad was born in Boston, educated in Europe and the Middle East and has lived in seven countries. He has travelled widely through North America, Europe and Asia. He has a master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Leyane at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Review: Resurrecting The Street: Jeffrey Ingber

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: Jeffrey Ingber (May 22, 2012)
English
ISBN-10: 0985410000
ISBN-13: 978-0985410001
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Synopsis:

On 9/11 we know about all the loss of innocent lives. But what we may not know about were the struggles that the wall street and financial community went through to keep from going into economic collapse. This book details that struggle.

Review

There was a lot of interesting stories in this book from people who were involved in the financial industry during the weeks following 9/11. One thing that really surprised me was how inadequatelly prepared these companies were, and many still are. There was no plans in place for backup systems, no recovery process, and just a poor job of data management. This was so poorly done, that according to the book, years worth of information on SEC investigations was destroyed with no way to recover.

The author takes us through from the actually occurrence of 9/11 up through some of the major banking and finance corporations as they struggle to get back up and running. The reader is allowed to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that we never was witness to, and learn how close we really came to a complete shutdown of our economic system.

The book is well written, very well research, and for history fans, or those interested in finance or the overall impact of 9/11 on America, I’d suggest this book. Due to content and language, I would gear it towards adults. It’s definitely a good guide for data communications people to see how things shouldn’t be done.

About the Author

Jeff Ingber is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Queens College and NYU Law School. He has worked in the financial industry for over three decades, including positions with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. Jeff currently is a Managing Director with Citigroup.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at Rebecca – The Cadence Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Violinists Thumb – Sam Kean

Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (July 17, 2012)
English
ISBN-10: 0316182311
ISBN-13: 978-0316182317
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Review

DNA and how we’ve come to be. Sounds like one of the driest topics you could possible imagine. But in The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean he takes the reader on an entertaing and informative ride through the history and discovery of DNA.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I discovered a lot about myself, genetics, evolution, and just the overall mystery of being part of the universe around us.

If you are interested in science, biology, genetics, or just love learning new things, then you should definitely pick this up. I think like I did, you’ll find many of the stories within it to be fascinating and informative.

About the Author

Sam Kean spent years collecting mercury from broken thermometers as a kid, and now he’s a writer in in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and Science, and has been featured on NPR’s “Radiolab” and “All Things Considered.” The Disappearing Spoon, his first book, was a New York Times national bestseller. Read excerpts at http://www.samkean.com.

(un)Official bio: Sam Kean gets called Sean once a month. He grew up in South Dakota, which means more to him than it probably should. He’s a fast reader but a very slow eater. He went to college in Minnesota and studied physics and English. He taught for a few years at an experimental charter school in St. Paul, where the kids showed up at night. After that, he tried to move to Spain (it didn’t take) and ended up in Washington, D.C. He has a master’s degree in library science he will probably never use. He wishes he had a sports team he was passionate about, but doesn’t, though he does love track & field.

See our Giveway here for your chance to win one of 2 copies. This giveaway is courtesy of Hachette Book Group.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Blood of Heroes – James Donovan

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Hardcover: 512 pages
Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316053740
ISBN-13: 978-0316053747
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Synopsis:

A small band of rebels stand off against the larger forces of the Mexican Army for 13 days in 1836.

Review

This was an incredible book on one of the most well known events in American History. The author begins by devoting each chapter on one of the major participants: Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, William Travis, David Crockett. We get a brief view of their early history, and their journey towards The Alamo.

The reader also gets to see The Alamo from the opposite side through the various Mexican forces that participated. The reader not only gets to see the 13 days of fighting that took place, but all the events both militarily and politically that went on prior to the siege.

If there was one drawback, it’s that the book is labeled as the 13 day struggle, but very little of the actual content in comparison is about the 13 days. If you are just expecting to read about only that battle, it might disappoint you. However, if you want to learn about everything leading up to it, and afterwards, then you would really enjoy this book.

I liked how the author covered this subject so much with a list of books, photographs, a list of participants, etc. that I intend to pick up another book of his called “A Terrible Glory” that is on the Battle of Little Big Horn.

If you’re a fan of history, a Texan, or just a fan of history, then you should pick this up. I’d say it’s geared towards older readers though because it does depict people being killed.

About the Author

 James Donovan is the author of the classic illustrated account of Custer’s Last Stand, Custer and the Little Bighorn.

He lives in Dallas.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Anna at Hachette Book Group for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: From the Ashes – Jeremy Burns

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: Fiction Std (January 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936558327
ISBN-13: 978-1936558322
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Characters:

Wayne Wilkins – Agent in “The Division”
Jonathan Rickner – Graduate Student of History and Archaelogy
Mara Ellison – Michael Rickner’s Fiancee’
Enrique Ramirez – Agent in “The Division”
Dr. Richard Leinhart – Professor to Michael Rickner

Synopsis:

Graduate students Jonathan and Michael Rickner, sons of eminent archeologist Sir William Rickner, are no strangers to historical secrets and archeological adventures. But when Michael is discovered dead in his Washington, D.C. apartment, Jon refuses to believe the official ruling of suicide. Digging deeper into his brother’s work, he discovers evidence that Michael was murdered to keep his dissertation research buried. Joined by Michael’s fiancée Mara Ellison, Jon travels to New York where he uncovers the threads of a deadly Depression-era conspiracy – one entangling the Hoover Administration, the Rockefellers, and the rise of Nazi Germany – and the elite cadre of assassins that still guard its unspeakable secret. Finding themselves in the crosshairs of the same men who killed Michael, Jon and Mara must navigate a complex web of historical cover-ups and modern-day subterfuge, outwitting and outrunning their all-powerful pursuers as they race through a labyrinthine treasure hunt through the monuments and museums of Manhattan to discover the last secret of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., before their enemies can bury the truth – and them – forever.

Review

This book was quite the adventure from beginning to end. In the style of Dan Brown and other conspiracy fiction authors, Mr. Burns has weaved a tale going as far back as World War I.

The character development was well done. As a reader, I found I could believe the characters existed. The conspiracy itself as it played out was well described, and all fit logically together in the end. The author also included a brief history (through the characters) of events during World War I and World War II which I really enjoyed.

If there were one drawback, I’d say that some events seemed rather predictable. Whether it’s from me having read a lot of these types of novels, or the author telegraphing his scenes I don’t know. For me there wasn’t that sense of the unexpected that there should have been, except for one large twist which I didn’t see coming.

If given the chance, I would definitely read another of this authors books particularly in this series. It was a thrilling adventure, and kept me turning the page, which means the author accomplished his goal. I’d rate it for mid teens/adults due to the content, but overall a well told story, and if you get the chance to read it, grab a copy and do so.

About the Author

An avid reader since the age of three, Jeremy Burns was devouring novels by the time other children his age were still learning their ABCs. Blessed (and, at times, cursed) with a decidedly active imagination and an insatiable curiosity for nearly everything, Jeremy made learning and storytelling two of his chief passions. After earning his degree in History from Florida State University, Jeremy accepted a position teaching literature, creative writing, political science, and philosophy at an international school in Dubai.  Like the characters in his books, Jeremy is an intrepid explorer whose own adventures have taken him from Mayan ruins in the Yucatan to the pyramids of Egypt, from medieval castles across Europe to the jungles of Bangladesh, and beyond.  To date, Jeremy has traveled to more than twenty countries across four continents, seeking adventure, discovery, and ideas for future novels.  When not exploring a new corner of the globe, Jeremy lives in Florida, where he is working on his next thrilling novel.

Also check out Jeremy Burns on his Facebook page.  No Facebook account is required to access the page, but if you are a Facebook member, click “Like” to join in the adventure and show your support!

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Molly at Partners in Crime Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.