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review 2018-08-13 11:54
Far Away and Further Back- Patrick Burns

      This memoir is one of little vignettes set in different times and places as Burns’s life took him around the world. At times the stories are very ‘familiar’ to one of my age and relative privilege, as we baby-boomers have seen the world open out under the blast of the airline jet engine. However, they should appeal to a much wider audience. Burns is good at drawing one into his observations of times and places, now changed or changing, so helping one appreciate the ups and downs of living his sort of middle-class, often-relocated, lifestyle.

      Nowadays, travel seems to be ever more routine and ever less exotic, and of course it never has been all fun. Burns spares us from many of the mundane difficulties, the personal psychology, of constantly moving a family from one short foreign posting to another, a burden that anyway regularly falls heaviest on partners and young families.

This is a book of twenty random assembled short stories taken from a full and industrious life, that began with a childhood centred in Rotherham, England, and eventually encompassed locations as scattered as Buenos Aires, Ann Arbor and Guangzhou.

      Increasingly, as the world shrinks, the world-wide business career is conducted from one, tacky, noisy, communal space, in Milton Keynes, or Santa Clara, and/or from the home-based ‘office’. Foreign postings may well be becoming a thing of the past for all but the most select of ‘business’ managers. There will always be economic migrants, but probably these will decreasingly be those in the cadre structure of international firms that once relocated so very often. The experience of this businessman posted so far and wide may well soon read like distant history, even if politics and strife should allow us to continue our addiction to distant ‘package’ holiday travel.

      If you like memoir and particularly short, pithy stories snapped from personal histories, you should love this book. Patrick Burns has had a life full of interesting anecdotal incidents, which he has penned in this entertaining and personally modest script. One feels that he never strays from simple, honest, unexaggerated truth and thus created these edifying glimpses into his personal history. This isn’t autobiography designed, and so often failing, to be awe-inspiring; this isn’t look at me, aren’t I special, this is look at the special, often extraordinary people, I have been lucky enough to journey with. This book is one of those rare memoirs that easily holds my rapt attention.


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review 2018-07-07 00:38
ARC Review: Stag And The Ash (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns
Stag And The Ash - Sam Burns

This is the 2nd book for Jesse and Sean, continuing shortly after where Hawk and the Rowan ended. Jesse still struggles with his place on the town council, with being the Alpha wolf, with having to be in charge of things, and he's finding it equally difficult to help Sean grieving the loss of his mother and finding his stride in dealing with his powers as a succubus.

There were some humorous moments to lighten the mood, which is mostly somber throughout the book, which was to be expected after the events of book 4, as well as considering what we find out in this book.

At around 30% or so, I had an inkling on how this would unfold, after finding out who sent the troll that killed Sean's mother, and the three young wolves showed up in town. 

The book is told entirely from Jesse's POV, and he's a somewhat unreliable narrator, as his perception of how people feel about him isn't entirely accurate, something that he's starting to learn. His guilt stemming from mistakes made in the past, and how they are affecting the present, is obviously not helping him see himself clearly, and he continues to feel as if he's not good enough and can never measure up. 

I would have liked to find out more about what makes Sean ticks, but perhaps that's still to come. I wish Jesse could see himself as others do, and it seems that by the end of this book, he's starting to get there. Their relationship gets a chance to grow in this book also, as Sean towards the end forces some honest conversations with Jesse instead of both of them fumbling with what needs to be said. 

As the focus of this book is mostly on the new wolves in town, and Jesse struggling with his guilt and his keeping secrets from Sean and others about the true reason for the troll attack, we don't see a whole lot of the townsfolk in this book, at least not as much as we did in previous ones. Of course, all the main players make an appearance, and everyone contributes to the plot unfolding, but this book felt to some extent as a transition, a bridge, a set up for the next one. It also felt shorter than the previous ones, but certainly covered what it needed to cover. 

Of course, the writing is as awesome as always, engaging and entertaining, and I continue to be fascinated with this series. Fletcher's 2nd book is next, and if the first chapter is any indication, it'll be a wild ride. I can hardly wait!

Please note: These cannot be read as standalone books and must be read in order. 

** I received a free copy of this book from Signal Boost promotions as part of this tour in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-07-06 15:22
When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason
When Twilight Burns - Colleen Gleason

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a great time with this book! I had such a good time with the third book in this series that I had to start reading this installment right away. This is the fourth book in The Gardella Vampire Hunters which is a series that really needs to be read in order. This was a book that I wanted to read for hours at a time and was completely consumed by the story. I am so glad that I decided to pick this one up.

This book takes Victoria back to London and picks up right after the events of the previous book. Victoria has survived a really close call but not without a few lingering effects. She has a lot to deal with in her own life and will need to move since the heir to her late husband's title has been found. Victoria's mother is back to her match making ways and it appears that there is a vampire in London that is able to move around in the daytime. There is plenty of things going on in this book to keep the pages turning.

I love the excitement of these books but the characters are really what keeps me reading. Just when I think I know all the important stuff about this group of people, some vital piece of information is revealed that changes everything. I am not usually a fan of love triangles but I think that they way it was handled in this book made it work well. I feel like romance is part of the story but the fight against the vampires is always the focus. Victoria does not spend her time swooning over men. I like that she isn't afraid to take what she wants and I think that the chemistry between Victoria and both men felt very authentic. There were a lot of important developments between the characters in this installment.

I would recommend this series to fans of urban fiction. This series has really had everything that I look for in this kind of book with great characters, complex mysteries, and lot of action. I can't wait to read the next book in this fantastic series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
I am loving this series! There is a lot going on in this book and I wasn't sure how things would work out at times. I am really falling for these characters and I hate to see them come to harm or encounter any kind of pain. This book takes Victoria and the others back to London where there is a vampire that seems to be able to move in the daylight. There was a love triangle that played a rather big part of this story. I am not a big fan of love triangles but I think that it works in this story with the way that it has been handled.

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review 2018-07-03 16:44
The Visitors
The Visitors - Catherine Burns
I felt so bad for Marion as she suffered under the laws of her brother, John. Their parents had both died and these adult siblings continued to live in their childhood home. John knew he ruled the roost and he would manipulate Marion to do exactly what he wanted done.
The way Marion fussed over John, you would have thought he was her partner and when she called him “love”, it disgusted me. Marion seemed childlike in her actions and words about the world and about others whereas to see John’s world through his eyes, the world was menacing. John would twist his words/conversation around or he would be belligerent to Marion, just to get his way. Poor Marion. Marion would do anything for John yet John walked all over her.
When John lures a woman to their home, Marion wants no part of it yet, John needs her help. Again, John’s twisted mind convinces Marion that everything will be okay and Marion resigns. Arriving from overseas, this woman thought that John would provide her with opportunities but John has other plans for her. And now, this story plunges further into darkness. John doesn’t just stop at one woman, he decides to add a few more to add to his collection and he’ll need Marion’s help to get that accomplished. It begins to get creepy and gloomy, as Marion goes about her day, oblivious to the additions to their home, that are held somewhere in their house.
When I think about John caring for these women, it sickened me. When I thought about Marion and how she could ignore the fact these women were in her house and she didn’t say anything or ask about them, I started to get irritated at her. Where is this madness headed and will it ever end?
I listened to this novel on a Playaway, which was read by Kate Reading and I thought she did a wonderful job. This is not a fast-paced novel but that was okay as I thought the slow parts were needed as it added to the dramatic effects of the novel and it allowed for more character development which was warranted in this novel. I really enjoyed listening to this novel.


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review 2018-06-02 06:47
Everything Burns
Everything Burns - Vincent Zandri

There are only two things in life Reece, the main character of Everything Burns, likes: himself and fire, not necessarily in that order though. While the fire part is easily understandable, as he was in a fire as a child which killed his mother and brothers, it is told to you so many times that it was annoying. Overall, Reece was a very annoying character to read about.

Strange things are happening and Reece is sure that his girlfriend's (who is also his ex-wife) ex-boyfriend is behind everything. This goes from bad to worse, as people get casually burned to death on the sidewalk without so much as a shriek. Reece wrote a popular novel, which is one of the reasons why he believes said ex-boyfriend is after him, and literally every single person he meets has at least one copy of his book and has actually read it (by far the most unbelievable part of the novel).

The writing was a bit clunky but my biggest problem was just that I really didn't like to read it. I was actively rooting for Reece to be put away. I don't think I will read more of this author in the future.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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