Audiobook Review for “Vegas to Varanasi” by Shelly Hickman!

*This post is also featured on my new book blog, Desert Rose Word Candy!

 Book Tour

Hiya! Check out this review for Vegas to Varanasi! It’s an awesome audiobook, and a fun tour to be a part of!

Vegas to VarAnasi

Fortytude, Book One


 Vegas to Varnasi

~AuthorShelly Hickman

~NarratorJazmine Ramay

~ReleasedJuly 27, 2017

~Length6 hours 35 minutes / 235 Pages

~GenresRomantic Comedy

Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard.

Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her.

In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”


 Shelly Hickman

Hello there! A little about me. A long-time Las Vegas native, I spend my days teaching computer technology to hormonal middle schoolers. I live with my husband of 20+ years and have a teenage daughter, grown son, and child of the furry persuasion.

I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, as well as movies with stupid humor. ZoolanderAustin Powers, and Monty Python are some of my faves. And if you asked me where the best place in the world is, it would have to be Disneyland. I mean, it is the happiest place on Earth.

I love to write about relationships, family as well as romantic, and my aim is to explore life’s challenges with honesty and humor.

Website ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

 Jazmine Ramay

A graduate of PCPA (Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts) and the Cabaret Conference at YALE, her credits include Cory (Barefoot in the Park), Penelope (Penelopiad), Gwendolyn (The Importance of Being Earnest), and the 2nd Wyrd Sister (Macbeth). Jazmine has worked in Theatre, Film and Television and has had appearances in Curb Your Enthusiasm and various TV and commercial spots. She was recently seen in the original cast of B Street Theatre’s World Premiere production of Bars and Measures. She has performed in fundraisers and musical variety’s like Broadway Beginnings and COLE, and was a part of a 1920’s review performing at Grauman’s Egyptian in Hollywood. She is currently working in Los Angeles as a Singer and Actress and closed four plays in 2016. She is currently working in Los Angeles.

Instagram ~ IMDb

 Audio Excerpt

Listen HERE!

PG-17

Average girl plus hot guy equals tons of fun!

In the romantic comedy genre, the average girl paired with a hot guy who just adores her, is a pretty common theme. It’s a wonderful fantasy many women have, and love to live through relatable characters. Finding a story that stands out is difficult, and there has to be more to it, to make it awesome. Vegas to Varanasi, definitely has something special.

Anna’s life is a modern mess. Ex-husband, kids, career, and the struggles of dating in her forties. It seemed as though she had gotten everything settled down, and for a while, things were good. That’s usually the time the other shoe falls, and all hell breaks loose. For Anna, that’s an understatement.

Kiran has had a rough go of it himself, with a painful past and personal issues that give Anna a run for her money. Still, he’s held a candle for her long after they parted ways years ago, and life throwing them back together unexpectedly, made for the perfect storm of drama.

I enjoyed Anna’s honesty, and how real she was. The way she dealt with the blows given to her was completely relatable, and uniquely real. She wasn’t overly dramatic, and she was truly a nice, kind-hearted person. That trait showed throughout the entire book, even in the little things, and made her easy to root for.

Kiran was also relatable, and in today’s culture of the “fitness lifestyle” trends and weight-loss inspirations on every social media platform, his story made this situation a bit more modern. All that mixed perfectly, with his deep family roots in India, and the culture difference to give him far more depth than a lot of “hunky” male characters typically found in this genre. With his good heart and gentleman’s personality, he had far more than good looks to fall in love with, and you couldn’t help but want to push Anna into his arms.

The side characters were just as agreeable, although several did seem a bit less explored than they could have. I did wonder why Anna didn’t do more to be involved with her kid’s lives, especially when it came to relationships. Even when she saw them going down bad roads, her hands-off approach seemed a little on the extreme side, opting for more of a friend than parent, and even then, not a close friend. I didn’t quite understand the boundaries there, with how close they were all set up to be, although perhaps that was meant to be more of a “modern” portrayal as well.

In the end, I enjoyed the story quite a bit. Every character was flawed, and even David was difficult to truly dislike. He was simply human, and had some issues to work out, same as the rest of them – his just happened to effect others more. They were all painted quite normally though, with their flaws and attributes explored and explained, with growth for most of them.

The narration was pretty good, although I did speed up the pace a few notches, as the pauses and overall flow seemed somewhat slow. Sped up, it was fairly enjoyable. I would imagine the book would flow nicely, and seemed as though it was well written. If there is a sequel, I would definitely be interested, and do recommend this to anyone who enjoys romantic comedy set in the modern world.

*I was given a complimentary audiobook copy of this title, from the author via Audiobookworm Promotions, to listen to in exchange for an honest review.

 Giveaway!

$50 Amazon Giftcard

Runs Aug. 27th- Sep. 3rd

Open internationally

 2 Winners

Vegas to Varanasi Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Thanks for visiting! Have a fantastic day! =D

Advertisements

Blog Update

Hiya peeps! I’ve got a blog post update for you all, and I’m excited!

When I started Desert Rose Reviews, I hadn’t intended for it to be a book blog. I just wanted to share my reviews of stuff, as suggested by a friend to help boost my confidence, and get me out of my shell a bit.

I had set it up to review everything, not necessarily to be book focused. When I stared it though, I had recently re-discovered my love for books, and was spending most of my time reading. Therefore, my posts were about reviewing books.

I adore this blog, and it’s going to keep going! However, I am making some changes.

I’m ready to expand the kinds of reviews I post though, and still want to use this blog to do that. I want to review books, movies, music, food, places, jewelry, clothes, products – anything I can!

Still, I do adore books. They are a huge part of my life, and I love promoting books and authors! So, I’ve made a second blog, that is specifically a book blog! I’m so stoked!!

Desert Rose Word Candy

 Desert Rose Word Candy

I hope you’ll follow that blog and keep up with my book posts. It’ll basically be the same stuff I post here, but even more, as I’d like to delve further into the book world…again.

I do hope you’ll stick around here though, especially if you have multiple interests, like I do! I’ll be reviewing a bunch of stuff, and sharing them all right here.

Thanks a ton for your support, and I hope to see you in future posts! =D

Ciao for now,

~Rose

@Desert Rose

*Blitz & Giveaway* for “Masked” by J.D. Wright!

 Book Blitz!

Hiya peeps! Check out this awesome book!

Masked

Superheroes Undercover, #1

 Masked

~Published: August 15th, 2017

~Publisher: Limitless Publishing

~Genres: Paranormal, Superheroes, Young Adult

Vada’s To-Do List:

– Turn 18 (check!)

– Register super name

– Order supersuit

– Attend superhero indoctrination

– Graduate high school

– Start kicking criminal tail


Vada Lawson can’t wait to be a superhero. Born into a family with special powers, she’s been training to fight criminals and villains her whole life. But her indoctrination into the underground super community is derailed when normals start breaking out in superpowers themselves.


Not trained to control their new abilities, the normals are frightened and vulnerable. Then their mutilated corpses begin turning up all over town. What the heck?


Somehow, with the help—and hindrance—of an annoying newly-minted super named Orion, Vada has to stop the chaos before it destroys her and everything she holds dear…and ruins her superhero debut.


 Teaser #1

 About the Author

 J.D. Wright

J.D. Wright is a military wife, mother of four, and author of paranormal and fantasy romance books filled with strong-willed heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, and sprinkled with humor and adventure. J.D. creates artistry in many ways, as a baker and cake artist by day and author by night. You can usually find her typing away at the computer or covered in frosting.

Since discovering she has a knack for writing, J.D. has so far written and self-published eight books of the Everealm and Songs of Everealm Series and is now venturing into the world of paranormal with her new superhero-themed series. She is an avid reader and lover of all things romance so she always includes a good love story in her paranormal and fantasy novels.

Connect with J.D. Online ~

 Giveaway!

Blitz-Wide Giveaway

Open Internationally

$10 Amazon gift card + 1 Masked coffee mug

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful day!

“Dream Frequency” by J.S. Lomas!

Hiya peeps! I’ve got a sequel to share with you today.

I shared the first book in the series (Dream Girl), including a Top Ten post of too listened to songs by the author, a couple years ago. Now, the sequel is finally released, and I’m excited to share it with you today!

Dream Frequency

 Dream Frequency

~Released: June 30th, 2017

~Length: 413 Pages

~Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Christine would never have considered herself new recruit material for a secret U.S. agency. Until recently, she’s just been an ordinary girl graduating from high school and wondering if a friendship with Gabriel, a mysterious coworker, would grow into something romantic. When Christine’s fascination with Gabriel leads to her discovery of dreamworlds, she learns that she’s anything but ordinary. In this thrilling conclusion to Dream Girl, Christine and Gabriel must choose their allegiances and face corruption, conspiracy, and the complexities of love in order to save themselves and everyone who matters to them – or die trying.

Continue reading

“The Unlikeable Demon Hunter” by Deborah Wilde!

Hiya peeps! Check out this new romantic urban fantasy!

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter

Nava Katz #1

 The Unlikeable Demon Hunter

~Published: April 18th 2017

~Genres: Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy

99¢ for a limited time only!

Bridesmaids meets Buffy with a dash of the seven deadly sins.


The age-old story of what happens when a foul-mouthed, romance impaired heroine with no edit button and a predilection for hot sex is faced with her worst nightmare–a purpose.


Ari Katz is intelligent, driven, and will make an excellent demon hunter once initiated into the Brotherhood of David. However, this book is about his twin Nava: a smart-ass, self-cultivated hot mess, who is thrilled her brother is stuck with all the chosen one crap.


When Nava half-drunkenly interrupts Ari’s induction ceremony, she expects to be chastised. What she doesn’t expect is to take her brother’s place among the–until now–all-male demon hunters. Even worse? Her infuriating leader is former rock star Rohan Mitra.


Too bad Rohan’s exactly what Nava’s always wanted: the perfect bad boy fling with no strings attached, because he may also be the one to bring down her carefully erected emotional shields. That’s as dangerous as all the evil fiends vying for the bragging rights of killing the only female ever chosen for Demon Club.


Odds of survival: eh.


Odds of having a very good time with Rohan before she bites it: much better.

Continue reading

“Rowan Wood Legends” by Olivia Wildenstein!

 Book Tour

Hiya peeps! Check out this paranormal novel, featuring faeries!

Rowan Wood Legends

(The Lost Clan #2)

 Rowan Wood Legends

~Released: August 14th 2017

~GenresParanormal, Romance, Faeries

Lost Clan #1:

Rose Petal Graves

Goodreads

Amazon

 

SOME LEGENDS ARE BETTER LEFT UNTOLD.

I wasn’t the sort of girl who believed in fairytales, let alone tales about faeries. But that changed the day Faeries came to my small town and Hunters rose from their graves. 

On that fateful day, I received a book, a peculiar collection of myths and legends. Turns out it was so much more than stories. And just as I was on the verge of unlocking its secrets, it was stolen from me by someone I called a friend. 

Now, I don’t know whom I can turn to, whom I can trust. All I know is that there are two sides, and I am straddling the great divide because I am both Faerie and Hunter. And although I swore I would never choose, I am slowly falling for one of those sides…

Continue reading

Shapeshifter Review of “Aranya” by Marc Secchia!

 Aranaya

Hiya peeps! I’ve got an exciting fantasy adventure to share with you today, and I hope you love it!! Check out the audio excerpt and my review, and be sure to let me know if you’re adding this one to your reading piles!

Aranya

Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1

 Aranya

~Author: Marc Secchia

~Narrator: Siromi Arserio

~Released: April 05, 2015

~Length: 14 hours 33 minutes / 454 Pages

~Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.


 Marc Secchia

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon!

When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

Connect with Marc Online ~

Goodreads ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

About the Narrator

A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.

Connect with Shiromi Online ~

 Teaser #`

PG – 17

If you’re a fan of dragons, shapeshifters, or adventure, this is definitely a book for you.

Fantasy is often hit or miss with me. I tend to either love it, or hate it. As I’m a sucker for all things dragon though, I decided to give this book a shot, and boy, am I glad I did. It had enough action to keep me glued to my speakers, humor sprinkled throughout perfectly, and plot turns that gave me whiplash.

Aranya isn’t a character I can necessarily relate to, but she is easy to picture. The descriptions made a wonderful image, and her personality seemed to come to life in a way the best ones can. She’s strong, fierce, and extremely brave. I doubt I would have handled her situation as well as she did, and her struggles were relatable, even with facing the extraordinary challenge of being able to turn into a dragon.

I enjoyed the author’s effort to explain her dragon side in a relatable way as well. It wasn’t overly technical or dripping with exhaustive narration, as many fantasy novels tend to. The situations and challenges were laid out wonderfully, with the reader learning with the characters, as opposed to being bored to death with drivel.

I enjoyed the secondary characters quite a bit as well, even the gruesome ones. I hadn’t been expecting the danger or gore, and while it wasn’t extensive or extremely unnerving, it was a surprise. Still, it added depth to the story, and put several characters into a whole new light, and gave another level of adventure and suspense.

I can’t be sure how the physical writing of the book was, as I had an audiobook copy to review, but I would imagine it was written well. The narration was enjoyable, and I didn’t have any spot where I felt pulled out of the story or confused. It flowed smoothly, and pulled me in from the first few minutes. The narrator did a wonderful job, although at some points I had a difficult time figuring out if the almost Scottish/Irish accent was hers slipping through, or meant for the characters at the time, as it wasn’t consistent with any of them. This only caused momentary hiccups though, and I would rate the overall narration a 4/5 roses.

If this story sounds good to you, I’d definitely recommend picking it up, in whatever format fits you best. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.

*I received a complimentary audiobook copy of this book, from the author via Audiobookworm Promotions, to listen to in exchange for an honest review.

 Teaser #2

What do you think of this book? Do you enjoy dragons and shapeshifters? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by! =D

Two Historical Fiction Reviews!

Hiya peeps! I’ve got two interesting novels today, for a virtual blog tour organized by Roger Charlie.

These books are fitting for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. One focuses on the lives of two people living in 20th century NYC, and how their lives unfold for a time. The second is the sequel, where this couple join a few others in dealing with the post Pearl Harbor bombing, as the U.S. enters WWII.

Be sure to check them out, and see my review for each book below! =D

 

 Sheldon Friedman
Sheldon Friedman was born in St. Joseph Missouri. He lives in Denver, Colorado. He is a University of Denver graduate and practiced law in Denver until 2008. He taught legal courses at the University of Colorado Law School, University of Denver Law School and Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver. After leaving his law firm he joined a national mediation and arbitration firm until January, 2016. He is also an accomplished playwright, having a number of local readings and productions. His play The Long Goodbye was staged at Denver’s Crossroad’s Theater in 2010. His book, The Velvet Prison was named as a 2017 fiction award finalist by the Colorado Author’s League.
 
~ Connect with Sheldon Online ~
 

The Velvet Prison

 

 The Velvet Prison
~Released: September 14th, 2016
~Length: 244 Pages
~Genres: Historical Fiction
~Parent’s Guide: PG-17
 
Against the pulsating back drop of a New York City in social and economic change, young Travis Kane struggles with his passion to be an artist painter, and the conservative demands of his strict grandfather, Barclay Kane.
 
His mother, unable to come to terms with tragedy, has taken Travis’s infant sister and abandons him, leaving their house in Gramercy Park, and Travis to be raised by the grandfather he adores.
 
Travis enters a New York speakeasy, with a unique idea, that will change his life, leading him on an exciting journey, meeting Manhattan’s privileged, studying in art in Paris and, finding his way to Broadway.
 
Meanwhile, Lindsay Wayne’s mother, seamstress, has a secret, and a passion. Her daughter will become a famous stage actress, and this is her focus.
 
Lindsay and Travis’s worlds collide.
Their lives will never be the same again.

 

 

A flashback to the past.

History has always fascinated me. I adore learning new ways people used to survive and thrive – how did life used to look? It’s hard to believe where this book starts off is already a hundred years ago, especially considering how relatable the characters and their life are.

Travis’s life is, sadly, all too common. Echoed again and again even in today’s current climate, growing up with pain and the constant tension in the world, the threat of war constantly looming in the distance. He shows his character in several situations, following his artist’s heart, even when life gets surprising and a little messy. The secret thread connecting him and Lindsay was easy to guess, and I supposed a bit predictable from the first few chapters, however I didn’t feel as though I missed out. The progression was done well, and revealed in an entertaining way.

I liked Lindsay quite a bit. She was the kind of girl most of us enjoy having in our circle of friends, and is always an interesting person to be around. I enjoyed her personality, and how she interacted with other people. I can’t help but take notice of how women are thought to have behaved in the past, and the contrast between her Hannah were striking, given their relationship. I think she was naive for constantly defending Hannah, instead of admitting the woman needed some help, and being more realistic about the overall situation. Still, it fit her personality to be a bit stubborn, and was more of a character trait than an actual complaint.

In the same ways the author described Travis painting, he created this book with a lot of color, making it easy to see what is meant to be important. The focus isn’t so much the state of the war, or any particular country. It isn’t a political statement piece, but rather a look into what an ordinary life would have looked like, and a taste of reality, from the view point of some well-created characters. Each one grew quite a bit, and were defined very well throughout the story.

My only complaint, is that the story lagged somewhat in a few places, with a bit too much emphasis was put on keeping things ‘mysterious’ for the reader, while other places felt far too rushed. It seems as though details could have been explained a in a more crisp manner, and the flow balanced better. Even so, the story overall was entertaining, and I would recommend it to other historical fiction fans.

*I was given a complimentary eCopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.

The Satin Sash

 

 The Satin Sash
~Released: April 4th, 2017
~Length: 198 Pages
~Genres: Historical Fiction
~Parent’s Guide: PG-17
 
After the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, American lives change dramatically. The Satin Sash continues the breathtaking lives of Travis Kane, Lindsay Wayne and Jean-Paul Renault with all the inherent dangers of the French Resistance, President Roosevelt’s live or die missions, and death defying action when German spies secretly enter the US through it’s ports. A wedding reception and the lives of Travis Kane and his family are thrown into chaos as America enters World War II.
 
The Satin Sash is set against the explosive backgrounds of New York, France, London and Ireland. Travis Kane becomes President Roosevelt’s tool in bringing one of the world’s most famous paintings to New York. Racial tensions surface. A famous black activist enters politics and an actress makes choices in the face of heartbreaking tragedy. A public enemy serves his country in wartime and a black artist becomes famous. When a baby is born the future shows promise.
 
With tension, suspense and surprising plot twists, we continue to follow the lives of the people we loved in The Velvet Prison

 

 

The gang is all grown up!

Travis and his companions seem to have a knack for finding and creating drama. The overall feel of this book reminded me of The Great Gatsby, with it’s flare for dramatic and flamboyant situations and overall feel. While the characters all fit themselves, they each seemed to become a bit emotional – which was even noted in a joke by one of the characters.

While I enjoyed the progression of the story, I had been hoping for a different kind of story. The actions of each character were far more influenced by world events, which is fitting, but made it somewhat predictable and not quite as satisfying as the prequel. I suppose it’s all in personal preference, but from the synopsis, I had simply been expecting something a bit different.

All that to say, this was still a good story. Seeing each character handle the different aspects of the confrontations made for an easy look at the different nations involved. While there didn’t seem to be an overall point or message of the story, it was interesting to see the differences in the nations, and people dealing with war.

I did enjoy this book, and the plot twists surrounding several of the characters. The cultural differences of the period were portrayed well, and gives a stark contrast to the world we live in today. The author set the story up well, and the flow was far better than the previous book. I would recommend this to fans of The Velvet Prison, and would be interested in reading other books by this author.

*I was given a complimentary eCopy of this book, from the author, to read in exchange for an honest review.

 

Do you enjoy historical novels? Let me know in the comments below!
 
Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful day! =D