December Update

Hiya peeps! I wanted to write a quick post to update ya’ll on what’s happening on Desert Rose Reviews.

I haven’t been accepting review requests for most of the year, but opened them back up in August, and boy, did those flood gates open! Since mid-August, I’ve received over 300 requests. I’ve accepted a good number of them, and am currently booked through the beginning of April.

I am so humbled and amazed at how many authors want to work with me, and have requested reviews! I’ve remembered, through the last few months, why I started this blog in the first place – because I love books! I love helping authors promote their books, and I love sharing my passion for books with others.

Really, I guess this is a thank you post, for every author who’s worked with me, and every reader who’s visited my blog. I hope everyone who comes to my site finds a new favorite story!

I’m excited to keep diving into these books, and can’t wait to see what happens next! Thank you everyone who’s supported me through the years, and stuck by me as I went through my funk. I’m back now, and loving it!

I hope you’re all having a marvelous holiday season, and for those of you who celebrate it, have a Merry Christmas! =D

God bless, & ciao!

@Desert Rose Reviews




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!


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.


$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

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,


@Desert Rose

“The Book of Dragons” Audiobook by E. Nesbit!

 Book Tour!
Hiya peeps! I’ve got another audiobook review to share with you today, and this one is pretty darn cool! It’s a modern narration of a classic collection of tales, all about dragons! Check out my review, an interview I had with the narrator, and an audio excerpt!

The Book of Dragons

The Book of Dragons, Books 1-8

 The Book of Dragons
~Author: E. Nesbit
~Narrator: Karen Krause
~Released: January 26, 2017
~Length: 4 hours, 53 minutes
~Genre: Classic Fantasy
Edith (E.) Nesbit was a master at weaving imagination and real life into timeless fairy tales, with fantastic mythical creatures, princes and princesses, magic, and just the right touch of silliness. This is a collection of nine of her fairy tales with a common theme – Dragons! For children from five to 95, these stories are not to be taken seriously. Let your imagination run wild!


“Mind Virus” by Charles Kowalski!

Book Tour!

Hiya guys! Today I’m participating in a review tour hosted by Roger Charlie, for a brand new thriller – Mind Virus. My review is below, so be sure to check that out, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Mind Virus

 Mind Virus

~Released: July 1st, 2017
~Publisher: Literary Wonderlust
~Parent’s GuidePG-17
~GenresAdult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Robin Fox is a peace-loving professor of world religions, trying to atone for his crimes as a U.S. Army interrogator. But at a Washington prayer rally, a suspect is caught trying to disperse a rare encephalitis virus, the same one used in an attack in Iraq that Fox once foiled. A CIA agent, John Adler, asks Fox for help.
Troubled by this request, Fox consults Emily Hart, his colleague at the United States Peace Research Institute and wife of its strongest supporter in Congress. She, however, has her own troubles. Leila Halabi, a Palestinian peace educator, has disappeared on the way to Washington for a lecture tour. Fox accepts Adler’s request, in exchange for the CIA’s help in finding Leila.
Fox works with a joint FBI-CIA interrogation team, and worries that Adler’s prejudice against Muslims is clouding his judgment. The suspect eventually reveals that he is part of an international conspiracy to eradicate religion, “using one virus to cure another”.
Fox deduces that the next attack is planned for Israel during Passover. Meanwhile, Emily learns that Leila has been imprisoned in Israel, and travels there to campaign for her release. Spurred by danger to the woman he loves – although he could never admit it, even to himself – Fox boards a plane that will reach Tel Aviv before her.
By careful observation, Fox catches another suspect at Ben-Gurion Airport. Now a hero to Israel, he persuades the head of Shin Bet to release Leila and let him interrogate the suspect.
He infers that the next attack is planned for Jerusalem on Holy Saturday. Joined by Adler, he sets up surveillance at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but fails to prevent an explosion.
Suspecting that this attack was a diversion, Fox reinterprets his clues and concludes that the real target is the Vatican. He and Adler fly to Rome in time to catch a suspect in the act of planting an aerosol device in the dome of St. Peter’s during Easter Vigil Mass. Fox breaks her silence by intimating that her love for the group’s mastermind has been betrayed. She reveals the name by which she knows him, and gives up enough information to identify the next target: Westminster Abbey, at an Easter service with the Royal Family attending. But at the same time, he receives a menacing message: Emily has been abducted by the mastermind, who threatens to kill her if any cameras catch Fox there.
Fox goes to London, enters the Abbey in disguise, and uncovers the most elaborate strategy yet: a sleeper agent in the Abbey choir planted the virus in a fire extinguisher, and used a time-release flammable agent to make the Archbishop’s vestments spontaneously combust.
After stopping the attack, Fox roughs up the suspect but learns nothing. His escort from the Security Service takes him to question the mastermind’s mentor at Oxford. Shocked to hear how his teachings have been twisted, he gives up a name: Theodore Gottlieb. They go to Gottlieb’s house, to find him calmly awaiting them with high tea and high explosives.
After a standoff, the bombs detonate and set fire to the house. Fox, cut off from the police, has to chase Gottlieb to the room where Emily is being held hostage. Using his military training, he succeeds in seizing Gottlieb’s pistol, but his principles of nonviolence will not allow him to shoot. They struggle, Gottlieb falls, and the firefighters rescue Fox and Emily in time.
They return to Washington. Adler has promised to tell the Saudis about the final target, Mecca during the Hajj, but Fox suspects he is lying and goes to the Saudi embassy himself. A furious phone call from Adler confirms his suspicions: the CIA was planning to let the attack proceed, and use an Army-designed antiserum to blackmail the entire Muslim world.
After launching Leila’s tour, Fox and Emily walk together through the GWU campus. He yearns to tell her that, when he was sure his life was over, his only thought was of her. But discretion trumps valor, and when they say goodnight, his true feelings for her are still a secret.

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

Hiya everybody!  I hope you had a fantastic week, and have a fun weekend planned.

So, I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award in Oct of 2015…safe to say, it fell off my radar!! As I was going through my drafts to post something fun this week, I saw this one, and literally face-palmed myself. I can’t believe I forgot to actually post it!

See, I had the whole post made. Ready to go. All set!! I just didn’t hit the schedule button. Seriously, I have been so out of it the past year. Becoming an author has taken over my liiiiife!

I’m getting back to blogging now though, and am finally posting this!

To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this one until I was nominated, but looking into it, the award is pretty awesome.

I’m honored and excited to be nominated, and want to give a big shout out and hug to +Tanya @ A Book Paradise – thanks sweets, I appreciate it! =D  ♥♥

If you’d like to find out more about her, or check out her awesome blog, visit her award post here.

 Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Let’s run through the rules first:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate ten blogs.

My Questions from Tanya

1) Who is your favourite artist at the moment and why?

I’m guessing this means music, or at least that’s what I’m going to go with, lol.  At the moment, one of my favourite music artists is probably Twenty One Pilots, although tbh, my artist faves change weekly, if not daily. I love them right now though, because the beats in their music keeps me going, keeps me pumped, and always seems to pluck me from my bad moods, and puts a skip in my step.

2) What is your favourite season and can you pick a book to match?

Oh gosh, that’s a hard one. It’s usually a tie between Winter and Fall. I think though, I prefer Winter most of the time. A great read to match the Winter season, aside from the obvious classics, is the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer. Every time it starts getting cold, I am hit with a deep craving to re-read that story.

3) Who or what inspired you to start a blog?

Uuum, to be honest, I don’t really remember. I started my first blog in Middle School, I think as a way to get my poetry and writing out in the world somewhere. I wasn’t necessarily inspired by anyone, I just stumbled across blogging in my amateur research of how to quickly and easily publish poetry and short stories. I’ve been blogging ever since, in a ton of different areas.

4) What would be your dream job and why?

My dream job is definitely working in a myriad of freelance and from-home services, fulfilling the many areas of passion I have. Which, luckily for me, is what I do.  

It gives me the ability to enjoy several areas of interest, without getting burned out or bored with one thing.  If I had a job where I did the same thing every day, even if it’s in different ways, I’d go nuts, and probably end up fleeing to the mountains to be one of those tree-hut people, who uses a pine cone as a toothbrush. 😛

5) Name a bookish cliché that you hate seeing in books.

There are quite a few to choose from, aren’t there? Hmm. I suppose a trope I’m most tired of seeing in books, is the extremity of genders.  

As in, either the guy is a total jerk you want to smack (but the female character usually falls for him, despite herself), or he’s a total looser (who the female character still falls for).  
In the same way, the female characters are usually always either super fem-bots who tout their “I don’t need a man” banner like it’s going to save the world.  Otherwise, they’re these recluse frail creatures, who have absolutely no backbone, and constantly need everyone else to save them. Blech.

Where are all the normal people?? Oh, right…they’re the side characters you end up wishing would have been the main character, cuz they’re more realistic.

I love when a book just has a normal guy, or a normal girl. They aren’t traumatically broken, or taking on the world with a ton of tude. They deal with life and the issues presented the same way we would – normally. Not necessarily in a non-fantasy/paranormal sense of normal, just not some extreme “that would never happen” or “no one actually acts like that” kinda way. Relatable is much better to read than “yeah, ok…”

6) Pick three qualities that you like about your personality.

OK, pushing past the insecurity of having to be a little vain to answer this question xP
Here we go!

1.  I like the fact I don’t hold on to negatives. I’m deeply effected by negative things, but I don’t hold on to them. I get over frustration and negativity almost immediately, unless it’s something major. Even then, I’m over it within a matter of minutes. Makes life much happier and calmer to live in the light and keep myself positive.

2.  I like the fact I can almost always make people laugh. I love bringing smiles to anyone, and have yet to meet a person I can’t make laugh until they cry. I love that =)

3.  I love the fact I’m not vain (recognizing the fact that statement in and of itself is somewhat vain). I’m not a naturally vain or self-centered person though, and anything that makes it necessary for me to be that way (such as this question, lol) makes me uncomfortable. I’m much happier being humble, and focusing on the incredible world around me, and the fascinating creatures inhabiting it.

7) What is your favourite book you have read so far in 2015?

*This question is now, obviously outdated, but I’m going to leave it, b/c that’s where I was when I wrote this. If only I’d have pushed publish! lol

This question makes me sad, because I haven’t had a ton of time to read this year =/  So many books I want to read!  Lol.
My favorite book from this year so far though, would have to be a tie between Madison’s Song by Christine Amsden, and Eric Elmoor and The Chalice of Cameron by Thomas A. Meyers. Both are books I still think about, a couple years later.

8) If you could pick a fictional world to live in, which one would it be and why?

Oh gosh, this question always makes me giggle a little bit. To be honest, I have no idea! My tendency to be an over-thinker always ruins questions like this for me.

9) How do you organize your bookshelf?

My bookshelf is an mess of organized chaos, and most of the time, I’m the only one who can actually find anything. Ideally, I’d set it up by genre, having separate shelves for Classics, Adult Fiction, Young Adult/New Adult, and Non-Fiction. From there, each genre would then broken up and set up according to sub genre, usually contemporary vs paranormal/fantasy, thriller/horror, mystery, comedy, realistic, etc.

10) Name one weird thing about yourself. 

Soooo many things to choose from, lol. I guess a pretty weird thing, is I have violet eyes. I use that one a lot for questions like this, but it definitely gets the most comments from people who notice it. My glasses do a good job of hiding it most of the time 😉

My Nominees

Questions for My Nominees

1) Who is your favourite musical artist at the moment and why?
2) What is your favourite season and can you pick a book to match?
3) Who or what inspired you to start a blog?
4) What would be your dream job and why?
5) Name a bookish cliché that you hate seeing in books.
6) Pick three qualities that you like about your personality.
7) What is your favourite book you have read so far in 2015?
8) If you could pick a fictional world to live in, which one would it be and why?
9) How do you organize your bookshelf?
10) Name one weird thing about yourself. 
Have fun, and thanks for reading! =D

Do You Review? Looking for freebies?

Hiya peeps! I’m sharing a blog post from my author blog today, cuz more exposure and self-promotion and all that. Ah, indie author life. =P

Anyway, basically this is a request to reviewers. I don’t currently have spare time to email awesome-sauce reviewers one-on-one, or even compile a mailing list. So, for the moment, I am compromising by posting some quick blog posts, instead of doing nothing.

I have helped indie authors promote their books for years, but you never really know how difficult it is until you become an indie author yourself! I’ve always held a lot of respect for indie peeps, but that’s gone to a whole new level the past year and a half, that’s for sure.

So, from this blogger-turned-indie-author, I’d love to connect with some reviewers! If you would be interested in reviewing any of my books, I would appreciate it greatly!!

The first book in my YA Adventure series is currently FREE on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Smashwords. If it sounds interesting, please consider picking up a copy and leaving a review once you’ve finished – I would appreciate it!

Second, and probably at this point, more importantly, is my stand-alone NA contemporary novel. It has no reviews!! I published it quickly in December, and haven’t been able to promote it much, which is totally my fault, but yikes! I’ve had several people read it, but I’m not getting any reviews on it yet.

If you would like to review that one, I have it up on Instafreebie here, and it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited. I would adore some reviews for that one, as I don’t even know if it’s any good yet! No one has told me anything! Gah! If it sounds interesting, please consider reading and reviewing it.

I’m hoping to get some better promotions going this Summer, but my family is currently in a transition that’s taking far longer than it was supposed to, and I’m simply treading water trying to keep from drowning til that’s finished.

If you wouldn’t mind helping a girl out, I would appreciate it so much. It’s difficult to ask for help, or put your stuff out there, so hopefully this didn’t come off too pushy!

Also, if you have any suggestions on how to promote and publicize books as an indie author, I’m always on the look out for great ideas!

Either way, thanks for the support, and for checking out my blog. Hope you have a fantastic week! =D

“Dropping the Dime” Audiobook Review!

Hiya guys! Hope your week is going well so far!

DRR has an awesome AudioBook to share with you today – the second book in the Miranda Vaughn trilogy! We shared our review of the first book a couple weeks ago, and are excited to share this review! Check it out below, along with a giveaway at the end of the post. Good luck!

Dropping the Dime

Miranda Vaughn Mysteries, #2

 Dropping the Dime
~Released: June 22nd, 2016 
(Audiobook Version)
~Length7 Hours 9 Minutes
~GenresMystery, Contemporary
~Parent’s Guide Rating: PG 13
Miranda Vaughn was once falsely accused of stealing millions, and now she’s helping others who are facing criminal charges. While being an assistant to her former defense attorney isn’t Miranda’s dream job, she’s eager to prove herself, and her first task is a simple one—protect Kathryn, a shy CFO turned informant, and help her prove that a popular real estate developer is embezzling millions from his company. But what should be a straightforward assignment is deliciously complicated when Miranda is thrown together with FBI Agent Jake Barnes, the man who saved her life, broke her heart, and then disappeared.

Beneath the neatly plotted rows of new homes lurk dark secrets, bitter feuds and a whole lot of greed. Nothing is what it appears, even Miranda’s timid client, who is hiding secrets of her own. Despite her growing distrust of her client, Miranda must protect Kathryn from becoming the target of the FBI’s investigation and protect herself from the real thief—all while protecting her heart from the sexy FBI agent she can’t seem to resist.

“High stakes, high energy, and a highly humorous good time!”
~ Gemma Halliday, New York Times Bestselling author

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“The Makeup Test” by Vanessa M. Knight!

 Book Tour

Hiya guys! Happy Thursday!

Today on DRR, we have a wonderful new contemporary romance to share with you guys! It sounds sweet and warm, perfect for Spring! Check it out, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!

The Makeup Test

 The Makeup Test
~Published: April 4th 2017
~Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Parker Breckinridge is a sophomore in college and already running her own internet cosmetics business. She doesn’t apologize for her successes—or anything else. She’s worked hard to get what where she is. She’s had to. It’s not like there was anything else in her life, despite her rich family.
Cade Adler doesn’t do relationships—especially relationships with uptight princesses. Been there. Done that. Destroyed the T-shirt. Besides, what with working full-time as a police officer and going to school, who has time for women? Not him.
With his tattoos and overall attitude, Cade is exactly what Parker doesn’t need. And between her father’s money and her piss-poor attitude, Parker is exactly what Cade doesn’t need.
So why is it they can’t stay apart?

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 Book Tour
Hiya peeps! Happy Tuesday! DRR is excited to share another audiobook with you guys today, and it’s pretty awesome! Check it out, and let us know what you think! Do you like the idea of books with music incorporated? Let us know in the comments!
This thriller, based on real events, tracks the flawed protagonist through his meeting with a struggling songwriter and a girl who eventually becomes his saviour.
Along the route to redemption, he stumbles, literally, across the biggest Government conspiracy since the wall came down. 
Narrated by New Yorker, Fred Filbrich, who captures the thread of dark humour within the text with a wry and warm reading, he integrates the original bluesy soundtrack seamlessly and allows the characters to breathe.

Tears of Glass

 Tears of Glass~Released: January 1st, 2017
~Genres: Adult Fiction, Thriller, Sci-Fi
A Child of the Sixties, desperately holding on to the dreams of that generation… the girl whole stole his heart and the songwriter who touched his soul. These three are drawn together as they become reluctant fugitives… but from whom? The deaths of his friends, the gay cell of the CIA, twenty two British Scientists meeting with fatal accidents… The Royal Family’s own Secret Service a schizophrenic cockney knight and whole countries being run by organised crime… This jigsaw eventually forms a frightening picture… but have the pieces been put together correctly? 


This contemporary thriller is integrated with 14 songs – necessary to the full appreciation of the novel. The songs drive the narrative. or is it the other way around?

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