Book Review, Promo and Giveaway: Vegas to Varanasi by Shelly Hickman

Vegas to Varanasi (Fortytude Series Book 1) by Shelly Hickman
Narrator: Jazmine Ramay
Series: Fortytude #1
Genres: ChickLit, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audiobookworm
Goodreads
Overal Rating: three-half-stars

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?”

Author: Shelly Hickman

Narrator: Jazmine Ramay

Series: Fortytude, Book One

Length: 6 hours 35 minutes

Publisher: Shelly Hickman

Released: July 2017

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Synopsis:

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?”

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Author Bio:

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. Zoolander, Austin 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.

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Narrator Bio:

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.

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Audio Excerpt:

Review:

Anna’s family is not the typical one. After marrying her high school sweetheart, and having two wonderful children, she realizes that his husband is in fact gay, and after a hard talk they decide to have their separate ways but also remain friends. At the beginning of this book, Anna is in a 5-year relationship with David, a teacher who spends all his free time writing and drinking too much booze. Anna’s kids are now in their early twenties and they realize the situation their mother is in, so they are prepared when the breakup comes. During a friend’s daughter’s wedding Anna meets Kiran, another former class mate who used to be fat but who got fit in the last years. This will be a temptation for Anna, it is just maybe too soon after her breakup, but some opportunities just come once in life.

I am not a loyal fan of Chick Lit, but I enjoy it from time to time since it is a genre that I find light, easy, and many times refreshing. This time it was easy to relate to Anna due to the age similarity, even though we have quite different lives. The characters are very well depicted and they feel absolutely real. I enjoyed the special relationship Anna had with her ex-husband and his partner, and how mature her kids were. Anna is really a down to Earth person, and it was funny to hear her thoughts without any kind of filter.

I often complain about romance in books when it is something forced, and I do not often go for romance novels if there is not a little bit more to it. I found this story original due to the fact that we meet different kind of family, and it was interesting to explore their relationships. The fact that there is a part of the book set in India added interest to the story.

Even though there is sex mentioned in the book, there are not explicit sex scenes, which I am glad for, since they tend to always be the same and completely unrealistic. We just know that Kiran is good, and this is enough information for me.

I really enjoyed Jazmine Ramay’s narration. She really became Anna in this story, and her expressivity made this book more enjoyable, since Anna became more real. At first I had troubles differentiating some of the characters but I soon got used to Ramay portrayed them. I noticed quite some mouth noises, lips smacking, and nose breathings, probably due to being too close to the mic. I found it a bit distracting, but overall, it was a great narration.

This was a good and enjoyable book, and I would recommend it to anyone into Chick Lit and romance. It is not too sappy, so I think it could be enjoyed by a wider audience.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Shelly Hickman. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Giveaway:

Vegas to Varanasi Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Schedule:

Aug. 26th:
Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm

Aug. 27th:
CGB Blog Tours
Between the Coverz

Aug. 28th:
Lisa Loves Literature

Aug. 29th:
Jazzy Book Reviews

Aug. 30th:
The Bookworm Lodge
Desert Rose Reviews

The Literary Apothecary
Sep. 1st:
Lomeraniel

Sep. 2nd:
The Book Addict’s Reviews
Elsie’s Audiobook Digest

Book Lover in Florida

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Story (Plot)
three-stars
Narration
four-stars
Overall: three-half-stars

My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist to a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.

I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six year stay in Belgium, two cockatiels, five lovebirds, and two Gouldian finches in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.

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