*This post is also featured on my new book blog, Desert Rose Word Candy!
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
~Author: Shelly Hickman
~Narrator: Jazmine Ramay
~Released: July 27, 2017
~Length: 6 hours 35 minutes / 235 Pages
~Genres: Romantic 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?”
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.
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.
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.
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Runs Aug. 27th- Sep. 3rd
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