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Vegas to Varanasi

Fortytude Series Book 1
Narrated by: Jazmine Ramay
Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
4 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

Regular price: $19.95

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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2013 Shelly Hickman (P)2017 Shelly Hickman

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Cute read!

This is a cute read about finding love in your 40s. It's the perfect beach read to help you escape. It's light, funny, and lovable!

The narration was good, no major complaints.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

It was an interesting plot with good narration, but it was a bit confusing because the story moved from one point in time to another too quickly. I loved the characters, they were well written, especially the relationship between Anna and Kiran and parents with their children. It was full of teasing and humor, as well as cultural background and family relationships.


I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesiting but slow and to much filler

Started out good but went downhill fast. Way too much filler that really had nothing to do with the plot. One minute we are listening to what is going on and the next we are back in her college days where she didn’t go out much. After a little while the story just moved to slow. She married her childhood sweetheart but years later after the kids come it turns out he is gay. They stayed friends which I thought was great. This part was great. Then we go into a girl and guy live together he is a drunk they split which he is fine with until she finds a man from her past who steps up to the plate than ex wants her back and really is childlike. At times I thought her kids acted older than the adults. I even like how the boy from high school came back into her life with a complete makeover.

Ms. Ramay narrator for the most part was good, there are some noises with her mouth and breathing that needs some work. At times it just all ran together for me and was a little confusing until I took a break and went over what I had listened to. She puts lot of emotion into her voice and tones but needs to pause a little more between characters to let the listener catch up. Anna character was great with lots of emotions but at times she seemed more childlike. A lot of her character voices sound too much alike and too much like her natural voice which can be confusing to know who is talking. When the character is thinking the narrator should do a little change so you know it is thinking it gets confusing when she switches from thinking to talking so close together. There are no background noises, no repeating of words and no volume changes. If any breaks were taken I could not tell. It is a clean and clear audio that just needs a little more work. For the most part the emotions displayed were outstanding.

The plot is great but with so much filler that isn’t needed the reader is lost wondering why the heck that was even added to the book. I loved the relationship the parents had with the children, I loved the humor and teasing between all. I enjoyed the story of the fat man turning into a hunk, the close relationship the two parents had and the romance between Anna and Kiran. To me the trip they took to India wasn’t needed nothing really happened but they hooked up, met his family and a few other little things. To me it was just filler. I did like the background, the family values and the love and care they gave to their families. All in all it was an enjoyable listen has some great parts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a surprise

Lets just say that what I expected this book to be was not what I received. And I could not have been happier. I was expecting a fun romantic comedy and what I actually received was a wonderful story displaying lifes ups and downs. It was still a romantic comedy but it was so much more. The main character feels more real that most characters you see now days. She hits one hurdle after another and just keeps on running. Was very surprise but pleased with this read. Thank You!

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. It in not way affected my opinion of this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable romantic read

What made the experience of listening to Vegas to Varanasi the most enjoyable?

The story line and the narrator had good infliction range of voices.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed that the main character (Anna) was older in age and that there was a happy ending to all the drama. You often time will wonder what happens to your classmates and this book opens your eyes to just what could happen. That one guy that no one would talk to could be the next big thing (or your true love).

Which character – as performed by Jazmine Ramay – was your favorite?

The main character (Anna).

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reaction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Mid-Life Romance

Kiran’s never forgotten Anna, a popular girl in high school, even though they barely knew each other. Kiran has never forgotten how she stuck up for him when he was a chubby kid at school. It’s been years since then and Kiran is now an Adonis and Anna’s been through the wringer. After finding out her ex-husband is gay they remain friends and Anna devotes her life to her kids. Now that they are grown Anna finds herself in yet another dead-in relationship with an aspiring writer with a drinking issue. Uncomplicated Kiran is just what Anna needs if she can keep her now ex-boyfriend from ruining everything.

I absolutely loved this mid-life romance story. It had a wry type of humor, a truly good guy hero and Anna’s a nice person as well. As a matter of fact, there are no bad guys in this story, just decent people who have issues, some more serious than others. The interaction between Kiran and Anna was magic. While Kiran is now a toned and fit man he still has the humbleness of when he was overweight and the idolatry he’s felt towards Anna all these years never wanes.

This audiobook comes in at just over 6 ½ hours and is narrated by Jazmine Ramay. Wow, she did an amazing job on this fully voiced production. This audiobook required someone with good comic timing and Jazmine really did pull it off. I laughed out loud several times.

Author Shelly Hickman has a real winner in this book, it has diverse characters and It’s a feel good story, in today’s climate that’s not a bad thing at all!

This audiobook was gifted to me in exchange for an unbiased review!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A light romantic story

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

More Women's Fiction Than Romance

If you could sum up Vegas to Varanasi in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, Enjoyable, Refreshing

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is one book that I don't think that I could pick a favorite character. All characters are needed here, well maybe except for one, in order to enjoy what the author has written.

What does Jazmine Ramay bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her singing ability. It was a pleasant surprise to the story when Anna sings (even though it's not a full song) to Kiran. If I were reading the book instead there's no way I would do that when it came to that point in the story. I'm one of those that always sings so low (so low you can't hear me).

For me, she was the perfect choice for our main character. She even does a good job with some of the accents. There was one comedic point but it was more on my end than hers. She was talking about a coffee machine, and it took me a couple of times to figure out that that was what she meant. For some reason my brain kept thinking that she was saying carrots. I thought that this was some kind of new dispenser that I'd never heard of before.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I wouldn't say that it was an extreme reaction but there was one point that I felt sorry for why Karin and Anna are going to Varanasi in the first place. There's also one character that you want to give him a swift kick in the pants and tell him to grow a pair and get help.Then you have to feel sorry for Anna that he's constantly bothering her and her family.

Any additional comments?

This was a pleasant surprise. I'm one of those that even though I know it's wrong I still end up seeing the cover and not sure that I want to take the chance on the book. I'm so glad that I didn't let that happen here.

I don't know that I'll ever get to India and this was a great way to get a feel for the country and the family dynamic. It's listed as a romance but I felt it was more of looking into the life of a woman starting over as her two kids are growing up. It's reconnecting with someone they knew in school and trying to get away from someone who is turning toxic while still being concerned by what they're doing to their life.

There were a few moments where I chuckled but wouldn't say that this was a comedy. Don't get me wrong. They were great moments and lightened the story but I was more interested in seeing how Anna was handling her life, start a new relationship, while being nice about getting away from someone she finds she didn't really know at all. Would I listen to this again? Yes. Would I read the book? Yes.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Audio Copy of this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A great read!

Vegas to Varanasi is a journey. I enjoyed the plot of this story and seeing Anna take her journey. Anna was mostly likable but I’ve gotta tell you, Kiran really stole the show for me! I loved him!

I felt that this book was well written and a lot of fun. It was my first book by this author and I liked it a lot. Also, this was the first audio book I listened to that was narrated by Jazmine Ramay and she did a great job. She really brought the story to life!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exactly what I was looking for!

So, While I spend a lot of time listening to urban fantasy, with my teen son, usually based on friends recs, or my dad's, I also like to travel back to my roots and listen to some fantastic chick-lit. Most of what I listen to is paranormal comedic romance, but this book stood out among the myriad of books at my disposal. Why? Because I just finished a really horrifying dark (romance/spy/thriller) set in the Middle East. I needed something a bit lighter to compensate , and without the culture shock a regular contemporary romance would cause, as I was already immersed in this culture. I really felt for the main character, as I've had an ex follow the guilt-road, when I found someone new. This story was engaging, sort of suspenseful (not in any scary way), and beautifully narrated. I look forward to future books by both the author and the narrator (who, by the way, does a snotty brat voice every narrator should aspire to!)