Vegas to Varanasi

Vegas to Varanasi

4.5 13
by Shelly Hickman
     
 

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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

Overview

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?"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781530969487
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
11/18/2013
Pages:
278
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as an illustrator for a contractor for the Nevada Test Site. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer applications and multimedia at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dog, Frankie.

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Vegas to Varanasi 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
ReadersFavorite2 11 days ago
Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite In Vegas to Varanasi (Fortytude Series Book 1), author Shelly Hickman takes readers on a journey of the love life of 40-something Anna. Before you get worried that this is another love story, I must quickly add that Shelly has smartly added many other realistic elements to the book, like parenting troubles, teenage kids' drama, etc. Anna is a mother of a 20-year-old daughter, Carly, and a 21-year-old boy, Hayden. She has been living with her boyfriend, David. Their romance, however, is dying slowly due to his uncontrolled drinking habits. After many conversations on this topic, Anna has lost hope of any improvement and David moves out of the house. During this "trouble in paradise" situation, she comes across Kiran. He claims that he was in the same school as Anna, and she was the only one who was polite to him. The rest of the classmates picked on him due to his being overweight. Anna's kindness touched him and he has never been able to forget her. She feels an instant connection with Kiran, but she believes that he is a little out of her league. Unlike in high school, he is now a particularly handsome man. Her dilemma increases ten-fold when Kiran asks her to accompany him to Varanasi, India. Having just broken up with David, she is not sure if she is up for a new relationship so quickly. One thing that I loved about Vegas to Varanasi (Fortytude Series Book 1) is how relatable its plot is. Although I am nowhere Anna's age, Shelly's beautiful narration helped me in connecting with the leading lady of the book without any trouble. The author has raised two major issues in this romantic novel: 1. How bad alcoholism can be for one's life and relationships! 2. The scars of high school drama can impact on a person's self-confidence for their whole life. The twists do not feel artificial. In fact, many relationships end owing to the misunderstandings faced by Anna and Kiran. One would have to be heartless not to fall in love with Kiran and his modesty. I must admit that from the title of the book I had gotten an idea that I would be reading a lot about the cultural differences of Vegas and Varanasi. However, the tasteful plot was enough for me to overlook that minor issue.
ReadersFavorite1 11 days ago
Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite Vegas to Varanasi (Fortytude Series Book 1) by Shelly Hickman is a romance novel narrated in the first person by Anna. This is a love story about Anna and Kiran, who were once high school classmates and now happen to meet after 20-something years. Kiran is an Indian guy who dealt with self-esteem issues due to being overweight in high school. At that time, Anna, a plain and nice girl, was one of the few people who were always kind to him. Kiran has always remembered her kindness and, when they happen to meet years later, sparks fly. Kiran, now slimmed down and toned, is instantly attracted to her. Anna, in the meantime, has struggled with a failed marriage, a partner she is no longer in love with, and parenting, and is flattered by Kiran’s attention. Things get more serious and also complicated when Kiran invites Anna to visit Varanasi, India with him. This is their love story. Vegas to Varanasi (Fortytude Series Book 1) by Shelly Hickman is a nice, easy read and I liked that the chief protagonists, Anna and Kiran, are both likeable and relatable. They both deal with their own issues and get a brand new chance at love. I loved the vivid depiction of Varanasi and India in general as they travel together. There is a background story of ex-boyfriends, tears, and other affairs besides this one, but I found myself focused on Anna and Kiran’s story and rooting for them to find genuine happiness since they are portrayed as such kind and genuine people. All in all, a great romance read.
ReadersFavorite 11 days ago
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Vegas to Varanasi: Fortytude Series, Book 1 is a contemporary romantic chick lit novel written by Shelly Hickman. Anna's first and major love had been Luke. They were best friends who went the next step, fell in love and got married. Anna, who had never been intimate with a man before, had no real reason to suppose that the perfunctory and slightly impersonal lovemaking they occasionally indulged in was anything really out of the ordinary. After their second child, however, she realized, without him saying a word, that Luke was gay. She avoided any real relationships with men after their amicable divorce, not wanting to subject their two kids to a boyfriend until they were older. Then Anna met David, a client at the physical therapy center where she worked, and their relationship grew to the point that David came to live with Anna and her now grownup children. But David, a tenured professor and aspiring novelist, became increasingly reticent and reclusive, and was finishing off a significant amount of booze while writing his great novel. Their parting seemed almost a relief to the two of them. Then there was Kiran. Impossibly lovely to look at, and still holding tight to a crush he had had on her from when they were briefly in school together years before. Too good to be true? Anna's optimism has taken a few too many bumps and bruises along the way, but Kiran is quite enticing. Shelly Hickman's contemporary romance novel, Vegas to Varanasi: Fortytude Series, Book 1 is a heartwarming and humorous look at life after forty. There's the worries Anna has about her kids and their prospective partners, and her own fears about growing old on her own, but Hickman's Anna is more than simply a woman going through a midlife crisis. She's a genuinely likable and compassionate soul, and the reader can't help but hope that she and Kiran will get to live happily ever after. Along the way, Kiran invites Anna to travel with him to India to visit his ailing grandmother and his aunt. Anna's always dreamed of going to India and surprises herself by assenting. Reading about their experiences in India is marvelous! Hickman makes every crowded street in Varanasi and holy ceremony by the Ganges come alive with the flowing and detailed descriptions one would usually expect from a travel writer. Vegas to Varanasi is a quirky, warm, and entertaining novel that is most highly recommended.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Funny and entertaining, I enjoyed it. No explicit sex.
Anonymous 11 months ago
cmscrapper More than 1 year ago
Just an okay book for me. I probably would not be interested to read any more in the series.
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
Great Book! This is a great book; this is the first book in the Fortytude Series by Shelly Hickman. Anna has never been the beautiful one but known for the nice one. When the gorgeous man sitting across from her at a wedding reception, who seems to remember her from high school she is taken off guard. Kiran was the overweight and unpopular kid in high school but he has never forgotten how kind Anna was to him. If you are looking for a great romance then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bright funny intelligent. These are people I want to hang out with. Actually missed this book when I wasn't reading it. I will be fo.lowing this writers career.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Vegas To Varanasi is a wonderful romance story that takes a realistic look into the dynamics of relationships and the trials and tribulations that come with life experiences and change. Author Shelly Hickman weaves a deeply moving tale told in the first person narrative that follows the journey of Anna, a Las Vegas physical therapist, as she ventures down the path of romance, and how she handles the complexities and changes that come with them. This is so much more than the usual romance story, the reader is easily drawn into Anna's life and the complexities of her relationships, it is a captivating and realistic tale that has a great mixture of emotions, humor and romance. Anna takes the reader along on her life's journey as she experiences the ups and downs, joys and struggles, insecurities and passion that comes along with romance and family. From her insecurities and vulnerability; to the heartbreak and acceptance of her marriage/divorce to a gay man and the remolding of their family; to the struggles of loving and living with a man with an alcohol addiction; to the refreshing discovery of a new love and culture, Anna's journey easily captivates the reader's attention and has them cheering Anna on as she ventures down the path to love and happiness. With an engaging cast of characters who are realistic and have flaws; richly detailed descriptions of Las Vegas and Varanasi and the Indian culture; and a storyline that depicts the reality of life and the complexities of relationships; Vegas To Varanasi is a delightful story about the intricacies of life experiences, it is a story full of depth and emotion that will leave a smile on your face.
DelphinaReadsTooMuch More than 1 year ago
I love “What could have been” and “Finally Ever After” stories. I think one of the things I liked most about this book is that I found myself really connecting to the characters .  Oh an they are not in their early twenties.  While I love NA as much as, if not more than the next person, I love reading about people who are close to my age.  It was such a refreshing change. Now to the nitty gritty.  It is rare to be in your early forties without a bit of heartbreak in your past.  Anna had her share.  Her marriage resulted in two beautiful children, but it was not the HEA Anna had dreamed it would.  Now in her early forties she has two mostly grown children and is living with a partner who, among other things, only thinks of himself.  Kiran spent his life being overweight and allowing that to control his self worth.  He has lost the weight, but his insecurities are still close to the surface.  Not to mention his own heartbreak.  Together they reconnect after over 20 years.  While they barely knew each other back then, Kiran always remembered Anna and how she treated him with kindness when kindness was rare. I was afraid at first that Anna was going to be this perfect, super sweet woman who let people walk over her because of her innate kindness.  Boy was I wrong.  She was sweet, but she was also real.  I connected with her on so many levels.  She is kind, but she also struggles with her own insecurities and balancing her relationships with her less than traditional family and her own personal life.   Kiran is beyond intelligent, loves his family and is hot.  The last part adds an interesting dynamic because Anna is intimidated by this even though he does not actually see himself that way.  Not only did I really like Kiran and Anna, but I loved both of their families as well.  They added such wonderful layers to the already captivating story.  I would be remiss to leave out India.  In some ways it was a secondary character for part of the book and the author did a wonderful job sharing the beauty and not so beauty of the country and parts of it'c culture.  I will say this book did not end the way I thought it would, but it did end exactly where and how it should.  I have not read anything by this author in the past, but I will be keeping an eye out for her books from now on.  
PureJonel More than 1 year ago
Hickman’s mellow writing style really lets you focus on the story at hand.  She subtly creates a world that you find yourself wandering through alongside the characters.  This story was completely realistic, focusing on real relationships and problems.  At the same time, Hickman presents everything in a captivating manner that draws you into the lives of her characters.   As a reader you really get to know all of the characters in this story.  Hickman develops them fully without stepping out of the story proper.  Although the focus is on the main character, she also takes the time to develop each character individually, giving the story a well-rounded and approachable feel.   Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that this novel took me on.  It was a brilliantly put together, mellow read that really made me think. Please note that I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
DarkAngelCT More than 1 year ago
In this book we meet Anna who is at this point with David even though it seems like there is problems between Anna and David.  Next we read about Anna and her ex-Luke going to a wedding where Anna meets Kiran a man she use to know from school a long time ago.  Not long David and Anna break up, which proves to be a problem in itself.   Anna accept Kiran's request to go to India to see Kiran's grandmother who is dying.  While there the bond between them becomes very strong leading the reader to know that romance is on the way.  I enjoyed this story it reminds me of Elin Hilderbrand with the levels this story had.  It was a great read and kept me entertained and what was going on with her daughter was a complete 360 then what I was expecting. I liked how for the most part this story wrapped up nicely.  I thoroughly enjoyed and think anyone who loves chic lit will love it as well.