Thursday, December 31, 2015


Fortytude series
by Shelly Hickman




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?”


The sequel to "Vegas to Varanasi" catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event
that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age? 

First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing? 

Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry. 

Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily ever after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change.”



When I look up, Kiran is regarding me so intently, I swear he’s mentally calculating the diameter of my pupils. “It was truly exceptional, for someone your age to be so compassionate toward others.”

This is becoming far too intense. My insides feel as if they’re playing musical chairs. “I could really use a drink. You?”

“I’ll get it for you. What would you like?”

“A glass of white wine, please.”

“Any particular kind?”

“Whatever they have is fine.”

I sit down on one of the sofas while he walks to the bar for our drinks.

This is childish. Why am I acting like I’ve never had a man give me attention before? It has to be because I’m letting his looks intimidate me.

Luke never flustered me, but maybe that was because he was my buddy first. Despite his good looks, he was approachable. Kiran, on the other hand... I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone in real life who was so arresting.

I feel flushed and touch my face.

He’s not full of himself, and he genuinely seems to like me. Clearly, he has these idealistic memories of me which are far too much to live up to. I’m not Gandhi, for crying out loud!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a light read, heartfelt and down to earth.

The story is set on a realistic scenario, with believable family bonds, funny situations and some real issues (Weight and alcohol problems). Both main characters are likeable, loveable and relatable.
Overall, the plot is well-developed, with good dialogues and a little messy ending that left you wanting more. So I'm starting Book #2 (Menopause to Matrimony) right now!

I highly enjoyed the premise of that no matter how old you are, you're bound to find your Happily Ever After...?

*I received a Free copy in exchange for an Honest Review*


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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 a computer illustrator. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer literacy and media technology 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 dogs, Frankie and Junebug.
Amazon author page:

Buy links:

NOTE: "Vegas to Varanasi" is now perma-free on multiple platforms


Shelly Hickman will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner.


  1. Thanks for sharing your review and have a Happy New Year!

    1. Thank You for letting me be part of your Blog Tour!!! I'm still reading Book#2!! Happy New Year!

  2. I liked the excerpt. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Rita!! Thanks for stopping by, Happy New Year for you too!!

  3. Thanks for sharing your honest review! I'm looking forward to reading this one in the new year. Happy New Year :)

    1. Hi, Victoria! Thanks for your lovely comment, Happy New Year!!

  4. What is your favorite book to read?

    1. Hi, Mai! Thanks for stopping by, Happy New Year!

    2. Hi Mai. I don't have one favorite book, but several favorites. I wrote a post about some of my faves a couple years ago. If you're interested, here's the link:

      Do you have a favorite?

  5. Replies
    1. Hi, Becky! Thanks for stopping by, Happy New Year!

    2. Hi Becky. Mostly I like romantic comedy, self-help/discovery, and humorous memoirs--like Nora Ephron, Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling. What about you?

  6. It sounds like a really good story. I love the fact that they are both older.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Thank you for the excerpt~it sounds like a great read. Happy New Year & Happy Writing!

  9. I enjoyed the excerpt and am looking forward to reading more.