Category Archives: Authors

Top 5 Favorite Nicholas Sparks Books

You might have already figured out that my favorite author of all time is Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read every single one of his books (some more than once) and can’t get enough of the stories he creates. So, today I want to share my top five favorite Nicholas Sparks Books.

#1 THE LAST SONG

6400090Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him.

Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them. (Description from Goodreads)

#2 THE LONGEST RIDE

"The Longest Ride" by Nicholas SparksIra Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.

A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart. (Description from Goodreads)

#3 THE NOTEBOOK

15931Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories…until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.

Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever. (Description from Goodreads)

#4 NIGHTS IN RODANTHE

15926From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks comes a tender story of hope and joy; of sacrifice and forgiveness — a moving reminder that love is possible at any age, at any time, and often comes when we least expect it. At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman.

Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne’s perfect getaway will be ruined — until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort — and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives. (Description from Goodreads)

#5 THE CHOICE

200709-the-choiceTravis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life — boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies — he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door.

Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him…and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn’t help. Despite himself, Travis can’t stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen.

Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, The Choice ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive? (Description from Goodreads)

What are you favorite Nicholas Sparks books?

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Book vs Movie | The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

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The Longest Ride is one of my favorite Nicholas Sparks books. The combination of two different love stories, in two different time periods, is what puts it in my top 5 books he’s written.

There are many people who believe books are always better than the movie (I usually agree), but I thought the book and the movie of The Longest Ride we equally great.

So I wanted to share the three major differences between The Longest Ride book and movie.

IRA’S RESCUE 

scott eastwood and britt robertson THE LONGEST RIDE-

Ira’s rescue is what causes a chain reaction of differences between the book and the movie. In the book, Ira crashes down an embankment during a snowy night and is wounded and stuck in his truck. While inside he imagines that his late wife is talking to him, telling him to think back to certain moments in their life together. This was Ira’s way of holding on until someone found him. Sophia and Luke don’t find Ira until close to the end of the book.

The movie, on the other hand, has a much more dramatic rescue. Sophia and Luke rescue Ira when they were heading back from their first date. They pulled Ira out of his truck right before it burst into flames and rushed him to the hospital. The rescue was much more dramatic than the book portrayed it.

This difference worked though because the movie made it much more believable than if we had to watch Ira talking to his deceased wife. It also worked because it led to a different storyline between Ira and Sophia. Which leads me to the next difference.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN IRA & SOPHIA

alan alda _britt robertson THE LONGEST RIDE

In the book, Sophia and Ira didn’t really know each other. Sophia only read his letter to him once when he was in the hospital. This was the only interaction she had with Ira in the book. With that being said, I really enjoyed that the movie gave Ira and Sophia a chance to get to know each other.

She visited him often in the movie and was able to hear the story between him and his wife first hand; both by reading Ira’s letters and listening to him talk about the life he had with Ruth. This added so much more to the movie and I actually preferred this storyline than what was written in the book.

SOPHIA’S EX BOYFRIEND

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Sophia has an ex boyfriend in the book named Brian. You can tell he’s a total tool and is extremely jealous of Luke. Both Luke and Brian get into a few fights in the book. However, the movie completely removed this character and honestly, I was fine with that. Brian was a total jerk and it would have taken away from the Ira/Sophia relationship in the movie.

Well, those are the major differences I noticed between The Longest Ride book and movie. Even though there were some big differences, both the book and movie were amazing! Nicholas Sparks really knows how to create a story and he has a great team that makes his stories come alive on screen.

Photo Links: Book vs Movie Photo, Ira’s Rescue, Relationship Between Ira & Sophie

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Blogiversary | Interview with Author Jacqueline Smith

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | JACQUELINE SMITH

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | BLOG | TWITTER | GOODREADS

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Photo Credit: Kaylynn Krieg

I’ve been working with Jacqueline Smith since mid February and she’s been so great through this whole process.  I wanted to get to know her author side a little bit more.  So, here’s her answers to my author interview questions.

Don’t forget to enter both the Jacqueline Smith Giveaway and the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway at the end of this interview.

Q: Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

Hi! I’m Jacqueline. I’m 27 years old and I’m from Dallas, Texas. I love writing, photography, and nature. And I’m a YA Literature enthusiast.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book and the inspiration behind it?

My latest book is called Boy Band. It will be released April 21, 2015. It’s the first I’ve published that is not part of the Cemetery Tours series. It actually started out as a NaNoWriMo project. I wasn’t sure if I would publish it, or even finish it, to be honest. But I ended up really loving it. My sister and I are totally into boy bands, all boy bands, and so I started out writing it just for fun after binge-watching music videos on YouTube. It became a really fun story. I can’t wait for people to read it!

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

I first realized I wanted to be an author in my junior year of college. It was spring break and I was sick as a dog, so I spent the entire week curled up on the couch with blankets, tissues, and a stack of guilty pleasure romance novels. In the middle of one, the author describes this bungalow on the beach, right next to a lighthouse. I remember thinking to myself, “Hey, I could do that.” And that was it.

Q: What inspired you to start writing and what continues to inspire you to write now?

I started writing when I was a little kid, actually, but back then, all I was doing was rewriting books and movies that I already loved. For example, every Disney movie I owned. It was kind of like a kid version of fanfiction. I wrote for fun all the way through high school, but I never thought it was something I’d actually end up doing.

Now, I have a million different things that inspire me to keep writing. For one thing, I have at least fifteen other stories in my head waiting to be written. Anything can inspire a story. Sometimes it’s a song. Sometimes it’s a cool picture. Sometimes, it’s a simple phrase. All I know is I need to tell these stories. And I love it.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

I’m putting the finishing touches, revisions, and edits on Boy Band before its released next month. I’m also designing the cover, which is kind of exciting. I’ve never designed a cover before, so I hope it looks alright! I’m also in the process of finishing the third installment of the Cemetery Tours series.

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

When I first get an idea for a story, I do two things. First, I make a playlist on iTunes that serves as a writing soundtrack specifically for that story. And second, I make a secret Pinterest board to help me visualize what I’m writing. When I write, I’m usually at my desk, I have a giant glass of water, and I burn a candle. I love candles.

Q: Where is your favorite place to read?

Oh, I can read anywhere. My favorite place used to be on the living room couch, where my cat, Jasmine, would always sit next to me. Sadly, she passed away last year and I’ve found it difficult to go back to our spot to read.

Q: What are some of your favorite books to read?

I love anything by Meg Cabot or Nicholas Sparks. I’m a big fan of YA, which I’ve been binge-reading recently. I have a huge pile of books on my bedroom floor just waiting to be read. Oh and of course, I love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

I remind myself that I’m so lucky to have found something I love and that I’m passionate about. It’s something that never gets old for me. And perhaps, most importantly, I read. Reading reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It also reminds me of what I want, which is for readers to enjoy my books as much as I enjoy the books of so many other authors out there.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there?

Never give up. Write what you love, not what you think other people will love. There will be plenty of nay-sayers out there, but don’t let them get to you. Find an editor that you trust. Appreciate your readers. Support your fellow writers. And while it is very important to present yourself and your work professionally and with pride, it’s also important to have fun. Enjoy. You’ve earned it.

JACQUELINE SMITH GIVEAWAY

Jacqueline has generously provided (3) kindle copies of Cemetery Tours and (3) kindle copies of it’s sequel, Between Worlds. There will be (3) Winners who will receive one copy of each book. This giveaway will run until March 7th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jacqueline Smith week continues tomorrow with her guest post.

Author Interview | Terri Ann Leidich – Part 2

I was very grateful that Terri Ann Leidich participated in an Author Interview.  Part 1 of the interview included her take on the writing process sprinkled with a few random questions.  Check it out here.

Part 2 consists of questions specific to her book Family Inheritance, that is set to be released on October 1, 2014.  I recently completed the book and wrote a book review on it.

I’m always curious about an author’s process of writing a book because they speak of the same struggles that I’m going through with mine.  You know what I’m talking about…finding time, motivation, and inspiration.  It’s also great to hear about books I enjoyed reading and what it took to get them published.

So, here are a few questions and answers…

Q: What was your motivation for starting Family Inheritance 30 years ago and what motivated you to finish after all these years?

I was in my early 30s and in a very difficult time in my life, and writing has always been a stress release for me.  I was working on some poetry and Helene’s character came into my mind, so I started an outline and the other two sisters appeared in my imagination.  Over the months, I began talking with friends, acquaintances, people I would meet on airplanes, etc. about their lives or the lives of women they knew.  It’s amazing what people are willing to share if they feel you are interested and truly care.

I began to realize that behind the facades of “perfect lives”, a lot of trauma could be hiding, and many times the difficulties women would talk about had some connection to their childhood.  That’s when the title of Family Inheritance took hold in my mind.  It probably took about ten years to finish the basic story, but the publishing environment at that time was tough for new writers and we didn’t get to have a lot of say in our stories.

After many rejections, I had a tentative offer from a large publisher about 20 years ago, but they wanted to eliminate Alice from the story, and I wasn’t willing to do that.  So, I put the manuscript in a file drawer.  I realized a few years ago that if I wanted to bring Helene, Alice, and Suzanne into the lives of other women who might be helped by them, I needed to do something about it, because I’m not getting any younger.

Q: Did you develop your characters based on where and how you grew up?

Each character has a small piece of either my experience of the life or experience of someone I know.  The rest is fiction.  My family, like most families, had its own level of dysfunction but nowhere to the degree that Helene, Alice, and Suzanne experienced.  For instance, my father was an alcoholic and my mother’s life when she was married to hims was difficult, but not to the degree of Anna’s life.

Q: How many drafts went into this book before it got published?

So many that I lost count over the years.  As with any writer, the more I wrote, the more I learned, and the more I learned, the more changing and honing I did with the book.  My sister Kathy read one of the first drafts over 25 years ago and she recently read an advance copy of the book.  She gave me the greatest compliments, “You’ve done good, girl!”  If you have sisters, you know that’s sister talk for “I liked it.”

Q: In what ways is Family Inheritance being marketed?

Through reviews, giveaways, through the distributor working directly with wholesalers, working with bookstores, strong social media campaigns, press releases, book signings, book club appearances, etc.

Q: What part of the book was the most difficult to write and why?

Alice’s story was the hardest to write.  When I wrote the scene where she was talking with Thelma about wanting better for herself and Thelma said, “There ain’t no better for you and me…Just put up with what you gotta put with and get on with life…Your father hit your mother. My father hit my mother.  Al hits me.  Jake hits you.  What’s that tell you, Alice?  Who do yu know that’s got different?”

When the scene was written, I sat down and cried because I know for many women, abuse is and has been a strong part of their lives.  That breaks my heart to this day.

Q: What part of the book did you enjoy writing the most?

When the sisters started really connecting and helping each other take good, long looks at themselves.  Whey they did, they all came out better because of it.  I totally enjoyed writing those scenes.

Thank you again to Terri Ann Leidich for being a part of an author interview.

Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter

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