Tag Archives: Fiction

Book Review | See Me by Nicholas Sparks

BOOK REVIEW | SEE ME

201510-see-meTITLE: See Me

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing

RELEASE DATE: October 12, 2015

GENRE: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | BAM! | INDIEBOUND | WALMART |  iBOOKS

Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.

Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success: with a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her home town and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.

A chance encounter on a rainswept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria’s lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria’s past begin to surface.

As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria’s life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they’ve begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?

Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, See Me reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize. (Description from Nicholas Sparks website)

MY THOUGHTS

14055173_10154457944313624_2126584136223489598_nA while back, I was “hanging” out in the Denver International Airport with a couple of hours to kill when I decided to walk around and check out the shops. That’s when I finally came across the paperback edition of See Me by Nicholas Sparks (Yes…I’m that person that waits for the paperback edition of a book). I had been waiting a while (almost a full year) to read his new book and it literally took me less than a second to decide that I was going to buy it and start reading it in the airport. Then I decided what better way to enjoy a Nicholas Sparks book then with a wine flight. As soon as I started reading the book, with a glass of wine in my hand, I could not put it down.

As always, Nicholas Sparks knows how to create a story that sucks you in until you’re left wanting more. See Me is the story about two people who grow to love each other regardless of the pasts that haunt them and, in a way, their pasts have brought them closer. It also portrays the concept that timing is everything in a relationship.

I would say that there’s a lot about Maria Sanchez that I relate to. She’s a hard worker, smart, career focused, and family oriented. You can tell that she wants to let loose, but the goals she has set for herself and a traumatic experience at her previous firm have tamed her adventurous side.

Colin Hancock is a man with quite the colorful (violent) past. If Maria had known Colin during his violent days there’s no way she would have even gone on a date with him. There’s a lot to Colin and his violent tendencies stemmed from difficulties during his childhood. Unfortunately, his difficulties continued to adulthood until he was given an ultimatum…he had to straighten up or he can spend years of his life in prison.

Overall, I enjoyed the suspense aspect that isn’t typical of Nicholas Sparks books, but it still had that love story that I want out of his books too. I shed some tears and was at the edge of my seat throughout the book, so I’d say it was an emotional roller coaster. I may be biased because he’s my all time favorite author, but I would highly recommend this book and add it your Nicholas Sparks collection.

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT NICHOLAS SPARKS

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

nicholas-sparksNicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 105 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 75 million copies in the United States alone.

Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 and he followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), True Believer (2005) and its sequel, At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice (2007), The Lucky One (2008), The Last Song (2009), Safe Haven (2010), The Best of Me (2011), and The Longest Ride (2013) as well as the 2004 non-fiction memoir Three Weeks With My Brother, co-written with his brother Micah. His eighteenth novel, See Me, published on October 12, 2015. His newest book, Two by Two, will be published on October 4, 2016.

Film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels, including The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven (on all of which he served as a producer), The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song, have had a cumulative worldwide gross of over three-quarters of a billion dollars.

In 2012, Sparks and his publishing agent and creative partner Theresa Park, launched Nicholas Sparks Productions, with Park as President of Production. A film version of The Guardian is currently in development, as is a film based on Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers’s friendship with Chicago Bears teammate Brian Piccolo.

Sparks lives in North Carolina. He contributes to a variety of local and national charities, and is a major contributor to the Creative Writing Program (MFA) at the University of Notre Dame, where he provides scholarships, internships, and a fellowship annually. He co-founded The Epiphany School in New Bern, North Carolina in 2006. As a former full scholarship athlete (he still holds a track and field record at the University of Notre Dame) he also spent four years coaching track and field athletes at the local public high school. In 2009, the team he coached at New Bern High School set a World Junior Indoor Record in the 4 x400 meter, in New York. The record still stands.

The Nicholas Sparks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to improving cultural and international understanding through global education experiences for students of all ages was launched in 2011. Between the foundation, and the personal gifts of the Sparks family, more than $15 million dollars have been distributed to deserving charities, scholarship programs, and projects. Because the Sparks family covers all operational expenses of the foundation, 100% of donations are devoted to programs. (Bio found on NicholasSparks.com)

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Book Review | The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

BOOK REVIEW | THE PERFECT WIFE

AUTHOR: JP Delaney

PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books

RELEASE DATE: August 6th 2019

GENRE: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Fiction

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND

A missing woman receives a second chance at life, thanks to her billionaire husband–but the consequences are deadly in this gripping psychological thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl Before.

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s an icon of the tech world, the founder of a lucrative robotics company. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago, and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago? (Description from Goodreads)

MY THOUGHTS

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine for providing a copy of this book for an honest review. Copy provided on NetGalley.com 

I’m intentionally going to try to be vague since this book hasn’t been published yet and I don’t want to spoil anything for other readers.

I believe that this book was missing a genre in the description. It’s definitely a suspense/thriller, but there’s also a hint of Sci-Fi. Now, I’m not a huge fan of Sci-Fi and I was drawn to this book because of the cover, the description, and the suspense aspect of it. If I had known ahead of time that this was also Sci-Fi I may not have started reading, but I’m glad I did.

The Sci-Fi part didn’t slap you in the face all the time. It was woven perfectly into the story. It did get a little preachy in the middle, but then it got quickly out of that and I was back to wondering what was going to happen next.

Towards the end I thought I knew how everything was going to play out and I was anxiously waiting to get to that part…then I got there and was completely wrong about my predictions. I do like when a book can surprise me at the end.

Overall, I was a bit skeptical about the Sci-Fi aspect, but I believe this is a very creative original story. I would definitely recommend to those who like Sci-Fi and suspense novels.

***POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN NEXT SECTION***

Just something I’m hoping some readers will get. While I was writing this review I thought about this character that Bill Hader played on SNL called Stefon.

This book has everything…possible murder, child autism, infatuation, and ROBOTS! 

If you are a fan of SNL, here’s a link to the best of Stefon to give you and idea of how that sentence should be read.

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JP Delaney is a pseudonym for a writer who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Before, which is being brought to the screen by Academy Award winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.

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Book Review | Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

BOOK REVIEW | EVERY BREATH

TITLE: Every Breath

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing

RELEASE DATE: October 16, 2018

GENRE: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | TARGET | INDIEBOUND | BAM! | AUDIBLE

In the romantic tradition of The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals — transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, How long can a dream survive? (Description from Goodreads)

MY THOUGHTS

(Before reading, please be aware that this review may contain spoilers)

Once again, it didn’t take me long to finish a Nicholas Sparks book. I can never put them down. I did my usual walking while reading whenever I could and was disappointed getting to the door at work and having to put the book away. Then I’d pick it back up at lunch and at home. My poor husband can’t get a word in when a good book grabs all my attention. Anyway, I’m rambling and want to share a bit about my thoughts on this newest Nicholas Sparks book.

This book was inspired by true events and real people. This is the first book of Sparks’s that he explained what went into writing this book and it started with him visiting Bird Island in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. On that island there’s a mailbox called Kindred Spirit. As Sparks explains it, “anyone can leave a letter or postcard; any passerby can read whatever has been placed inside. Thousands of people do so every year.” This place is an important part of the book and it somehow revolves around the relationship between the characters Tru and Hope.

Tru Walls and Hope Anderson are two people from completely different parts of the world and meet at Sunset Beach in North Carolina. Tru is from Africa and works as a safari guide. He’s worked at many camps and has lived in Africa his whole life. Hope is a trauma nurse from North Carolina and has never been to Africa. She has a boyfriend of six years, but are on a break because well…he’s a jerk. Not how she put it, but that’s how I’m putting it. So completely different worlds.

After a few days together, they both knew they had fallen in love and eventually told each other. But their lives were on completely different paths and there were things Hope wanted that Tru just wouldn’t be able to give her. There’s a lot more to this that I don’t want to give away, but they had a heartbreaking parting and never spoke again until decades later when Hope was trying to find him.

I’m glad they found each other again after so long, but I’m very sad that they didn’t have that time together and unfortunately, the remaining time they have is clearly going to be short (I won’t spoil that part for you). Both Hope and Tru regret not trying hard enough to find each other again, but the Kindred Spirit finally brought them together. Hope even mentions in a letter she placed in Kindred Spirit that, “I was the one who ended it, for reasons I have agonized over for decades. It was the right decision at the time; it was also the wrong decision”.

While it’s not my favorite book Sparks has ever written, he still is able to write characters and stories to make you emotionally connected to them. Knowing that this book was inspired by a true story made me more sad to read the ending and to know they spent so much time apart. After reading this I still want to know what happened to them, but that’s probably best kept with the real people this book is inspired by.

Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot and it has a lot of what Nicholas Sparks is known for, but it had a slightly different feel in the sense that I didn’t think the ending was a happy one. Usually I feel uplifted in some way after reading one of his novels, but this one left me feeling sad and wanting more. I would recommend this if your a Nicholas Sparks fan like me and you want to read a love story that has more sadness to it than most.

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. His novels include 12 #1 New York Timesbestsellers. All his books have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than 50 languages. Ten Sparks novels have been adapted into major motion pictures, with The Choice coming in February 2016. (About the author found on Amazon.com)

Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 by Warner Books. He followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember(1999), The Rescue(2000), A Bend in the Road (2001),Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding(2003), True Believer (2005) and its sequel, At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice(2007),The Lucky One (2008), The Last Song (2009), Safe Haven (2010) and The Best of Me(2011), as well as the 2004 non-fiction memoir Three Weeks With My Brother, co-written with his brother Micah. His seventeenth novel, The Longest Ride, was published on September 17, 2013. (Found on NicholasSparks.com)

You can see his full bio here: Nicholas Spark Biography

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Book Review | The Last Girl by Joe Hart

BOOK REVIEW | THE LAST GIRL

cover74018-mediumTITLE: The Last Girl (A Dominion Trilogy, Book 1)

AUTHOR: Joe Hart

PUBLISHER: Thomas & Mercer

RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2016

GENRE: Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | INDIEBOUND

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.

Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war. (Description from NetGalley.com)

MY THOUGHTS

Are there times when you feel like you’re in a prison? When you feel like you have no control of what’s going to happen to you? Zoey (who has no clue what her last name is) has been a prisoner of a facility known as the ARC the majority of her life. She’s only allowed to eat certain foods, read certain books, and has to abide by the rules or be punished. All this because she’s one of the few young girls left in the world. They take these young girls from their families and take away their freedom.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Last Girl. The first part of the book brings you into the ARC and what Zoey’s daily life is like. She’s escorted everywhere and has to stick to a schedule that includes wearing certain outfits, communal eating, and doing laundry. Her life essentially is not her own.

The second part of the book details her escape from the ARC and her first few days of freedom in the world, but unfortunately doesn’t have time to enjoy it while they are searching for her and while she’s injured. Zoey encounters many many obstacles during her escape from hunger to running into men who want nothing more then to violate and sell her.

When I first started reading this book, I was siding more with the people running the ARC because these are the last few women on earth that might be able to produce a female birth. They are protected, fed, and have a space of their own, but as I continued to read I started to understand Zoey’s struggle. I can’t imagine not being able to decide what I get to do each day, what I get to eat, what I get to read, and who I can spend my time with. It’s not living which is part of what fueled Zoey to fight back.

When Zoey escapes from the ARC is when I really got into the book. The author made me feel Zoey’s pain when she was running away trying to stay alive.  I felt like my heart was beating with her’s with each man she killed for her freedom. It was like I was there experiencing it for myself. I thought about what would be going through my head seeing the wilderness for the first time while on the brink of death. Seeing the world for what it was rather then what was told to her. I’d be frightened just like she was. I’d be confused just like she was. I’d be angry.

The lead character, Zoey, is another aspect of the book that I loved. At first you think she’s just a small fragile girl that just continues to go through the motions, but she’s actually this very strong woman fighting for what she wants out of life and fighting for those she cares about. There are many times when a weak person might die, but she didn’t. She fought and fought hard.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Last Girl. It’s full of intense scenes that keep your heart pumping and it’s impossible to put down. It’s like you’re experiencing everything first hand. It’s a great thriller with a strong female lead that keeps you rooting for her until the end. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

OVERALL RATING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Joe Hart was born and raised in northern Minnesota, where he still resides today. He’s been writing horror and thriller fiction since he was nine years old. He is the author of five novels and numerous short stories, including the books The River Is Dark, Lineage, and The Waiting. When he’s not writing, Joe enjoys reading, working out, watching movies with his family, and spending time outdoors. (Bio found on www.joehartbooks.com).

Thank you to Joe Hart and Thomas & Mercer for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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