Tag Archives: Romance

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 | 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 of the Week | Winner Takes All by Jacqui Moreau

cover75535-mediumTITLE: Winner Takes All

AUTHOR: Jacqui Moreau

PUBLISHER: Potatoworks Press

RELEASE DATE: October 12, 2015

GENRE: Romance, Women’s Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON

Eva Butler isn’t easily intimidated—certainly not by a stern receptionist with a disapproving scowl. Her appointment with media mogul Cole Hammond is too important to miss. As a senior associate at an auction house vying for his father’s multimillion-dollar art collection, she won’t be turned away by a specious claim that she doesn’t have an appointment. Of course she does. She made it herself!

Help comes in the form of an enigmatic executive who claims to have Hammond’s ear. Reed volunteers to take the meeting, and suddenly Eva finds herself at lunch with a charming man far too handsome for her peace of mind. She knows the sizzle of attraction she feels isn’t appropriate business behavior, and yet she can’t quite smother the spark.

But all is not what it seems—not with Reed, not with her auction house. Schemes are afoot, and before she knows it, securing the Hammond collection becomes the least of her worries. With so much at stake, including her heart, Eva realizes that the winner does indeed take all. (Description found on NetGalley.com)

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Book Review | The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

BOOK REVIEW | THE CHOICE

200709-the-choiceTITLE: The Choice

AUTHOR: Nicholas Sparks

PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing

RELEASE DATE: September 24, 2007

GENRE: Romance, Women’s Fiction

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&NINDIEBOUND | AUDIBLEABEBOOKS | BOOK DEPOSITORY | ALIBRIS

Travis 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 found on Goodreads)

MY THOUGHTS

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

It had been a while since the first time I read The Choice and it was like I was reading it for the first time. I’m glad I re-read it before the movie comes out next year because it’ll make it easier to compare the two later.

The Choice contains all the great qualities of a Nicholas Sparks book; a man and a woman who fall in love, a plot twist that will leave your heart aching, and several tear jerking moments that will force you to purchase a new box of tissues.

The book is separated into two parts. Part One tells the story of how Travis and Gabby met. They met in a way that reminded me of the 1961 animated film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians. While they didn’t get tangled in the leashes of their beloved pets, it is their dogs Molly and Moby that cause them to cross paths, so somewhat similar.

Part Two travels eleven years into their future where they have a nice house, great careers, and a wonderful family together, but a terrible accident has caused Travis to question every decision he makes.

While I did enjoy reading how Travis and Gabby fell in love, Part Two is where I felt more emotionally invested. Travis has to battle with the thought of losing his wife, all while trying to be a father to his children who are also feeling like they’ve lost their mother. This is where many of the emotional ups and downs are in the book. You can tell from his interactions with Gabby, in the hospital, that Travis really adores her and may not be able to move on without her.

Overall, this is another thumbs up for me, but that’s no surprise when it comes to Nicholas Sparks. I can’t wait to see how the movie turns out. The trailers make it seem like the storyline is going to differ from the book, but I’m sure it will be a great change. Stay tuned for my Book vs Movie post next year.

FAVORITE QUOTES

“Spending time with you showed me what I’ve been missing in my life.”

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that you two make me believe that true love really exists. And that even the darkest hours can’t take that away.”

OVERALL RATING

5-gold-star-rating

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

nicholas-sparksWith 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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