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Hi everyone! I am an aspiring author slash college student who loves to read which is probably obvious, and I love to share what I read with people, again, obvious. I think everyone has a book out there for them, its a matter of looking hard enough to find it and having a positive attitude about reading it. Anyways I hope you all find this blog helpful. Please feel free to comment and ask questions, that's why I do this! -Bookworm95

Nicholas Sparks Read-A-Thon

Hey guys! As you know I am making my way through the Nicholas Sparks books. Slowly but surely I will read all of them. This page is dedicated to my journey. Here I will post about every as I read them. I will post a short description and try not to spoil. I will also enclose a picture. Read with me and leave comments telling me what you think. The paragraphs about the books all come from http://www.nicholassparks.com/

The Best of Me

1) The Best of Me: "The Best of Me is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past."

My Thoughts: I read this book in less that a week. Like all of his books,  The Best of Me has an intricate plot set up and designed to shock you. It contains great flashbacks that help explain the depth of this once upon a time relationship. The characters, Amanda and Dawson, are both relateable and lovable. Their trials and troubles are things that we all face and or see all the time; Love, loss, marriage problems, achohol abuse, loneliness, miscommunication, and fear. This book shows the stages of life and how two people can find true and everlasting love when the odds seem to be stacking up against them. The end, as always pulls at your heart strings. It is a little sad, but this book, I think anyways, ends on a bitter sweet note. I love to hate the ending. I think that everything worked out how it should have. Read this book!

The Cover: The chair on the weathered old porch and the pot of bright flowers is explained the further you read. I don't want to spoil since this is a farely new book :).

Safe Haven

2) Safe Haven: "When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family. But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven."

My Thoughts: Safe Haven was a very fast read for me. It focuses on the battered wife of a police officer. An alcholoic, her husband is constantly beating her. She is cut off from all friends and family. She secretly befriends the elderly couple across the street. This is crucial for her unfolding plan. She searches the elderly's house and comes across the birth certificate of their deceased daughter. This is the identity she assumes when she escapes from her husband and lands up in Southport North Carolina where she meets Alex, a single father of two. Their wife and mother dead, Katie soon begins to fill her very large shoes and slowly she begins to plant roots. Everything seems fine until the police officer makes his way to southport. There the plot thickens. The end of this book is great!

The Cover: The bike leaning against the cream house represents Katie's only way of transportation once in Southport. The bike, a gift from Alex, belonged to his late wife Jo. He and his children fix up the old bike as a present and give it to Katie. I do not currently remember the significance of the flowers. If someone finds out. . .please let me know!

The Last Song

3) The Last Song: "Seventeen 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."

My Thoughts: The last song is one of my all time favorite Sparks books. Maybe because I am in the same age group as the main characters Ronnie and Will and can relate to most of the conflicts in some way or other. This is a touching story about love, and strained parent-child relationships. I honestly don't think that the movie does this book justice. There are many comic moments that I found myself laughing out loud to, but there are also tragic moments I found myself crying too. The end will touch your heart. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Keep in mind that the movie may be close but it leaves out a lot.

The Cover: The cover for the Last Song has a lot of symbolism that you will fully understand after reading through the whole book. The title itself symbolizes (SPOILER) The literal last song that Ronnie and her father write together after years of no communication. The Nicholas Sparks title box is a picture of a music sheet of that same song. The oceanic background represents the summer they spent as a family in North Carolina where her father now lives. Notice the small sea turtles? Those come into play as well.

The Lucky One
4) The Lucky One: "When U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in the dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraq, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead, he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Soon Thibault experiences a sudden streak of luck—winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat that kills two of his closest buddies. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph—his lucky charm.Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the photo—and the woman in it—out of his mind. Believing that she somehow holds the key to his destiny, he sets out on a journey across the country to find her, never expecting the strong but vulnerable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina—Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son—to be the girl he’s been waiting his whole life to meet. Caught off guard by the attraction he feels, Thibault keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate and all-consuming love affair, the secret he is keeping will soon threaten to tear them apart—destroying not only their love, but also their lives.Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, The Lucky One is Nicholas Sparks at his best—an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love."

My Thoughts: I recently read this book and once I started it, I couldn't stop. I couldn't bare the thought of not knowing what was going to happen to Logan (Thibault) and Beth. This story has a lot of flashbacks to Thibault's time in Iraq. They do mean something to the story, so DO NOT SKIP THEM! They are witten in for a reason. I honestly believe that Nicholas Sparks wouldn't write something that wasn't worth reading. The suspicious, and secretive Logan Thibault walks all the way from Colorado to North Carolina to find a woman in the picture he found in the sands of Iraq. He doesn't know why he is compelled to find her, only that he must. When he does find her, he learns that she is divorced with a son about 8 or 9 I think. Ben almost automatically befriends Logan and his dog Zeus against his mother's wishes. But slowly, and surely Beth realizes that Logan is both intriging and wonderful. Things seem perfect until we meet the sleezy ex-husband who is possesive enough to use his rich family name, and his job in law enforcement to stir up trouble. I couldn't stand reading from his perspective, but I understood why it was placed into the story's plot line at the end. Nicholas Sparks designs his books, and especially this one, so that the peices of the puzzle fall just right and at the precise time. Towards the end, I realized that there was also some major foreshadowing that I completley missed. So watch out.

The Cover: This cover, I'm not really sure about. I'm sure there was something that the ferris wheel and the tree represent, but I didn't catch it. So someone drop me a line so I can figure it out!

The Choice
5) The Choice: "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?"
My Thoughts: This book was not one of my favorites, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. I have yet to read a Sparks book and completely hate it. So here we go. Gabby Holland is the new girl in town. Travis Parker is the small town vet. She moves in next door to Travis and he is immediatley drawn to her. Not romantically, but curiousity. She doesn't really like him at all. Through mutual friends and group outings, they learn more about each other and become friends. Over time, their feelings for each other are revealed. Gabby has a boyfriend that she decide to either leave or stay with. This book is somewhat similar to the notebook, but it does not cover as many of their years together, and they do not retell the story. But Sparks has said that he wanted to create another story about a couple who defy all odds to be together and who love each other unconditionally. I really enjoyed this book, but like I said, it is not one of my favorites.
The Cover: The cover is a picture of either Travis's or Gabby's house. The dog on the front belongs to one of them and I want to say that is it Travis's.

6) Dear John: "An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life—until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. “Dear John,” the letter read…and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life."

My Thoughts: This is one of my all time favorite Nicholas Sparks novels. Its heart felt and strong. This soldier, John, is just a regular guy with a screwed up past. With a touch of fate he meets Savannah. But unfortunately, he is only on leave. Their relationship unfolds and they grow in their love. They send love letters to each other across the sea.  This is a true example of true love conquering distance. It reveals the horrors of war, while showing the love that balances it out and makes it all worth it. I read this book very quickly because I couldn't put it down. You won't be disappointed!

The Cover:  The cover has a simple and subtle envelope representing the letters John and Savannah sent. The pasture with the grazing horses represents Savannah's home and her dream of helping disabled kids in a summer camp with horses.

7) At First Sight: "There are a few things Jeremy Marsh was sure he’d never do: he’d never leave New York City; never give his heart away after barely surviving one failed marriage; and never become a parent. Now Jeremy is living in the tiny town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, engaged to Lexie Darnell, the love of his life, and anticipating the start of their family. But just as his life seems to be settling into a blissful pattern, a mysterious and disturbing e-mail sets off a chain of events that will change the course of this young couple’s relationship. How well do we really know the ones we love? How do we handle the inevitable doubts, fears concerning parenthood, and stumbling blocks that are sometimes placed in our way? Continuing the story of the young couple introduced in Sparks’s bestselling True Believer, this novel captures all the heartbreak, tension, romance and surprises of those who are newly wed. An astonishing tale about the love between a man and a woman and between a parent and a child, At First Sight is about endings that bring new beginnings . . . tragedies that lead to unexpected joy . . . and, most of all, the magic of everlasting love."

My Thoughts: I just finished this book last night. I have to say, it is not a normal Sparks novel, I felt. The plot just seemed out of character for him. That doesn't make it bad though. I however got spoiled so I probably didn't read it as close as I should have. But I did get the gist. So normaly you see the couple meet and fall in love and eventually . . . "get to know each other" but this story was different. You don't see the two meet, or fall in love, or . . .do it. The book opens up with the announcement that the two are getting married. Then you learn they are expecting a baby, but that's not why they are getting married. The paragraph above made me think that this book was going to be about email stocker and that was it. But that only concerns like, not even half the book. The rest is about the pregnancy and Jeremy's inability to write anymore columns. It wasn't my favorite, but it does have the classic Sparks ending, that had I not been spoiled, I would have not seen coming.

The Cover: This is my take on the cover. The tree in the background has all of its branches bending and growing together. That could symbolize the realtionship of the two main characters. The lawn chair, could represent the evenings spent on the patio together. I am not sure about the swing, but it must have a relevent meaning.