Bucket List Moments – Reading All The Nicholas Sparks Novels – Part 1

The man himself!

                          The man himself!

Okay, for a while now I have wanted to read the Nicholas Sparks novels that have inspired some of my favourite romance films. So when I saw one of them in a charity shop, I though why not start now, and promptly paid for the book. Since then I have found a few more in charity shops and bought several used copies from Amazon for really cheap.

After reading the first two books (not in the order they were written as there isn’t a continuous arc across the books), I thought I should start keeping track of how I felt at the end of each book, kinda like my synopsis that I could share with you all.

So here goes….

The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride

 Much like the film, this book captured me after the first few chapters, even with the major differences in how it’s told. The intertwining storylines connect perfectly both on-screen and on the page & I love the way they are told; Ira & Ruth’s lives through flashbacks, while Luke & Sophia come together in the present.

Sparks has done a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life on the page and at times I felt like I was right there with them. It was almost like I was Ruth, a haze in the car wiling Ira to hold on for just that bit longer, bringing the memories of our lives together to life once more. Then I was Sophia, reading Ira’s letter to him in the hospital, trying to speak clearly for him despite the emotions clogging my throat.

AS with any truly great author, Sparks has created a story that really comes to life. This book is going to be one I treasure and reread over & again through the years to come.

At First Sight

At First Sight

I wasn’t really sure what to think when I started reading this book & upon reaching the final page, I was no closer . I felt the story started off in an odd place & as it developed things didn’t exactly become any better.

I felt the story took a long time to get going, then you were hit with a major twist & tragedy, before suddenly reading the epilogue and it was all over. I know it’s supposed to be a love story, but there seemed to be too much suspicion & minor conflict between the major characters for it to flow nicely. Not that I expected it to be all hearts, flowers & sappy words, but the almost abrupt ending left me feeling bereft, like a huge chunk of the book was missing that would make things fall into place.

Obviously this is purely my opinion and if you’ve read it & love it, I hope I don’t cloud your views at all. That is not what I want to do by far. I just want to share honestly how I reacted & felt; I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below.

Safe Haven

Safe Haven

I had already fallen in love with this story after watching the film, so to be able to read the book has been fantastic. Nicholas Sparks has yet again provided a detailed love story that also shows the darker side of relationships.

After watching the special feature on the DVD I know he wrote the storyline for Kevin Tierney, the abusive husband, first and then filled in the rest with Katie & Alex. This seemed odd to me when I first heard that, but after finishing the book it makes sense. Kevin is plagued by demons that affect a lot of us, but they drive Kevin to extremes; in the way he thinks, how much he drinks & then his resulting actions. Behaviours that are unfortunately all to common in life.

In contrast, the relationship between Katie & Alex is a lot brighter and simpler. Even with the shadow of Katie’s past looming over them, they both manage to find the best in the situation, building a new life together with his children. And Jo; well, I was intrigued to see how that had been written after seeing the film, and think Sparks incorporated her perfectly. The letter at the end was beautiful and it definitely brought tears to my eyes.

The Choice

The Choice

After the first few pages of this book I knew I was going to love the storyline. It starts off like most other romances, boy meets girl, and progresses steadily as you would expect. Then Nicholas Sparks throws a curveball into the mix. Of course we have the prologue as a hint, but all I was expecting was a separation or divorce, thinking Travis had cheated or something. But oh, no, it’s completely different, though I won’t give any more away if you haven’t read it yet.

The front of my book says ‘Now A Major Movie Picture’ but it hasn’t come out in cinemas in the UK yet. I have however, seen the trailer. I think the casting looks great, but from what I can tell, they’ve deviated quite a bit from the book. Now I know it can’t be an exact match in 1 1/2 -> 2 hours of screen time; but still, I noticed major differences that would have been easy to stick to.

Anyway, I look forward to watching the film, but I’m so glad I got to read the book first. Another great story to add to my growing library.

The Best of Me

The Best of Me

Again, this is one where I have seen the film and fallen in love with the story first. But it has truly been amazing to read the book and see how Nicholas Sparks originally wrote it all.

The storyline had me hooked from the first time I watched it, and reading the words has only reinforced that. I love how Sparks has created this modern romance, almost like West Side Story, different worlds colliding in this young couple before things inevitably spin out of control separating them. Then for them to be reunited many years later after their lives have changed so much – only to be irrevocably altered again in such a shattering way.

And then the off-shoot of Tuck and Clara, another great (if briefly told) love story that I would love more detail on. I would definitely buy the book if Sparks ever turned it into a novel of its own.

The love Dawson & Amanda have in the book, still strong even after so many years apart, is something that I long for but know I will be lucky to find if it ever happens for me.

Dear John

Dear John

I’m currently working my way through this one, so will give the low-down when I am done!

That’s all for now folks! Part 2 will be coming soon – once I have read a few more of the books!

Let us know if you have read any of the books and share your thoughts on them in the comments below! We would love to hear your views!

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Dream Awhile With Me – Poem by Cathryn Martin

I’ve been doing a bit of a sort out round my flat over the weekend and came across an old notebook I had filled with poems for a competition I entered while at school. After having a flick through I spotted one that I had shared on PoemHunter.com which someone turned into a stop-motion animation a few years back. SO I thought I would share both with you all!

Dream Awhile With Me by Cathryn Martin

I dream of rainbows, Bright in the sky,
I dream of lightning, together we cry,

I dream of flowers, I feel such delight,
I dream of spiders, and I scream with fright,

I dream of fish, swimming in the sea,
I dream of sharks, coming after me,

I dream of lambs, frolicking around,
I dream of wolves, Hunting, no sound,

I dream of children, several of them ours,
I dream of them waking, Being up for hours,

Stay with me forever and together we’ll cope,
Because when I dream of you, I dream of hope,

Dream awhile with me and together we’ll see,
Not all dreams are bad, so dream along with me.

Cathryn Martin

Bit of a simple poem I know (I was still at school – and we can’t all be Shakespeare), but check out the video I was sent…

I think this is super creative and I felt quite honoured when I was first contacted by them to let me know they had made it!

Have you written any poetry? Or have you made a stop-motion animation about your own/someone else’s work? We would love to see both and share them here on the blog!!! You can contact us via social media or via the ‘Contact Us’ tab above!

A Summer Day – Poem by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A Summer Day - Poem by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The dawn laughs out on orient hills
And dances with the diamond rills;
The ambrosial wind but faintly stirs
The silken, beaded gossamers;
In the wide valleys, lone and fair,
Lyrics are piped from limpid air,
And, far above, the pine trees free
Voice ancient lore of sky and sea.
Come, let us fill our hearts straightway
With hope and courage of the day.

Noon, hiving sweets of sun and flower,
Has fallen on dreams in wayside bower,
Where bees hold honeyed fellowship
With the ripe blossom of her lip;
All silent are her poppied vales
And all her long Arcadian dales,
Where idleness is gathered up
A magic draught in summer’s cup.
Come, let us give ourselves to dreams
By lisping margins of her streams.

Adown the golden sunset way
The evening comes in wimple gray;
By burnished shore and silver lake
Cool winds of ministration wake;
O’er occidental meadows far
There shines the light of moon and star,
And sweet, low-tinkling music rings
About the lips of haunted springs.
In quietude of earth and air
‘Tis meet we yield our souls to prayer.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Paris In Spring – Poem by Sara Teasdale

Paris In Spring - Poem by Sara Teasdale

The city’s all a-shining
Beneath a fickle sun,
A gay young wind’s a-blowing,
The little shower is done.
But the rain-drops still are clinging
And falling one by one —
Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And spring-time has begun.

I know the Bois is twinkling
In a sort of hazy sheen,
And down the Champs the gray old arch
Stands cold and still between.
But the walk is flecked with sunlight
Where the great acacias lean,
Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And the leaves are growing green.

The sun’s gone in, the sparkle’s dead,
There falls a dash of rain,
But who would care when such an air
Comes blowing up the Seine?
And still Ninette sits sewing
Beside her window-pane,
When it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And spring-time’s come again.

Sara Teasdale

Sunset – Poem by Jessica Millsaps

Sunset
Every night
The horizon lights up
Swirls of pink and orange
Fading to blue and purpleFew bother to look anymore
At a blessing
That only comes once a dayEach sunset is different
No two exactly alike
Difference flows throughout
While it is the only similarityOver the ocean
Or through the sky scrapers
Out on the prairie
Or in an apartment

You can still see a piece
A piece of something
Something never to return
A sunset

For the colors are shimmering
For a moment they stay
Only to disappear into change
Change just as beautiful as the last

This is why
No matter where you go
One thing remains the same,
A difference in sunsets

In your very own sunset

Jessica Millsaps

I am touching down in Paris right about now and the sun is on its way down the horizon. Can’t wait to explore this gorgeous city!

Spring, Spring, Spring – Poem by Sylvia Chidi

Spring, spring, spring by Sylvia Chidi

Spring, spring, spring
How long has it been since we have last seen?

Summer is the king
Spring is under summer’s wing
Spring is that seasons musical string
When joy pings and pings and people swing and swing

Cheerfully the birds sing
With an outburst of spring
The tree blossoms once more outside my window
Forgotten is the sharp winter that stings with snow

It is spring time
A time for camping
A time for cheering
It is spring crime

Spring, spring, spring
How long has it been since we have last seen?
You are the season I admire
Your arrival sparks in me a warm fire
And I come alive like an electric wire’’
You are the season that sings out ‘Inspire’ like a great choir

Sylvia Lovina Chidi 2015

Ode Composed On A May Morning – Poem by William Wordsworth

Ode Composed On A May Morning - Poem by William Wordsworth

WHILE from the purpling east departs
The star that led the dawn,
Blithe Flora from her couch upstarts,
For May is on the lawn.
A quickening hope, a freshening glee,
Foreran the expected Power,
Whose first-drawn breath, from bush and tree,
Shakes off that pearly shower.

All Nature welcomes Her whose sway
Tempers the year’s extremes;
Who scattereth lustres o’er noon-day,
Like morning’s dewy gleams;
While mellow warble, sprightly trill,
The tremulous heart excite;
And hums the balmy air to still
The balance of delight.

Time was, blest Power! when youth and maids
At peep of dawn would rise,
And wander forth, in forest glades
Thy birth to solemnize.
Though mute the song—to grace the rite
Untouched the hawthorn bough,
Thy Spirit triumphs o’er the slight;
Man changes, but not Thou!

Thy feathered Lieges bill and wings
In love’s disport employ;
Warmed by thy influence, creeping things
Awake to silent joy:
Queen art thou still for each gay plant
Where the slim wild deer roves;
And served in depths where fishes haunt
Their own mysterious groves.

Cloud-piercing peak, and trackless heath,
Instinctive homage pay;
Nor wants the dim-lit cave a wreath
To honor thee, sweet May!
Where cities fanned by thy brisk airs
Behold a smokeless sky,
Their puniest flower-pot-nursling dares
To open a bright eye.

And if, on this thy natal morn,
The pole, from which thy name
Hath not departed, stands forlorn
Of song and dance and game;
Still from the village-green a vow
Aspires to thee addrest,
Wherever peace is on the brow,
Or love within the breast.

Yes! where Love nestles thou canst teach
The soul to love the more;
Hearts also shall thy lessons reach
That never loved before.
Stript is the haughty one of pride,
The bashful freed from fear,
While rising, like the ocean-tide,
In flow the joyous year.

Hush, feeble lyre! weak words refuse
The service to prolong!
To yon exulting thrush the Muse
Entrusts the imperfect song;
His voice shall chant, in accents clear,
Throughout the live-long day,
Till the first silver star appear,
The sovereignty of May.

William Wordsworth

This is the first of many poems to be featured here on the blog. I am a member of PoemHunter.com and will be searching through the thousands of poems on the site now and then to find one that I think is really good. Hope you like them just as much as I do!!!