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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Wanderlust Wednesday – Week 7

As we are entering into Winter here in the UK, I thought I would share a pic of somewhere that looks stunning during the winter…

Yosemite National Park, California

Fancy a trip with me to explore this winter wonderland? I’ve personally never thought of Yosemite being covered in snow, mainly because most, if not all of the pics I’ve ever seen of it were taken in the summer. Definitely on my bucket list of places to go in both seasons now!!!

Favorite Things Friday – Week 9

Sorry for the delay this week – I have been constantly on the go and when I got home from work last night I made a quick call and then went straight to sleep. And then I have been busy again today.

So here is my Fave Things from this past week, inspired by one of the things on my Big Bucket List…..

Host a Masquuerade Ball

And I got to thinking – what would I wear to a ball if I hosted or went to one?

Thankfully, I have a whole host of ideas for dresses should this happen……

Ball 1

But would it be a figure hugging dress like these gorgeous Ziad Nakad Haute Couture from the Fall/Winter 2014 Collection…..

Ziad Nakad HC 1Ziad Nakad HC 2Ziad Nakad HC 3Ziad Nakad HC 4Ziad Nakad HC 5Ziad Nakad HC 6

Or maybe a full-skirted dress like these fabulous gowns….

Full Skirt 1Full Skirt 2Full Skirt 3Full Skirt 4Full Skirt 5Full Skirt 6Full Skirt 7Full Skirt 8

And then of course you need a mask….

Mask 1Mask 2Mask 3Mask 4Mask 5Mask 6

Ladies, what would you wear to the ball?

Favorite Things Friday – Week 5

We took a Friday off last week, as I was away with limited internet and had virtually no time to do anything except check my emails half the time.

So, back to it…

Chignon

I didn’t manage to get the big curls I wanted for the convention I went to at the weekend. But I did manage to get this chignon to sit right on the friday (minus the braids). I tried to get it like this again for the sunday but couldn’t get part 3 to work properly, and then ran out of time so had to leave it.

Crossing off the Bucket List

 I managed to cross 8 things off my bucket list while I was away last week. As well as the ones pictured here I watched the sunset at the beach, went swimming in the hotel pool and went on a trip somewhere new. And I have photo’s of most of them too that I can put into a scrapbook.

leather and lace

Alisa Burke, one of my favorite bloggers, redesigned this plether vest the other day and I think it looks really cool. And she only used a sharpie pen!!! Funky and easy! Can’t wait to find a vest/jacket in a charity shop to do my own designs on!

Easy Lemon Chicken Potato Casserole

This Easy Lemon Chicken Potato Casserole looks delicious and is making me really hungry as I type this. Mmmmm – might have to make one this weekend. All I need now is some gorgeous casserole dishes like these…..

Pretty Casserole Dishes

Time for a charity shop hunt I think! St Peter’s Hospice on Cotham Hill here I come! 🙂

Studio Apartment

I wish I could get my studio flat to look this good and this organised. It’s kinda hard to do when you have a few fixed features that are hard to work around though. Maybe one day I will have a bit more space to work with.

Ballet Dancer

I searched through a lot of photo’s for this one in the end, but I have a good reason. My little sister recently took her ballet grade 4 exam and got her results earlier this week. She got a merit – top of her class! I am so proud of what she has achieved. She hasn’t been dancing for long, and only last year was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease after a 6 month battle through a lot of pain. It has taken her just under a year to get back to full health, and through all of it she has continued to go to rehearsals each week and has performed in several different productions. I can’t believe how far she has come, and can’t wait to see her dancing get better and better. She is a fighter and a fantastic dancer! Go sis!!! 🙂

Summer Bucket List

On my Pinterest I have a ‘Bucket List’ board. This is an ultimate list of ALL the things I would love to be able to do at some point in my life! I know there are a quite a lot that I probably won’t get to do but a girl can certainly dream.

So instead of becoming listless, and getting down cus I couldn’t do it all, especially not in one go, I cut some of them down to a more manageable SUMMER BUCKET LIST!

BeachOutdoorsAdventureRandomMore RandomHave you got anything on your bucket list to cross off this summer? Let us know!