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!

Week 6 of Favorite Things Friday

Garden

I really wanted to do something with the garden behind my building this summer, but the time has gone past really quickly. Hopefully I will get a dry weekend soon where me and the other residents can get out there and do something to at least tidy it up a bit.

Fox

And sticking with the theme of a garden for today – I wish I could get a photo this good of the fox that visits my garden regularly. Unfortunately I have not had my camera handy when he appears. Next time I see him I need to go down and see if I can get a good pic.

DIY bench

This bench is really cool – and fairly easy to make with a few simple items from a hardware store, bit of paint and some cushions. I really like the Aztec design they painted on the wall behind it too.

Recycled Hose Mini-Fence

I am always a fan of recycling and reusing – and this mini-fence is great, using old hoses as a border divider. Kinda cool and totally customisable as well!

Loads of Flowers

When I have a garden to myself I am going to have loads of flowers! Bit of a cottage garden, with some structured borders, but definitely a riot of colour throughout the year.

Veggies

Gonna be fairly self-sufficient with a market garden and grow my own fruits & veggies. Loads of tips online to help grow food from seeds, as well as regrow veggies from scraps.

Waterfall

I would absolutely LOVE to have a water feature of some sort in my garden. I don’t mind whether it’s a pond, a stream or a fountain. I love the sound of trickling water!!!!

Literary SignI think this is a really cool sign post and I want to create my own version using scraps of wood that I find washed up on the beaches near where I live – and with the place names from my favorite books. I have one that I collected the last time I went to Severn Beach, I think I might paint that one first and start my little collection from there. Then once I have a garden that is worthy, I can nail them all to a post. Wonder which book and place-name I should choose first?!

Concrete

This is a nifty idea for sprucing up any concrete slabs you may have in your garden. And for only the cost of a few cans of spray paint! You could make your own template or buy a cheap concrete path form from a hardware store.

Bunk Bed Treehouse

A tree house is generally a must have when it comes to a great garden – and this might be the easiest way to achieve it – reusing a cabin/bunk bed! It can be used as a treehouse, a stargazing platform, and I saw one that was used as extra planting space. Very versatile and its recycling!

DIY Outdoor Music Station

This DIY Outdoor Music Station is fun and will keep kids entertained for hours! Always a good thing. I know my little sis and niece would absolutely love it!

Fire Pit

And finally, what garden would be complete without a fire pit – and what and epic one this is!     Cool huh?!

Have you got anything that you would like in your dream garden?

Let us know in the comments!