Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Oh, Nicholas Sparks.  You really know how to get right to the core of a woman’s emotions and make us cry like a baby.

The Best of Me” is about two forty-something high school sweethearts, Dawson and Amanda.  While they were high school sweethearts, it was a Romeo and Juliet type of romance that didn’t last.  They went their separate ways after Amanda’s wealthy family didn’t approve of rough-around-the edges Dawson.  Twenty years later and after going two completely different directions with their lives (Amanda: married with two kids; Dawson: bachelor working on an oil rig), they are brought together again by a common thread between the two – a man named Tuck.  Tuck was an older man who took Dawson in as a teenager when he had nowhere else to go, and later, Tuck became a confidant of Amanda’s.

When Tuck passes away, Dawson and Amanda are drawn back to their hometown to take care of the arrangements but don’t know that the other one will be there.  While they’re getting to know each other again and wrestle with their conflicting feelings, they also have to worry about Dawson’s family, who are the troublemakers around town and aren’t happy to see him back.

I’ve been on the fence about some of Nicholas Sparks‘ books… there have been a few that I’ve loved, and a few that I wasn’t as crazy about.  This is one of the ones that I really really liked.  And it made me cry, so there are some bonus points.  I won’t tell you where it made me cry, but there were a few different spots.  The feeling of loss and sadness and love just really hits you.

Could I see this book being made into a movie (like a million of his other books)?  Absolutely.  I just hope it wouldn’t be ruined with the wrong casting.  Let’s see… a forty-something male and female… the male would have to be kind of rugged but handsome… the woman would have to be more polished and a pretty Southern belle… and then they’d need an old, quiet grumpy man (but not grumpy as in Clint Eastwood in “Gran Turino”, because that’s the wrong kind of grumpy)… I don’t know, I can’t think of names or faces right now.  If I think of some suggestions of actors to cast, I’ll update my post.  Any ideas?

A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis by Irene Woodbury

 

I was really excited to read this book when I was contacted by author Irene Woodbury.  It seemed like something that I’d like and enjoy reading.  Plus, I’ve never been to Vegas before, so I thought that maybe I could live vicariously through the characters in this book.

In “A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis“, mid-40′s newlywed Wendy Sinclair has just moved to Texas from Los Angeles to be with her husband, who she had been dating for seven years prior.   She’s realizing that she doesn’t really fit in with the Texas crowd, especially the rich, snotty wives of her husband’s colleagues that she is forced to socialize with.  She misses working in an upscale women’s clothing boutique in LA with her best friend, Paula.  Wendy and Paula plan a girls’ weekend together in Las Vegas to catch up and let loose and everything changes from there!

Wendy and Paula have a wild and interesting weekend, but Wendy doesn’t want it to end there… she doesn’t want to go back to Texas.  And frankly, she felt like her relationship with her husband, Roger, was better before they got married.  She decides to extend her weekend trip for a few more weeks.  And a few more weeks after that.  Then a few months.  Wendy is offered a job working with one of the casinos, which solidifies the feeling of her being needed somewhere other than Texas.  She makes some friends along the way and enjoys relaxing, eating, working (on something she loves to do!), and being pampered.  The entire time, Roger is none too happy that Wendy is spending their first year of marriage in a different city, and Wendy is suspicious of the daughter of one of Roger’s colleagues who starts hanging around him.  So, does Wendy stay in Vegas and follow her heart and do what makes her happy, or does she go home to Roger and rekindle their marriage?

This book was really easy for me to get into and it was interesting to hear about some Vegas stuff that most tourists probably don’t think about or see.  I found myself getting a little frustrated with some of the characters – I wanted to strangle Paula at some points, and I was going back and forth with being disappointed with Wendy for abandoning her husband and not just talking to him, while cheering her on in “you go, girl!” fashion for being independent and doing what SHE wanted to do.  But I don’t think it’s always necessary for characters to be likable… I think that characters that illicit mixed responses like that from readers are just as good!

Overall, the story was a fun read and was a nice escape from my own reality into someone else’s crazy life!

Upcoming Books-Turned-TV Movies

 

I was watching a Law & Order marathon on TNT this morning and saw a promo for a bunch of mystery/thriller movies coming up at the end of the month.  One that caught my eye was a TV-movie version of Sandra Brown’sRicochet“.  I’m a big fan of Sandra Brown but sadly, I can’t remember if I read this book!  I own a bunch of hers and would assume that I have read it, but it’s not on my Goodreads list (which only goes back over a year) and it’s not on my bookshelf.  Hmm.  Maybe I borrowed it from my mom.  Either way, I want to watch it (or at least DVR it).  John Corbett (Aidan from Sex and the City) is in it.  (And he looks really good in the promos.  None of that scraggly longish hair.)  It airs November 30th on TNT.  Here’s a bit more about it and the promo clip from Sanda Brown’s own blog.

Another one that I heard about recently is a movie adaptation of Jodi Picoult’sSalem Falls” on Lifetime.  Jodi Picoult is another one of my favorite authors and I can confirm that I own and have read this book.  She’s had a few other books made into Lifetime movies, like “Plain Truth” (which I blogged about here) and “The Pact” (which I have read but not seen).  It may have already started to air for all I know, since I don’t watch Lifetime very often, but here’s the upcoming schedule for the movie.  Next airing is November 19th.  And if you were going through withdrawal from not seeing James Van Der Beek on TV in a really really long time, other than in Ke$ha’s music video, which is just kinda gross, here’s your chance.

Any others that I missing?

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

 

While we were honeymooning in California, we met up with a friend of my husband’s in San Francisco.  We were talking about books and I mentioned my blog, and he recommended a new book recently released by a friend of his.  I downloaded it during dinner because it sounded so fascinating (but didn’t start reading it at dinner, because of course that would have been rude).

In “Turn of Mind”, Dr. Jennifer White is a retired orthopedic surgeon in her 60′s.  She also has been diagnosed with dementia.  It also just so happens that her best friend, Amanda, was recently found murdered.  Jennifer has her good days and her bad days and often doesn’t even realize that Amanda is gone or who her children are.  Jennifer’s husband passed away a few years ago and Jennifer often mistakes her son for her late husband.  She has a caretaker who she sometimes doesn’t recognize and she has escaped from the house on multiple occasions.

What is even more confusing for Jennifer is the fact that she is being questioned as a suspect in the case of Amanda’s murder.  Amanda was found with several fingers severed… in a manner than only an expert could do.  Does Jennifer remember what happened?  Did she do it?  And if she did, what would possess her to kill her best friend?

The story is told from Jennifer’s perspective, bouncing back and forth between coherent and way far gone into the depths of dementia.  This was one of the most uniquely written books that I have personally ever read.  You are getting a firsthand account of what a person may go through when suffering from dementia and it is both extremely sad (particularly if you know anyone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) and completely enthralling.  It’s a murder mystery where the suspect doesn’t even know if they committed the crime.  There are actually some funny parts to the story but some heartbreaking ones, too.

I found a great interview with Alice LaPlante if you want to learn more about the back story and why she wrote about dementia.  This is her first novel and I really hope to see something else from her in the future.  Trust me, you will not want to put this book down after you pick it up.

A Life That Fits by Heather Wardell

So remember how excited I was when I received my first request to review a book?  Imagine my excitement when I got another request!  Heather Wardell asked me to read and blog about her book and I was so pumped to see that it was just the type of book that I love to read.

A Life That Fits“ is about a girl named Andrea in her late 20′s.  She’s been with her boyfriend Alex for…. well, pretty much forever!  They have been dating for 14 years and  have been living together but aren’t engaged.  Yet.  Andrea is on her way home from a business trip and is convinced that Alex will be at home waiting for her with a ring and a proposal, based on the way he’s been acting lately.  Oh, was she wrong.  Turns out, Alex confesses that he’s leaving her for another woman.  Andrea is devastated (rightly so!) and falls into a depression and can’t even make it into the office for work.

Alex had told Andrea that his “other woman” was basically Andrea’s total opposite.  Andrea finally gets back up on her feet after deciding that she’ll become her opposite and maybe that’ll be what Alex wants and he’ll come back.  She is more outgoing, dresses in clothes that she normally wouldn’t buy (colors!!), etc.  This helps Andrea in a few ways, making new female friends, for example, but also hurts her.  She is basically ousted from her job, but luckily has already accepted an offer with another company in the office park.  She has a new girl friend at the new job, and she also develops a crush on a coworker that starts to develop into more.  But Andrea is torn…. she likes her new life, but does she still like it if Alex isn’t in it?

At first, I wasn’t sure about Andrea because I was getting mad that she wasn’t snapping out of her funk.  But then I wondered how I would feel if I were in her shoes.  After she developed her opposite plan (even though I didn’t support her going back to Alex), I began to root for her and hope she would realize that she didn’t need Alex to be happy.  I rooted for her even more when she started to get eyes for another man!  Go Andrea!  I also wanted to punch Alex.

There are some little twists and turns in this book that I didn’t quite expect and some others that I kinda figured out on my own.  The characters were written as normal everyday people… nothing glamorous or fancy, but people like who you may personally know.  Those are the kinds of characters I really like and can totally relate to.  I can’t wait to read more of Heather Wardell’s books!  She has six other books out, and if you have a Kindle… they’re either free or $0.99!  Awesome!  In fact, I just downloaded her first book, “Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo, as I was writing this post.  It’ll be next on my list to read.  Thanks for the opportunity to read your book, Heather!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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