Posts Tagged ‘love story’

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?

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

I can’t remember how I ran across this book several months back.  It didn’t really seem like something I’d normally read, so maybe that’s why I decided to give it a go.

Super Sad True Love Story” is about the future… sometime in the future.  In fact, I read in an article (wish I would have saved the link – no clue where I saw it) that the author said that it could be as soon as “next Tuesday”.  Lenny Abramov is a New Yorker with Russian immigrant parents who works for an Indefinite Life Extension Company, basically a company that helps people live forever.  Lenny is middle aged, which puts him at a disadvantage to his young, healthy, and popular coworkers.  Lenny hasn’t had luck in love until he meets a young Korean-American woman named Eunice, who would be the last person on Earth that you’d imagine would want someone like Lenny.  At first, she wants nothing to do with him, but she eventually comes around and is open to the companionship, although she never quite puts herself as fully into the relationship as Lenny does.  He practically worships her and is terrified to lose her.

Being that this story is taking place in the future, you can get a glimpse of what our future may possibly be like.  America is in financial ruin and China rules the world.  Every person has an electronic device they wear around their neck called an “apparat” that connects them to EVERYTHING (is this where we’re going with smartphones?).  If you dare to break the rules or speak against the leaders, you would be in some trouble.  All this is happening around the little bubble of life that Lenny has created around himself and Eunice.  Lenny tries to be hip and young, although he still hangs on to his old-fashioned things such as books and his diary.  Then stuff starts REALLY going bad.

I haven’t read any of Gary Shteyngart’s other books, but I guess he’s known for his satirical writing style.  As I said before, this probably wouldn’t have been something I would have normally picked up, but I found the story really interesting.  It took me awhile to get through, but I was always wanting to know what would happen next in Future New York.  It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but it was somewhat humorous in places.  I found myself feeling bad for Lenny and annoyed at Eunice (for acting so immature and mean sometimes).  Frankly, I hope our future doesn’t turn into this.  It was very Big Brother-ish, and the girls pranced around in various styles of see-through jeans.  Yeah… I’d rather not.

Has anyone else read this or anything else by Shteyngart?  What did you think?   Are there any other similar authors out there that you’d recommend?

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult has been one of my favorite authors for the past few years now and in fact I’ve blogged about two other of her books here.  I noticed several days ago while browsing around in the Kindle bookstore that she had a new novel out as of March 1.  This one is a little unique… a CD is apparently included with the hard cover/paperback versions and a digital download of a CD accompanies the ebook version (however, the Kindle doesn’t  support that so it pointed me toward the publisher’s website where I could go to hear the songs).  I’ll be honest – I haven’t actually listened to the music yet, but it is supposed to go along with the different chapters of the book (one song per chapter) to fit the mood/feeling of each chapter and situation.

Sing You Home” is about a music therapist named Zoe and her landscaper-slash-surfer husband, Max.  Zoe works with many types of clients in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools to use music to help them work through different issues.  Zoe and Max have infertility issues and have been trying to have a baby for years but have suffered multiple miscarriages and now, after several IVF treatments, a stillbirth.  While Zoe wants to try again one more time since she’s reaching the age of 40, Max has had it and can’t handle (or afford) another round of IVF and asks for a divorce.  After the divorce, Zoe tries to make some new female friends and quickly becomes close with Vanessa, a guidance counselor at the high school where she’s done some therapy.

Zoe doesn’t realize at first, but Vanessa is a lesbian.  As they spend more time together hanging out as friends, they both realize that they care much more for each other than friends.  Zoe admits that she never had this type of connection with Max the entire time they were married.  They become a couple, and after several months of dating, they visit the neighboring state of Massachusetts and officially get married, although it’s not recognized in their home state of Rhode Island.  After their marriage, they talk about children and Zoe remembers that she has three frozen embryos from her last round of IVF.  Although Zoe has had a hysterectomy and can no longer have children, Vanessa is able to carry a child.

The problem is that after the divorce, Max was taken under the wing of a local pastor of a popular church and has developed strong religious views.  He is not approving of Zoe’s new lifestyle.  When Zoe asks for his permission for her and Vanessa to use the remaining embryos, Max does not want their children raised in a lesbian household and instead wants to give the embryos to his brother and sister-in-law, who also suffer from fertility issues.  What follows is a lawsuit to prevent Zoe from using the embryos and a media circus when it comes to this controversial topic.

Some of Jodi Picoult’s other books have definitely discussed controversial issues but this one is probably the most controversial that I’ve read from her.  I’ve seen very mixed reviews on this book but I like to form my own opinion rather than relying on others.  I’m not going to get into how I personally feel about these topics because that’s not what this blog is about and you can decide on your own if this book is for you.  All I will say is that I was drawn into the story and didn’t want to put the book (actually, my Kindle) down.  I could really imagine the characters as real people and Picoult did a good job of getting the reader to feel their emotions.

If anyone does check out the music that goes with the book (or reads the book while listening to the music), let me know how it is.  I’m sure I’ll go listen to it at some point.

One Day by David Nicholls

Sorry I’ve been away so long!  Technically, I haven’t really gone anywhere; I just haven’t really been motivated to blog lately.   I have a “backlog” of books I’ve read over the past few months that I need to write about and it’s going to take me forever to get to them all!  Anyway, this book had been on my radar for awhile but I wasn’t in a rush to buy it.  I believe it may have been included on some bestseller or best book lists (I know it was in the top 100 paid Kindle books for awhile and maybe still is).

“One Day” is broken down into one day per year over a twenty year period starting in 1988.  Strangely, I totally missed that fact when I was reading the book but realized it afterward when I was reading a summary of the story.  Oops.  The story starts out with two college students in England, Emma and Dexter (Dex for short), who hook up on graduation night.  Emma has had a crush on Dex for awhile and is so excited to finally have a chance with him.  Dex, on the other hand, isn’t as enthused as Emma at first.  Jump to the following year – Emma and Dex have gone their separate ways but are conversing through letters.  As years go on, Emma’s career as an actress in plays has been unsuccessful and she gets stuck in a bunch of dead-end jobs, not really knowing where she wants her life to go, but she knows that she loves to write.  Dex gets into the entertainment industry and becomes a popular TV personality and leads the life of a playboy.  Dex and Emma couldn’t be in two more different places in their lives.

Over the years, Emma and Dex’s friendship ebbs and flows, usually depending on Dex’s situation and “fame”.  You know the whole time that Emma is in love with Dex but how does he feel about her?  While Emma and Dex find themselves in the arms of others, they always keep coming back to each other.  The story involves more situations and people intertwined with Emma and Dex but you can really see how strong their relationship is after that one night together which was much more than just a one night stand.  You will just have to read it to hear about their ups and downs and what happens to them in the end (do they ever get together?!?  Read it and find out!).

I had a little bit of a hard time getting going at the beginning but the story picked up for me after a little while.  It did seem like a long book though (it’s sometimes hard to tell since the Kindle doesn’t have real page numbers – although that feature is being added soon if it hasn’t been activated already) and it makes sense now since the book covered one day per year for twenty years.  The characters seemed very real, and I found myself really liking Emma and hating Dex sometimes for how he acted.

David Nicholls has a few other books out that I’d like to check out someday.  I also found out that there is a movie based up this book already in the works.   Anne Hathaway is starring as Emma; Jim Sturgess (never heard of him) will be Dex.  This disappoints me because I wasn’t impressed with Anne Hathaway in “Love and Other Drugs” and I wouldn’t have pictured her playing Emma in this story.  Oh well… another movie that won’t live up to the book.  We’ll just have to wait and see!

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

I’m not sure how I missed this new one that came out at the beginning of September, but I did.  I would have downloaded it right away otherwise.  I really love Nicholas Sparks’ novels.  In fact, his one book, “The Guardian“, is basically the book that got me reading again after going through a reading drought all through school.

In “Safe Haven”, Katie, a pretty young girl in her late 20′s, arrives in a small seaside North Carolina town.  She’s new to the area but is able to get a job as a waitress and finds a rental house in a secluded area away from the main part of town.  She is trying to keep to herself and just work and survive, but she’s drawn into a friendship with her new next door neighbor, Jo, who also just has moved in.  Katie learns a little bit about the town from Jo, particularly about Alex, the owner of a grocery/general store in town that she’s been frequenting.

Alex is handsome, friendly, and has two adorable kids.  Katie is typically on the quiet side when she goes into his store, but Alex tries to talk to her and notices that Katie starts opening up when interacting with his daughter.  One day while Katie is shopping, Alex’s son who was fishing off of the dock behind the store falls into the water.  While Alex jumps in to rescue him, Katie comforts his daughter.  This situation helps to bond Katie to Alex and his family and she finds herself getting in deeper and deeper and developing feelings for all of them.

The problem is, Katie is running.  Katie had escaped a horrible life back up north with an abusive husband.  She randomly chose this small town because she knew that he would have a difficult time finding it.  Katie has purposely tried to not develop friendships or feelings for anyone in the event that she has to pack up and leave immediately if her husband finds her.  She struggles with her developing feelings toward Alex, not wanting to hurt him or the kids.  She finally does admit that she’s falling for Alex and isn’t going to let her past get in the way of their relationship, although what has happened in the past always comes back to haunt…

I really really really (yes, three reallys) liked this book.  I don’t know if I’ve been disappointed by any of Nicolas Sparks’ books (only the movie versions), but I just really liked this one.  I HAVE heard this same story in other books (I know I’ve read other books by other authors with a very similar plot), but the way he tells it is just better.  More romantic.  And I am going to admit that I cried.  Very few books can make me cry, but Nicholas Sparks books often do.  Not till the end, though.

If you’ve read and liked any of Nicholas Sparks’ other books, you must go out and pick this one up (or download it, get it out of a library, whatever you do to obtain books!).  I just hope they don’t make it into a movie because I think it would totally ruin it.  I’m still mad that they casted Miley Cyrus (*gag*) as the lead in “The Last Song“.  I refuse to watch that one.

2012 Reading Challenge

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