Jan 25, 2011

The Last Song

More from Nicholas Sparks! The Last Song is a touching book not only of the romantic love that blooms from a summer fling, but also of the love between a dying man and his rebellious, though loyal daughter. When Ronnie goes to visit her father in a tiny coastal town in North Carolina, she harbors anger towards him, suspecting him of cheating on her mother, and thus ruining their marriage.
The reader discovers later that Ronnie has been accused of theft, and her rebellious attitude extends into a hatred of basically everything concerning pianos. She had been a pianist and song writer, but abandoned it after feeling abandoned and betrayed by her father. Upon arrival at her father's house they fight almost continually, she making him board up the piano, he getting onto her for disappearing randomly. She meets several people- Blaze, Marcus, the snooty Ashely, and Will (the hottie... yep, he's smoking!).

The actual conflict in the plot line has several underlying themes. The main plot- that of a girl and her dying father- causes the reader to feel a major sense of pathos. If you have ever had a loving and caring parent, then you will be able to connect with Ronnie throughout her internal conflict of either loving her father, or feeling bitter for past trusts that were thought to be broken. Another main conflict is the one between Ronnie and Will. He- the smokin' stud with loads of dough, and she- the rebellious free-spirit with a criminal record... Needless to say Will's parents aren't so thrilled when he brings the girlfriend home. Especially when she quasi-causes a fight during Will's sister's wedding at the ancestral home. (This just gets better and better, doesn't it?)

The end of the book is touching and rewarding, but as this is a book review and not an entire summary I won't ruin it for you... read the book yourself to find out! You won't be disappointed, trust me. Even my 13 year old sister (who despises reading and thinks I need mental help) loved this book, so apparently it deserves the 9 that I'm going to give it on the "ADDICTING SCALE."
The Last Song was also made into a pretty awesome movie, that- if I was being honest- made me cry. (Shhh... don't tell anyone.) Go see it!!! Hurry!!! But bring a box of Kleenex just in case.

Jan 19, 2011

Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks, author
I've got some more romance for you! Nicholas Sparks, the renowned author of The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, The Last Song, and A Walk to Remember (among his other books), released his newest book- Safe Haven in September 2010. Six of his seventeen books have been made into movies with actors like Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Miley Cyrus, and Channing Tatum gaining fame and popularity from his romantic plot lines and dramatic flair for the tragic.

This entire week will be devoted to Sparks' fictional stories of tragic love... Fates entertwine and create a diversional plot line in so many of his books, and the guy of your dreams always gets the perfect girl!

We'll start off with his newest book, Safe Haven, which features a young woman, Katie, who is running away. (I know what you're thinking.... "From what!?"... But I can't tell you or else it wouldn't be a surprise!!!) She ends up in a little coastal town where she, an extremely shy and reclusive woman, meets Alex- the local convient store owner and his two adorable children by his deceased wife. Alex sees the beautiful though destitute creature, and resolves to chip away at the wall that she has built around herself. SPOILER ALERT Using his detective skills, he determines that Katie has, in all likelihood, been an abused housewife. (oops... spilled the beans)

As Sparks goes back into Katie's past we learn that first off that she's not really Katie. She's Erin, and her vile husband, Kevin, manipulates her and abuses her, both physically and mentally. When Katie assumes the identity of her neighbor's deceased daughter to escape, she makes her way to North Carolina, hiding from her vengeful husband.

Kevin's dementia shows in his paranoia and his inappropriate beating of Erin. When she leaves he resolves to get her back, and almost succeeds multiple times. Sparks uses an omniscient third-person narration to really get inside Kevin's mind, and make the reader thoroughly understand him, though not sympathize with him. As he continues with Kevin's plot to retrieve Erin and Alex's slow but steady befriending and seduction of Katie, Sparks switches between Kevin and Katie's opposing points-of-view up to the climactic ending. (I won't spoil that for you.)

Overall, the plot line is a gripping one, compelling the reader to read further and faster the more you read into the novel. Katie's plight urges the reader to feel a hint of pathos, while the triumphant ending thrills the reader with a sense of rightness and justice. On the "ADDICTION SCALE" it rates a secure 9. The gripping and thrilling plot was somewhat unlike Sparks' more relaxed novels, but his great character analysis has always remained true.

This book was recently turned into a movie! YAY! It's in theatres right now, so go watch it! I've heard it's fantastic, and it stars Julianne Hough (Footloose) and Josh Duhamel (Transformers).

Jan 13, 2011

Most Recent Reads

My most recent reads have been the Death of a Salesman, a classic American play by Arthur Miller, and Within My Heart, the third book of a trilogy by Tamera Alexander.

Death of a Salesman
This American classic was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and was first performed as a play on February 10, 1949. The play, in book form, is quite a short book, the three act play only taking up about 140 pages. The plot line can be quite confusing at times- I had to make notes on where Willy Loman's mind traveled from present to past. Though being confusing it was worth reading. The amount of character development in such a short book was astounding, pulling the reader into the emotion of the story within a very quick time. SPOILER ALERT At the end of the play I felt very sympathetic towards the Loman family, especially Linda, Willy's wife, for enduring the tragedy of Willy swiftly losing his mind, and in the end mourning the tragedy of his death.

I had to read Death of a Salesman for school, so my rating may be skewed, as I didn't choose to read it. The book was worthwhile reading though, so I'll give it a 5 on the ADDICTION SCALE.

                             Timber Ridge Reflections Series
As I am currently in the very middle of Within My Heart, the last book in the series, I will review the series as a whole. I have always enjoyed Tamera Alexander's writing and have read the other two books of the Timber Ridge Reflections Series in the past: From a Distance and Beyond this Moment. All three are Romantic fictional books, with the setting being the tiny town of Timber Ridge in the mountains of the Colorado Rockies during the Civil War period. Alexander seems to portray accurate details of life in the mountains, death and injury being a looming threat over the inhabitants of the town. The books have a moral basis, and all feature a female lead, who eventually falls in love during the novel (for all you romance junkees out there). All three are easy reads, not requiring much thought on the reader's part, and enjoyable in a relaxed way.

On the ADDICTION SCALE this series is around a 7; a pleasurable read for those with a love of romance, but for people who despise all things mushy and lovey-dovey... well, let's just say you wouldn't enjoy reading it quite as much!!!

Jan 12, 2011

Once upon a time...

Not to be cliché but this is the beginning of a story, a book, a blog. We begin hearing stories when we're babies, we read books when we're young, and when we're book junkees we write blogs about the books we read. I am a book junkee, and this is my book blog.

You know those books that look interesting, so you buy it, just to realize halfway into it that the author clearly doesn't know what they are talking about, and really shouldn't be writing a book EVER in the first place? Or the books that are simply dull and boring? I'm here to eliminate the pain of buying boring books and reading blathering authors. I read books, and love doing it! I write about them, and I'll tell you whether or not the book could actually be beneficial (or at least somewhat entertaining) to your life.
I'll rate them on the "ADDICTION SCALE" 1-10 (for all you other junkees out there), and tell you what I think about it- the plot, the book, the author, the grammar... whatever comes to mind. If you want me to read a book then let me know; and if you actually think a book is awesome, then by all means, comment and tell me!
So, to all you junkees, and non-junkees, out there- here's to some good reading!