Monday, September 3, 2007

Kelley's Summer Book Review

Okay, I should admit that for this review, my summer started in February.

Here's a brief review of each of the books I've read this summer (I'm aware that summer technically lasts another month, but I felt like doing this now).

In no particular order:

-Dear John by Nicholas Sparks: I discovered Nicholas Sparks this summer and read all his books. All are page-turners that I read in about 36 hours each. Having said that, it's quite obvious that I like all of Sparks' books, but beyond that, Dear John was an upsetting ending. I felt the title character made stupid choices, which led to the sad ending; so it was hard to conjure up enough emotion to care about the sad situation he put himself in.

-True Believer by Nicholas Sparks: loved it and was inspired by the main character's bold actions based on love.

-At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks: this is the follow-up novel to True Believer; it's a good read, and has the typical Sparks tragic ending.

-Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks: TOTALLY loved this non-fiction biography of Sparks’ life. I recommend reading Sparks' novels before reading his biography.

-The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks: probably one of Sparks’ most famous works because of the movie; I was very inspired by the two main characters.

-The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks: this is the follow-up to The Notebook and is very enjoyable. The Wedding is one of two of Sparks' fiction works that does not end in tragedy.

-The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks: this novel has the classic Sparks love story, plus the added suspense of being a thriller; most definitely a page-turner.

-Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks: classic love story by Sparks; this book is currently being made into a movie. I plan on seeing it.

-A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks: this novel has the classic Sparks love story as well as a "who done it" plot.

-A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks: probably widely known by the movie (which I saw in 2004); VERY SAD in both the book and the movie, but none-the-less, was a page turner.

-Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks: also widely known by the movie made out of it; I enjoyed the book more than the movie because I could "see" into the character's thoughts better than what Kevin Costner was able to display on film. This is another story where I had a hard time working up enough empathy for a character who put himself in his own difficult position.

-The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks: the other non-tragic ending novel of Sparks'. I actually read this last summer, and found it to be a good read (but, note that I was not enthralled enough by the book to seek out other Sparks’ books like I was with True Believer which was the first Sparks book I read this summer).

-The Handyman by Linda Nichols; this was Nichols' first published work, and she definitely doesn't have the ease of story-telling that Sparks does. The story was cute, but disjointed. I heard that the rights to the story for making it into a movie were bought, and that is how the book reads, like a movie. There wasn't enough of the appropriate detail you expect in a book.

-Sam's Letters for Jennifer by James Patterson: this and the following book are what I believe to be Patterson's attempt to break into the Nicholas Sparks’ genre. Although, both these books would not be classified by Sparks as being love stories (those require a tragic ending), this was a good page-turner and inspiration to those who wish to write.

-Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson: again, a good page-turner that inspires the notion of keeping a diary or some written record for loved ones to read once you pass.

-The Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan: I only read this because there was nothing else by Sparks left to read, and I had already read the only two “love” stories that Patterson has written. This story is more typical of Patterson's genre. It was a page-turner, but is not the kind of stuff I really need to be filling my mind with (a murderous wife, scandalous sex, etc.). I probably won't pick up another Patterson book to read again unless I'm really desperate and on a 17-hour flight to Hong Kong.

-Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: this was the first science fiction book I have read. It is hubby’s favorite book of all time, so I thought, hey, it can’t be that bad, and it wasn’t. I was very much enthralled in the story and cared about the characters. This too, was a page-turner for me. The main character is a little boy, and there are some aliens in the book, but they have a very minor role. What made this an enjoyable book for me is that is focused on the little boy and his relations with his brother and sister and his teachers. It wasn’t just a bunch of space battles with aliens with bumpy foreheads.

-I read many books by Karen Kingsbury (too many for me to briefly describe each). Kingsbury is one of the few Christian fiction authors who can write a good story without pushing the salvation story on the reader. Kingsbury’s stories have strong characters that the reader cares about; hence, most of her books are page-turners for me. She writes a lot of series, so if you pick up one of her books, make sure you start at the beginning of a series.

Those are all the books I remember reading...


Sharon said...'s Sharon, Nicoles' Mom...:-) I'm with you on Sparks' books..liked them all. Another author that you "might" like is Susan Wiggs....she is from Wa. If you like I can bring some of her books with me in 2 weeks when we come over to Nicoles. I also agree with you re-James Patterson. Courtney reads ALL of Karen Kingsbury books....I have read 2 and plan to read the rest....keep up the GREAT job on your blog. Ethan is adorable!..

Kelley Taylor said...

Hi Sharon - I'm so glad to have a new author recommended to me; thank you! I go to the library about once a week, so I can get some of her books there. Do you recommend any of hers?
The only book of Kingsbury's that I started and couldn't bear to finish was Like Dandelion Dust, which just seemed TOO predictable.

Sharon said...

Hi again.....the only one of hers that I haven't enjoyed is the one that I'm currently reading. I keep thinking that it has to get better.It's called "The Lightkeeper".