Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book v. Movie - A Walk to Remember

So as part of my Lust and Love Event I had to choose which book and movie to compare. I saw A Walk to Remember years ago and fell in love with it so I decided I better finally read the book.

NOTE: There will be Spoilers involved (otherwise how would I be able to compare the two?)

Synopsis: "Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he'd fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town's Baptist minister. A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it. Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter's life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood..."

My Review: My first reaction after reading this was to mop my face with a tissue and shake my fist sobbing 'Damn You Nicholas Sparks for turning me into a blubbering sap!' Now let me look at the book as a whole. It started out really slow for me. I found Landon narrating the story to be a little all over the place with a lot of tangents. He seemed to ramble a lot but I guess that is kind of how our memories take us. But as you get to the middle and then the final quarter of the book you get completely hooked, you have to finish it (preferably in private so no one will see you with tears streaming down your cheeks). You don't even realize what is happening as Sparks pulls you into the story. This is (as with all his books) a beautiful and emotional romantic tale.

My Rating: This one definitely earned a Four Paw rating from me! Even with the slow start and rambling the story still sucked me in and of course brought tears to my eyes at the end.


Synopsis: "In Beaufort, North Carolina, a prank on a student goes terribly wrong and puts the student in the hospital. Landon Carter, a popular student with no defined plans for the future, is held responsible and forced to participate in after-school community service activities as punishment, which include starring as the lead in the school play. Also participating in these activities is Jamie Sullivan, the reverend's daughter who has great ambitions and nothing in common with Landon. When Landon decides he wants to take his activities seriously, he asks Jamie for help and begins to spend most of his time with her. But he starts to develop strong feelings for her, something he did not expect to do. The two start a relationship, much to the chagrin of Landon's old popular friends and Jamie's strict reverend father. But when a heart-breaking secret becomes known that puts their relationship to the test, it is then that Landon and Jamie realize the true meaning of love and fate."

My Review: I adore this movie, the music, the actors and of course the tear jerking storyline. I absolutely loved Mandy Moore in this role! Landon is definitely a bad boy headed down the wrong path and Jamie is as polar opposite of him as you can get. I loved watching their interactions and their relationships grow, how Landon remembered her bucket list items and came up with creative ways to satisfy them is so romantic. I really enjoyed the part with the play and almost wish I could see the whole play, not to mention hear her sing that song about a million times (note - I will be tracking down this soundtrack before the month is out). This is a movie I will watch over and over, especially when I need a good cry!

My Rating: I loved this movie and everything about it! I give it rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!


Wow! These were both great, but so different from eachother. I honestly think I liked the movie better this time. I think the change in Landon is so much more drastic than in the book. He was forced into the situation of drama club instead of just trying to cop out with an easy class. Have I said yet that I loved Mandy Moore in this role?!

I did like the connection of the play in the book with Jamie & her father though, but as I said before I also like the play in the movie. I just think that the book brought her father in much more and made him a key character instead of a sub-character and I think he is very important to the whole story since he raised Jamie to be the way she is. I also preferred the connection with Landon's father better in the movie, it was a lot more feezable how their relationship was repaired.

That said I preferred the connection between Jamie and Landon in the movie better. The emotions were stronger in the movie, maybe because the book was narrated by Landon and so a lot of the emotion was left out with the male point of view.

All in all they are both great but I really did prefer the movie.

Have you read the book? Seen the movie? Which did you like better?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bedtime Story - I Love You More

Synopsis: "Were you ever told, "You know I love you?" Or have you ever felt that you did not tell someone you loved them enough? Reach out and embrace I Love You More, a timeless gift you will share again and again.

Too often love is assumed and not spoken. Love should be seen, heard, felt, sensed, shown, expressed, talked about-and more! Reading I Love You More will become a game, a conversation of love, that people, especially parents and
children, can share for years.

This cleverly conceived flip story, which ends in the middle and starts from either side, will show you what love looks like from both a child and a parent's perspective. With a
simple, touching story, rhyme and rhythm, and vibrant child-like illustrations, this book will be treasured by anyone who has ever said "I love you" and heard the best response in the world: "I LOVE YOU MORE.""

My Review: This is a cute book, a good way to show your love and for your little one to show their love back. The illustrations caught Munchkin's eye and kept his attention. The issue I had was that it flips over, and when you are trying to read a story and get the little ones to go bed, it is a repeating story so it could go on and on and on. Kind of hard to say the end when it doesn't really have an ending.

My Rating: This was an okay book for me, Munchkin seemed to enjoy the pictures but the never ending aspect of the story could really cause trouble with bedtime down the line. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

After Dark Review of The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst

Welcome to a month of Lust and Love!!
I will be sharing a variety of books with you all surrounding the theme of lust, love and all that lies between. I will have some sweet romances, some childrens love books, and of course plenty of After Dark Steam for all different tastes! Hope you will all stop in and join me!
I have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)

Synopsis: "Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her.

Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off limits. But hot-blooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand—and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable—and Carina is furious. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed…."

My Review: Another great story in the series. I absolutely love Carina, she is so spunky and true to herself. I could really see myself being friends with Carina. I thought Max was a little self absorbed but that is his character. The descriptions Probst gives makes me want to see things for myself, especially Carina's artwork! I also love how Probst integrates rescue animals into all her stories, really hits a soft spot for me. While the story itself isn't my favorite of the series, next to Michael, Carina is my favorite of all the characters. Oh and Mama Conte boy does she have everything figured out and you wouldn't expect a sweet little Italian momma to be so manipulative, I loved it!
My Rating: I enjoyed Carina and the story line of this one but it wasn't my favorite of the series, I guess my love of Michael just overshadowed it.  I still have to give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review of The Marriage Trap by Jennifer Probst

Welcome to a month of Lust and Love!!
I will be sharing a variety of books with you all surrounding the theme of lust, love and all that lies between. I will have some sweet romances, some childrens love books, and of course plenty of After Dark Steam for all different tastes! Hope you will all stop in and join me!

Synopsis: "Italian billionaire seeks faux fiancée. Willing to agree to anything in return...

In order for his sister to marry, Italian billionaire Michael Conte has to find himself a bride – and fast! When he learns that photographer Maggie Ryan is going to be in Milan, Michael hatches a plan to introduce her to his family as his “fiancée.” Never mind that Maggie is confident, independent, and a control freak. Never mind that she’s everything he doesn’t want in a wife… and everything he wants in his bed!

Convinced that Michael is in love with her married gal pal, Maggie agrees to keep up the ruse if he’ll keep away from her friend. Besides, she’s not attracted to charming, ridiculously hot billionaires who drive her nuts. Once they’re in Italy, however, everything changes – and the sexual tension between Maggie and Michael goes from simmer to naked nuclear meltdown!

But have they found the perfect arrangement… or are they trapped in a make-believe marriage?"

My Review: I was so excited to read The Marriage Trap and Michael Conte's story. I fell in love with him in the previous book. I was definitely not disappointed. He is everything I imagined him to be and more (I have a little thing for Italians). I also enjoyed Maggie, but Michael's family stood out for me. Parts of the story were a little predictable but still great to read. There were also some great surprises that I couldn't get enough of, including the final scene. I really enjoyed the whole story and again wish that these characters were my friends and that I could have Mama Conte teach me to make pasta from scratch!!
My Rating: Another great book by Jennifer Probst! I love the characters she creates so much! I give The Marriage Trap a rating of Four Paws.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review of The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

Welcome to a month of Lust and Love!!
I will be sharing a variety of books with you all surrounding the theme of lust, love and all that lies between. I will have some sweet romances, some childrens love books, and of course plenty of After Dark Steam for all different tastes! Hope you will all stop in and join me!
Synopsis: "A marriage in name only...

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend's older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…"

My Original Review: So I was planning on this just being a little fluff read after some of the more thought involved reading I have finished recently, but boy was I wrong. I became way more invested in this book than I expected. I absolutely adore everything about Alexa, she is the perfect character. Nick while he isn't an ideal guy in my eyes, he has so much more depth then what you would expect in a short romance novel. Even the subcharacters are fantastic, I really hope that Probst writes another book that involves Conte, I think I am in love!!! All in all a great read with plenty of laughs as well as emotional dips and peaks, it makes you keep turning the pages.
My Updated Review: So I re-read The Marriage Bargain since I now have the next two books in the series. I still absolutely love Alexa, and totally love Michael Conte (and thankfully his story is in the next book). Even though I had read it before and knew what was going to happen I was still completely involved and couldn't put the book down.

My Rating: I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't help but give it a Four Paw rating!

Its Monday for Me

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Dare to Love by Rosemarie Naramore
Candy Store by Bella Andre (After Dark)
Taking Charge by Mandy Baggot
Where Ever You are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman (Bedtime Story)
Easy by Tammara Webber
Almost a Bride by Patricia McLinn
Singing It by Zoe Clare
You Are My Wish Come True (Bedtime Story)

Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

The Marriage Bargain
The Marriage Trap
The Marriage Mistake
Almost a Bride
Currently Reading:

Last Regress by Rachel J. Thorne - Nook - on page 118 of 212
Cowboys, Babies & Shotgun Vows by Shirley Rogerson - Nook - On page 33 of 128
The Other Guy by Cary Atwells - Nook - On page 6 of 160

 Books to be Read Soon:

Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
October Night by Theresa Oles

So I hope you are still enjoying my Lust and Love event! I am glad the month is almost done, a person can only handle so much mushy lovey romance at once! March will be a much more mellow month for me I think, it will be a month to catch up on reviews and also to share with you some of my favorite books. I won't be able to do reviews for all of them but since it will be my 30th birthday I wanted to share some of the favorites I have read over the years with you.

Thankfully life has started to calm down for us a little at home. Munchkin is slowly adjusting to the helmet, thank goodness and we are getting a tiny bit more sleep finally!

I just want to share with you a super cute picture. Munchkin loves frogs and I managed to find a big frog for him for Valentine's Day. I just love the look on his face when I gave it to him!

Hope you all have a fun filled week!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bedtime Story: You Are My Wish Come True

Synopsis: ""Mama," said Barley.
"Tell me again how I'm your wish come true."
Barley Bear loves to hear about how he was Mama's special wish. So begins You Are My Wish Come True, a tender tale of devotion between parent and child. Settled into their favorite cuddle spot, Mama reassures Barley that he was wished for, prayed for and waited for. And that he is far more beautiful and precious than she could have ever imagined!
Endearing prose and charming watercolor illustrations make this book a delightful way to cozy up with a beloved child."

My Review: This is a great book for sharing your love with your little ones. It is a little advanced for Munchkin and would be better for a preschooler or kindergartener. The images are more water color and not very clear but seem to suit the calming, intimate tone of the book. This could be a great book for children who were conceived through donation or fertility treatments as Mama explains that she loves Barley even though he looks different from her and she loved him through all the doctor visits. A great way to share your love for your little one, even before they were born.
My Rating: This was a very cute book that I enjoyed. It could easily get the conversation flowing between you and your little one and be used to answer some tough questions. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night, Sweet Dreams!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review of Singing It by Zoe Clare

Welcome to a month of Lust and Love!!
I will be sharing a variety of books with you all surrounding the theme of lust, love and all that lies between. I will have some sweet romances, some childrens love books, and of course plenty of After Dark Steam for all different tastes! Hope you will all stop in and join me!

Synopsis: "They told us not to sing it . . .

In Kaylee’s insular, seaside town, no one sings the Song. Singers are wanderers, strangers and outcasts: good families want nothing to do with them.

So when Kaylee’s free-spirited, fey boyfriend, Jim, starts to hum beneath his breath, she’s horrified. And what was supposed to be a careless summer before the end of high school turns into a fierce battle against small-town prejudice, and Kaylee may have to grow up rapidly . . . or risk losing freedom before she’s barely tasted it."

My Review: This was an interesting story. It was very short but so different that I want more. I didn't have time to really get attached to the characters but am so intrigued by the story. It feels like it is a teaser for a much bigger story. I also enjoyed how it isn't all happy, while the love has built over the years, it doesn't always conquer all!

My Rating: I liked this one but so with Clare had made it a full length novel, it seems unfinished and I want more. I give it a rating of Three Paws.