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4.5 out of 5 stars241
4.5 out of 5 stars
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I am a fan of Nicholas Sparks and with the film version of The Best Of Me being released – I was very excited to read the book and discover this wonderful story!

Dawson and Amanda meet and fall in love as teenagers – from opposite sides of the tracks but with a passion and love that is life changing, until they are forced apart. Years later Dawson and Amanda’s paths cross when they are called back to their hometown for the funeral of their friend tuck, who once gave them shelter when they needed it most. Now they are thrown back into each other’s lives, can they confront the paths they chose and reconnect?…

I really enjoyed this. Nicholas Sparks always writes with passion and love in his words, and you always know when reading his books that love is at the center.

I loved Dawson and Amanda as characters – they are fascinating both individually and together and they both come with a complex past and history together. I enjoyed that as a reader we were able to learn of their backgrounds, what had happened when they were younger and the moments that led them up to where they are now. Their story together is a compelling one that had me riveted and turning the pages because I truly NEEDED to know what would happen to them.

Full of emotion, love, and heart wrenching moments – The Best Of Me is a beautifully written story that will draw you in from the very beginning. Make sure you have tissues for this one.
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on 20 October 2011
Dawson and Amanda shared first love. A love that was forbidden, not only by her parents, but by their lifestyle. Years later they are brought back together by the death of the only man who believed in them, Tuck.

As they reunite to say farewell to Tuck, a will they won't they story unfolds. Even after all these years, life is not straight forward. Dawson is looking over his shoulder knowing he is being hunted by his family and Amanda has the family back home to think of.
Can they rekindle their first love?

My first time with this author and I had high expectations.

I was rather intrigued to find out what the attraction was for fans of Nicholas Sparks' novels. I now know. Nicholas Sparks, male author of 16 romance novels knows what a woman wants....and delivers it beautifully in a love story.

The author writes an easy to read storyline but with passion that kept my attention until the end. I wasn't sure that this was going to be the tear-jerker I was expecting for the first half of the novel, but then all of a sudden it hit me and didn't stop until the very last page. It was worth the build up.

Get the tissues ready folks.

4.5 out of 5 for me!

Thank you, Sphere for sending me a review copy
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on 24 December 2014
Before now, I have never had the pleasure of diving into a book by Nicholas Sparks. I've seen them, of course, but they've always been surrounded by an air of overwhelming sadness and surreal love, and so I've stayed away. But, when I was asked if I would like to read and review The Best of Me for the blog tour, I realised that my time of avoiding the heart-ache was over, and that sooner rather than later, I would have to read a Nicholas Sparks book, whether I liked it or not. When it arrived, I fanned the pages against my fingers hesitantly, and re-read the blurb again and again, and with a deep breath, I turned to page one and began.

Now, here I am, after finishing the book, and I just don't know what to say.

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks was powerful, poignant, and deeply moving. At first, I was under the impression that this was going to be just another beautiful love story, but when I turned the last page, I had already realised that it was so much more than that. The story conjured up a complete mess of emotions inside of me, drawing tears and heartache and a crazy surge of hope for the characters, Amanda and Dawson. Memories flooded the pages, bringing with them an overpowering sense of sentimentality and nostalgia, and without giving too much away, there's nothing quite like second-chance love. I love it. Absolutely love it. I love it when two characters are forced apart, and then for some reason, are drawn back together. I love how feelings that have been long-forgotten, begin to bubble beneath the surface. ARGH, it's so bloody romantic!

Despite the stunning romance within the story, of course, there was a whole load of sadness alongside it. And when I say sadness, I mean that I bawled my freaking eyes out and had to take deep breaths to calm myself down. It blew my mind. Silenced me. Completely screwed with my heart. It was just SO powerful and absolutely crystal clear that this novel was one that will stay with me forever. Selfless, one of the best kinds, the type of love that lasts long after we leave the earth.

Becca's Books is giving The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks a FABULOUS five cupcake rating! As I said, the story within is now ingrained into my mind, and I keep finding myself thinking back to it, wondering if there is love like that, out there somewhere, in the big wide world. An AMAZING book to read to introduce myself to the world of Nicholas Sparks. I am in love with this man's writing, characters, and beautiful imagination. Just INCREDIBLE.
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on 1 April 2013
This book is a disappointment. I'm really sorry to have spent my time and money on it. I would definitely not recommend it. It's not that the book is boring and not easy to read. On the contrary the 2/3s of it are pleasant and flowing well enough that you can read it in one go.

However as you reach the final part of the book you start to not believe in your eyes. First there is a slight inconsistency with the characters. The main heroine in the beginning appears to be strong and opinionated and defies everyone for the love of her life and then becomes this very weak person who constantly frustrates you with her choices and the things she says (or doesn't say). After a point it makes you wonder why the hero is in love with her at all. The mother who throughout the 2/3s of the book appears to be this shallow person who cares about appearances only, turns into a mother who gives the soundest advice of the whole book.

However, those are just details and if that was the only problem I'd be more or less ok. The worse thing is that the story itself is disappointing. Not because there's drama in it, life is not full of roses and if the book was, I wouldn't like it much either. It's because there's too much fake drama just for the sake of it. I mean the author is using one in a million coincidences and metaphysical situations just to create plot and to not allow the characters to finally make their choices.

The end was not really a surprise, you could see it coming after a while however until the final pages I was waiting for an unpredicted turning point. I could not really believe that he was going where I thought he was.

Overall a huge disappointment not worth my time at all.
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on 11 September 2014
Probably a bit of some shock horror here for some of you die hard Nicolas Sparks fans, but this is the first Nicolas Sparks novel that I have read. I have however watched some of his films; Dear John, Safe Haven and the Notebook, so I may have redeemed myself slightly there, but I know, films are rarely as good as the books. Anyway on to review my first Nicolas Sparks novel.

I found Amanda and Dawson's story utterly heartbreaking. Both from opposite sides of life, their love for each other is fraught with obstacles and they are torn apart. Years later fate brings them back together, but can they really defy all the odds and remake what they once had.

The love story of Amanda and Dawson is truly heart-wrenching. Nicolas Sparks has a way with words that really conveys the in-depth emotions of the characters. It is so easy to get lost in the characters stories and seeing how they all came together. It really got across how complicated love can be and how it's hardly ever easy. I think this is what I really took from this novel. There are also some really gritty, loathsome characters in this, that have such a striking contrast to Amanda and Dawson. So this novel is not without its dramas and heart-stopping moments.

Towards the end, my heart was beating hard; Nicolas Sparks saves all the heart-stopping action right when you wonder what could happen next.

The only slight issue I had with this was that I annoyingly guessed some of the outcomes, which took away some of the big reveal.

However, overall an emotional, heart-wrenching and tear-jerking novel.
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on 5 September 2014
2.5/3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest opinion.

Dawson and Amanda were teenage sweethearts, torn apart by the prejudices of Amanda's parents and fuelled by Dawson's own family. Their lives have taken them on different paths but they are drawn together again when they return home for the funeral of the man who had taken Dawson in when no one else would.

This was the first Nicholas Sparks novel I have read and I wasn't sure what to expect. I have of course heard of his other best selling novels but for some reason never picked one up.

I found this an ambivalent read, it was neither bad nor good. In fact I've wavered over my rating in that I didn't to give it a low rating, nor did I want to over rate it. I didn't really connect with any of the characters. I felt Dawson was the only really rounded character in that Nicholas Sparks seemed to spend more time initially introducing him to us. This perhaps was to the detriment of the other characters who felt a bit two dimensional sometimes to be fully engaging. There were some parts of the novel I was engaged in, then others were I was skim reading so it felt a bit disjointed to me at times.

The plot itself was OK, though I had guessed what would happen a long time before it did. I can however see how it would be a popular read. If you like Nicholas Sparks then I'm sure you won't want to miss this, and you'll be in a better position that I to judge how it compares to his other works.
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on 24 November 2011
November has been a month of reading for me. So, I had enough time in my hands today to spend on this story. But I started it late at night with the intention of reading three or four chapters before falling asleep. But I was wrong. Nicholas Sparks sucked me in from that first chapter. The story is deep, gripping and wide in scope, drawing from mind-blowing dimensions. The Best of Me, and Disciples of Fortune are my favorite reads of this month. The unique style of the writing is unusual, the setting is great and the unique style of writing is an added attraction too. It makes the blood run hot and cold in turns.
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on 17 October 2011
The Best of Me is a very different read to Safe Haven; something tells me that's true of all of Nicholas's novels. Despite all having a central theme of love, all of his book plots seem to be wildly different. It's impressive, actually, because most authors stick to a general formula for their books, but Nicholas doesn't and his plots range far and wide. The synopsis for The Best of Me doesn't give much away, as you can see above but it does rather sum the book up nicely as both Dawson and Amanda find themselves back in Oriental, their home town, after Tuck, a man they both knew well dies. Dawson and Amanda had been teenage sweethearts, torn apart because their lives were so far apart from each other and when they see each other again, it begs the question of just how deep their love really ran for each other way back when...

The Best of Me is only 292 pages long, which surprised me. That's not particularly long, and I was surprised to see how small it was when I got it. However, there's a lot packed into the novel and it's a really good read. I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Safe Haven, but it was a solid 4 star read for me. I'm a total sucker for love that's star-crossed, for love that attracts opposition, so I was sucked in by Dawson and Amanda's love and by the way they didn't let their contrasting backgrounds come between them during that summer they spent together. I liked how the intervening years didn't change their feelings for each other, too, once they both came back to Oriental. I thought the entire novel was just so magical as Dawson and Amanda are reunited and they reconnect over the death of their friend.

I thought the interconnecting stories were also interesting - Dawson's cousins, Abee and Ted who were unhappy their cousin was back at Oriental, wanting to get back at him; Amanda's family, including her alcoholic husband Frank; the Bonner family, who are connected to Dawson; and the life story of the dead man, Tuck and his wife Clara. I found the way all the stories connected and were told were excellent and it really heightened my reading of the novel. I knew what was happening/going to happen with certain characters and it was interesting to watch it all play out while the characters were waiting to do what they were going to do. It was a very interesting novel, and I was particularly fascinated by Tuck's story. I loved how he had a hand in the novel despite the fact he died before we got to really know him.

The ending was a massive shock for me. As the book neared its end, I pretty much knew I wasn't going to get an ending that was going to please me. Despite the fact I knew how it was going to end pretty much as soon as I got to about 20 pages out, I truly wanted to stop reading so I didn't have to read it. It was a very bittersweet read and Nicholas Sparks knows how to keep you turning the pages - even when you don't really want to. The Best of Me was a very readable read, and one I liked reading. I liked the whole love on from the opposite side of the tracks, the tragedy of it all, and I couldn't help wondering just how different Dawson and Amanda's lives would have been had they stayed together as teenagers. (It certainly would have been a very different book...) I'd definitely recommend the book, I enjoyed reading it and I can definitely see this one becoming a movie, too. I can't wait to go back and read Sparks' backlog of books he's definitely an author I enjoy reading and The Best of Me was hugely enjoyable.
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on 9 September 2015
The Best of Me was a birthday gift from a friend of mine who knows how much I love to read. She chose romance, saying we all need to escape reality for a while. Well, this one is not a fun, dreamy escape, but it is a really, really good book.

The Best of Me reveals quite a complicated relationship between two people, whose love started as teenage romance, and is revived years ago, after several tragedies and half their adult lives have passed. Dawson and Amanda, the hero and heroine carry the story on their shoulders, each such a striking person, with a gripping current lifestory and an even more intriguing mutual history. The intricate web of people connecting and separating them is fascinating (really powerful protraits of abusers, Dawson's mentor Tuck, Amanda's mother, etc.) Although there are occasional places in the story where it felt as if the intensity of the story was somewhat watered down, the overall impression of the characters, events and descriptions is admirably memorable.

It is not a light-headed romance, with the certainty of a happy ending and exotic, dreamy landscapes and lavish settings. In fact, it seems to be at its best when the author tackles the complications in life -- the issue of abuse, of compromising in a marriage, of time slipping past us as we struggle for everyday existence forgetting to enjoy life's little gifts. The contrast between the lives Amanda and Dawson lead while separated (his utterly isolated one, and hers, burdened with family problems) is so well-written, and shows that you can be lonely when alone, but also when swimming in an ocean of people. The love depicted here is a mature one, not midlife crisis, and far from mushy eye-batting seductive rituals, sighs and fainting at a kiss.

Displaying a full background tapestry of what is deemed successful or as failure in life, and the common, surface-based misconceptions of both, the author truly created a couple who realize there is a huge difference between romance, sex and infatuation on one hand, and true acceptance, love and intimacy on the other.
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on 6 September 2015
Similar in style to Sparks’ previous novels, The Best of Me weaves back and forth between the past and the present. As the story unfolds we learn more about the past memories, the hardship of forbidden love and an element of tragedy.

Told from multiple points of view, the suspense is quite high. Tension as to how the story would unfold and what the outcome of the story was, how it could end was, for me, unguessable, prehaps because I haven’t read many of Sparks’ previous novels and therefore not too familiar with his style.

I really liked the multiple point of views as it allowed greater insight in the supporting characters thoughts and opinions. Sometimes supporting characters are not developed very well but here they were pretty perfect, having room not only for development but also a place firmly in my heart.

From the beginning I knew that the ending was not going to be the happily ever after I wanted and I knew from the last few pages how the story was going to pan out. However, due to Sparks’ writing I was carried along as events unfolded, and I couldn’t help but get attached to all the characters. And it is impossible to not wonder how Amanda’s and Dawson’s lives would have been different if events in their youth had not occurred.

The Best of Me is filled with emotions and is sure to pull on your heartstrings. For all fans of Nicholas Sparks this is perfect for you, and for any newbies give it a try, I’m sure it will surprise you!
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