Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Genome: A Novel by Sergei Lukyanenko--An Exciting New Sci-Fi Book To Be Released For Sale at Bookstands 12-02-14!

Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

     "'It is simplicity itself,' said [Sherlock Holmes]; 'my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left shoe, just where the firelight strikes it, the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. Obviously they have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped round the edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud from it. Hence, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather, and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey.' [...]

     "I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction. 'When I hear you give your reasons,' I remarked, 'the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours'" (Bohemia. 1.12-13). (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.) [2] 

     In the above-passage, we get to see Watson [Sherlock Holmes' Assistant] react to Holmes' reasoning. The analogy to this vignette is that of someone who having watched a magician perform a wonderful magic trick, cannot fathom how it was done, and so, it seems wondrous to the viewer. 


    Then when the viewer has had the magician's slight of hand described to him with all the secrets revealed about how it was concocted, it seems so very simple a child could understand how it was done. Hence, Watson's being so baffled as to why he did not see what was right before his eyes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses this trope many times throughout his writing to keep reminding the reader that Holmes is brilliant and ever many, many steps ahead of the reader. [2]       

     What does Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes have to do with Sergei Lukyanenko's, The Genome? Let's connect the dots and get our first clues by taking a look at the synopsis of the book.

BOOK SYNOPSIS: The Genome: A Novel:
     Alex Romanov walked out of the hospital, recovered from a horrible accident that nearly caused his death. Alex, worried that he would never be able to fly again as a master-pilot, and nearly out of money, walked out of the hospital with no place to go, no job, and no apartment. 

     With only enough money to rent a room for the day, he checks in and then looks through the want ads. Alex answers an ad to pilot a passenger spacecraft called, the Mirror. The pay is really good, and he can pick his own crew. The question is, is this offer, too good to be true? Alex wonders what the catch is. 

     Alex is confident of his abilities because he has been genetically modified to be able to do all the tasks required of a master-pilot, including being genetically altered to protect and care for his crew and the ship's passengers. The genetic code has been modified to be carried out, without regard to what it would cost him--even his life. Alex interviews potential crew members and eventually fills each post--albeit with a rather strange assortment of crew members who have also been genetically altered (once altered, they are called, "speshes"). 

     Alex boards his ship, takes command, and the crew members arrive. The Mirror leaves port with a precious cargo on board, two high representatives of a strange alien race (The Zzygou), often, called, "The Others," with whom he is tasked to take on an expedition of the worlds that humans inhabit. 

     Unfortunately, Master-pilot Alex Romanov won't have a very easy cruise--among his crew are speshes who hate "The Others." Which of the crew hides a dark past, which guards a deadly secret, and who has a stolen a mysterious "gel-crystal"? A near-fatal collision, increasing tensions, sexual liasons, and unseen hands manipulating events behind the scene cause Master-pilot Alex Romanov to use every bit of his skill as a master-pilot spesh to save the Mirror and it's passengers. If he doesn't save the ship, something even more ominous threatens to annihilate not only the ship, but multiple races and planets. 

     All this and then...someone new shows up. Someone by the name of Peter C-the-Forty-Fourth Valke, AKA Sherlock Holmes, the greatest detective of all time. He is, of course, a clone. What shocking turn of events will happen next?

     Lukyanenko crafted an enjoyable and intriguing opening to his science fiction novel, The Genome: A Novel. Seeing Alex Romanov coming out of the hospital, having recovered from a near-death accident made me wonder just what kind of accident he had had. Lukyanenko had me thinking from the very beginning. So...I liked his opening very much. And, it just kept on growing in intrigue for me as he met and saved a fourteen-year-old girl and was propelled forward into a situation seemingly beyond his control.

     Ah, then there is one of my favorite things about the book. I really love the plot. The story examines what it is like to be fully human--and not. With the genetic changes made to humans, turning them into "speshes," the question naturally arises about whether the altered have becomes slaves...slaves tied by DNA chains that force them to serve. An echo of this theme is seen in "The Others" (The Zzygou) who call humans, servants, and while offensive to human beings we can only wonder if the Zzygou are correct.

     Tangentially, within the questions arising about being human is the consideration of human emotion. What is love? Does love survive the dramatic changes thrust upon the humans altered by genetic change? Do the "speshes" really have a choice or are they slaves to their own coding?

Cloning is just one of the issues in
Sergei Lukyanenko's, The Genome:
A Novel. [6]
     Thirdly, issues of cloning and multiple cloning also arises. Bias and hatred for clones also come to the fore of the story, as does a rather gruesome type of capital punishment, why it was outlawed in certain political planet's systems but not in others. It seems Lukyanenko touches the very core of the ethics of cloning, genetic alteration, capital punishment, murder, slavery, humanity, love and loyalty, the right to choose, war and pretense for war, bias and xenophobia, sexuality, and of course, the ethics involved in all these fields. Magnificent, and monumental questions that go to the very heart of what it means to be fully human.

     Another real positive is that the book is eminently readable. No complicated jargon or convoluted scientific explanations mar the story. You need not know anything about genomes, DNA, scientific method, or other science-related material. Just sit back and enjoy a good sci-fi story that becomes a murder mystery.

     Without going into any depth, I have to say I also liked the character development--notably Alex Romanov. I also really liked the world Lukyanenko created as the setting for his story. Likewise, the plot takes a simple mystery, and as the story progresses, so does the mystery. How far down the rabbit hole does the plot wind? And finally, I just simply enjoyed the story...'nuf said.

     Let's start out with what bothered me the most. At about 66% of the way through the book, the apparent sci-fi story took a dramatic turn and became a murder mystery. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the murder mystery. The problem was the transition from sci-fi to murder mystery. 

     Lukyanenko had the long slow build-up in preparation for what would be the most exciting parts of the book. That's fine. But as a reader, I just felt that suddenly I was thrust from a sci-fi story into the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, Sherlock Holmes' stories. Even the clone/detective/investigator was named Sherlock Holmes. At that point, the reader followed Sherlock and Alex around the ship as they searched for the clues to the murder of      ?         (name withheld). Never mind that because of the murder, the ship was parked on the brink of destruction (and following that, even bigger, badder consequences--again, I withhold that info.). 

     Some readers might object to the open sexuality in the book, for example, fourteen-year-old girls being trained in the sexual arts as well as assassination; clones having the responsibility of sexual service to aliens; multiple sexual partners and apparent agreement amongst all involved; the undercurrent of homosexuality, etc. Although I don't have a problem with the sex in the book, I wanted to give readers notice of its content. The sex included in the book was not gratuitous.

[1] and [9]
     Although I liked that the story had a somewhat upbeat ending for Alex, after the major problems he faced in the book, the ending seemed a bit contrived, again, without adequate set-up for the hasty ending.

     Given all the reasons I have given, above, have to say, this novel is not for children or young readers, nor for those of a sensitive nature. However, all adult readers of sci-fi and murder mysteries will find the story engaging and enjoyable. I would, therefore, recommend this book to all adult readers of those genres.

     For all the reasons I have stated, above, I, therefore, award this wonderful book a rating of 4.0 stars out of 5.0 stars. Congratulations to Sergei Lukyanenko for his completion of this wonderful new sci-fi book. I look forward to reading many more of Lukyanenko's books.

     Thank you for joining me this week as we were privileged to delve into the world of sci-fi (and, murder most foul!). Please join me next week as we will get to look at, yet, another interesting and exciting book. 

     Take some time this week to appreciate all the people and good things in your life--remember we only have one life. We only have one day. We only have the moment in which we are living to enjoy and appreciate the precious gift of life. And, don't forget, read a little bit every day, you will be the better for it.

Until next time...
This flower is a double white Rose of Sharon. [11]
...many happy pages of reading!

All my love,

[1] "Genome." amazon.com. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[2] "Cunning and Cleverness Quotes Page 1." schmoop.com. Retrieved 10-20-14.
[3] "No Suit, Sherlock: Doyle Estate is Embroiled in Public Domain Legal Battle." gawker.com. Retrieved 10-20-14.
[4] "First Clue." twitter.com. Retrieved 10-20-14.
[5] "Deadly Secret." figment.com. Retrieved 10-20-14.
[6] "Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer IS Human Cloning." lifenews.com. Retrieved 10-21-14.
[7] "Library Murder Mystery." durhamlibrary.org. Retrieved d10-21-14.
[8] "The Science of Sexuality." scienceworld.ca. Retrieved 10-21-14.
[9] "GoodReads Author: Author Profile--Sergei Lukyanenko." goodreads.com. Retrieved 10-21-14.
[10] "Mediabridge Products, LLC." bulbszone.com. Retrieved 10-21-14.
[11] "Pictures From My Garden." sparkpeople.com. Retrieved 10-21-14.
[*] "NetGalley Disclaimer." netgalley.com. Retrieved 10-20-14.
[**] "We Have a $1,000 Geonome. Now What?" vectorblog.org.; "What is a Genome?" ghr.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 10-20-14.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GRAPHIC NOVELS: An Exciting New Graphic Novel --A New Original Story! by Jim Butcher, THE DRESDEN FILES: WAR CRY

Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

     You're in trouble and need a private eye. Looking in the newspaper want ad section you spot an advertisement for a private eye--oddly enough, it is not in the private eye section of the paper. Instead, this private eye is listed under "Wizards." Should you call this, Harry Dresden?

    You consider for a moment whether or not you should call; you look and see that the advertisement says that the rates are reasonable and that he offers "consulting & advice." That sounds good, and you also notice that he conducts "paranormal investigations." That is definitely a plus. You make up your mind to call this Dresden fellow...then, in the middle of dialing Dresden's number you see it. Well, shoot. Maybe he'll do it anyway...the phone rings and is picked up. You introduce yourself and ask him, "Mr. Dresden, my wife and I would like to book you for my grandmother's birthday celebration--she's turning 95, you know."

     There's silence on the other end of the phone, so nervously, you continue, "We'd like you to hold a seance to contact her husband who passed away 4 years ago." You hear a long sigh on the other end of the phone...then silence...then a click. Well, heck, back to looking at the want ads. You can't give up now...you'll be in deep trouble with your wife if you don't find someone.  

     No, Harry Dresden doesn't do "parties or other entertainment." He does, however fill the bill for action when it comes to paranormal baddies who intrude into the Chicago scene. You see, he earns a living from his paranormal private eye business, as well as occasionally consulting for the Chicago police. Eventually, Dresden becomes a "Warden" for the White Council which gives him a substantial boost in income. We will get to see Dresden as a Warden in the book we are reviewing today, a big jump in prestige as well as income and power for Harry. So, now that we know that, let's get right to the book synopsis, shall we?

     A war between the Red Court (vampires) and the White Council (of wizards) has been raging for a while. At first, a stalemate, now the wizards are losing. They've had a catastrophic loss of wardens during one horrible battle with the Red Court and its allies. Now, at wit's end, the Council is desperate to get more wardens to fill their dwindling ranks. They are so desperate that they call up Harry Dresden, wizard-for-hire, and make him a Warden; they also activate young and inexperienced wizards and send them with Dresden on an assignment, that in reality, should only have been given to experienced and practiced wizards. They are cast into the deep end of the pool.     

Bianca of the Red Court
Vampires (from The Dres-
den Files
 TV series). [4]
     A small, elite, handful of mortals have been targeted by the vampires of the Red Court. Harry is given little information about them, but he knows he must rescue them. When he arrives at the location and the mortals refuse to leave, Harry knows something is up. The young wizards and Harry fight to protect the small house in which the mortals are staying. Stretched to their limits, they keep finding ways to keep the Red Court out of the house--but for how long? Can they make it through the night and to the morning's dawning? Will they be able to battle back Red Court forces through the long hours of the dark night until sunlight banishes all the vampires? Soon enough, Dresden learns about the deep, dark secret the mortals are striving to protect. But how do the vampires even know about the secret?

     Jim Butcher's graphic novel collects the "critically acclaimed" series consisting of five issues into this one book, The Dresden Files: War Cry. So, if the book is the collected works of five previously published issues of The Dresden Files, how can it be called a graphic novel? To find out if the book actually qualifies as a graphic novel, let's take a look at the elements of a graphic novel.
     Some reviewers and experts (especially some in the comics industry) believe that there is no such thing as a graphic novel, that all such publications are merely cartoons or comics; they believe the term "graphic novel" is pretentious and inaccurate. Other experts accept as true that graphic novels exist, but disagree on what elements make up a graphic novel. I will not be exploring these aspects of the graphic novel controversy, today. These topics would require at least one whole blog post to begin to do them justice. I, therefore, will be approaching graphic novels from the viewpoint that they exist. I also will be utilizing the elements of graphic novels that the greater number of experts agree upon as being included in this (graphic novel) publication format.

Story Arc:    Generally, the consensus is that the most important feature of graphic novels is that, like novels, graphic novels utilize a story arc in their composition. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end. In other words, a story opens with an inciting incident and tension builds (a crisis or multiple crises happen), leading to the climax, followed by the denouement (falling action) and end of the story.

Note: Topics in graphic novels may include non-fiction, biography, anthologies, collections, politics, drama, romance and, of course fiction. So, the topic of the graphic novel may be almost anything, as long as the sequential art creates a story, today, combined with words.

Episodic v. Single Publication:
  To help determine whether or not the publication contains a complete story arc with a beginning, middle and end, look to see if the publication is a "single work" or whether it is "episodic" in nature. Multiple issues with a series of different stories, contain volume and issue numbers, such as comic books do (see image on left).[6]

Character Growth:     Comic books may contain two, three, or even four stories in one issue, while graphic novels contain only one story. These graphic novel stories have the same characters throughout the story where comics might or might not have the same characters. In the graphic novel the protagonist grows and changes whereas in comics the characters tend to be more static.

Paper:     Episodic publications (comic books) tend to be published on inexpensive bulk (or pulp) paper while graphic novels tend to be published on more expensive paper, sometimes, even heavy, glossy paper. Some graphic novels I've seen are truly beautiful. Again, this may not be dispositive, as I've seen a few comic book collections published on nice paper, as well.
These are my Dresden Files Graphic Novels including: Storm
(Vol. 1 & 2); Fool Moon (Vol. 1 & 2); Welcome to the
; and Ghoul Goblin (a new original story) by Jim
Butcher, from Dynamite Entertainment. Wonderful,
wonderful publishers and top notch books!
Publication Covers: 
      Comic books tend to have paper covers while graphic novels can be either a type of cardstock or hardbound. This is not dispositive, however, because modernly, we can see collected comic book issues placed in hard bound book covers. Of course, e-books have digital covers and pages, so the sections on physical books do not apply to the e-books.

How is the Publication Bound?
This graphic novel fell apart in my hands as I read it the very
first time. It was merely glued together and the glue didn't
hold the pages at all. See my review of  Steve Moore's,
 Hercules: The Thracian Wars.
     As you may already know, comic books are bound together with staples. Graphic novels, being somewhat larger are usually bound the way books are bound. I've seen some stitched and then glued to card stock, and I've also seen some inexpensively bound graphic novels merely glued--often with disastrous results. I have a couple graphic novels that have literally fallen apart in my hands because of poor construction methods and/or cheap materials.

What is the Size of the Publication?   

Here is one of the bound collections of comic books that I re-
ferred to in the text, above. This is the X-Men Comics
collection including Days of Future Past. This
bound collection is NOT a graphic novel. [8]
     In the United States, comic books are generally 6 5/8" x 10 1/4" (Trade paperbacks: 5.32" x 8.51", and Digests: from 5 3/8" to 5 1/2" x 7 1/2' to 8 3/8"). Keep in mind, however, with international trade you may see publications from other countries. European publishers have different standards and practices and traditions than U.S. publish- ers. For example, there the graphic novel is called, "an album." I will not be covering, here, the European practices and editions. Another tangential aspect I will not be covering is the "Manga" publications--which, in and of themselves can be quite wonderful. [6]

How Many Pages Does the Publication Have? and, 
Does the Publication Contain Advertising?
Top quality construction methods result in a sturdy, well-crafted
graphic novel. This is a close up of Ghoul Goblin cover. Dyna-
mite Entertainment
is my favorite graphic novel publisher.
      Early comic books (1940s) had approximately 64-96 pages. Modern comics total about 32 pages: 22 pages for comics and another 10 pages for ads. Graphic novels are approximately three times the size of a comic book or about 100 pages. Many graphic novels I've seen have been 150-165 pages, and of course, no advertising. Comic books contain a lot of advertising, graphic novels, none. [6]

What is the Price?     Comics started out costing $.10 and modernly might cost $4.00 more or less. Graphic novels, on the other hand can start at about $9.99 and run to $25.00 (or more if they are large or deluxe gift editions). So, the disparity in the price of comics and graphic novels are great.[6]
Here is a picture of my Ghoul Goblin
graphic novel with the hardcover on
 the right and the dust jacket on the left.

     Does the author and/or publishers intend the work to be a comic or a graphic novel? Is the publication advertised as a graphic novel? Although the answers to these questions are not 100% dispositive as to whether or not the publication is a novel, they can go a long way in helping to determine it.
AFTER YOU DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE PUBLICATION IS A GRAPHIC NOVEL ASK: Is the publication a good graphic novel? What is the quality of the publication? Is the book well constructed? Is the art well done? How good is the story line? Is the cover art pleasing? What is the overall appearance of the graphic novel? Are the dialog bubbles, captions, panes, colors, artwork and other content appropriate to the story (well adapted), and professional? Basically, what is the quality of the graphic novel?

The quintessential
Harry Dresden. [9]
     Does War Cry have a complete story arc, a beginning, a middle, and an end? Since we've already looked at the synopsis at the top of the blog post, we already know that an inciting incident occurred to propel Harry Dresden, Warden, into the war with the Red Court vampires. He is sent to protect some ordinary humans. Complications occur and the group of wizards battle all night to keep their charges alive. A climax occurs, the deep dark secret is revealed, and eventually, we come to the end of the story (without revealing to you just what that is). So this element is a definite, yes.

     Is War Cry episodic in nature, or one complete story? While the author and publishers have originally published the series in five parts, we might be tempted to say the story is episodic. But the intent of the author seems to be to create one complete story with a beginning, middle and end, even if it is broken up into five parts. It is not episodic in nature with five different stories. Moreover, the five published issues do not have volume and issue numbers as do comic books. So, the collected five issues are indeed one story broken up into what could be called five chapters of one story.

  This publication has one story with one set of characters, not different ones as do comic books. Although, in the story, the time frame is approximately one day (or night), the characters do come away having learned things from their time together and their encounters with each other and the Red Court vampires.

   Since the publication I viewed was an e-book from NetGalley, no paper was involved, no cover (hardcover or cardstock), so I can- not comment on what the physical edition of War Cry will be like. That having been said, since I own other Dresden Files hardcover graphic novels, and since I know the high quality of Dynamite Entertainment's books, I had no hesitation in ordering a special Signed Limited Edition of this graphic novel.

 Harry Dresden's beloved
Blue Beetle...unfortunate-
ly, it was crushed and
    Although I have not examined the physical edition of War Cry, information provided by the publisher indicates the size is as 10.2" x 6.8" x 0.5"; and the shipping weight is reported as 1.7 pounds; I've already told you that the Publisher is Dynamite Entertainment, the release date is 11-11-14, and the language is English.

     War Cry contains only one ad for Ghoul Goblin at the end of the book; no other advertising is in the book. And since the hardcover edition has 144 pages the page requirement is met for a graphic novel, as well. Moreover, the book is advertised as a graphic novel, indicating that the intent is to market the book as a graphic novel. Prices may vary, but currently, Amazon lists the price as $20.48 (Since I ordered a signed limited edition, my book was purchased for $28.06.).

CONCLUSION: With all of the expected elements of the graphic novel having been met, the conclusion is that the book is definitely, a graphic novel. The final question to ask is whether or not the graphic novel is a good graphic novel.

     I like the cover design. To start with, on the cover, we get to see the major players in the story, the characters who are seen consistently throughout the story. The use of color is vibrant and the artwork is amazing. Just take a look at the graphic image to the left, here. It is just beautiful. My digital image as viewed on my computer showed the colors to be vibrant and the artwork detailed and precise. I also liked, very much, the captions and dialog--they were easy to read, the lettering neat, succinct, and accurately conveyed dialog and information.

Back Up features Harry and his
brother Thomas Raith. [13]
     The story, as we've already discussed, has a beginning, middle, and end. But that just doesn't tell you how good the story is--does it? Well, I have to say that I was so excited to know that the story was an original story to the Dresden series. I loved to read about the conflicts between Harry, his newbie wizards and the Red Court Vampires, the twists and turns and exciting climax. I also LOVE that Jim Butcher saw fit to bring back one of my favorite characters: Harry's bro, Thomas Raith of the White Court. I love that Thomas is back and hope Jim Butcher continues to keep him in his novels. Thank you, Mr. Butcher.

     With the new graphic novel, Jim Butcher also includes a "bonus section with the original story outline, sketchbook artwork from Carlos Gomez, cover gallery with roughs from Stjepan Sejic, and...Commentary from Jim Butcher." [10]


     Well, obviously, with the themes of vampires, fighting, and killing supernatural creatures, this book is not for the very young or sensitive person. The book is, undoubtedly, going to be loved by those in the target audience, and is appropriate reading for anyone who loves Jim Butcher's work, fantasy, or graphic novels, in general.

     For all the reasons I've given above about the high quality of Dynamite Entertainment's books, Jim Butcher's excellent writing, and the pure enjoyment and entertainment value of the book, I rate this beautiful book 5.0 stars out of 5.0.

     I highly recommend this book. I would buy this book as a gift to family or friends. I have already preordered a hardcover copy for myself.
     Thank you for joining me, today, as we covered an awful lot of material! Whew! I know this was a big post, but I think it is important for all of you to know what goes into making a truly good graphic novel. And then, of course, I wanted to show you all a great example of a graphic novel--Jim Butcher's, The Dresden Files: War Cry. Please join me, again, next week as we will jump genres and be looking at an upcoming new sci-fi publication. Please read a little bit every day, and be kind to others in your life. 

     If you are interested in seeing other graphic novels I've reviewed, here are the links to those pages:

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning;
Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore (book-to-movie);
Edge of Tomorrow (book) and graphic novel, All You Need Is Kill from book, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka; 
X-Men: Days of Future Past [1 graphic novel & 2 books reviewed];
Captain America: Winter Soldier [A Graphic Novel] by Marvel Comics;
Vampire Academy, Book 1, and Vampire Academy the Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead;
 Thor: The Dark World Prelude [A Graphic Novel] by Marvel Comics; Illustrator: Lan Medina.

Until next time...many happy pages of reading!
Please keep this beautiful, precious, new soul and her beautiful
mother in your prayers. Happy Birthday, my Darling Girl!
I send my love and joy to you all, Sharon.
All my love,


I dedicate this blog post to my new, beautiful, granddaught- er, Sharon Ele'a V. Powers (my namesake) and her beautiful, intelligent, loving mother (my daughter), Mary- am Powers. Baby Sharon was born on October 7, 2014 at 8:16 a.m. was 8 lbs., 13 oz., and 20" long. 
[1] "Title Details (Page): Dresden Files: War Cry." [by Jim Butcher and Carlos Gomez] netgalley.com. Retrieved 10-12-14.
[2] "Harry Dresden." [newspaper ad] vk.com/harry.dresden. Retrieved 10-13-14.
[3] "Synopsis." cookiesbookclub.blogspot.com. Retrieved 10-14-14.
[4] "DVD Review - THE DRESDEN FILES - The First Season." [Bianca] collider.com. Retrieved 10-14-14.
[5] "Some More Writing Advice--Beginning, Middle, End." hannasteenbock.wordpress.com. Retrieved 10-14-14.
[6] "How to Distinguish Between a Comic Book and a Graphic Novel." wikihow.com. Retrieved 10-14-14.
[7] "Homenaje. Wolverine 1 de Frank Miller y Chris Claremont (ensenando las garras)." imakinarium.net. Retrieved 10-14-14.
[8] "Analyzing Character Growth Throughout a Text." literacymathideas.blogspot.com. Retrieved 10-14-14. 
[9] "Dovahkiin (Dragonborn) vs Harry Dresden." comicvine.com. Retrieved 10-14-14.
[10] "Dresden Files: War Cry." amazon.com. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[11] "What's Your Dream Car?" sodahead.com. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[12] "Dresden Files: War Cry." amazon.com. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[13] "Backup." [by Jim Butcher] amazon.com. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[14] "Tower of Hanoi." puz.ca. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[*] "NetGalley Disclaimer - Home." netgalley.com. Retrieved 09-30-14.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson--The Book-to-Movie Comes to U.S. Theaters 10-31-14!

Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

     We've all seen the movies where the handsome young playboy spends his time looking for a beautiful young woman to take home for the night. One such light-hearted comedy is one set in the lush, tropical paradise of Hawaii. Adam Sandler meets a beautiful young woman, Drew Barrymore, and spends an enchanted day with her. They spend the night together, and when the next day arrives...she acts like she's never met him. She wakes up next to a man she doesn't know, freaks out, and starts screaming.

     Henry (Adam Sandler) tries to crack the mystery about why Lucy (Drew Barrymore) has no memory of him and the fun times they've had together. Henry discovers that he wants this vivacious young woman, and...that he loves her and wants to leave behind his womanizing days. So, every day he tries to win her over to loving him; hence, the name of the movie: 50 First Dates. In this movie, Lucy, has had a terrible automobile accident which has left her with amnesia, or short-term memory loss. Lucy simply forgets the previous day and has no memory of it, so how does Henry (Sandler) overcome Lucy's amnesia to win her heart? The answer is as whimsical and funny as the movie, one that leaves all viewers chuckling at the end. [2]
     Did you enjoy the short trailer of the movie, 50 First Dates? It is mildly humerous, and does have an intriguing theme. So much so, that quite a number of movies have been made where the trope of having lost memories is the major theme of the movie.

     We've seen amnesia tropes in Memento (2000); Long Kiss Goodnight (1996); Total Recall (1990); Dark City (1998); The Bourne Trilogy (2002-2007); Alfred Hitchcock's, Spellbound (1945); Finding Nemo (2003); and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); Mulholland Drive (2001). Of course, let's not forget the movie I mentioned, above, 50 First Dates (2004). [4]

     While 50 First Dates is a comedy, the book I am reviewing today, is not. Before I Go to Sleep, instead, falls within the genre of the mystery/thriller. What is the connection between Before I Go to Sleep and 50 First Dates? Since I mentioned the amnesia trope, you can probably guess that there's the connection--and you'd be right, mostly. Let's get started by, first, looking at a short synopsis of Before I Go to Sleep.

     Christine wakes up next to a man she doesn't know. She is disoriented and doesn't even remember the stranger in the bed with her. She later finds out the man is Ben, and he's her husband. Every morning she wakes up, Ben has to explain to Christine about her life and who they are. He has to explain how she was in a terrible automobile accident that left her memory destroyed.

     Ben shows her a photo album and he has put pictures up in the bathroom around the mirror for Christine. Christine remembers none of it. Then she discovers she had a son who is now dead, having been killed in the war. Christine's emotions are in turmoil and she doesn't know how to cope with it all.

     Then Christine gets a phone call from a stranger who tells her that he is her doctor and that she has been seeing him--not knowing that the doctor has his own agenda--he tells Christine to not reveal anything about his contacting her to her husband, Ben--to keep it all a secret. The doctor has Christine start a journal as an aid to help her jog her memory about events that have happened.

     One morning Christine is reviewing her journal when she reads, "Don't trust Ben." Shocked, Christine suddenly calls into question everything in her life. She catches Ben in lies, but doesn't confront him. She tries to piece together the myriad bits of information she's gotten from Ben and how that information is different than what she's written in her journal. She wonders about why Ben has lied to her, what really caused her memory loss, and most importantly, who can she trust?

From, "Confabulation:
It Sounds Better Than Lying."
Posted 05-02-14 by Rich Gasaway. [8]
     Christine doesn't even feel as if she can trust herself after she learns that along with her amnesia, she suffered from "confabulation," that she had distorted or fabricated memory episodes. Christine can't even always rely on what she has written and she even calls her journal into question.

     Christine's journey to discover the truth, the mystery behind her amnesia and the lies Ben and the doctor have told Christine will keep you second guessing your own guesses about who did what to whom and why. The climax of the story will, undoubtedly, leave you speechless!

I take the journal out of my bag. I feel nervous. I do not know what this book will contain. What shocks and surprises. What mysteries. I see the scrapbook on the coffee table. In that book is a version of my past, but one chosen by Ben. Does the book I hold contain another? I open it. The first page is unlined. I have written my name in black ink across its center. CHRISTINE LUCAS. It's a wonder I haven't written PRIVATE! beneath it. Or KEEP OUT! Something has been added. Something unexpected, terrifying. More terrifying than anything else I have seen today. There, beneath my name, in blue ink and capital letters, are three words. DON'T TRUST BEN. There is nothing I can do but turn the page. I begin to read my history. (pp. 42-43)
     I enjoy this passage because, first, it helps to establish the theme of Christine's journal and her writing in it, reading it, and trying to use it as a touch stone to her reality. I also like it because, here, we see her, at first, a bit relaxed and having a cup of coffee when she sits down to read. Then, when she opens the book she first finds what she might expect to find, her name across the center of the title page. She also seems surprised by what she doesn't find...no notation about her journal being private.

     The thing, though, I most like about the passage is that this is where we see Christine shocked to the point that she is terrified. We know it must truly be terrifying because we already know she's had a day filled with stress and uneasy discoveries. I imagine her reading in her own handwriting, DON'T TRUST BEN (her husband), that she would be going through myriad emotions. She acknowledges to herself that nothing more will be learned by staying where she is--she MUST turn the page. Just fabulous!

Before I Go to Sleep is Rated "R" for
some brutal violence and language.[13]
     The movie makers, having adapted S.J. Watson's book to the big screen, has stated that it's debut will be on October 31, 2014--Halloween! While the book and, therefore, the movie, are in the mystery/thriller genre, they are NOT horror, which some people might expect, since it is coming out on Halloween. The movie's MPAA rating is "R," for some brutal violence and language [11], but is nonetheless, not horror the way you think of axe murder or chainsaw murder movies. It is a psychological drama with some violence and definitely scary scenes, but, again, still, not horror.

     Before we continue to discuss the book, why don't we take a quick look at the trailer of Before I Go to Sleep. This trailer is courtesy of youtube. [12]

     Directing the movie is Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen, The Replacement Killers, and King Arthur). [14] Starring in the movie as Christine Lucas is world-famous actress, Nicole Kidman, Ben Lucas will be played by Colin Firth, Dr. Nash by Mark Strong, Adam by Dean-Charles Chapman, Christine's Husband by Adam Levy, and Christine's friend, Claire, by Anne-Marie Duff. [11]

     The trailer shows us an exciting and thrilling adaptation of S.J. Watson's, Before I Go to Sleep. I can hardly wait for opening day to see how the movie makers have envisioned Watson's book. The trailer, piques my interest greatly, and I want to see how the movie tracks with the book. Ah, well. Not too long to wait.

     The first thing I like is that the book is in the mystery/thriller genre, not comedy, like Finding Nemo or 50 First Dates. While I definitely think there is a place for comedy, I just think it is refreshing to see the amnesia trope set in a genre that takes it more seriously and gets us thinking more.

     I also like S.J. Watson's writing style. It is eminently readable and I never stumbled upon words I didn't know, or got jammed up on sentences or paragraphs that were overly long, or convoluted. The whole thing just flowed easily upon the page.

     The most intriguing thing I found about the novel, however, is the way the author moves the plot along. The story is NOT about character development. How could it be with the unreliability of the narrator--that's the whole point! You don't really know what the character is, what motivates her life, since at every turn it's upended. The story is all about the plot, but it moves along like an inchworm, one little squiggle at a time. The reveals are small, not large, but they do keep coming, moving forward.

     The vehicle, the trope, amnesia, is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The author has utilized other tools in the writing arsenal that you don't get to see until you near the end of the book. I won't tell you outright, what the other MAJOR trope is, but I will leave you with a couple of hints.

     In the movie, Total Recall, an action/adventure/mystery, star- ring Colin Farrell, Kate Beck- insale, Jessica Biel, and Bill Nighy (among others), the adaptation relies on the theme of planting memories into a person's mind in order that the person can have the feeling and memories of experiencing some- thing they have not actually experienced. Quaid goes to "Rekall," the place where memories are implanted, but as he is about to receive the memories, he is detected as a spy. Security shows up shooting, Quaid escapes, goes home and tells his wife what happened--then she tries to kill him. He asks her why, and she says she isn't his wife, she is UFB. Colin Farrell, escapes. [17]

     The hints that I am leaving with you are not so much about planting memories into the mind (also like the movie, Inception). Another movie trope is being utilized in the, Total Recall, above-related plot. If you read that paragraph carefully, you might be able to figure out to which trope I am referring.

     Acknowledging that the movie is not about character development, but more about plot, we do gradually inch our way to the conclusion. The problems with the conclusion is that much of the ending is illogical. Holes everywhere in the story.

     Another frustration is, that in that reading the book, I found that although the story continually moved forward, it did so at a snail's pace. The repetition got draggy in places, and I found myself bored for stretches of time. I'm thinking that the movie may be able to defeat the boring aspect and move the story along faster (Sort of the way they did for Groundhog Day, or Edge of Tomorrow.). One can hope.

     Since the movie is rated "R" for "some brutal violence and language," I think it would be safe to say that, perhaps, we could use that rating as a starting place for looking at how we rate the book. The book does include violent scenes, and language that would be better not read by the very young or the very sensitive. All other mature adults, especially those enjoying thrillers and mysteries, should really enjoy this book.

     Given all the reasons that I have stated, above, I rate this book at 4.0 stars. Quite a good effort for S.J. Watson's first time out of the gate. He should, justifiably, be most proud of his efforts. I look forward to reading more books by this new author.

     Thank you for joining me this week as we looked at S.J. Watson's book, Before I Go to Sleep. Thank you for taking time to read my book review and for taking time to consider my views. I hope you enjoyed this post.

     I look forward to being with you next week as we look at a book from Jim Butcher. The book is a NetGalley graphic novel from the series, The Dresden Files--it is entitled, War Cry. So join me next time as we open the pages and see what Jim Butcher has in store for us.

     Take care of yourselves this week. You only have one life, so do what you can to get the most out of it. One way to do that is to remember to read just a little every day. The words you read in the books nourish your mind and help to keep your brain elastic and to maintain your good memory. God bless you, my friends.

Until next time...

This flower is a double white Rose of Sharon. [20]
...many happy pages of reading.

Sending you my love,


[1] "Before I Go to Sleep." amazon.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[2] "50 First Dates." imdb.com. Retrieved 10-07-14.
[3] "50 First Dates Official Trailer." youtube.com. Retrieved 10-08-14.
[4] "Lost Memories: Our 10 Favorite Amnesia Movies." ifc.com. Retrieved 10-08-14.
[5] "English-Word Information: Amnesia." wordinfo.info. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[6] "Dad's Aren't Deaf, It's In Their Genes." lilsugar.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[7] "Single Mom Slice of Life: A Tough Choice...." goodenoughmother.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[8] "Confabulation: It Sounds Better Than Lying." samatters.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[9] "How Writing Heals Injuries: Expressive Journaling Can Speed Up Physical Recovery." medicaldaily.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[10] "4 Ways To Burn Fat Faster With Every Cup: Making Coffee Work For Your Diet." slism.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[11] "Before I Go to Sleep - MPAA Rating." imdb.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[12]"Before I Go to Sleep Trailer." youtube.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[13] "Rated R Logo Vector." [graphic image, R] vector-magz.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[14] "Best Movies Directed by Antoine Fuqua." ranker.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[15] "What's In the Frame and What's Out-Dory [fish]." bloodybrilliantmoviecaps.tumblr.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[16] "Film Review No.237: Total Recall (2012)." filmdump.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[17] "Total Recall I (2013)." imdb.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[18] "Job Interview Prep is Boring." linkedin.com. Retrieved 10-09-14.
[19] "Final Verdict & Rating." mandyssecrets.com. Retrieved 10-10-14.
[20] "Pictures From My Garden." sparkpeople.com. Retrieved 10-10-14.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks--This Book-to-Movie now out in DVD & Blu-ray!

Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

" The romantics would call this a love story: the cynics would call it a tragedy. In my mind it's a little bit of both, and no matter how you choose to view it in the end, it does not change the fact that it involves a great deal of my life."
--Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook.

    As The Notebook, opens, we see a beautiful older couple, now at the twilight of their lives. The husband sits and reads to his wife from a notebook filled with memories of their lives together. He reads to her to remind her of events lost due to her Alzheimer's disease. [2]

     He reads to Allie from her notebook about Allie's first love and an enchanted summer of love. The story continues as Allie and her love are forced apart because Allie's family disapproves of the young man, Noah, and because of "socio-economic realities." As they separate, Noah writes many letters to Allie, but none of them are answered, so in a final letter to her he professes his undying love and decides to escape her ghost and leave. Eventually, Noah, like so many young men of the era, find themselves soldiers in a horrific war (WWII.). 

     After the war ends, Noah returns home to settle down and he begins restoring an old farmhouse. A local paper publishes an article about Noah's efforts to save and restore the old farmhouse, and Allie sees it, and though it is now 14 years since the two parted, she reunites with Noah and they spend two wonderful days catching up. Allie is now faced with a life-changing decision: will she marry her fiance or return to Noah?

     The reader understands that the notebook is comprised of Allie's remembrances of her love, so we know the old woman in the bed is Allie. But which of the two men that Allie loved is reading to her--which man did she choose? Her fiance or Noah? [2]

     Nicholas Sparks has written a number of contemporary love stories, The Notebook, is but one. Sparks, well-known for writing the popular romantic novels, one of which we will be  looking at, today, has had success in having many of his books brought to the big screen. The novel I am reviewing, today, The Best of Me, is one of those. The Best of Me comes to theaters on October 17, 2014. Let's begin by taking a look at the synopsis of the book.

     Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole, high school students living in a small town, Oriental, North Carolina, fall in love during the spring semester, 1984. They find love, hope, and comfort with each other. Because Amanda is from a well-to-do family, her parents disapprove of Dawson. That, and the fact that the Cole's have a bad reputation in the area for criminal activity, fighting and violence, mean the Collier's don't want their beautiful daughter around the Coles.

     When senior year arrives the Collier's give Amanda an ultimatum to leave Dawson, or they won't support her through college. Dawson, not having a job and living in a friend's, Tuck Hostetler's, garage realizes he can't support Amanda and doesn't want to take college away from her. So, he says goodbye to Amanda and she goes away to college. Eventually, Dawson gets a job working on an oil rig out of state; he lives a solitary life and can't even bring himself to date. Amanda falls in love with Frank, a Dentist, and marries him, having three children. Amanda and Dawson each live their separate lives and the years pass.

     Twenty-five years after the two young lovers separate, their friend and mentor, Tuck, passes away. Dawson and Amanda come back for the funeral, and quite naturally, run into each other. Now the two are forced to confront the decision they made so long ago, and reconsider where they are in in life, their dreams, and responsibilities. Can the two overcome their past history, past mistakes, and change the paths on which they find themselves? The two confront these decisions and their past memories, all the while completing the instructions Tuck left for them upon his passing. Now, comes the hard part--deciding what to do.    

     The relationship Amanda has with her mother is a bit complicated. Never having liked Dawson, Amanda's mom has constantly criticized Amanda and her choices. I like this quote because it is part of a dialog where the two are having it out about a number of things. Let's take a look at the quote.
[Mother] 'You made the decision, not I, and every decision has consequences. You need to learn to take responsibility for the choices you make.' [Amanda] 'You don't think I know that?' Amanda felt herself flush...She chose her next words carefully, 'I don't think it's a good idea to talk about this.' [Mother] 'I think it is,' her mother responded. [Amanda] 'Because I didn't tell you about Tuck?' [Mother] 'No,...[b]ecause I think it has something to do with the problems you're having with Frank....But if I were you, I'd think about what you really want, because when you get back home, you're going to have to make some decisions about your marriage. In the end, it's either going to work or it isn't. And a big part of that is up to you" (pp. 145-147). 
     While this quote is only part of the discussion that Amanda and her mom have, it really is central to the overall argument. Amanda feels misunderstood and, obviously, harshly judged. Amanda's mother think's Amanda's relationship with salt-of-the-earth Tuck is more about her past relationship with Dawson than with Tuck and the problems Amanda is having in her marriage with Frank. I can't tell you too much more about the argument without giving away some important things about the book. But just know, that this argument, at least, in part, aids Amanda in confronting her feelings about life, in general, her path, her responsibilities, and even her children. It is a very powerful discussion between the two women.

     As I mentioned, above, the book-to-movie comes to the big screen 10-17-14. For fans of Nicholas Sparks, I know you will be looking forward to this new movie. I have the trailer for the movie, so let's take a look at it and get a glimpse of the upcoming movie: [7]


Paul Walker was originally
cast to play Dawson. [9]
     Directing the movie is Michael Hoffman (Director of Soapdish, The Emperor's Club, and The Last Station); writing credits go to Nicholas Sparks (book), J. Mills Goodloe, Will Fetters, and Michael Hoffman (for screenplay).  In a real life tragedy, originally, the lead role of Dawson was to be filled by Paul Walker; after Paul Walker's death last fall, the role was given to James Marsden. [8] Young Dawson will be played by Luke Bracey. Liana Liberato has been cast as young Amanda, and Michelle Monaghan as the older Amanda; Frank Reynolds (Amanda's husband) will be played by Sebastian Arcelus; the Cole brothers, Abee and Ted will be played by Hunter Burke (Abee) and Rob Mello (Ted). It is presumed that Gerald McRaney will play father-figure, Tuck. [8]

     I like the book cover. It has eye-appeal with great use of color with photography vignetting on the outside edges to force the viewer to look at the very center of the image. At the center of the image we see the young Dawson and Amanda which is repeated above with the older Dawson and Amanda. This kind of repeat is always good. Also at the center of the image are the words "The Best of Me." Psychologically, the word "Best" is received in a positive way and we are subtly influenced to like the book, or at the very least, the cover. I also like the title: The Best of Me. Again, the title is a positive statement likely to be interpreted positively by the viewer/reader.

     Another thing that I like about the book is that Nicholas Sparks has an easy-going and eminently readable style of writing. Dialog is realistic and the quantity of dialog is balanced with that of the exposition. Moreover character development is good, and pacing is appropriate to the story.

Even though this chart is for a Fourth Grade
class, it is simple, and includes the basic
needed elements of "Plot." [10]
     What I really want to focus on, here, today, is what doesn't work. So, what is the biggest problem the book has? It is, definitely, the plot. So, while I acknowledge that many, many people like Nicholas Spark's stories because of the overwhelmingly emotive power he utilizes in tugging on the heartstrings, a problem does exist with plot. Let's take a look at that.

         Nicholas Sparks' story starts out happily enough, with two people in love, then comes the problem, followed by some very important events, and then the resolution of the book. So, if Sparks' story has all the elements, what's wrong with the plot? 

     I haven't read every single book Sparks has written, but enough to know that many of his novels follow the same plot. If we look at The Notebook, for example we can see the pattern: (1) Happy Times: The book starts out with two people in love, then (2) The Fly in the Ointment: If you prefer, the problems which arise [in Notebook the couple are separated by family and war]; (3) From Bad to Worse: a huge amount of time separates them and years of loneliness; (4) Can't Stop the Problem: The couple cannot prevent old age and Alzheimers from robbing Allie of her memories; (5) Catastrophy Occurs = Tragedy: Daily, Noah has to read to Allie to help her remember (she doesn't always), eventually, the story culminates in death.

Skip this paragraph if you don't want to read the spoilers.

     The Best of Me follows a similar plot arc: (1) Happy Times: The enchanted summer and time in high school when the two are together; (2) The Fly in the Ointment: Amanda's parents extort her compliance by sending her away to college, Dawson accepts the ultimatum; (3) From Bad to Worse: Dawson's family punish/ostracize Dawson and brothers attempt to kill him/Amanda has Frank's drinking problem with which to contend and then her son is horribly injured in a car crash; (4) Can't Stop the Problem: Amanda can't make Frank quit drinking, and their son needs a heart transplant or he'll die; (5) Catastrophe Occurs = Tragedy: Dawson is killed defending another person,  and his heart is transplanted into Amanda's son, so no matter what Amanda would have chosen, it is moot now--the two lovers will never be together.

     I found a wonderful post at Cracked.com that is humerous and infor- mative and in a very pithy manner, it lampoons Nicholas Sparks cookie-cutter plots. The post is entitled, "How to Write a Nicholas Sparks Movie." Cracked.com  says that (1) Start with Two Pretty White People; (2) Include an Obstacle That Makes Love Between Them Seem Impossible; (3) They Fall In Love, Anyway; (4) Throw in a disaster (see the graphic just above); and (5) Go to the Only Poster Designer You Know. The movies the author compares are: A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Dear John. [12]

     In any event, the plots are all one singular plot--he's changed the names to protect the innocent--No, no, no, I'm sorry, that was a TV show. As I was saying, the multiple stories are basically the same plot. Many things are similar about them even down to using "letters" as a plot device. I really don't understand why, because most people just use e-mail these days. 

     In the quote at the top of the post, Sparks poo poos anyone who calls his stories tragedies, and calls them "cynics;" he says they are love stories. If you look at the definition of tragedy, Literary Devices defines tragedy in literature as, "a series of unfortunate events by which one or more of the literary characters in the story undergo several misfortunes, which finally culminate into a disaster of 'epic proportions'. [13] Or, if you will, Tragedy as defined by Merriam's Dictionary as "a play, movie, etc., that is serious and has a sad ending (such as the death of the main character)." [14] Sparks, however, can call his work anything he wants to call it, but that does not prevent the rest of the world from using traditional definitions--which I do.  

     In conclusion, the quality of the plot is brought down because of Spark's repetitive sameness of them. Nothing new is added to his books, nor are they creative. If, you enjoy Spark's books, however, that's fine. Some people enjoy reading the same thing over and over, again. And that is OK. I, however, do not like to read the same story over and over with the names and a few minor changes thrown in as the only differences. Oh--by the way--IMDb lists the genre as "Drama and Romance." 'Nuff said about that, I guess.

     Since the MPAA Rating is PG-13 [for sexuality, violence, some drug content and brief strong language], I think we can use that as a starting place for how to recommend the book. Those readers who are young or readers who are of a sensitive nature, should consider the rating before reading the book.[17]

     For all the reasons I have given, above, I rate this book 3.0 stars out of 5. If the story were more original I would have rated it higher; as it is, with the cookie-cutter plot recycled from other books and movies, I cannot justify a higher rating, even given the other positive things I noted, above. Although it is not a great book, it is a very quick read and enjoyable if you set aside the knowledge it is like so many others. Sparks does have a good style, and readers who "love" his love stories, will undoubtedly love this one.

     Thank you for joining me this week as we got to take a look at Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie, The Best of Me. The Best of Me will appear at theaters beginning 10-17-14.  Thank you for taking the time to read my book review and the time you spent in giving my thoughts consideration. Please take a little time this week to read something you will enjoy and be kind to those around you.

Until next time...
This flower is a double white Rose of Sharon. [20]

...many happy pages of reading.

My Love to You All,


[1] "The Best of Me." [Nicholas Sparks] amazon.com. Retrieved 10-02-14.
[2] "The Notebook."  [Nicholas Sparks] nicholassparks.com. Retrieved 10-04-14.
[3] "The Notebook (2004) Poster." imdb.com. Retrieved 10-04-14.
[4] "Synopsis." mywriterblog.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[5] "How to Choose Between Two Guys."  wattpad.com. Retrieved 10-04-14.
[6] "The Question That Changed My Life." getmesorted.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[7] "The Best Of Me Official Trailer #2 (2014)." youtube.com. Retrieved 10-01-14.
[8] "The Best of Me (2014)." imdb.com. Retrieved 10-02-14.
[9] "Paul Walker dead at 40: 'Fast and Furious' star killed in fiery car crash." nydailynews.com. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[10] "Fabulous Fourth Grade: Anchor Charts." pinterest.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[11] "Are You Bothered by Spoilers in Movie Reviews?" ropeofsilicon.com. Retrieved 10-15-14.
[12]"How To Write a Nicholas Sparks Movie." cracked.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[13] "Tragedy." literary-devices.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[14] "Tragedy." [definition] merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[15] "Tragedy." [graphic image] dreamstime.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[16] "Drama and Romance." [graphic image] giglets.net. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[17] "The Best of Me" [MPAA Rating] comingsoon.net. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[18] "PG-13." [MPAA Rating Graphic] collider.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[19] "Charlie Casanova." [3 star graphic] cinedork.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.
[20] "Pictures From My Garden." sparkpeople.com. Retrieved 10-05-14.