Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks [Audio Review]

Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.

A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward -- even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans -- a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.
4.5 A Journey Full of Life Stars
I’ve never rated a Nicholas Sparks book low, but I don’t really pick up his books unless it’s going to be a movie. So, yes, I am one of those, I have to read the book prior to the movie.
The Lonest Ride has all the elements I’m looking for in a cowboy theme book. I’m from Texas, so I take my cowboys seriously.
I’m listening to the audio version and I will be honest. If you have to do it any way, listen to the audio version, it’s fabulous. The voice actors were PERFECT. I couldn’t have image any other voices.
The book starts with Ira’s story. He’s an old man talking about his life. I’m thinking to myself, is the whole book going to be narrated by this old man? The answer is no, just Ira’s parts. At first I was kind of put off by Ira’s story. I didn’t care about his struggles and how he fell in love with his wife. Who cares he went to war or that he is poor? BUT as I listened more I started to fall in love with it.
The book flips back and forth between Ira’s story and then the two main character’s Luke and Sophia’s. Luke and Sophia’s story is what you see in the commercials for the movie promos.  Luke is a bull rider and he is coming out of retirement to back to bull riding. His mom’s ranch is in debt and he needs to ride and win contests to pay off the debts. Sophia is a typical nerdy college student. She’s studious, serious and doesn’t want any distractions.
Sophia and Luke meet when Sophia visits over the weekend. They have a cute and very realistic relationship.  Nicholas Sparks books are not steamy at all, there’s zero sex, but there’s pure romance. I think that is why people love these books so much. As much as I enjoyed Luke and Sophia’s story, I was really interested in Ira’s. There is no correlation between the two and it’s kind of confusing, but it completely worked in the book.
Sophia and Luke’s story is a bit frustrating because there’s plenty of tension between the two towards the end. Luke starts to focus on paying off the bills and Sophia doesn’t know how to deal with the situation. Overall, the last part of the book is the best part. The pace picks up and you wonder how everything will conclude. I increased my rating because of how I felt when I finished the book.
This is my first narration by January LaVoy and she is fabulous.  She has a sweet and very pleasant voice and I loved her male transition. Sometimes I felt like it was a male narrator speaking to me. I will definitely stalk her and listen to more of her books. This is my first narration by Ron and he sounded like his character, I really old man. I’m not sure if I will listen to his voice again, unless I’m listening to a book that has an old man, but he did a great job. I loved his reactions and I felt his emotions. You can tell the production of the book was really high quality. I simply loved it.
The Lonest Ride is a sweet and grip-at-you-heart romance novel. If you want your heart to ache and your face to smile, then this one is for you.
Review - Safe Haven


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