Hunger Games Movie

Hunger Games.  More than likely… you have heard of it.  If you have read me for any amount of time, you have heard it here…. through book reviews, through the excitement over the movie…

To this day I still struggle when somebody asks me what it is about.


Because honestly, based on the synopsis I would have never read this book.  Children fighting to the death?  People watching from their homes as it is televised for all to see… children that were not born killers, but fighting because they had too… they were forced to for the pleasure of the Capital?  For entertainment???

But then… I had seen the book reviews.  People whose opinion I trusted were raving… and I read the book.  And I loved it.

It’s hard to explain Hunger Games.  It is the story of Katniss, living in a world broke into twelve districts, hers being the most impoverish of them all, District Twelve.  She lives with her mother and her 12-year-old sister Prim.  They have nothing but a roof over their head.  Katniss hunt, illegally, with her friend Gale, trying to put any food on the table… a bird, a squirrel….

And then, there are the Hunger Games.  Children from the ages of 12 to 18 are put into a drawing to see who will represent their district in a fight to the death.  One boy and one girl from each district.  Twenty-four children go into the Hunger Games, only one comes out alive.  For each year from twelve on, you get your name entered.  Occasionally for extra rice on the table, you can offer to have your name put in extra times.  Prim is in the drawing once.  Katniss is in there more times than she would care to remember… is it 20 times?  30?

And then.. the day of the drawing is held… and as you can probably guess, Prim’s name is drawn.  It’s heart wrenching – in the book,and in the movie… and Katniss says NO, and takes her sisters place.

So enough about the book….

lets talk about the movie.

Myself and four friends went to the midnight showing on Thursday.  While I know many people do not like to go to movies from books because they say they ruin them, I am not one of those people.  I am always curious when a book I have enjoyed becomes a movie.  I wonder if the movie will do the book justice, I wonder what the director will pull out of a book that I didn’t see… for better or for worse…

And of course, as book lovers, we do take some personal ownership in these movie choices don’t we?  It has been interesting as they chose who would play what part and the buzz on the internet if the characters were the right ones for the part.  Guesses were made and suggested…. rumors milled as to who would play Katniss, Peeta, and Gale…

and then it was done.

Hunger Games, much like the Harry Potter movies, leave me breathless.  I know how the book made me feel…. I hope I get that out of the movie.

I can safely say I did… and then some. 

Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss.  I am sorry if you disagree, but I thought she was the perfect mix of tough girl, who could pull off the fighting for her life look as well as the dressed up version.  Entering the games, her look of fear is spot on. 

Josh Hutterson took a little while longer to grow on me (he is so little in real life!) but once they were preparing for the games… I found him to do an amazing job as well.

Liam’s role as Gale is so small its hard to get a feel for him.

Fantastically done, and tasteful seems to be a word I use that does not make sense when again… its kids fighting to the death, but it is done well.  The actual killing is off-screen.  You know what happened, but nothing is overly violent and gory. 

It was kind of cool to see how the capital watched like “Big Brother” over the games, and how they made things happen if it was getting dull… 

My recommendation is see the movie.  If you have not read the book, do that too, but the movie does a nice job of covering all the bases so if you have not read the book (shudder to think of it!) you will not be lost. 

On World Book Night, April 23, the book I am handing out is Hunger Games.  Yeah, I appreciate it that much.

I will be going again.

Vicki RAVES about The Help Movie


Hi everyone! I’m Vicki from I’d Rather Be At The Beach. I started my first blog, Reading At The Beach, which I lost due to Malware, around the same time Sheila started her blog. Somehow we found each others blogs shortly after. I’m not really sure how, but it was probably from blog hopping, which I know we both do a lot of. I’m honored to be a guest here, and hope you will leave me a comment… we don’t want Sheila’s stats to go down now do we? LOL!

Today I’m going to share my thoughts of the movie “The Help”. 

Since my daughter got married we don’t get to see each other on a daily basis, so we have a girls night out every so often. Recently we decided to go to a restaurant in a town nearby and then to see “The Help”! I was trying to wait until I’d read the book before I saw the movie, but with review obligations I knew I wouldn’t get to the book soon enough to suit me. So I did something I rarely do. I caved and saw the movie first. It wasn’t my fault though, it was all of those blog post I saw raving about the movie. You made it sound so awesome that I HAD to go see it.

I. Could. Not. Wait.

99.99% of the time, when a book or movie is built up in my mind due to glowing reviews such as “it was amazing”…it isn’t. But “The Help” was better than I was expecting. The characters were so real and vivid that I loved them all, even though I wanted to slap some of them. The movie had me laughing over and over, crying a few times, and even made feel ashamed as a person that there were some people who could treat other human beings so badly. That said, it was still such a feel good funny movie. There were many laugh out loud moments, but there was one scene in particular that had me laughing so hard I just about slid off my seat into the floor! Those of you who have seen the movie know which one I’m talking about. 

There was never a dull moment and I thought this movie was FANTASTIC! It is now one of my favorite movies and I plan on buying it on DVD so that I can watch it over and over. I’d definitely give it a AAA+.

If you haven’t seen this, GO NOW!!! You won’t be disappointed! Want a sneak peak or refresher course? Here you go:


Thank you Sheila, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog while you’re in Honduras. I hope you’re having a great time. It’s wonderful that you give so much time and love to others!!


*Note from Sheila:  I second Vicki’s thoughts here about The Help… the book is so good, and the movie is a fantastic companion to it.  If you have not seen it… you need to. 


Snow Flower And The Secret Fan Movie Review and Giveaways!

It is present day Shanghai and Nina and Sophia are struggling to maintain their childhood friendship among the demands of career, relationships, and family.  Drawing from the lessons of the past, Nina and Sophia learn to understand their ancestral connections to Lily and Snowflower… their laotong, and the ways of 19th century China.

Like nu shu secrets within the creases of a fan…. both story lines mesh to tell one… of hope, love, and friendship.

Laotong or LaoTong (in English: old sames; written: 老同 in Mandarin) is a type of relationship within Chinese culture, which was practised in Hunan, that bonded two girls together for eternity as kindred sisters.

There were two cultural practises in Hunan in past centuries that acknowledged women’s social bonds. One was Laotong, the other was Laotang.

Chinese women commonly refer to each other as “Sisters.” This is a recognition of the importance of women’s supportive relationships, which helped them endure hardship over their lives. Preparation for marriage might involve a Laotang relationship between several young women; the sisterhood would be dissolved upon marriage. After marriage, new sisterhoods could be formed later between married or widowed women.[1]

For Chinese women, the Laotong or “Old-Sames” relationship was the most precious friendship bond. This was a more rare and formal relationship between women. A woman could only have one Laotong, and the bond was for life.

As told on wikepedia

Yesterday I reviewed the audio version of Snowflower and The Secret Fan.  This was quite the coincidence when I was offered to review the movie which released this week on DVD and Blue-Ray.  I of course, said yes to this review as I missed out on this one in the theater.

At first the movie concerned me when I heard the main characters were not the lily and Snowflower I had expected….  but have patience, soon you will see that it is just being told from a second story line that I really grew to enjoy.  Going back and forth between the modern Nina and Sophia and then to the history of Lily and Snowflower was an interesting way to present the story. 

While I appreciated the audio greatly and highly advise you read or listen to the book first, I would recommend the movie as well as a compliment to the other.  Beautifully detailed it brought tears to my eyes more than once.  I was at once very impressed. 

Along with the review of the book, I was asked to have a Laotong night with friends….  you don’t have to twist my arm to hang with friends!  A road trip was planned to our cabin with my cousin’s wife Rhonda, and two other wonderful friends, Belinda and Sheila.  It was a lot of fun as none of them had been to the cabin before.

Me, Rhonda, and Sheila at Tettegouche State Park
Belinda and Sheila

We spent the day exploring the north shore shops and had lunch at the Blue Fin Bay Grill.  We went back to the cabin where we made fajitas and chatted and laughed and wore mud masks and watched movies.  It was just what my heart needed… time with friends… time to laugh and time to share. 

Ok... they will probably have my head for posting this... but part of our Laontong night was face masks.... it was so fun!

If you read Book Journey on a regular basis you probably know that I enjoy many adventures with friends and work to make that time happen to renew and restore.  I know that it is not always easy to do when you have time commitments, family, and small children but let me tell you that your friendships are important and time with friends… makes you a better you. 

Here are a few ways you can plan time with friends:

A phone call when time is short….catch up!

A coffee date at a favorite coffee shop

Take in a movie – even a matinée

Send a card or small gift in the mail to those you can not see do to distance

Road trip… always talking about that shopping trip or sight seeing?  Make it happen!  3 of my friends and I finally made that happen after years of talking about it in June.

A gym date – double duty!  🙂


I was sent three copies of the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan to share with the girls who did the Laotong night with me.  They took two of the copies… and I still have one left for one of you!  I also have been offered a DVD or Blue Ray give away of the movie!

To enter for these giveaways (I will choose two winners, one book, one movie) leave a comment here telling me either of a fun night/ weekend you have done with friends – OR one you are planning to do. 

For an extra entry, subscribe to Book Journey by signing up on the right hand side bar and let me know in a separate comment.  If you are already a subscriber, let me know that in a separate comment for the extra entry.

USA and Canada only please… I will announce the winner Friday in my morning post. 

Water For Elephants DVD Release Soon!

As the story opens, Jacob is living out his days in a nursing home and hating every second of it.  Now in the last stages of his life, he recalls a happier, carefree time, when he literally had run away from it all and joined the circus. 

It had not started as a happy journey however.  Jacobs parents are killed in an auto accident week before he is about to complete his college medical exams to become a veterinary.  Once he has buried his parents, Jacob learns that the home he live sin was mortgaged for his schooling and he is about to lose it all.  With nothing left but the shirt on his back, he takes off and jumps a train, soon to be discovered as a Benzini Brothers (second-rate at best) Circus Train.

Water For Elephants is the story of Jacobs time with the circus, starting from the bottom of the bottom and working his way up not only in stature, but also in the eyes of Marlena, the wife of the jealous and abusive animal trainer, August.

In 2009, my book club, The Bookies, read Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.  In a phrase, we loved it from “I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.”  Our group loved this book and it led us to such a great discussion of the realities and harshness of the inner workings of the circus.  Later, when it came to out year in review awards that we do every year, Jacob won for our favorite male character in a book club read for 2009, and Sara Gruen took our best newly read author award. 

On November 1, the DVD release of Water For Elephants will hit the stores. (SSQQUUEE!!!!) I was offered a pre screening of this movie to post my thoughts on and having loved (LOVED!) the book so much I jumped at the chance to see the DVD.

I did not have time to get the Bookies together for a screening, but still plan to do so…. instead, I treated myself to the viewing of this movie one evening and was as giddy as a school girl to experience it.  Robert Patterson (Jacob) and Reese Witherspoon (Marlena) are cast well.  I was very impressed with how they handled both the parts. 

Although it has been two years since I have read the book, it easily came back to me through the movie.  Charlie, Camel, Kinko… there are some colorful characters in both book and movie!

I would have liked to have seen more of the flash backs we see in the book of older Jacob to young Jacob, but honestly, I feel the movie works and is a beautiful compliment to the book.

If you have not read the book I highly encourage you to do so, and certainly make sure you get a chance to see this movie as well.  For those of you who have, or will be, experiencing both book and movie, I am attaching a page of questions for you to review with your book group or friends. 

Book to Movie Study Guide

Harry Potter and The Dealthly Hallows … a movie adventure

Finally!  Yesterday afternoon Chance and I ventured 23 miles past out local movie theater (with our noses in the air) as we made our way to a newer and rumored more “cushy” theater.  We stopped at a Dairy Queen brazier in the area and stocked up on burgers and fries which I promptly placed in my purse.

Yes…. yes I did.

All of this for what you may ask?

The much awaited showing of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows of course!

We arrived early and were thrilled to walk into a theater that had large comfortable chairs and plenty of room.  I literally “SSSQQQQQUUUEEEEEDDDD” when the opening to the movie came on the screen (seriously – ask Chance… I did.)  I grabbed my mushroom swiss out of my purse and got comfortable.

I loved it.


I know sometimes it is hard for such a long anticipated movie to live up to the hype but I was not disappointed.   True to the book each scene was like a chapter… coming to life!  Hold on to your seats… if you are like me, The Deathly Hallows will send you back in time and suddenly I was remembering the first books, and my kids reactions – and the excitement to see them reading and talking excitedly about a book….

I really have a lot of memories entwined within these books!

There are several moments in the movie I would love to chat about but I do not want to spoil anything

Halloween Costume 2011?

for anyone who has not seen this yet.  Let me just say I have always enjoyed watching Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix.  She is so incredible in this role.  (She may be my next Halloween costume!)

I remember this was the book that was such a leap for me.  I loved the characters and I loved the setting of Hogwarts… when circumstances pulled Harry, Hermione, and Ron away from the school… I wasn’t sure where they were headed or what this meant for the storyline, but I was in.  All in.  J K Rowling did not disappoint me them and the movie did not disappoint me now.  In all honesty, it was an emotional experience to see this characters on the big screen working towards finishing up a much beloved series.

In a word:  Bitter sweet.

I would highly recommend you see it.  In fact, I will see it again when my son is in town this weekend.


Freebie Friday: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Giveaway now closed…. Our winner on August 7 was WANDA!!!!!!

Thanks everyone for playing 😉

It’s Summer.  My favorite season!  In honor of Summer and all the movies recently that have come from books, I offer this weeks Freebie Friday as:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Kidd Monk.

secret life of beesSet in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping.

I recently learned at a festival where they had bees displayed in hives working the honey like nobody’s “beesness” (lol) that a bee in their lifetime will only produce one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.   Not a typo.  That’s it.

So now knowing this…. here is how you can enter to win this great book! AND to sweeten the pot (LOL I am on a roll today!) I will add a jar of honey to this giveaway.

1.  Leave a comment here with an interesting insect fact or a comment about an insect incident you have had… (wow – say that fast….)

2.  Blog tweet or shout from the rooftop about this giveaway and leave link here in a separate comment (oh, if you go for the shout from the rooftop, that is going to require a picture!)

3.  For any comments you make during this week on any of my other posts (starting today thru next Friday) you will receive one extra chance to win per comment)  *You must have the original comment (#1) here first to qualify for this one.

US only entrants please and no po box numbers.  Be sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.


This giveaway will end Friday August 7.

Oh – Have fun!  😉

Pride and Predjudice (Movie) Austen Challenge – “Tastes Like Chicken”

I know that is a strange header for this review – but I find it appropriate.  You know how when peoplepride try to get you eat something new they say “it tastes like chicken?”

Well… I really like chicken.  Pride and Prejudice was trying something new.  I liked it very much.

I watched this movie as part of the Austen Challenge put on by Stephanie’s Written Word. Up to this point, I have not read or watched anything Jane Austen.  Even to me that seems odd as a reader for as long as I could well… read.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to – I have Emma, and Pride and Prejudice on my book shelf.  It just seems that there is always something new and exciting to read and I guess I just never made it to them.  The Challenge for me is a good thing.

The movie was good and made me reach fpr the book off my shelf.  Maybe now it is time to dig into a little Austen…