Petals On The Wind – Movie Thoughts


I grew up on VC Andrews books…. in fact last year, my first book of the year was the first book in this series, Flowers In The Attic.  I reread it because the movie was coming out and I wanted to have the story line fresh in my head.  Recently, I discovered that Petals On The Wind (the second book) was now a movie as well.  I rented it and …


To bring you up to speed… Flowers in the attic is about four children that are placed in the attic of their very rich grandparents home and kept there for two years due to their mother marrying a man who was practically her brother and the grandmother saying the children were the devil’s spawn. When the children’s father is killed in a car accident, the mother has no choice but to return to her childhood home which she hated, looking for help to survive.  The grandmother allows her to stay with stipulations, in order for the mother to get her inheritance, the now sickly grandfather was never to know that children were born of this union. The children must be kept hidden until the grandfather’s passing. Thus… the attic.

In the attic, are the two older siblings, Chris and Cathy (who are in their upper teenage years), and the twins Cory and Carrie, who are 5 when they enter the attic.  Basically, the over closeness of the children causes the two older siblings to become a little too close, and in the mother’s twisted obsession with her inheritance, she tries, and succeeds in poisoning one of her children, Cory dies at the age of 6.

Flash forward to the Grandfather dying, and the mother has now met a man who also has money and she has told him that she was unable to have children.  While the children are now to be set free of the attic, their mother has instead abandoned them to the care (ha ha) of their cruel grandmother.  The children finally escape out an attic window…


In Petals On The Wind, now Chris and Cathy are adults living with their younger sibling Carrie (who is in her mid teens).  Chris is learning to be a doctor, and Cathy is performing in the ballet.  In the movie we are missing how they got from point A to point B, which is that they were discovered while on the run by a maid who took them to where she was employed and after the children shared their true story with her employer, he took them all in. He was a doctor, and put Chris in medical school, Cathy in ballet school, and Carrie in a private school. At the opening of this movie, the man who took them in has passed away.  There is much straying from the book at this point so from here I will go with the movie version…

Chris and Cathy are still very fond of each other, and while Chris does not want any other woman, Cathy knows she needs to move on from her improper love of her brother.  She meets a man in the ballet who promises her advancement, and she moves in with him.  Hurt, Chris meets a girl at the hospital he in interning at (his bosses daughter), and begins to date her.

Oh if only things could have remained that way…. Cathy finds herself in an abusive relationship as her new man in jealous and a drinker.  When her younger sister Carrie asks to move in with them, things get worse.  Chris meanwhile feeling pressured, has asked his girlfriend to marry him, although he knows he is still in love with his sister.

Think all that is twisted?  You haven’t heard nothin’ yet…

SO the movie.  I was impressed.  I have not reread this book so had little recollection of all the details of the book to go on.  (I read a synopsis today to remind me of the book, and then I picked up on all the differences between book and movie).  While it is not accurate to the book, it has the same bones.  I found myself totally engaged with the story line.  The acting was wonderful,  I actually found this movie to be better than Flowers In The Attic (although you really do need to watch both to get the full story).

I have to say I loved these books as a teenager but do not remember them being so uhhh…. graphic.  It is funny now to think that I read these books all those years ago when even by today’s standards they would be considered… risky.

I do recommend the movie to those of us who know the books.  I think they are a wonderful compliment to the original story and add a whole new twist of creepy when you see it played out on the screen.  If you have not read the book… I recommend them.  There are 5 books in the series and I do not recall if I went beyond the third, If There Be Thorns or not.  Perhaps someday I will need to look at this series again.

Maze Runner – Movie


James Dashner’s book, The Maze Runner became a movie this year.  Way to go James!


All Thomas knows is that he wakes up in a world he is unfamiliar with.  He is surrounded by other male teens and is welcomed to the Glade.

The Glade?

The Glade, as he learns is a walled in community that protects the group from the Maze.  The Maze is a world of walls and changing routes and creatures that come after anyone who dares to go into the Maze.  Thomas learns that a box appears every 30 days with a male teen in it, Thomas is the latest arrival.  A few, called runners, go into the Maze during the daylight hours (safer than nightfall), looking for a way out of wherever they are.

As Thomas becomes familiar with the surroundings and engages with the other boys, things in the Maze start to change.  Some blame Thomas, saying he is not like them … and Thomas has no idea what that means, he knows as much as they do about The Glade and that is not much.

Then… another person arrives in The Glade.  The box is early… it has not been 30 days and this time it is not a male teen…

it is a girl.

And with her is a note, “This is the last one”.



I read The Maze Runner a couple of years ago after I met James Dashner in New York and found him to be delightfully funny.  I enjoyed the book very much, yet for some reason I never continued on with the series.  Now, after watching this movie, I will be pursuing the rest of the books… I am hungry to know more.

Author James Dashner and I - New York 2012
Author James Dashner and I – New York 2012

The Maze Runner movie is done very well.  I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it.  Definitely recommend the book, the movie… and the author.  😉

Mockingjay Book VS Movie


Mockingjay, the third and final book in the Hunger Games series came out published by Scholastic in 2010.  As I looked back on my review of this book I had to laugh as I reviewed it three days after it was released…. hmmmm…. anxious to see how it all was going to end?

The Book…

As I mentioned I read the book over 4 years ago.  I did enjoy the book but openly admit it was my least favorite of the three books, mainly due to all the politics that were involved in this final installment.  I am not a fan of politics.That said, I did still enjoy the book very much – author Suzanne Collins does not take mercy on any character and all are dispensable… it was truly a powerful read that left me thinking about it well beyond that final page.


The Movie…

I was very excited to watch the movie.  My son had warned me that it wasn’t the most exciting of movies as it is a lot of information that is necessary to prepare us for the part 2 of this movie that will come out in 2015.  I have to say I disagree with my son (sorry Justin).  I did find the movie engaging and perhaps even came to feel more real and explained better to me than the book came through.  I think Jennifer Lawrence plays the part of Katniss perfectly.  On screen she shows such emotion she brings me to tears for the cause.  If you are a fan of the series, definitely take time to see the movie – all the movies.

Bonus note – in the movie Katniss sings a song that is haunting.  Jennifer Lawrence sings the song and I looked it up when I came home and found out Susanne Collins wrote the song.  (WOW!)  I have now heard the song by another artist but prefer Lawrence’s.  Here it is:

Book vs, movie… the winner of this dynamic duel is….


The Movie.

While this is a close battle, I think because of my personal struggle with the politics of Mockingjay the visual of the movie worked better for me.  I will definitely be owning this one.


Have you seen the movie yet?  Have you read the book?  Do you plan to?  If so do you have a preference of book or movie?

Gone Girl – Book VS. Movie


Woo hoo!  Finally, 10 days after the opening of the movie, I made it to see Gone Girl!  The movie made from the book whose spoiler page has become by far my all time most popular post on Book Journey.  Seriously, here are the stats since I wrote the post in 2012:

Months and Years

Oct Nov Dec Total
2012 6,028 5,790 6,922 23,741
2013 2,993 2,578 2,299 40,138
2014 140,912 264,276


* I eliminated most of the months as this graph was just too big to fit into the post. 

So lets discuss the book.  I read Gone Girl in July of 2012.  It was my first Gillian Flynn and it blew me away with all of its twists and turns.  I LOVED it, and I had a lot to say about it, which is why I wrote the spoiler page.  Gone Girl is a book that had me thinking one way, and then I was wrong, and then I thought another way… and I was wrong again.  I gushed in my review of the book!  I was so impressed with Gillian’s talent to write characters that can drive you nuts!


The Movie…

As a disclaimer, I must say that I read the book in July 2012, and seen the movie on October 13th, 2014.  I had hoped to read the book again before the movie but there just was no time to get it done.  That said, I cautiously approached the movie that sat at 2 hours and 35 minutes long.  That, on the front end, seemed longer than necessary, as it turns out after seeing the movie, there is nothing I would cut out out to make it shorter.

Gone Girl the movie starred a well played Ben Affleck as Nick, and Rosamund Pike made for a perfect Amy.  Honestly, the movie played out extremely well and had a nice running compatibility with the book.  I went to the movie with two friends, one who had read the book and one who has not.  The one who had not was a lot of fun to watch as she was shocked by what was happening on the screen.  I found myself chuckling softly to the game playing between Nick and Amy and hung on to the ending credits.  Then we were the last ones in the theater as we sat and discussed the movie.


The Verdict of Book Vs. Movie….  (possible spoilers)


The book.  The book is so filled with high energy twisty turns that I feel it comes across better to be read and get the initial buzz through the pages.  The movie missed a couple of “what I felt to be important” points:

1.  Nick’s dad, and when found wondering around from his retirement home in the book is quite verbal about his negative feelings towards Amy, thus giving you the impression that he may be involved in her disappearance.  In the movie, while the dad is found wondering away from his home, shows no emotion about Amy one way or another… this making his appearance in the movie feel a little useless.

2.  In the book, it is explained well how Amy’s parents have used her for the books her mom wrote, Amazing Amy and you fully understand the pressures that Amy had on her to live up to an animated character of herself.  While the movie mentions these pressures a little… I am not sure if it is enough for the watcher to get the full picture of what that type of perfection caused.

Now, I would by no means rule the movie out.  The movie was actually very good and I would definitely watch it again and will probably own the movie.  See it.  Even if you have no intentions of reading the book, I think you will find the movie to be just a fun crazy insane ride!


Update:  The spoiler page for the book is picking up a pot of movie discussion so I am going to open up a spoiler page here for the movie.  This page will be for those who have seen the movie and open for discussion if you have read the book or not.  Enter below!



This Is Where I Leave You….Book VS. Movie


By now you have probably heard the hype…Jonathan Tropper’s book This Is Where I Leave You was made into a movie!

I love it when books are made into movies!  I love to see the director’s vision of the story compared to mine… honestly, I think in recent years the movies made from books are pretty good.  So lets begin with looking at my thoughts on this book… and then the movie.


Recently I read and reviewed This Is Where I Leave You.  When I heard the movie was coming out, I knew I had to read the book first.  (1 point for movie, as that is why I read the book).  I really enjoyed the book.  It was witty and laugh out loud funny at times.  The opening scene of Judd finding his wife on her birthday…. seriously, horribly funny… I could not wait to see that scene in the movie, I knew it was just going to be fantastic!

Book received 5 shiny points for being a page turning-laugh out loud-tell your friends about it-kind of read.  That’s right, a page turning-laugh out loud-tell your friends about it-kind of read.  I loved it, I gushed about it, I passed it to a friend and she gushed too.

Then, me and my gushing invited girls from my book club to go and see the movie… and…


The movie starring the funny Jason Bateman as Judd, and also funny Tina Fey as Wendy his sister AND Jane Fonda as the mom looked to be a great line up.  I had my popcorn and I was ready to laugh and laugh…

and I really didn’t laugh too much at all.

That opening scene I could not wait for, was there and it wasn’t.  The funniest part of that whole scene was not in the movie.  Then, the movie felt forced.  I found myself thinking how the acting did not seem natural, it felt like they were acting – which I know, I know, they are… but usually you can fall right into the movie and feel like it happened.  This one – not so much.  (I take away 1 shiny point from the movie for not keeping to the opening scene).

Overall, the movie was ok, but not great.  The book club gals that were with me all agreed.  The movie fell flat.  I may have been a bit critical because I had just finished reading the book, but I think it is more than that.  Watching it kind of felt like this:


and afterwards I felt like this:


The winner of this battle is….

The Book.

Read the book.  If you want to see the movie, wait until you can pick it up at Redbox.  You will thank me for saving you the box office price, the annoying person talking on their phone in the row behind you and the popcorn kernel that will no doubt get stuck to the roof of your mouth and distract you from really paying attention anyway.


Have you read the book?  Have you seen the movie?  What are your thoughts?

The Chocolate War Book VS. Movie



Jerry Renault is sent to a Catholic school after his mom has died.  The school is very strict and has a yearly chocolate sale that all students are EXPECTED to participate in.  Brother Leon gets it in his heard that the school can bring in a lot more money if they double what they sold the previous year making it 50 boxes of chocolates sold by each student. 

Jerry finds himself mixed up in an encounter with the schools “gang” called the Vigils and he is instructed not to sell chocolates for the first ten days of the sale.  Jerry complies and creates a very annoyed Brother Leon when Jerry does not do his part.

The real kicker is that after the ten days, Jerry decides he has had enough of people telling him what to do and when to do it so he continues to refuse to sell the chocolates on principle.  It should be a choice to sell.  Not an order.  By doing this Jerry creates an uproar in the school of support that angers the Vigils who feel this is like a slap in the face to their control of the school.  As time passes the Vigils work hard to gain control pushing kids to sell their chocolates making Jerry an outcast and eventually leading to what is referred to as the chocolate war.


I read this book this last October for banned book week.  The book was banned due to the strong content, language, and deemed unsuitable for the age group it was written for.  Of course, I loved it. There is a powerful message within The Chocolate War.

The movie, made in 1988, was well done.  Ilan Mitchell-Smith does a good job of portraying Jerry, a boy who appears meek on the outside but has a strong sense of right and wrong on the inside. The head honcho for the Vigils, Archie (played by Wallace Langham, now on CSI) was also very good at his role.  I felt the same emotions watching the movie as I had reading the book.  I felt unsettled and angry at times.  And in the end, neither the book or movie leave you with a feel good “all is well” feeling… you know.. that there is more to be done, and in this case, that is an ok and appropriate feeling.

I would say I enjoyed them both just about equally.  The book was one I have wanted to read for a while and I was glad I finally got to it.  The movie, was the big finale for me, to see it after reading it was perfect.  I feel I can talk about The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier with some knowledge and opinion.

If you get the opportunity, I recommend reading The Chocolate War and then treating yourself to the movie.  Perhaps maybe, for this next Octobers banned book week?

One For The Money – The Book and the Movie Review


A long time ago…  (long before this blog or before I even knew what a blog was) I had read Janet Evanovich’s book One For The Money.  It was light, it was funny.  It was about this big haired girl named Stephanie Plum from New Jersey who was down on her luck after losing her job.  The bills were piling up and she found herself looking for a job from her cousin Vinnie who owned the local Bond Agency.

Then it gets hilarious.  Stephanie has no idea what she has got herself into but tries to bring in the biggest bail, Morrelli, who she had a brief encounter with many years ago and thinks this could be some pay back.  Morelli is not only a good-looking guy, he is also a cop – on bail for a crime he did not commit but all evidence to say so seems to has disappeared. 

When Stephanie requires a little assistance in her new job, she is introduced to Ranger (yay!!!!  Three cheers from my section *doing the wave* !!!!)  Ranger is dark and mysterious and has a way of showing up just when Stephanie needs him.  He also teaches her how to shoot a gun, and how to break into a suspects home… but you know… that’s just part of the fun.

The book… is fun.   Really it is.  SO much fun in fact I went on to read Two For The Dough, Three To Get Deadly, Four To Score, High Five, Hot Six, Seven Up, Hard Eight, To The Nines, Ten Big Ones, Eleven On Top and Twelve Sharp.  (In Twelve Sharp the book irritated me/ got a little gross and I stopped reading the series there).  Currently I think the books are on eighteen.

The series is just funny bail bond situations that Stephanie gets involved in and Morrelli and Ranger dig her out of messes.  She usually winds up accidentally uncovering something that leads to big arrests….




On Saturday I went to the movie with four other Bookies (my book club).  Although we never read this book as a book club, we had read a couple of the later ones in the series.  A few in my book club are HUGE fans of the series and have read every book. 

I felt the movie was well done.  Although there has been grumblings of the casting of Katherine Heigl as Stephanie (too tall, and too sophisticated), I thought she did a great job.  Morrelli and Ranger were wonderful and over all I personally thought this movie version was even better than the book.  Yup.  I did just say that.

If you are looking for a fun laugh out loud movie, I would recommend giving this one a try. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Audio and Movie Review)

Janie Crawford is a beautiful free-spirited Southern Black girl in the 1930’s.  With her parents long dead, Janie is raised be her grandmother.  At sixteen she is seen kissing the neighbor boy, Johnny Taylor.  Her grandmother, in fear that Janie will wind up being treated like a mule for some man, she arranges for her to be married to Logan Killicks, a man in his 60’s who is looking for a wife to help him take care of his farm.

Janie wants more from life so when opportunity comes literally knocking at her door she runs away with a man she just met and becomes Mrs. Joe Starks.  She soon finds out that to Joe she is a trophy wife and therefore must act as such.  Soon Janie feels trapped again.

And so the story goes on – when something happens to Joe, Janie again finds herself a free woman, but not with finances to back her up.  When a drifter who goes by the name of Tea Cake comes to town Janie finds herself attracted to this mysterious man.  The two eventually become man and wife and their life together really is what makes this book.

Here is yet another read I would probably not have picked up.  When I found it on the sale list at I thought this may be a good time to try this one and I am so glad I did.   If you have not experienced this book on audio then you are truly missing out.  The rich southern voice of narrator Ruby Dee was a treat to listen too.  Ruby mastered the voices from deep male, to the young voice of Janie.

The book impressed me.  It is a deep love story that I wasn’t anticipating, and maybe that made me appreciate it all the more.  Janie and Tea Cake make some of the modern-day literary couples look dull in comparison.  And all that is from the book…

just wait until you add the movie.

I had timed my finishing of the book with the arrival of the movie from Netflix.  I wasn’t sure what I thought I would find in this movie…but it wasn’t this.  Halli Berry is the perfect person to play Janie.  She is a beautiful woman, just as Janie was described and she was the image of the free-spirited girl that I had read about. 

If I thought the love story was touching in the book… on the screen, seeing the great love between Tea Cake and Janie was heart wrenching – and this from a person who does not read romance!  I was so touched by the their story again… even as fresh as it was in my mind from just hours before ending the book…

I highly recommend both.  Definitely do not miss out on this great novel and movie.

My 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include Their Eyes Were Watching God

I purchased the audio from

The movie was rented from Netflix

The Painted Veil (Movie Vs. Book)

As the story goes… Kitty (Naomi Watts) has found herself to be quite choosy on who she will choose as a husband.  It certainly it is not from lack of effort on the men’s part, yet Kitty knows she is beautiful and really feels that a woman does not need to have a man in her life to feel complete.  Her parents disagree.

One day, after a particular awkward argument at home when her mother flat-out asks Kitty how much longer she plans to count on her father to support her – Kitty takes a walk and finds herself in the company of a fairly new acquaintance, Walter (Edward Norton).  When out of the blue, Walter proposes, Kitty is taken aback and laughs telling him that she hardly knows him and surely he does not expect an answer.  Upon returning home, she overheard her mother on the phone gushing over Kitty’s sister new proposal and saying that of course Kitty will probably never get married.  Kitty quickly returns to Walter with a “yes, she will marry him.”

As expected, Kitty soon finds that her lack on knowing Walter is a problem.  He in quite introverted, used to accompanying himself only and honestly she finds him boring.  When they attend a party together and she is introduced to Charles Townsend, Kitty finds herself drawn to this man who is exciting, adventurous,outgoing, and really everything that Walter is not.

An affair is soon taking place between Kitty and Charles, never mind that Charles too is married and Kitty is sure that if they could only dump their current spouses that life would be a fairy tale of happily ever after.

When Walter inevitably finds out, he offers Kitty a divorce if only Charles will marry her.  Kitty soon finds herself in a rude awakening that carries her sullen and broken to where Walter is taking her, to a small Chinese village where Walter is to help with the cholera outbreak that is taking the lives of everyone in contact with it.  Kitty is sure that Walter is trying to kill her… but soon finds herself taken in with her surroundings of the poor and the abandoned, and grows into someone she never knew was in her. 

I recently read and reviewed The Painted Veil by  W Somerset Maugham and I was surprised how much I fell in love with this story.  As mentioned in my review, Kitty annoyed me to no end.  She was selfish and stuck on herself.  Even in the end when I thought there may be a turning point in the story – Kitty again let me down.  I can say by the end of the read, I understood Kitty and her weaknesses, but I sure did not need to accept them or like them. 

As per my habit, I have found that I enjoy reading books and then if movies are available to actively search them out.  That is what I did in this case, and added to my Netflix Que this movie. 

Having now seen the movie I have to say, no matter what you thought of the book, the movie is worth seeing.  First of all, you never have to twist my arm too bad to have me watch anything with Edward Norton in it.  I think he is a brilliant actor and he came through again in Painted Veil. 

Book and movie are not the same.  I wish, the book would have been written as the movie was.  Yes, I just said that.  I found the story more heart wrenching the way the movie came together – and I found that in the end, Kitty was someone who truly had grown and became a woman I was impressed with.  She truly found herself literally and figuratively in a monastery for orphans.  And to see how both she and Walter deal with the affair is very realistic.  Truly, Walter is a more likable character too – as the movie gives him more heart and depth than the book did.

I was touched deeply by this movie and encourage you if you have not seen it to really treat yourself to an amazing story.