Friday, February 24, 2012

From Books to Movies-The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Some people prefer reading over watching a movie. Others prefer movies. My husband's motto is, "I'll wait until it comes out on DVD." Me? I love both. I love to watch a movie after I've read the book. I like comparing the two. Most of time, the movie isn’t nearly as good as the book, mainly because it's difficult to portray inner emotions and turmoil on film. But in some cases, the movie version of a good book sucks.

One of my favorite Dean Koontz’s books is Watchers. In the novel, a top secret government laboratory creates two genetically altered life forms. One is a golden retriever with the IQ of a human.  The other is a vicious, hideous monster who hates humans for creating him and the dog, Einstein because his creators loved him.  The book combines a man, a woman, and a dog with action, suspense, horror and romance. What could be better than that?

In the first movie version, the man is a sixteen year old boy and Nora is his mother. There is no romance, precious little suspense or action, and cheesy horror. So, Hollywood created Watchers II, a second version loosely based on Koontz’s novel. The second movie more closely resembles the first. There’s a man, a woman, and a dog but the horror isn’t scary, the suspense is poorly written, and the action is over-acted.  Still, better than the first movie version.

Hollywood did a pretty good job with the movie version of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill.  Although in the book, I don’t remember the lawyer’s law student getting so much “face time.” Then again, Sandra Bullock played the part so I guess that’s why the movie version gave her a stronger role than the character in the book had. Still, the movie was well done and IMHO, more closely followed the book than just about any I’ve ever seen.

The movie Cujo, based on Stephen King’s horror novel was good, but not nearly as good as the book. In the book, King gets into the dog’s head. That seems a bit hard to do on film, and the director of the movie didn’t even attempt it. But if you like horror movies, this one is a lot better than Pet Cemetery and no cute little children die and become blood thirsty zombies.   

Jeffery Deaver’s The Bone Collector was an awesome book. In the movie, Denzel Washington portrays the paralyzed former detective, Lincoln Rhyme. In one scene, the killer comes into Rhyme’s home. Rhyme’s is lying in bed, paralyzed except for one twitching finger. Washington did such a good job portraying Rhyme’s character that for a moment, I actually believed Washington was paralyzed.  IMHO, he deserved an Oscar for that role. And yet, he wins an Oscar for his role in Training Day.

Washington did a fine job portraying a dirty cop, but other actors have played similar roles just as well.  And Denzel Washington has had much stronger performances in much better movies.  In Malcolm X, Denzel Washington seemed to become his character. And his acting in A Man on Fire was phenomenal. That movie had me biting my nails and balling like a baby at the end.

Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle made a pretty good movie. In my opinion, it was one of Donald Southerland’s best performances.

The movie version of Somewhere in Time, based on Richard Matheson’s novel was enjoyable as well. Then again, I love Jane Seymour and thought she was nicely paired with Christopher Reeve—may he rest in peace.

And I can’t compare books to movies without comparing Gone with the Wind. Both the book and the movie are classics. In the movie, however, Scarlet O’Hara has only one child and if I remember correctly, she had four or five in the book. I remember liking this movie when I watched it way back in the 70’s. I tried to watch again years later when my daughters were younger. They were bored and laughed at the special effects. I cringed at the bad accents and horrible acting. In my opinion, Clark Gable and Butterfly McQueen (who played Prissy,) were the only actors in that film who didn’t over act or do a horrible job faking a Southern accent.

Debbie Macomber’s This Matter of Marriage made a pretty good Lifetime movie. So have several of Nora Robert’s books.  I didn’t like the ending of the book or the movie Message in a Bottle. I loved the movie version of The Notebook. The end was sad, but satisfying. I heard the book ends differently. I haven’t read it. My favorite Nicholas Sparks’ books are The Choice and The Guardian.  Both end happily. So, I bet they’re never made into a movie.

The coast guard movie, The Guardian, is one of my favorite Kevin Costner movies. It was not based on Spark’s book.

Since my reading tastes run toward romance, thrillers, and suspense, there are many more books that have been made into movies that I haven’t seen.  I’ve seen many movies based on books but haven’t read the book so I can’t really compare them. And I’ve read countless books that will never be made into a movie.

I enjoyed the movie Sense and Sensibility but I can’t for the life of me remember if I’ve read the book or Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  There are some books I’ve heard so much about, I can’t remember if I’ve actually read them or not.

Then there are the books/movies on my TBR (to be read) list and TBW (to be watched) list. I own a copy of The Secret Life of Bees. I’ve yet to read it or see the movie. Nor, have I read or watched The Help.  I seldom go out to the movies anymore and my reading time is severely limited by everything else on my TDL (to do list.)

I can’t end this post without mentioning one of my favorite books: Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. The book ends with Dante’ finding a new life and love with Haydee, but I always wished Dumas’ had ended it differently. In the 2002 movie version, I got my wish.  Dante’ and Mercedes live happily ever after, which is my favorite kind of ending and the main reason that in this instance, I prefer the movie to the book.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Lines

February is the month of lovers, and tomorrow is Valentines Day. Are you feeling romantic? If not, maybe some of these romantic lines will get you in the mood. 

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy some great love lines from some great books. Maybe one will strike your fancy and you’ll want to read the whole book. Don’t worry.  Buy links are included with every line. 
From Lilly Gayle’s 2011 release Wholesale Husband:

“Aye, Clarissa,” he said, his face now serious,
“you can do whatever you want, have as many
children as you want, be anything you want, just as
long as you love me.”

Wholesale Husband is available from and

From Bianca Swan's Celestial Sin:

Cam-ael stroked her cheek, shook his head. “As I told Heaven’s General, the choice was mine. No regrets, my love, none at all.” An angel’s soft lips caressed hers. “How beautiful you are. I’d risk anything to be with you. I love you.”

 From Katherine Grey's 2011 release Impetuous:

Mateo took her in his arms. "Your heart is a priceless treasure
second to none." A brilliant smile curved his lips.
"And I would know. After all, I am a thief like no other."

Impetuous is available from and

From Brenda Whiteside’s 2011 Release 

“You know what honey does to plain white bread?” He kissed my cheek softly, his lips like the touch of a butterfly wing. “You dribble it on, slow…and…thick. The bread soaks the honey in and changes.” His lips caressed my earlobe. “Well, I’m white bread to your honey.”

Hone On White Bread available from:

From Lilly Gayle’s Slightly Tarnished:

 “You make me
forget there was anyone before you.”

From Mimi Barbour’s 2011 release: My Cheeky Angel

Tyler grinned. “I know you’re the cutest thing I’ve seen today, and I just walked past the puppies in the pet store window.”

My Cheeky Angel available from:

From Brenda Whiteside’s 2010 release SLEEPING WITH THE LIGHTS ON

He leaned across the table to rub the back of my hand with his. “What I said is exactly what I meant.” He lowered his voice, and I lost my peripheral vision to the point that we were the only two people in the restaurant. “Sandra, when a gal’s figure fills in the spaces to make it a woman’s body, a man can lose all common sense just lookin’.”

From Leigh D’Ansey’s 2011 release: The Duke's Blackmailed Bride:

'She had not even reached the gates when she brought a gloved hand shakily to her mouth and pressed it against lips that still savored the taste of Northbridge.'

The Dukes Blackmailed Bride available from:

From  Darcy Lundeen's Find You Again:

“You responded to me. You were afraid to, but you finally let yourself go. That’s one of the nicest things you could have done for me.”

Finding You Again available from: 
Wild Rose Press Page: 
Barnes and Noble:
And, we have two great lines from A.Y Stratton's Buried Heart:
1-   "I want you to reach for my hair at least once a day and tell me what a slob I am. I want to hear your thoughts. I want to share mine with you. I even want you to correct my grammar."

    "You're amazing. Before I met you I never knew that word."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Unexpected Journey

Earlier this month, I made an unexpected trip to Germany to visit my daughter. She was having some minor surgery and needed her mom. So, off to Europe I went.

I flew out of RDU in Raleigh, NC the last Friday in January for a week-long vist. It was 70 degrees that day, which is unusual, even for North Carolina. But we've been having a mild winter. It's not uncommon to have wild temperature swings in February and March. During those months, it can be sunny and 70 one week and below freezing and snowing the next. But I've never gone from 70 to 17 degrees in less than twenty-four hours before. I did that day.

My connecting flight was in Philadelphia where I expected it to be much colder than in NC. Apparently, Philly is having a mild winter this year too. I arrived at the airport in the City of Brotherly Love late in the afternoon and the temp was still hovering around 58 degrees. Not bad. I had on a sweater so I didn't even put on my coat when I stepped off the plane and rushed through the airport to make my connecting flight to Munich. But when I arrived in Germany nine hours later, I was in for a real surprise. It was snowing.

As we circled the runway, the pilot announced the current time and weather. The time was 8:00 a.m. and the temperature outside was 17 degrees Fahrenheit with snow flurries.
Flying over Munich
Munich Airport

Flurries? I could see the snow covered fields from the sky.
I about froze the moment I stepped off the plane.

 Luckily, my daughter had warned me about the bitter cold so I was prepared. And my son-in-law's car has heated seats.

It's 193 kilometers or approximately 120 miles from Munich to Weiden, where my daughter was recovering from surgery at the hospital there. But thanks to the autobahn and no speed limits in sections, my son-in-law made the trip in just under two hours, despite the snow. Than again, the snow plows and brine trucks had started clearing the snow the moment it started falling. Despite the somewhat scary speed at which we traveled, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the Bavarian countryside. 

(Left)Hops field covered in snow.Windmill in background.(Right) German Village outside Munich.

I've been to Germany twice before but this trip was different. It wasn't a vacation, and I hadn't planned for it. I'd gone to be with my daughter after her surgery, which turned out to be less invasive than originally expected and with a much better outcome. While I was there, I got to visit a German hospital which isn't something I'd normally do on a visit to another country. But it was educational.

In the US, I work in a hospital, but it's nothing like the one I visited in Weiden. For starters, US hospitals don't sell beer in the hospital cafeteria. The hospital in Weiden did! 
The rooms look similar, but the beds looked more like glorified stretchers. Some of the equipment looked the same as in the States but in the US, most hospitals use IV bags. My daughter's IV was in a plastic bottle the hospital recycles. 

Thank God, my daughter's hospital visit was brief and she recovered quickly--more quickly than anticipated. So, what started out as a visit to take care of her turned into something fun. We got to spend quality time together without her having to stay in bed.

near my daughter's neighborhood.
View of Rauher Kulm from Eschenbach
 By the middle of the week, we were able to get out and take a walk through her neighborhood and town.
Downtown Eschenbach
We ate at a nice Chinese restaurant where I enjoyed a nice, dark Dunkelweizen. We visited some of my daughter's friends, went to a German deli, and on the last day of my visit, we went shopping in Weiden.
Although this wasn't my first trip to Germany, it was the first time I'd every traveled alone. I was a bit intimidated at first, but on my international flight to Munich, I slept with a handsome 31 year old man. Just kidding!

My "seat mate" on the plane was a cutie from Texas and we did sleep a bit on the plane. He was traveling to Munich on business. He'd previously spent two years in Germany while working for the same management firm. The woman who'd taken his place when his work Visa expired was taking some time off for maternity leave and my handsome seat mate was going back to Germany to fill in for her.

Although we never exchanged names, he was a nice young man. He was also quite handsome. Standing well over six feet tall, he reminded me of Matthew Perry from the Friends TV series. We had a nice chat and I thought of several ideas for a possible romance novel that could start on a plane. Imagine falling in love on an international flight and getting separated in the airport only to realize you'd never exchanged names or information to help you find that person again.

I was intrigued by the concept of writing such a story. But I write historical and paranormal romance. Perhaps I could change the plane to a coach. Or, my handsome Matthew Perry look-a-like could be a werewolf returning to Germany in search of a cure. Since the first recorded Werewolf sighting was around the countryside of German town Colonge and Bedbur in 1591, I could incorporate some of the sites I've seen in Germany. Or, maybe I'll have to try my hand at writing romantic suspense.

What do you think?