Jane Austen’s Emma (Revisited Challenge)


 

Title and Author(s):  Jane Austen’s Emma (Read by Nadia May)
Release Date: Jul 18, 2006

Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

ISBN: 9781441797339
Hours: 15 hours, 18 minutes
Source: eBranch Harris County Public Library 
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Reasons for Reading: I read Jane Austen’s Emma for the first time in 2008. However, I didn’t review it. So, earlier this year, I posted the Revisited Challenge. One of the winners was Emma.

Summary: Ever heard that proverb “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”? Well, it certainly seems to be the case with the “handsome, clever, and rich…” Emma Woodhouse. Emma’s mother passed away before Emma could remember her and her elder sister, Isabella Knightley has a family of her own to rear. She was reared in the nice estate of her old, doting father and a kindly governess, Miss Taylor. The only person who calls her out on anything is her brother-in law, George Knightley. When Emma sets up Miss Taylor with widower Mr Weston and they marry, Emma deems herself a matchmaker. Mr. Knightley tries to talk her out of pursuing this pastime but she continues to do so for her naive, new friend Miss Harriet Smith. So, Emma’s idle mind leads Emma to numerous misadventures of the heart.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Emma, which appeared in 1816, was the last novel published during Austen’s lifetime

What I Liked: I actually liked Mr. Knightley and Emma’s rival, Miss Jane Fairfax. The writing, of course, was genius.

What I Disliked: I didn’t like Emma very much. Yet, I found her very sympathetic. I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. What do you think of Emma Woodhouse?

RR - Green

 

Rainbow Rating: Green – Parental Guidance 

Song:  Sam Cooke – Cupid

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Sandra Brown’s Low Pressure


Low Pressure by Sandra Brown | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 
Title and Author(s):  Sandra Brown’s Low Pressure
Release Date: Sept 18, 2012

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 

ISBN: 9781455525188
Pages: 480
Source: eBranch Harris County Public Library 

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Reasons for Reading: Author Sandra Brown resides on my Author Alerts list. I normally enjoy the dialogue between Brown’s characters. Like Brown, I grew up in Texas and appreciate the local color which creates the settings for her stories. When  I discovered Low Pressure took place in Austin, Texas, I requested an eBook version of her latest.

Summary: When a tornado struck an Austin-area state park, twelve-year old Bellamy Lyston lost her teenage sister, Susan. The tornado didn’t kill Susan, though. Her murder destroyed the blended Lyston family.

Eighteen years later, as Bellamy’s father, Howard, ails from cancer, Bellamy writes a book about it called Low Pressure. It’s a huge bestseller but not everyone is pleased. Bellamy receives threats on her life. With the reluctant help of her late sister’s boyfriend, Denton “Dent” Carter, Bellamy tries to solve the mystery behind her sister’s death.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Dent is a pilot and, as such, he thoroughly checked the planes before flying anywhere.

What I Liked: I liked the info about Dent’s flight checks. Also, I appreciated the relationship between Dent and his mentor called Gall.

What I Disliked: The local color didn’t come through in Low Pressure. Also, I found Bellamy and Dent’s relationship rather predictable. I wished Brown had eased up on the single-entendres. Lastly, Bellamy is an awful name!

RR - Orange

Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 


Song: 
Tee Set – Ma Belle Amie 

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Dan Brown’s Inferno (Robert Langdon Series #4)


Jorie’s Store – Inferno (Robert Langdon #4) by Dan Brown

 
Title and Author(s):  Dan Brown’s Inferno (Robert Langdon #4)
Release Date: May 14, 2013

Publisher: Doubleday, First Edition 

ISBN: 978-0385537858
Pages: 480
Source: Harris County Public Library

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Reasons for Reading: I began reading Robert Langdon’s adventures when The Da Vinci Code hit the shelves of HCPL. Soon after I finished The Da Vinci Code, I read the first in the series, Angels and Demons. Since then, I’ve read these books in the order they were printed. While this is the fourth Robert Langdon, it’s my first to review on Jorie’s Reads by Starry Night Elf.

Summary: Tweedy Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon awakens from a horrendous nightmare and finds himself in a Florence hospital. Langdon can’t recall the last couple of days. Soon, Langdon finds himself being shot at by a woman wearing dark leather. Langdon and his doctor, Sienna Brooks, are on the run not only for their lives but also to save the world.

One Thing I Learned from reading : I found out about transhumanist  Fereidoun M. Esfandiary. For more info on him, check out this Wikipedia entry.

What I Liked: I liked the setting of Florence. While I’ve not crossed Florence off my leap list yet, my work at the Armstrong Browning Library fed my interest in the place. I’ve also know that many a writer has loved this place – Dante, Machiavelli, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the list goes on and on.

What I Disliked: The heroine, Sienna Brooks, wasn’t the most likable of heroines. I missed Katherine Solomon from The Lost Symbol. Also, this wasn’t my favorite Langdon book because of some rather spoiler-esque qualities.

RR - Yellow  Rainbow Rating: Yellow – Parental Guidance for Kids Under 13

Song: Liszt – Dante Symphony – 1. Inferno (1/3)

You might also like:

  • Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon Series (Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol)
  • Dante’s The Divine Comedy 
  • Barbara Wood’s The Prophetess 

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John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief


Amazon.com: The Pelican Brief (Unabridged) by John Grisham, Read by Alexander Adams | Amazon

Grisham, J., & Adams, A. (1992). The pelican brief. Santa Ana, CA: Books on Tape. 9780736689113

Reasons for Reading:  As I enjoyed The Firm, I looked for some other books by Grisham. I saw The Pelican Brief audiobook on a shelf at HCPL.

Summary:  The deaths of two quite opposite US Supreme Court Justices rock the entire nation. These mysterious deaths leave the country wondering what the heck just happened. Tulane University Law student Darby Shaw sets out to research these odd circumstances. Afterwards, she writes a legal brief which states that assassins killed the two justices on behalf of oil tycoon Victor Mattiece. Mattiece wants to drill for oil in Louisiana marshland where an endangered species of pelican lives. Darby passes along “The Pelican Brief” to her law professor boyfriend Thomas Callahan. Quickly, more people die and Darby must run for her life.

What I Liked : I admired Darby a lot. She was smart and tried to do the right thing. I also liked Gray Grantham. I found Garcia intriguing.I appreciated the pace of the novel – mostly, Grisham got to the point. Oh, and nice Easter egg with Denton Voyles!

What I Disliked: So far, this is the third Grisham novel I’ve read. The ending seemed similar to that of The Firm. I might pick up one of Grisham’s non-legal thrillers next time.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪Aretha Franklin – Chain Of Fools – YouTube

Setting : New Orleans, Louisiana, Washington DC, New York City, The Caribbean

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John Grisham’s The Firm


The Firm | WorldCat Detailed Record

Grisham, J., & Brick, S. (2002). The Firm. Santa Ana, CA: Books on Tape. 9780736688604

Reasons for Reading:  I saw blurbs an upcoming TV show based on John Grisham’s The Firm . It featured Josh Lucas as the main character. Yet, I hesitated to watch the show because I wanted to read the book first. (I’d seen the movie back around the time it came out on video.) Thus, I requested the audiobook via HCPL.

Summary:  Harvard Law student, Mitchell Y. McDeere, works hard. He and his college sweetheart wife, Abby, have next to nothing. McDeere’s brother, Ray, is imprisoned. As Mitch graduates third in his class, a small Memphis tax firm called Bendini, Lambert and Locke comes knocking. The firm offers him and Abby a life of luxury – a large salary, a low-rate mortgage on a house, a BMW, and vacations at company owned places in Colorado and the Cayman Islands. The McDeeres leap at this chance with little consideration for any possible catches. Soon, though, Mitch discovers things aren’t as wonderful as they first appeared.

What I Liked : This story about an attorney seems authentic and I think that’s due to Grisham writing what he knew. Not only did I appreciate this, I also liked that he broke things down in layman’s terms. While I’m not a law professional, I could easily follow the action. In my mind’s eye, I could see these characters and events.

What I Disliked: I only have one tiny complaint; I wished there had been dates offered for the action. Mitch’s brother Rusty died fighting in Vietnam. International flights were simple, pre-9/11. Very little takes place using cell phones or the Internet, too. Some time stamps would’ve been awesome.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪Charlie Rich • No Headstone on My Grave – YouTube

Setting : Memphis, Boston, Washington D.C, The Cayman Islands

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Michael Connelly’s Mickey Haller Series


The Lincoln Lawyer | Front Row Reviews

Connelly, M., & Grupper, A. (2005). The Lincoln lawyer. New York: Time Warner AudioBooks. 9781594830884

Connelly, M., & Giles, P. (2008). The brass verdict. New York: Hachette Audio. 9781600244018

Connelly, M., Giles, P., & Connelly, M. (2010). The reversal. New York: Hachette Audio. 9781600247255

Connelly, M., & Giles, P. (2011). The fifth witness. New York: Hachette Audio. 9781600247224

Reasons for Reading On my way home from England, I saw bits and pieces of Brad Furman’s The Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey. I enjoyed what I saw enough to request the audiobook via HCPL, I have since read all of the Mickey Haller series – thus far.

Summary These books are told by attorney Michael “Mickey” Haller, a street-wise defense attorney who practices law from the backseat of a Lincoln Town Car. Haller offers his services to the greater Los Angeles area, meeting clients wherever they may be. He’s on speaking terms with both of his ex-wives and aims to be a better father to his daughter Hayley. The series highlights Haller’s more unusual and that is true in the first book – The Lincoln Lawyer. Throughout the series, Haller faces his growing discomfort with representing the truly guilty.  

Review I really like the Mickey Haller/Lincoln Lawyer Mysteries by Michael Connelly.  While I may not always care for Haller, he seems realistic and he describes much of what goes on in trials in layman’s terms.I haven’t read of the Harry Bosch books that Connelly writes but I’m currently reading Nine Dragons where Haller makes a small appearance. So far, I liked The Reversal the best as there isn’t just one reversal at play in this book.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪2Pac – California Love [HD] – YouTube

Setting :  Los Angeles, mostly

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Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy


Millennium Trilogy Bundle (3 volumes) by Stieg Larsson | LibraryThing

Larsson, S., Vance, S., & Random House Audio Publishing. (2008). The girl with the dragon tattoo. New York: Random House Audio. 9780307577580

Larsson, S., Keeland, R., & Vance, S. (2009). The girl who played with fire. New York: Random House. 9780739384176

Larsson, S., & Keeland, R. (2010). The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 9780307269997

Things reached such a point that I felt I was the only one who hadn’t read the Millennium Trilogy. Spotting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on the audiobook shelf at one HCPL, I decided to give the late Stieg Larsson a chance.

Mikhail Blomkvist, an iconoclastic publisher of Millennium, loses a libel suit in 2002 to billionaire Hans-Erik Wennerström and is sentenced to three months in prison. A little time passes when Blomkvist receives an invitation from Henrik Vanger, the retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation. Blomkvist doesn’t realize that Vanger commissioned an investigation into Blomkvist’s personal and professional history. This was carried out by Lisbeth Salander, a surveillance agent with Milton Security. Vanger requests an investigation into the 1966 disappearance of his grand-niece, Harriet. Salander is an eccentric genius with relatively few scruples. When Blomkvist and Salander collaborate, the bad guys better bar the door.

That’s how all the fun starts. I won’t spoil the latter two novels but I will say The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lays the groundwork for the others. These must be read in order. Larsson developed compelling characters and situations which forced me to rubberneck. Normally, I prefer cozier mysteries but I had to see the story lines to their ends. Blomkvist came across as a James Bond type (Daniel Craig plays both 007 and Blomkvist, is this a coincidence?) while Salander isn’t terribly likeable. Still and all, I cared about these two. Blomkvist’s attorney sister, Annika Gianinni, was perhaps my favorite character; she truly shines in the third book. While much violence takes place within the Millennium Trilogy, Larsson did not support it. In fact, I’d say he was rather anti-violence. Another difference with this trilogy is that I liked the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, best.

A couple of personal preferences I’m compelled to mention: 1) Larsson wove much intertextuality into the series. I believe if I’d read these books prior to this series, I’d have a deeper appreciation. 2) I wish I had a better idea of Swedish geography. These places were lost on me. 3) Okay, I was overwhelmed by all of the Swedish names, especially since I listened to the first two books. 4) I thought it was cool when I read about Ikea and Securitas. 5) Yes, I want to see the movie!

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪How Soon is Now? – The Smiths – YouTube

Setting :  Sweden – mostly

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