Starlight Reviews – Sandra Brown’s Deadline & Dan Harris’ 10% Happier…



Starlight Reviews | Jorie's Reads by Starry Night Elf

In this edition of Starlight Reviews, I offer up two books focused on journalists facing the aftermath of covering news in war zones. First, I look at suspense novelist Sandra Brown’s Deadline. Then, I focus on Dan Harris’ 10% Happier… 

Deadline

Deadline: A Novel by Sandra Brown | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

Deadline: A Novel 
by Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: Sept 24, 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Mystery
ISBN: 9781455551231
Source: eBranch Harris County Public Library

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 Description: 

Renowned print journalist Dawson Scott returns from reporting from the front lines of Afghanistan. Quietly suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he learns from his source in the FBI of a potentially huge story. This story could define Dawson’s career!

Dawson begins investigating the Jeremy Wesson’s disappearance. Wesson, the biological son of Carl Wingert and Floral Stemal, stateside terrorists who have been on the run for forty years. His coverage leads to Savannah, Georgia and Amelia Nolan, Wesson’s ex-wife, and their two boys. Drawn to Amelia, Dawson learns she and her young sons are staying with a nanny on one of the Georgia Sea Islands. In an unexpected turn of events, Dawson becomes entangled in nasty allegations. Setting aside the PTSD, Dawson tries to find Wesson, Wingert and Stemal.

Review: 

In Deadline, Brown’s gifts of dialogue, setting, and local color brightly shown. A riveting and fast read, I wanted to know how it would end. While I wish Brown made the nanny more memorable, I felt Brown reestablished herself as one of my “go-to” authors.

   RR - OrangeRainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works
by Dan Harris
Publisher: It Books
Publication date: March 11, 2014
Genre: Biography, Autobiography, Psychology
ISBN: 9780062265425
Source: Harris County Public Library

Goodreads 

Description: 

Broadcast journalist Dan Harris’ most embarrassing moment – a panic attack – took place as he attempted to read the news on “Good Morning America” in 2004. After reporting from Afghanistan, Harris became accustomed to adrenaline. When returning to the US, he took serious, illegal drugs to maintain the high. Always on edge, the need for a fix led to the panic attack. After seeking medical help, Harris quits drugs and life gets better.

Soon, Harris’ assignment to reporting on faith leads him to the “self-help subculture.” In turn, Harris discovers something which helps him calm down – meditation.

Review: 

I enjoyed Harris’ writing style – self-deprecatingly humorous. I liked reading about many of the journalists on ABC and so many celebrities. He even mentioned Rivers Cuomo of Weezer! I didn’t agree with everything Harris said and I wasn’t too keen about the narrow margins of the pages.

RR - Orange  Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

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St Augustine’s Confessions (Revisited Challenge)


Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)Title and Author(s):  Saint Augustine Confessions
Release Date: February 15, 2009
ISBN: 978-0199537822
Pages: 311
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Source: (Barnes & Noble Classics) 

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Reasons for Reading:  My first time with Augustine of Hippo happened in one of freshman courses at Baylor. While not exactly resonating with me, I sensed the impact of a work from the father of theologians. Along with The Prince, Augustine’s Confessions won in the Revisited Challenge. While the cover to the right comes from Jorie’s Store on Amazon, I downloaded a copy to my Nook.

Summary: Considered one of the earliest autobiographies, Augustine of Hippo penned these confessions of his youth. He tells of a sinful youth in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries A.D. in Northern Africa. As Augustine was in his early forties when writing Confessions, these don’t tell his entire life story. Still, he sheds insight into his life before conversion to Christianity. Augustine regrets his indiscretions prior to his Christian life. A classic example would be stealing pears.

While his father is a pagan, his mother, Monica, is a Christian. In Augustine’s early years, Monica prays for her son’s salvation. She goes as far as to ask God to send someone to intervene. God places St. Ambrose in Augustine’s path.

When Augustine accepts Christ, he goes on to become the Father of Theology. He influences people to this day. Also, he shows how Christians are not perfect but those who have accepted forgiveness and salvation offered by Jesus Christ.

One Thing I Learned from this book: His mother is now known as Saint Monica. She is the patron saint of difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, victims of (verbal) abuse, and conversion of relatives. One of her namesakes is Santa Monica, California.

What I Liked: Augustine’s writing style is straightforward and easy to follow. An easy outline helps readers comprehend his life story, Monica’s fervent hopes, and Augustine’s general call to action. He truly leads by example.

What I Disliked: I think Augustine does need to give himself a break. None of us are perfect. Besides, guilt does nobody any good.

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

Song: Friar Alessandro – Adeste Fideles

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Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Revisited Challenge)


Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories By Truman Capote | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 
Title and Author(s):  Truman Capote’s
Release Date: 1958

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 978-0679745655
Hours: 160
Source: Harris County Public Library 

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Reasons for Reading: Initially, I listened to this novella on audiotape. I enjoyed how more than one actor read different parts in the story. However, I considered Elizabeth Ashley of “Evening Shade” fame an odd selection for the voice of Holly Golightly. Nevertheless, I never reviewed this Truman Capote classic. When Breakfast at Tiffany’s won in the Revisited Challenge, I read a printed version.

Summary: An unnamed narrator befriends his enchanting neighbor, Holly Golightly, in the autumn of 1943. Holly insists on referring to the narrator as “Fred” because he reminds her of her older brother. “Fred” and Holly live in apartments in the same brownstone which is located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Holly is only a eighteen or nineteen year old girl from the country. Yet, she’s turned into a cosmopolitan darling of cafe society. Holly holds no job and maintains her lifestyle by socializing with wealthy men. These men take her out on the town and shower her with money and expensive gifts. Author Capote called Holly an American geisha.

One Thing I Learned from this book: I saw the film before I read the book. I was surprised that the events of the book took place in 1943-44.

What I Liked: I liked the narrator’s tone throughout the novella. As a reader, I felt his warmth and affection, especially towards Holly Golightly.

What I Disliked: Yet, I wasn’t quite comfortable with this American geisha lifestyle.

RR - Orange  Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 


Song: 
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (3/9) Movie CLIP – Moon River (1961) 

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