Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (Bloggerversary Challenge)


Mansfield Park (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen | Jorie's Store by Amazon

Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen, Johanna Ward
ISBN: 9781441796394
Length: 16 hours, 47 minutes
Publication Date: Mar 08, 2005
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Novel of Manners
Source: Harris County Public Library

Bloggerversary Giveaway

Goodreads

Reasons for Reading: Alongside annual challenges I inflict upon myself, I also like reading at least one Jane Austen novel. This year, I added Austen’s Mansfield Park to the ballot. Mansfield Park received the most votes (out of all contenders) and I requested it from Harris County Public Library (HCPL). I listened to the eAudio on my Nook.

Summary (A little background): Austen sets up the story with three sisters: Lady Bertram, Mrs. Norris, and Mrs. Price. Lady Bertram married well. Mrs. Norris married a parson. Mrs. Price, however, married a naval officer. Shortly after the Prices’ marriage, Mr. Price becomes wounded and then pensioned as a Lieutenant at half pay. (Reminding me of the Three Little Pigs!) The Prices follow this by having nine children. Affecting the appearance of a caring parson’s wife, Mrs. Norris suggests to Lady Bertram that the Bertrams take on one of the Price kids to live with the Bertrams at their home, Mansfield Park. Ultimately, ten year old Fanny Price goes to live at Mansfield Park.

(Story Time): Fanny grows up with her four older cousins – Tom, Edmund, Maria (pronounced Mariah), and Julia. With the fine exception of Edmund, the Bertrams treat Fanny like a poor, stupid relation. Her Aunt Norris is probably worse on this front than the Bertrams. As years pass, Fanny’s gratitude for Edmund shifts to a deep romantic love. Things remain the same until the Crawford Siblings appear on the scene. Herein lies the discovery of Fanny’s true character.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Mansfield Park stands out among Austen’s bibliography. Austen’s works bridge the Age of Reason and Romanticism but this particular novel leans more towards pragmatism.

What I Liked: I prefer Fanny to Emma any day! While she and Edmund may seem like a set of wet blankets, I find her sweet, clever, and authentic.

What I Disliked: Well, some of these characters were absolute jerks! They think one act of altruism covers them for life.

RR - Green

 

 Rainbow Rating: Green – Parental Guidance 

Song: J.S. BACH, Harpsichord Concertos BWV1052, BWV1053, BWV1056, BWV1054, I Barocchisti

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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

Goodreads 

 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 

Ann Brashares’ My Name is Memory


My Name is Memory

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 

Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
ISBN: 9781594487583
Length: 324 pages
Publication Date: June 01, 2010
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Harris County Public Library

Goodreads

Reasons for Reading: I came across this title on someone else’s Top Ten Tuesday list back in March. The premise and author Ann Brashares caught my interest. Quickly, I discovered a few copies of My Name is Memory on the shelf at a Harris County Public Library (HCPL) branch and checked out one.

Warning: This is a work of fiction which deals with the subject of reincarnation (past lives). If reincarnation is an offensive topic, please consider yourself warned. 

Summary: Lucy’s crush on the enigmatic Daniel kept her from approaching him. She gathers up courage at the high school graduation dance and approaches Daniel. Little does she know that she and Daniel go way, way back. Unlike most, Daniel recalls each of his past lives. In the first incarnation (that he remembers), Daniel encountered a woman (Lucy) that stole his heart. With each life, Daniel doggedly pursues a seemingly star-crossed love of his lives, the woman who once was called Sophia. Added to a mix is a vengeful brother from that fateful first life who’s after blood. Brashares employs both Daniel’s first person and Lucy/Sophia’s third-person views. This tale of epic proportions begins in 552 AD Asia Minor and carries on through to 1918 England and Twenty-First Century Virginia.

One Thing I Learned from this book: There was an earthquake in AD 526. To learn more about it, visit the following, linked phrase – 526 Antioch Earthquake – Wikipedia

What I Liked: As a historical fiction fan, I enjoyed the passages set in the past. I especially liked reading about events in the First Millennium AD. Also, Brashares’ characters in this book differed greatly from those in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. While I enjoyed reading about Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget, I appreciate Brashares’ originality in character formation.

What I Disliked: I refuse to spoil the ending but I hope Brashares can write the other books planned involving Daniel and Lucy.

RR - Orange

Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

 

Song: Nat King Cole, Unforgettable

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APPeal – CommonSense Media


https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

CommonSense Media | LEAD Commission

CommonSense Media inspired the Rainbow Ratings System used on this blog. The APP itself lets concerned people see how age-appropriate books or films may be. They provide ages for various content.

The only drawback regarding CommonSense Media is that it doesn’t always have the material I seek on it. Still, this free APP is worth installing if a parent or educator is concerned about whether to let minors have certain books.

APPeal

Deborah Johnson’s The Secret of Magic


The Secret of Magic

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 

Title: The Secret of Magic
Author: Deborah Johnson
ISBN: 9780399157721
Length: 416 pages
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Harris County Public Library

Goodreads

 Reasons for Reading: I either heard about or read something referring to this 2014 release. Given that we were planning a library program about African American History Month, I sought and requested this book via Harris County Public Library (HCPL).

Summary: Decorated African American World War II hero Joe Howard Wilson took the bus home to his native Revere, Mississippi. When expected to give up his seat for German POWs, Joe Howard refused. Later on, Joe Howard’s body is found. Fast forward to the Fall 1946 New York, the reader meets Regina Mary Robichard, a young attorney working for Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP. Regina discovers a letter from writer of the notorious The Secret of Magic, M.P. Calhoun, has called upon the NAACP for help in bringing Joe Howard’s killer to justice. With her childhood copy of The Secret of Magic practically in hand, Regina journeys down to Revere in order to discover what happened to Joe Howard.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Thurgood Marshall’s wife was called “Buster.” To learn more about the late Justice Marshall, click on the following link – Marshall, Thurgood – Facts on File History Database

What I Liked: Regina is an African American woman who was also an attorney. Author Deborah Johnson’s inspiration was Constance Baker Motley. I liked the tidbits about Marshall, too. Johnson’s writing is vivid and rich. Already, I was imagining who should play Regina, M.P. Calhoun, Joe Howard, and Marshall in the movie.

What I Disliked: A few parts dragged for me but this didn’t much eclipse my appreciation of the book.

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

 

Song: Cristine and Kathrine Shipp – Sea Lion Woman

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Revisited Challenge)


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 
Title and Author(s):  Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave 
Release Date: 08/01/2005
ISBN: 9781593080419
Pages: 160
Source: (Barnes & Noble Classics) 

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Reasons for Reading: I first read Frederick Douglass’ autobiography as a college student. As one of the winners in the Revisited Challenge, I bought a copy at my local Barnes & Noble.

Summary: Originally published in 1845, Douglass recalls the abuse and deprivation he suffered as a slave in Maryland. Douglass also reveals how he was inadvertently encouraged to read and write. The combination of these elements brought forth a strong, determined individual who lent a hand into reshaping his world.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Maryland was rather Southern in Antebellum USA.

What I Liked: I could easily see and comprehend Douglass’ plight. Also, I knew this work was an autobiography so I had some idea that things would end better for Douglass.

What I Disliked: I hated that anyone had to endure such tragedy.

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

Song: Morehouse College – We Shall Overcome

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Seeing the Story – The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)


The Lincoln Lawyer | Wikipedia | Purchase DVD from Jorie’s Store @ Amazon by clicking on image

Reasons for Watching: The latest Mickey Haller/Lincoln Lawyer Series book – Michael Connelly’s The Gods of Guilt features many characters from the first book in the series, also called The Lincoln Lawyer. As I kicked off 2014 by finishing Connelly’s most recent novel in this series, I continuously referred to previous summations of The Lincoln Lawyer. Then, I thought I should check out the DVD of the 2011 movie to refresh my memory. I requested the movie from Harris County Public Library.

Summary of Movie: Defense attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey)  practices law in the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car. His chauffeur, Earl (Laurence Mason), drives Haller all over LA as he provides legal services to various clients. A couple noteworthy clients are a biker gang (led by Trace Adkins) and a prostitute named Gloria (Katherine Moennig). Ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Marisa Tomei) is a prosecutor for the DA. While she doesn’t approve of who Haller defends, she seems to still be attracted to him. They share a young daughter, Hayley.

Haller seems to hit the jackpot when golden boy Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe) clamors for Haller’s services. Roulet, son of real estate mogul Mary Windsor (Frances Fisher), stands accused of beating would be actress/prostitute Regina Campo  (Margarita Levieva). With investigator Frank Levin (William H. Macy), Haller looks into the evidence. Haller notices startling similarities between the Roulet case and that of Jesus Martinez (Michael Peña). Martinez received life in prison for a crime Martinez claimed he didn’t commit. Now, Haller finds himself between a rock and a hard place – defend Roulet to the best of his abilities or turn in the guy who’s guilty.

Book to Movie Adaptation: While they changed things from book to movie, I think the essence of Connelly’s work remained. Some names were changed, a few characters didn’t seem to make the cut, and Haller’s relationship with secretary/caseworker Lorna Taylor (Pell James) is different. Most notable is the change of Macy’s character’s name from Raul to Frank Levin. Also, it wasn’t clear if all this action is set in 2005 when the book was published or in 2010-11 when the movie hit theaters.

Review: I thought the movie captured the essence of the book. Yes, I may have preferred a little more about Haller and Lorna. While McConaughey and Phillippe were ideal for their respective roles, I did think that Phillippe needed to seem bigger and more intimidating. That’s how Roulet came across in the book. Lastly, I wish they’d played more of the music Haller mentioned in the book but now, I’m being picky! 😉 So, when are they making the next movie?