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review 2018-06-19 02:34
4.5 Out Of 5 "The Pathway to X" STARS
X: A Novel - Kekla Magoon,Ilyasah Shabazz

 

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

X

Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon

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A 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book 

Co-written by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.

 

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into an increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.

follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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A somewhat harsh, albeit enlightening, fictionalized history about Malcolm X.  Centering on his informative childhood to young adult years.  I learned some things and had some things laid bare for me.  The audio by Dion Graham lends a very authentic voice and is well done.

 

At the end of the story, his daughter speaks about her dad and then there is a couple chapter's telling all about what they (Shabazz and Magoon) kept true to his story and what they embellished on.  Plus an additional timeline of his life.  I read this for a reading challenge (X title) and this is one of those instances where I'm content a reading challenge compelled me to choose something I wouldn't have normally had on my radar.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.5STARS - GRADE=A-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.5/5

Main Characters~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3.8/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 5/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 5/5

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Book Cover~ Awesome!

Narration~ ☆4.5☆ by Dion Graham with Ilyasah Shabazz

Setting~ Lansing, MI, Boston, MA, and Harlem, NY

Source~ Audiobook (Scribd)

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review 2018-06-18 15:17
The Love Boat and Other Stories
The Love Boat and Other Stories - F. Scott Fitzgerald

We all have that exasperated moment!

There are times when you almost tell the harmless old lady next door  what you really think of her face - that it ought to be on a night nurse in a house for the blind; when you'd like to ask the man you've been waiting ten minutes for if he isn't all overheated from racing the postman down the block; when you nearly say to the waiter that if they deducted a cent from the bill for every degree the soup was below tepid the hotel would owe you half a dollar; when - and this is the infallible earmark of true exasperation - a smile affects you as an oil baron's undershirt affects a cow's husband.

(from The Smilers)

I may have to face it - I may have grown out of that phase when Fitzgerald's short stories were delightful, quaint, diversions. I still count some of them as my favourites, but more often than not reading his stories has become somewhat repetitive - telling fairly superficial stories about fairly superficial people, most of whom seem to be Princeton men, or Harvard men, or Yale men, or someone closely connected with them. Like the characters in Wodehouse's stories, they never develop, never amount to anything more real than a cliche.  

 

Unfortunately, many of Fitzgerald's short stories seem to feature them. Even more unfortunate was it that most of the stories in this particular collection featured them. 

 

Still, there are the odd gems. In this collection, The Smilers stood out for me. I liked it just as much as The Ice Palace, Bernice Bob's her Hair, The Camel's Back, or May Day, but sadly it was the first story in the collection and the rest of the stories did quite manage to live up to the quality of that first story.

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review 2018-06-17 23:42
Dark Triumph (My Fair Assassin #2)
Dark Triumph - Robin LaFevers

It's been a number of years since I read Grave Mercy, the first book in the My Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers.  I didn't take the time to write a review, but I rated it a 4 star book. I do remember enjoying the coming-of-age story regarding assassin nuns in a fictionalized Brittany where supernatural gods/saints interact with the real world.   

 

The second book in the trilogy Dark Triumph just didn't hold my interest. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down, on the other I found myself speed-reading/skimming just to find out what happened.  I know I missed a lot of details, but I have no interest in going back to pick up what I missed.

 

I don't know how much of my opinion is due to the specific book and how much of that is due to changes in reading taste (after a number of YA heavy years I seem to be reading more traditional SF). I do think I will eventually give the last book in the trilogy a try.

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review 2018-06-17 18:53
Lunghissimo e bellissimo. - So long and so beautiful.
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

"It wasn't so much that I wanted to thoroughly explore the countries themselves; this has been done. It was more that I wanted to thoroughly explore one aspect of myself set against the backdrop of each country, in a place that has traditionally done that one thing very well. I wanted to explore the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India and, in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two. It was only later, after admitting this dream, that I noticed the happy coincidence that all these countries begin with the letter I. A fairly auspicious sign, it seemed, on a voyage of self-discovery."

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review 2018-06-16 09:36
Love Held Captive (Lone Star #3) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Love Held Captive (A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story) - Shelley Shepard Gray

Major Ethan Kelly has never been able to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for raiding a woman’s home shortly before he was taken prisoner during the Civil War. He is struggling to get through each day until he once again crosses paths with Lizbeth Barclay—the very woman he is trying to forget. Life after the war is not much different for former Captain Devin Monroe until he meets Julianne VanFleet. He knows she is the woman he’s been waiting for, but he struggles to come to terms with the sacrifices she made to survive the war. When Ethan and Devin discover that their former colonel, Adam Bushnell, is responsible for both Lizbeth’s and Julianne’s pain, they call on their former fellow soldiers to hunt him down. As the men band together to earn the trust of the women they love, Lizbeth and Julianne seek the justice they deserve in a country longing to heal.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: This novel addresses the topic of rape. 

 

 

During the Civil War, Major Ethan Kelly and his men were pushed to do many things they weren't proud of, but did it they did in the name of survival. One regular unsavory task was raiding the homes of innocent people for supplies to help keep the troops alive. Lizbeth Barclay's home was one of the properties raided by Kelly and his men. Unbeknownst to him, prior to his arrival she had not only suffered the deaths of her family members but also a sexual attack and mutilation by another soldier. 

 

Years later, Kelly and Barclay cross paths once again --- he as a hotel guest, she one of the hotel housekeepers. Though they don't immediately remember their past interaction, Major Kelly's memory is jarred when he sees the long scar running down the side of Lizbeth's face, a scar he never forgot even if he and Lizbeth never got on a first name basis the first time around. 

 

Kelly's friend and military comrade, Captain Devin Monroe develops an acquaintance with Julianne Van Fleet that, on his end, quickly grows into an honest love for her. But when she reveals her own story of some of the unpopular methods she resorted to to survive the war and care for her ailing grandmother, Devin struggles to make peace with it all. He questions whether he can make a life with someone with such a past. Though he's tempted to walk away at first, with some time to consider he realizes Julianne's actions were no worse than any men he served with who were similarly driven to survive. Devin once again comes to Julianne wanting to offer her a chance at a life rich in love, respect, and fidelity. But before the couple's dreams can take flight, their plans are stalled with the threat of former Army acquaintance Colonel Adam Bushnell.

 

When Devin and Ethan and their ladies all come together to share their stories of struggle, they find one common denominator among all of them: Bushnell. At different times, Bushnell terrorized both Lizbeth and Julianne. Devin and Ethan further reveal that these ladies weren't his only victims, not by a longshot. His face scarred by smallpox and hard living, Bushnell likely got in the habit of assaulting women rather than wooing them because his low self-esteem convinced him women would never give him the time of day otherwise. Determined to put a stop to Bushnell's assaults, the men rally the troops (as in, calling in even more Army buddies) to hunt the man down.

 

In addition to the duel romance stories going on here, as well as the manhunt scenes, this novel, like its two predecessors within this series, includes chapters detailing the mens' experiences in a Civil War POW camp, giving the reader an idea of how those months & years of imprisonment reshaped their spirits, inevitably changing them forever. 

 

I'm just going to say it: This book had the worst title of the series. Get beyond the title though, and Love Held Captive (man, that title gives me hard cringe though -- just screams bodice-ripper) is actually the BEST story in the trilogy IMO.  While the previous two books were enjoyable but, if I'm being honest, a little on the forgettable side, this one came alive with much more real characters full of humor, honesty and depth. Julianne's story really inspires empathy in a reader, making one think on maybe not be so quick to judge someone living life in a way that doesn't line up with how we would do things. Take time to consider the limited options they might be forced to choose from.

 

Bushnell is just the right amount of despicable without becoming cartoonish and Major Kelly and Capt. Monroe are just good solid dudes. Especially Devin. Major Kelly, coming from a privileged background and well-to-do family, can come of as slightly snobbish from time to time, but Devin is quick to set him straight and Kelly is open to learn when he oversteps. Lizbeth was a bit overdramatic for me at times, and though she never became one of my favorite characters (I'm too busy shipping Devin & Julianne!), she did grow on me a little by story's end.

 

So there you go! If you, like me, found the first couple books in this series fun enough but maybe a litle flat, don't duck out just yet! Definitely get into this one because the Lone Star series, at least as I see it, is one where author Shelley Shepard Gray left the best for last! 

 

FTC DISCLAIMER:  TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

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