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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 2018-06-19 02:13
All the stars!
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee

Can I give this all the stars?   No, only five?   Okay, then.   

 

So I think that the lazy/sloppy world building reviews kept me from finishing this.   I thought they were rational and well thought out arguments, and they make me think about how I approach and read books.  And how others will approach them differently.  

 

Because you know what?  I don't get so much of this book.  Like a lot of this.  This book makes me feel like a big 'ol dum-dum, and so do some of the reviews where I am like 'you clearly understood something I didn't.'   I frown-y face at myself so much for being dumb enough not to really get so much of this book.   I actually am not sure I disagree with the reviews, although I have a different take on the world building: I think that things, like how the calendars work and influence the fighting, and the math of it all, were left vague on purpose, and for two different reasons. 

 

The first is twofold in fact: the math it would take to come up with the way the calendars actually worked, and implement them, seems to be, I dunno, so much work it would make me want to curl up in a corner and weep.   More than that, if that much math is involved in such a complicated calendar, do you really want to read that?  I mean, I'm sure many math-oriented people would geek over it, but I personally didn't want to read that much math, thank you very much!  I think Lee realized that nine-tenths of this book would be 'and this how the calendrical fighting system worked' if he were to properly explain it.   (And I probably still wouldn't get it, and I would feel like the largest dum-dum ever, so thank you, Lee, for not letting my ego take that blow!)

 

Secondly, I don't think it's that important.   So did it bother me at first?   Yup.  And even when I saw those reviews, I tried to read it and was like, nope, don't get it, and got frustrated.  I figured with those reviews, why bother?   But when I started reading Raven Stratagem for the Hugo voting, I realized I kind of needed the backstory, and hey, I owned a signed copy!   (A signed copy that came with me to rides on Universal Studios, FL, by the way.)

 

So I grit my teeth, started reading, and I just let go of needing to understand.   Once I realized the world, or part of it, was incomprehensible, I allowed myself to appreciate the nuance of the political system, those who rebelled against it, and the characters' interplay and growth.   

 

And I found that I loved this: I didn't care that this book made me feel stupid, massively, epically stupid.  I didn't care that I didn't get so much of it.   I just wanted more

 

Of course, this book has loads of the kinds of angst and mind-fuckery that I just love, so it filled a hole in my soul.  And I even sent the author a note saying that after the shitshow of a wedding and my grandfather's passing that these books kept me trucking. 

 

He sent me back a lovely e-mail that said he was glad they brought me comfort.  I own this as an e-book - and an audiobook.  I'm probably going to listen to the audiobook soon and may invest in the second and third, if I can get over Jedao's voice.   The problem with audiobooks is that often times the characters voices don't match the voices in my head, and I listened to a bit of Ninefox Gambit earlier tonight.   Jedao's voice might kill this trilogy as audiobooks for me, to be honest.

 

 

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review 2018-06-19 01:59
Yes, please, more of this
Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty

I was worried that IAN, the AI, wouldn't play much of a role given the excerpt of this novel given out for the Hugo packet.   So I took it out of the library, and quite frankly blew through this.  I disagree about the flashbacks.  I say disagree, and what I mean is I read at least one review about how great it was to learn about them in the past. 

 

I was far more interested in the present, and while I didn't particularly mind the flashbacks, I found a couple a bit too drawn out and I found myself starting to get bored.   

 

However, this is a minor complaint.   This is a mystery set on a spaceship in a universe where people can clone themselves, put their memories in the new bodies, and voila, new life.   When you die and wake up in a new cloned body, it's called a wake.   (And you can only wake in your own body; in this universe, there are issues in going into other bodies, those issues being going crazy.)

 

Criminals are chosen to go on the first ever generation ship: they will be cloned as much as needed until they get to a new body, and then clone their crew.   The proper memories will be put in the proper bodies, and hey, new colony.   And the criminals will no longer have to live as criminals on this new world. 

 

But just in case something goes wrong, the super sophisticated AI, IAN, will run the ship and be able to protect the criminals from, well, their criminal tendencies.   And it all works, until they all wake up in a bloody room.   They've been killed, someone has thrown the emergency switch that will clone them and wake them.   IAN is malfunctioning, and their cloning tech has been destroyed.   Their memories of the twenty five years they've been on the ship have been erased.   These are their last lives, unless they can manage to fix IAN and fix the tech, or at least find a way around it. 

 

It's a pretty tight mystery and a fun book as they try to figure out which of the crew members is the murderer, as well as worrying about how much time they have left.   And IAN comes into play pretty heavily in the end, so I was super into that part.   Especially since I didn't see how he was going to play into the story until it was revealed: I was pleasantly surprised by his origin story, so to speak. 

 

Knocked down one half star for feeling like it lagged a bit during the flashbacks.   They wouldn't stop me from rereading this, but they bothered me enough to knock off a half a star.

 

 

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review 2018-06-19 01:39
Cybertron comes back to Earth
Transformers: Robots In Disguise (2011-2016) Vol. 7 - John Barber,Sarah Stone,Livio Ramondelli,Andrew Griffith,Casey Coller

At least, Optimus Prime and a small group of Autobots do.  I wasn't a big fan at first read, but I'm coming to appreciate just how brilliant a move this was: the focus stays on the Cybertronians, not the humans, and even then?   Thundercracker adopting a dog and becoming the worst screenwriter ever is just hilarious. 

 

Somehow, even when he's mangling screenplays and writing in general, Thundercracker just wins me over.   Like completely over.   

 

Loved this, and read it early on in the month, right before the Hugo packet hit.   

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review 2018-06-18 20:15
Wolves on audio...it's a thing...who knew...
Once Upon a Wolf - Rhys Ford

Well actually I'm pretty sure we all did but for me this one was a must...it's by Rhys Ford and she's totally a favorite of mine. So needless to say there were no real surprises here because...I've read the book already and as far as the story goes as far as the story goes my original review still holds true so, I'm going to borrow from it in regards to the story...here goes...

 

First off let's chat a bit about the main characters and their relationship...I liked the way Gibson and Zach's relationship developed as a slow burn against the backdrop of event's that while not connected to Zach and Gibson held a loose tie to Gibson and Ellis's family history on the mountain . Ellis grabbed my curiosity fairly quickly and I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed that there's a story coming for him soon.I really enjoyed the banter between Zach and Gibson and with Ellis as well...

“You’re really going to attempt to make pancakes?” The mock horror in Zach’s grimace was a clear indication he’d picked up more than his share of sardonic expressions from the brothers. “Aren’t you happy with trying to kill me just at dinnertime? Now you’ve moved on to breakfast?”

With less than 100 pages to this story there's a lot happening and lot of groundwork is being laid out for not just this story but I suspect some of it will become more relevant as the series unfolds. As well as Ellis who I'm hoping that we'll see more of some of the secondary characters like Ruth and Martha, the two women who are looking after Zach's B&B, then there's Pat Brown the son of the former sheriff and currently working for the sheriff's department himself and there's some interesting history between the Kellers and the Browns to be sure.

 

I'm hoping that as things progress in this series we'll learn a little more a bout Zach's life before he came to own the B&B. We've gotten some glimpses of his life, enough to know that Zach was in a accident, that his family relations are strained to say the least.

 

While this one got off to a bit of a slow start for me. I have faith in Ms Ford's ability to draw me into her stories and make me not only glad I'm reading them but want more and more...and yes, more and so far I definitely want some more of Gibson and Zach but I'd also like to find out more about Ellis and while he really didn't seem to be a nice guy much less a good one. I have the feeling that there's possibly more to Pat Brown than we know and I'm sure that it could make for an interesting story as well. I think at the end of it all for me I'm on board with this series not because of where Ms Ford has taken us but because I'm curious to see where we have yet to go.

 

Now on to the audio portion of this audio book...

Derrick McClain was the narrator for this audio book and overall I enjoyed things except for the minor glitch that Zach's voice wasn't quite what I had imagined it would be. 

 

My previous experiences with this narrator have varied and while a couple of the audio books that I've listened to haven't worked really well for me the opposite is also true and I've really enjoyed others.

 

Regardless of whether I've enjoyed it or not I do find that in general this narrator ticks the basics on my list of 'must have's for an audio book'. His voices are varied, expressive and words are pronounced clearly and concisely but not to the point of being monotone or stilted.

 

So overall Derrick McClain produces an audio book that can readily be enjoyed and beyond that when it comes to things like how a voice sounds we're talking about a purely subjective issue that's a matter of personal taste which to me means that it's not an issue of right or wrong, good or bad just what works for one individual and not for another. This time around things didn't work as well as they have other times, but that doesn't mean that the next time won't be an entirely different experience. While he's not on my 'must listen' list neither is he on my list of 'not in this life time' more like 'let's take this one audio book at a time'. 

 

Still at the end of it all I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to read/listen to what comes next from Ms. Ford's band of 'Wayward Wolves'. 

 

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An audio book of 'Once Upon A Wolf' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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