Blue Yodel by Anson Elkins

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TITLE: Blue Yodel

AUTHOR: Anson Elkins, Cal Phillips (Foreword)

PUBLISHER: Yale University Press

NO. OF PAGES: 88

GENRE: Poetry, Fiction

DATE READ: January 2015

SYNOPSIS: *from Goodreads*

In this imaginative and haunting debut collection, Ansel Elkins introduces readers to a multitude of characters whose “otherness” has condemned them to live on the margins of society. She weaves blues, ballads, folklore, and storytelling into an intricate tapestry that depicts the violence, poverty, and loneliness of the Deep South, as well as the compassion, generosity, and hope that bring light to people in their darkest times. The blue yodel heard throughout this diverse compilation is a raw, primal, deeply felt expression of the human experience, calling on us to reach out to the isolated and disenfranchised and to find the humanity in every person.

REXY’S RATING: 3 stars

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Pity the Beautiful by Dana Gioia

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TITLE: Pity the Beautiful : Poems

AUTHOR: Dana Gioia

PUBLISHER: Graywolf Press

NO. OF PAGES: 73

GENRE: Poetry

DATE READ: June 10, 2015

SYNOPSIS: Pity the Beautiful is Dana Gioia’s first new poetry book in over a decade. Its emotional revelations and careful construction are hard won, inventive, and resilient. These new poems show Gioia’s craftsmanship at its finest, its most mature, as they make music, crack wise, remember the dead, and in a long, central poem even tell ghost stories.

REXY’S RATING: 4 stars

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Red Queen by Jeb Kinnison

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TITLE: Red Queen (The Substrate Wars Book 1)

AUTHOR: Jeb Kinnison

PUBLISHER: Jeb Kinnison Publishing

NO. OF PAGES: 320

GENRE: Science Fiction, Fiction, Futuristic

DATE READ: February 2015

SYNOPSIS: *from Goodreads*

Set on a California college campus just a decade or two from now, the world of Red Queen is post-terrorist disaster, repressive and censored — governed like China today, but with a stagnant economy and no jobs for young people. In that sense it is a dystopia, though not so far from our own day and time; only a few steps beyond where we are now. The students are cowed but not unaware, and they seize the opportunity to make a difference when their smarts and courage allow it. And so they change the world.

This is Book 1 of Substrate Wars, the series: A growing band of campus freedom-fighters discover a new technology that could either destroy the world, or save it. They take on the responsibility of using it for good. Homeland Security is one step behind them. Spies and traitors lurk. Shall it be repressive bureaucratic stagnation, or expansion to the stars?

Red Queen is a story about the yearning for freedom and agency in a world dominated by bureaucrats and propagandists, and it would not have been published by a major house. The world of Red Queen is just a decade or two away, and looks very much like the world we live in, just a few steps worse. In the tradition of Heinlein’s If This Goes On–, I have extrapolated from current trends and imagined the politics that result. The authoritarian tendencies we see in modern western states will probably be reversed at some point–but what if they just keep getting worse? This is especially true of the US, with its 9/11-justified surveillance and interception of every citizen’s email and message metadata, and a penal-industrial complex that imprisons about one in three black men at some point in their lives, often for victimless crimes like drug possession. A more serious terrorist incident might lead to even more restrictions on freedom and privacy. And that’s where Red Queen begins.

REXY’S RATING: 2 stars

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Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

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TITLE: Ugly Love

AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover

PUBLISHER: Atria Books

NO. OF PAGES: 337

GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

DATE READ: January 12-13, 2015

SYNOPSIS: *from Goodreads*

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

REXY’S RATING: 4 stars

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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TITLE: Vampire Academy

AUTHOR: Richelle Mead

PUBLISHER: Razorbill

NO. OF PAGES: 322

GENRE: YA, Romance, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

DATE READ: June 1, 2015 (reread)

SYNOPSIS: *my own and Goodreads*

The first installment of the widely-acclaimed Vampire Academy series, this novel introduces the world of a different set of vampires: morois (ordinary vampires that can wield elemental magic but are relatively weak), dhampirs(half-human, half-vampires that are the protectors of morois ) and strigois (evil vampires that aim to wipe out the moroi race).

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires—the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger…and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever

REXY’S RATING:4 stars

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JUNE AUTHOR OF THE MONTH: Meg Cabot

10622015_869749449702846_2087983421_nMeg Cabot is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for both adults and tweens/teens. Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Meg also lived in Grenoble, France, and Carmel, California (the setting for her bestselling Mediator series) before moving to New York City after graduating with a bachelors degree in fine arts from Indiana University.

After working for ten years as an assistant residence hall director at New York University (an experience from which she occasionally draws inspiration for her Heather Wells mystery series, Meg wrote the Princess Diaries series, which was made into two hit movies by Disney, sold more than 16 million copies, and has been translated into 38 languages.

Meg lives in Key West with her husband and two cats. Continue reading

The Wishing Stone and Other Myths Learned on Gull Cliff Island by JM Lavallee

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TITLE: The Wishing Stone and Other Myths Learned on Gull Cliff Island

AUTHOR: J.M. Lavallee

PUBLISHER: Morning Rain Publishing

NO. OF PAGES: 112

GENRE: Fiction, Children’s Fiction, Middle-Grade Fiction, Canadian Historical

DATE READ: April 27-30, 2015

SYNOPSIS: The Wishing Stone and Other Myths Learned on Gull Cliff Island by author J.M. Lavallee is a novel primarily about friendship, family and “the simple life”.

REXY’S RATING:3 stars

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