Monday's Muse, 7th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Let Love In by The Goo Goo Dolls.


This was originally an idea from Au Courant started in March, an idea she has graciously let me run with.

The idea is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.


Today's random word:
Stun.




Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody.

In the tradition of Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley, Carmody embarks on a promising new series featuring telepathy, empathy and other psychic talents. On an Earth nearly wiped out by radiation and chemicals that have whitened the sky and poisoned the land, surviving humans have built a semi-agrarian culture. Though their own religious leaders, the Herders, have paranormal powers, they persecute the mutated Misfits, whose psychic abilities they view as a form of subversion. Thus, Elspeth Gordie, an orphan, conceals her exceptional abilities (prophetic visions, the ability to communicate with animals) from the other workers around her. Nonetheless, she is discovered and taken to the legendary Obernewtyn, an isolated town reputedly full of horrors. But instead of the tortures she expects, Elspeth finds friends and learns of the harmful experiments performed elsewhere upon talented Misfits and of the destructive powers that may have survived the Age of Chaos that ruined Earth. Though most of Carmody's characters are clearly bad or good, she avoids blatant stereotyping by imbuing many with conflicting interests. She also presents the Herders' primitive culture in considerable and vivid detail, from Elspeth's arduous ride through the Western Mountains to a farmer's daily life of toil and gossip. Despite their abilities, the Misfits are at the mercy of their superstitious culture and those who run ObernewtynAa plight that generates convincing plot turns. This is the first novel by Carmody, an Australian children's writer, to appear in the States. Readers will look forward to more. - Publishers Weekly.


Blacklisted by Gena Showalter

Alien hunting can get a girl killed. It can also get her a date.

High school senior Camille Robins and her best friend are determined to snag the attention of their crushes before graduation next month. Armed with red-hot outfits and killer hair, they sneak into the hottest nightclub in town -- which caters to the rich and famous, both human and alien. They end up following Erik (who is human) and Silver (who isn't) through a guarded door and are soon separated and under attack...and not the good kind. Bad boy Erik spares Camille's life, but the two are soon being chased by gun-toting Alien Investigation and Removal agents. Camille's more confused than ever because Erik's finally showing real interest in her, but the agents are accusing him of dealing Onadyn -- a drug that ruins human lives. Suddenly, with the heat of his kiss lingering on her lips, Camille has to decide whose side she's on...and whether she's willing to put her life on the line to save Erik's.


H.I.V.E.: The Higher Institute of Villainous Education by Mark Walden.

H.I.V.E. is operated on a volcanic island in a distant ocean by G.L.O.V.E., a shadowy organization of worldwide wickedness. And, as 13-year-old master of mischief Otto Malpense soon discovers, here the slickest of young tricksters, thieves, and hackers have been brought against their will to be trained as the next generation of supervillains. Otto and his friends refuse to be held prisoner at the institution and develop a scheme to escape from the island, but they must defeat the all-seeing computer system, a seemingly undefeatable assassin in black, and a giant carnivorous plant to succeed. Warner's first novel is a real page-turner; those who love superhero stories will eat it up and not want to put it down. Sequels are virtually guaranteed.—Walter Minkel, New York Public Library


Of Nightingales That Weep by Katherine Patterson

The daughter of a samurai never weeps. But Takiko, whose warrior father was killed in battle, finds this a hard rule, especially when her mother remarries a strange and ugly country potter. To get away from her miserable home, Takiko eagerly accepts a position at the imperial Japanese court. There, her beauty and nightingale voice captivate the handsome young warrior, Hideo -- who also turns out to be an enemy spy. As war breaks out, Takiko flees the court and is forced to choose between loyalty to her people and her love for Hideo. She painfully learns that whatever choice she makes, she cannot run away from her samurai honor.


The Teacher's Funeral : A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck

"If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of year for it," begins Richard Peck's latest novel. C'mon back to rural Indiana in 1904 and join 15-year-old Russell, whose summer ends with the unexpected death of old Miss Myrt Arbuckle. Russell and his younger brother are thrilled because just maybe the school board will decide to stop its foolishness and tear down the one-room schoolhouse. Surely it doesn't pay to hire a new teacher for the six students who attend. But to his utter horror, one is hired and it's none other than his extremely bossy older sister, even though she still has a year left of high school herself. Tansy takes to teaching with vigor and manages to circumvent all of the high jinx and calamities that threaten to undermine her authority, such as an accidental fire in the privy and a puff adder in her desk drawer. Peck expertly evokes humor and colloquial speech and mores with such sentences as "The water wasn't crotch-deep on a dwarf at that point," and "She had a snout on her long enough to drink water down a crawdad hole." Even readers who are blasé about current technological advances will be as excited as Russell is when he sees the steel Case Agitator threshing machine down from Wisconsin on its once-yearly exhibit, or the Overland Automobile Company's Bullet No. 2 racing car that can travel a mile in an unheard-of 43 seconds. Another gem from Peck–and a fabulous lead-in to titles such as Olive Burns's Cold Sassy Tree --Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY

Ringside, 1925 by Jen Bryant

Ringside - 1925 by Jen Bryant is one of the most unique and original novels for young people I have had the pleasure of reading from quite some time now. The author, Ms. Bryant, has used the same methods that Edgar Lee Masters used at the turn of the last century, in completing his work, Spoon River Anthology. Where Masters told the story of a town through a series of poems taken from the epitaphs of various members of the village, Bryant in this case, has told the story of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, Dayton, Tennessee, 1925, through the voices of various citizens of Dayton, reporters, and most importantly, the young people who were members of J.T. Scopes' Biology Class.
The entire novel is done in free verse! The author goes from character to charter and back again, telling the story of the trial and the impressions and impact it had upon those who were there, those who witnessed the actual events as they unfolded. --D. Blakenship.


Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by J. V. Hart

Hart wrote the screenplay for the 1991 film Hook and in this sprawling novel, he imagines the notorious villain's troubled youth. When he enters England's storied Eton school as a teen, James (the future Hook) has never known his mother and has only met his aristocratic father a few times. He channels his loneliness and rage into superior scholarship, plotting wild "devices of revenge" against sadistic classmates. At last, he escapes to the high seas, but he unwittingly boards a slave ship that reveals horrifying brutality and family secrets. Hart's novel is much more challenging and dense than Peter and the Starcatchers (2004), Ridley Pearson's and Dave Barry's spin on the Peter Pan story. The elevated language, slow pacing, and lengthy specifics of swordplay and Etonian culture may deter some readers; others may be startled by the bloody torture, both at school and at sea. Still, some determined, sophisticated readers will be pulled in by the magical, tall-tale details; James' triumph over bullies; the exciting adventures; and the thought-provoking portrait of a villain who is capable of both murder and great sympathy.--Gillian Engberg


The Named by Marianne Curley.

Sixteen-year-old Ethan Roberts has more to worry about than his lackluster grades. As one of the Named, he is charged with secretly protecting history from the Order of Chaos--an evil group that seeks to alter the past to achieve ultimate power in the present. Ethan is given orders to train his first apprentice, 15-year-old Isabel Becket, in a few short weeks as his growing nightmares soon make it apparent that trouble is brewing on a cosmic scale. The two are helped by Arkarain--Ethan's violet-eyed, blue-haired, 600-year-old mentor--and their secret powers. Isabel is a healer. Ethan is a master of illusion. Their stories evolve in rotating chapters, each told in a similar first-person point of view that makes chapter transitions disorienting at times. But The Named is at its strongest when school and parents fade. Its imagined settings are a pleasure, from the booby-trapped catacombs that house the Prophecy that was written before time to the Citadel--a way-station to the past--with its wildly decorated rooms. Ethan and Isabel's missions to Medieval England and colonial America are also a thrill, indicating that the adventures detailed in this book are just the beginning for this duo. --D.J. Morel


Star-Crossed by Linda Collison.

Patricia Kelley has been raised a proper British lady--but she's become a stowaway. Her father is dead, and her future in peril. To claim the estate that is rightfully hers, she must travel across the seas to Barbados, hidden in the belly of merchant ship.

It is a daring escapade, and the plan works--for a time. But before she knows it, Patricia's secret is revealed, and she is torn between two worlds. During the day, she wears petticoats, inhabits the dignified realm of ship's officers, and trains as a surgeon's mate with the gentle Aeneas MacPherson; at night she dons pants and climbs the rigging in the rough company of sailors. And it is there, alongside boson's mate John Dalton, that she feels stunningly alive.

In this mesmerizing novel of daring, adventure, tragedy, and romance, Patricia must cross the threshold between night and day, lady and surgeon, and even woman and man. She must be bold in ways beyond her wildest dreams and take risks she never imagined possible. And she must fight for her life--and her love.

3 comments:



Kirthi said...

I've never heard of these books, but the sound great!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

O I LOVE the color and sound of the last one. Thanks for bringing something new to my attention.

Heather Zundel said...

Kirthi - I'm glad you liked the. There were so many this week!

Juju - that one did sound interesting, and I was completely taken in with the cover. And you are most welcome.