Monday's Muse, 15th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend by Relient K.

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:

The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn.

Teen readers will be captivated by this medieval tale. Eleda and Adele, mirror twins, discover that they are a Truth-Teller and a Safe-Keeper, respectively. Truth-Tellers are incapable of telling lies and recognize when others are lying, so society relies on their unwavering trustworthiness. Safe-Keepers cannot reveal what is told to them in confidence, and they bear the burden of people's confessions. The sisters do not realize the ramifications of their gifts until their teen years, when romantic and political intrigue abounds, and situations become more adult. Their friend Roelynn, whose wealthy merchant father intends to marry her off to the prince, sows plenty of wild oats behind her father's back. She often drags the sisters into the fray, and the summer they are all 17, a chain of events is set into motion that changes their lives. Astute readers may predict the ending, but they will enjoy it nonetheless. Though at its base the story is in some ways a stereotypical teen romance, the author's use of language and her writing style elevate this novel. Shinn has a beautiful turn of phrase and a knack for writing a sentence that will stop readers in their tracks. The plot is episodic-incidents generally revolve around the town celebrations of either Wintermoon or Summermoon-but these festivals provide a reason for various characters to come and go from the inn that the girls' parents run. Fans of romances or mystical stories will revel in this offering.-Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI

Where the Truth Lies by Lucy Cullyford Babbitt.

A sobering allegory that explores the destructive power of bigotry. Kyra, 17, lives in Sanctuary, a sterile urban fortress governed on rational principles. ``Outside'' are the self- righteous ``Godslanders,'' dogmatic conservatives whose every move is ruled by their monotheism--and whose ideal of purity has a corollary of guilt; and the ``Four Tribes,'' whose reverence for the earth is coupled with passionate belief in their several gods. Fueled by mutual intolerance, the Outsiders' bitter religious wars are unceasing, while the residents of Sanctuary, abhorring both groups, proclaim their atheism. In hopes of ending the strife, it's arranged that Kyra--with Eli, a feisty boy from the Tribes, and the virginal Godslander Lillen--will journey to a sacred cave that each group believes contains the truth about its god, or gods: If they perceive, together, the same thing, it will resolve the conflict forever. Most of the book concerns Kyra's view of their journey, during which she learns how vicious, but also kind, the Godslanders can be and moves from armed truce to close if uneasy friendship with Eli. That Eli and Lillen, in the grim denouement, find only what they expect in the cave leads inevitably to tragedy; but Kyra has an unexpected vision and returns to Sanctuary with the courage to confront her father with his own bigotry. Characters and setting aren't as well developed as the ideas are here; still, a well-written novel that explores the intransigence of rigid doctrine with thought-provoking subtlety.--Kirkus.

Truth is a Bright Star: A Hopi Adventure by Joan Price.

Based on the true story of the abduction of Hopi children from their village by Spanish soldiers in the mid-nineteenth century, Truth is a Bright Star tells the story of the friendship that develops between 12-year-old Loma and the fur trapper who becomes his master. Traveling through one harsh New Mexican winter in search of beaver pelts, Loma sets his faith in the Hopi Way against the beliefs and values of a vastly different and powerful culture.

The Unresolved by T.K. Welsh (J.G. Sandom).

Grade 7 Up–On the day of her first kiss, June 15, 1904, Mallory Meer, 15, dies in the General Slocum steamship disaster. That historical blaze killed more than 1000 people from the part of New York City known as Kleindeutschland. Dustin Brauer, her Jewish boyfriend, had snuck aboard to be with her. Now, he is accused of setting the fire by the son of his fathers employer, a leader in the German neighborhood. As the official coroners inquest occurs, a secondary one takes place in the community with Dustin on trial. Mallory, now insubstantial, sees everything and helps the truth to emerge. While historically no conclusive proof was found of how the fire started, Welsh does a creditable job of imagining how it spread, including disturbing images of those trapped on the burning vessel. He uses Mallorys ghostly presence to bring the coroners inquest, and those from the boat company and the safety inspectors office, to life. Unresolved tells a remarkable story in a remarkable way. Give this engrossing novel to fans of Kathryn Reiss or Vivian Vande Veldes Being Dead (Harcourt, 2001), and to those who like a supernatural flair with their historical fiction. Without explaining anti-Semitism or corruption, Welsh shows readers the neighborhoods vibrancy and prejudices and helps them to understand how justice worked in early-20th-century New York.–Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA (School Library Journal).

Resurrection Men by T.K. Welsh (J.G Sandom).

London, 1830s. Twelve-year-old Victor, an orphan, knows that life is dangerous, and death by disease or accident is common. But to Mr. Tipple and Mr. Biggs, these are streets teeming with possibility, where a child, once dead, is a commodity, and a "fresh subject" can fetch as much as nine guineas. In this dark underworld, Victor must uncover the identity of the ghoulish murderer who is at the heart of London’s furtive trade in human corpses.


Unknown said...

LOVE the first one's cover. Very lovely.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Ooooooooo The Truth-Teller's Tale looks good :)

Heather Zundel said...

Beth - And it's about twins. :)

Juju - That's funny. Two comments on the first one in the same minute. That kind of rocks actually. The second one, Where the Truth Lies, sounds like an early dystopian, which is awesome. And Resurrection Men sounds creepy and good. There were some good choices this week.

J.G. Sandom said...


Thanks for checking out THE UNRESOLVED and RESURRECTION MEN. Hope you like them.

And Juju and Heather -- If you're interested, THE UNRESOLVED just came out in paperback, and will soon be in eBook form (e.g. Kindle). See or you can now find it on Amazon; less than $8 vs. $17.00! RESURRECTION MEN will soon be out in paperback and in eBook form too.

If you like them and post a review on Amazon or at, I'll feature your comments on my websites: (the pen name I use for my YA books) and (my birth name).


T.K. Welsh

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Now I MUST read The Truth-Teller's Tale! Great reviews. :-)

Heather Zundel said...

J.G Sandom - Thanks for the info! And double thanks for coming and stopping by. I love author surprises like that. :) And I'm happy to help.

Shannon - Really? That's great!