Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Kilmeny by Mediaeval Baebes.
The idea of Monday's Muse 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.
Betrayal by Mayandree Michel.
At seventeen, Cordelia is an ordinary teen with an extraordinary and frightening secret. A secret that induces vivid dreams which she not only experiences true love, but crippling fear while barely escaping with her life each night.
After a life altering event, Cordelia has an unexpected encounter with Evan, the mysterious boy from her dreams, who reveals who and what she is – a descendant of the Greek gods. At that moment everything she knows of her world is a lie, and she must leave the present and go into the past to assume the role she was put on this earth for – safeguarding her ancient empire amidst evil forces that toil hastily to destroy it.
In a race against time, Cordelia must decide if she is truly a part of this dangerous world, or risk defying the gods, and ultimately lose the boy who has put a claim on her heart.
The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 by PJ Haarsma.
Johnny Turnbull has spent all of his 12 years aboard the seed-ship Renaissance en route to the Rings of Orbis. Due to a mechanical problem, the adults on the spaceship perished long before Johnny and the other young passengers were born (they were stored as embryos and raised by the ship's computer). When they arrive on Orbis 1, the orphans quickly learn that they will be forced to work for the Guarantors (alien businessmen) in order to pay off their dead parents' debt for their passage. Johnny is immediately identified as the first human softwire, someone with the ability to enter and manipulate a computer with his mind. Because of his gift, he is a prime suspect when the central computer of Orbis 1 begins to malfunction. He must prove his innocence and solve the mystery of the mechanical failures before time runs out. The author deftly introduces the futuristic setting without getting bogged down in long and detailed descriptive passages, and the brisk plot will keep the interest of reluctant readers. Although a few of the secondary characters are not fully developed, Johnny and his sister are well drawn, and the scenes between the two are skillfully crafted. The first in a planned quartet, this book is a good selection for science-fiction fans. –Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX, School Library Journal
The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird.
In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door.
Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process.
Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal by Mal Peet.
It was her taciturn but beloved grandfather, William Hyde, who gave Tamar her strange name. But in 1995, when she was 15, he committed suicide, leaving her to wonder if she knew him at all. Later, when she opens the box of War II memorabilia that he left her, she's struck by the need to find out what it means, who he really was, and where she fits in. Tension mounts incrementally in an intricate wrapping of wartime drama and secrecy, in which Tamar finds her namesake and herself. Forming the backbone of the novel are intense, sometimes brutal events in a small Dutch town in Nazi-occupied Holland and the relationship between the girl's namesake, a member of the Dutch Resistance; Dart, a code operator assigned to help him; and Marijke, the love of his life. Peet's plot is tightly constructed, and striking, descriptive language, full of metaphor, grounds the story. Most of the characters are adults here, and to some readers, the Dutch history, though deftly woven through the story, will seem remote. But Peet's sturdy, emotionally resonant characterizations and dramatic backdrop will pull readers forward, as will the secret that gradually unravels. Despite foreshadowing, the outcome is still a stunner. Winner of Britain's 2005 Carnegie Medal, this powerful story will grow richer with each reading. --Stephanie Zvirin, Booklist
Compass in the Blood by William E. Coles Jr.
A scandalous 1902 criminal case in Pittsburgh is the inspiration for Coles's (Another Kind of Monday) sassy, suspenseful YA novel. Dee Armstrong, a freshman journalism student at the University of Pittsburgh, is fascinated by one of the city's most notorious crimes. Kate Soffel, wife of a prison warden, was accused and convicted of an adulterous affair with a prisoner, and of assisting the prisoner and his brother in a jailbreak. Dee wrote an award-winning paper on the topic and its sensational press coverage during her senior year of high school. Now her obsession with the case has led her to reexamine it. A controversial and power-hungry TV journalist who produced a documentary on Soffel approaches Dee, in response to a letter the teen wrote, and asks Dee to help discover Soffel's "real" story. Dee soon finds herself meeting one of Soffel's relatives, scouring local cemeteries and fighting off the backstabbing TV woman. Coles provides copious but never tedious historical details that drape his story in authenticity. Dee and her friends make a likable detective team, even though they sometimes arrive at conclusions too conveniently. Their playful, honest exchanges keep the proceedings on track. A subplot about Dee's mother feels tacked on, but does not detract from the book's main thrust. Most intriguing of all, though, is Coles's revelation in an author's note that he eventually located Soffel's final resting place and is bound to secrecy regarding its whereabouts. --Publisher's Weekly.
Age of Bronze, Vol. 1: A Thousand Ships by Eric Shanower.
Shanower won 2001's Will Eisner Comics Industry Award for Best Writer/Artist for this extraordinary project: the first part of a seven-volume graphic novel about the Trojan War. He has researched every imaginable source about the war, from ancient legends to medieval romances to contemporary scholarship, and synthesized them into a fantastically rich narrative. He's also delved deep into the architectural history of Mycenaean Greece, so that the dress and settings in the book look like Bronze Age artifacts, rather than the Classical Greek styles normally associated with the story. The book begins with the story of Paris, the milk-white bull and the kidnapping of Helen, and goes up to the start of the war Shanower still has a ways to travel before touching the material of the Iliad. He treats the material as historical fiction rather than mythology, as a tale of people, not of gods, though the supernatural aspects of the story are worked in through dreams and visions. Shanower subtly alters his visual style for every flashback sequence: when Priam relates the story of Herakles, the images are cartoonish and the characters larger than life. His dialogue is formal but not florid, and the narrative flow is clear and simple. But the story also has many amazing scenes for an artist the erotic entanglement of Achilles and Deidamia, the feigned madness of Odysseus, the launching of the thousand ships to rescue Helen and lay waste to Troy and Shanower makes the most of them, with a fine-lined style in black and white drawings evoking woodcuts and classical paintings. --Publisher's Weekly.