Monday's Muse, 37th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Stereo Love by Edward Maya.

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.

Today's random word:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Daughter of Xandadu by Dori Jones Yang.

Athletic and strong willed, Princess Emmajin's determined to do what no woman has done before: become a warrior in the army of her grandfather, the Great Khan Khubilai. In the Mongol world the only way to achieve respect is to show bravery and win glory on the battlefield. The last thing she wants is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who challenges her beliefs in the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no skills in the "manly arts" of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Still, he charms the Khan with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a different Marco as they travel across 13th-century China, hunting 'dragons' and fighting elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a different battle as she struggles with her attraction towards Marco and her incredible goal of winning fame as a soldier.

Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein.

Albia has grown up with no knowledge of her mother of her father, the powerful Macbeth. Instead she knows the dark lure of the Wychelm Wood and the moors, where she’s been raised by three strange sisters. It’s only when the ambitious Macbeth seeks out the sisters to foretell his fate that Albia’s life becomes tangled with the man who leaves nothing but bloodshed in his wake. She even falls in love with Fleance, Macbeth’s rival for the throne. Yet when Albia learns that she has the second sight, she must decide whether to ignore the terrible future she foresees—or to change it. Will she be able to save the man she loves from her murderous father? And can she forgive her parents their wrongs, or must she destroy them to save Scotland from tyranny?

In her highly anticipated follow-up to Ophelia, Lisa Klein delivers a powerful reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, featuring a young woman so seamlessly drawn it seems impossible she was not part of the Bard’s original play.

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy

In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different.Buran cannot -- Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city's crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for.

The Professor's Daughter by Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert.

Two of France's best graphic novel talents, the ever-prolific Sfar and the subtle illustrator Guibert, collaborate. The result is a fun—if slight—effort, as much a love letter to Victorian London as a story unto itself. Very simply, a mummy, somehow alive and walking around London, has a charming romance with a professor's daughter. The logistical complications involved are comically dismissed, and the pair have a grand old time together. That is, until the mummy's father appears to complicate matters. Sfar has written an utterly engaging romp comparable to a fine 1930s romantic comedy. His dialogue is snappy, and he moves from thrills to chills to humor without missing a beat. The whole book is silly, and it seems to know it. But Guibert's work is the real treat. His deft brushwork and spectacular sense of color bring the places and dramas to life. In his hands, otherwise stock characters gain a real presence and liveliness, and he has a filmic sense of drama, describing the characters with detail and wit. A section of Guibert's sketches stashed at the end of the book is extraneous, but otherwise this is an excellent little volume.--Publisher's Weekly.

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logstead.

Up–Lucy Sexton lives a charmed, but relatively boring, life in Victorian London. Her writer father provides her with books to read and money to spend while her mother, a true lady, dotes on her only daughter with love and affection. Then a knock comes at the door that changes her life forever. Standing on the other side is a woman who is the spitting image of her mother. Helen Smythe is her name, and she is the long-lost twin of Lucy's mother, Aliese. After being separated at birth, the sisters grew up in totally different situations. Aliese was raised by a family with wealth and promise while Helen lived in an orphanage and was forced to work. After the initial shock wears off, Aliese welcomes Helen into her family. After months of coaching, training, eating, and tailoring, Helen truly becomes Aliese's double. All seems well until one cold winter day when Lucy comes home to find Helen and her mother in a bloody room–one dead and one alive. Lucy is sure it is her mother who has been spared, but as years pass, her certainty wanes. This suspense-filled story starts out as a basic mystery but quickly turns into a fast-paced thriller filled with murder and intrigue. Readers will also enjoy a love story as Lucy falls for Kit, her new neighbor. This riveting story will keep readers guessing until the very end.–Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR., School Library Journal.

The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby.

On August 31, 1979, tough cop John Busby was shot at close range while driving to work on Cape Cod. Bleeding profusely with the lower half of his face blown off, he realized that somebody wanted him dead, and identified a brazen local bully as the culprit, an arsonist with whose family Busby had clashed on the job. John and his daughter, Cylin, who was nine at the time of the shooting, recount the year that followed in alternating chapters, incorporating candid commentary and sometimes-disturbing detail about a crime that never resulted in arrests. With the entire Busby family under 24-hour police protection, John began the reconstructive surgeries that would stretch for years, while Cylin and her two brothers tried to cope with guards accompanying them to school and the resulting social isolation. John Busby is frank about the corruption in the local police department that let his attacker intimidate anyone he chose, and bluntly describes his frustration and need for revenge in the months following the attack. Cylin speaks with a voice of innocence shattered as she struggles to comprehend what happened to her family and why her friends have abandoned her. When the town balked at the continuing expense of providing personal protection and the constant fear brought the family to the breaking point, the Busbys went into hiding, seeking a return to some semblance of normalcy. The page-turner pace is frequently interrupted by awkwardly placed flashbacks to moments in John's police work, but, ultimately, this is a story of survival and triumph.—Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS., School Library Journal.

Paper Daughter by Jeanette Ingold.

In the month after 16-year-old Maggie Chen’s father, a respected journalist, was killed in a hit-and-run accident, a basement flood destroys his notebooks. As she searches through the sodden paperwork, Maggie discovers puzzling inconsistencies. Had her father lied about his family history? Maggie, an aspiring journalist herself, is just beginning an internship at a Seattle paper, and in one of her first assignments, she uncovers a story that links directly to both the circumstances of her father’s death and to the truth about his origins. At the novel’s outset, Maggie tells readers that her story is also about a man named Fai-yi Li, who shares the narration in heartrending historical passages that connect to Maggie’s family secrets and introduce readers to life during the Exclusion Era, which sharply restricted the number of Chinese immigrants allowed into the U.S. Ingold relies on some contrivance to link her plot strands, but the open-ended conclusion feels realistic and highlights Maggie’s elemental questions about how family history influences personal identity and how life moves forward after impossible loss. --Booklist.

The Glass Maker's Daughter by V. Briceland.

In the medieval canal city of Cassaforte, all noble children between the ages of 11 and 16 are tested, once every 6 years, to determine which school they will attend to learn the enchantments that make the craft work of their families so valuable. When 16-year-old Risa Divetri, a cazarra of one of the seven most important families, is not chosen for either school, she is convinced the gods have abandoned her. Only after those who can crown a new king are kidnapped does Risa begin to realize that the gods may have something greater in store for her after all. Cassaforte is a beautifully drawn city of piazzas, gondolas, beauty, and magic. The rules of magic Briceland introduces are clear, and enough hints are present at the beginning of the novel to make Risa's rise to importance natural. Though the quickly paced plot drives the narrative, Risa's musings (and occasional bouts of temper) are never cut short. Her relationships with her parents, the glassmakers who work under her father, her treacherous uncle, and the beggar she rescues with the help of young guard Milo are well drawn. Each of the characters has the feel of greater depth than readers are allowed through Risa's eyes, and the romantic thread between her and Milo is subtle enough that it does not derail the narrative, but still tugs the heartstrings of romance seekers. Readers will find much to love in The Glass Maker's Daughter and its stubborn and strong-willed heroine.–Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT., School Library Journal.

Daughter of the Flames by Zoe Marriott.

Inside an ancient temple in the mountains, fifteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess who can defend the faith of the Ruan people. Bearing a scar on her face from the fire that killed her parents, the orphaned Zira is taught to distrust the occupying Sedornes. Terror strikes when the forces of the tyrannical Sedorne king destroy the only home she knows. To survive, Zira must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people’s fate — and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy.


Tere Kirkland said...

Just saw something that made me WANT Daughter of the Flames. Can't remember! But I ADORED Daughter of Smoke and Bone. SOOOOO GOOOOD it's making me abuse caps. The writing, the story. LOVE!

Thanks for the recs, Heather!

Emy Shin said...

Like Tere, I have so much love for DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. It's completely gorgeous. I'll have to check the other DAUGHTER titles out. :)

Meg said...

Thanks for the recs! And the reminders! I had totally forgotten how much I LOVED reading "Seven Daughters..." I will have to go look for a used copy!

I also enjoyed Zoe Marriott's book...her other one based on the Swan Fable/Myth was also well done!

Thanks again!