Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): The Groove is Real by Preston Reed.
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.
I Stay Near You: One Story in Three by M. E. Kerr.
An ill-fated romance between a girl from the wrong side of the tracks and a boy from the richest family in a small upstate New York town has dire consequences for three generations. A gold ring, inscribed with I Stay Near You, triggers a complex chain of events as it's passed down from one generation to the next.
In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Opdyke.
Even among WWII memoirs, a genre studded with extraordinary stories, this autobiography looms large, a work of exceptional substance and style. Opdyke, born in 1922 to a Polish Catholic family, was a 17-year-old nursing student when Germany invaded her country in 1939. She spent a year tending to the ragtag remnants of a Polish military unit, hiding out in the forest with them; was captured and raped by Russians; was forced to work in a Russian military hospital; escaped and lived under a false identity in a village near Kiev; and was recaptured by the Russians. But her most remarkable adventures were still to come. Back in her homeland, she, like so many Poles, was made to serve the German army, and she eventually became a waitress in an officers' dining hall. She made good use of her position, risking her life, she helped Jews in the ghetto by passing along vital information, smuggling in food and helping them escape to the forest. When she was made the housekeeper of a German major, she used his villa to hide 12 Jews, and, at enormous personal cost, kept them safe throughout the war. In translating Opdyke's experiences to memoir, Armstrong and Opdyke demonstrate an almost uncanny power to place readers in the young Irene's shoes. Even as the authors handily distill the complexities of the military and political conditions of wartime Poland, they present Irene as simultaneously strong and vulnerable, a likable flesh-and-blood woman rather than a saint. Telling details, eloquent in their understatement, render Irene's shock at German atrocities and the gradually built foundation of her heroic resistance. Metaphors weave in and out, simultaneously providing a narrative structure and offering insight into Irene's experiences. Readers will be rivetedAand no one can fail to be inspired by Opdyke's courage.--Publisher's Weekly.
Time Enough For Drums by Ann Rinaldi.
Sixteen-year-old Jem struggles to maintain the status quo at home in Trenton, New Jersey, when the family men join the war for independence.
There are signs of rebellion in the Emerson household several years before the actual American Revolution hits in 1776! Brought up in a relatively liberal household, Jemima Emerson is quite a challenge for her tutor, John Reid, who is known as a Tory with strong ties to England. How could Jem's parents be friends with a man who opposes American freedom? Jem longs for freedom on every level, in the home and her homeland--and John represents the forces that restrict her.
Jem and her family soon find themselves fighting for freedom in whatever ways they can in the Revolutionary War. Before long, Jem discovers that there is much more to Mr. Reid than she ever imagined. Her feelings about him change when Jem realizes that John shares her love of freedom--and will risk his life to defend it.
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury.
It’s Agnes Wilkins’s debut season, and she’s already attracted the attention of one of nineteenth-century England’s most eligible and desirable men. Lord Showalter is handsome, wealthy, and has a quirky interest in helping England amass the world’s finest collection of Egyptian artifacts. Agnes thinks it could be a good match, but suspects Showalter may be too good to be true. And indeed, he is hiding something—the fact that he’s a spy working for Napoleon. His orders are smuggled into London in Egyptian artifacts, and when Agnes unwittingly pockets one during a mummy unwrapping party at Showalter’s home, her action jump-starts a chain of events that bring out dangerous characters, dangerous circumstances, and the biggest danger of all—true love.
Jennifer Bradbury’s knack for suspense and adventure make this an amazingly rich, wildly compelling novel about the secrets inside and outside of a mummy’s tomb.
Blackbringer (Dreamdark) by Laini Taylor.
Magpie Windwitch is not like other faeries, most of whom live in tranquil seclusion. When she learns that escaped devils are creeping back into the world, she travels all over with her faithful clan of crows, hunting them down. The hunt will take her to the great forest of Dreamdark, where she must unravel the mystery of the worst enemy her folk have ever known. Can one small, determined faerie defeat the forces that threaten to unmake the world?
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
This compelling first book in a medieval fantasy trilogy features Elisa, a 16-year-old princess, as she grows from an inexperienced girl who is forced to marry a weak king for political reasons into a confident and capable young woman, destined to be a respected leader in her own right. Shortly after her birth, Elisa received a magical Godstone in her navel, a sign bestowed every 100 years on a chosen one. Despite this, she feels inadequate when compared to her older, more beautiful sister so she eats to compensate for it. She's also very clever, particularly in the strategies of war, but all that most people see is her ample size. The only person who respects her is young Lord Hector, her husband's personal guard. Shortly after her wedding, she's kidnapped and forced to endure an arduous journey through the desert that toughens her. One of her kidnappers is a young man who falls for her and she for him. His people hope that she, as the Godstone bearer, can save them from their constant war against a neighboring enemy. This fast-moving and exciting novel is rife with political conspiracies and machinations. Elisa's maturation and physical transformation echo Catherine Gilbert Murdock's Princess Ben (Houghton Harcourt, 2008). Fans of Tamora Pierce's "Beka Cooper" series (Random) will find a kindred spirit in Elisa as she experiences great adversity and heart-wrenching loss.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton, School Library Journal.
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett.
It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone—or something—is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root—before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.
Chilling drama combines with laughout-loud humor and searing insight as beloved and bestselling author Terry Pratchett tells the high-stakes story of a young witch who stands in the gap between good and evil.