Monday's Muse, 64th edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen + The Muppets.

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 one of several places, 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:
Time Travel (Romance)

EDIT: Thank you for a recommendation I forgot - Juliet Immortal! Comments only makes these lists better!

Waterfall (River of Time series) by Lisa Bergren.

Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one.
Remaining means giving up all she’s known and loved … and leaving means forfeiting what she’s come to know—and love itself.
Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. In Book One of the River of Time series, Gabi and Lia are stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, boring, and dusty archeological site … until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.
And thus she comes to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Fallen (Fallen series) by Lauren Kate.
Beautiful Lucinda (Luce) Price is banished from everything she knows after a mysterious fire leaves her friend Trevor dead and Luce shouldering the blame. She is forced to board at a decrepit reform school where students are under the constant watch of cameras and must go without cellphones or Internet access. Grief-stricken by Trevor's death and horrified by her new surroundings, Luce is also plagued by sinister, terrifying shadows that appear wherever she goes. The remote gothic setting provides the standard backdrop for the crux of the story, first in a planned series—the romantic feelings Luce develops for the elusive, unpredictable, and rather unlikable Daniel. Aside from the evil shadows, the plot can be summed up with a single word: pining. Luce longs for Daniel in various ways—dreaming of him, digging up information, trying to talk to him, experiencing rejection, then trying again. Some readers will pine right alongside Luce, but others may feel that Kate spends too much time on unrequited love and too little on forward movement in Luce's relationship with Daniel and the mystery of what, exactly, Daniel is.--Publisher's Weekly.

The Hourglass Door (Hourglass Door trilogy) by Lisa Mangum.

Dante, a prisoner sent from fifteenth-century Italy into the present time as punishment, meets and falls in love with Abby, a high school senior who may be the only one who can save him.

Ruby Red (Ruby Red trilogy) by Kerstin Gier.
Along with everyone else in her extended London household, 16-year-old Gwyneth believed that her cousin Charlotte was destined to be the family's next time-traveler. Unlike Charlotte, Gwyneth has no training in how to behave in other time periods, nor any background in the secret society of Guardians that protects the travelers—all vexingly inconvenient when Gwyneth starts popping back in time. What she does have is a mystery about why her mother lied about her birth date and a rocky partnership with fellow time-traveler Gideon. Gwyneth and Gideon are to fulfill the great quest of the Guardians and unlock a mysterious power, but the journeys prove perilous as they jaunt through 300 years of family secrets. First published in Germany, Gier's trilogy (Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green will follow) has met with success in Europe, though for a book set (at least partly) in the era of Google and cellphones, it has a quaint, old-fashioned feel. While some of the foreshadowing lacks subtlety, Gier's characters and plotting are first-rate, creating an adventure that should leave readers eager for the rest of the trilogy.--Publisher's Weekly (March 7, 2011).

Old Magic by Marianna Curley.

When Jarrod Thornton walks into the classroom, Kate Warren instantly senses that he is as different as she is. In anger, he unknowingly unleashes a storm in the science lab and Kate realizes that he has exceptional paranormal abilities that exceed her own. As an uneasy friendship forms, she helps Jarrod confront and internalize his talents. With her grandmother's help, the teens journey back to the Middle Ages and break the curse that has controlled the Thornton family for generations. On one level, this is a story about paranormal abilities, curses, and time travel. Deeper, it's an account of feeling different, friendship, and acceptance. The story is much like a train ride. The plot is fast and smooth and the characters' developing friendship is akin to the train's slowing and coming to a station stop. However, the language derails it until readers become used to the "Aussie-isms" throughout the text. (There is a glossary at the back of the book, but it is not all-inclusive.) It is obvious that Curley researched the architecture, peoples, and customs of the Middle Ages, and she skillfully integrates this information into the story. The characters are believable and are the strength of this first novel. While the message that it's all right to be different and to accept yourself for who you are is evident throughout, it's not overly dominant. Curley is definitely an author to watch.--Molly S. Kinney, School Library Journal, vol 48, issue 5, p148 (May 1, 2002).

Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors.

Mimi Wallingford's famous theater family includes a renowned Shakespearean actress. The teen herself has performed since the age of three, and is constantly reminded by her mother that the family's reputation (and the financial stability of the Wallingford Theater) rests upon her shoulders. Mimi, however, would rather major in pre-med at UCLA than study acting. When she is cast as Juliet opposite teen-idol Troy's Romeo, the two are transported to medieval Verona via a magical Shakespeare charm where they meet the real Juliet, an unpretentious, freckle-faced girl of 13. As Mimi begins to see the parallels between the situation with her mother and Juliet's being pressured by Lady Capulet to marry Paris and save the family's fortunes, she resolves to help Juliet escape. Troy and Mimi get involved in a series of misadventures as she attempts to give Romeo and Juliet a happy ending and return to Manhattan. The book's premise has considerable potential, but it is not entirely realized in the uneasy mix of chick-lit humor and Shakespeare's story. Mimi's present-day situation is not believable, and her controlling mother is too exaggerated a character. However, the humor and the attractive cover might win this title some fans, so this would be worth purchasing where Shakespearean adaptations such as Tui T. Sutherland's This Must Be Love (HarperCollins, 2004) have been popular.--Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ, School Library Journal, vol 54, issue 3, p210 (March 1, 2008).

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle.
A romantic time travel story that's ideal for fans of novels by Meg Cabot and Donna Jo Napoli—and, of course, Shakespeare.

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.
Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will loose its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Falling for Henry by Beverley Brenna.

A 15-year old girl, lonely after the sudden death of her father, finds herself transported back to the days of Henry VIII's teenage years where she inhabits the body of Katherine of Aragon and has to deal with the increasingly fervent attentions of the young prince.


Inuyasha (series) by Rumiko Takahashi.

From One of Japan's most beloved creators Kagome is a modern Japanese high school girl. Never the type to believe in myths and legends, her world view dramatically changes when she's pulled out of herown time and into another. There, in Japan's ancient past, Kagome discovers more than a few of those dusty old legends are true and that her destiny is linked to one legendary creature in particular—the dog like half-demon called Inuyasha. That same trick of fate also ties them both to the Shikon Jewel, the "Jewel of Four Souls". But demons are everywhere... the smallest shard of the Shikon Jewel can give the user unimaginable power.

Twilight (Mediator series, book 6) by Meg Cabot.

What is a girl to do when she has the choice of having the one she loves by her side or realizing that he is simply the ghost of someone who was killed in the nineteenth century and needs to be let go? Suze Simon, a mediator, has the powers to communicate with the dead and she has fallen in love with Jesse, a handsome ghost. In the final installment of "The Mediator" series, Suze has to make the final decision about what becomes of Jesse. Suze has discovered that Paul Slater, another mediator who has been a foe with questionable intentions, knows history can be altered. Paul tries to prevent the murder of Jesse in the nineteenth century, so Suze would never have met him in the first place. Readers will be captivated by the storyline and will want to know what happens to Jesse. Will Paul be successful in wiping out the existence of Jesse's ghost? Will Suze follow her heart and keep Jesse's ghost by her side? It is a fast read and readers and fans of the series will finally get their answer.--Children's Literature.

Steel by Carrie Vaughn.

In a thoroughly enjoyable take on the historical time-travel tale, Jill Archer, vacationing in the Bahamas with her family and depressed at having just missed qualifying for the Junior World Fencing Championships, uncovers the rusty tip of an old sword in the sand. With it, she's transported back 300 years onto the pirate ship Diana, captained by Margery Cooper. Recognizing the sword, Cooper claims it for her own, knowing it will lead her and her mostly loyal crew to its owner and Cooper's enemy, pirate Edmund Blane. Stuck in the past, Jill signs onto the crew, which operates as a loose democracy. Learning the ropes, setting sail and standing watch, Jill grows fond of her shipmates, but as Cooper closes in on Blane, Jill senses that he represents her only way home. As her attractive shipmate Henry teaches her to fight with a real sword, onboard and on land, Jill acquires a new, deeper understanding of her sport. The same bad move that in competition would only lose her points, in battle very likely could end her life. Through her assertive, appealing protagonist and a satisfying plot that sheds light on lesser-known aspects of pirate life, Vaughn introduces readers to an intriguing sport with an ancient pedigree.--Kirkus Reviews (February 15, 2011).

 Timeless by Alexander Monir.

When her mother dies in a car accident in California, Michele Windsor is sent to New York City to live with her high-society grandparents whom she has never met. Via her Great-Great-Aunt Clara's diary, she is suddenly propelled back in time to 1910, where she not only meets and interacts with her Windsor ancestors but also with the young man whom she has been dreaming of her entire life, Philip Walker. The two fall in love. Trying to live between her two worlds, Michele discovers that only by giving up her "timeless" love for him can she allow Philip to attain happiness and reach his true potential. While much of the explanatory prose and dialogue tend toward trite, there are enough twists and turns to make the story interesting, if rather hokey. Philip's promise to find a way back to her will entice readers to seek out the sequel. While the protagonist is generally well-developed, the secondary characters are fairly stereotypical: e.g., the ever-faithful boyfriend, willing to sacrifice his societal position for love, who finds solace in his music. Youngsters intrigued by time travel will revel in Michele's adventures into the past, enjoying the historically accurate details, while her amorous trysts with Philip, accented by the difference in mores between his time and hers, will appeal to romance fans. An additional purchase for collections trying to attract reluctant, romance-prone readers.--Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, School Library Journal, vol 57, issue 5, pg. 118 (Reviewed May 1, 2011).

Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison.

Although this follows directly from ThePrincess and the Hound (2007), both stories are complete in themselves and can be read independently. This beautifully understated tale is of magic and "unmagic," human and animal, forest and town. A bear and a hound circle each other, warily. He was once a king; she was once a princess. The bear does not know his magic yet; the hound is uneasy with hers. When they see unmagic (think antimatter) sucking the life out of their world, they both return to the past, to King Richon's devastated kingdom, to save it. Richon the bear and Chala the hound move between animal and human existence; the relationships between animal and human, and the magic in being both, are exquisitely delineated, and the love story between the two strong protagonists is all the more powerful for being intensely restrained. There's a fair amount of bloodshed and violence, but that, too, is understated. Not for every reader, but an absorbing tale for the right one. --Kirkus (April 1, 2009).

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay.

Here is a Shakespeare retelling with a difference: What if Romeo actually murdered Juliet as part of a bargain with evil powers called Mercenaries in order to become immortal? The dying Juliet is recruited by the Ambassadors, opponents of the Mercenaries, as a protector of lovers and soul mates, and, for the next 700 years, she fights Romeo, who seeks to convince others to sacrifice their true loves as he himself did. He and Juliet take up temporary residence in new bodies every time they battle each other. Juliet's latest host is a troubled girl whose self-centered best friend, Gemma, appears to be one of the soul mates Juliet has been sent to protect. However, Juliet finds herself falling in forbidden love with good guy Ben, who seems to be Gemma's soul mate, and she also has to resist Romeo, who claims to have found a way to release both of them from their immortal bondage, if only she can love him again. Will Juliet find a true love after centuries of tragedy and loss? The paranormal romance elements work surprisingly well in combination with the play, although the backstory of the Ambassadors and Mercenaries is not always clear. Jay includes some interesting critiques of popular notions of romantic love associated with the story of Romeo and Juliet, which would make for a lively book discussion with teens who have read the play. Readers who enjoyed Amy Plum's Die for Me (HarperTeen, 2011) and Cynthia Leitich Smith's Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) will also enjoy this one.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ --Kathleen E. Gruver, School Library Journal (November 1, 2011. Vol 57, issue 11, pg. 127).


Meg said...

Oooo, so many good ones that I've read...and new ones to read! :) Thanks!

What about Juliet Immortal? Another good one...not quite your typical time travel...but it involves Romeo and Juliet in an entirely new light!

Heather Zundel said...

Thank you Meg! :D