Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and is a great way to share the books you’ve acquired over the past week. Luckily I only have two new books to share, since I am behind in my reading already! Click on the book covers to go to Goodreads.

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss. Received for review from the author. Release date: November 6 2012 (Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books). I came across Victoria’s book during the recent YA Scavenger Hunt. She was offering bloggers a chance to review her book, and I happily took her up on that offer. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?  This sounds amazing (from Goodreads):

“Be sure you know your true heart’s desire, or you may find yourself surprised by what you receive.”

This is the warning the Astrologer-Sorcerer gives Giulia when she pays him to create a magical talisman for her. The scorned illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, Giulia is determined to defy the dire fate predicted by her horoscope, and use the talisman to claim what she believes is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs–not likely prospects for a girl about to be packed off to the cloistered world of a convent.

But the convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises. There are strict rules, long hours of work, and spiteful rivalries…but there’s also friendship, and the biggest surprise of all: a workshop of female artists who produce paintings of astonishing beauty, using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion blue. Yet even as Giulia begins to learn the mysteries of the painter’s craft, the magic of the talisman is at work, and a forbidden romance beckons her down a path of uncertainty and danger. She is haunted by the sorcerer’s warning, and by a question: does she really know the true compass of her heart?

Set in Renaissance Italy, this richly imagined novel about a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into a fascinating, exotic world where love, faith, and art inspire passion–of many different hues.

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Now available. This is a middle grade novel, very short, that has received some awesome reviews. I believe I won this from a Publisher’s Weekly contest, but I can’t say for sure. It turned up unexpectedly in my mailbox! But I’m not complaining. Even though I don’t usually read middle grade books, (and neither do my two middle-school-aged children, for that matter!) I want to see what this well-reviewed book has to offer. Here’s what Goodreads says:

When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer’s first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

Look for my review of Passion Blue a little closer to the release date. What’s on your shelves this week?

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Posted August 11, 2012 by Tammy in Stacking the Shelves / 12 Comments


12 responses to “Stacking the Shelves #4

  1. I don’t know these 2 books but Passion Blue sounds so good ! The cover is stunning ! I hope you’ll enjoy reading both of them :). Happy reading !

    • Really good question Lissa! In fact I am planning on writing a blog post soon on that very question. My opinion of most middle grade books is that they are too “young” for most middle graders. And because of Accelerated Reading (a reading program that a lot of schools have where students have to meet certain goal points during the year), most MG books are shorter and therefore have less AR points. When you have to rack up 80 points for the semester, most kids will try to read longer books that offer more points (like YA/teen). I think there is a flaw in the system, but I’m not sure how one would fix it.

  2. Tammy, how are the points allocated to the page count? Is there a breaking point after 300, for example? Or is it just page by page? I’m sure you don’t want to mention which books are too young but which MG books are not too young? (other than HP) What about the Rick Riordan books. I have a friend who has his first YA manuscript but because he has a boy protag and a lot of action/adventure, I was thinking of suggesting he consider if he can make it MG.

    • I’m not sure exactly, but for example, Starters is 12 points, and The Hunger Games is 15 points, and Twilight is 18 points, which are all considered YA. (also these are all hot titles for middle schoolers) However, a book like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which is MG, is only 3 points. (Obviously that doesn’t compare to yours because of all the graphics, so it’s awarded points based on number of words rather than pages.)
      You can check any book you want, here’s the website: AR BookFinder.

      Regarding how “young” a MG book is, I think it’s a matter of preference for the child, but I know my daughter, who is almost 12, isn’t interested in reading about 12 year-olds. Same for my 13 year old son, he’d much rather read about older (high school age) kids. Most MG books tend to have protagonists that are in the 11-13 year old range. I did look up The Lightening Thief, and this is typical for AR: it’s listed as a MG book but with a reading level of 4.7, which means a 4th grader. I don’t know if any of this answers your questions, but in my opinion the MG field has lots of holes in it right now, and your friend might have better luck selling his book if he positions it as MG.

  3. Ooh, Liar and Spy looks adorable! Haha I definitely wouldn’t question its arrival, either. 🙂 Happy reading this week! Can’t wait to see what you think of Passion Blue!