BOOK REVIEW: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: April 6th, 2010 (first published 2006)
Source: borrowed from MHS Library
Series: Book #1 of 2

From Goodreads:
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

Mrs. Beamer's Review:
I expected to like this book, and I did...I really, really liked it.  Phew!  We all know build-up and anticipation have the potential to lessen the positive impact of a book.  That certainly was not the case here :)

I understand why this book won so many awards.  It's an easy read, with deep meaning.  In my opinion, that's a hard balance to strike.  Even though I knew I was reading something complex and profound, I was able to enjoy the book and not over-anayze it.  Typically I shy away from books that unfold over a short period of time.  Knowing this novel covered ONE DAY in Mia's life...I was a tad bit apprehensive (though the stellar reviews and awards eased my mind for the most part.)  Character-driven books are my passion...and I was hoping this would fit that category...and it did :)

Gayle Forman does a fantastic job delivering main characters who jump off the page.  Through the use of flashbacks, we discover who Mia is...what makes her tick.  We come to empathize with her, and this is huge for me...it speaks to the author's brilliance.  My favorite character was Adam.  Wow.  Where were boys like him when I was in high school?!?!  :)  

On the cover of this book is the following... "What would you do if you had to choose?"  The choice faced by Mia is one I can't think about...it's too hard for me.  At the end of the book, the author comments on "the story behind the story."  In this reflection, she mentions she didn't know what Mia would choose when she started writing this book.  I think that's incredible.  Writers amaze me.  This book amazes me.  I can't wait to read Where She Went (seriously...as soon as I post this review I'm starting it) :)


Mrs. Beamer’s Wrap-Up Rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots) click here for more info
Language: 0
Violence: 0
Sexual Content: 1
Drugs/Alcohol: 1
Potential Controversial Topics: none
Recommend for High School Libraries: YES
Comfortable With My Child Reading: high school

My favorite quote/s from this book:
OK...not a quote, but a passage...the entire scene where Mia and Adam play their respective musical instruments on each other.  Incredibly romantic and seductive...loved it...

another passage...the ending...leading up to Mia's decision...beautiful and moving...


Meet the Author:My name is Gayle Forman and I love to write young-adult novels. Because I do. So thank you for reading them. Because without you, it’d just be me. And the voices in my head.
Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications asJane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. 



Monday @ MHS Library...


This weekly feature is host to all the latest and greatest at your MHS Library!



Weekly Infographic:  



Top 5 Scholarship Application Mistakes

Check out your MHS Library page for ALL the featured infographics!




Twitter:

Prepare for some Twitter fun!  In the not-so-distant future we will be using this social media tool to hone our vocabulary skills :)  Details coming soon!


Overdue Books:

Remember to return your library books...there are long wait lists for our popular titles!!  


Have a wonderful week!  
~Mrs. Beamer

Inspired Fridays: Generosity

Inspired Fridays is a weekley meme hosted by my friends over @ INKK Reviews They love to showcase what inspires fellow book bloggers...projects we have done, sweet libraries or book nooks, etc. Here is my inspiration for the week... :)

Generous...benevolent, charitable, honorable, kindhearted, thoughtful, unselfish.

All of the above define the incredible people I've met within the book blogging community.  When I started book blogging, I didn't even know there was a "community".  (I know...you can laugh...)

Truly, I continue to be blown away by the generosity of others.  Collectively, you all give SO much...time, advice, resources, experience, gifts, wisdom, friendship, respect, patience, humor, gratefulness, kindness...honestly I could go on and on and on and... :)

I blog for two reasons.  
  • I love to read and enjoy sharing my opinions (hoping others find them helpful)  
  • In some small way, I want to help my high school library.  I donate every book I receive to the library...and BASK in the students' enjoyment of the books.  Honestly, it's so addicting to me.  NOTHING compares to a teenager lighting up at the sight of a book that intrigues them.  
Yesterday I received a package - a gift from a give-away I entered last month at The Book Monsters - a beautiful calligraphy set and a copy of Philippa Gregory's Changeling (pictured below).  I can't wait to get this book on the shelf!!!!!!!

All YOUR generosity is enabling ME to give something back...to "pay it forward"...and for that I am eternally grateful :)

So...a heart-felt THANK YOU to all you wonderful GENEROUS souls out there.  Always remember what a POSITIVE DIFFERENCE you make to so many people.  You are appreciated :)

Have a wonderful weekend!!  ~Amie Beamer





BOOK REVIEW: Eyes on Him: Spring Love by Cynthia Marcano

Title: Eyes on Him: Spring Love
Author: Cynthia Marcano
Published: February 18th, 2013
Source: e-book sent to me for review by author
Series: Book #1 of 2

From Goodreads:
Spring was the season of new beginnings. Flowers and romance were blooming and the excitement of Summer was looming. At least for Tamryn Davidson it was. Her Junior year at Barredale Christian Academy was coming to an end and the potential for Spring love filled the air, more than she could have imagined. Her recent high school crush was constantly on her mind except when the new stranger in town was within view. 

High school drama was in full swing and the junior prom was hot topic of discussion amongst all the juniors. As she balances school, friends, family and her Christian life, Tamryn confronts life as a teenager with her heart being tugged in opposite directions. How will she decide who and what is right for her heart and her life? "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith... " Hebrews 12: 2 GWT
Mrs. Beamer's Review:
This is a clean, easy read...perfect for those looking for Christian-based high school romance.  I know my teen students will love this book...and I wouldn't be surprised to find them swooning over the two main male characters :)


From what I can ascertain, this is the author's first YA Christian novel and she is self-published.  While there was plenty I liked about the book, I found myself shaking my head and thinking "why...why??" more often than I want to admit.  
***ATTENTION: POSSIBLE SPOILERS***

From the first paragraph, I could tell this book needed an editor.  Now, let me remind you, I am NOT a professional writer...NOT a professional reviewer...these are my non-professional opinions :)  So while I found the writing distracting, others may not be bothered by it.

The following two sentences were on the first page (I bolded the four words):

"She yawned once more and then stretched letting out a long stretching 'ahhh.'"
"'Hurry, your food is getting cold and I am on my way out the door.' Cecily hurriedly told her."

Perhaps this is just a pet peeve of mine...perhaps just something an English teacher repeatedly warned against...but I'm not a fan of repeating word/word roots within the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence.  I found many more examples of this throughout the book.  Also, I thought the author tried too hard to include too many unnecessary details.  Sometimes less is more :)  One final comment about the writing...the dialect between the characters seemed too formal.  Often times I found myself thinking "umm...this is not how teens talk to each other"  Some examples from the book: 

"I'm just going to go out the front door and say goodbye to Max and Tyler and then I'll be on my way," she said slyly.
"I will see you tomorrow."

I see the conversation going more like:

"I'm gonna go say goodbye to Max and Tyler then I'm leaving...see you tomorrow."  (and "slyly"???  I don't get that...)

Again, all things an editor would correct (I would assume??).  

While the writing nagged me, my biggest problem with the novel was the insta-love Chase had for Tami.  To quote from the book (pretty early in the book) "He didn't know her that well and it felt like he knew and loved her forever.  He loved her and couldn't figure out how it happened."  REALLY?!  He LOVED her?!  I seriously didn't buy this part.  I could see him crushing hard on her...being infatuated with her...becoming enthralled by her beauty and wanting to get to know her better...but LOVE?  Just didn't see that after 3-4 meetings.

I said earlier there was plenty I enjoyed about this book, and I meant it :)   I appreciated the clean (no language, sex, alcohol, violence, etc) setting and characters.  I really, really liked the fact there were two good, strong love interests for Tami.  Typically in novels containing a love triangle you find the heroine choosing between good and bad.  I'm happy to know Tami will end up with someone good, regardless of who she picks!  I'm a sucker for romance...and the book provided that.  The author did a wonderful job leaving me wanting MORE!!!  I need to know who Tami chooses!!!!!!!  There were some really sweet moments in the book, too.  Nice for teen girls to see examples of how they should be treated :)  

What I genuinely appreciated about this book was its Christian backbone.  The YA Christian sub-genre is lacking contemporary romances...and teens want to read them!  I can't wait to have this book in my library collection so my students can enjoy it.  They will LOVE it.  While I'm hesitant (for reasons stated above) to actively promote this book to adults, I HIGHLY recommend this book for teens.  And...I simply NEED to know how the story ends!!!  :):):)  A huge thank you to the author for sharing her work with me...truly I am honored :)

Mrs. Beamer’s Wrap-Up Rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots) click here for more info
Language: 0
Violence: 0
Sexual Content: 1
Drugs/Alcohol: 0
Potential Controversial Topics: none
Recommend for High School Libraries: YES
Comfortable With My Child Reading: middle school




Meet the Author!Cynthia Marcano was born and raised in New Jersey. In 2003 she became the happy wife of Phil. She is the loving mother of Cailyn and Christian. In 2008, she was born again and has happily served God since. She and her family are faithful members of their local church and serve devotedly since 2009, where they serve as Marriage Ministry directors and Cynthia as a teacher. Since giving her life to Christ, she has been in love with clean, romance novels like those of Jane Austen, exposing herself only to movies and books that promote lifestyles pleasing to God. In 2011, she became the bible study teacher of high school girls and found that more than ever she wanted to help promote a Christian lifestyle in all genres of life including romance novels. With the inspiration of her student and niece, she embarked on bringing clean Christian romance novels to teen girls.

Reading Slump?

OK...I admit it...I'm in a slump with my reading.  And I can't quite figure out what's causing my slump...making it all the more difficult to "snap out of it".  Here are my thoughts on possible slump-causers:



  • Feeling a pressure to read?  Prior to ReadingYA and blogging, I simply read when I wanted to read (which, admittedly, was all the time).  But now that I NEED to be reading, I feel a pressure.  I don't like to feel pressured :)  Suddenly, TV shows and Pinterest are attracting more of my attention.
  • A run of not-so-good books?  Before blogging, when I started a book I wasn't feeling, I just stopped reading it and didn't give it another thought.  Now (especially with review copies) I feel the need to "give it another shot" ~and/or~ come up with valid justification as to why I wasn't in love with said book.  Again...pressure :)
  • Reading YA vs. reading non-YA?  In my pre-blogging days, I would slip seamlessly between the two genres...selecting my next read based on my mood, etc.  Now, I feel my reading ratio of YA to non-YA books should lean heavily toward the YA side.
What are your thoughts?  Do YOU ever find yourself in a reading slump?  What do you do to break the cycle?  Any comments on my thoughts?  Helpful advice?  Friendly suggestions?  I'd love to hear from you!  Happy Reading :)

Monday @ MHS Library...

This weekly feature is host to all the latest and greatest at your MHS Library!



Weekly Infographic:

Industry Statistics of QR Codes

Check out your MHS Library page for ALL the featured infographics!


QR Code Fun:

The response to the QR Codes for book trailers has been wonderful!!  I love seeing your excitement...which has translated into increased interest in certain books :)  


OGT Test Week:

Since we are on an altered schedule for OGT week, the library will be open/closed sporadically this week.  Please stop in and ask if you have questions!

Have a wonderful week!
~Mrs. Beamer

BOOK REVIEW: A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

Title: A Shade of Vampire
Author: Bella Forrest
Published: December 14th, 2012
Source: e-book sent to me for review
Series: Book #1

From Goodreads:
On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.  A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.   She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.  An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.   Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince. 
Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.  Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?



Mrs. Beamer's Review:
I am SO happy I was asked to review this book!  While the world building was a bit lacking for me...the characters jumped off the page.  I loved them all!  Lucas was positively creepy...and Derek delivers as our dark and troubled leading man.  

The book is very short, so there isn't too much else to say...other than I definitely NEED to read more from the series!!  The author did her job.  I am hooked :)

Mrs. Beamer’s Wrap-Up Rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots) click here for more info
Language: 0
Violence: 1
Sexual Content: 1
Drugs/Alcohol: 0
Potential Controversial Topics: none
Recommend for High School Libraries: YES
Comfortable With My Child Reading: middle school

My favorite quote/s from this book:
"If you want to survive, you must realize that in this kingdom, you exist to obey."

"If I ever allowed myself to fall in love with Derek Novak, I was certain that I would forever be a captive of the Blood Shade."

"I knew the truth.  She was no longer mine.  In fact, it was the exact opposite.  At some point during all those times I'd spent with her, I'd become hers."

Connect with the author:

#BBTC Voting Is Going on NOW!

WOWZA!  Even after having the weekend to digest it...I still haven't fully grasped the fact that someone out there READS this blog :) ... let alone has nominated it for Coolest NEW Kid on the Block!!

OK...this is just toooooooo perfect :)

My favorite band is NKOTB (New Kids on the Block).  How much do I LOVE the fact that this award is entitled "New Kid on the Block"!?!?!?!?!  It makes me smile :)

Please consider voting for ReadingYA!  Simply click on the image below to vote (one vote per device)

Thanks so much for ALL the support and encouragement out there!  I love you guys!!!  ~Mrs. Beamer

BOOK REVIEW: Revenge of the Homecoming Queen by Stephanie Hale

Title: Revenge of the Homecoming Queen
Author: Stephanie Hale
Published: May 8th, 2012 (originally published 2007)
Source: e-book purchased on my kindle
Series: Aspen Brooks #1


From Goodreads:
All that matters is what's inside...as long as there's a tiara on the outside. 

The flawless Aspen Brooks was born to be Homecoming Queen. Naturally she's dating the most popular guy in school, and she's blessed with stunning good looks, excellent style, and mega brains. She's got the crown in the bag. 

So why is the tiara being placed on the skanky head of cheerleader Angel Ives? The confusion only grows after ultra-dork Rand Bachrach is crowned king. To Aspen's shock and horror, Angel actually accuses her of being behind this. Whatevs! 

But then something goes terribly, terribly wrong. Strange things start happening--even stranger than Angel beating Aspen. Now someone's leaving her threatening messages and slashing her tires. She's sure it's that beyotch Angel doing these things. And if Angel wants war, by Dooney & Bourke she'll get one.



Mrs. Beamer's Review:
I really enjoyed this book!  I have been looking for what I call "high school drama" books.  You know...those books with high school settings and nothing else too crazy (because we ALL know high school alone is crazy enough!)  This book fits that label...while managing to give us a smidgen of kooky, too :)

Aspen was developed perfectly.  Throughout the book, we witnessed her evolution from a snobby know-it-all into someone... (well...I don't want to ruin it for you!)  I thought the author did a wonderful job combining elements from everyday life with plot-fowarding details.  I felt connected to the characters (loved some of them...but don't want to spoil anything!), which speaks to the writing.  There were some twists in the book I didn't see coming...which I enjoyed :)

This is a quick, easy, fun read.  Absolutely I would read more from this author...and look forward to continuing to read about Aspen and her friends!  Well done!  I'm happy I stumbled across this delightful series :)

Mrs. Beamer’s Wrap-Up Rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots) click here for more info
Language: 0
Violence: 0
Sexual Content: 1
Drugs/Alcohol: 1
Potential Controversial Topics: not listing due to potential spoilers
Recommend for High School Libraries: YES
Comfortable With My Child Reading: middle school

My favorite quote/s from this book:
"It's a fact.  You just can't have a bad day if you're wearing your good butt jeans."

"Fighting for something you could have had and wondering if maybe it's already too late."

Connect with the author...



Monday @ MHS Library...

This weekly feature is host to ALL the latest and greatest at your MHS Library!




Weekly Infographic:

Dystopian Books Again Seize Power


Check out your MHS Library page for ALL the featured infographics!



QR CODES:

Notice something NEW on a few of the book covers?  You now have direct access to thrilling Book Trailers!!  Simply scan the QR Code on the front of the book...and enjoy!!  The code takes you straight to the youtube video containing the Book Trailer.  *NOTE* there are many FREE QR CODE reader apps available...simply download one to your smartphone to enjoy this fun, interactive experience!



My Reading Success:

Remember to fill out a "Reading Success" card after you finish a book you enjoyed!!  We want to have our library covered with your successes!!!

Have a wonderful week!
~Mrs. Beamer