Monday, October 26, 2015

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless. 
Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink.

Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules. 

Rating: 5/5

We Are All Made of Molecules is an inspiring and contemporary read that I wish would have been around when I was in high school. It steps across the social boundaries to examine the personalities of two distinct characters that, in high school hierarchy, would commonly be found residing on opposite ends of the “cool spectrum”. While two people as different as Ashley and Stewart tend to misunderstand and look down on one another as stupid or inferior, it is a reminder that intelligence is a subjective term able to be applied in many different ways. I identified very closely to Stewart through his too analytical mind that often left him struggling in the social department, but found myself admiring Ashley too because of how superbly she understood and could manipulate the social constructs of her life often to her greater benefit.

Through this novel, Susin Nielson made a powerful point that we often tend to get wrapped up in our own worlds and not realize that each of our own little planets we live on revolve around one another to create this huge, mini solar system called Earth where it all intertwines. The choices we make impact one another, and no one is of greater or lesser value because we are all made of molecules. It is a beautiful and humbling philosophy to keep in mind. No matter the controversies we face in life, and even though we all feel alone at some point or another, each one of us has the potential to change and be changed by another person. It is an inspiring story that subtly opens your eyes a little at a time, and you don’t realize how much it has impacted you until you finally reach the last page and think about what you just read. This is an inspiring book that I believe has the potential to empower and inspire teens, and even adults, that feel disconnected because of pain in their lives. It teaches that each person is responsible and capable of standing up against the injustices we witness in everyday life, and that no one is too small to make a difference.

While I am normally more of a fantasy and sci-fi reader, this book still somehow managed to grip me and challenge me to realize that sometimes life by itself is difficult and complicated enough without adding some supernatural monsters or a five hundred year old vampire boyfriend into that confusion.  It was a charming and pleasantly sarcastic read that intermittently had me wanting to chuck it across the room in frustration for the characters. This is a book for the depressed, lonely, and/or socially awkward teenager caught in the middle of a world that is tugging them in any direction, eager to slap a label on their forehead to define them by. It is also for anyone who has experienced a loss, a comforting hope that things will work out and get better no matter how difficult the struggle may seem at the time. This is a simple story that has the potential to break down social barriers and bring a realization that we are all connected and a part of the same world, and in accordance should demonstrate a greater care for one another.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Unspoken (Shadow Falls: After Dark, #3) by C.C. Hunter

I would like to thank the publicity department of St. Martin's Griffin for an advance copy of this book for an honest review and coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Now, onto the review....

Hunter's Shadow Falls series is one of my all-time favorites. I love the world the author created, and I was definitely pleased when I found out she was writing a spin-off series featuring her vampire BFF, Della. 

To avoid spoilers for those who haven't read the previous installments, I won't dig in too much, but I find it extremely difficult to keep quiet when I've read a great novel. I rated this book, as well as the previous books (Reborn and Eternal) 5/5. 

If you're looking for an original YA paranormal novel, pick up the first book in the original Shadow Falls series, Born at Midnight. I loved that book SO MUCH that I devoured it in two sittings. I missed a lot of sleep everytime I started a C.C. Hunter novel, but it was totally worth it. 

I love the character Della and the gorgeous love interest she falls for. I enjoyed the authors perception of the world, and I felt that by reading this book I was, for a brief moment in time, someone else. Not every book does that, though, which makes me appreciate those books that go deep into your core and you can't get it out of your head. I read this book, read another outside of this series, and I missed it so much I just simply had to re-read it. 

I'm sad that Unspoken is the last novel of the SFAD trilogy, but it feels nice to feel complete, like you've put a lot of effort into something and you finally achieve your desired result. I highly recommend this book to all my readers, whether you're young or old(er). 

Right now I'm currently reading another St. Martin's Griffin title, "Romancing the Dark in the City of Lights" by Anna Jacobus. So far I'm enjoying it and can't wait to share my review with you! 

Until next time, happy reading! 


Monday, October 5, 2015

From Afar by Frank Scozzari

First off, I must thank Frank Scozzari for providing a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review. Now, on to the review....

"From Afar" is a contemporary adult novel featuring a strong hero named Morgan Stanfield, a Santa Barbara native, flees to Saint Perersburg, a far northern city in Russia. 

Morgan Stanfield was intelligent and witty and I really enjoyed reading his story. The first-person narration gave more life to the story, and I was able to slip into this world that Scozzari has created, and I was flipping page after page until I had finished. I was kind of dissapointed that the book ended, but I definitely plan on re-reading it someday. 

I have always found Russian history and culture fascinating, and Scozzari's novel was like a round trip ticket. I felt the richness of the setting, and I felt transported into this world. 

My favorite part was the wide range of characters introduced such as (quote from the back of the book) a Russian beauty, a prostitute, a wise old babushka, an American chauvinist, intellectuals, the and the Russian mafia.

I enjoyed this book, as it was equally thrilling as it was romantic, and I highly recommend you guys read Frank Scozzari's novel, "From Afar." 

Rating: 3.5/5

I always appreciate your thoughts and opinions, so don't hesitate to reach out by email or Twitter @CrewCasey