Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our Love Won't Be Denied

Series: Perfect Chemistry
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 23, 2008 | April 13, 2010 | August 16, 2011
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || e-book (PC) & hardcovers (RoA/CR)

In Perfect Chemistry, when Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.(modified from Goodreads)

In Rules of Attraction, when Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now. (modified from Goodreads)

In Chain Reaction, Luis Fuentes is a risk taker; whether he's scaling the Rocky Mountains or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis is always looking for the next thrill. Nikki Cruz, on the other hand, lives her life by certain rules ― don't trust a boy who says "I love you", boys lie to get their own way and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Then she meets Luis at his brother Alex's wedding and suddenly she's tempted to break all her rules. Getting Nikki to give him a chance is Luis's biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by the head of the gang that nearly destroyed his brothers' lives. Will Luis's feelings for Nikki be enough to stop him from entering a dark and violent world that could prove to be the ultimate risk?  (modified from Goodreads)

Before I started blogging, I had already heard of the Perfect Chemistry series. There were many bloggers who had enjoyed it and I was encouraged by their comments to add it to my constantly growing TBR pile. Thanks to the challenge, I was finally able to cross this series off my list – and I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed reading all three books! They were definitely standouts, in particular because gang involvement was a major part of each Fuentes brother’s life. With a series of dramatic, high stakes events that brought to mind a few of my favorite television dramas, the Perfect Chemistry series was addicting, gripping and really, really fun.

Perfect Chemistry is the story of Alex Fuentes and Brittany Ellis. While I did enjoy seeing how Alex and Brittany did end up together, I think my enjoyment of this book was affected by the fact that I read it last. I had already known what would become of Alex and Brittany, so it felt like I was being given a glimpse into their history.  I liked the fact that we get to learn more about them both as individuals – Alex as a member of the Latino Blood gang and Brittany as she puts up a perfect façade to disguise her imperfect reality. But what I really liked was seeing their relationship blossom from start to finish. While they had their moments of doubt and major disagreements, it still warmed my heart to find that their love could flourish.

Rules of Attraction is the story of Carlos Fuentes and Kiara Westford. I don’t know if it’s simply because it was the first one I read, but this is my favorite! Carlos Fuentes is angry and frustrated and, for all intents and purposes, the typical bad boy at the start of this book. Though his brother Alex has fought to give him great opportunities, he doesn’t appear to care initially. His transformation into someone different, someone who embraces the good in life and his own talents, was incredible for me to witness. (This is also probably what made Carlos so dear to me!) I also really liked Kiara a lot, as I thought she was sassy, relatable and a good foil for Carlos. Obviously, I was rooting for them to get together. When they finally did, I pretty much just swooned all over the place at all the moments they shared, grieved when they had difficulties and misunderstandings and was overjoyed whenever they were given a reprieve. One other thing I really liked about this book? It was set in Colorado.

Chain Reaction is the story of Luis Fuentes and Nikki Cruz. Luis is quite the little rascal and a bit of a daredevil, both things that made me want to take care of him from the start. When certain things come to light and his curiosity is piqued, he ends up being way more involved with the Latino Blood than he (or any of his brothers) would have wanted to be. It broke my heart to see his heartbreak and his struggle, and the way that he attempted to be strong in the face of everything he learned. Plus, his being involved in Latino Blood did not bode well at all for his budding relationship. Nikki Cruz is his girl, and she’s really very interesting. She’s suffered heartbreak, and has thus put up walls of protection around herself. Clearly, Luis manages to find a way to tear them down – and their relationship was very sweet.

Reading these books nearly back-to-back (there was a brief gap before I read Perfect Chemistry) was a great experience, as I was fully immersed in the world of the Fuentes brothers and their stories. Seeing the connections between their tales – their wonderful mother being one of my favorites – was definitely wonderful. And the best part of all, for me, was that each brother managed to find their way in the end. The swoon-inducing, steamy moments come a very close second too!

As I did for my review of the Darcy & Rachel series, I’ve made a comparison chart for the series below.

CATEGORY
PERFECT CHEMISTRY
RULES OF ATTRACTION
CHAIN REACTION
ALEXA’S PICK
Main Character
Alex
Carlos
Luis
Carlos (I’ve already explained this one above. Basically, he’s the kind of bad boy with a good heart that I love.)
Love Interest
Brittany
Kiara
Nikki
Kiara (I think we’d be friends if she were a real person.)
Secondary Character
Shelly
Brandon & Tuck
Derek & Kendall
Kendall (She’s also a girl I could possibly be friends with in real life.)
First Kiss Spot
the Fuentes house
in the halls of their high school
the Cruz house
the Fuentes house (Seriously. That moment was really, really intense.) (Then again, they all were…)
Setting
Fairfield, Chicago
Colorado
Fairfield, Chicago
Colorado (It’s the only one that’s different. Plus, the mountains!)

(Clearly, I enjoyed Rules of Attraction a lot. Actually, I enjoyed them all a lot.)

I’m truly glad that I finally had the opportunity to binge read the Perfect Chemistry series. The stories of each Fuentes brother were engrossing reads that I could not put down once I had started! I swooned and sighed, I yelled with joy and pain and sorrow and anger and I closed each book with a satisfied grin. It was truly an experience reading these stories, and I can honestly say that you can count me in as a fan of this series from now on!
This series review was posted as part of this challenge. Join us!

7 comments:

  1. This looks like a great Binge Read series! Especially for the summer time when you just need a little bit of steamy, wonderful romance!

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  2. I read Perfect Chemistry last year, after hearing many people compare Pushing the Limits to PC. I liked PC a lot, but I never was really interested in reading the other books in the series. Maybe I should? I'm definitely interested in Carols's story. And YAY Colorado!

    Thanks for the reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alexa! I seriously love your charts! Oh, we totally have the same fave love interest. Kiara rocks!

    I might have to agree w/you on the "first read" theory bc I read PC first & love it the most. lol. I def have a soft spot for each brother in a diff way. Overall, it was a fantastic series & I"m so happy we read it together!

    Vi
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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  4. once again, I love your series review idea, Alexa! I've been thinking about reading these books, but I never thought of reading them TOGETHER. I am going to have to see if the library has them, because I just adore books about brothers or sisters/etc that really explore that sibling relationship. Plus even though it's a bit formalistic, I adore books where successive characters get their happy endings. It makes my heart happy!

    And hey, I want to meet these boys, especially Carlos!

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  5. Swooning and sighing is sometimes all I want to do with books like these. This sounds like such a feel-good series. I'm really glad I decided to buy Perfect Chemistry when I did! Now I just have to make start on it. :)

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  6. I just love how you set up this series review Alexa! I've had this books on my to-read list for a while because I too have heard a lot about them but I didn't realize they were 3 separate stories until now though! I will probably read Wild Cards first since I picked it up at BEA and then go back to this one. I have it on audio so I will definitely get to it at some point and I am glad that you enjoyed it so much! Great review!!

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  7. I actually haven't read any of these yet but I do have Perfect Chemistry at home AND the main character's name is Brittany! Definitely interested. Just have to be in the mood for a nice, serious drama! :) Thanks for sharing!!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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