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Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
Bryan Peterson
Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry, #3) - Simone Elkeles [Note: I went into this book with good intentions. Please note my enthusiastic hashtagging in honour of the Fuentes boys, along with my fellow readalongers, Flannery, Jo and Trinity. Alas, I did not like this book - as the following review states.]Look, I’m sorry, but every once in a while I just need to get my rant on and Chain Reaction has the dubious honour of being in my ranty sights right now. I’ve read Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction, and while they weren’t precisely my cup of tea, I can’t lie – they were entertaining and fun. I expected something similar from Chain Reaction, if a slightly different take on the previous formula of bad-boy meets girl-from-the-right-side-of-the-tracks. What I didn’t expect was to read the mutant spawn of the previous two books, a Perfect Chemistry/Rules of Attraction fan-fiction-style mash-up. ExpectationsIn hindsight I don’t know where I got this idea from, but I thought this book would be about Luis – the intelligent, sensitive and somewhat shy youngest Fuentes brother – being brought out of his shell by a confident, challenging Nikki, replete with trademark Elkeles flirtatious tension. Haha. Those were the days..RealityLuis is basically a hybrid of Alex and Carlos – which makes him what? The Ultimate Fuentes? An intelligent, tough, risk-taking, wannabe-astronaut badass with perfectly ripped abs who sets fire to the underwear of all girls in a 2 mile radius without even breaking a sweat. His key differentiator appears to be his perfectly spiked hair. Luis sets his sights on Nikki, super-hot girl-from-the-right-side-of-the-tracks-with-a-secret!, determined to break through her cool exterior and make her his mamacita while also shaming her for not being a “real” Mexican. Throw in some gangbangers, a scabby dog, a game of panty discus, a plot that defies logic, and ridiculousness ensues. Things get straddled. (Mostly furniture, though). Characters make absurd decisions. We are told plenty of things about the characters, but not really shown anything. Terrible poetry is written. Misunderstandings are rampant. Alex and Carlos bust shit up. Luis gets busted up. Nikki totes a gun and saves the day. Carlos cries, which apparently redeems him from acting like a total ass-hat. Credit where credit is due – I actually liked the beginning of this book. I felt empathy for Nikki and I thought I understood her motivations. I had high hopes. Then everyone started acting out of character and the believability I initially noted went out of the window, along with the plot, apparently. I’m sorry. I know this is harsh, but I’m frustrated with this book. It feels like a (vanilla? trololol) regurgitation of the previous two, sans the compelling characterisation and interesting plotlines. Anyway, the moral of the story appears to be: Don’t join a gang when you’re angry, it will end badly unless you have a sassy girlfriend who is your “forever and always” and buys you meteorites. Or something... * * * * * *Ok, I’m done here. I guess that’s a bit of a hollow pronouncement, since Chain Reaction is the last book in the Perfect Chemistry series, but just in case any further Fuentes books are spawned in the future: I’m staying well away. And if I don’t, I give you all leave to throw things at me. * * * * *It's finally #FuentesFriday! with Flannery, Jo and Trin.