On My Wishlist (3/5/12)

This is a weekly event, originally created by Book Chick City and now hosted right here, where we showcase the books which are currently top of our wishlists. Old, new or yet to be released titles are all welcome. And why keep it to books? Spot some awesome book accessory or related item that you can wait to own? Share that with us too. Feel free to take the meme button below for your post and don’t forget to come back and add your post to the linky every Saturday so others can visit. 

On My Wishlist This Week 

I don’t think my choices this week could be any more different. I’m definitely finding a variety keeps me a happier reader (after I read my fifth dystopian YA in a row!) Anyway, one YA one adult this week…

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles Like his brothers, 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 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? 

This one’s already out in the US and due for publication in the UK this July. I’ve loved the previous two books and can’t wait for more from the delicious Fuentes brothers (phew at that cover!):D  

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones A sinister tale of haunting beauty, from The Outcast author Sadie Jones.

She was obeying a prompt, an instinct: the instinct that makes a dog lying by the fire tremble of a sudden, and whimper, when there is no one near to see.

The cake is iced. The wine decanted. The house gleams invitingly. But as Sterne prepares for Emerald Torrington’s birthday supper, who are the pale strangers struggling silently up the drive?

A supernatural comedy and spellbinding thriller, The Uninvited Guests strips away the respectable layers of Edwardian society to reveal the dark secrets beneath.

‘What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen. Passing like a spring fever, here is a fairy tale that stays with you long after it is gone.’ Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress 

This one came up on my Amazon vine list a few months ago, but was snapped up so quickly I missed it 😦 I read The Outcast by Sadie Jones a few years ago and really enjoyed it. This one sounds very different though. I love the cover, the setting and the fact it sounds so unusual. 

So what’s on your Wishlist this week? 

Book Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Rules of Attraction is the second book in the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles. It was published on 6th January by Simon and Schuster Children’s Books and it is 368 pages long.
Carlos Fuentes does not want to leave his family in Mexico. Although his life isn’t fantastic, he doesn’t want to leave his mother and brother in order to live with older brother, Alex. Carlos is quite a free spirit who doesn’t like being told what to do so the idea of conforming to Alex’s rules doesn’t sound much fun at all.
Kiara Westford is Carlos’ opposite. She’s extremely shy and likes to shut out the world. She certainly doesn’t live on the edge. When her and Carlos’ lives collide, Kiara is forced to re-think her life and what she is all about. Carlos is determined that Kiara thinks that she is too good for him, due to her families way of life but he never said he was interested in her, did he? As they get to know each other, they realise that they have so much more in common than they both thought was possible. Their quickly growing connection scares them but can Carlos and Kiara get over their initial fears in order to find something amazing?
What I thought
After reading Perfect Chemistry last year, I was dying to read the next instalment of the Fuentes brothers’ stories. As soon as I got my hands on a copy of Rules of Attraction, I couldn’t put it down.
What I liked about Carlos was that he was so different to Alex. He quite liked his dangerous life and didn’t want to try to do any better. When their mother ships Carlos off to Colorado to live with Alex, he isn’t pleased at all, knowing that Alex will try to change him and to try to make him live a straight edged life like he does. Carlos does have some of the traits that I loved about Alex though. He’s cocky, arrogant and full of himself but funny at the same time. I know they aren’t the typical things to look for in a guy but I can’t help liking the bad boy in a book. He also has a tattoo in a very sexy place but I will leave you to find out where.
Kiara comes from a well off family so instantly, Carlos has a bit of a dislike for her, thinking that she believes she is better than everyone else. He couldn’t be more wrong. Kiara was a really sweet character and is very shy when it comes to letting anyone in. For years, Kiara has had to go to speech therapy to sort out her stutter and because of this, she feels very insecure about being around people and in sticky situations. She does have best friend Tuck to look out for her though. What I liked the most about Kiara was that she was so different to the popular girls she hated at her school. Instead of worrying about her hair and what she is wearing, Kiara would rather be fixing up her car or taking a hike in the mountains. It was great to see a girl who wasn’t self obsessed at all.
The chemistry between her and Carlos was fantastic right from the very beginning. Both characters were quite witty and the conversation between the two bounced off of each other very nicely. I loved seeing what comeback they would think of next. As Carlos slowly gets to know Kiara, even though he doesn’t want to, he realises just how much he likes her. Because of this, a completely different side to Carlos is shown. For a small amount of time, gone is the full of himself gang member and out comes the guy who would do anything for this girl. I have to say that their relationship, when they weren’t bickering at each other, was extremely sweet and I couldn’t help routing for them the whole way through.
One of the things that I liked about the previous book was how hard hitting the parts about being in a gang were. I felt like this was an aspect that was toned down too much in this book. I felt utterly terrified for Alex but I didn’t get that same feeling this time around for Carlos. While I knew things could turn out really badly, the same impact just wasn’t there and I my heart didn’t skip a few beats like it did last time. Luckily though, one extremely steamy scene made up for this.
While I thought Rules of Attraction was really good, I didn’t love it quite as much as Perfect Chemistry. Maybe that’s my love for Alex showing through. Overall though, Rules of Attraction is a great read and one for fans of the first in the series. I still cant wait to see what happens with the youngest brother of the bunch, Luis.

Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy of this book for review.

Book Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Brittany Ellis appears to have it all. She’s rich, pretty, dates the high school football captain and lives on the right side of town. And that’s the image she’s desperate to keep. Because at home things are less than perfect, as her parents decide to send away her disabled sister, her Mother’s neurosis spirals out of control and her Father spends more and more time away. Not so perfect after all.

Alex Fuentes could be seen as the complete opposite. Hard as nails gang member of the notorious Latino Blood from the opposite side of town it looks as if his path is already set-crime, drugs, guns and quite probably an early grave. But inside Alex is harbouring a desire to leave the gang and go to college. Despite the façade he hates being part of the Latino Blood, but with his Father shot dead when he was a child and being the eldest of three bothers, he doesn’t have much choice if he wants to protect his family.

Then Brittany and Alex’s worlds collide when they are partnered in a Chemistry project at school and the results are explosive. But can love cross the Cultural divide and change their destiny or, is the future already mapped out for them the only one?

Seriously, when I read raving reviews about this book I was really eager to read it for myself, but there is no way I was expecting to fall so absolutely in love with it. From the first page I completely devoured the entire story and I’m still thinking about it hours after finishing. Told in alternating chapters by Brittany and Alex, this is a classic good girl/bad boy love story. But what gives this book an edge and makes it such compulsive and memorable reading are the two amazing and complex main characters.

While they believe themselves very different, Alex and Brittany are actually incredibly similar. They are both projecting the image that their families, friends and society expect from them. I adored the way Simone Elkeles used both Brittany and Alex’s voice to tell the story, it meant I was able to connect with both of them and was anxiously urging them on throughout. Brittany got my sympathy straight away. As a reader you’re immediately aware that she’s deeper than she appears. Her desperation to create the ‘perfect’ image, forced upon her by her Mother, makes her lonely and alienated. Her devotion to her disabled sister was incredibly touching, and while the persona she put on for others isn’t very likeable, I loved the Brittany I got an insight into as a reader.

Alex is just, well…stunning. Tough, cocky, sexy…he is hot! He’s speech is captivating and authentic with Spanish phrases littering his dialogue, so even while I don’t speak Spanish, it brought his character even more alive. But he is also so much more than the sexy, brooding, bad boy. Simone Elkeles doesn’t glamorise gangs at all, she shows the harsh reality and it’s not pretty. My heart went to Alex immediately as like Brittany, he’s putting on an act of survival and can’t see a way out. Having seen his Father shot, he is desperate to protect his younger brothers and knows that by sacrificing his own future by joining the gang, he can save them from the same fate. I defy anyone not to fall in love with him; I know I did.

The Chemistry between the two is just dazzling. They spark off each other, at first with hatred and then with sexual tension. Its gripping, heart pounding, stomach clenching stuff. Elkeles writes so well it’s impossible not to get swept up in. A comment made by another character in the book likening Alex to Danny Zuko in Grease had me screaming Yeeess!!! Think of all that chemistry between Sandy and Danny, how you knew they should be together even when they didn’t. But Perfect Chemistry isn’t a fun romance, it has a dark, menacing side, which tackles racism, gang crime and image perception. Sitting in my comfy semi rural English home, criminal gangs such as the Latino Blood are a world away from my own, but Simone Elkeles gave me an insight. Alex sees he has no choice but to join, there is no way out and to do so would put himself and his family at danger. It made me so sad and angry.

So would I recommend Perfect Chemistry? Oh Yeah! I absolutely adored this book from beginning to end, with it keeping me up half the night just to finish it and taking me on one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. I really couldn’t tear my eyes away. Look past the front cover, which in my opinion does nothing for the amazing story inside and I don’t think many will be disappointed with what they find. The only caution I would give would be that the book contains some swearing, sex and violence and I would advise against giving it to under Thirteen year olds, depending on your stance on such things. This is certainly heading straight for my favourites shelves, and I can’t wait for the second book in the trilogy, Rules Of Attraction, to be released.

And if my word isn’t enough to convince you, go and check out Becky @ The Bookette’s character connection post where she discusses the awesomeness that is Alex Feuntes!