Series: Elements of Chemistry

Capture by Penny Reid

Capture by Penny ReidCapture by Penny Reid
Series: Elements of Chemistry #3
Published by Cipher-Naught on May 8th 2015
Pages: 234
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four-stars

One week. Manhattan apartment. Super-hot ex-boyfriend.
…What’s the worst that could happen?
It’s been nine months since Kaitlyn Parker has seen or heard from Martin Sandeke—nine months and five stages of matter. She’s lived through the worst of first-love heartbreak, and is most certainly stronger (and less likely to hide in science cabinets) than ever before.
But now Martin is back. And he wants to be friends. But he’s sending mixed signals to the Bunsen burner in Kaitlyn’s pants.
Will Martin re-capture Kaitlyn’s heart? Can Kaitlyn and Martin ever be just friends? Or, despite an abundance of chemistry, are some bonds just too unstable to endure?

A nine-month period of separation can evidently do wonders. Because it seems as though Kaitlyn and Martin have nearly undergone personality changes, the latter more glaringly so, to the point where I almost don’t recognise this polished, intense and earnest young man who has suddenly replaced the classless act that had been wandering around angry and cynical in the first two books. Just who is this Martin and why am I so riveted by him?

Change, as I’d suspected at the end of the second book, isn’t too bad, because this separation has done both Kaitlyn and Martin worlds of good and in the process, made them characters I now know I’ll have a very hard time saying goodbye to.


While ‘Capture’ lacked the snarky, off-centre, cute-geek feel of the first installment, it is easily the most polished gem of the three books, having left the juvenile grounds of college shenanigans behind and plunged into a world where feelings and decisions hold more gravity than they did in the first two. I like Martin for what he has become and got a little frustrated with Kaitlyn’s cluelessness, but seeing these two assured people become who they have in that time apart is quite the priceless treasure to be left with.

four-stars

Heat by Penny Reid

Heat by Penny ReidHeat by Penny Reid
Series: Elements of Chemistry #2
Published by Smashwords Edition on April 19th 2015
Pages: 188
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three-stars

Four days left.Private beach (…and boat).Not so invisible girl.And maybe less of a jerk-faced bully than originally thought.
What’s the worst (or the best) that could happen?
Kaitlyn is finding life outside of the science cabinet of obscurity to be quite illuminating …and so are her pants.
When things heat up between Kaitlyn Parker and Martin—previously known as the jerk-faced bully—Sandeke, she places her trust in the one person she never thought capable of earning it, let alone keeping it safe. Fortunately or unfortunately for Kaitlyn, where she gives her trust she can’t help but also give her heart.
But how will the world beyond the sanctuary of their newfound connection react to their relationship? Soon senators, chinless billionaires, and elements beyond Martin and Kaitlyn’s control want to weigh in on the young couple’s future.
Navigating the chaotic inferno of new love might be more than Kaitlyn bargained for, and much, much more than her trust—or her heart—can handle.

Quite literally a next-sentence continuation from Penny Reid’s first installment, ‘Heat’ continues the burgeoning saga between Kaitlyn and Martin, pretty much encapsulating the physical evolution of their relationship. I hadn’t expected much more, but there were smaller hints about more abstract ideas that I liked in this story: the power of words and their nuances (in a conversation Kaitlyn points out the use of ‘fuck’ and ‘making love’) in particular.

But the hard choices and angst that come in the latter part of ‘Heat’ were what I thought were necessarily ‘evils’, so to speak, shedding light on Kaitlyn’s maturity – that still outpaces Martin’s by far. I’m reminded why I still can’t like Martin at all, despite the good reasons we’ve been given for his hard and loose but revenge-driven behaviour: that character growth that Kaitlyn experiences somehow passes him by and at the end of the book, I felt that Martin remains the manipulative guy who would love only when conditions suit his purposes. My respect for Kaitlyn on the other hand, grew for her ability for wanting to work things out rationally, despite the constant accusation of her lack of emotion and other insecurities.

Now, onto part 3.

three-stars

Attraction by Penny Reid

Attraction by Penny ReidAttraction by Penny Reid
Series: Elements of Chemistry #1
Published by Smashwords Edition on April 6th 2015
Pages: 161
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three-stars

One week.Private beach.Invisible girl.Jerk-faced bully.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.
Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family's billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.
When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

The uniqueness of Kaitlyn Parker’s shenanigans – in that dorky, geeky but endearing manner – is the sparkling highlight of Penny Reid’s writing. Told wholly in her bizarre, out-of-the-world perspectives that frame all the events in this story, I simply turned the pages because I couldn’t wait to read just what funny and unexpected things she’d say.

But my unhappy rating really, reflects the questionable male lead of Martin Sandeke, who isn’t above using sex and desire – the basest and most likely the most unreliable of measurements – to act on his inexplicable attraction to Kaitlyn. Damaged and not above using people (and women) for his purposes, I simply thought Martin was a classless and self-centred act. Crassly dangling his vast sexual experience in front of her was an absolute turn-off for me, and much of the book – and beyond – felt like he was simply manipulating her with behaviour that her logical mind can’t handle, especially in sexual matters.

Nonetheless, it’s a short-read and one that ends on an unsatisfactory note, intended as a NA/drama series of sorts. Thankfully, the next 2 volumes are well within reach, even though I’ve got this gut feeling that it isn’t going to end well, if the trajectory of both Kaitlyn and Martin’s skewed relationship continues the way I think it will.

three-stars