Release Day Review: Elastic Hearts by Claire Contreras

Elastic Hearts by Claire Contreras
Series: Hearts #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 20th 2016
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Victor Reuben.
Most sought out divorce attorney in LA.

Nicole Alessi.
Soon to be ex-wife of Hollywood’s biggest star, Victor’s latest client and his boss’s daughter.

In such a high profile divorce, they can’t afford any extra drama. Luckily, neither one of them has anything to hide.
Unless you count the mind blowing sex they had…
Once…
Twice…
Three times all those years ago.

As long as they leave the past where it belongs, they’ll be fine. But with her wearing those tight dresses and him giving her those heated glances, keeping their hands to themselves is proving to be more difficult than either one of them realized.

It won’t be long before the paparazzi start to smell smoke, and where there’s smoke…

I’m a big fan of Claire Contreras’ Hearts series, so I was so excited when I heard Victor would be a getting his own book! If you’ve enjoyed the previous Hearts books, you should know that Elastic Hearts is a bit different than Kaleidoscope Hearts and Paper Hearts. It’s not quite a second chance romance, so there isn’t as much angst in this book, but it is more of a forbidden love story. While I liked Victor and Nicole’s book, I didn’t really love it as much as KH or PH. I just didn’t feel engaged as much as I wish I did, so that ended up affecting how I enjoyed the story. Still, it’s a well-written contemporary romance, and if you love the Hearts series, you just might love Elastic Hearts too.

“I’ve worked so fucking hard and this case is going to blow it all to shit,” he said, inching his face closer to mine. I stopped breathing. “All because I need this more than I’ve needed anything else in my fucking life.”

We first met Victor Reuben in Kaleidoscope Hearts as Estelle’s older brother. It didn’t seem like he was that much into relationships then, so I was excited to see him falling in love. Victor is one of the most popular and successful divorce attorneys in L.A. and he’s got one more case to handle before he can make partner at the firm he works at. But it turns out that the divorce case he’s handed just so happens to be the daughter of his boss… and the woman he used to hook up with all those years ago.

Nicole Alessi, a costume designer for celebrities, is ready to finish through with her divorce and move on with her life and away from her soon-to-be ex-husband, a famous actor in Hollywood. She doesn’t expect Victor to be handling her divorce, or for the sizzling chemistry and attraction that combusted years ago to still exist today. Nicole always thought of Victor as the one who got away, but he was too anti-relationship back then to truly make something out of a relationship with him. Now, Nicole tries to tempt him into their crazy-hot hookups again, but Victor is very hands-off with clients. But there’s only so much temptation Victor can handle before he once again falls for Nicole’s allure.

Elastic Hearts moved very, very slow. That was my main problem with the book – I really wanted the pace of the romance to move faster. Plus, Victor was too frustrating and hot-and-cold with his feelings for Nicole. I kind of felt bad for her every time he would pull her in, only to push her away. It also took a bit too long for my taste for Victor to realize that he’s not so anti-relationship or anti-love as he thought.

“I don’t stretch. I don’t mold. I don’t conform, and despite what people say about my career, I’m not a liar. So when I tell you I’m in love with you, Nicole, it’s because I’m in fucking love with you.”

I liked this book for the most part, but I wouldn’t say it was anything special or unique. I had to skip forward a bit at some slow parts, but overall, I did have fun reading this book. It’s hot, sweet, and totally sexy – I just wish I could’ve connected better with Nicole and Victor and really FELT for their characters. Nonetheless, even though I didn’t fully love this book, I would still recommend it for Claire Contreras fans and the Hearts series fans. Especially since you’ll get to see a lot of Estelle, Oliver, Mia, and Jensen!

3.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Hearts series

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras 

#1 ~ Kaleidoscope Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Paper Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Elastic Hearts: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Early Review: Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras

Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras

Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras
Series: Hearts #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 9th 2015
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I lost her.
No, I didn’t lose her. I threw her away.
She was my best friend.

I was never supposed to fall in love with her.
I was careless.
She was heartbroken.

I thought I was doing fine. But here she is, years later, forced to work with me, reminding me why I fell in love with her in the first place.
And this time I’m going to do everything in my power to never let her go.

“Real love stories never end.”

Second chance romances are probably my favorite kinds of romances to read. The angst, the heartbreak, the reunion, the rekindled love… everything about the trope just appeals to me. So I had high expectations for Paper Hearts – ever since I read Kaleidoscope Hearts (my review here) and Torn Hearts (the free prequel novella to Paper Hearts), Mia and Jensen’s story was a highly anticipated read of mine. And I’m so glad to say that Claire Contreras didn’t let me down – Paper Hearts is a fantastic, heart-wrenching second chance romance that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. It’s the kind of book that will tug on your heartstrings, make your heart pound, and leave you breathless.

It’s been said that we’re only given one chance at things in life. I’d love to prove that wrong.

Normally, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to read this book – but I felt like I just HAD to know Mia and Jensen’s story. In the prequel (which is also in the beginning of Paper Hearts), we learn that Jensen and Mia were the inseparable, totally-in-love kind of couple. But when Jensen goes off to college, their relationship takes a break… and then Jensen does something that changes the course of their lives forever. My heart broke for the two of them – they went from being best friends who were in love to being shattered beyond repair. I honestly didn’t know if I’d be able to forgive Jensen for what he did. But reading Paper Hearts has put everything in perspective, and now I’m just so glad to have experienced Mia and Jensen’s love story.

My heart felt like it wanted to leap out and settle inside of his. Not again, I told myself. I knew if it did, I’d never get it back.

Mia and Jensen have rarely seen each other in the years since they’ve broken apart, but now Mia is moving to New York City to work as a photographer at the same place Jensen writes his column. In the same city and in the same workplace, it’s inevitable that they’ll see each other again. And when they do, it’s obvious that the love between them has never waned, as much as Mia wishes it would. But with Jensen determined to win back the love of his life, can Mia find it in herself to forgive him and move on… with him?

Mia is a wonderful, well-rounded character. My heart was completely invested in this girl, who’s been through so much heartbreak because of Jensen. She’s smart and tough, and though she’s not without faults – she was partly to blame for her and Jensen’s bad breakup, though the majority of the blame definitely belongs to him – I really enjoyed her character. And I was all ready to be totally pissed at Jensen on her behalf, but Jensen surprised me, in the best way. Through the little snippets of his column, written in his POV, we see how much he regrets hurting Mia, how devastated at their breakup he was, and how much he still wants another chance. I could literally FEEL how much Jensen still loves Mia, which was something I definitely needed in this book. I also was expecting a lot of groveling, and the columns were basically that. Claire Contreras did a fantastic job with Jensen’s character, showing his flaws, his motivations, and most of all, his complete devotion to Mia.

Maybe our souls really are scattered in the things we love, and we are all completely lost, but from the moment she looked at me, I felt like I’d been found.

I was expecting a lot of angst in Paper Hearts, but I’d say the angst was more sweet than anything. Both the main characters have grown up and matured over the years, which I appreciated. The pace of the book was spot-on – there are a lot of obstacles that Jensen and Mia need to overcome before they can finally have that HEA, and everything played out at the perfect pace. Even though I may not have completely loved Paper Hearts, it’s still a brilliant read that fans of second chance romances should not miss. It’s a GREAT read, one I recommend – if you’re into intense love stories that will make you will feel so much, you should definitely give this book a try. You won’t regret it!

“I love you, and there’s no negotiating with what I feel in my heart.”

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Hearts series

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras 

#1 ~ Kaleidoscope Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Paper Hearts: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Elastic Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Audiobook Review: Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras
Series: Hearts #1 (full reading order below)
Audiobook Publication Date: June 23rd 2015
Length: 8 hours and 52 minutes
Narrated by: Christy Romano & Vikas Adam
Links: Audible • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

He was my older brother’s best friend.
He was never supposed to be mine.
I thought we would get it out of our system and move on.

One of us did.
One of us left.

Now he’s back, looking at me like he wants to devour me. And all those feelings I’d turned into anger are brewing into something else, something that terrifies me.
He broke my heart last time.
This time he’ll obliterate it.

I enjoyed this audiobook so, so much! This is my first read – well, listen – from Claire Contreras, and it certainly won’t be my last. Mainly because I NEED the sequel, and I just love Claire’s writing! Kaleidoscope Hearts is a combination of two of my favorite tropes: second chance romance and the best friend’s little sister. So YAY for that alone! But I’m glad to say that this book won my heart because of more than just those tropes – I adored it because of its gorgeous writing and the heart-wrenching romance.

Every second counts. Live in this moment. This is life. This is what matters.

A year after her fiancé’s death, Estelle is finally moving on. While Wyatt may not have been THE love of her life, Elle still loved Wyatt all the same and was devastated by his death. Now, she’s moving in with her brother, Vic – but Elle’s first love, her brother’s best friend, the boy who shattered her heart so many years ago, is back in her life.

He was the one I loved first. He was the one who broke my heart first, and here he is again. For how long this time, I wonder? Does it matter? My heart bleeds.

Elle and Oliver kept their love and relationship a secret, because they didn’t want Vic, Elle’s brother and Oliver’s best friend, to find out. Plus, while Oliver may have loved Elle back then, he had so many problems and just wasn’t ready to settle down. I really loved the way Claire Contreras slowly revealed to us about Elle and Oliver’s former relationship. Kaleidoscope Hearts is told in dual POV, with Oliver’s set in the past and Elle’s set in the present. My heart broke for Elle after all the pain Oliver caused her. Theirs is a one-of-a-kind love, but it just wasn’t meant to be at that moment of time in their lives. Now, though, everything’s different – yet the same, because it’s obvious that Oliver and Elle never stopped loving each other.

“I always thought you were mine,” he says.

I liked Elle, surprisingly a lot more than I did Oliver. I loved the way Elle shoots Oliver down when he comes back in her life, because Oliver seriously needed to do some ass-kissing before he even deserved another chance with her. She’s been through so much pain, first with Oliver, then with Wyatt’s death, but she comes out stronger than ever. Elle is an artist with a talent for creating kaleidoscope hearts, building shattered pieces of glass into hearts that are now whole. It’s pretty meaningful and symbolic – the whole book is pretty meaningful, actually. Claire Contreras wrote a fantastic book about second chances, about living life to the fullest, because you never know which moment may be your last.

I loved Elle’s narrator, Christy Romano. She did an excellent job of conveying all of Elle’s heartbreak and strength. The voice of Oliver’s narrator, Vikas Adam, didn’t really seem to match up with what I thought would be Oliver’s voice, but it grew on me later on.

Oliver’s character, unfortunately, is the reason I can’t give Kaleidoscope Hearts 5 stars. Sometimes, I really was skeptical of Oliver’s love for Elle, because of how much he kept hurting her. He doesn’t really prove his love when he comes back into her life either. It wasn’t until the very end that I was finally sold on him as a hero, because Oliver finally takes action and becomes the man who deserves to be with Elle.

“My mind is yours. My hands are yours. My heart is yours. Everything I have is yours. Everything I am is yours.”

Overall, Kaleidoscope Hearts is a fantastic second chance romance full of heartache and emotion. There’s quite a bit of back and forth between Elle and Oliver that only grew slightly tedious, but I really did like the way their romance developed this second time around. It was also so lovely as an audiobook – I love dual narrations, so this one made me really happy. If you’re in the mood for a second chance romance with a ton of feels, I highly recommend this one!

4 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Hearts series

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras 

#1 ~ Kaleidoscope Hearts: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Paper Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Elastic Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

Here’s an audio excerpt from Kaleidoscope Hearts!


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Release Day Blitz + Excerpt & Giveaway: Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

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Happy Release Day to Claire Contreras! Kaleidoscope Hearts is live!

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras
Release Date: January 22nd 2015
Add to Goodreads

He was my older brother’s best friend.

He was never supposed to be mine.

I thought we would get it out of our system and move on.

One of us did.

One of us left.

Now he’s back, looking at me like he wants to devour me. And all those feelings I’d turned into anger are brewing into something else, something that terrifies me.

He broke my heart last time.

This time he’ll obliterate it.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Amazon UK • iTunes

Kaleidoscopte teaser

Now here’s an excerpt from Kaleidoscope Hearts! ❤

excerpt

What’s wrong?” I asked as she wiped her tears and shook her head. Her face was no longer wet, save for the dip over the top of her lips. I’d never noticed how full they were before then. I’d never noticed how rosy and defined her cheekbones were, or the way her eyebrows turned into a slight frown when she looked at me. I’d never paid attention to how ridiculously alluring her eyes were. The different shades made them look like the marbles I used to collect when I was a kid. My gaze drifted down to her neck, where I noticed her swallow, and then over her tits, which were now full, not like the last time I’d seen her in a bathing suit when she was still flat chested. Jesus Christ, this girl was hot.

The clearing of her throat made my eyes snap back to hers, putting an end to their voyeuristic journey down her now grown up body.

“You’re so grown up,” I said before I could stop myself and cringed at the voice I said it in, all needy and husky and fuck my life, desperate. I expected her to roll her eyes, the way she normally did when I said anything to her, but this girl, this freaking girl looked at me and smiled the sexiest smile I’d ever seen. And I had just been at a party full of hot girls smiling, but Elle’s was slow and sensual when she wasn’t trying to make it be. It was just her smile, the one I’d been seeing for as long as I could remember. Putting that smile on this grown up version of her should be down right illegal.

“Are you hitting on me?” she asked, with a sultriness in her voice that surprised the hell out of me.

“That depends,” I said, inching to sit closer to her, somehow completely forgetting that I was in my best friend’s house and this was his little sister. The thought of Vic finding us crossed my mind, but I pushed it down. In that moment, under a sky full of stars with a sad Estelle, all I could think about was making her smile.

“What does it depend on?” she whispered.

“Whether or not it’s working,” I whispered back, lifting my hand and running it down her back, a motion I shouldn’t have done because now I knew Elle wasn’t wearing a bra under the oversized sweater she had on and that knowledge woke up everything in my lower region.

about the author

Claire Contreras

Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, two little boys, and three dogs.

Her favorite past times are: daydreaming, writing, and reading.

She has been described as a random, sarcastic, crazy girl with no filter.

Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones.

Website • Facebook • Twitter

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Excerpt Reveal: Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

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I’m so excited to share an excerpt form Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras!

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras
Release Date: January 22nd 2015
Add to Goodreads

He was my older brother’s best friend.

He was never supposed to be mine.

I thought we would get it out of our system and move on.

One of us did.

One of us left.

Now he’s back, looking at me like he wants to devour me. And all those feelings I’d turned into anger are brewing into something else, something that terrifies me.

He broke my heart last time.

This time he’ll obliterate it.

Now here’s an excerpt from Kaleidoscope Hearts! ❤

excerpt

“Look at me, Elle,” he says, using the deliciously low demanding voice that once made my toes curl and my eyes roll back, and I have no choice but to tilt my head to give him my attention. “Forget those lame guys you’re dating.

Let me take you out.”

My heart, if possible, spikes further in my chest, overriding all warning of the impending chaos that’s sure to come. I try turning my attention to the poster hanging beside me, but the kissing couple makes me look back at him and the deep green eyes that are burning into mine. My stomach does a flip-flop, the way it always does when he looks at me that way and I try to take my hands back because these feelings are too scary for me to deal with right now, but he holds them tighter, bringing them up to his mouth and kissing the tip of my ring finger. Why did he pick that finger to kiss? I pull harder and he finally lets my hand drop.

“I can’t,” I say, my voice coming out hoarse.

A myriad of emotions flash in his eyes before they settle on determination and I’m forced to take a step back, away from his scent, away from his warmth, and into the cold closet behind me.

“Why not?”

I sigh, finally looking away, back down to his naked feet. “I just can’t.” He knows why not. He shouldn’t ask me that question. “What’s Vic doing, anyway?”

His body moves into mine so quickly that I don’t have time to react to his large hands clutching my arms or his face dropping until we’re nose to nose. I just stare, wide eyed, waiting for his lips to fall over mine, but they don’t. He just looks at me, breathes on me, lets me breathe on him, and he groans. And that fucking groan travels from his body into mine and crawls into the core of me, draping over every fiber inside of me.

“What do you want, Oliver?” I whisper against his lips. “What do you want from me? You want to kiss me? You want to fuck me? You want to come into my life like the hurricane that you are and tear down everything I’ve rebuilt and disappear just as quickly?”

His lips brush slightly against mine, just a breath of a touch as he stands there, crowding me like he’s about to devour me. But he won’t. He never goes in for the kill. He just lures me, casts me, reels me in and pulls away. His hands drop and his face leaves mine with the same quickness and I feel a pang deep inside me that I wish wasn’t there.

“I’m sorry,” he says quietly, shaking his head in a movement that makes his hair sway back and forth. His eyes are soft on mine now and I can almost hear his thoughts: I should have never kissed her. I should have never—

My brows rise in surprise at the apology, though. There are so many things I can say to him, but the sudden defeated look in his eyes keeps my mouth shut. Finally, I exhale and push off the wall, standing in front of him, with enough distance between us that we can’t reach out and touch each other.

“It’s okay just… don’t do it again. The kiss the other day was a mistake…” I stop talking and walk past him, putting my bra away and sorting through my underwear drawer like it has some sort of hidden treasure or something. This time when I feel him come up behind me, I drop my head and exhale. He really needs to stop sneaking up behind me.

“Oli—“ I start and gasp when I feel his lips on the back of my neck, soft and warm. My heart thunders and my hands begin to shake inside the drawer so I close my eyes and focus on breathing. He drops another kiss right beside that spot. I never knew the back of my neck was so sensitive. The feeling sends a ripple of sensation down my arms and through my body.

“It wasn’t a mistake,” he says in a husky whisper that makes my flesh break out in goose bumps. “You’ve never been a mistake. You want me to tell your brother that I want to take you out? Is that what it would take?”

about the author

Claire Contreras

Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, two little boys, and three dogs.

Her favorite past times are: daydreaming, writing, and reading.

She has been described as a random, sarcastic, crazy girl with no filter.

Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones.

Website • Facebook • Twitter