Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Review: Paper Hearts (and Kaleidoscope Hearts) and GIVEAWAY by Claire Contreras

Title: Paper Hearts
Author: Claire Contreras
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.

Title: Kaleidoscope Hearts
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.

So I decided, after reading Kaleidoscope Hearts, Torn Hearts and then Paper Hearts, ALL IN A ROW that I'm mush. My heart got a workout. I love how drained I's such a different feeling in that I don't get it all the time. I'm on a serious book downer!! WHAT could possibly live up to that lineup??? What is going to make me FEEL those emotions like I did??? Geez. I am seriously in love with Claire Contreras and her style of writing.

What style is that, you ask? Emotion filled words.....and the kind that you can FEEL. They tugged on my heart! They aren't just words you are reading, coming to you off a page. Nope. You are feeling them. I felt a serious ache in my heart while reading Kaleidoscope Hearts and Paper Hearts. They were beautiful doubt about it. The pain that I felt....I actually enjoyed it. It was so torturously good. And sexy. And agonizing. And amazing. And excruciating. And angsty. I loved that part of it!!! I love me some good angst.

I am finding the more and more that I read, the more picky I get because I'm just starting to realize what plots and authors really work for me. Claire Contreras is officially one of those authors now that I know will write me a story that will just render me speechless. Because I am. Where do I even begin to explain this book?

We have seen all those reviews that explain this very touching story that she writes of heartache and pain, and the chance to find one another again while working to get past the pain they caused. Yep. We have. And all of the ones that say this is an amazing book, they aren't lying. Not one bit....and I will back every one of those reviews. I want to talk about Claire and her style. I want YOU to know that she writes these super emotionally captivating stories that make you FEEL. Like, I want to say she is different than many of the others I have read because I FELT her.  I seriously had to stop a few times and just ponder the possibilities of what she was writing about. Her words were so many things were said that could've meant so many other things. Man!!! I just want to scream it out....these books were AMAZING.
Seriously. Love. Her. 

And now....the realization comes. I met her in July in Portland (sat next to her, no less!!!) and I didn't get a signed copy of Kaleidoscope Hearts. Are you crying along with me? Because....yeah. Now I'm even more bummed. <sigh>

Overall, I would give Paper Hearts a 4.5 star rating. The only reason I couldn't give it a full 5 stars was because at one point I wanted to punch Mia. Like....pick up a damn phone, woman!! But the angst and the heartstrings-pulling love that these two had? Yes, amazing. Jenson is IT. SOLID. He is the man. He is an artist, so his love comes out in such a romantic way and I loved seeing things through his eyes. 
Kaleidoscope Hearts gets a 5 star rating from me for the pure torture I felt while reading this back and forth love story between Oliver and Elle. I know some people wont like the back and forth part of it, but that was realistically written. This one made me yearn for their touches for them. Ok? Yearn FOR them. Yeah, I know...I'm weird. They had an intensity that was HOT and undeniable. And it was this intensity that had me pacing.

Other than that....I loved this series and Claire ranks right up as one of my new favorites. I seriously loved these books. Now I have to go buy all her others so I can get soaked into her little worlds again. Just wrap myself up and veg....her books were THAT good.
*An ARC of Paper Hearts was received in exchange for an honest review. Kaleidoscope Hearts was a personal purchase.*

Paper Hearts (NEW RELEASE)
Kaleidoscope Hearts

I don’t take ownership in a lot of things. I rent an apartment, lease a car, and go to a no-contract gym. I have a wandering heart—an incessant mind. It’s hard for me to look at something and see forever; though I had a forever once. 

I let her go, not because I loved her too much to ask her to stay, but because I couldn’t bear to hear her tell me she wouldn’t. Still, every once in a while I wonder. 

And nothing is more haunting than regret.

Chapter 1
I used to wonder what I would do if I had the chance to go back in time and right something. Would I take it? Would I look at it as a second opportunity, or would I just let it go, knowing the experiences I went through and learned from? 

Discomfort spread through me as I walked into the building of my new, albeit temporary, job. The feeling stayed there, stuck to the lining inside of my uneasy stomach, echoing its way into my mind until I reached the twentieth floor of the building. As I exited the elevator and stepped into the lobby of the magazine, a smiling brunette, who was sorting through a colorful cup of pens, greeted me. 

Something about her—maybe her fidgetiness, the Lisa Loeb look she had going, or the welcoming smile on her face—made me breathe a little easier. 

“How can I help you?” she asked in a singsong voice as she swiveled slightly in her chair. 

“I’m here to see Mrs.—I mean, Dr. Zamora.” 

“Fran,” she said. “She likes to be called Fran. Are you Mia?” 


The girl smiled and gave me a quick onceover. “Cool. I’m Katie. Let me make sure she’s in. Take a seat.” 

I let out a breath as I placed my bag on the floor and sat across from her in a sleek white chair, taking in the vast space filled with photographs shot by people whose work I admired. In an effort to calm my nerves, I picked up one of the magazines beside me and leafed through it, and even went as far as to try to channel my inner zen, remembering what an incredible yoga session I’d had earlier that morning. But nothing worked. That sticky feeling of what did I get myself into? could not be soothed.

 It felt like the time I let my twin brother talk me into letting him cut my hair so that we could “really be twins,” and I ended up looking like Peter Pan for two months while my mother cried into her pillow every night. I fished out my phone and contemplated sending him a text. Rob had always been the brave twin, with words of wisdom to get me through these times. But, I’d dug my grave, and now I had to lie in it. 

When I ran into my favorite college professor months ago, a local magazine had just published some of my pictures for a special they were circulating. The accomplishment I felt at telling her this dwindled when she asked the dreaded words: what next? But then she offered me the opportunity of a lifetime: to take pictures for a huge magazine, one I probably wouldn’t have had an opportunity to work for had my professor’s sister not been the person in charge of the project. The catch, of course, unbeknownst to my professor or her sister, was that my exboyfriend, The Dream Crusher, wrote for the same magazine. But I’d have been an idiot to turn it down. Regardless of where I worked after this, to have this experience on my resume would be incredible. 

“She just got here,” Katie said, jerking me out of my thoughts. I stood quickly, hitching my bag on my shoulder as the glass door to my right opened and a tall woman with an uncanny resemblance to my professor—wild red hair and bright green eyes—walked through it. 

I laughed when she winked at me. After she hired me for this job, we started following each other on any social media that allowed for stalking. 

“It’s like we’ve been friends forever.” 

“Social media will do that,” she responded with a laugh as she turned on her heels. “Let me show you around.” 

If Fran were a car, she’d be in fourth gear at all times. By the time she finished showing me around the place and we got back to her office, my legs felt like they were on fire. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the heels I was wearing, or because I had to take four strides to her two. Being short could be a bit of a curse. 

“We already got the clearance from W Magazine and are keeping the title 

‘What Would You Do With Your Second Chance?’ I’m sure they told you already,” she said as we each took a seat. 

They hadn’t told me anything. Not that it mattered. I’d taken pictures for an article with a similar name, but it was for a small, local magazine, nothing of this stature. 

“I hope your friends don’t mind that we’re stealing their limelight,” Fran added with a smile. She’d become completely fascinated by the fact that the couple on the cover of the magazine, my best friend and her now-husband, were a second chance love story. 

“They definitely don’t mind,” I replied with a laugh. “They wanted to kill me when they saw the magazine in our grocery stores, so replacing it will be a good thing.

” She laughed. “Were they uneasy because they weren’t an official couple yet?” 

“Basically. Her brother wanted to kill Oliver … the guy,” I paused to clarify before continuing, “when he found out about the whole thing.” 

“But it’s so romantic,” Fran said, letting out a deep sigh. 

“I guess it is.” 

“Oh, don’t tell me you’re one of those girls!” 

“One of what girls?” 

“The ones who are all ‘I don’t need a man’ and ‘I hate romance.’” She rolled her eyes, but I could tell she was biting back a smile as she said it. 

I shrugged. “I’m not any kind of girl. I don’t need a man, but I don’t hate romance. I think I’m kind of obsessed with romance, really, which is probably why 

I’m still single.” 

Fran laughed loudly. “Funny how that works, right? I’ll tell you what, had it not been for Match, I would have never met mine. I’m sure you don’t need any help finding a guy, though.” She waved the length of my torso as if she was presenting me to someone as some kind of trophy. 

“Finding a guy isn’t a problem. Keeping a guy is a problem, and finding the guy is a complete catastrophe.” 

Fran nodded in sympathy. “Yep. I’ve been there. But alas, you’ll find the one. You’re young, adorable, funny, talented, and smart. Hell of a combination.” 

I smiled and looked away. “One day.” 

“Anywho, enough about boys. Let’s talk about work. As I stated in the email, you’ll be taking your headshots today. You don’t need to come into the office every day, but feel free to use our facility for anything you need. I sent you the contact information for the couples you’ll be shooting so that you can schedule their test shots first, and after that, we’ll let you know who we narrowed it down to. We only want to select four couples to feature: two young, and two older. They all have different stories, anyway, so that’ll be fine.” 

She paused for a breath as I nodded, taking mental notes. “And … oh yeah, here are the names of the writers working on the special. Carlos and Deborah are regular staff; the other two are freelance, but work with us often. I wrote down their emails and will send them yours now so they can contact you. Sometimes they like to go along for the shoots and do their interviews there.” 

My eyes scrolled down the list as I nodded. I stalled when I saw his name. Just words on a page, but they made my heart flip once, twice, and finally nestle its way into the pit of my stomach. I was prepared for this. 

“You should meet us for drinks on Wednesday,” Fran said, pulling me out of my thoughts. I was so not prepared for this. 

“So I only see them on days that I shoot?” I asked, waving the paper slightly. 

“Well, that only happens if they want to interview the people in their element. Otherwise, we only see each other during meetings, and we don’t have many. We’ll be having one this Wednesday over drinks, though, and then again to lay out the final plans.” 

I swallowed loudly and nodded. “Okay.” 

“It would be great for you to come on Wednesday and meet them,” she said again. I felt like I was on a downward spiral, moving here, knowing this job would mean I would be insanely close to him, secretly hoping that I was, while reminding myself of the reasons I’d avoided him in the first place. I took a breath and braced myself for the inevitable fall. 

“Sure. Drinks sound great.”

~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.

~Social Media Links~


No comments:

Post a Comment