Title: Kaleidoscope Hearts
Author: Claire Contreras
Series: Hearts #1
Genre: new adult, contemporary romance
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.
This is a standalone.
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Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3.75 **chicken & bean** STARS
“Love is beautiful, shattering, moving, haunting. Love is everything.”
Kaleidoscope Hearts was my very first Claire Contreras read and most definitely not the last. All my friends seem to love this series and I'm not sure what took me so long. This is a second chance romance story, and we all know they are my thing. Period. My go to romance trope. So, naturally I was quite taken with the premise of Kaleidoscope Hearts. Spoiler alert. I loved it in the end, but I had a few issues in the beginning. But more of that later.
Let's talk story...
“He’s like your drug. No matter how far you go or what crazy measures you take to stay away from him, you always end up back where you started.”
When we first meet Estelle 'Elle' Reuben she is twenty-five years old and is still dealing with the loss of her financé one year ago. Wyatt was an artist, her mentor and died far too soon at the age of thirty-five. Part of getting on with her life is selling the house they lived in and moving in with her big brother...temporarily.
“I always thought you were mine.”
The first night there Elle runs into Oliver 'Bean' Hart. Her brother's best friend, she has known him all her life. He is also the man Elle has been in love with ever since she can remember, the first guy who left and broke her heart into pieces. And it would appear he is back to stay.
Suffice it to say those two have an interesting past and an even more juicy future.
“We live in a galaxy of our own,” I whisper, kissing his earlobe. I smile when his breath quickens. “Where the storms pass, and the light fades, and everything ceases to exist except for us.”
The story is told from a dual POV. While Estelle leads us through the present, Oliver's perspective shows the past, which was both brilliant and very much needed. As I mentioned above, I had a few issues with this book. My biggest complaint was my lack of understanding who these characters were and why they had such issues with each other. In a way we are thrown into the action without much explanation and initially that left me a bit lost. Luckily over the course of the book the flashbacks completed the picture and really made me appreciate the story. It just took my a long time to get sold on their love and actions.
Don't get me wrong, Elle and Oliver have a pretty sizzling chemistry the first time we see them together in the present, I just wondered where it all came from and who these people were and what made them that way. That's all. I can honestly say it all gets explained and quite thoroughly so. In the end I was a sobbing mess because Ms. Contreras made me feel all the feels and on top of that she made me fall in love with my favourite romance trope all over again. For a second chance romance this was on the more imaginative side.
All in all a very well written book, interesting side characters and a sweet love story. I especially was drawn to Elle's independence and strength. There was one point where she pointed out that being with Oliver didn't make her complete as a person, that she was content just on her own, but he made her a better version of herself. I think the sentiment is much more realistic than depending on a partner to make you you whole. Both in the fictional and in the real world. Anything else equates to setting yourself up for disaster.
That's all. Thank you for your time. I'm going to jump head first into Mia and Jensen's story. Wish me luck.