Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Kaleidoscope Hearts (from 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.
Series: Hearts Trilogy
Author: Claire Contreras
# of Books: 3 (Kaleidoscope Hearts, Paper Hearts, Elastic Hearts)
There is a novella that is a prequel to Book #2 Paper Hearts called Torn Hearts
Book Order: Connected
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Second Chances, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: January 2015 – March 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I’m not sure how this series crossed my radar. I can only assume the cover of Kaleidoscope Hearts caught my eye on a Goodreads widget or perhaps Kobo recommended it to me.
Regardless, I tend to enjoy second chance romances and this series is all about them. I like the secrets and tension that happens and Kaleidoscope Hearts with its “in love with brother’s BFF” trope had me eager to start it.
I went through the same cycle with all these books. The start had my attention because there was so much tension and animosity between the leads. The mystery to their past relationship(s) had me eager to learn more. But by the midway point, my interest started to wane. I felt like we kept cycling the same drama back and forth. The push and pull of the romance just kept tugging and tugging but not making any positive progress. It got tiring to read because I got it you know? Of course their are obstacles in the way but we don’t need to rehash those every other chapter.
And it also drove me nuts that a lot of the unnecessary drama was the result of these characters purposefully being uncommunicative. We’d get their thought process in their inner monologue but they’d never tell their partner that. For example (I’m going to keep this pretty general to avoid spoilers), in Elastic Hearts, all Victor has to do is tell her that they can’t be seen together for a few weeks until everything blows over and the consequences are no longer at play. Instead, he essentially breaks up with her and tells her nothing about how his plan will secure a future for them so she assumes (rightfully so) the worst of him and that he doesn’t want to be with her.
I never fell in love with any of these characters. Part of the problem was their lack of maturity. For people well into their 20s, they acted like high schoolers at times. This was particularly apparent in Paper Hearts (which I actually DNF’d at 13%) where our heroine goes off on the littlest of things at our hero. I mean, I understand her hurt and anger towards him given their past, but she could turn a simple comment into something else completely with a snap of her fingers. Ugh. Everything was way more dramatic than it needed to be.
I also found that these characters were all over the place in terms of their personalities. They would act one way and then be something else entirely in the next chapter. So I could never get a good read on them or who they were. There is quite a bit of potential for development but we don’t really get any or enough to impress me.
I thought all the leads had good physical chemistry. You could feel the tension that flowed between them when they were in a room together. However, I felt like the emotional connections could have used some work.
It’s hard to craft a good second chance romance. You’ve got characters who have already established a relationship and usually the reader only sees them attempt to reestablish it after something has torn them apart. Which is the case here. I mean, you do get little flashbacks to the past so you know they had this great chemistry years ago but nothing showed me that the pairs were soulmates without a doubt, you know? It was almost like an unspoken connection that just convinced them that that person was the one and I would have enjoyed seeing more of the partnerships come to life.
When to Read #1.5 Torn Hearts:
This novella is included at the start of Book 2, Paper Hearts. It serves as a good introduction to the lead characters in Paper Hearts, giving a context for the situation they find themselves in. I don’t know if knowing why these two split before I started Paper Hearts “ruined” a bit of the mystery of the second chance story or not. I don’t think I would have enjoyed that story regardless.
Series Rating: 2.5/5
Kaleidoscope Hearts 3/5 | [Torn Hearts 3/5] | Paper Hearts DNF | Elastic Hearts 2/5
I’ve read better second chance series. While all the right ideas were there, the execution could have been better.
Read if You Like: second chance romances
Avoid if You: dislike longer romance stories
- More than Forever by Jay McLean (More Than Series #4)
- Fall From India Place by Samantha Young (On Dublin Street Series #1)
- Royal by Winter Renshaw (Rixton Falls Series #1)