"Real love stories never end."
Paper Hearts is the second book in Claire Contreras' Hearts Series. Although it can be read as a standalone, you should most definitely read the novella Torn Hearts in order to get the backstory of the main characters. I will also add that the first book in the series Kaleidoscope Hearts is a must read! All of the characters are inner connected and beautifully written.
"Ours was a story that would remain untold, because living it was painful enough."-Mia
Mia is a flourishing photographer. Although she has spent her entire life in sunny California, she has been given the opportunity of a lifetime in New York City. She has been hired to work for a magazine on a special piece on second chances. As Mia ventures off to the big city one question is weighing her down, will she run into the man who broke her heart?
"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 then regret."-Jensen
Jensen is a popular author and blogger. He loves life in the big city and writes about his adventures in dating "as a single dad in the big apple". Jensen has always regretted loosing his first love. When Mia and Jensen cross paths, all of the feelings come crashing in like a tsunami.
Mia and Jensen grew up together and travel in the same group of friends. Although Jensen and Mia have always had success with keeping their relationship civil, being face to face again on a daily basis shifts the balance between the two. Being together for the first time is like adding fuel to a slow burning fire.
"This was real, cut throat, I hate you and want to choke you, tension."-Mia
Jensen is desperate to prove to Mia that the love they had between them never died. Mia is determined to protect herself from the pain. If she can just manage to make it through this assignment, she can return to California and forget about seeing Jensen again.
"Because every time he looked at me that way, like I was special, like I was some sort of medal he wanted to win, I felt like melting."-Mia
Every time I felt sorry for Jensen, I remembered why they were torn apart in the first place. Although I still felt sympathy for them both, I felt a kinship to Mia and I felt like her actions were more than understandable. And yet, aren't we all guilty of making mistakes? Are we meant to pay for them for eternity?
At first glance, it might appear that Paper Hearts is just another second chance romance full of angst and "gooey feels". However, I found Paper Hearts to be a truly cathartic read about transformation, growth, and the sensibility of learning from your past experiences. Jensen and Mia's journey thoroughly explores every aspect of being broken down and the beauty of being put back together again.
"I think following your heart requires the right timing, and I haven't had great luck with timing thus far."-Jensen
The writing is told in dual POV. Mia's POV is first person and Jensen's POV is shared through the writing of his blog. Both characters are complex and well developed. The setting of the book comes to life making both NYC and Sunny CA additional characters in the book. The secondary characters were also unique to this read because their input and support became critical to the success of Mia and Jensen's reconciliation.
"Home is where I am."-Jensen
Overall, I cannot rave enough about the beauty in Paper Hearts. I could not stop highlighting the text because the writing is so well crafted. The emotions are explored so thoroughly that I felt the tension and release right along with the characters. The flow of the writing is intense and yet the witty banter between Mia and Jensen kept a smile on my face the entire read. Additionally, the passion between this book couple was on maximum steam. Imagine how you would feel being together again after spending years apart? It is simply raw and beautiful!
"I want to get inside you and f*ck you endlessly. I need to erase any memory this has that doesn't involve me."-Jensen
When it comes to second chance romances, I am a huge fan. However, for me, Jensen and Mia's story is more than just a "second chance romance". It is a story about forgiveness. It is a story about adapting to life even when things don't go the way we expected them to. We don't always get the chance at winning back "the one that got away." Paper Hearts is a beutiful reminder to live the life you have to it's fullest. Love as many people as you can. Be an inspiration to many. Most of all, have faith that love truly will prevail. Thank you Ms. Contreras for creating another masterpiece. I have enjoyed every piece of literature that you have created! Paper Hearts is a must read for contemporary romance fans and it definitely tops my favorite of 2015! Don't miss this amazing read! Claire Contreras is a one click buy for me and I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in this series!
~ARC graciously given by author in exchange for an honest review!~