Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan

Even hot messes need a happily ever after.

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.

With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp.

When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming men.

Add to Goodreads

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars
I enjoyed Lonely Hearts, how it shows the past 2 books' 4 narrators, so we can still connect with their stories while exploring others. Elijah & Sebastian piqued my interests in the previous titles, and intrigued me during their book.

I won't go into a rehash of the title, being as this is the 3rd in the series and it was set up properly to be able to dive right in with ease. Tortured heroes, supportive friends and family, a college that is both tolerant and intolerant, good adults who mentor and help the narrators find their way, and an angsty romance that is front and center for half the book. Similar to its predecessors, Lonely Hearts became about another character but more so than in books 1 & 2, as Elijah & Sebastian all but disappeared even if it was their voice telling the story.

Heidi Cullinan develops a large cast of characters, with many threads of storyline, interweaving while setting up future books. While I find Ms. Cullinan's writing comforting and heart-warming, often times the book felt drawn-out, where I became bored and skim-read, for which I felt guilty.

What I have to say next will sound odd, I'm sure, especially after the praise I've given above. I felt the story was drawing to a close, eager for the conclusion, only to look down and realize I had only read 48% of the book – I'd already read all day from morning into the evening nonstop. I was unsure what the next 52% would entail. The narrators were solid in their relationship, and I didn't want to explore miscommunications, unnecessary angst, or tearing them apart to put them back together after I'd already experienced that in past books and all of my day. I was anxious when I spotted this, and, to be honest, ready for the conclusion.

The book began to ramble a bit, drawing in a new character who I wasn't sure if I should imprint to memory, as it was already a large cast and we were more than halfway through the book. Now the storyline was no longer about our narrators but a newcomer. While I enjoyed Lejla's storyline, found it interesting and resonating, even releasing a tear or two, I felt it took away from the spirit of the book, which was about Elijah & Sebastian. I felt Lejla should have voiced it herself. While my heart was warmed by this newcomer, I felt it would have been better with less focus. I'm sure she is our narrator in the next book, but it was so in-depth I felt her story was half told already.

At this point, I felt the book didn't know what it wanted to be as it was all over the place. I want to state, I enjoyed it. I was entertained. But it felt chaotic and made me feel anxious. While I want to say this is about my reading style, after reading for 6 hours, 50% of the book, the book stopped being about the narrators and now was about another character and the narrator's political family, yet still not about the narrator himself. I'm greedy; I wanted the conclusion of the book I was reading. I missed Elijah & Sebastian as I waded through what was essentially Lejla's book.

While book 1 & 2 were heavy on music & singing & OTT Disney, Book #3 was Manga. I'm not sure if this is Ms. Cullinan's style to draw in a hobby or interest and inject it into the storyline, but I found it to be distracting, to be honest & I skimmed every passage when it was brought up. Not because it's not interesting, or that I don't feel readers would enjoy it, but because of the sheer abundance, almost as if it's another character riding the storyline.

In conclusion, I would recommend Ms. Cullinan's novels. They are emotional and multi-dimensional, but take a serious commitment to reach their conclusion.

Also Available in the Love Lessons Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain Publishing

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain Publishing

Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family.

Connect with Heidi

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons #3) by Heidi Cullinan to read and review.

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