Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Lonely Hearts

Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons, #3)Author: Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons, #3
Released: August 11th 2015
Publisher: Samhain
Length: 355 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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. 

Heidi Cullinan’s Love Lessons series is the only new adult contemporary series I’ve ever liked. That may be a bold and unusual starting sentence, but it’s sincere. I’m not much of a NA reader and I never was, but if there’s an author out there who has the power to turn me into an avid fan, it’s the amazing Ms. Cullinan.

Love Lessons, Fever Pitch and now Lonely Hearts, one gorgeous, heartbreaking story after another, show us that Heidi is more than just a romance writer, she is a true connoisseur of human souls with such a profound understanding of our nature, all our little hurts and pains and fully capable of giving our fears names and faces we can relate to.

We met Baz and Elijah in Pitch Perfect, where enough of their story was given to make us understand what lies ahead. After spending his early teens on the streets, selling his body to survive, Elijah went back home ready to say whatever his extremely religious parents wanted to hear in order to accept him back. He then went through conversion therapy and played their tune for years until the situation escalated and left him free, but deeply traumatized. Baz is a bit more mysterious, but no less damaged, both physically and spiritually. He comes from very different circumstances - his family is political royalty, and insanely rich, which only means that his problems need to be handled under the spotlight. Elijah is hardly a good boyfriend for the senator’s nephew and the future senator’s son. But Elijah is hardly a good boyfriend for anybody, nor does he want to be.

I knew from meeting them in Pitch Perfect that these two would break my heart and they did, many, many times. But they also both surprised me with their maturity, their quirks and their overwhelming love for each other. I had high expectations from this book and they were met, but at the same time, it was completely different from what I expected to read. Better in many ways, but different.

Sebastian’s seemingly easygoing nature and Elijah’s endless cynicism might look incongruous on the surface, but they really are perfect for each other. Baz softens some of Elijah’s sharp edges (although not all, never all), and Elijah constantly shows Baz that he can come first to somebody, that he can be loved unconditionally. The two of them heal together, slowly, gradually, painfully, with lots of ups and downs and understanding.

Heidi Cullinan is one of those rare few authors who constantly teach us new things and crush stereotypes into nothing. She goes beyond expectations with her stories and her characters. Lonely Hearts is a confirmation of her talents, not that a confirmation was needed at this point, and I’m so happy this series and this group of friends will give us more stories in the future.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

As you can see, the first book in this series is currently on sale for $0.99. It may be my least favorite of the three, but that's not saying much when books 2 and 3 are so spectacularly heartwarming and brilliant.


  1. Like you, I'm not usually a fan of NA. but this one does sound interesting. I like how it is more about the characters in this one, by the sounds of your review.

  2. How strange! I've never heard of this series before today. Since you say it's your favorite NA series and the only one you enjoy, I'm going to have to look into it for sure. It sounds like the author is wonderful at characterizations.
    I'll add these books to my TBR, Maja.
    Wonderful review!

  3. This series sounds brutal with what Elijah went through Maja! I've only read a couple of her books but they definitely tore me to pieces before putting me back together. I have to be in the right mood for that type of read, but I so love them:)

  4. I'm not a big readr of NA but sometimes we can find some good one and it's quite fun. I'm glad it was the case for you with this one.

  5. I love that this author makes you read this genre! That is awesome. I really should try her if you love her work so much Maja, great review!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  6. It sounds like an extraordinarily gifted writer. I'm jealous :) though not really. I like the sound of these two and I can certainly smell the promise of the story through my screen :) Fantastic review, Maja! Have a delightful weekend, my lovely <3

  7. Yea, I think you just moved Pitch Perfect up my wishlist and put this one on it as well. I'm not a huge NA contemp fan either so that really sold it to me. Plus, I love the sound of Elijah and I have think I'll be all about the feels in this one.

  8. Ack. Maja. You're killing me with these books! Just another book I have to read this weekend. Gosh. This sounds so good! And I adore Heidi's books. Thanks for the recc!

  9. I love all of these covers!! These sound super awesome though - thanks for sharing. I had seen this one around, but I didn't know it had two companion novels before it, so I'll have to start at the beginning sometime soon!

  10. Hi! I'm reading Carry the ocean by her and i'm loving it! I will try this trilogy in the future for sure, ;).

  11. Hi! I'm reading Carry the ocean by her and i'm loving it! I will try this trilogy in the future for sure, ;).


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