Author: Heidi Cullinan
Narrator: Iggy Toma
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Story Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 09/01/2015
Length: 12 hours 13 minutes
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult
Even hot messes need a happily ever after. Love Lessons, Book 3. 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.
Lonely Hearts is one of those stories that I struggle to coherently explain why it hit me so hard and impacted me greatly. As the story moved forward, I would start to compose my review in my head, only to have the story change subtly so that I would have to trash my thoughts and start over. And that happened over and over until I was left without adequate words. Without a way to explain how much I loved this story. How much I love this series as a whole. How much I love this author and the way she consistently produces thoughtful, insightful works full of the most heartbreakingly broken yet loving and caring characters.
So instead of talking about every single thing I loved about this story, which I can’t because I still can’t list them all to myself, I will focus on two particular items that I have noted in another review I have recently done for this author because it was in reading two of these authors works simultaneously that I noticed a pattern that I am in awe of.
First is that Lonely Hearts highlighted the way the author is so adept at creating stories that are rich, emotional, dark, and dirty, while being equally overall hopeful and endearing. She has created some of my favorite and most memorable characters and I will be re-reading this title along with many of her others. Heidi Cullinan is for me the epitome of the ugly cry, gritty, harsh reality love story. Her books are never easy but are always worth it. I put this one off for a bit because I just knew it would hit me right in the feels and make me cry. And damnit! If I wasn’t tearing up right off the bat. Baz was such a substantial character and I LOVED finally getting into his head and getting his entire story. I loved finally getting more about Elijah on his own, instead of in relation to the characters around him. Their story was ugly and full of emotions and self medication in the forms of stupid actions, drug, and alcohol. For two men so outwardly strong, they both needed someone to build them up and fill their holes. They both needed someone to care for while at the same time being cared for. I fell in love with both men, their flaws, their yearning, their hope.
Secondly I love the way this author focuses on the importance of family. The good the bad the ugly, but mostly the idea that family is what and who you make it. Ms. Cullinan is the master at showing the reader that Blood means NOTHING, action means EVERYTHING. I love the wonderful message this sends to those who are struggling to fit in with their blood family to the detriment of their own happiness and well being.
This story hurt to read because it was so dark and highlighted the ugliness of pain and suffering. It showed off the ways our blood can be the worst offenders in our establishment of self esteem and that sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. But this story left me feeling so light and hopeful when it was over, that I would subject myself to the pain over and over, just to love Baz and Elijah all over again.
Iggy Toma is the master narrator for this series. From book one he took these men and brought them to life. He continued that trend with Lonely Hearts and I will forever remember his voice whenever I think of Heidi’s books and will forever want him to continue narrating her stories.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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