Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ARC Review: Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan

Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons, #3)From the blurb:

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.

Heather's rating:

This series of Heidi's is a tricky one for me. I really want to love each book, but I always have some stumbling blocks that make me pull back on my ratings.

I was pretty much dying for this book before it came out. I mean, BAZ AND ELIJAH!! So much angst, so much sexual tension, so much POTENTIAL! My rich, dreamy, cool guy gets it on with my angst-ball kinky sex snark-monster... le sigh. But while parts of this book were pretty awesome, I also didn't enjoy other parts of it.

I'll start with some good stuff. Baz and Elijah don't skimp on the personality or the emotions. I mean, the FEELZ in this one... just off the charts. I really got a sense of Elijah's feeling of loneliness (hence the title, duh), guilt, and anguish from all that he's been through. I liked the fact that he was skittish and afraid, especially around Baz. Baz was also great as the reformed player struggling to find his place and path, and also trying to come back from some pretty serious physical and psychological injuries. Really interesting, well thought-out stuff here.

So what's my beef? Well, for one thing, I found this book to be overly long and somewhat preachy-feeling. The preachiness is something that I've come to expect with this series. A lot of heavy-handedness with the messages of openmindedness, which is a great message, to be sure (!), but it gets a little after-school-special after a while. As far as pacing, the story really dragged towards the end for me, and I struggled a bit to pick it up again. This book took me DAYS to read, which isn't ever a great sign.

Also, there were too many side characters for my liking. I like a lot of focus on my MCs and this book felt spread too thin. The side characters get a ton of playtime, and while I like visiting with characters from previous books of Heidi's, I really want to get to know the two MCs more and I sort of want to ditch the distractions.

While this book was good, and I'm sure it will please most Heidi fans, it wasn't the Elijah-Baz explosion of awesome that I was looking for.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Thanks for checking out my review!!

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