Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Rating: 3 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: 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.
Review: First off I feel like I have to admit to not reading the previous books in this series. I just want to be totally honest about how I went into this book. I do think reading the first two books in this series might have made a difference in connecting to the secondary characters in this one. This book follows characters from previous books. I did enjoy the first half of this book very much. I was a little lost in the first few pages because there were so many names of characters and references to things I didn’t know. So knowing that I have to say I did enjoy the beginning of the book very much. The rest became way too much drama and angst for my personal liking. SO if you’re reading this and haven’t read the first two you might be spoiled a bit if you keep reading this. I’ll try to leave out the details as much as possible.
Lonely Hearts is the story of the boy whose parents were religious nuts that tried to pray away the gay of their youngest child, Elijah. When conversion camp didn’t work, he pretended it did to get his parents to pay for college. His parents apparently found out the truth in book 2 and went ballistic. The way those events unfolded created this sort of messed up hero worship of Baz. Elijah had a really cold upbringing and a shady period of life where he survived however he needed to on the streets. So he understandably has some trust and self worth issues. He wishes he could be the guy Baz wants but they’re from totally different places. Baz is popular and rich. Cool and powerful. Confident and sexy. Or that’s what he projects to people. Baz struggles with physical and mental limitations stemming from a VERY traumatic experience when he was a teenager. Baz has his own load of issues and he thinks staying far far away from the hopefully healing Elijah is what’s best for him. Even if he wants to be near him terribly. Baz has this strong urge to protect Elijah and if that means not being able to be near him because Baz is such a screw- up then he’ll do that. One night at a wedding Baz gives into his desire to be near Elijah and sparks fly. If only being together was as easy as giving into their desire for each other.
I really liked the opposites attract angle of this story. Both characters were raised differently but Baz and Elijah found a connection in how lonely they were in a crowd. Being together with another messed up soul just kind of worked for these two. Elijah is angry and slightly unstable which works because Baz feels the need to fix things. He does this by throwing money around but he’s also kind and funny. The guys just kind of worked together. I think a lot of their relationship relied on this dynamic. Elijah needing something and Baz making it happen. When it was just about the couple I was in this story. Even with the high angst and freak outs, it just kind of worked for these two.
My issues came with ALL the outside drama piled on an already heavy dose of it from the couple. It all just became too much. There was SO much going on is this story. I could easily make a list of the many many topics this book touches on but honestly I don’t want to rehash it all. 20 plus after school specials in one 300 paged book! It all felt excessive and for me weighed the book down. I just felt the characters had enough going on to keep the book engaging without all that. I realize new story lines were necessary to keep the series going but felt this felt beyond that. Like ticking off a list of social issues to work into the story.
The other thing that niggled at me was how the choir kids are supposed to be the coolest kids on campus? I get that everyone loves something different but I just can’t wrap my head around the almost reverent atmosphere these characters are suppose to live in. People get tongue tied in their presence type of thing. They’re all also the best people you could ever imagine being friends with. They all have a hard core support system and I found it a little too good to be true. Hugging it out and beyond. They actually say we just need to sing it out at one point. I couldn’t help but feel living in the White House was like a mash up of 90210 and Glee. I get the feeling previous books probably featured more in this department so I’m wondering if I’d be into them either. Or was I just missing something?
Obviously I’m the odd woman out on this book since most people seemed to love it. While I did enjoy the love story for the most part, I just couldn’t keep up with all the angst from other story lines. Way too many freak outs which resulted in self medicating with drugs or booze. Something else I usually have no problems with personally but this book barely addressed it as an issue. The sex scenes were pretty hot and there was a good connection between the MCs. Oh well. Can’t love them all I guess!