Monday, August 17, 2015

Blog Tour: M/M ~ Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons #3) by Heidi Cullinan ~ (ARC Review, Excerpt, Teasers + Giveaway)

Blog Tour: M/M ~ Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons #3) by Heidi Cullinan ~ (ARC Review, Excerpt, Teasers + Giveaway)
RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2015 
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary/New Adult • 
Length: 115,000 words
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-61922-669-2
Print ISBN: 978-1-61922-815-3
Series/Number: Love Lessons #3
Characters: Elijah Prince, Sebastian (Baz) Acker
Buy links: Samhain • All Romance Ebooks • Amazon US • Amazon UK • Google Play • iTunes • Kobo • Nook

Click for Excerpt 

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.
Meet Baz and Elijah



Fever Pitch was never meant to be a sequel to Love Lessons, and I had no plans initially for a lengthy series, but then I met Elijah. In Fever Pitch I only ever wanted Elijah to be the cranky roommate, sort of an antithesis to Walter and Kelly’s roommate romance. I figured out quickly he was gay, but he wasn’t just cranky, he was brutal, and I didn’t understand why. As soon as I learned the depth of his backstory, I knew he’d have a story.
Baz was much the same. His role in Fever Pitch was to be the wrong choice, Aaron reaching too easily for comfort. He too grabbed my attention, especially those sunglasses. Why did he wear them all the time? He honestly gave me goosebumps, because his disabilities and internal injuries lined themselves up before I got to research them properly. And of course the more I wrote him, the more I realized he was hiding some seriously soft insides.
Both Elijah and Baz walked onto the page of Fever Pitch and sparkled all on their own. I didn’t know they shared a past until Baz jumped in front of Elijah in the parking lot, but all they had to do was look at one another, and I knew they’d live happily ever after, together.
I loved writing Lonely Hearts because Baz and Elijah weren’t simply wounded heroes. They’d both suffered serious trauma in their past, they were survivors and by and large they had their heads on straight about the rough hands life had dealt them. What it was clear they didn’t know, however, was how to be intimate with other people. Their life experiences allowed them to feel very deeply, made them rich and strong, but they couldn’t figure out how to share that with anyone else.
More than any characters I’ve ever written, I feel like Baz and Elijah could only be happily ever after with each other. You’ll have to let me know if you agree.

Mari's Review:

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Ever since I read Love Lessons I fell in love with Heidi Cullinan's writing, Fever Pitch made her one of my favorite writers ever, and now Lonely Hearts has made me even more of a fan of her work. 

This book is a such a fantastic addition to the series, I adore how Heidi managed to include the main characters from the first two stories and interweave them into this story so masterfully. They weren't the main pairing, but they still got enough "air time" and were included in the main storyline, along with some new characters, and for me, at least, this made the story more realistic. 

Both Baz and Elijah are hot messes, both having suffered traumatic events in their past that have marked them and made them wary and untrusting, Elijah even more so than Baz. 

Baz is prickly and he doesn't want to let anyone in too close with him, but he can't stop thinking of Elijah and after asking him to be his fake boyfriend for his mother's fundraiser, he realizes he wants Elijah to be his real boyfriend. Baz is not sure what he's going to do of his life, once he finally decides to graduate, and being with Elijah, helps him in finally finding a purpose in life. 

Elijah doesn't trust easily, and he's constantly fearing Baz is going to wise up and leave him. He suffers panic attacks and both him and Baz resort to too many drugs (prescription and not) to be able to cope with their past and present. He has to deal with a lot of issues, but with Baz and their friends' help, he finally finds his center. 

Baz and Elijah have insane chemistry, too, and the sex if off the charts hot. Both of them are broken, but likable, and I just wanted to cuddle them both. I have to admit I cried more than a couple of times, too, there were several scenes that tugged at my heartstrings. 

It was lovely to read what Walter and Kelly and Aaron and Giles had been up to, and how they all always rally together along with their group of friends to help each other through thick and thin. 

This is truly a magnificent story, and really, it goes up there as one of my favorite reads ever. I just adore how music, love and friendship play such a pivotal part in the series. It's definitely a story to savor more than once, too, which I'd do as soon as I have a little more time. 

Rating: 5+ Stars


The Love Lessons series are new adult LGBT contemporary romance novels set at various colleges within the American Midwest. While Love Lessons and Fever Pitch feature gay protagonists, subsequent novels will include lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual heroes and heroines.
The heat level for these stories is significantly sweeter than some of Heidi's erotic romances, which has a tendency to make the sexual tension ratchet off the charts.
Book four in the series, tentatively titled One of the Girls, will feature Rose and Mina. Book five will feature Lejla, who you meet in Lonely Hearts. Whether or not the series goes beyond these novels is yet to be determined.
 Book 1 Love Lessons

RELEASE DATE: October 1, 2013
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance • 
Length: 101,000 words
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61921-827-7
Print ISBN: 978-1-61922-153-6
Series: Love Lessons #1
Characters: Kelly Davidson, Walter Lucas
Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.
Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus. Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.
Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view. As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.
Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds.
 Meet Kelly and Walter

Book 2 Fever Pitch

RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2014
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary/New Adult Romance 
 Length: 112,000 words
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61922-253-3
Print ISBN: 978-1-61922-618-0
Series/Number: Love Lessons, #2
Characters: Aaron Seavers, Giles Mulder
Sometimes you have to play love by ear.
Aaron Seavers is a pathetic mess, and he knows it. He lives in terror of incurring his father’s wrath and disappointing his mother, and he can’t stop dithering about where to go to college—with fall term only weeks away. Ditched by a friend at a miserable summer farewell party, all he can do is get drunk in the laundry room and regret he was ever born. Until a geeky-cute classmate lifts his spirits, leaving him confident of two things: his sexual orientation, and where he’s headed to school.
Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota, and off to college, where he plans to play his violin and figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. But when Aaron appears on campus, memories of hometown hazing threaten what he’d hoped would be his haven. As the semester wears on, their attraction crescendos from double-cautious to a rich, swelling chord. But if more than one set of controlling parents have their way, the music of their love could come to a shattering end. 
Warning: Contains showmances, bad parenting, Walter Lucas, and a cappella.

About Heidi:

Heidi grew up in love with story.  She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart.  She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm.  She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down.  Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.
Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.
Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too.

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music.  She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email(link sends e-mail).

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