Friday, August 21, 2015

Me on Lonely Hearts

Title: Lonely Hearts
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

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.

Lonely Hearts is emotional and rough, all about two battered and bruised young men, one trying to find his place with everything changing around him, one still broken and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Now that he's free from his overly religious parents, now that he's in a safer situation, Elijah's bitter with all the happiness around him. It's not his scene, not after the time he spent on the streets, not after what he's done to distance himself from his pain. He didn't want to be saved by his new friends, but saved he was, and now he has to accept that people actually care about him. But he still can't shake the feeling that they're all going to chuck him to the curb the second he lets himself care back. There's also Baz to deal with. Bax who saved him from street living. Baz who took a bullet for him. Baz who attracts him and infuriates him by barely talking to him.

Baz carries around a lot, more than the scars and the titanium he got after being targeted and attacked when he was a teen, but he's happy. For the most part. He has friends who care about him, he has family who supports him. But the oldest of his friends are about to graduate, and his mother's about to run for a Senate position. Things are changing and it's making him panic. He also has Elijah, in some way, but it's complicated. He sees himself in Elijah, he wants to help, but they can barely string a conversation together, what with all the awkwardness and the attraction smoldering between the two of them.

One of the things this book highlights, along with the previous two in the series, is the ways in which we rely on and ask others to rely on us. For help or support, be it emotional or financial. For companionship, for affection. After his attack and through his resulting chronic pain, Baz accepted help from those around him, supporting them as they supported him. It's harder with Elijah, he's far more jaded because he's never had anyone on his side supporting him. He's wary, skittish. He's better than he was, no longer snapping at every offered hand, but he's overwhelmed by the need to pay everyone back. He needs to learn that sometimes people offer help, money, and time without expecting it in return.

I think this is the hardest and grittiest book of the three, that this one too the most out of its main characters. That this was the furthest they were pushed compared to the others. Both of them are so broken, so stuck, and it takes so much for them to change, to realize that everything's going to be okay. I'm pretty sure fans of the previous books will enjoy this.

Quick note that this title contains explicit sexual content and some drug use (some prescription).

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Samhain Publishing through NetGalley.)

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