Duo Review | Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan

I adore Heidi Cullinan, and I loved Love Lessons.
I thought it’s time I finished the series, and shared my love with you.
If you want to get my thoughts on book 1, click here!

Fever Pitch

About the Book: 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.

Love Lessons #2
M/M Contemporary Romance
 Original Publication: September 30, 2014
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You know what I love about Fever Pitch?  I love that the model on the cover looks like how I imagined Giles.  He’s got the faux hawk and everything.  I can even picture his ears sticking out.  It’s another reminder that I adore the covers of this series.  It was the reason I originally picked up book 1, Love Lessons, in the first place.  At the time I didn’t realize I’d previously read a Heidi Cullinan book, I just knew that I loved the coloring, poses, and designs on these book covers.  It’s even better when a gorgeous cover houses an equally gorgeous story.

Unfortunately Fever Pitch didn’t consume me like Love Lessons did.  There was something about Walter and Kelly that sunk its claws into me and held on.  I read that book with a fervor, but in Fever Pitch I felt like the first half dragged on far too long.  It wasn’t just about ‘would they/won’t they’ it was more of a ‘they aren’t’ and that was it.  Then, when it did finally happened, it happened really fast.  It wasn’t unbelievable or anything, mostly it was just fast.   That didn’t really work for me much.  That’s okay though, every author has that one book that just doesn’t sit right and I think this one was it for me.

What it did have was Walter Lucas.  Since Walter was the star of Love Lessons I was super excited to revisit him in Fever Pitch.  It wasn’t even a quick scene.  We got plenty of Walter Lucas.  I loved the way he took Aaron under his wing and fathered him.  Their bond was definitely a highlight.

I also thought the second half, even if Aaron and Giles did get together quickly, was stronger.  I thought Aaron’s story was one many LGBT teens go through, and it was heartbreaking.  I loved that his friends all rallied around him and lent him as much support as they could, both emotionally and financially.  That includes Giles, because even though it wasn’t my favorite, I did still find Giles and Aaron incredibly sweet and romantic.  I have always loved a romance story where the couple weathers the storms together, rather than letting it tear them apart.  That was Giles and Aaron.

And finally, I loved how Fever Pitch set up book 3, Lonely Hearts!  Baz and Elijah.  The teasers we got in Fever Pitch are the reason why I had to move right on to the next book, and why I had to turn this into a duo review.

3_5 feather

dividerelegant

Lonely Hearts

About the Book: 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.

Love Lessons #3
M/M Contempory Romance
Original Publication: August 11, 2015
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I knew Lonely Hearts was going to be good!  I loved Baz!  Honestly, I think it’s partially the name.  There’s something so magnetizing about the name Baz… it’s sexy.  And Baz Acker is Sexy!  Capitol S.  I liked him as much, if not more, than I liked Walter and from my review above (and the Love Lessons review) that’s a pretty big deal.  Baz was incredibly entertaining.

As character driven as I am, that wouldn’t have been enough for a 4.5-5 star rating.  In Fever Pitch I had this issue with how long it took the boys to connect, but that wasn’t the case at all in Lonely Hearts.  Baz and Elijah came together right in the beginning, and for the most part the whole book was about them accepting their relationship and how they were stronger together, supporting each other.

See, both Baz and Elijah have been broken, and they both still carry immense scars because of it.  Neither one of them has ever been willing to open their hearts to anyone, until they’re forced to finally look at each other.  Some may argue that what they had was an insta-love, but I actually don’t think so.  Baz and Elijah weren’t complete strangers.  They had a history, a quick but intense one, and then Baz took a bullet for Elijah.  That’s enough to bond two men deeply, even when they don’t want it.  That’s not insta-love, that’s… meaningful.  (I’m sorry if that’s insulting, I don’t mean it to be.  I just need to feel two characters fall in love, and that doesn’t happen when it’s love at first sight.)

I also want to add, since I recently read Heidi’s book Antisocial, I loved that there was more nods to Manga and Anime in this book.  Again, it really made me feel like I need to at least watch some Yuri, or see Howl’s Moving Castle.  I think I’m going to try to find that movie, because it sounds good but also because I’ll forever compare Howl and Sophie to Baz and Elijah.

Finally, Heidi does a fantastic job of building her characters a network.  I loved everyone who lived in The White House, and I’m sad to see this series end.  Though, if it’s going to than this is where it should.  Baz and Elijah were amazing.

4_5 feather

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About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

12 Responses

  1. I am so excited to read your positive review. I just recently got into M/M romance and she’s apparently very good author to start with. Have you read Carry the Ocean? I have heard that’s her best M/M romance yet. I can’t wait to check out this series by her!

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      1. I haven’t read anything by her yet. I mostly read in French so you probably don’t know the author. She is called Lily Haime and she is absolutely wonderful. I just bought almost all of her books. I absolutely fell in love with M/M romance since reading her books. I have heard from multiple persons that Carry the Ocean is one of the best M/M romances out there. If you have any other recommendations for me please share them! I am currently only reading M/M romances.

        Like

      2. Oh yes! I totally forgot, I feel so stupid now. I have read the entire Captive Prince series and liked it but the first book hindered a little bit my enjoyment for the rest of the series.

        Like

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