ARC Review: Clockwork Heart by Heidi Cullinan

Posted March 20, 2016 by Leigh in Reviews / 6 Comments

ARC Review: Clockwork Heart by Heidi Cullinan

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
ARC Review: Clockwork Heart by Heidi Cullinan
Clockwork Heart
by Heidi Cullinan

5 Stars

Released: February 2, 2016
Series: Clockwork Love #1
Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 248
Format: eARC

Recommended Read!

Clockwork Heart is a perfect escape.  The epic love story and adventure that it is is one that I highly, highly recommend.”
~ Under the Covers

Heidi Cullinan has done it once again!  Clockwork Heart is her most recent release, and it did exactly what I needed it to do: made me read without interruption, got me out of my book slump, filled my heart with joy, and gave me the escape from real life that was definitely needed.
One of the things that I love most about Cullinan’s writing is that she doesn’t stick to just one type of book or style.  Her writing is so diverse, and with Clockwork Heart, we got to see her take on steampunk.  This is a genre that I just love.  The elements of steampunk are so fascinating to me – set in the Victorian era (with which I have always been enamored), the high fashion and style of the era, and the inventions and technology that would have been so cool if they had existed – and add those to a beautifully written m/m romance makes for one happy reader right here.
Clockwork Heart takes place in the early 1900s.  The main character, Corneilus, or Conny for short, is a well-advanced tinker surgeon who vehemently opposes the war that is currently taking place between his country, France, and Austria.  The war that is the brainchild of Connie’s own father.  The story begins when Conny comes upon a barge of dead Austrian soldiers near his town in Calais, France.  One of the soldiers, however, is barely alive.  Conny takes him to his apartment and proceeds to save this young soldier’s life.  All of his skills involve clockwork surgery, up to and including a clockwork heart, the final surgery that allows this soldier, who we later find out is Johann, to live.  A clockwork heart, however, had only been a theoretical life saving device before.  It was created by Conny’s tinker master, but never before used or implemented.  Come to find out later, it is what is sought after by Connie’s father in order to use it to create an unstoppable army.  And so begins the tale of a forbidden friendship cum romantic relationship, an adventure of a lifetime, and outsmarting those who will hunt them down to get exactly what they want – Conny’s clockwork heart.
One of the things that I kept thinking to myself while reading this book was how Cullinan was able to fit SO MUCH STORY in a novel that is not very long.  For you Kindle readers, it is 3288 locations.  Yet even in that time, Cullinan writes such an epic adventure and tale of love.  Conny and Johann start out as complete strangers, and yet their relationship evolves from strangers with a language barrier, to friends who are learning from each other and who are so kind to one another, to lovers who take such small steps in building their relationship but allow it to blossom into something so profound.  It was a beautiful story to watch unfold, and Cullinan wrote it all so seamlessly.  Their chemistry was real and palatable, and their relationship wasn’t contrived or unbelievable.  And much like their relationship, their sexual relationship unfolds quite similarly.  It starts slow and easy, taking into account of the fact that Johann has never been with another man before, and then builds into something much more raw and desperate as their like turns into love.  They take baby steps when they need to, as Johann needs to, but then he keeps his mind open to Conny’s wants and desires and the proclivities Johann knows that Conny has, leading them to one very hot evening that includes a third party and voyeurism.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that scene as it was approaching, knowing Johann’s apprehensiveness about it, but as Cullinan always does, she wrote it beautifully, only showing how much deeper their love is for one another.  It was poignant and meaningful.
On top of the beautiful love story, Clockwork Heart is an epic adventure in running from Conny’s father and army, and saving Johann from a fate worse than death, all because of the intricate clockwork heart keeping him alive.  They go aboard an airship with a diverse crew that was as interesting as the day is long.  They fly, seeking out refuge and safety, to places where steampunk inventions abound.  In every description, I could see all the beautiful and opulent imagery in my mind’s eye so perfectly.
Clockwork Heart is a perfect escape.  The epic love story and adventure that it is is one that I highly, highly recommend.  Kick back, relax, and let the story just take you away.




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About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state's LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage.


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Guest Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I am a wife and mom of two sassy and fabulous kids, and I have decided I will be forever 39.After college, I became a paralegal and read only legal documents and eventually some baby naming books.Then about six years ago, I needed to check out all the hype of some teenage vampire romance, and that was all she wrote.It didn't take me long to rediscover my love of reading that I had throughout my youth, and I was devouring every paranormal romance and urban fantasy series I could get my grabby hands on.

Through Amazon forums and Goodreads, I met a lot of amazing women with that same passion, including the lovely ladies who started UTC.While those genres will always be two of my favorites, I have discovered that M/M romance is my primary love.That kiss between Qhuinn and Blay in Phury's book (you BDB lovers know what I'm talking about!) sealed the deal for me.I love a story where love is hard fought and hard won.I am also a firm believer that EVERYONE deserves love and a happy ending, and the beauty in achieving that is what keeps me coming back for more.

I have amassed quite a collection of book boyfriends through the years, with the top two being John Matthew and Jamie Fraser.**le sigh**In the M/M genre, my best buddy is Randy Jensen.Two of my favorite tropes are Friends to Lovers and Out for You, and I enjoy just about any subgenre - PNR, UF, contemporary, historical, RomCom, Young Adult, Erotica, Mystery/Thriller - in my M/M romance.As long as it is written well, eventually gives me an HEA, and makes me have all the feels, I am one happy girl.
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