Review: Dear Heart, I Hate You by J. Sterling

Dear Heart, I Hate You
Author:
J. Sterling
Publication Date: May 9, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

I didn’t plan on him.
Or for him.
Or anything that had to do with Cal Donovan from Boston.
Meeting him had been a complete and utter surprise, taking me one hundred percent off guard. I met new people every single day in my line of work and none of them affected me. Wasn’t that the way of things though? You could meet a thousand people and they’d all mean nothing to you. But then you’d meet that one and they suddenly meant everything.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Dear J. Sterling, I love this book. Seriously. I do. It made me happy. So happy. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day. I was smiling almost the entire time I was reading it. And now I’m wondering why I’ve never read any of your other books before. Shame on me!

In Dear Heart, I Hate You, Jules randomly meets Cal in a Boston bar. There’s an immediate attraction between them that is intensified the more they learn about each other. Both Jules and Cal are workaholics, neither having time for relationships. And since Jules is just in Boston on business, it’s the perfect opportunity for a one-night-stand. One night quickly turns into two, and soon both Jules and Cal are contemplating keeping in contact after Jules returns to L.A. Neither is ready to let the other go.

As daily calls and texts bring Jules and Cal closer together, the physical distance between them becomes challenging. When it becomes apparent neither of them are willing to give up the lives they built separately to be together, one of them will make a decision that will devastate both of them.

The writing in Dear Heart, I Hate You was amazing. I couldn’t believe how well the author captured the thoughts and feelings of a girl (or a guy) in the beginning of a relationship. Those moments of Should I tell him how I feel? or Am I saying too much? came across perfectly. I especially loved neither of them wanting to push the DTR. It took me back to being a single twenty-something. Ah, the memories!

While some might cringe at the instant attraction between Jules and Cal, it wasn’t completely over the top. It was easy to see how Jules and Cal would be into each other. Besides both being extremely attractive, they had similar work ethics and life goals. They got each other and it showed in their conversations. And, sometimes, there truly is just a spark between people. I loved them together. They were just too stinking cute! I’m happy the author gave the reader dual points of view because it worked beautifully in this story, and I liked knowing what was going on in each of their minds.

This was a NA romance, though; so you know it wasn’t without its heartbreak. (This was when I wasn’t smiling.) Jules and Cal went through a rough patch at one point in the story, and Cal’s POV went missing. The reader is left with Jules in a sad state. My heart ached for her. I could easily identify with what she was feeling. It was frustrating not to know what was going on in Cal’s head during that time period, but it also added a little bit of suspense to the story.

Like I said before, I truly loved this book. Dear Heart, I Hate You was fun, fast-paced and kept me reading way into the night when I should have been sleeping. I’m really looking forward to reading more of J. Sterling’s books — especially In Dreams. I have to know more about Cal’s brother Cooper’s romance after meeting him in this book!

Review: The Edge of Juniper by Lora Richardson

The Edge of Juniper
Author:
Lora Richardson
Publication Date: June 12, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Synopsis:

“You’re off-limits, so why can’t I stop thinking about you?”

Fay Whitaker, sixteen years old and yearning for adventure, is excited to spend the summer with her fearless cousin Celia in small-town Juniper, Indiana.

But Fay soon discovers that her summer home is not what she expected. She is alarmed by her uncle’s temper, and learns of the grudge he holds against the Dearing family. Celia handles the tension at home by escaping with her boyfriend, leaving Fay with time on her hands—time that leads her straight to Malcolm Dearing, off-limits because of his last name. Fay is captivated by Malcolm’s warmth and intensity. She finds that trying to stay away from him only makes her think of him more.

Fay and Celia are launched on a journey, and each must attempt to navigate the thrilling and unpredictable world of love. Everything Fay thinks she knows about love is put to the test, as relationships unfold and reveal themselves in ways she never before dreamed.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Fay Whitaker has been sent to stay with her mom’s sister and her family for the summer while her parents work on their relationship. While Fay finds the little town of Juniper, Indiana to be a nod to the past, she’s been looking forward to spending time with her favorite cousin Celia.

The summer isn’t turning out quite like Fay expected. She no longer feels like a special guest in her aunt’s house. Instead of hanging out with Fay, Celia’s running around with her boyfriend Ronan. The entire family is tiptoeing around her Uncle Todd. Everything they do is to make sure he isn’t enraged — including staying away from the Dearing family.

Staying away from the Dearings should be easy for Fay. She doesn’t even know them. But when she encounters Malcolm Dearing, Fay can’t help be attracted to him. He’s cute and sweet. She knows she should stay away, but with nothing to do and no one else to hang out with, she finds herself gravitating towards him.

The Edge of Juniper was a solid sophomore novel from Lora Richardson. It took me a bit to get into, but that wasn’t a reflection of the writing. The writing was very good. What prevented me from immediately enjoying the story was the extended family Fay was staying with. I didn’t really like any of them except young Abe. Uncle Todd, Aunt Donna and Celia were all kind of harsh and negative. Reading Fay’s interactions with them made me cringe. It was just uncomfortable. Once Fay began to branch out from her relatives, make her own friends and have her own experiences I began to enjoy the story more.

Fay was a great female main character. She had a maturity about her I don’t often find in YA characters. Her strong sense of self and ability to share her thoughts and feelings without timidness was refreshing. I enjoyed how Fay tried to support her cousin, even when she didn’t always agree with her. I don’t think I would have been as understanding of Celia and her treatment of Fay, if I was Fay.

Malcolm was the perfect book boyfriend. He was cute, caring and supportive. I liked how he saw the positive for Fay when she couldn’t. I do have to admit there were a few moments where I had a hard time believing just how mature he was acting. I’m not sure I’ve met a teenage boy with so much empathy. But his attitude was a good fit for this story.

The main characters weren’t the only great thing about this story, though. It dealt with so many pertinent issues for today’s youth. I appreciated how it dealt with the topics of teenage relationships and sex and a multitude of parental issues in a realistic fashion.

The Edge of Juniper was a great coming of age romance. It had a realistic and honest feel to it. I enjoyed experiencing the characters’ growth throughout the story. And even though the ending felt almost too good to be true, I loved getting a rewarding happily ever after.