Review and Excerpt Tour: Dear Heart, I Hate You: J. Sterling

DHIHY CoverDear Heart, I Hate You
J. Sterling
Expected May 9, 2016


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. 

I had always been focused on work. When did making yourself your number one priority become such a negative thing? I wasn’t entirely sure, but I learned fairly quickly after my last breakup that men didn’t like being second on the priority scale. And they seemed to be intimidated by a motivated woman, calling me things like “hard to handle,” “challenging,” and “difficult.” 

Being single seemed to work best for me and I had no plans on changing my relationship status anytime soon.

And then I met Cal. 

And he fucking ruined everything.

Jules Abbott and Cal Donovan met in a bar in Boston. She was at a conference and he lives there. They have an immediate spark that turns into insta-lust and insta-like. They are both intelligent, ambitious, focused on their careers, motivated to succeed, and have not made time for relationships. But the time they spend together is surprisingly enjoyable and they really just get under each other's skin. 

Neither knew what would happen when it was time for her go home to California, but they fell into a long distance relationship that neither was prepared for and it just deepened their connection. But long distance is hard even when there are visits. These two challenge each other and it made them want what did not seem possible.

Things get complicated, messy, frustrating, and hurtful. Their previously set rules, expectations, and priorities are blurred. There are issues with fear, trust, and taking risks.
Cal was sexy, sweet, charming, hot, but confused. He was protective and at times thought he was doing the right thing to protect their hearts, but sometimes made bad choices.

Jules was sassy, smart, and caring. She tried to keep him out, but her heart opened anyway. She found out that she was vulnerable to getting hurt. 

I really loved them together. They were so compatible and had such fun banter and good chemistry. But they never planned for it to get so real. Their lives were in different places and they were not prepared for how hard it would be.

This was engaging, funny, sweet, sexy story of an immediate connection, long distance build up of feelings growing in a situation that seemed impossible. It was told in dual points of view. I really liked both Jules and Cal. They were likable, but not perfect. They were fun, quirky, and felt real. The insecurities of being in a relationship based more on texts and calls is a current scenario in this day and age. The side characters added humor and support. Her crazy friend Tami and his brother Cooper and wife Katherine (In Dreams) were featured.

It's about priorities, balance, and fulfillment. It's a struggle of heart vs. head, taking a risk vs. playing it safe, and  balance between work and love. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and hope that you have someone there to catch you. This was a really easy book to just sink into and it kept me invested in them throughout. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Jules is a workaholic, preferring to spend her time furthering her career than rushing home to another person. Her focus has meant she has advanced in her field quickly, but with little time for her longtime boyfriend, he called it quits and she hasn’t bothered to replace him on a permanent basis.

Cal has the same workaholic drive. Intending to quickly make partner at his Boston financial firm, he puts in long hours and only relaxes by hanging out with his longtime buddies.

When they meet while Jules is attending a conference and hit it off, they embark on a journey that could change their lives, if they are willing to let someone else in. The sparks fly immediately and force both Cal and Jules to decide what they are willing to do for someone else and to make themselves happy.

These two face not only the challenges of a long distance relationship, living on opposite coasts, but also the challenges of the already packed schedules of two people focused on their careers. At times their lack of concern for anyone else was frustrating.

I liked Cal for the most part. He and Jules were perfectly matched except for their locations. But maybe long distance is exactly what they both needed. Checking in via text message and phone calls is a lot less demanding than being present for meals and weekends.

Both characters made decisions that, though they drove the plot along, left me feeling frustrated with the actors. As plot driven as the story was, it worked, but it still left me struggling at times to stay invested in the story. I felt like the characters were lacking in background depth. It felt like we didn’t know much about them outside of the confines of their growing relationship. There was very little attention paid to Jules’s background or family, though her best friend was present for several very humorous interludes, and Cal’s background was flat as well.

This was an overall cute story with an easy storyline. It was smooth without deep emotional highs and lows, making it a comfortable long distance story.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.


Cal glanced up at the ceiling and then back at me, his hazel eyes filled with mischief. “I want to argue, but I’m not sure I can. How the hell do you argue with Malibu?”
“You don’t. You can’t.” I grinned back at him. “What about you? Do you work for a big firm?”
“It’s not big by New York standards, but it’s not a five-person shop either. We’re considered a midsize company. But I want to make partner, so I pretty much spend all my time networking and trying to bring in new clients.”
I leaned back slightly. “Is that what you’re doing? Trying to bring me in as a client?”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Give me all your money, Jules. Let me triple it for you.”
“Well, when you put it that way . . .” I reached for my purse before playfully shoving the entire thing at him. “Here. Take it.”
He laughed. “You’re smart.”
“So are you.”
“I don’t meet a lot of smart women. No offense,” he said as I pursed my lips, willing him to remove the foot he’d just placed in his beautiful mouth. “It’s just that women tend to see themselves one way, but they’re usually the opposite.”
I bristled, needing more of an explanation than that for why he was putting down my entire gender. “Explain.”
“Okay, but don’t get pissed. Hear me out.” He put his hands up in surrender. “One of the first things women always say is how independent they are, how motivated. But in my experience, they’re usually neither of those things. They’re either searching for a rich guy to provide for them so they don’t have to work, or they’re still living on Mommy and Daddy’s money. And neither of those things are signs of an independent or motivated woman, in my opinion. Unless you count trying to land a sugar daddy motivation,” he said with a grin.
I wanted to disagree with him, but the truth was that a lot of my clients were women who didn’t work at anything except spending their husband’s money. Granted, the men in those situations also tended to want nothing more than eye candy on their arm, so it worked both ways.
Cal spoke again, interrupting my thoughts. “Most people don’t know what they want to do with their life, and they aren’t working toward a goal. I rarely meet anyone who is as together as you are. It’s a compliment, Jules. Take it.” He smiled at me, and I focused on those damn lips again as my irritation faded.
WebJenHat3J. Sterling Website/Facebook/Twitter

I got fired from my last job. It's true. I know you're sitting there thinking, "Jenn, how could anyone in their right mind fire someone like you?" And I'd love to give you a good reason, but the truth is that sometimes being all sorts of awesome isn't fun for other people. They don't always tend to like it. lol :) So I picked my pride off the floor, bought a laptop and started writing my first book. And you know what I realized? Writing stories that meant something to me was a million times better than working my ass off for someone who didn't really care about anything other than the bottom line. My soul has never felt more satisfied. My heart has never been more full. I've never worked so hard in my life, but I love every second of it. I truly do. It is SO worth it. All of it. Every moment. The journey it took to get to this point- I wouldn't change a thing. So thank you for reading, loving and recommending the stories I write to other people. Your word of mouth is my very best friend.... that and your reviews. :) I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you.

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