It’s been ten years since I've seen him. Ten years. I have no idea what he’s doing,where he’s been or if he’s even still single. Have I thought about him over the years? Of course. Absolutely. But that doesn't mean anything, right? Just because you think about the boy you used to be in love with doesn't mean you’re still in love with them now. Does it?
I haven’t seen her in ten years. She’s the whole reason I’m even coming to this reunion. If it wasn't for her, I would have stayed home. I made mistakes back in high school. Hell, I was just a kid then. But I’m here to right my wrongs,tell her I’m sorry and win her back. She changed my whole life and she doesn't even know it. It’s time she knew.
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.
The journey it took to get to this point- I wouldn't change a thing.
"Sure I could exist without Cammie Carmichael, but that's all I would be doing... existing. I wouldn't truly be living without her by my side."
-Dalton, 10 Years Later
A few weeks ago, I was among the masses that were anxiously awaiting the release of J. Sterling's newest novel. A first time reader of Sterling's, I'd heard great things and wanted to see what the fuss was about. As you guys well know by now, romance is not my first genre of choice, but every so often, I have to jump in and see what's up. Thankfully, I haven't been too disappointed by any yet and Sterling kept that vibe going with 10 Years Later.
This one was a quick read for me with the digital version clocking in at just shy of 150 pages. It was a one-sitting read, one of my favorite kinds. While it was a short read, Sterling was fully able to pack a punch. We get an enjoyable story full of well-developed characters, an intense plot, and enough feels to satisfy even the coldest of hearts.
In true Ethan fashion, let's get my critiques out of the way. Thankfully I only have one for this novel. The only thing that I would say didn't work so well for me is that I don't feel like every story line was settled. Sterling has mentioned on her Facebook that she had intended for this novel to explore more details of the plot, but didn't want it straying too far away from Dalton and Cammie's stories. I definitely agree with that, but I would have liked to have seen some resolution to one particular storyline. Cammie receives some harsh push back from her boss regarding her newfound relationship, but we never really see any resolution. I was anxious to see how Cammie would tackle the issue, but instead, it's never mentioned again. I'm sure this isn't something many other readers thought about, but I was really waiting on Cammie to tell her boss what's up.
Aside from that minor issue, I really didn't have any other faults with 10 Years Later. I'm the king of critiques people, so yeah, that should tell you something.
When it comes to the characters, I was really impressed by Cammie and Dalton. Both characters are well-written and, more importantly, believable. Far too often in romance novels I read about characters that are so off the charts in some form or another, that I can't stop myself from constantly rolling my eyes. These characters were both very down to Earth and human. It made their story very easy to relate to. I really like the entire plot situation that we found our two main characters in because it is so believable. That's really my biggest selling point for this novel is that it's a real story. You don't have to go far to find someone who could relate to what Cammie and Dalton are going through. Both Cammie and Dalton's friends made for some great co-characters, but at the end of the day this story was really held together by an awesome duo of main characters. Neither character was overbearing or boring to read from, and Sterling did an incredible job with supplying each character with a distinct voice.
I already mentioned that I enjoyed the plot line, but I would like to talk about the romance element of the novel as well. Compared to other romance novels I have read, this was relatively low heat. I enjoyed that more than a little. Some novels are 'all sex no story' and that drives me nuts. Sure there are a few adult moments in this novel, but they by no means took over the plot and that is something I have huge amounts of respect for. All sex scenes were well written and not trashy or smutty in any manner. Some people are labeling this one as a 'New Adult' read. Honestly, this is a hard one to categorize. While it definitely has the feel of an NA read, I personally believe that age 28 is pushing the NA title just a bit. Definitely not a critique by any means, but something I wanted to point out.
This novel faces many hard hitting themes such as growing up, death, and forgiveness. All three of these are themes that everyone faces at some point in their lives, and Sterling writes them to perfection. I was very impressed by Sterling's ability to pack so much emotion into such a short read, but also keep the overall tone light-hearted. I'll go ahead and admit that after meeting Sterling twice, I had no idea what to expect from her writing. She's a firecracker and I love that about her, but as well all know, sometimes that doesn't work well in terms of writing. To my surprise, I found Sterling's writing voice to be much more different that I imagined and I really fell in love with her style.
While this may have been my first J. Sterling read, I know it definitely will not be my last. I found 10 Years Later to be full of fun and provide a great message of hope for those unlucky in love! With this in mind, I am granting 10 Years Later a well-deserved 4-star review. An uplifting story of hope and passion, I believe than anyone who takes the plunge will be impressed by the outcome!
Alright folks, that's all I have for you on the topic of 10 Years Later by J. Sterling. Reviewing aside, let me add a few personal notes here. I, awkwardly, met Jenn last year in Nashville and it was probably one of the most memorable author experiences I have made. Since then we've connected via Facebook and Twitter. Through our connections I have learned that Jenn is one of the most down to Earth and humble authors I have ever met. She is just like you and me friends, except much crazier and way better looking, but I digress. Haha. Seriously though, Jenn is a great lady and I'm so honored that I've got to meet her twice now, most recently at the Austin Book Bash back in March! She's awesome. If you ever get a chance to meet her in person, don't miss your chance, I promise you it'll be a memorable experience! You can head over to my Hall of Fame page to see some pics of Jenn and I!
I am so glad I got a chance to read a J Sterling book and learn what the hype was all about! Does 10 Years Later sound like the read for you? Sound off in the comments below! Until next time, Happy Reading!