Monday, August 5, 2019

Love and Other Mistakes- Review and Q&A

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Love and Other Mistakes
By Jessica Kate
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 352 Pages
July 30th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

Jessica Kate’s hilarious, romantic debut novel proves that some mistakes—including love—are begging to be made again and again.

Natalie Groves once had big dreams. But soon after her fiancé, Jeremy Walters, inexplicably broke off their engagement and left town, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Now tasked with keeping her family afloat, Natalie’s grand plans have evaporated . . . and God feels very far away.

Fast-forward seven years, and Jeremy is back in Charlottesville with an infant son and years of regrets. When his niece, Lili, lands on his doorstep in need of a place to stay, Jeremy needs help—and fast.

An internship opening finally presents Natalie a chance at her dream job, but she needs a second income to work around it—and the only offer available is Jeremy’s. They could be the solutions to one another’s problems, provided they don’t kill each other in the process. When they join forces, sparks fly. But they both know there’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and that love will turn out to be the best decision—or the biggest mistake—of all.



Praise for the Book

“A stunning debut . . . This tale of love and redemption will stay with you long after you've closed the book. A must-read.” —Rachel Hauck, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress

“Witty. Charming. Heartfelt. I could go on and on about Jessica Kate’s debut novel. From its highly relatable characters to its pitch-perfect dialogue, Love and Other Mistakes is a delightful, romantic read filled with just the right amount of sass. I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud as I watched Natalie and Jem navigate their relationships, careers, and faith. Definitely one of the most enjoyable books I've read lately, and I can't wait to see what’s next from Jessica Kate!” —Melissa Tagg, Carol Award–winning author of Now and Then and Always and the Walker Family series

Love and Other Mistakes wraps a poignant and warm look at relationships within a smart, sly, and knowing comedic voice. Readers of Sally Thorne and Bethany Turner will be immediately at home with Natalie: an all-too-real heroine who balances whip-smart agency with an endearing vulnerability and whose intersection with long-lost Jeremy helps her forge a path to confidence and discover the woman she was always meant to be. Kate’s unputdownable debut recognizes that all human relationships—familial, friendship, romantic—are worth the keen eye and clever insight of her talented pen.” —Rachel McMillan, author of the Van Buren and DeLuca Mysteries

“If you’re looking for a story with sass on top of style, or a fresh voice pumped full of fun, you need to read Love and Other Mistakes. Then after you’ve enjoyed this—and I’m confident you will—make a date with whatever this exciting new author writes next!” —David Rawlings, author of The Baggage Handler
 

About the Author


Australian author Jessica Kate is obsessed with sassy romances. 

She packs her novels with love, hate, and everything in between—and then nerds out over her favorite books, movies and TV in the StoryNerds podcast. When she’s not writing or discussing fiction, she’s hunting the world for the greatest pasta in existence.

Her debut novel Love and Other Mistakes releases July 2019, while A Girl’s Guide to the Outback hits shelves in January 2020.

Receive her sassy short The Kiss Dare FREE when you sign up for her newsletter at jessicakatewriting.com. StoryNerds podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and at www.storynerds.podbean.com.



Author Q&A

What made you want to start writing?

I think I was born like this. 😊 I was always reading and writing stories, and started a lot of novels as a teen. But I decided to try writing seriously when I moved to the city at 21 and only had a part-time job. I decided to devote those extra hours to writing, and stuck with it (apart from one 6 month hiatus) when I returned to full time work.



Review


The cover of this book screams comedic romance, which is a factor in this story though not how I would overall describe it having now read the book. Natalie and Jem are a pair of goofballs who like to pick on each other despite their complicated past and present circumstances. Yet a good portion of the story is devoted to the perspective of Lili, Jem's niece. Lili also has her moments of mischief, but her story line is far less cheery.

All of the characters in this book are dealing with a lot of baggage and family issues. Even baby Oli has a problem which compounds with those of everyone else, making this story more about family and doing your best no matter what everyone else is doing around you, than it is about Natalie and Jem's relationship.

Stating that, so long as this is the story you were expecting, I do think that this is a really good read. Natalie and Jem are an adorable couple, taking care of an adorable baby, and Lili is an amazingly relatable teenager. And the heavy, emotional scenes are balanced well with lighthearted moments that show the brighter side of life. There were a few moments which seemed unrealistic, but those played more into the comedic side of the story, making them easier to roll with.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book through JustRead Tours.

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Monday, July 29, 2019

The King's Mercy- Lori Benton

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king's mercy--exile to the Colony of North Carolina--he's indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey's slaves--and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey.

A mistress with a servant's heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father's overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees.

Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he's faced with the choice that's long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex's very life.

My Thoughts: The King's Mercy is a story somewhat different from the rest of Lori's other books. While the narrative does still feature Native Americans, they play a much smaller part in this than they have in her other works.

I was pleasantly surprised by the history woven into this story. While I had already known that many people had been forced into indenture by various kings as a form of punishment, I had not known of the conflict which took place in this book which resulted in Alex's being sent to the colonies. These little nuggets of history are why I love author's like Lori Benton.

However, I was not as taken with this book has I have been with Lori's others. It was still an enjoyable read, but I did not find myself relating as well with the characters or the events of the story. While the day to day tasks and mannerisms of this book are perhaps better researched, the historical events did not seem to play as great of a part.

Still, I appreciated the diversity of characters and the differing view points they all had on the same events. And once Joanna began to question whether or not her life, and that of those around her, truly had to remain as it always had been, I was excited to find out how she would go about changing things... or perhaps what plans God had for all of them.

I think that this will be a great read for those who enjoy novels set on plantations, as well as stories surrounding the issue of slavery and human suffering. For fans of Lori's usual tales of the clash and melding of Native American and White culture, however, this may not be your preferred one of Lori's books.

I have provided an honest review after receiving an ARC from the publisher.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Until the Mountains Fall- Connilyn Cossette

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband's brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protections of her father, Kedesh's head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother's death would mean wedding her himself. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with impending war looming over Israel, Rivkah's father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from without and within Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?


My Thoughts: My favorite thing about Connilyn's books is that they always engage with background characters of scripture whom we rarely think of. This book is particularly engaging because it deals with a few different laws which would have affected the Israelites, laws meant for protection but which might have felt cruel and unjust.

I found Rivkah's character to be particularly relatable, a woman whose husband has left her widowed and in need of a kinsman redeemer to marry her in his place. There are so many things going on in Rivkah's heart and so much that her family overlooks while telling her to get over her pain. Knowing who I was at the age of eighteen, the same as Rivkah, I imagine that I would have made the same decision as she did.

I have more complicated feelings about the rest of the characters. Malakhi was extremely young, and so I don't fault him for his part in what happened as he was clearly doing his best. And Rivkah's and Malakhi's families acted in love, even if they also did not take the time to hear the cries of a woman feeling lost, forgotten, and bartered off. But I also felt that they couldn't look past their own opinions about what Rivkah should do and feel, to see why she felt as she actually did.

Until the Mountains Fall beautifully captured the complexities of family life and how a situation can arise that is both everyone's fault and yet no ones. Trapped in a situation where no one but Malakhi saw the pain Rivkah truly carried, and he was too young yet to help, Rivkah fled what seemed to be the culmination of all her suffering.

Of all Connilyn's books, I believe that this is my favorite.

I have provided an honest review after receiving a copy of the book from the author and publisher.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Desperate Forest- Cece Louise

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Description: A daring escape. An ominous forest. An unexpected alliance.
 
For nineteen years, Princess Roselynn’s life has been three things: Safe, comfortable, and predictable. But when her father is murdered and she uncovers a plot to end her life, she must leave her home and take her chances in a treacherous forest—all to stay alive and be reunited with the man she loves.

Along the way, she encounters a group of outlaws, each with their own secrets and purpose. But who can she trust? Jay, the enigma whose tough exterior and conflicting actions both deter and intrigue her? Gavin, the former knight, trying to right the wrongs of her own broken kingdom, all while risking his safety? Laurel, the cold young woman with the shadowy past who sees her arrival as a threat?

Roselynn soon finds the lines between ally and enemy blurred, as dangerous incidents and sinister warnings cause her to question what she knows and where her heart lies. Can she find the courage she needs to save her kingdom and herself, or will she lose everything to the dark forest?


My Thoughts: This was a short, sweet read. Roselynn is a princess determined to escape a planned assassination, marry her true love, and return to free her people from the uncle who has used the throne for his own gain. There at the beginning, I was definitely getting a sense of Snow White to the story, which would be an added bonus to anyone who loves retellings of that fairy tale.

However, I did feel that the relationship between Roselynn and Jay progressed rather quickly. It seemed as though there might have been two days between the time when Jay is ridiculing her as a liability and when he declares his affection for her. I think that the story could have been longer, and that would have helped the development of their relationship. However, there were other great characters to round the story out.

I can't say that I was really surprised by the way this story turned out. I quickly guessed who she was going to end up with and thus who she could not. There was one character whose final alignment could have gone either way, and so I was left guessing until the last moment what decision they would make. Overall, this was a quick and entertaining read, but I did feel that there could have been more the story. I guess, in the end, it all comes down to what sort of book you are looking for. And if you want something that can be finished in a couple hours, then this may be perfect.

I have provided an honest review after receiving an ecopy from the author.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Heart of Curiosity- H.L. Burke

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora’s only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd’s mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity’s sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater’s stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.


My Thoughts: It has been a while since a steampunk has caught my attention such as this did. The setting, the magic, the characters, all combined into a wonderful tale. My favorite of the knacks, and what really makes this a steampunk, was the invention knack and how these theater owners used it to create animatronic props that brought plays to life. I would love to see the machine's talked about in this book and how they worked with the dancers in real life.

Though she doesn't have the invention knack, the heroine Leo is the heart of this story. A manipulator of emotions but still unable to take even the most blatant of hints, she was a wonderful character to have lead us through the story. I adored her and Paxton's relationship and related to her protectiveness over her sister.

Despite the light tone of the book, there are some dark portions. Leo's backstory is heartbreaking and affects her outlook on the world and her relationships with everyone around her. There are also a couple of deaths, both of which are treated with less solemnity than might be anticipated. Particularly with the last one. Yet overall, this is a light, whimsical read with a touch of romance.

I have provided an honest review after having received an eARC of the book from the publisher.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey- Bethany Turner

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: After four years with her boyfriend, Cadie McCaffrey is thinking of ending things. Convinced Will doesn't love her in the "forever" way she loves him, Cadie believes it's time for her to let him go before life passes her by. When a misunderstanding leads to a mistake, leaving her hurt, disappointed, and full of regret, she finally sends him packing.

But for Will, the end of their relationship is only the beginning of his quest to figure out how to be the man Cadie wanted him to be. With the dubious guidance of his former pro-athlete work friends and tactics drawn from Cadie's favorite romantic comedies, Will attempts to win her back. It's a foolproof plan. What could possibly go wrong?

Bethany Turner is back with more of the heart and humor readers love. Anyone who enjoys a good romance or binges romantic comedies on Netflix will devour this delightful story.


My Thoughts: My favorite contemporary novels are always lighthearted romances. I like the humor of them and the sense that even though the characters might be struggling a little, their world isn't crashing down around them. And this book definitely has that tone. From quippy characters to giant ex-football players giving love advice and consenting to evenings watching romance movies as "research", this story is full of lighthearted moments.

Yet this book also hits on some heavy topics. Those include how couples can be destroyed when they don't learn to effectively communicate with each other as well as the guilt inherent in a sexual slip up after the two people determined not to go there. There are a lot of very real problems that actual people, actual Christians, face which are brought up in this story.

And for the most part, Bethany manages to make the heavy topics mix well with the lighthearted. There were moments when I thought that a line of conversation could have been pushed further, really digging into a tough moment instead of switching the tone back around. But I still thought the story was fun. I'm glad that the narrative delved into harder topics, but also grateful that it didn't dwell on the dejection and heartache. It was a nice, easy read for an couple of afternoons, and if that is what you are looking for then I would suggest picking this up.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Daughters of Northern Shores- Joanne Bischof

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.


My Thoughts: This is a sequel I had waited anxiously for. The first book was probably my favorite read last year, with so much depth and strong character development. However, I felt as though this book rode the coat tails of the last, relying on all that happened before in order to make this story worth while.

The majority of the first quarter of this novel is dedicated to dredging up what happened in the last story, reminding the characters and perhaps informing new readers. As I had already read the first book, I found myself tempted to skip sections of this while also struggling with strong emotions over remembering what happened in the last book. A book that was SO GOOD. But my love of the last book could only carry my enjoyment of this one so far.

The first book dealt with a lot of things: overcoming addiction, finding love, the heartache of being deaf in a hearing world, the festering pain of childhood lose... and I could go on.  However, this story focuses on the reconciliation of Haakon with his family and the long time simmering hatred that the Sorrell Klansmen hold for Thor. While these are worthy things to be covered in the story, after the beauty of the first book I was left feeling that this book could have been so much more. Especially since the danger of the Klansman only really affects the end of this book despite being brought up through out.


I won't lie and say that there was never a moment that I was choked up or heartbroken over a portion of this story. But those moments were directly tied to the first book, and in between I waited for more to be happening. For the Sorrell's to be a greater threat or for side characters to be engaged in some other struggle rather than going about their lives as usual, waiting for the main characters to take care of all their problems.

I have provided an honest review after receiving a copy of the book through the publisher.