Jessica Kate’s heartfelt and romantic debut proves that love always comes in God’s own time. 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. This inspirational contemporary read is a standalone novel, though it also features characters from Jessica Kate’s forthcoming novel, A Girl’s Guide to the Outback (coming January 2020). Book length: approximately 90,000 words. Includes a reading group guide. “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
I'm tagging this as fiction, and spiritual (more about that later). It's billed as a romance, and there is romance in it, but that is overshadowed by so many issues it read more like a problem novel.
To discuss it, I have to go into spoiler territory, so if you don't want to be spoiled, don't read on.
It's a debut novel, and as such it's impressive. The author certainly packed the story with issues, keeping the pacing boiling along.
Central is Natalie, who was dumped by her fiancé weeks before her marriage, which caused her entire life to crash and burn. She is back in her home town after a series of bad jobs that didn't work out--and right when she begins a promising internship for a new ministry, she runs into her ex, Jeremy. Who is also back in town--with a baby. He's a single dad.
Natalie ends up being hired by Jeremy to watch his baby, as he, too, is beginning a new job, at the local newspaper.
Along the way we meet Natalie's wonderful parents--her dad, her idol, is retiring from his lifelong ministry as he is dying of cancer. Jeremy's brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Steph, are co-pastors at the church that Jeremy left, but apparently he's returned to. We also meet what I think the best character in the book, Mike and Steph's daughter Lili.
Lili discovers that her dad is cheating on her mom, and when Mike finds out, he pleads with his daughter not to tell anyone. That's right, the pastor makes his teenage daughter complicit in his cheating.
Jessica Kate writes about these flawed characters with sympathy, showing how fragile human beings are--this is no postmodern novel smirking superiorly at the "corrupt fundies" that has become so very common in fiction these days.
The problem is, this issue just about overwhelms the rest of the book, as Lili tries to deal, makes friends with an awesome teen whose family is full of their own problems, and finally can't deal and runs away. Meanwhile Nat is dead set against trusting Jeremy, though they are instantly attracted to each other all over again.
But then things take another horrible turn when Jeremy's baby turns out to have a severe case of diabetes. That's right, another heart-breaking issue!
For the most part, Jessica Kate deals fairly with the characters--including Jeremy's ex, who comes knocking at the door to see her baby after dumping him on Jeremy right after she gave birth.
Probably the best sequence was Lili's running away. Her quest for understanding resonates with a sense of verisimilitude, and her faltering faith and how she deals is easily the best treatment of that subject in the book. For the most part, the others seem not to remember they are Christians, except intermittently; when Mike finally tackles his issues, the hard stuff is kept entirely off-stage, which nearly shipwrecks the book. How did his congregation react to his confession? We don't know. How did he justify breaking the Ten Commandments when he's supposed to be a leader of his flock? We don't know, except that he finally got his wife to agree to therapy--which she wouldn't do before because of how it would look. After all this heavy stuff, conflict resolution is pretty much whisked past us, which is anti-eucatastrophe.
Meanwhile, Nat's dad is not going to make it. Definitely not light-hearted romance.
Natalie and Jeremy get their happy ending, but their resolution is very much overshadowed by the entire Mike issue, and the diabetes and cancer don't help. And yet the author is so good at painting three-dimensional characters with strong appeal. I liked everybody in the book, warts and all, though I don't think this is exactly a fun and light-hearted romance. Given that, I still look forward to seeing where this author goes. Lots of talent there.
Copy provided by NetGalley--I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
DNF 38%. Christian fiction version of Love Actually. Multiple couples, interconnected lives. Pastor dirtbag cheated on his wife and blamed her reluctance to attend marital counselling. Some things did not add up.
Jessica Kate’s debut, Love and Other Mistakes, has the look of the type of rom-com I love to read—light, fun, ad very swoon-worthy. However, the story that unfolds between Natalie and Jeremy has a lot more going on than great kisses and witty banter.
Seven years ago, Jeremy “Jem” Walters left Natalie Groves only weeks before their wedding. Now, he’s returned to town—with a baby in tow—and needs her help. As they deal with the hurts of the past, complications of the present also intrude—plenty of Walters family drama and the arrival of his ex, plus Natalie’s dad’s sickness and her new internship and romantic interest from the boss.
The hate-to-love is perfect, and I loved the dynamic as Jem and Natalie figured out their feelings for each other. Yet, with the additional storyline of Lili, Jem’s niece, and her disintegrating family, I felt that, at times, the story tried to handle too much. I would have much preferred to simply focus more of the romance and all that’s needed for a second chance.
Still, Love and Other Mistakes is an enjoyable read. I am looking forward to reading more from Jessica Kate, especially since A Girl’s Guide to the Outback involves a couple characters I’ve already met.
2.5 stars Some parts of this book I really liked, and others fell a bit short for me. What I liked: The soul searching and journey of her faith that Natalie goes through over the course of the novel is believable and touching. I felt for her--feeling stuck in her life, feeling like she needed to prove things to herself, and her up and down feelings for Jem were all meaningful to me as a reader. What I didn't care for: I really thought there were just too many things going on in this book. Natalie and Jem, Lili's issues/relationship, Mike and Steph's issues, Jem's issues with his dad, Ollie's issues, Jem and Chloe...it was all just too much to cram into one book. And because there were so many plot threads, most of them fell short of being as effective as they could have been, especially Mike and Steph's. I felt like that could have been an entire book unto itself, and I didn't like the way it was resolved and dealt with at all. It is such a deep issue and wasn't handled as thoroughly as it should have been considering the immense hurt and betrayal of the situation in more than one case. Overall, this is a touching book on some fronts with flawed characters who do some learning about themselves and their relationships with God.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Talk about an example of how you should not judge a book by the cover. This cover is deceptively cute when the contents in actuality were much darker and emotional than I anticipated. That isn't a bad thing but know going into this novel, things are going to get deep and things are going to get sad.
One of the biggest things that I feel should be mentioned is that I was under the impression this was mainly a story of romance. Yes, there is romance in the story but that actually is not the main thing to take away from this novel. It has a lot of other issues mainly focused on family but also on adultery, death, illness, grief, and accidental pregnancies (yes....plural). Like I said, a very serious and intense novel.
Also, there is a lot of religious and Christianity involvement and inclusion in the story. Again, if that is what you want in a story, then maybe this will be one for you to pick up. However, I feel with the way this novel is being promoted, a lot of people will unknowingly pick this up and then feel blindsided with the abundance of religious messages included.
With all of that being said, it was still a good and thought provoking story. I think there was a little too much going on though. What I mean by that is there was issue after issue happening, all incredibly impactful. I feel that the novel may have done better through focusing on one or two issues instead of all that were involved.
***Thank you to the publisher for supplying me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
Well...I have to admit, I'm not exactly sure how to review this book. For one thing, I don't know whether to start with the good news or...the less-good news. But I think I'm going to start with the less-good news, because the less-good news is all about perception, marketing, and expectations, while the good news is all about a talented debut author and her nuanced storytelling. And that's what I REALLY want to talk about.
But first, the less-good.
In Jessica Kate's Love and Other Mistakes, we meet Natalie Groves--a heroine who captured my heart and my interest from the very beginning. We also meet her ex-fiance, Jeremy Walters--better known as Jem. Jem left Natalie years prior in heartbreaking fashion, and Natalie has been attempting to pick up the pieces of her life ever since. Jem, meanwhile, has moved on in dramatic fashion--at least that's how it appears at first. The reality, of course, is that Jem's years without Natalie have been comprised of wandering and searching, misfires and struggles. And...fatherhood. Baby Oliver is now part of the package, though Oliver's mother is missing in action.
Everything I am about to say is just one reader's opinion, and I have no doubt whatsoever that countless readers could present compelling counterpoint to each of my grievances. But, in my opinion, the synopsis I have just given is a fascinating foundation for a modern-day, relevant Christian romantic comedy. There is plenty of story to tell. Plenty of potential mishaps to ensue. Plenty of wide. open space for romance and comedy--the foundational cornerstones of rom-com--as well as life lessons and enlightening perspective. Oh, sure...you'd want to add a subplot. Maybe two. Engaging supporting characters are a must. My first grievance is that held within these beautifully-written pages are more subplots than I really care to invest in. By pulling me out of Jem and Natalie's central plot in favor of the story of Jem's teenaged niece Lili and her very real, very heartbreaking, VERY well-written drama, as well as that of her parents, Mike and Steph, who are responsible for Lili's heartbreak and angst (More on them in a moment...), not to mention Jem's broken relationship with his father, resentment towards alcohol and the devastating havoc it can wreak, Natalie's attempts to come to terms with her beloved father's impending death, Natalie's search for not only a job but a calling, the chronic illness of a baby... Long story short, I sometimes felt as if I had emotional whiplash.
Now, to the author's immense credit, all of these plots and subplots were interconnected in a fashion that was natural and intricately engaging. Jessica Kate is not just telling us a story. She's giving us an inside look at a modern, complicated family's life. And I don't have a problem with that in the least. What I do struggle with, however, is attempting to wrap all of this plot and subplot, intricacy and angst, into a romantic comedy package. Sure, there is romance. And yes, some of Ms. Kate's banter, observations, and situations are truly hilarious. But the disillusionment of romance and the very opposite of comedy actually run more prevalent than either of the two words that make up the romantic comedy sub-genre.
Again, my grievance here is not really with the book or the author--only with the expectations laid out with the marketing of the book. My heart simply wasn't prepared for all of the pain and sadness it was about to be subjected to.
But let's pretend for a moment that I hadn't been distracted by the design of the cover--in a style so prevalent in romantic comedy novels these days--and I hadn't been prepared to sit down with a humorous story, focused on the central couple and their up-and-down path to love. In that scenario, what would this review consist of?
Well, my major grievance would have been with just how bothered I was by Lili's parents, Mike and Steph. Humans are flawed. I get that. And honestly, I was thrilled that Ms. Kate chose to tackle some very difficult, very hush-hush problems which do, in fact, occur within the church and in the lives of those chosen to lead the church. But the extremity of Mike and Steph's handling of their problems--from lies and deception to selfishness and coercion...all the way to what amounted to child neglect and abandonment--was a whole lot to deal with. I kept hoping for some serious redemption there. Not just a moment in which they stopped thinking about themselves for two seconds (which we did eventually get), but a moment in which there was repentance and evidence of consequences, even beyond the pain they inflicted on their daughter.
Other than that my alternate reality review, if I had understood what I was getting into, would have consisted of the following:
Jessica Kate is truly talented, and without a doubt she is one to watch. Her writing voice is unique, her ideas are new, her approach is fresh, and she is simply a gifted storyteller. She weaves together fascinating intricacies. Her dialogue feels real. She knows how to make chemistry and affection--romantic and otherwise--between characters leap off the page.
And do you know what else? I really enjoyed reading this book! I was engaged from the very beginning, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next. There wasn't a single moment of reading this book that I consider a waste of time or waste of emotion. Without a doubt, I will be anxiously awaiting the next book by Ms. Kate. She has a bright future, and I believe this book only begins to scrape the surface of the reading delights she is going to deliver to readers through the years.
And all of that good stuff? Well, the fact is that's not just what I would have said in my alternate reality review. It's what I'm happy to say in spite of the misdirected marketing and expectations. And to any readers unsure of whether or not to pick up this book, in light of a "negative" review...do yourself a favor and read it. Now. Go into it prepared for a sometimes-painful, often-funny, deep and moving visit with a flawed group of family and friends who, at the center of it all, believe that love is worth the pain.
I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Thomas Nelson via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
Wow, all I can say is, this story blew me away! Keep the tissues close by as you are reading LOVE AND OTHER MISTAKES by Jessica Kate. She will have your emotions all over the place. Once I started reading, it was very hard to stop! The twists and turns made it impossible to put down, as I had to know what was going to happen to Jem and Natalie after so much heartache! Will Natalie ever be able to explain to Jem how hurt she feels? What an awesome story. All of Jessica's characters feel genuine and relatable and put your emotions on one heck of a roller coaster ride. As you are reading, you will find yourself cheering for all of them, praying they can work out their problems and be happy once again.
LOVE AND OTHER MISTAKES is all about family, dealing with the past and trying to find your happily ever after. It had me flipping through the pages like a woman on a mission. Jem left Natalie at the alter years ago and when she finds out he is back in town, well, let's just say she isn't very happy. He is now a single father and comes up with this ridiculous idea that Natalie could work for him as his son, Ollie's nanny! What??
Jem tries so hard to be the man Natalie deserves, but he just can't seem to get it quite right. Men!! It was so much fun watching these two dance around each other and their feelings. You will find yourself shaking your head at Jem screaming "open your eyes man! How can you not see what is going on?" At least that's what happened to me! LOVE AND OTHER MISTAKES is a heart tugging but funny story that will hold you hostage until the very last page. Once you start reading, it will be very hard to put down! You also won't be able to stop yourself from laughing at Jem and his manly thoughts!
LOVE AND OTHER MISTAKES is without a doubt one of my top funniest books I've read in 2019 so far. I was instantly emotionally invested in all of the characters. My heart broke for Natalie and how she was trying so hard to please everyone except herself. Then there is Jem's niece, Lili, who will break your heart even more. She is dealing with so much and luckily for her she has Nick to guide her through it all. Jessica Kate sure can hook the reader with her writing! I can not wait to read more by this wonderful and heart tugging author.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from JustRead Publicity Tours through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Where do I am even begin with this review. I mistakenly requested this book thinking I was getting a romantic comedy but that is not what I got at all! This book is labeled as a Christian fiction romance and although there is a romance contained I do not think I would list it that way at all. This review is based off the fact that I am not a huge fan of Christian romances or "clean" romances unless they are done in a specific way. This book did not hit those points for me. The only reason I am giving the book three stars is because the author's note brought some understanding to the direction of the story.
With that said the main reason I did not connect with the book was because of the overwhelming religious themes, the setting revolving around the church, and that there was not one main relationship to focus on within the storyline. You have three main characters - Natalie, Jeremy, and Lily - that are all connected as well as a bunch of other characters. Natalie and Jeremy have a history from seven years ago that is overly discussed, Jeremy has family issues that are just down right annoying and handled in a frustrating way, and you also have Lily who is connected to Jeremy and Natalie. There are aspects of cheating, alcoholism, runaways, no communication within families, divorce, secrets, and just a bunch of other issues that didn't really get resolved by the end of the story. I think the ideas within the book were good just poorly executed and not my cup of tea.
This specific video review will be included in the August 2019 wrap-up.
For other video book reviews check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Romance Book Talk.
Love and Other Mistakes, is a lot deeper than it's title portrays. There are some issues that are rarely talked about and I enjoyed seeing that in a book. However, there was so much going on in this book (subplots and other characters) that it became a little distracting. I didn't have a chance to fall in love with the characters, because they kept changing on me.
I did like the spiritual thread Natalie went through. It had a fresh take on it and I liked her backstory and what made her her. I also adored the baby in the book because babies!
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley. My review was not required nor influnced.
I really enjoyed this story of love, forgiveness, loss, and compassion. The characters are complicated and the author does a great job of describing them, how they are feeling, and moving them forward in a positive way.
The main characters are Natalie and Jeremy. They have history. Their story is full of pain and good times. They have a lot to overcome in order for forgiveness to happen. While they are experiencing their own drama, there is a ton of it happening to the people they love. I found this story to be believable because life is full of ups and downs. I appreciated how they came back to their faith and trusted God to help see them through.
This is the first book that I have read from this author. I will look for more books from her in the future. This book contains infidelity, kissing, and Christian themes.
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
I wholeheartedly applaud this novel. It’s funny, romantic, layered and most of all REAL. It’s not a sappy Hallmark movie sandwiched with cute witticisms. It’s legit life paired with snark and a laughable irony that life really isn’t tied up neatly in the end with a bow. The characters were well defined. The story was layered and FINALLY a romance that wasn’t one dimensional. I loved all the other story lines and loved that it also examples flawed humanity in all its desperate need for understanding. I loved that the characters all made grievous errors. A flawed hero, a defeated heroine, a cheater pastor, a prideful wife, a broken daughter, a lowlife good boy, a gritty cop with pride higher than Mt Everest (and he will fall!), and even a sad teacher who really just messes up all along the way.
Thank you, Jessica Kate for writing romantic comedy with realism and a story that is so layered and poignant it’s worth the time to read even if you don’t love romance!
Love and Other Mistakes is my first book by this author and my first christian fiction. I really didn't pay attention while requesting this, that it's christian fiction. I didn't even know that it was a thing. I guess you live and learn. But I didn't mind. It read as some of the chick lit I have read.
This is a story about two brothers and their families, kids, love interest and complicated relationship with their father. In a small town where one brother is a pastor and another comes back after long time being away, we get to go on a journey discovering family secrets and how they affect their families and lives.
I found blurb really misleading as this book really isn't about Natalie and her ex boyfriend Jem being back. She is more of a side character or maybe the plethora of characters don't give anyone space to be the protagonist of this story. They all are intertwined. But I did find Lilly, the pastor daughter, the most interesting one in this book. I think her emotional journey is what kept my interest throughout the book, as I really wanted to see how everything will turn out. I also find her the most honest and true to situation written character. Imagine my disappointment when at the end abrupt and poor epilogue doesn't solve any or major problem couple of characters dealt with.
I don't need rosy and happy ending but this confusion and unfinished plot line is really something I cannot accept. So some characters do get the ending they deserve as I don't want to give anything away. But other then that I found the overall book lacking some major parts of the story.
Somewhere between two and three stars. 2,5
* Thanks to publisher and NetGalley for copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own.
Natalie Groves is about to give the presentation she hopes will save her job when she gets a phone call. There’s a medical emergency. Her first thought is for her father, who’s got cancer. But when she gets to the scene she finds Jem, her childhood sweetheart and ex-fiance.
With a baby. Now unemployed, Natalie unwillingly accepts a job as Olly’s part-time nanny on the condition she can also take an unpaid internship with a new Christian ministry, Wildfire. It’s the opportunity she’s been waiting for. And the handsome youth pastor in charge has nothing to do with that …
Jem has his own issues. He left town after an argument with his father, and he’s still not ready to mend those bridges. And he’s got his niece, sixteen-year-old Lily, who helps Natalie with Olly, and who moves in following an argument with her own father.
Love and Other Mistakes is a bit of a genre mash-up. There’s Natalie and Jem’s second-chance romance. There’s the faith element—Natalie’s internship is with a Christian ministry, and Lily’s parents are both in full-time paid ministry. Then there is Lily’s story, which is more Young Adult. The overall tone is humorous, with a definite chick-lit vibe.
I found the first quarter packed in a lot of information, and the writing sometimes got in the way of the story. But then I totally got into the story, and finished it in two sittings.
Overall, Love and Other Mistakes is a funny yet poignant lesson in broken relationships that’s occasionally frustrating (Steph, I’m talking about you). It’s also a lesson in mending relationships, and in the power of honesty, love, and God to heal what’s broken.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Love and Other Mistakes was a really good book. I don’t know that I would classify it as romantic comedy, although there were definitely funny moments and plenty of humor thrown in. However, this story deals with many very serious issues.
There are a lot of characters and a lot of scenarios going on in this book. I did not have any trouble keeping everything sorted and I don’t know how the author really could have set this up in any different way. Sometimes there are just lots of things going wrong in people’s lives, and those things overlap and can lead to the type of overwhelming situations found in this novel.
I thought the author dealt with hurt and betrayal very clearly in this story. The way things wrapped up for both storylines felt realistic to me. Many things worked out, but not all. There was still hurt. Yet, I really enjoyed the happily-ever-after part of this book. The main characters, Natalie and Jeremy, had much to overcome and their relationship was fraught with problems to work through. It was fun to see how that resolved. I’m looking forward to the next book!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
When I picked up this book I planned to read this in 2 days, I couldn't put it down. The book was amazing. Natalie hated Jeremy. Jeremy left Natalie before their wedding. He comes back 7 years later with a son from a previous relationship and needs help from Natalie. Will she help? Can they move on from the hurt and fall in love again? The best part of the book was the story of Lili. Jeremy niece who discovers that her father is having an affair with her art teacher. Her Dad and Mother pressure her to keep quite about the affair. This storyline is so well written. You feel for Lili who is a teenager who is struggling with this secret. The story was amazing. I really felt for each character in this book especially Lili, no matter how hard she tries, can't forgive her father and mother who chooses to put her in the middle of their problems. I couldn't put the book down because I needed to know what happens next to these wonderful characters. I was invested to each of them. I felt their feelings and wanted to yell at Lili parents. When this happens, you know its a well written book. I highly recommend this book. I guarantee you won't be able to put the book down either. Excellent read!!
Love and Other Mistakes is a sparkling story full of humor and banter. Yet this debut novel is so much more than just cute. Jessica Kate explores the pain caused by family secrets, betrayal, and broken dreams, and shows the difficulty of wrestling with them – and the joys of doing that wrestling. Natalie and Jem are characters with depth – and they have amazing chemistry! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and I recommend it wholeheartedly!
This book talks about some serious topics that are usually grazed over in fiction
Loss Death Heartbreak Single parenting Reunion ... 6 years ago, natalie and Jem broke off their engagement but he is back in town again with a baby. And he needs a nanny. Natalie decides to become his nanny and soon the love they have for each other rekindled. While lily has to deal with the break up in her family, when she caught her God loving Father cheating on her mother with her Teacher.
This book is a journey that I believe everyone must go on.
LOVE AND OTHER MISTAKES is one of those inspirational romances that will make readers laugh, cry, swoon, and wish the best of happy endings for these characters. They face so much brokenness, and need each other and their faith to make it through. Definitely recommended to Christian romance or even general romance fans!
From the first page I knew this story was going to be a whole lot of fun, but also an emotional read. It definitely kept it up to the very end! Natalie is a little frazzled. She's been dealing with a lot on top of the heartbreak she still hasn't let go of. Jeremy is so utterly charming. He's a complete flirt, but only with Natalie. He is also dealing with the aftermath of his own upbringing and choices. They both haven't recovered from their broken engagement seven years ago and more challenges just get piled on top, however, they both still love each other. They just have to find their way back, and figure out if they can forgive and trust each other again.
I loved these characters! Natalie and Jem were both complex and easy to relate to. Then there were the other characters, particularly Lili who was also going through a lot in this story. The plot moved at a good pace and everything just got more complicated as it went. There were moments I had to choke back tears, others when I couldn't help laughing, and then there was the fabulous chemistry between Natalie and Jem. Definitely some swoon-worthy moments. I also really liked how this author wove the inspirational elements through this story. They felt natural, real, and not in the least bit preachy.
My only complaint would be that there is a lot of this story devoted to a secondary plot with Jem's brother and his wife. I would have like a little more closure there, or maybe just more development due to how much time was given to it (or maybe less time given to their perspectives and just sticking with Lili's perspective instead). I also had major issues with how they felt appearances were better than helping their daughter and figuring things out, particularly being pastors. It puts into question how pastors may try to hide things because they could lose their jobs and incomes if they don't practice what they preach, which also rubbed me wrong. It made me wonder how no one, particularly Jem and his dad, could see what was going on - they never really confronted Mike and Steph about things. I also had a slight issue with a pastor dating his possible employee. Just a red flag there.
In the end, was it what I wished for? I really enjoyed reading this with few complaints! I stayed up late to finish because I couldn't put it down. This is a story that tugs on the heart and doesn't let go. I'm looking forward to more from this author!
Content: Some innuendo, an affair behind closed doors, and some drinking. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review nor affect my review in any way.
This was an interesting story. It was slow to get going and the author took her time building the world. But if you stick with it, you will find that this book was a gem. The writing was smooth and the plot was interesting.
Natalie Groves is looking for a job and ends up as a nanny for her ex-fiancee Jeremy "Jem" who unceremoniously left her a couple of months before they were set to get married seven years ago. While caring for Jeremy's son, Natalie tries her best not to dwell on the fact that he never explained his reasons for running out on her nor did he end a letter or email in the seven years that he was gone.
Meanwhile, Jeremy is back in his hometown where his brother Mike and his wife Steph are pastors and Mike's father is the town sheriff. This family has some unpleasant history and most of the book focuses on their strained relationships. So Jeremy has unfinished business with Natalie and with his father whom he doesn't really speak to.
The reader is taken on a journey which deals with parental failures, marital woes and how it affects children. Ultimately, the characters have to navigate their own feelings of purpose, worth and forgiveness.
What I really liked best was that the reader got an HEA but everything wasn't neatly tied up at the end. There is room for continual growth as the characters are on a life journey. And the writer was subtle with the Christian message. This story was a winner for me.
I was dubious about reading a Christian romance, but this was really well done and tackled some pretty weighty church issues and life challenges in a wonderfully non-cheesy way. The story dealt with issues of infidelity (that part of the story was a particular gut punch), illness, forgiveness, self-worth, and regular ole insecurities...so relatable. Plus the characters were flawed and not everyone’s story ended in a neat bow.
A few criticisms: The author often glossed over large swaths of time (weeks) and told rather than showed what was happening. The teenage character fell into a several pitfalls that seems maybe a tech too stereotypical. Also, unless I missed something, all of the characters were white...in a pretty big college town (Charlottesville) where I know for a fact there are Christians who are not white.
I will definitely read more from Jessica Kate though I hope she makes her characters more diverse in the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Ever since I read the premise for this book, I was eager to get my hands on it! This debut romance features witty banter and relatable characters while showcasing the messy things of life with strokes of humor.
First of all, I’m a fan of the love/hate trope because the story begins with a mountain of complications between the two main characters and it’s always interesting to see how things gets untangled. Another element that made the story engaging was the heroine. I found myself rooting for her success from the very first page!
All in all, this was a solid debut from Jessica Kate, and I’m looking forward to her future stories!
I received a copy from the author, all opinions are my own.
At first, I thought this was going to be more of a romantic comedy than anything else (because of that cover), but I quickly found that the story was much heavier than I expected. The POV characters all with some pretty big issues they’re working on (Natalie, Jem, and Lili). Plus their friends and family all have big issues too. Ultimately all of the characters lives are closely connected, which I enjoyed, but I was surprised overall by the amount of “hard things” in this book. It was a compelling read and I like most of the characters, but it wasn't really romantic or funny.
Big issues include: a parent with a terminal illness, another character finding out a child has an illness, catching a parent in an affair, and single parenting of an infant. Big themes are: betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption.
Natalie is overstretched. She has too many things going on that she is trying to manage, and she becomes increasingly frazzled and stressed as the story progresses. Her stress just jumps off of the page, but her kindness does too. I enjoyed the way Natalie was employed by her ex-fiancé Jem as a nanny for his infant son which she juggles with another full-time internship as well as caring for a terminally ill parent. Working for Jem gave these two characters plenty of page time to work out past issues of hurt and betrayal, and to slowly fall for one another again. Jem's teenage niece Lili also lives with him, so it gave Lili and Natalie a chance to grow close. Natalie was sort of like a mentor for Lili.
While the romance between Jem and Natalie was probably supposed to be the main plot, Jem’s family was in a bit of an uproar and that really felt like the main thing to me. His brother/Lili's father (a local pastor) is having the affair, and unfortunately Lili is the one that discovers the cheating and all of those scenes were just wow. While most of the side plot-lines worked themselves out, I really feel like everything involving the pastor’s affair is still unfinished, or perhaps open for more story. I think that in real life (or, at least I hope) issues like this one should be far more resolved, and I'm not sure that he, his wife, and Lili are in the best place when the story ends.
I'm hoping for more from these characters in upcoming books.
Natalie was broken-hearted when her fiance Jem broke off their engagement 7 years ago. She has had a series of other disappointments and heartaches since then, including having to quit university after her adored father was stricken with cancer and working a run of dead-end jobs, including the most recent from which she's been made redundant. Now single-dad Jem is back in town with his baby son and needs a nanny. There is no way that Natalie would consider working for someone she still hates, but it's her only option at the moment. Can they forgive each other and give their relationship a second chance or is this yet another mistake to add to the list? But wait ... there's more. Although Natalie and Jem are the main characters, Jem's 16-year-old niece Lily is also a POV character. Her family is disintegrating around her and she comes to live with Jem until things settle down. There are a lot of other issues that I won't go into due to spoilers. Suffice to say, this is not your standard rom-com.
This is Jessica Kate's debut novel and I think she's done a good job with some complicated material. I was expecting a fairly light romance, but there are a lot of heavier issues. The writing style is good and there are a lot of fresh, creative metaphors and similes, often with a bit of sass and quirk. I've never read a novel that described monthly pain as Edward Scissorhands doing the salsa in someone's uterus! However, there were a lot of pop culture references (e.g. singers, actors, brand names) that were lost if you didn't know who/what they were. Some of those will also probably date fairly quickly, but I did like the originality.
Through the characters and story development, we see that life is messy. These were not cardboard cutout characters, but real people with flaws. Different aspects of Christian faith are also dealt with, as the characters have to work through various issues such as forgiveness and identity. Although it was great that the story had a deeper level, I felt there were a few too many issues. Natalie and Jem had a lot going on just with their own relationship, Jem's baby, and issues they had with their own parents and why Natalie was pushing herself to win a ministry internship. However, there was another whole story to do with Jem's niece and the problems in her family. The fact that Lily was 16, also pushed that more into YA territory and probably could have been a separate book in itself.
However, I liked the interesting take on Jem and Natalie's situation and I was motivated to keep reading to see how it all panned out. If you like a light fluffy romance, this book probably won't be for you. But if you like to see real people grappling with difficult decisions and life choices, this book has a lot to recommend it.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free pre-release copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
~4.5 stars~ What a fantastic debut! By the time I got to the end of the first chapter, I was already in love with this author’s voice. It’s the kind of deep point of view that really immerses you in the story, and it reads as naturally and enjoyably as a conversation with your best friend. Best of all, it was obvious from the first chapter that this story would do justice to the complex emotions involved in the love/hate relationship between Natalie and Jeremy.
Even so, I was surprised by the depth and breadth of this story, particularly where Jeremy’s niece Lili was concerned. She finds herself in a really difficult position that only becomes more difficult as the story progresses, and the way her character was written was absolutely spot on—her personality, her emotional tumult, and the way she responded and interacted throughout the story. Fabulous characterisation!
And that goes for Jeremy and Natalie, too. This is as much a story of their personal growth as it is their gradual reconciliation—more points in favour of this author! Character growth is so satisfying! And even when Natalie was doing her darnedest to hold on to her anger, she and Jeremy had a chemistry I couldn’t help but enjoy. And I don’t mean romantic chemistry so much as the chemistry between two people who bounce off each other in conversation and in life. Which made those romantic moments that much more enjoyable when they came.
So, what else do you need to know about this story? First of all, it’s a novel about imperfect people. And imperfect Christians. And in the case of one secondary character in particular, an imperfect Christian who’s making a right royal mess of other people’s lives (and his/her own) as a result of some selfish choices. This story doesn’t moralise over those choices; it simply allows the consequences speak for themselves. And they spoke loud and clear as far as this secondary character was concerned. Even so, some readers may feel that the story didn’t deal with said secondary character as thoroughly as it could have. Personally, I think that’s simply because that wasn’t the point of this story. This story was about the effect those choices had on the main characters in this story.
Secondly, this is a family drama as much as it’s a contemporary romance. At times the subject matter is a little heavy, and just like in real life, things aren’t picture-perfect by the end of the story, but there was a lightness to the author’s writing style that counterbalanced this without undermining its impact, and through it all was the message that God is faithful, even when those around us (or perhaps we, ourselves) let us down.
Bottom line? I’m super keen to get my hands on the next book from this author!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
If all of your dreams derailed, what would you be willing to do to get them on track again? Work multiple jobs? Speak in public when you hate it? Work for the person who shattered your heart in a million pieces? Natalie Groves finds herself in this unenviable position when she takes a job as nanny to her ex-fiancé’s baby boy to subsidize a golden opportunity of an internship. The awkward alliance that results leads to sparks more varied and colorful than Natalie’s M&M stash.
Love and Other Mistakes has a premise any romcom lover would adore, hilarious moments, and plenty of heart fluttering chemistry between the main characters, Natalie and Jeremy. But as entertaining as these elements are, they only constitute one facet of this story. The other facets include well-drawn characters and lifelike situations.
Natalie, Jeremy, and Jeremy’s niece Lili each feel authentic and familiar, as do their emotional struggles with faith, family, and their futures. Consequently, there are many beautiful and painful scenes throughout the book, and Jessica Kate handles them all with grace, hope, and heart. Especially poignant are the multiple complicated father/child relationships, all which serve to accentuate the depth of the Heavenly Father’s love.
I recommend Love and Other Mistakes to readers young and old, as its messages about forgiveness, second chances, and finding purpose have widespread applications.
I received a free copy of this book, but was not obligated to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Natalie Groves was dumped by her fiancé 7 years earlier and her father diagnosed with cancer. God just doesn't care about her. So she thinks. Now Jeremy is back in town with a baby son and Natalie is helping her parents with their finances after the medical bills pile up. She just lost her job and she agrees to nanny Jeremy's baby. What? Lots of issues in this debut novel, and they are handled well by the author. Redemption really works as both Nat and Jem discover and God wasn't so far away after all.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers via Net Galley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I had a hard time getting into this book, because it seems like there are so many things going on that it’s a little distracting. However, I kept reading, and I was glad that I did. This book gives light to many different struggles in a very relatable way. Definitely worth a read!
*thanks to Netgalley and the published for a complimentary ARC for an honest review*