Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Review: "Love and Other Mistakes" by Jessica Kate

I just love the trend of illustrated covers for romance novels! As soon as I saw the cover of Love and Other Mistakes, I added it to my TBR ... doesn't it look so fun?

There’s a fine line between love and hate . . . And for the last seven years, Natalie Groves has hated Jeremy Walters.

Natalie Groves was meant for great things. But soon after her fiancé left, Natalie’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly her grand plans evaporated . . . and God felt very far away.

Fast-forward seven years, and an internship presents Natalie a chance at her destiny—but she needs a job to work around it. And the only offer available is worse than a life sentence. Her ex Jeremy, now back in town, is desperate for help with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Lili. And Natalie may be just the one to help Jeremy . . . provided they don’t kill each other in the process.

When Jeremy and Natalie join forces, sparks fly. But will either of them get burned along the way?
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: July 31, 2019

Not what I was expecting, but still satisfying. That's what I found when I read Love and Other Mistakes. The cover, coupled with the back cover copy, led me to believe I'd be reading a fluffy romantic comedy. And while Love and Other Mistakes does contain some swoon-worthy romance and a couple comedic moments, it's also full of family drama, teenage angst, and some serious grappling with who God is and what it means to serve Him. I think it's a richer, more satisfying story for it.

(I did have to adjust my expectations and set the story aside for a while, though—I think the book's marketing does it a disservice, as this is certainly not a fluffy romance.)

Jem and Natalie, childhood sweethearts whose relationship ended when Jem called off their wedding and moved away, are the focus of the book, but Jem's niece Lili also plays a major role, and I found the drama surrounding her and her parents to be one of the rawest and most compelling aspects of the novel.

The pacing of the book did strike me as a bit odd—at times, the action will jump forward several days or even weeks, and events that I was expecting to witness on the page were only mentioned after the fact. Also—and this is minor but still notable—the author of this book is Australian, and a few times terms are used in a way they wouldn't be in American English (for example, "fell pregnant"—perhaps someone somewhere in the US speaks like this, but I asked several people here in Nebraska and was met with blank stares!). If this was a novel set in Australia, I wouldn't be bothered at all, and the author does mitigate this problem by having several of her characters actually be Australian ... but sometimes she has Americans using terms that had me scratching my head.

Now, here's where I struggle (and where I'm going to get into mild spoilery territory, but I'll try to keep from saying too much)—there's a character in this novel who is in ministry and ends up having an affair. We are all human, and everyone is fallible; I get that, and I'm not questioning the choice to have this man have an affair. But while the story addresses the consequences of the affair within this man's family, I wanted to know what happened with his ministry. Right after the affair is revealed, the action jumps ahead six months or so, and, while the man appears on the page again, no mention is made of his ministry (or of his wife's ministry role—the reason she wanted to keep the affair quiet even after she found out about it). Though that's not part of the "main" story, it felt to me like a large enough plot thread that it should have been, if not resolved, at least alluded to.

All of that said, I think that this is an impressive debut from Jessica Kate, and I look forward to her next book, which will be about two minor characters from Love and Other Mistakes. I just hope the back cover copy and marketing better reflect the content of the novel. 3-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.
Read an excerpt.
Read my review of Jessica Kate's short story The Kiss Dare (3 stars).

Follow the blog tour:
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 31
Among the Reads, July 31
All-of-a-kind Mom, July 31
Reflections From My Bookshelves, August 1
Through the Fire Blogs, August 1
Wishful Endings, August 1
Emily Yager, August 2
Godly Book Reviews, August 2
The Christian Fiction Girl, August 3
CarpeDiem, August 3
Livin’ Lit, August 4
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 4
Genesis 5020, August 5
Carla Loves To Read, August 5
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 6
Pause for Tales, August 6
Back Porch Reads, August 7
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, August 7
Britt Reads Fiction, August 8
Hallie Reads, August 8
For Him and My Family, August 9
Living Life Free in Christ, August 9
Real World Bible Study, August 10
Remembrancy, August 10
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 10
Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 11
Texas Book-aholic, August 11
A Reader’s Brain, August 12
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 12
janicesbookreviews, August 13
Inklings and notions, August 13
To celebrate her tour, Jessica is giving away a grand prize of a finished paperback copy of Love and Other Mistakes!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant.

Jessica Kate brings rom-com fans a reminder that love has its own timing in her breakout novel, Love and Other Mistakes. Kate is best known in the book world as the cohost of StoryNerds, a vlog and podcast about all things books and pop culture, recorded from her home city of Toowoomba, Australia. Now, she’s carving her own place in the Christian fiction arena and helping to fill the rom-com genre gap with a novel full wit, sass, and grit.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Didn't read all of your review because I just finished this one, and plan to write/publish mine this week, but I 100% agree. The marketing for this one feels a bit off. That said, it still has its moments. I just wish it'd been more of a rom-com than something akin to something from Courtney Walsh (her stories are always more emotional).

    1. Yes! I don't mind so much that it's NOT a rom-com ... but if it's not, then don't market it like one. I had some other issues with it, too, but I did still enjoy it.


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