If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: Not a Mistake by Amber Belldene / @EJBookPromos @AmberBelldene

Title: Not a Mistake
Series: Hot Under Her Collar, Book 1
Author: Amber Belldene
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Enticing Journey Book Promotions

Sometimes a scandal isn't a sin...

On the night she graduates from seminary, Jordan Sykes finds herself in bed with Dominic Lawrence, the ethics professor she’s crushed on for years. Two months later, she discovers she’s pregnant and is determined to hide it to protect his career. Maybe, if she loves her new church like hell, they won’t fire her for being a single mother.

Dominic knows the difference between right and wrong, and he’s filled with remorse after sleeping with his favorite student. He’s offered the job of his dreams, but he'd be a hypocrite to accept without making things right with Jordan first.

Dominic proposes marriage to save their careers, never expecting they will prove a perfect—and passionate—match. But can Jordan give her heart to a man who still believes the first night they spent together was a mistake?

I grew up in a church where the pastor was placed on a pedestal, the ministers were slightly lower than him, and the congregation could be condescending, unforgiving, and close-minded. The truth is, ministry leaders are just as human as you and I. They like and dislike, love and hate, want and need. They make mistakes, misjudge, and fall.

For me, seeing those characteristics in a ministry leader makes me want to stay in their church even more. It shows me how they not only learn and grow from the problems that arise in their lives but also how much they lean on God and know that everything happens for a reason.

That being said, this is an amazing story. Don't let the premise of Christianity put you off from reading it. The issues Jordan and Dominic face separately and together are real. Someone out there has been in their shoes and can relate.

The most gripping aspect of this story is how intense and deep Dominic thinks and feels. Jordan isn't, not to me. She is steadfast in her beliefs and refuses to let anything or anyone diminish them, whether it's her faith in God, her love for her work, or her lack of regret for that one night. But Dominic, he's the opposite. It is, I think, partly due to his work and partly due to his upbringing. His guilt and urgency to make things right with Jordan locks him into a corner where it's a battle to escape.

But Jordan's patient and her longing for him is all-encompassing. They face what lies between with incredible courage, and he realizes he is not his father and his future is brighter, better, with Jordan and the baby in it.

I can't recommend this story enough. It's so different from the contemporary romances I've read as of late, probably because it's more than just a love story. It's an exploration and realization of relationships and religious leaders, and how "mistakes" defined within religion aren't mistakes at all but opportunities to grow, let go, and move forward.

Amber Belldene is always reading racy books at the most inappropriate times, and has been observed ogling her Kindle in the church parking lot. Even as a kid, she hid novels inside the service bulletin to read during sermons, an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days. Amber is a romance writer and Episcopal priest who believes sexuality is vital to spirituality, love is beautifully messy, and stories are the best way to explore human truths. Evidence of these convictions can be found in Amber's steamy paranormals and quirky, hot contemporaries, which have been published by Omnific, Entangled, and Lyrical/Kensington. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.

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