**Due to content, this book is not suitable for readers under the age of 18.**
By Sierra Simone
Expected Publication Date: June 29, 2015
**I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Here’s the goodreads blurb:

There are many rules a priest can’t break. 
A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules. 
Until she came. 
My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again. 
I am a priest and this is my confession.

***Priest is a standalone, full-length novel with an HEA.  For mature audiences only.***

I apologize in advance if this review seems like I’m rambling on, or jumping all over the place.  It was really hard to write, becaue I have so much love for the story.

Wow. I was not expecting this story to be what it was. At. All. It was phenomenally told.  The writing is extremely smart and honest for such a taboo subject.  I could not have anticipated that this story would affect me the way that it did.  I expected it to be steamy.  I expected it to be risque; after all, it is a taboo story about a priest breaking his vows.  It was all of those things.  I wasn’t even going to publish the review on my blog, just goodreads and the retailers, because I didn’t want to make anyone who reads my blog uncomfortable.  But after everything I went through emotionally while reading PRIEST, it was impossible not to share it with anyone who was willing to read the review.

Tyler and Poppy are amazing, broken, 3-dimensional characters.  Tyler has chosen his profession for a multitude of reasons, and although he is really good at what he does, he is no saint.  Poppy has never really looked toward, or embraced, religion before now.  And she is DEFINITELY a sinner.  But something is drawing her in, making her take a look at her life, where she’s been and where she’s going.  It’s amazing to watch not only the relationship between Tyler and Poppy grow, but also to watch both of their spiritual development over the course of the story.

Let me just share with you my status updates while I was reading…

Only 5% of the way into the story, and I knew that this priest was HUMAN:

“Can I just say that a priest who listens to Britney while he’s running makes him MUCH more human in the eyes of others. And I think people seeing priests as actual people is a good thing.”

 At 26%, I met my favorite secondary character.  She is brilliant!

“That Millie is one smart cookie.”

At 43%, I cried for the first time during the story…

“Wow. I did NOT expect this…but I find myself crying. I’ve been here before. Maybe am still here. Not in the same situation, mind you, but with the same heart of the matter.”

And at 88%, I knew that I was going to have to share this story with anyone willing to read it:

“Lord in Heaven, this hurts! I can’t stop sobbing, thinking about myself going through this same spiritual process.”

Seriously, y’all.  I know what you’re thinking.  How could you have come across something so profound in an erotic romance novel?  But I did.  And not only was it absolutely moving, but it had me taking a look at my own life: my past, my choices, my faith.  Sometimes God lets us go through things that are awful…not because he hates us, or is mad at us, but because we have free will, and sometimes we need to learn lessons the hard way.

There are a few times when penance is discussed in this book.  I think we all do penance for our sins, whether the sin is real or imagined.  Whether the penance is assigned or self-inflicted.  Even if we don’t realize we’re doing it.  And Poppy does a phenomenal job (although not on purpose) of making Tyler see this about himself, and others.

GAH!  I want to tell you ALL THE THINGS!  But I do not want to spoil this story for you.  It is an experience.  And one I will be re-experiencing over and over again.  I promise, if you can handle the taboo relationship, the story is worth every second you will spend reading it.

Your Not-So-Anonymous Book Junkie