Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

 

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Title: Practice Makes Perfect

Author: Julie James

First published: March 3rd 2009,Berkley Sensation

Edition: ebook, 304 pages

Genre: Romance, humor

Age group: Adult

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

Practice Makes Perfect

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson have been lawyers at a Chicago firm for 8 years, but kept their distance through all this time. Both are total opposites, and not only in the types of cases they generally deal with. Payton is feminist and only-success-oriented, having to survive in the world generally populated by men. And J.D. has come from a very wealthy family with his father being a respected judge. To Payton J.D. is just a cocky and over-privileged jerk who has had everything in his life on a silver platter, while she, coming from a not so rich and single-parent family, has to fight to get what she wants.

For years Payton and J.D. have maintained an illusion of being friendly co-workers in front of their colleagues, while secretly fighting about each other’s points of view. Both of them are set on becoming the firm’s partners, which in the beginning is an assured fact. Though, due to the new policy, their boss suddenly presents them with a news that this year only one of them will be chosen with the other one having to quit. If their banter from previous years wasn’t enough, now it’s a race to win for Payton and J.D.

The story continues with a line of very funny attempts of the both of them to make the other fail or embarrass each other, like Payton pouring coffee on J.D.’s suit jacket or him breaking her shoe. And when the matters appear to almost having got out of hands, they are asked to work together on a major case. The case, which starts as a show-off of their professional skills, soon turns out to be a revelation for both of them. Payton discovers that J.D. is not so egoistical as she once believed he was and acknowledges how great he is as a lawyer. And J.D., going through the same revelations, also remembers the moments he first met Payton and the overwhelming impressions she made on him as a beautiful and confident woman.

With the stakes high and feelings getting in the way, the battle is becoming tougher, but who will be the first of them to give in?

With the year coming to an end I decided to finish with my stack of Julie James’ novels, though I will be expecting the publication of the new installment of the F.B.I./U.S. Attorney series next year. Practice Makes Perfect is one of Julie James’ stand-alone novels, and while the previous one that I read, Just The Sexiest Man Alive, didn’t make that much of an impression on me, this book I loved a lot.

The communications between Payton and J.D. are amazingly written, first their fights and witty remarks and then their declarations to each other. First it’s a hate/competition relationship, when they try to outdo each other professionally, to impress their boss. Then they try to put their disagreements aside to work together on a case. And alongside this they come to realize how little they actually know about each other, despite having worked together for so many years. And what they do find out makes them think back to the time when they just met and really liked each other.

Payton and J.D.’s romantic scenes didn’t take that much place in the book, yet they were powerful and steamy. I liked that they didn’t fell into the relationship straight ahead, but actually worked through their issues, making the choice between a carrier and love. And that weekend on the beach was very romantic, definitely an ‘awww’ moment.

The only problem I had with the story is the abundance of all the lawyer and court stuff, it was just too detailed, sometimes it was hard for me to get through it. But in general the story was great, Julie James never disappoints me.

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About That Night by Julie James

 

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Title: About That Night

Series: FBI / US Attorney, Book 3

Author: Julie James

First published: April 3rd 2012, Berkley Sensation

Edition: ebook, 287 pages

Genre: Romance

Age group: Adult

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

About That Night (FBI / US Attorney, #3)
Synopsis:

He’s Playing Games

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face-to-face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful assistant U.S. attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.

But She’s Making The Rules

Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case—but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants—and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten.

My thoughts:

About That Night takes off right from the place A Lot Like Love ended at and incorporates practically all the characters known from the previous books in the FBI/U.S. Attorney Book Series. Just like it was before, the setting of this story is Chicago and once again the reader finds himself in the middle of U.S. Attorney office life.

The story now focuses on Assistant U.S. Attorney Rylann Pierce, who moves from her previous job in San Fransisco, following a breakup from her boyfriend, to Chicago U.S. Attorney office, the head of which is Cameron Lynde, well known to any fan of the series.

Rylann Pierce is pictured to be a hard and responsible worker, one to set up 6-year plan to achieve her main goal of becoming the best lawyer and possibly even the U.S. Attorney. At her new work Rylann is surrounded by all well known faces, not only Cameron Lynde, but FBI Special Agents Jack Pallas, Nick McCall and Sam Wilkins. And this idea of Julie James to include the characters from the previous installments of the series is a smart and appealing move, as it sets the atmosphere of being at home with the place and characters and makes it easy to follow the plot.

Rylann plans to make the best of her first cases to prove that she is an approved lawyer, but one case in particular turns out a real testament of her professionalism as she has to deal with her crush from nine years ago in the face of Kyle Rhodes, who is also familiar to the reader being the brother of the second book’s heroine Jordan Rhodes.

Kyle Rhodes is released from prisoner way early due to his sister’s arrangement with FBI. After his twitter 2-days shutdown Kyle is determined to get his life back on track. He wants to start his own consulting business but the girl he was impressed with nine years ago and lost a chance with suddenly reappears in his life and makes him rethink his views on life and love.

Kyle and Rylann are both two independent persons. And despite Kyle’s constant teasing of Rylan of her strict working routine, he’s just as hardworking as her. Besides, both of them have been burned in the relationship department before, Kyle’s previous relationship with model Daniella ended in him becoming the Twitter Terrorist, which followed in him being arrested. And Rylann doesn’t want any man to lead her on like her ex-boyfriend Jon, who made her believe in their future together and instead left her alone following his dream of moving to Italy.

Kyle and Rylann are nowhere ready for love, yet it takes hold of them unexpectedly and the only way out for them is to give into it.

The story is totally in Julie James’ style with it’s well thought out plot with twist from the world of layers and steamy love scenes. Yet, some thing’s missing now to make it really stand out, when compared to the first two books. The love story was nice and beautiful, but possibly the point is in the fact that the danger factor now is lost. But still it’s a good book to read on a lazy day and get overwhelmed with the story of two people getting to know each other and eventually fall in love. I will totally read the next 4th installment which will come out next year, I’m sure it will be a nice read, too.

Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James

 

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Title: Just the Sexiest Man Alive

Author: Julie James

First published: October 7th 2008, Berkley Sensation

Edition: ebook, 271 pages

Genre: Romance, humor

Age group: Adult

Rating:  ★ ★

Just the Sexiest Man Alive

Synopsis:

COOL. CALM. COLLECTED.
Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan—not in the courtroom and not in her personal life. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in the next big legal drama, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.

CONFIDENT. FAMOUS. IRRESISTIBLE.
Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize that she may just be his perfect match. . .

My thoughts:

When I think how much I love Julie James’ FBI/U.S. Attorney Series, this book comes as a total disappointment to me.

Th story instead of Chicago is now set in Los Angeles and it is no longer about special agents or crime investigation. The central characters are Taylor Donovan, a lawyer, and Jason Andrews, world’s most popular movie actor and People’s “Sexiest man alive”.

If with FBI/U.S. Attorney Series Julie James was completely in her element, this book seems way out of her normal path. She writes so well about FBI investigations which she skillfully incorporate passionate love stories into, that Just The Sexiest Man Alive is like a test of the pen for her on a story with totally different kind of setting. And though I generally like the idea of the book, the way it was conducted didn’t personally impress me.

First of all the characters were too self-sufficient. Jason is the most acclaimed Hollywood actor and is used to live a free life full of money, parties, girls and no restrictions. And Taylor is strongly committed to her job, so much so that she doesn’t mind spending her whole weekend checking the cases once more in hopes to find more clues.

And when these two meet there is nothing but physical attraction between them. I like how the story develops from this point, though. It’s a slow but entertaining personal changing of both Jason and Taylor. Jason goes from the conceited man who was used to rely on his celebrity status to finally realizing how fame has clouded his mind and the person he really is under this mask of his.

But no matter how good the progression was, the story nevertheless was full of cringe-worthy moments. Jason’s behavior is the first. Throughout the best part of the story he acts like a total jerk. The thing he does to make Taylor jealous and then expecting her to fall eagerly into his arms when he tells her he chose her over some actress is crazy. Does he know women at all? And also the fact that being a celebrity he expects everything to be easy for him and to have people do for him whatever he wants. That’s just not normal, but maybe that’s how every celebrity behaves, I wouldn’t know as I’m not acquainted with any of them. But even omitting the fact of his popularity, Jason seemed too immature for a nearly 40-year-old man. He is definitely not ready for a serious relationship, and so when he goes from skipping business meetings for a trip to Las Vegas to asking Taylor to marry him, the situation just seems absurd.

And speaking of Taylor, she is very similar to Jayson in the way of her not being ready for a relationship and not even wanting one. Her whole life is centered on her job and after she caught her ex-fiancé cheating on her, no men is allowed into her personal life.

Just like Taylor is too self-centered as an actor, Taylor is no different, being probably the best lawyer at her firm. The way she constantly shows off her status and achievements is tiresome. And when she is conflicted about whether she would be enough for Jason, it actually seems like Taylor is not sure if Jason is good enough for her.

Taylor’s inconstancy is another problem to add to the list. One moment she says she doesn’t want to go out with a celebrity being afraid of paparazzi and losing her privacy and next moment she’s dating second best actor Scott Casey. And she definitely likes being this mystery woman with the whole world wondering who she is.

But as I mentioned earlier, the story’s developing was quite natural and I could see that the characters would change eventually, but I didn’t expect it to happen so out of the blue. Yes it was one of those now-or-never moments, but it was so forced. And now in just one day Taylor and Jason become this madly in love couple kissing in public and proclaiming their love in front of the willing audience. The reader just has to accept this. But I didn’t get it, I’d better get back to Julie James’ FBI special agents.

A Lot Like Love by Julie James

 

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Title: A Lot Like Love

Series: FBI / US Attorney Series, Book 2

Author: Julie James

First published: March 1st 2011, Penguin

Edition: ebook, 259 pages

Genre: Romance

Age group: Adult

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A Lot Like Love (FBI / US Attorney, #2)

Synopsis:

The FBI wants her cooperation. As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city’s top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there’s only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother’s release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never e they’re both determined to pull off even if they can’t be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick’s investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they’re a couple, and whaget personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— ont starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

My thoughts:

I’m officially in love with this book. Julie James yet again has managed to create a wonderful story mixing an undercover crime investigation, with all its danger and risks, and a hot and fiery love story.

Like Something About You, the first book in the series, A Lot Like Love takes place in Chicago and one of the central characters is yet again an FBI Special Agent. Just like Jack Pallas, Nick McCall is very responsible and loyal. Being one of the top undercover agents, Nick’s life is basically a series of new assignments Nick has to pretend different persons for, which is the reason for Nick’s main rule – never get personal. He would never allow himself to get attached to anyone, especially to the person he’s working with.

But it changes when he meets Jordan Rhodes to work on the new assignment. Jordan is a billionaire’s daughter and though Nick first considers her to be spoiled, his opinion of her changes the more they get to know each other.

Jordan Rhodes is never the person anyone would expect a billionaire heiress to be. Her dad taught her and her twin brother Kyle to never rely on his money. And so having to support themselves Jordan and Kyle are quite independent and realistic. As for Jordan, her passion for wine becomes the ground for her business, she is the owner of Chicago’s best wine store. But just like Nick she’s not really into the dating scene, her main concern is Kyle who gets arrested for shutting down twitter, an act called the Great Twitter Outage of 2011, which is actually quite an entertaining story in itself.

So when FBI agrees to reduce Kyle’s sentence, Jordan has no other ways out. She desperately wants to help her brother even though it means she has to take part in FBI’s next undercover investigation, for which she and Nick will have to pretend a couple.

And from this point the love story begins to develop. In all the other situations the romance between Jordan and Nick would have probably take more time to grow, but since it’s an undercover assignment for both of them, it of course means possible dangers, which makes the hidden emotions to come out. I liked that there are sparks between them from the very beginning, first based on physical attraction of course. Nick thinks Jordan is stunning even before meeting her, having seen only her photo. And Jordan feels tingling the moment she sees Nick. His bad boy -ish appearance is a sign for Jordan to be on her guard.

As the story goes they get to know each other more as the persons and those prejudices they had about each other in the beginning become groundless. The sparks and electricity keep growing to until they reach their limit which results in a series very hot love scenes, which Julie James is really a master of.

After some necessary dangerous happenings concerning the investigation (Jordan almost gets killed) and decision-making consideration on both Nick’s and Jordan’s part concerning their relationship (Nick decides to leave his undercover work in order to be with Jordan and Jordan learns to be more open about her feelings) the happy ending is a sure thing.

What is also great about the story is that being the second in the FBI/U.S. Attorney Series it incorporates the characters from the previous installment. It was so great to have Cameron Lynde and Jack Pallas take part in this story too and to also see that their relationship is still on and is even stronger.

What I like about Julie James’s books it’s their simplicity. They are easy reads, of course, I finish each book in just one day. But their very entertaining and quite addictive as having read one book I quickly start with the next one, it seems I can’t get enough of them.

Of course this book is about romance first of all and though it does create some suspense with all this undercover investigation, the love story is the main theme. And for me it’s not bad, as the love story is what I’m reading this books for in the first place. About That Night is next on my to-be-read list for sure.

Something About You by Julie James

 

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Title: Something About You

Series: FBI / US Attorney Series, Book 1

Author: Julie James

First published: March 2nd 2010, Berkley Sensation

Edition: ebook, 251 pages

Genre: Romance

Age group: Adult

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Something About You (FBI / US Attorney, #1)
Synopsis:

Fate has thrown two sworn enemies…

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…

…into each other’s arms

 Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…

My thoughts:

First of all I absolutely love romance, and I’m always looking for new books to read. So while navigating Goodreads.com and expanding my to-be-read list I stumbled upon this unknown to me author Julie James with really good reviews. I checked the books summaries and found them interesting. So I began with the first book in the FBI / U.S. Attorney series about Chicago FBI Special Agents and U.S. Attorneys investigating crimes. But it’s not only work for these people. Sometimes they let their feelings and emotions take control, thus presenting the most beautiful but bordering with danger love stories. This combination of danger and emotions, some detective plot lines with an amazing love story developing through the course of the book is what doesn’t let you put the book down till you reach the last page. The characters are really full developed and realistic here. There are no blind spot here, which is rare for this type of books. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde is a strong, intelligent and independent woman and FBI agent Jack Pallas is hot, brooding and protective. The chemistry between them is so strong and electric it can be felt even through the book. I liked the development of the story, this hate turned love plot. In the beginning Jack hates Cameron for what he thinks she did to him 3 years ago. But even that can’t stop sparks from flying between them. And when it’s becoming too much for both and the reader to handle, Jack learns that all his hate was groundless. And that’s when the romance really explodes, the scenes between Jack and Cameron described by Julie James are crazily hot and steamy. The idea to mix the love story with the crime investigation was not only refreshing and balancing, but it was also quite interesting by itself, though I would have loved if we knew the killer a little bit later in the story to keep the suspense a little longer. All in all Something About You was a great read and I’m definitely signed on to read the next books in the series, which I’m sure will be just as great as this one.