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It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

I love Julie James‘ books. They’re just so much fun to read with all the banter between the male and female leads. It’s so comforting to curl up with one of her books because they read like a favorite chick flick. Something that fills you up with good vibes. I had known about It Happened One Wedding months before it came out and I read it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy. I was supposed to do some things one Friday night but I just couldn’t stop reading so I gave in and stayed up late to finish the book.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

It Happened One WeddingSHE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO SAY “I DO”

After a humiliating end to her engagement, investment banker Sidney Sinclair is done with commitment-phobic men. But when her sister winds up engaged after a whirlwind courtship, she’s thrown in to close contact with exactly the kind of sexy playboy she wants to avoid — the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are…

BUT HE MAKES IT HARD TO SAY “I DON’T”

Special Agent Vaughn Roberts always gets his man on the job and his woman in bed. So Sidney’s refusal to fall for his charms only makes him more determined to win over the cool and confident redhead. Only what starts out as a battle of wills ends up as a serious play for her heart. Because the one woman who refuses to be caught may be the only one Vaughn can’t live without…

Julie James’ contemporary romance novels are consistently funny. Several scenes had me smiling or laughing while I was reading them. Sidney and Vaughn verbally spar while they keep denying that they’re attracted to each other. Aside from their banter, I also enjoyed how their friends – Sidney’s best friend Trish and Vaughn’s best friends Cade and Huxley – tease them and give them a hard time. Here’s a snippet that I really liked:

“What was that?” Trish demanded to know, in a hushed tone.

Sidney tried to play innocent. “What was what?”

“That look between you and Vaughn,” Trish said. “I can’t decide if you two should box a few rounds or go screw each other brainless in the pantry.”

“My god, Trish – his mother is standing right over there.”

“In that case, I’d strongly suggest locking the pantry door should you choose option B.”

I think it’s great that the focus of the story isn’t just on Sidney and Vaughn but also on how they interact with their family and friends. I’ve noticed that this is something that’s also present in her other novels. I really liked that the plot revolved around the wedding, where both Sidney and Vaughn played major roles as maid-of-honor and best man. I think weddings are fun so I like reading stories about them. If there’s one minor thing that I can complain about Julie James’ books, it’s that all of her heroes and heroines might seem a bit too perfect – amazingly good-looking with really successful careers. But that’s not a big issue for me since the characters in her stories are fully fleshed out, complete with insecurities and problems so I feel like that balances the scale. In It Happened One Wedding, Sidney feels pressured to find Mr. Right because she’s worried that her biological clock is ticking. I also feel like Julie James does her research when it comes to providing background information on her characters’ occupations. While I’ve never worked in investment banking or private equity firms (or the FBI, for that matter), I’m familiar with some aspects of Sidney’s job and the descriptions felt realistic. I felt a bit lost after reading It Happened One Wedding because I enjoyed it so much. I couldn’t decide what to read next because frankly, I just wanted another Julie James novel. Can’t wait for the next one to come out next year! It will be interesting to see who the lead for that will be.


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Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light and Fun

Top Ten Tuesday2

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is such a good one. I love light and fun reads because I feel like they come in handy whenever I feel like a book slump is about to occur. Or when I want to cleanse my reading palate after reading a dense fantasy novel or an emotionally heavy book. I don’t have to be in a certain mood to read books like the ones I’ve included here, I can just pick them up whenever I want to read something that’s easy to get into. In no particular order, here are my top ten light reads:

I Do and At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler – Bantam’s Love Stories series was the YA series to follow back when I was a teen. These two by Elizabeth Chandler are my favorites. I can’t even remember the number of times I’ve reread these.

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – I feel like I’m a broken record because I keep saying this but Mina is my favorite Filipino chick lit author. I could relate to her novels because they’re about young Filipino women and her books are set in the Philippines.

Something About You by Julie James – All of Julie James’ romances are filled with a healthy dose of humor, which is why I enjoy reading them. Something About You is the first in her FBI/US Attorney series and my favorite so far. There’s just something about main characters who keep bickering to hide their attraction.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Such a swoon-worthy novel set in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Really enjoyed the tension between Anna and Etienne.

The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand – Another novel set in Paris! But adult contemporary romance instead of YA. Couldn’t help but feel good whenever I read Laura Florand’s novels – I’m a fan of how she combines romance with delicious food.

Laduree macarons

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – This one might not be considered light because the main characters have to deal with some pretty serious issues but there’s something magical about the writing that makes it so much fun to read.

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson – The first Eva Ibbotson novel that I ever read and it’s still one of my favorites. I love the fairy tale feel of this historical fiction novel.

Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this since I’m not a sci-fi girl. I didn’t get confused by the details of the sci-fi setting and I really liked the romance

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – I could relate to Harry’s thirst for adventure and I loved living vicariously through her (and all other strong female characters I admire).

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – I know, I know. A book riddled with political intrigue isn’t usually considered light fare but I’ve reread this book so many times that it has just become a comfort read. Plus, Gen is always good for some laughs.

I’ve noticed that most of my picks for light reads are contemporary novels and that ALL of them have some kind of romance in them. It sure looks like I enjoy a well-written love story in my feel good reads. Do you agree with some of my choices? What are some of your own favorite light reads?


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About That Night by Julie James

I love Julie James. She’s my favorite contemporary romance author. Not only have I read and reviewed all of her books in my blog, I’ve recommended them to so many friends. Her latest title, About That Night, is part of the FBI/US Attorney series. Some of the characters in the first two books, Something About You and A Lot Like Love have cameos in this installment. I believe her novels are standalones but you’d have a better appreciation of the characters if the books are read in order.

Here’s the summary from Julie James’ website:

About That Night by Julie James coverHE’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…

Julie James’ novels are so much fun. They’re the book equivalent of chick flicks for me and I really enjoy going through them. The two other novels in the FBI/US Attorney series are romantic suspense and I love how About That Night is more romantic comedy than anything else. I found Kyle such an intriguing character when he was first introduced in his twin sister Jordan’s book, A Lot Like Love. I thought his cyber crime was amusing and I immediately wanted to find out more about the Twitter Terrorist. I enjoyed getting to know him – back when Rylann first meets him as a grad student and later on as the infamous computer genius who managed to shut down Twitter while he was drunk and angry. Similar to his sister Jordan, Kyle isn’t a snob even if he’s heir to his father’s billion-dollar empire. Their parents brought them up to be hardworking and down-to-earth. I thought it was nice that his financial status wasn’t that big of an issue between him and Rylann. I liked that Kyle and Rylann had history together – they only got to hang out that one night but it meant so much to both of them. They’re kind of each other’s “the one who got away” and that nicely sets the stage when they see each other again. When it comes to Julie James’ novels, there’s always plenty of witty banter between her two intelligent main characters. There’s a lot of sarcastic comments and teasing around before the characters even act on their attraction.

What I love about Julie James’ novels is how believable the relationships in her novels are and how it’s easy to relate to her characters even if you don’t have that much in common with them. I think this is because her novels are so detailed. I know next to nothing about hacking into Twitter or being an Assistant US Attorney (I don’t even live in the US) but because Kyle and Rylann are fully fleshed out characters, I found it easy to root for them. Is it just me or are Julie James’ novels getting steamier and steamier? Not that I’m complaining. :P It’s just that I’ve noticed that her first two novels have fade to black love scenes and only the FBI/US Attorney novels have more detailed sexytimes. After I finished reading About That Night, I had the same thought I always get after reading a Julie James novel: I want more. I keep wishing there were more books in her back list so I’d have more to read. Sadly, I have to wait until next year for a new book. Looking forward to hearing more details about her next novel. Based on her website, the next one will also be a part of the FBI/US Attorney series but still no news on who the main characters are going to be.

Other reviews:
Smexy Books
Yummy Men Kickass Chicks
Limecello
Rampant Reads


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A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Julie James is one of my favorite discoveries in 2010. I got addicted to her writing because her stories have smart characters who gets under each other’s skin and as a result, there’s a lot of witty banter. I gobbled up her books one right after the other and was kind of sad that she didn’t have a bigger backlist, which is why A Lot Like Love is one of my most anticipated reads in 2011. I was so excited when I saw a copy available at Fully Booked Trinoma a day before the actual release date. We rarely get books on time here in the Philippines so I was thrilled to get a copy early.

Here’s the summary from Julie James’ website:

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.

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This “date” with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment — one 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 what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more…

The heroines in Julie James’ other books – Taylor, Payton and Cameron – are all lawyers and I think it’s great that Jordan isn’t. Also, I just wanted to say that I love that Julie uses unisex names for her female characters. Jordan is an heiress but she’s financially independent from her computer geek billionaire dad. She runs her own wine store and it’s pretty obvious that she’s passionate about wine. I don’t know a lot about wine and I’m not a big wine drinker but this book made me want to try out the wine brands mentioned to see if they’re any good. I also loved that there’s a trip to Napa Valley in this book because I’ve been there! Nick is a guy’s guy FBI agent who would prefer not to explore the intricacies involved in drinking wine but he has no choice when he’s assigned to work undercover as Jordan’s date. It was easy to like both Jordan and Nick. Jordan is very down-to-earth and doesn’t act like a spoiled rich girl. Her priorities include her work, her family and her close friends. Nick also loves his family even if he doesn’t live in the same state as the rest of them. He’s serious about work and he loves that he’s good at it. He constantly argues with Jack Pallas from Something About You on who’s a better FBI agent between the two of them. I loved that Jack and Nick would trash talk whenever they could but they know they could count on each other when it comes to their work.

There’s always humor in all of Julie James’ novel and I think that’s one of the main reasons why I like them so much. In this one, Jordan exchanges quips not just with Nick, but also with her twin brother, Kyle, who’s in prison. I’m not going to say why Kyle is in prison but even his reason for being there is so funny. I also found it amusing that Nick doesn’t have a clue about anything wine-related and is horrified to discover that there’s pink wine. He thinks wine is for sissies and that Jordan likes fancy schmancy stuff. He even found Jordan’s Starbucks order weird. What’s wrong with a tall one-pump, sugar-free, vanilla soy latte? I’m partial to an iced soy green tea latte myself but I gave Jordan’s drink a try (except for the one-pump part) and it was pretty good. A Lot Like Love is a fun and light read with great characters and an engrossing plot that moves along nicely. It focuses on the characters and their relationships with people in their lives but there’s also a suspense subplot because of Nick’s work as a FBI agent and Jordan’s involvement in his case. If you’ve never read a Julie James novel and you enjoy reading chick lit or contemporary romance, please pick one up as soon as you can! They’re locally available at around P300 each. All of her novels are hilarious, easy to fall into and read like book equivalents of romantic comedy movies. Can’t wait for the next book, which is going to be about Kyle. If you’ve read any book similar to Julie James’ work, please let me know in the comments.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
The Book Smugglers
Book Binge
Dear Author
Book Lovers Inc.

Here’s a picture of me in Napa, when my cousin took me wine tasting. I’d love to go back there but preferably when I know more about wine.


19 Comments

Julie James

Since I mentioned in a recent post that I like chick lit books, I realized that I’ve never reviewed Julie James’ work. I thought I’d remedy the situation since I recommend her books all of the time so here are mini-reviews of all three. Summaries are from Julie James’ website.

SOMETHING ABOUT YOU

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…

Review: I’ve re-read this book several times and certain scenes can still make me laugh. What I really like about Julie James’ books is that we get glimpses inside the heads of the heroes and not just the heroines. So even if Jack is the strong, silent type, we still know how Cameron wreaks havoc on his concentration. I really enjoyed seeing both of them get on each other’s nerves while trying to work together on the case. The secondary characters in this one were a riot! I loved both Colin, Cameron’s gay best friend, and Wilkins, Jack’s partner. Because of the nature of Jack’s work, there’s more suspense and action in this one compared to the other two. Another great thing about this book? The cover shows a scene in the book. We all know how rarely this happens.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

WHEN IT COMES TO THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION…

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.

. . . THERE ARE NO RULES.

But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law — and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar . . .

Review: This is a classic story of a love-hate relationship. Payton and J.D. work in the same law firm. They’ve always competed against each other but more so when they find out that only one of them can be partner. I have to say, I think J.D. is the Julie James hero that I like the least because of something that he did to Payton in the past (sorry for being vague, I don’t want to mention spoilers). As a whole, it was still a lot of fun to see both of them battle it out through arguments and pranks. There’s a lot of background information about lawyers in this one because both protagonists are in that profession and I believe Julie James was also a lawyer before. There’s not a lot in terms of action in this one but what makes it enjoyable is the dialogue between the two witty and intelligent protagonists.

JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE

COOL. CALM. COLLECTED.

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her – not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, 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. . .

Review: Jason is not just confident, he’s extremely arrogant. He’s gotten used to his Hollywood lifestyle and how he always gets his way because he’s famous. So when he meets Taylor and she doesn’t bow down to him, he’s intrigued. While Taylor recognizes that Jason is attractive, she’s annoyed that he gets special treatment just because he’s a celebrity. The whole book is all about the two of them circling each other, trying to gauge the attraction between them. As always, the witty repartee in this book is what makes it special. The sarcastic remarks in their arguments are bound to make you chuckle (or at the very least, smile). Just like in Something About You, Taylor and Jason’s best friends play important roles in the story.

 

So there you have it, folks. Julie James’ novels are really a lot of fun and they are my favorite chick lit books along with Jennifer Crusie’s books. I can’t wait for A Lot Like Love to come out. For a change, the heroine isn’t a lawyer in that one, something different to look forward to.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
Angieville reviews Something About You
See Michelle Read reviews Something About You
The Book Smugglers review Something About You
Janicu’s Book Blog reviews Practice Makes Perfect
Ramblings on Romance reviews Practice Makes Perfect
Angieville reviews Practice Makes Perfect and Just the Sexiest Man Alive
Janicu’s Book Blog reviews Just the Sexiest Man Alive
Dear Author reviews Just the Sexiest Man Alive

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