Title: Practice Makes Perfect
Author: Julie James
Rating: 5 Stars
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 have kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as coworkers for one reason: to make partner at the firm. But all bets are off when they're asked to join forces on a major case. Though apprehensive at first, 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 does not 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.Practice Makes Perfect is my favorite of all Julie James's novels - and I've read all of them. Seriously, this is just perfect. Perfect. I can't remember the last time I gave an Adult Contemporary Romance novel a solid 5 Stars, but this story was just too good. It starts out as an office rivalry between Payton and J.D., both highly successful lawyers for whom there is only one promotion spot. Yet, what neither of these two expect is to start to fall for each other and from then on, its a battle to push aside their feelings and simply survive their war. Both J.D. and Payton are incredibly well-developed and realistic characters, both of whom have excellent reasons for being as ambitious as they are. At the same time, however, they get along splendidly and harbor a secret admiration for each other which slowly comes to light as they get to know each other better.
I love that the romance in this story is the perfect slow-burn type, with J.D. and Payton truly getting to know each other, their families, and their lives before finally committing. Furthermore, they have their own hurdles on their path to romance, more than just their professional lives, so when they do admit their feelings for each other, it is more than a little rewarding. Especially since their chemistry is simply sizzling. J.D. too is my favorite of all the men that James has written about. I honestly can't find any flaws with him, despite his flawed and realistic persona. In fact, I can't find any faults with this novel as a whole. It was extremely funny - possibly James' most amusing novel, it was extremely romantic in a very sweet and sexy manner, and it was extremely well-written and engaging.
I can't recommend this novel enough. If you decide to pick up exactly one Julie James novel, let it be this one. It has one of the most satisfying endings ever and I can already see myself re-reading this time and time again, swooning over J.D. every time! ;)
Title: Just the Sexiest Man Alive
Author: Julie James
Rating: 3.5 Stars
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. 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 she may just be his perfect match.Just the Sexiest Man Alive is one of the most un-put-down-able novels I've read in a really long time. I simply could not stop reading it and the romance was simply adorable. As with most Julie James novels, the strength of this novel lay with its characters. Taylor was a woman I instantly connected with for she was ambitious, focused, and determined to let nothing stand in her way. After she caught her fiance cheating on her, she's closed herself off to men, which is precisely why Jason, literally the Sexiest Man in the World doesn't even begin to faze her. Okay, maybe a little. It was incredibly amusing to see Jason attempt to win Taylor over and their love story was so sweet.
Unfortunately, it was also extremely cliche and predictable. While that never detracted from the plot, what did make me lower my rating for this novel was the lack of depth that Jason had. Taylor was a very well-fleshed out character and while Jason had his own share of depth, being a far more caring and loyal person than the tabloids gave him credit for, he was still rather flat as far as romantic interests went. Furthermore, there was way too much drama in this novel. In some stories, drama is necessary, but there were waaay too many misunderstandings in this novel to be realistic and the romance simply dragged. I simply wanted it to be over by the end and even the last chapter was a bit of a cop-out with the slightly abrupt ending.
Nevertheless, if you're looking for something fun and romantic, with just a touch of depth, Just the Sexiest Man Alive is the book for you. It is compulsively readable and is a novel you most certainly will not regret having spent hours glued to!