April 9, 2012

Review: About That Night by Julie James



I’ve said this over and over, Julie James is one of the best contemporary romance authors out there. Her books are hilarious without being ridiculous, her heroes are sexy and her heroines strong and relatable. All of her stories have been winners to me,  Practice Makes Perfect is on my Top 10 list of favorite books, and About That Night was one of my most anticipated books of the year. And that is why I’m so sad to tell you that we just hit a bump in the road because this book was definitely not a winner.

Kyle Rhodes has been on the spotlight his entire life. Son of a multimillionaire, his face has been part of the tabloids for years. However, he really became famous months ago when he hacked Twitter. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds, his super model girlfriend publicly broke up with him through Twitter, he got drunk and thanks to his extraordinary intelligence, managed to shut down the social network causing panic everywhere. He went to prison but thanks to his sister, who made a deal with the FBI, he was released earlier than planned. The day of his last hearing a change of plans brings him face to face with Assistant U.S. Attorney Rylan Pierce, a woman he met years ago and hasn’t been able to forget.

Rylan didn’t expect the Twitter Terrorist to be her first assignment of her new job as a Chicago AUSA. When she first met Kyle the chemistry was undeniable, but fate had other plans and instead of going on a date they never saw each other again. Now they meet again under less than stellar circumstances and even though the chemistry is still there becoming involved is probably the worse idea ever. Kyle is an ex-con, she is an attorney, and now he’s also the key witness in a murder investigation. Not the easiest road to Happily Ever After, or so it seems.

This book had all the ingredients to be great. Ms. James is a talented author with a great voice and that was obviously present. There was comedy, likeable characters and the promise of an interesting plot. Yet, something was missing. My main issue with the book was that I found it boring. Nothing really happens. Kyle and Rylan had a past, they agree to go on a date but he never shows, so there’s potential for some drama there, but things are resolved almost immediately because he has a good excuse and she knows it. I actually thought this was well handled, more realistic than having the heroine angry at a guy she only spent a couple hours with. So this was used just to give them a previous history and not for angst or conflict. They must work together without getting involved because he’s a witness and she’s an AUSA, but that didn’t cause conflict either. He is the main witness in a murder investigation, but that’s not really a subplot -unlike the previous book in the series, there’s no suspense in this book-. And finally, I didn’t feel the chemistry between the main couple, and that’s what really hurt the book for me. Great sex, great banter, but no real connection. I don’t expect every book I read to have an epic love story, but I want to feel the emotion coming through the pages regardless of how subtle the romance is, and that was lacking here.

Kyle was my favorite part of the book. I loved his personality and his easygoing nature, and I liked that he was hardworking and ready to make amends. All the comedy comes from him, so it’s impossible not to love a guy with both sense of humor and loyalty. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and it was great spending time in his company. Rylan, on the other hand, was more serious. She had a sense of humor but she needed to relax first. I liked that she was committed to her career but not obnoxious about it (not too much, at least), and she was a good friend, but I didn't really like anything else about her and found her difficult to relate to. She had some ideas about how things should be, part of it being that she was so career driven, but when things didn't go according to plan she either dismissed them or acted slightly mean about them, and that included Kyle. She was unfair towards him, she was judgmental and unable to see the good guy he was, I think she was the main reason I felt there was no chemistry between them. Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t drawn to the story, which in turn hurt my perception of the romance and of them as a couple, but I just wasn’t invested in them and didn’t really care whether they made it or not.

I found the secondary characters more interesting than the main couple. They don’t really serve any purpose to the plot except as sequel bait, but I’ll take it. I’m looking forward to their books and hope that by then the magic will be back.

About That Night isn’t a bad book, but is far from great. If this is your first time reading Ms. James’ books, do not start here. If you’re a fan then you probably already read it. I can’t recommend this book but I will recommend everything else by her. Julie James is a must read, especially if you like your romances with a side of comedy.

Review by Brie
Grade: 3
Sensuality: McSteamy
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up, she never expected to see him again. Nine years later, the beautiful assistant U.S. attorney finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courtroom-and still wildly attracted to him. Just released from prison, Kyle isn't thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case. But he may find gorgeous Rylann Pierce is the one lawyer he can't refuse.

Berkley. April 3, 2012.

13 comments:

  1. While A Lot Like Love is still my favorite, I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was the sexiest of her books and I liked the banter between the h/h. I bought into their chemistry :)

    Totally agree with this:
    Her books are hilarious without being ridiculous, her heroes are sexy and her heroines strong and relatable.

    She writes very smart books. I just love her voice :)

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    1. Have you read Practice Makes Perfect? That book is different, more comedy and the sex is fade-to-black, but it's so hilarious, I can't even think about it without smiling.

      Smart books is a grate way to describe them, they are a lot like Kyle, it seems like they don't take themselves too seriously but there's obviously a lot of brains and work behind the easygoing exterior. I'm sad that this one didn't work for me, it took me some time to figure out why that was because as I said the key elements were there. Do you think the next book will be about Wilkins and Rae? Or maybe Cade Morgan? I can't wait!!

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  2. Ohhh, sorry to hear this one disappointed you. Especially from an author you love. But they all can't be gems I guess. But you do have me intrigued enough to want to try another of her books. At least it wasn't a total bust though and Kyle ended up being a character you like. I do love my witty easy-going men. Nice, honest review!

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    1. I think so far I'm in the minority, everyone loved the book so maybe you will too. Try reading Something About You and A Lot Like Love first, they are books 1 and 2 in the series, they all stand alone well but those are better IMO.

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  3. Awww, Brie, sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you wanted :( I hate it when it happens. I also think that the readers' anticipation didn't help at all.

    seems like we agree in our opinions... although I gave it a higher grade. I really liked Kyle and his relationship with Jordo. I'm curious about the next book. Hope there'll be more action.

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    1. Reader' anticipation always hurts the book, it sucks because what makes you love the author is what ends up killing the story. This happens to me all the time, although to be fair, her books always succeed expectations, this is the first book of hers I don't like.

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  4. I had a few other Julie James books on my list from last year and when I shortened my list I took them off because I couldn't remember why I added them. Now I do. I will try Ms. James but I will take your advice and not start with this one. Great honest review.

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    1. You put those books back on your TBR pile right now! They are awesome, this one, not so much, but the rest are. You're a lawyer, right? I'm not so sure how you will like them although Ms. James was also one so she should know what she's doing.

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  5. Awww I'm sad to see you didn't enjoy this one as much as the others. I still have this book sitting on my to-be-read shelf, I'm waiting until i'm in the mood for a contemporary romance before I pick it up. Glad to see that you liked Kyle's character though! I'm excited to read about him.

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    1. I'm in the minority here because I'm one of the few who didn't like the book as much so you'll probably love it, but let me know once your read it!!

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  6. I'm seeing a lot of so-so responses to this one. I adored Kyle in A Lot Like Love, so I'll still be reading this one. I guess ONE benefit of reading it after it's been out a few weeks is letting my expectations settle to a more neutral zone based on everyone else's reviews! ;)

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    1. Kyle is great, and so is Rylan, but together not so much, there was something missing there, maybe the lack of conflict hurt them, I don't know, it was an overall meh book for me. I hope you enjoy it more.

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  7. I like this book a lot but my favorite was for sure " Something about you". I really like the fact that Julie James talk about almost every characters that have been in her previous books. I really like Kyle in this book we saw the evolution of his character since the begining of the book! I also like the fact that in every of her books julie James made her heroines headstrong women and they hide their feelings but a the end they always open up to the right man! So yes finally I really like this book i give it a 4/5

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