Publisher: Berkley

Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie James

Posted April 18, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Jen
The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time.

Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team.

In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

It’s actually been a loooong while since I’d read a Julie James book, but something about this one sparked my interest, so I picked it up. Good choice, Past Jen!

Jessica Harlow (which, incidentally, is a super cool name for a heroine, no?) recently transferred to the Chicago FBI office. Her first case is to go undercover posing as an investor to catch a corrupt politician. The problem is, she’s paired with John Shepherd, her arch rival from the FBI Academy. John has been groomed to join the ultra-elite Hostage Rescue Team since he was first recruited to the FBI, but he’s been dragging his feet on applying. When his current relationship blows up at the start of the book, he decides it’s time to finally to do what he was groomed for and sign up for HRT. Jessica wants her first case in the new office to be a success to impress her new colleagues, and John wants to go out with a win. The problem is, neither one can stand the other. They have to figure out how to put aside their differences, and a pesky case of attraction, to get the job done.

I really loved the “he said, she said” premise of the conflict in this book. While Jessica and John share a history, they definitely did NOT experience that history in the same way! Hearing them each tell their own version of their time at the Academy was funny and very illuminating. Jessica obviously had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but it felt very justified because she was a woman in a world dominated by hot shot men. She had to be tough, and it’s easy to see how that would make her seem standoffish and unapproachable. John has a very different take on the situation, and to him he was just trying to be friendly while she was the one being condescending. For example, both Jessica and John recall an incident from their very first meeting, where John makes a jokey comment and winks at Jessica. He meant it as a friendly, welcoming introduction, with no other agenda. She interpreted it as flirting and patronizing her. Yes, Jessica seems harsh in that scene, but to me it was such a clear example of how a man might not even consider that a gesture like a wink could seem off putting to a woman used to dealing with misogyny and harassment. For his part, John tries to be open and friendly with Jessica, until she starts obviously competing with him, which triggers his own insecurities about being all brawn and no brain. Both of them had perfectly understandable interpretations of the past, and both of them were very wrong about the other.

As usual, James does a wonderful job making the investigation details seem realistic. Jessica and John are both scarily good at their jobs, and both act like actual investigators would act (or at least how I imagine they would act!). While there’s a little bit of light action at the end, for the most part this book is all about the well-planned white collar investigation, not shoot-em-up high stakes battles. What James does so well, though, is blend the competent job performance and the intriguing personal relationship into an engaging story you want to keep reading.

There were a few missteps, though. First, I felt like the conflict with John’s friends and the kerfuffle over his girlfriend never really went anywhere. There was never any real resolution there, so I didn’t quite understand the point. Also, John leaving to do HRT seemed a little forced. I mean, that was sort of the point because he clearly was clearly conflicted, but I felt like his conflict went on a little too long. I also wanted Jessica to be more honest with John. Some of the end drama would have been resolved by both John and Jessica just having a solid conversation earlier, instead of dragging out the angst.

Still, this story had a unique perspective and characters I liked getting to know.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars

1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , ,


Review: The Thing about Love by Julie James

Posted April 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Thing about Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

Julie James has been a favorite of mine since she was a newbie romance novelist with the release of her very first book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive. Every year she has written a book that I absolutely loved and all these years later, she’s still writing books that I enjoy. As a reader, that makes me a happy camper because who doesn’t love enjoying book after book from their favorite authors?

Anyway, The Thing about Love is another fabulous addition to James’ backlist and it follows a couple of new to us FBI special agents who work for, wait for it….Nick McCall who is not a new to us character. 🙂 So while this book doesn’t follow our normal FBI Squad, we do see a bunch of them around and my inner FBI/US Attorney’s fangirl squeed with joy.

So the story starts out with John Shepherd walking in on some bad news at home so he throws himself into work. The best way to get over betrayal is is to drown yourself in work, right? Well, that’s what John does and he also decides that maybe a change would be good for him. He accepts the offer to join a huge task force in Virginia but he’s got one last undercover job that he has to do before he leaves and that job’s got him partnered up with a woman he went to FBI school with at Quantico. The girl that he had a huge crush on but didn’t return so instead of spending some happy time with each other, they spent the entire time trying to one up each other and that relationship follows them to their new undercover gig all these years later.

Jessica Harlow isn’t a fan of being partnered up with John Shepherd on this job but she’s a professional and she can handle him. She remembers John as being the douche canoe from class that was heaps better than everyone at everything and lorded his superior skills around, especially toward her. Especially when she was shooting guns and lagging behind everyone else in all of the physical aspects of the FBI. All these years later, she’s great at every part of being an FBI special agent and he can choke on all of his “encouragement”.

The chemistry between these two from the very beginning was sizzling. I ate every scene up and even when I wanted to pull Jess’ hair (because let’s face it, she’d beat my ass so that’s the extent of what I thought about doing to Jessica Harlow), I loved reading this book. It was fun and the romance was hot so I was entertained which makes the book a winner for me. It took me no time at all to dig into this book and I was invested in both John and Jess from the very beginning. There were times when a lot of the FBI jargon went over my head but mostly, it was just entertaining. I liked it a lot.

I definitely recommend this book if you enjoyed the other books by Julie James. It’s fun, it’s fresh and there’s lots of eye candy (old and new) so what’s not to love?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

4 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,


Author Interview: Julie James Dishes About the FBI and The Thing About Love!

Posted April 17, 2017 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 10 Comments

Today we’re excited to have Julie James here to answer some questions about THE THING ABOUT LOVE (Berkley Romance, April 18, 2017). If you haven’t pre-ordered it, you must! It was such a wonderful read. Full of witty banter, with an exciting plot, it’s not to be missed.

Author Interview: Julie James Dishes About the FBI and The Thing About Love!The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation.

Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

 

 

 

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO || iBOOKS

Interview

Is it true that you were once interested in a career with the FBI?
Yes! I went to law school with the thought of possibly becoming an FBI agent. My first semester of law school, I met with an FBI recruiter, and he told me I was ineligible because I didn’t meet the vision requirements. (I’d planned to have Lasix surgery, but back then, that didn’t count—a rule that has since been changed.) While I was discouraged at the time, becoming a trial lawyer turned out to be a good fit for me. And, knowing what I do now, I’m not sure I would’ve made it through the PT part of the FBI Academy. 🙂

What research did you do for THE THING ABOUT LOVE?
I had to do research into the FBI Academy, and the Hostage Rescue Team. The FBI has some information about Selection and HRT on their website, but I also had to rely on news articles about the Team, and I read a memoir written by a former HRT operator.

I also had to do research on the specifics of the undercover investigation in the book, so that I knew what my heroine and hero would actually be doing. The case in the book is loosely based on a real-life case: the mayor of Charlotte, NC was arrested and convicted for accepting bribes in a manner similar to the mayor in my case. For research, I pulled news stories about the Charlotte mayor’s trial, court hearing transcripts, and press releases from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office.

Your female characters always have the best quips and comebacks. What inspires your dialogue?
I’m a film buff, and I started my writing career with screenplays. I think my focus on dialogue stems from that. And I think all of my heroine/hero pairings have a dynamic that’s one part Elizabeth Bennet/Mr. Darcy and one-part Princess Leia/Han Solo.

Why do you enjoy about writing about talented, career-focused women who find love?
I write women who are like the women I know. The “finding love” part of those stories comes from being a longtime fan of romantic comedies.

 

Giveaway Alert

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

About the Author

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

Julie James is the New York Times bestselling author of six previous novels. James graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, FL. She lives in Chicago with her family. Learn more at juliejames.com, Facebook.com/JulieJamesFanPage, and Twitter.com/juljames.

 

Meet Julie

10 Comments
Tags: , , , ,


Guest Review: Every Little Thing by Samantha Young

Posted March 8, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Every Little Thing by Samantha YoungReviewer: Tracy
Every Little Thing by Samantha Young
Series: Hart's Boardwalk #2
Also in this series: The One Real Thing
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy.

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.

Bailey Hartwell and Vaughn Tremaine have been at odds since the man walked into town.  Bailey had tried to move mountains in order to stop the man from building his hotel on the boardwalk.  She failed but she had to try.  It seems that everyone is happy with Vaughn and he seems to be friends with quite a few people but he treats Bailey…not so well. She fights back verbally – the only way she knows how.

The thing is that Bailey is highly attracted to Vaughn and him to her.  The more they feel that attraction the more antagonistic they are to each other.  Vaughn doesn’t feel like he deserves to be happy and Bailey’s such a happy go lucky person.  When her inn is broken in to and Vaughn saves her from the thief they end up in bed together.  Of course Bailey wants more and Vaughn pushes her away in the worst possible way. When Bailey’s sister rolls into town and says she’s there to help run the inn Bailey freaks out but with Vaughn’s help they can work it all out.

I really liked this story.  Bailey seemed like a bit of a crazy girl in book one of this series but I really liked her anyway and of course Vaughn with his dark broodiness was intriguing in book one.  I was so happy they were going to get together because I could tell from their personalities that it would be a pretty epic thing to bring them together.

While I didn’t like that they spent a good portion of the book apart it was all worth it in the end.  We got more background on both Bailey and Vaughn and why they felt like they did about relationships.  It was pretty eye-opening.  Once they got together it was explosive and I was truly happy they got their HEA.

The book brings back characters from the previous book and that was wonderful.  We got to see the characters from book one get married and got to know the others a bit better.  I’ve liked this series so far and I’m anxious to see where it goes next.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted February 10, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Satisfaction  by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Rowena
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless Series #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.

Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Satisfaction is the second book in the Lawless series and it follows the youngest brother, Brandon as he journeys to that elusive happily ever after. A happy ending that he does not believe he deserves. When we first meet Brandon is the first book, Ruthless, he is a happy go lucky kind of guy until he gets into a fight and the brothers plus Hatch have to go and bail him out. You get a sense that of all the Lawless siblings, Riley and Bran are still dealing with issues from when they were in the foster care system.

Riley has trouble sleeping with the door open. It’s got to be locked and he has to sleep alone. Bran, Bran has nightmares about a night he’d rather forget. About a girl he cared about and couldn’t save.

Riley is the charming brother. Andrew is the vengeful brother. But Bran? Bran is the protective brother. He’s Captain Save a Hoe. You can find him at the strip club beating on guys that think strippers are their personal property. In the first book, Riley got in a lot of trouble because 1) he fell in love with his mark and 2) he lied through his buck teeth about everything under the sun. Bran is determined that they learn from their mistakes so when the next phase in their revenge plot calls for getting close to the personal assistant of the next person on their hit list, Bran sneaks in and steals Drew’s spotlight.

Carly Fisher is Patricia Cain’s personal assistant and overall grunt. Patricia Cain is next up on the Lawless siblings hit list. They need Carly’s assistance in getting close to Patricia so that they can take her down. Drew’s plan was to seduce Carly into letting him get close so that he use her to handle his business but Bran’s idea was to bring Carly into the plan. Make her an ally. Present her with the truth, with the facts and let her decide if she wants to help them. Drew is not a fan of Bran’s plan and he’s not a fan of allies.

Bran and Carly’s romance was sweet. I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other and getting to know the both of them myself. They were great characters, and I loved Bran. I loved how honest he was, how hard he worked to take care of those he loved and I really loved how he went toe to toe with Drew. Drew has a tendency of being so narrow-minded that he can be hard to be around. His personality is very off-putting but for those that know him, that love him, they understand him. Bran is the opposite of Drew. He’s very easy to be around. He’s quick to smile. He’s loyal and even when he was being a dumbass, I loved him.

Carly was the newbie on the scene, so she had a lot of catching up to do on making me like her. I enjoyed her character as a whole but she did get on my nerves from time to time. Her reasoning drove me nuts but in her heart of hearts, she was a good person. I liked that she was smart, she was loyal to her sister and when she stopped letting her insecurities get to her, she was a great partner for Bran.

Overall, this was a great story with characters that rocked my socks and I’m really thirsty for Revenge, Drew’s book. I called his heroine right when we met her in this book. The ending for this book has me super anxious for the next one because I just know Drew is going to piss everyone off in the name of protecting his family and I just know it’s going to be good. I’m so here for it.

4 out of 5

four-stars

2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,