About That Night by Julie James

Based on my love of Julie James’ first two books, Practice Makes Perfect and Just the Sexiest Man Alive, I’ve been continue to buy her books whenever a new one comes out.
 

About That Night
Julie James

The Premise: Rylann Pierce and Kyle Rhodes met in a college bar while they were both pursuing advanced degrees (she for law, he for a Ph.D. in Computer Science). They shared a walk home and a good night kiss, but life got in the way of anything more. That was it, until nine years later when their paths crossed again. Just starting her new job as an assistant U.S attorney in Chicago, Rylann is surprised to discover that her first assignment involves a motion to reduce Kyle’s sentence. Kyle, an heir to a billion dollar empire is now the infamous Twitter Terrorist who shut down the site for two days.
 
My Thoughts: About That Night is the third book in Julie James’ FBI/US Attorney series. The first book, Something About You (reviewed here: http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg) focuses on Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde and Special Agent Jack Pallas, and the second book, A Lot Like Love (reviewed here:  http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/livejournal_com.gifhttp://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g254/jayamei2/wordpress.jpg) focuses on wine store owner and heiress Jordan Rhodes and FBI agent Nick McCall. Cameron (book 1) is Rylann’s boss, and Jordan (book 2) is Kyle’s twin sister – but don’t let this discourage you from starting with any of the books in the series. The cameos from other characters aren’t gratuitous because they have real relationships with the main couple, but that doesn’t mean you need to know their backstories to understand what’s going on in About That Night.
 
What you may want to know before reading About That Night is that this book is a little bit different than the previous two in that there is not really a suspense plot. This makes sense – Kyle is a computer guy and businessman who made a huge mistake in bringing down a website used by millions. He’s not a FBI agent whose job it is to protect the heroine. So instead of a villain somewhere pushing our couple together, this book has a more straightforward contemporary romance plot. Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl out on a date. Boy doesn’t show up. Nine years later, Boy is thrown in prison for hacking Twitter, and Girl shows up at his motion to reduce his sentence…
 
The real conflict in the story is about who Rylann and Kyle are. Rylann is more of the Good Girl – she has a six-year plan, she knows what she wants to do, and she follows the rules and works her butt off to get what she wants. While Kyle is a computer whiz kid, and thus a bright guy, he’s also more impulsive and less sure about his direction in life. He’s sort of a Bad Boy what with his reputation with women and being an heir to a billion dollar empire. When she first sets eyes on him at a college bar, Rylann pegs him as more trouble than he’s worth, but he makes her realize that he’s more than he first appears to be. Unfortunately, circumstances prevent the two from getting to know each past that night. Fast forward nine years and the spark is still there, but Rylann is an assistant U.S attorney. She just started her job. She doesn’t want a tarnished reputation, and that is what she would get if she were to date someone surrounded by controversy like Kyle, not to mention that he’s an ex-con her office prosecuted.
 
Romantic suspense has never been my bag, so I was pleased that About That Night took a different direction and was just straightforward contemporary romance. One caveat: although this had an entertaining, comfort read quality, it was almost too straightforward. What I mean by that is that the conflict level was low. Yes, there is an issue with Rylann’s career versus her interest in Kyle, but this couple are grown-ups and deal with it in a grown-up way. I like this about them – I like characters that are adults and act like it, and Julie James always has characters that care about their responsibilities and careers and are good at what they do. It’s refreshing not to have silly overblown drama, but there is also a feeling like there’s no fire, no feverish need to turn the pages when everyone is so reasonable. Rylann’s conflict of interest was a minor dilemma, and the steamy sex scenes (at three, I think this is the steamiest James book yet) may have added ‘oomph’ for some readers, but threw me. Are these huge issues? Not really. What keeps you hooked instead is the genial writing and just how darn cute and compelling Kyle and Rylann are together. As I was reading, I was happy. It’s only now that I look back do I realize that the book was relatively even-keeled with little drama. How that will go over depends on who you are as a reader.
 
Overall: If you are looking for high drama and strife,  About That Night may not be the book for you. This is a low-frill, straightforward contemporary romance (with a shot of sexytimes) – a good comfort read and a solid Julie James book. While it wasn’t my favorite by this author, it fits right in the middle of the pack on my personal rating scale.
 
Buy: Amazon | Powell’s | The Book Depository
 
Other reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook –  positive
Babbling About Books, and More – B+
The Book Pushers – B- and B (Joint review)
Parajunkee’s View – positive
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11 thoughts on “About That Night by Julie James

  1. Ack. I keep forgetting to buy this. And I could really use a good comfort read. Not that I’m, you know, reading right now. It’s a problem. (One that likely won’t be solved until well after May 4th, but, ah, oh well.) Thanks for reminding me to grab a copy the next time I hit the bookstore! :)

  2. Yay, I love that we posted our reviews on the same day. :P Like you said on Twitter, it’s proof that Julie James is an auto-buy author for us. I really enjoyed reading this one and I like that it isn’t romantic suspense like the other FBI/US Attorney series. I didn’t mind that there wasn’t much conflict in the book, I guess I just had a lot of fun reading about their relationship.

    • I think I would have liked more going on and that was the only reason this wasn’t on the top 3 list by Julie James. Otherwise it’s:
      1) Julie James!
      2) Contemporary romance! Not romantic suspense!
      3) Nine years unresolved sexual tension! :)

  3. Nice review, Janice. I’ve been waiting for reviews of ATN before buying it since the FBI novels have not been my favorites of hers. Yours has helped me decide whether this will be for me. I think I may be bored by the lack of conflict, as well as the increased sexytimes. I do think it’s odd that each subsequent book has gotten steamier and steamier, but I guess she’s writing to the romance/romantic suspense audience now. Personally I hope she does return to the romantic comedy style of her first two novels. She does it so well!

  4. I read this one a few weeks ago and I second every single word in your review, it was excellent but I was expecting more in the “sparkling department” and I am no talking about steamy scenes but dialogues, situations, witty comebacks…this sort of things. I have no doubt about James’ talent and I will keep buying everything she writes but I do hope she forgets about FBI and embraces comedy

    • *nodding*. Yes I get what you mean. This was muted compared to her earlier romantic comedies. I would be happy to see a return to them too. There must be a lot of readers who adore the romantic suspense and the sexytimes since she;s turned more towards them.

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