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.
My Thoughts: About That Night is the third book in Julie James’ FBI/US Attorney series. The first book, Something About You (reviewed here: ) focuses on Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde and Special Agent Jack Pallas, and the second book, A Lot Like Love (reviewed here: ) 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
Chachic’s Book Nook – positive
Babbling About Books, and More – B+
The Book Pushers – B- and B (Joint review)
Parajunkee’s View – positive