Saturday, January 28, 2012
Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Title: A Lot Like Love
Author: Julie James
Published: March 2011 (Berkley Sensation)
Summary: As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.
As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.
My Review: Julie James has done it again. She is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors for a lot reasons, and A Lot Like Love contained many of them. It had witty banter, a couple with scorching hot chemistry, and references to Pride and Prejudice. A Lot Like Love was the perfect combination of suspense and romance for me. It had just enough of an action/suspense plot to be plausible, but it wasn't so much that it lost my interest, which happens a lot of the time.
I liked the originality of the couple. There are a million "pose as my girl/boyfriend" plots out there, and I always enjoy them. But this was a great twist on it. How many of the women agree to the proposition to save their brother who is in prison because he hacked into Twitter? I loved the unique characters, the wine-loving, billionaire heiress and the FBI agent who specializes in undercover. The way their relationship developed felt very authentic to me, despite it taking place over such a short time. Nick had a hilarious inner voice, what with his constant "if I were one of those sensitive, touchy-feeling types" comments, which were usually cover up for something he was totally feeling/doing. Jordan really knew a ton about wine and was a good business woman. I liked her a lot as a character. She also made me want to try wine again. Wine is one of those things I want to love but just don't. But this book made me want to give it another shot. We'll see how that goes.
I loved the family relationships in this book. Jordan's relationship with her brother Kyle was hilariously sarcastic, but you could totally see the affection between them. It was very genuine. How much do I love that Kyle looked like Sawyer from LOST? I only watched LOST a year ago, so references still make me happy. Not to mention, Sawyer was always one of my favorites. In addition to his looks, I just loved Kyle in general. I am super excited that he's getting his own book next. Nick's relationship with his mom was fantastic. She was the stereotypical Italian mother, but he called her "Ma" and was super cute about it. And again, the love between the two of them was clear even when it was not blatantly displayed.
I would like to take a moment to discuss the cover, though. I have always loved it. The woman's dress is absolutely stunning. I love the design and the color. I did not realize until I picked up the book for the third or so time that the man's hand is on the woman's butt. I just can't help but think that was not necessary. Low on the waist? Sure, absolutely. But for it to be on her butt really detracts from the classy feeling of it. Not a lot, but it was just a little detail that mildly annoyed me.
All in all, A Lot Like Love was definitely among the best contemporary suspenseful romances I've read in a while. I enjoyed every minute of it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a suspenseful romance with some laughs thrown in, a few spicy scenes, a touching romance, good family relationships, and an ending sure to make you smile.