There are three ways to tell if a book will be a winner in my eyes. I become an emotional wreck and hold back tears, laugh hysterically out loud and find people giving me strange looks, or spend hours reading until I go cross eyed because I can't stop. Practice Makes Perfect is a book where I had such a loud responses while I was reading. There is one scene where it was so shockingly funny that I couldn't stop laughing. I did this while on the bus going into work and received some stares. But I didn't care because I was having the time of my life reading another awesome book by Julie James.Even though Practice Makes Perfect is only her second book, she is a bright star in the contemporary genre.
Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson have worked at the same law firm for eight years. Both are dedicated, bright and are up for a partnership in a few weeks. But these two both have a secret; they really can't stand each other. They are professionals and treat each other with the courtesy they deserve, but they constantly try to out do the other. J.D. will be at the office bright and early everyday. Payton tries to beat him at his own game, but J.D. is always one step ahead of her. J.D. irks her to no end and it kills her that this rich boy has had everything handed to him. And J.D. loves to throw it in Payton's face with his expensive suits, his Bentley, and the fact that everyone loves him. She also feels because J.D. is a man, and she is a woman, she has to work harder to gain the respect she deserves.
J.D. is sick of Payton's, "I am woman, hear me roar" mumbo jumbo. Ever since day one, she has been a thorn in his side and he can't figure out what he did to make her dislike him so. The highlight of his day is when he can throw a few zingers her way, but it is just harmless teasing. Anyway, she can stand up pretty well herself when they engage in their verbal warfare.
Things are about to change between these two. First their boss wants them both to work together on a very important case that will bring in millions of dollars. If that isn't bad enough that they both have to work together, now only one of them will be partner because the other partner chosen must be over the age of forty so there is no age discrimination. And since both J.D. and Payton are under forty, only one of them can move forward. Both finally agree that this whole situation is total BS. Now they are truly at war with one another. J.D. and Payton will try whatever they can to win even if that means making the other look bad. But then their relationship changes where they are no longer wishing to throw a few law books at their heads, but wanting to make out among the stacks of law books instead.
Everything is in good fun, especially when J.D. and Payton start with their pranks against one another. These are not meant to be malicious or petty. Unfortunately Payton gets the ball rolling by accidentally spilling some coffee on J.D.'s suit coat while she is looking for something in his office. He catches her and accuses her of sabotaging him. Because J.D. goes too far with his insults, Payton pours the rest of the coffee down his spare suit jacket right when he is due in court. What J.D. does in retaliation is so embarrassing for Payton but one of the funniest scenes in the whole book. (We find out that Payton likes to wear thongs) Heck, one of the funniest in any book I have read in the past few years. But before things can go too far between the two, Payton and J.D. know they must stop with the pettiness, and come what may, they have each other's backs.
I wouldn't say J.D. and Payton are former enemies who become lovers, but are more like friendly rivals, much like the little boy who pulls the little girl's hair on the playground. Underneath all that teasing, it is another meaning altogether. The same goes on between J.D. and Payton. And when these two finally realize that they can no longer be the rivals they once were, they act on their attraction for one another that has been simmering below the surface for so long. Hello, eight long years of lusting between the two makes for some great love scenes.
Practice Makes Perfect is one of the best opposites attract stories I have read in recent memory. I knew in the first five pages that this book was going to be score big points. I felt like I was in the middle of a 1940's screwball comedy like His Girl Friday or The Philadelphia Story with J.D. as Cary Grant and Payton as Rosalind Russell or Katherine Hepburn. This is a zany, laugh out loud book that I didn't want to end. This book is a must read. If you feel the need to support the contemporary genre and can't find any worthy authors or books, I found your answer here with this book and the extraordinary talents of Julie James.
on August 30, 2011
First: Pride & Prejudice is one of my top 5 favorite novels and I'm not making a direct comparison!
Second: I think Julie James did an excellent job of borrowing some of the tones from that great novel and created an excellent "antagonistic relationship reveals love" story--this Mr. Darcy has a sense of humor, too! I just really appreciate (in most of her other novels, too) how real her characters seem--even when they are fighting or sabotaging one another, they never cross a line of no return, because they do care about one another. I can't stand when romance novels create a love story around two people and don't "show" us that they love each other, the author just tells us. Especially when a character is borderline, or full-on, verbally abusive--gee, isn't that so romantic? In this book, you sense the respect (even if it's grudging), you feel the attraction, and you understand the misunderstandings! They are perfectly matched, can go toe-to-toe, and if they made a mistake, they apologized. Also, I thought the back-story reveals were all really satisfying--it was clear how the two characters got from point A to point B in their relationship.
Anyway, I really recommend this story for people who like banter, mild conflict, and warm, fuzzy feelings. I was not disappointed that their relationship progressed at the pace Julie James dictated because, frankly, if you thought, for 8 years, that someone disliked you or baited you or was an ass--would you have a complete reversal of feelings in one day? I thought it made sense, which is probably why I was able to enjoy the book so thoroughly.
on March 12, 2009
This is the tale of two very attractive lawyers working in the same law firm that have each other as biggest competition in race to become partners, and realize that after 8 years of petty feuding and working across the hall from one another that perhaps they (gasp) actually like each other.
The vast majority of this book is set inside (or at an event revolving around) the law office. While I appreciate that the author is a former lawyer who really gives a view inside the lawyer world, the amount of detail she put into law aspects of book (actually naming forms and deposition names and explaining what they are!) did not equal the detail in other aspects of the book.
The love scene is written.
with very little.
The writing of the love scene really turned me off, and I never really felt the tension and heat that should have been there. Instead of saying stuff like "the air was charged, he was so close he could kiss me..." I'd rather be shown the detail of the moment, made to feel the heat. Sadly, I did not.
I must say though, there are some aspects of this book worth reading it for. The scenes with our leads and their best friends were all fun, as were the scenes at the end when it all (oh so predictably) comes together. She also has some funny scenes involving the law office and a courtroom scene that... well... it was FUNNY.
Overall I'd say that this is a book that's just OK. If the 'rivals turned lovers' aspect or lawyer aspect is something you're real into I suspect you'd like it better than me.
on April 9, 2014
Warning! Contains some spoilers! I really wanted to like this. I loved the sample and the dialog was witty and fun, with just the right amount of sexual tension between the two main characters. Very quickly though, the tension goes from being fun to being the hero just being a dick. He rebuffs the heroines attempts at friendship initially, which I'm like, "Okay, makes sense given their history." Then later in the story he purposely makes it so that her heel will break when she's walking. As someone who has had that happen, and has seen it happen to others, I know for a fact that could really hurt someone, either twisting an ankle, causing them to fall, or even, in one case, severely spraining it. While that's not typical,the fact is, it could have caused physical harm. So, at this point, I'm kinda on the fence but I say, "Hey, he could still come around...maybe?". Then the bomb drops:a long time ago he (falsely)told their BOSS that they had sex in the office! WTF?!!!! As someone who has worked in a professional, male dominated environment that is one s***ty move. Not only did he undermine her as professional, he risked her career by telling that story, to their boss of all people! The 'good ole boy environment is hard enough to break through and he literally couldn't have said anything worse to undermine her position in the firm. And the reason? He liked her too much to be honest?! What?! To top it off, when you find out the reason for the turn in their relationship is because he was insecure and overly sensitive about his stupid glasses?! Are you kidding me?!!! Ugh. I hate the trend of "guy gets to be a jerk and treat heroine like crap just because he can't deal with his emotions". Being mean is never pretty and while I love a good Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy wasn't a jerk in the end and didn't risk Elizabeth's reputation just because he couldn't deal. It's called growth! The hero ruined what would have been an otherwise well written and edited story, with clever, funny dialogue and a sharp heroine. This story was a miss for me but I liked the other elements enough to give it two stars. Won't seek out this author again but won't completely exclude it. Hopefully the hero will be a little more mature next time.
on January 31, 2010
I really loved, loved, loved this book! It is definitely a lifetime keeper for me.
It is funny, sexy and romantic just in the right amount. The dialogues are witty and Mrs James was very successful with her character development portraying Peyton and JD as strong, successful and competitive, but yet vulnerable. I've read a few reviews about this book and was a little skeptical because I usually get disapointed as I don't like the books as much as my fellow reviewers, but in this case, the recommendations were right on. This book couldn't be more perfect. On a second thought there was something missing... an epilogue, just so that I can keep on reading it.
on March 18, 2014
My first thought after reading this book was that I had to write a review because I loved it but I also realized I would have to come up with some thoughtful words to convey what I loved best about it. Because I really, really loved it and I think that if you like a good romance, you will like this one, too.
In this story there are two attorneys, J.D. and Payton, who have given everything they have for over 8 years to ‘the firm” with the goal of reaching that pinnacle of success: partnership. It’s a tough climb for them in this good ‘ole boy network. Each one has something in their life’s experiences that make it personal and crucial to achieve. They want it and everything else has come second for e-i-g-h-t long years. Somewhere along the way JD and Payton have become adversaries. They are consumed with one-upping the other. Neither one of them seems to dwell too much on the whys of it, just that the other isn’t going to show him/her up. When they are forced to work together on a project, everything changes. They have to become a cohesive team for the benefit of their prestigious firm and, let me tell you, the firm comes first. This is when it really gets interesting.
James uses witty dialogue and concepts to create scenes and characters that will make you think “oh, no, he/she just didn’t do that….” There is even a bit of Pride and Prejudice here! What I loved best about this story is how James weaves in the legalese and wit in such a manner that you become so invested with the outcome. Seriously, this is romance at its best and my heart was squeezing by the end.
Spoiler…sort of but not really…more of an acknowledgement. If you list hot sex scenes as a “must have” in your reading, you may find yourself slightly shortchanged on this point. Sort of, or maybe you can try to enjoy something slightly different. The interactions between the characters are serious foreplay. Honestly. James doesn’t spend a lot of time describing the sexual act. What she does is write intricate dialogue that is so spicy, witty and hot that you feel the need to fan yourself as you get to the point where they seal the deal and see that she basically says, “….they got it on.” Okay, she doesn’t say it exactly like that but you get the idea. What I ask is that you give her one chance. Read this book or any of her other books and see what I mean. I think you will find that you don’t miss it. Hey, I love a hot sex scene as much as the next woman but I like this angle too. My imagination was able to soak it all up and it was delicious.
Julie James writes modern romances but it is more than that. She writes great modern romances and she uses her legal background, tweaked with some well-placed humor, to create characters who really draw us in. Add in one tree-hugging, hippie mom, a pair of snotty uppity parents and some humorous courtroom scenes that you have never seen in any of those television dramas and, well, I don’t want to ruin it for you but it’s especially entertaining.
on September 19, 2011
(originally posted on my goodreads, September 02, 2011)
I didn't know why I didn't write a review for this book back when I read it for the first time in January, but now I know why. It was because it's hard to write about a book you loved so much and not being able to find the proper words to express how amazing the book is.
This is the third time I read Practice Makes Perfect and I loved it as much as I did when I read it for the first and second time.
This was my first book by Julie James, the first book that made me want to read the rest of her books, the book that made me know she would be one of my favorite authors (and I was right).
If you don't know whether read it or not because the summary says it is about lawyers, don't hesitate because of that. This book is so much more than just law.
J.D Jameson and Peyton Kendall have known each other for eight years but have "hated" each other for that same time as well. They've never got along and are always bickering about something. All of these arguments increase when their boss tells them that only one of them will be made partner in the law firm.
From there the competition between them is "officially" on, but also, they finally get to a point where they ask themselves if the hate they supposedly feel for each other is in reality something else.
And here's the point where you might think it will be another romance book full of clichés but you're wrong. Julie knows how to write and what to write. J.D and Peyton go through many hilarious, angry, lovely and great moments and you'll be rooting for them through every page. Believe me, they'll keep you interested from the first page to the last one, and even when it's over and it has a great-leave-you-beaming-after-reading-ending, you'll want more.
This is a must read for all Julie James fans and for all those who love contemporary romance. Julie has four books published (her fifth book is coming next year, yay!) and I'm sure we'll see more of her.
Seriously you won't regret reading Practice Makes Perfect.
on May 4, 2009
Payton Kendall is a female lawyer specializing in "employment law, particularly single-plaintiff race and gender discrimination lawsuits". Politically, she is liberal to the core, a vegan, a strong-minded feminist, she has a sarcastic rapier wit and is ultra competitive in her work environment. Payton is weeks away from a earning a partnership at the elite law firm in Chicago where she has devoted long arduous hours for the past 8 years. Payton has never lost a case; she is a top-notch lawyer having earned her way in what is still predominately a man's profession.
J.D. Jameson is a male lawyer specializing in class action law, handling large multi-plaintiff, multi-district cases. Politically, he is conservative to the core, a meat eater, comfortable with the "upper class - old boy's club", due to his upbringing by wealthy old school parents. J.D. is cocky as hell and is ultra competitive in, well everything. He is weeks away from a earning a partnership at an elite law firm in Chicago where he has devoted long arduous hours for the past 8 years. He too is a top-notch lawyer having earned his way up in the firm, and he sees women in his profession as having a edge because of their gender.
Oh, and Payton and J.D.? They work for the same firm and have offices across the hall from one another. Neither is sure what initiated the "dislike" they feel for one another, but each views the other as the "enemy". They maintain an outward air of civility in the office however, when they are out of earshot of the administrative staff and other associates, they have been "at war" for eight years. They even compete to be first into the office in the morning. The cutting sarcastic exchanges between these two, which I am now coming to enjoy as "vintage Julie James", are hilarious.
Competitive angst bubbles between J.D. and Payton reaching the boiling point, and pours forth when the partnership committee of the firm decides that only one of them is going to make partner because of "strategic leveraging" which will force the other to leave the firm. Both of these characters have invested their heart and soul into their career at the firm for a long time and at first they are stunned. Then they become angry with the powers that be for forcing them into an even more competitive situation. What makes it worse, is that the senior partner "Ben" uses J.D. and Payton's expertise in a bid to reel in a huge client for the firm prior to the shoe falling with respect to the partnership decision.
When a conversation between Payton and J.D. following the announcement of the partnership decision turns sour, the gloves really come off and it's every man/woman for themselves.
There is an absolutely hilarious courtroom scene involving Payton that you will have to read the book to enjoy but all I can say is that Ms. James once again had me howling with laughter!
I've read a couple of reviews that indicated they had difficulty liking J.D. in the early part of the story because of his chauvinistic attitudes. However, I liked him. He and Payton are extremely prideful, driven people with a strong set of principles. The narrative allowed me to see that the angst and competitive issues between them was actually sexual tension that had been simmering for 8 years. This story is a slow burn with respect to these lovers finally making it to the bedroom, once again this is a contemporary romance and there is no graphic sex. However, I thought the love scene penned for them was fun, rather sweet and quite sexy.
The secondary characters were awesome. J.D.'s friend Tyler is an absolute hoot. Here is a short example of an exchange between J.D. and Tyler as the former offers his friend some advice with respect to Payton.
"No, see, that's what makes it all the more interesting, " Tyler said. He adopted a grandly dramatic tone. "`Does our fair Ms. Kendall truly loathe the arrogant Mr. Jameson as she so ardently proclaims, or is it all just a charade to cover more amorous feelings for a man she reluctantly admires?'"
Up front, the cabdriver snorted loudly. He appeared to be enjoying the show.
"Psych 101 again?" J.D. asked.
Tyler shook his head. "Lit 305: Eighteenth-Century Women's fiction." He caught J.D.'s look and quickly defended himself. "What? I took it because of the girls in the class. Anyway, I see a bit of P and P dynamic going on between you and Payton."
J.D. didn't think he wanted to know. Really. But he asked anyway. "P and P?"
Tyler shot him a look, appalled. "Uh, hello--Pride and Prejudice?" His tone said only a cretin wouldn't know this.
"Oh right, P and P," J.D. said. "You know, Tyler, you might want to pick up your balls--I think they just fell right off when you said that."
Up front, the cabdriver let out a good snicker."
"Practice Makes Perfect" © Julie James
Tyler is actually a very cool guy and when the going really gets tough with Payton, J.D. turns to his best friend for support and guidance.
Then there is Payton's mother. OMG. Lex Kendall calls her daughter "Sis", protested everything, felt Barbie dolls and fairy tales were sexist. She also is a vegan and vehemently opposes people wearing fur coats. It makes for an interesting exchange when Payton and Lex run into J.D. and his parents in a restaurant.
There are a couple of surprises in store for readers with respect to J.D. and a rather ugly secret he has kept for years concerning Payton. Lets just say a past mistake comes back to bite him in the butt big time nearly causing irreparable damage to a burgeoning relationship with Payton.
The only thing I was left wondering was what the initials J.D. stood for? lol
"Practice Makes Perfect", is now sitting on my keeper shelf next to Julie James' first novel. I love her voice and am so looking forward to her future work.
on May 10, 2015
"Frankly, he was fed up with all the things that constantly came between them, like work and Chase Bellamy and client dinners. And clothes."
THE STORY: Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson have worked together as associates in a big law firm for eight years. During that time, the two have had a contentious relationship. Now only a few weeks before decisions for partnership are made, the two seem to be encountering one another more than ever. The question is whether their years of animosity between them only masks an attraction than neither wants to acknowledge.
OPINION: This is a fun, rousing romance between two professionals. Payton and J.D. are an intriguing couple. The eight year "courtship" is funny but also sad because their history of one of misunderstandings and missed opportunities. This is a book build on a spectacular misunderstanding so those who don't like those type of storylines should be forewarned. The incredibly silliness of the misunderstanding, however, makes is less annoying than could be expected. I ultimately really liked J.D. in this book because he ends up being willing to sacrifice himself and his ambitions for Payton. This is a likeable couple of characters who have a really funny antagonistic courtship that ends up with a feel good happy ending.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book has a very good depiction of life in a big law firm. It is refreshing as an attorney to read a realistic depiction of lawyers' lives rather than movie versions.
FINAL DECISION: I really liked the setup for this story. It is a great depiction of two big firm lawyers falling in love. Extremely funny, this book is a ready made romantic comedy.
CONNECTED BOOKS: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.
on June 15, 2016
This came highly recommended and the reviews agreed with that, so I took a chance on an author I had never read before. The writing itself is solid, I just can not stand the characters.
JD and Whatsherface - they both kind of suck. They are carictures of people. He is the upper upper middle class white boy that is bent out of shape over having to work harder than everyone else b/c he is white - she is the "feminist" lefty that says really inappropriate things outside of work to show she can, and is offended that men have penises -
Puhleeze - it was more like a white men are bad until they realize how bad they are political book rather than a romance. They have Zero chemistry. What is supposed to be cute and sweet comes across as contrived so that JD feels bad that he is golfing with the guys @ the all male golf club.
Even the insults start to feel contrived. Total Pass.