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The Thing About Love Paperback – April 18, 2017
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Praise for The Thing About Love
Named One of the Best Love Stories of 2017 by NPR
A Goodreads Highly Anticipated Book of 2017
"[A] perfect beach read."—NPR.org
"Julie James writes delicious books[.]"—The Washington Post
“James’ star shines even brighter with this smart, sparkling winner.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A sexy and thrilling standalone[.]”—Goodreads
“James’ dialogue and characters sparkle with intelligence and humor, and there is plenty of action.”—Booklist
“James’ knack for witty, snappy banter and excellent story plotting is on full display in her latest novel.”—RT Book Reviews
“I had the best time reading this book!”—Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
“The Thing About Love is a delight.”—USAToday.com
Praise for the novels of Julie James
“Julie James writes books I can’t put down.”—Nalini Singh, New York Times bestselling author
“It's easy to see why [James'] books have such a wide appeal.”—USAToday.com
“A tantalizing dessert—a delicious, delightful read that all hopeless romantics will enjoy.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Sexy and effervescent.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Packed with hilarious situations and sharp dialogue.”—San Francisco Book Review
“A rare treat.”—Chicago Tribune
About the Author
After graduating from law school, New York Times bestselling author Julie James clerked for the United States Court of Appeals. She then practiced law with one of the nation’s largest firms for several years until she began writing screenplays. After Hollywood producers optioned two of her scripts, she decided to leave the practice of law to write full-time. Julie’s books have been listed on the American Library Association’s Reading List for Top Genre Novels and Booklist’s Top 10 Romances of the Year, and have been featured as one of Cosmopolitan magazine’s Red Hot Reads. Julie’s books have been translated into seventeen languages, and her most recent novels are The Thing About Love, Suddenly One Summer, It Happened One Wedding, Love Irresistibly, and About That Night.
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FINAL DECISION: An enemies to friends to lovers story, THE THINGS ABOUT LOVE feels real and dives deep into the complexities of a modern professional and romantic relationship. I loved the characters and their journey to one another.
THE STORY: FBI Agent John Shepherd is just about ready to join the elite Hostage Rescue Team if he gets accepted, but has one last undercover assignment to get through. Just his luck that he happens to be paired with Jessica Harlow. John and Jessica know each other. Six years ago they were in the same class at Quantico and walked away from the experience happy to be across the country from one another. Now, the two have to learn to work together. Both are beginning a new chapter of their lives as they recover from bad relationships. John is planning on leaving Chicago and joining the HRT after catching his girlfriend having sex with one of his friends. Jessica is returning to Chicago after her divorce.
OPINION: This is a beautifully constructed, modern office romance. The story isn't over the top fantasy, but rather real and complicated with no easy answers to the issues John and Jessica face.
The story is properly centered around the characters of John and Jessica and while there is a satisfying and complete plotline, it doesn't overwhelm the romance.
John and Jessica have a history. The two met six years ago during FBI training. While there was an attraction even then, the two rubbed one another the wrong way because they really didn't get to know one another. Both are competitive and their attraction turned to ruthless competition between them. When they are forced to work together, they find out that they actually have much in common.
I loved the portrayal of Jessica who is a woman competing in a world dominated by men. She knows that she has to be more careful than them in how her co-workers see her. That is one reason that John rubbed her wrong six years ago because he made her feel less proficient. In her personal life, Jessica is a woman who has just received her final divorce decree and has been urged by her friends and family to start dating again. Jessica, however, doesn't have interest in the modern dating realities. A suggestion that she find a temporary guy to have hot post-divorce sex seems like a real possibility when the attraction between her and John explodes.
John, too, has had his world turned around recently. When he discovered his girlfriend and friend in bed together, he lost not only his relationship but also some long terms friends. Jessica coming back into his life seems like a miserable topper to his recent misfortunes. The only thing that seems to be going well is his potential transfer to the HRT. But one of the great things about John is that his is challenged and in serious competition with Jessica and her arrival makes him up his game. John is a good man because he treats Jessica with respect and acknowledges her competency as an agent. I really liked how he treats her with complete professionalism even when he is attracted to her.
I really enjoyed how the relationship between these two developed...there are funny moments and intense sweetness and good sexy parts, but the entire story is tied together by the deep respect these two have for one another. Even when they were "enemies" and competitors, there was the recognition of a worthy opponent. I thought that the development of their relationship felt natural and real and I thought the romanticism of the story flowed so nicely from their mutual respect for one another as professionals.
Julie James always navigates the realities of modern office romances so well. This book is no exception!
WORTH MENTIONING: I'd like to read a book about John's brother Nate who deserves to fall really hard for someone!
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE THING ABOUT LOVE is the seventh book in the FBI/US Attorneys series. These books, however, are only loosely connected and are standalones can be read independently.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
Almost from the beginning, the characters were thinking, "Gee, this guy/woman isn't so bad - I think I may have misjudged him/her." In other words, the only real reason for tension disappeared pretty quickly, and we were back to characters hesitating with each other because they weren't certain they were "ready to trust" (since both characters had just come out of long-term relationships). I'm sorry, but for me, the "not ready to trust" storyline just comes across as angsty and makes the characters seem like wounded little birds like something from a bad Lifetime Network movie. It is not enough to sustain tension (or an actual plotline) between two characters.
Both characters were, of course, beautiful specimens of the human species with everyone drooling over them, and it took very little time for their opinions of each other to go from dislike to like to love. I did not hate the book - it was all just kind of by the numbers, and sort of bland. The witty banter was not quite that witty. The sex scenes were not particularly sultry - they were kind of by the book (no pun intended). There was the requisite "Ooo-baby, Ooo-baby, Ooo-baby. You are like NO ONE I've ever been with" Mountains moved. The Earth shook, and then they both sat back and basked in the wonder that was sexual relations with the other person. There were fewer references to the designer shoes, fine wines, $1000 suits, and swanky eateries, but there were still enough of them that it made the characters kind of shallow. Those type of references are all fine and dandy, but when there are too many of them, they make the characters seem plastic.
The ending was rather sudden with the hero **SPOILER** giving up his dream job that he had worked extremely hard (for years) to achieve and the heroine deciding he was the guy for her pretty quickly despite the fact that her family (that she was supposedly close to) had no idea the two were even involved. All of this happening within a few months of the characters leaving a long-term relationship and a marriage and supposedly being "afraid to trust" **END SPOILER**. The actual case the characters were working on wasn't particularly interesting either. Just another skeezy guy to make the hero annoyed by leering at the heroine.
Overall, it certainly wasn't awful, but it wasn't especially great either. It was as though there was a template being used (two beautiful, but emotionally wounded people, "not ready to trust" attempt witty banter, have the sex, sing "You're the One That I Want" and live HEA - The End).
Most recent customer reviews
Enticing, perfect.Read more
A love story in the making.
Our main characters Jessica Harlow and John Shepard met at Quantico. There were sparks between the two.Read more