Julie's Reviews > About That Night

About That Night by Julie James
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Jun 02, 2011

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bookshelves: contemporary-romance, julie-james, fiction, chicago
Read from April 02 to May 07, 2012

I'm not sure what to say about this book. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. I expected to love it because it's Julie James, and Something about You and A Lot Like Love are two of the romances I always recommend. But something fell flat in About That Night, and if I had to put my finger on it, I'd say there's a lack of conflict, and that whatever conflict does exist in this book is resolved way too neatly.

Rylann is an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Kyle is the guy she met at a bar in college and kissed one night. Now he's an ex-con (he hacked into Twitter), and they run into each other in court. Rylann is covering for another attorney at a hearing that, if it goes Kyle's way, will end his house arrest. They meet again, and the spark is still there. James has some great skills with banter, especially between Rylann and Kyle, and Rylann and her best friend, Rae. I also loved how she brought in characters from the other books in this series (please, can Agent Sam Wilkins get a book? It would be pretty damn awesome to see a hero who's a person of color, and I think it's about time we see more of Sam) and weaved them into Rylann and Kyle's world.

The entire conflict is that Rylann is an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Kyle is an infamous billionaire ex-con that her office prosecuted, so they can't date. Rylann also has to deal with her ex-boyfriend who moved to Italy, but that's a minor point. I got tired of Rylann and Kyle's sneaking around and not defining their relationship. It goes on for many, many pages. And once they decide to stop sneaking around, Rylann's boss is like, "Eh, no big deal." I think it would have been really fun to see Rylann's co-workers find out and have the shit hit the fan -- in a lighthearted, amusing way that worked out in the end. There's a misunderstanding between Rylann and Kyle, and that's also wrapped up easily.

A lot of extraneous stuff could have been cut down, like some of the day-to-day minutia, Kyle's interviews with prospective hires for his new company, and an overly long flashback to an important event in Kyle's life. The flashback does provide more insight into Kyle's character, but it happened right in the middle of another scene and I almost forgot Kyle and Rylann were still at dinner.

Still, James does a good job at writing smart, competent heroes and heroines, and that's something we need more of in romance.

(3.5 stars)
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