rameau's Reviews > About That Night

About That Night by Julie James
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May 04, 12

bookshelves: genre-romance, genre-contemporary, read-in-2012, recommending, series-warning, language-english-original
Read from April 17 to 18, 2012

This is the point where I say you either like how Julie James writes or you don't. I do think she writes better contemporary romance than most, but it's not ideal for me either. I have my pet peeves like over-repetition of certain jokes, the missed opportunities with familial interactions, and nipples. That's all I'm going to say about the sex scenes this time. Nipples.

The story starts slow with an in depth look at the events that took place nine years earlier. Even when the story jumps ahead to present date, it takes time for the couple to meet. Both Rylann's life after college is established, and the events from the previous book paraphrased to explain Kyle's current situation.

As per usual (view spoiler) Julie James creates three dimensional characters with thought out motives and strong friendships. There's always more under the surface and this is emphasised with a character like Kyle Rhodes.

In A Lot Like Love Jordan Rhodes was said to have a recognisable face from the Chicago gossip columns, but it wasn't an all-pervading part of her daily life like it's for Josh Kyle (view spoiler). His mugshot and heir apparent status ensure that every stranger has an opinion on him. There's a public image he exudes, but excluding three people who have known him longer than a decade no one really knows the private side of him. So far that hasn't been a problem, and Josh Kyle actually prefers it that way.

Then Rylann Pierce walks into the courtroom and back into his life.

The fact that they almost had a date in college makes Rylann just curious enough to let herself bend the rules and divert from her twelve-year-plan. She's a good girl prosecutor who plays by the rules, but with Kyle she makes a few new rules. For Kyle, who is used to playing games, this is a novel experience. They play these power games to the point where it made me uncomfortable. I assume it was done to heighten the sexual tension, and it did, but it also made me realise that I didn't like Rylann very much. Not at that point at least.

Still, their behaviour was true to their characterisations and, like always with Julie James, that drove the plot. Sure, there were external obstacles too, but the biggest problems Rylann and Kyle had with their relationship, came from within. Rylann's need to plan ahead and exude a certain kind of image because of her work, and Kyle's need to turn his life around and let go of a few grudges dictated their interactions.

I especially like how Julie James' characters don't always get what they want. It doesn't matter whether or not an apology is justified or not, when they don't get it, they act like an adults and move on with their lives. They don't throw huge tantrums that artificially kick start a romantic comedy and drive the plot. There's something very real about them. So real, that I'm always disappointed when there's not enough room for one more scene of "meet the family."

Julie James needs to stop doing that.

She needs to stop creating stellar secondary characters like Nick's Italian mother, or Kyle's father Grey, or Rylann's busybody mother and not have them meet the significant other their child is dating. I was beyond disappointed that Nick's mother didn't suddenly turn up in Chicago to meet this girl his son had talked about, because I really, really wanted to read that scene. I know the author aims for realism, but dammit, this is a book:

Bend the rules a little and have the characters do something outrageous.

Or at least explain their motives a little better. While I'm not heartbroken that Kyle never got to meet Rylann's mother in this book, I would have liked to have those comments and phone calls explained a little better. As it stands, her mother's only function in this book was to guilt Rylann into wanting to stay away from Kyle. Sure, I understood Rylann's motives, but I never understood why her mother would call to talk about the Twitter Terrorist if she didn't suspect there was something going on between them. And I never got an answer for that.

I'd really like an answer to that. I'd really like to read in-between-novellas where Jordan is introduced to Nick's family, and Kyle has to win over Rylann's retired paralegal mother. I'm not above bribery either. Some good wine and chocolate should do the trick, don't you think?
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Reading Progress

04/17/2012
11.0% "Why does he still have internet access?" 1 comment
04/17/2012
23.0% "The "stay off Twitter" is getting old. Yes, it's still a sound advice to all authors who are hell-bent on wrecking their public image, but speaking as a reader of books: The joke is dead. Let it rest in peace."
04/17/2012
44.0% "It's a good thing I'm reading this in April." 3 comments
04/17/2012
52.0% "I'd totally translate that sleeve into something dirtier."
04/17/2012
54.0% "Stop with the nipples."
04/17/2012
68.0% "Wilkins!"

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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message 1: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist Not bad


rameau Just wait until I post my review. I'm waiting so Alicia can catch up.


message 3: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist Ok, np.


message 4: by Anachronist (last edited May 02, 2012 02:53AM) (new)

Anachronist I am almost after a second Julie James book. 'Almost' because it still might be a DNF. I must admit I am not impressed. It seems the lady uses a kind of template in all her novels and let me tell you, I hate that. Makes me think of Dan Brown, let him burn in hell forever.

What features are repeated time after time (at least in those two novels I've read)?

1. The main leads have known each other previously and had some problems with their relationship.

2. They are thrown together again by coincidence, most often of criminal nature. They are simply forced to cooperate.

3. Their respective friends approve of their new-old companion (he is hot! she is hot!), helping them to 'see' the 'real' connection between them (if my friends tell me she/he is worth the attention then it must be true...)

4. There is always a special function like a wedding or a party to make the hero and the heroine dress up and preen themselves in public.

5. They go to bed and have the sex of their life

6. The novels are full of infodumps and flashes from the past which bore me to death.

Does this one follow the same template?


rameau There's a template, and I'm pretty sure you could make it match any variation you'd choose. For me, the predictability wasn't such a turn off, because I like how JJ writes. It's true, that her sticking to this established formula won't elevate her to the level of exceptionality, but that's what ratings are for. See, four stars. I really liked it, but I didn't love it like I've been known to like a handful of other authors' works.

As for Dan Brown. I know you hate him, I don't, but neither do I think he's pinnacle of literary ambition or achievement. You know me, I always love a good fanfic ;)


message 6: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist I know you hate him, I don't, but neither do I think he's pinnacle of literary ambition or achievement. You know me, I always love a good fanfic ;)

LOL!

There's a template, and I'm pretty sure you could make it match any variation you'd choose. For me, the predictability wasn't such a turn off, because I like how JJ writes.

Unfortunately I am not so forgiving. Low boredom threshold. Blame all these splendid fanfics I've read so far because of YOU and your Twitter pals. ;p If a non-professional can do it, the professional imvho should try to do something better, not serve me the same McBooks constantly with just a slightly changed flavour.


rameau Yes, well. All authors don't have the benefit of comparing their work to quality fanfics.


message 8: by Anachronist (new)

Anachronist One more question. Milan's latest novella was granted four stars by you. This one was also granted four stars. The problems with the scale or you really think those two are on the same level?


rameau Anachronist wrote: "One more question. Milan's latest novella was granted four stars by you. This one was also granted four stars. The problems with the scale or you really think those two are on the same level?"

If you double my stars I'll tell you what the difference is ;) Truth is, I really enjoyed both, neither was meh (3 stars) but neither had that something special that makes me jump of a cliff and never look back.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) HAHAHAHA, how is it my fault?!

The thing with Rylann's mother calling about the Twitter Terrorist: wasn't it that she got the Chicago paper in Florida and she saw that picture of Rylann and Kyle after his hearing? The one where everyone thought he was looking at her breasts, but he swears he wasn't. So she called to get the scoop because she thought it looked like more was going on?


rameau Alicia wrote: "HAHAHAHA, how is it my fault?!

The thing with Rylann's mother calling about the Twitter Terrorist: wasn't it that she got the Chicago paper in Florida and she saw that picture of Rylann and Kyle a..."


You with the Josh pictures. It is so your fault.

That was the justification for the first phone call. I'm talking about the later one where brings up the Twitter Terrorist again without any prompting from Rylann and if she's worked in the field before, wouldn't she expect Rylann to have moved on with her work. And even if there was some residual work involving Josh Kyle, how does she leap from that to expectation of personal connection. She's her mother, you say. I just didn't think she was characterised well enough for such a leap.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) rameau wrote: "Alicia wrote: "HAHAHAHA, how is it my fault?!

The thing with Rylann's mother calling about the Twitter Terrorist: wasn't it that she got the Chicago paper in Florida and she saw that picture of Ry..."


I just pass on pretty pictures. =)

Ah, I don't remember the second phone call clearly enough to have an answer for that. I don't recall thinking any of it was unnatural though. In her defense, she was a paralegal at a defense firm, so she really may not know what goes on in the U.S. Attorney's office.


rameau Alicia wrote: "Ah, I don't remember the second phone call clearly enough to have an answer for that. I don't recall thinking any of it was unnatural though. In her defense, she was a paralegal at a defense firm, so she really may not know what goes on in the U.S. Attorney's office. "

True enough. For me the second (was there a third?) phone call was a way to stall Rylann's jump into the relationship by having her mother remind her of her status at work and credibility in the eyes of other lawyers. It was part of the: She obsesses about her image too much.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) rameau wrote: "True enough. For me the second (was there a third?) phone call was a way to stall Rylann's jump into the relationship by having her mother remind her of her status at work and credibility in the eyes of other lawyers. It was part of the: She obsesses about her image too much."

That's possible. I didn't read it that way, but that could entirely be true. Although I do think if that was the case it would be more what her mother thought. On top of career and image, now she has to think about disappointing her mom.


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