Trashy Read 2011 #3: A Lot Like Love, by Julie James
Almost exactly one year ago, I began the This Week in Trashy Reads feature in honor of reading Julie James's fun contemporary romance, Something About You. Well, it seems fitting then that I celebrate this dubious anniversary by reviewing James's new book, A Lot Like Love.
For this romance, James returns to her world of the FBI office in Chicago. Here, we meet Nick McCall, an agent who excels at undercover jobs. He's uber-masculine and not particularly attached to any real, rooted life because of his work. Through a series of events, his next undercover job involves pretending to be the date of gorgeous heiress Jordan Rhodes at an exclusive wine party. Jordan owns a successful wine store, and she is willing to help the FBI in exchange for her brother, Kyle, being let out of prison early. Unfortunately, the couple gets stuck having to continue to pretend they are dating after the bad guys start trailing them.
The suspense plot of this book is admittedly a little weak, although I do appreciate the connections to Something Like You and the promise of more FBI books to come. But I loved the main characters. I started the book expecting to be annoyed by the oh so rich and pretty Jordan, but instead I ended up wishing she was a friend of mine. She's surprisingly likeable, and as bit of a wine fan myself, I loved all the wine talk in this book. Any book that makes a joke at the expense of white zinfandel is bound to win my heart. I also appreciated how the book turns a tired idea on its head in the form of the man being the one who feels pressured to choose between love and his career.
I think Julie James is an excellent pick for readers who are looking to step out into romance for the first time. Her books have a touch of suspense and the sex isn't as prominent as it is in, say, Erin McCarthy's racing books. Her characters have jobs they like and are comfortable in their own skins, which is refreshing. They have their own lives and friends outside of their romantic lives. I am definitely a Julie James fan. And I look forward to her next book, which will be about Kyle Rhodes, Jordan's wayward brother.