I just looked it up and, apparently, the first of these was only first published in 2010! It seems like so much longer. I’ve been a fan of this series since the first book, Something About You, was released. Dear Author and Smart Bitches were doing a “Save the Contemporary” giveaway of the first book and I won. And I loved, loved the book.
And the series has, remarkably, only gotten better since then (which is a really high bar to clear, trust me. These books are all really good.)
So, why is this series one of my favorite things?
The Julie James specialty is 30-something, career-oriented heroines who are witty, sophisticated, and don’t compromise themselves just so they can get the guy. My favorite book in the series Love Irresistibly, features a heroine who’s trying to find a good work/life balance, and (spoiler!) she doesn‘t find it by giving up her career to become a baby-making machine. She gets to keep her high-powered career and have her hunk too.
These books feel so modern and feature sharp women who’ve been sexually active, had serious relationships, have careers, have friends and families outside the hero. Real women, in other words, not the 30 year old fumbling klutz heroines that you still see far too often for my taste. These ladies are grown ups and feminists, and I love them like hell.
p.s. The heroes are pretty hot too, of course, but there’s no shortage of hot heroes in Romance. I think it’s far rarer and exciting to find a really great female lead. And Julie James has FIVE in this series alone. Go Julie James!
I always feel a bit silly using that term when I’m talking about anything besides SF/F, but the fact of the matter is no matter what kind of story you’re trying to tell you should be building the world for the reader, submerging them in the space of your characters. James is a master at this. Every book features many excursions for her characters out to Chicago hotspots or off to the country, and she is fantastic at selecting details to bring the setting alive for the reader be it a cute country cottage or a fancy Chicago bar.
This also applies to the FBI/US Attorney aspects. James has clearly done her research, and the day to day lives of these high-powered pros are sketched in fascinating detail. But she goes one step further and makes sure that the non-crime-fighting careers (usually of the heroines) are given as much page space and detail. The second book in the series, A Lot Like Love, featured a heroine who owned a wine store, and I learned so much about wine from reading that book!
James got her start writing screenplays, and it definitely shows because the banter in these books is top-notch. I often find myself laughing out loud when I read her stuff. Also, usually, when I read one James book I have to reread the whole series all over again. Like potato chips, once you start you just can’t stop.
But don’t take my word for it. Here are some of my favorite parts throughout the series:
Perhaps she should look into getting one of those power snowblowers, she mused. Or a man. Either could be quite handy in inclement weather.
He shot a quick text message to Brooke. I’VE DECIDED THAT I’M TAKING YOU OUT FOR DINNER TONIGHT, CINDERELLA.
A few moments later, he got a reply.
THE SOON-TO-BE-ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY HAS COMMANDED, AND SO IT SHALL BE.
He laughed at that. She was a saucy one, all right. He wrote back. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO SHOW YOUR PLEASURE.
‘You should probably soak it in while you can, because this is as stylish as I get.’
‘No pocket square for you?’
‘Not even if I was standing buck naked in the middle of Wrigley Field on a sold-out game day and someone threw me one from the crowd to cover my junk.’
So, basically, just in case I haven’t convinced you yet these are some great, hilarious, romantic, well-written books. And you should give them a try. 😉
Buy links for the series (in order):
Have you read these books? Which one was your favorite?