Thursday, May 21, 2009

Review: Practice Makes Perfect

Title: Practice Makes Perfect
Author: Julie James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: March 2009

Contemporary Romance Challenge 2009


Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.


But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar . . .

What a fun, laugh out loud read. This is Julie James' sophomore effort and she is going strong with no signs of letting up. Payton and J.D. are a case of opposites attract and play off each other quite well. In Practice Makes Perfect the hero and heroine have been working at the same law firm for eight years and have had time to practice and perfect their razor-sharp banter. When in public they are cordial and polite to each other but behind closed doors the gloves come off! With the decision of who will make partner closing in on them they are willing to do just about anything to succeed. Watching them try to out do the other and still be professional was a delight.

Payton Kendall may come off as a hard working, driven woman in what is a predominately man's world and while she is all those things she's still very female. What I mean by that is that while she does dress for business she wears slim-fit skirts, Jimmy Choo heels and the occasional thong. :) She's not a woman trying to be more "manly" simply to fit into a man's world. She holds her own and capitalizes on her strengths and downplays any weaknesses. I really liked Payton and the fact that Ms. James didn't make her, how should I put it, the more "intellectually challenged" in the relationship. I would put Payton up against J.D. in a courtroom any day.

Speaking of J.D.... I liked him. Which surprised me since he started out with a stick up his ass. :) He was funny in his somewhat "caveman" type outlook on women in the workplace. I didn't find his views insulting so much as more the views of a man who really doesn't know as much as he thingks he does about women. He may think he knows women well but I have a feeling his good looks have gotten him far. It's not that he isn't smart, he is but I think he's only touched the surface in discovering what makes a woman tick. Payton definitely helped J. D. see the light concerning women. That they are more than capable of doing the same job as a man. And once J.D., with a push from his amusing sidekick Tyler, decides to be nice to Payton he not only surprises her but he surprises himself by how much he enjoys being with her.

Payton and J.D.'s relationship evolved in a way that was not only believable, given their history but also showed how each one gradually changed their views of the other. At the beginning they both had very set ideas of what the other was like, what their priorities were and even what their hangs up were. By the end of the book they had gotten to know each other and respect each other. That to me was so important, more so than the strong physical attraction that I think was always there but denied by both.

Practice Makes Perfect is an enjoyable romantic comedy. The situations the h/h find themselves in, while not always of their own making, were fun to read and watch how J.D. and Payton reacted. There were some emotional scenes and you do get below the surface of each character. You get to see them interact with their parents and get an understanding of how their were raised. Very different upbringings that make them both so driven. Even given that depth there is still a distinct comedic flair to the story.

But all was not perfect. The problem I had with the story was the "big misunderstanding" and how it was so anti-climatic. Even Payton thought it was lame. When it was revealed my reaction was "That's it?! That's why they've spent the past eight years bickering?" And eight years? They're both smart, good-looking, single, work for the same company and spent at least part of those years in offices across from each other. So why did it take eight years for them to get together? Yes, I'm a bit hung up on the eight years. ;)

Even given the problems, they were not what I would consider major. Overall, I would recommend Ms. James if you're looking for a funny, quick contemporary read. The book came in at just under 300 pages and the writing was easy to get into and get lost in the story. Kind of like a relaxing Saturday matinee. All kinds of author info can be found on Julie James' website.

Rating: B++

ETA: You can read my reviw of Ms. James first book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive, here.


  1. I'm not very fond of books that include lawyers, but now this is yet another good review of PMP that I think I'm not able to ignore it anymore. It is good to know that it's a quick and funny read. I don't tend to read contemporaries that often, but when I do, I want them to be just what you described this one to be... I have to order this one :)

  2. I just finished this book and it was a very enjoyable read.

  3. Maija ~ there are a few short courtroom scenes but they are interesting and funny. I've yet to read a bad review for this one.

    Mari ~ I'll definitely read her next book.

  4. Great review Leslie.

    I don't get why everyone thought J.D. was an ass at the beginning. I mean, seriously, Payton is not much better.

  5. Thanks nath. :)

    They were both pretty childish at times. J.D. had the problem with his view on working women specifically at the law firm. But other than that he was a decent guy.