Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: Something About You

Something About You
Julie James
Contemporary Romance
Berkley/March 2010
Library book

From the back cover ~


Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…


Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…

First, not what I was expecting. The romance is there but it's muted with the suspense in the forefront of the story. As I was reading I kept wondering when Jack and Cameron would do more than mild flirting. It's not like I was expecting them to jump into bed right away but I did expect things to happen sooner than they did. There is sexual tension but it really didn't pick up until after the half-way point. They knew each other three years ago but were not intimately involved. Then, they kept it on a strictly professional level. Now, they're forced to spend time together in a stressful and dangerous situation which leads to a more intimate setting.

Cameron Lynde is a hard working attorney. She did work in private practice until tragedy made her rethink her priorities. She decided she wanted to be the one to put criminals away so she went to work as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. It's just her dumb luck that has her as a potential witness to murder. And has a ghost from her past coming back to haunt her. That's what it's like for Cameron when she first sees FBI Special Agent Jack Pallas, like seeing a ghost. To say there's tension in the room is an understatement. They didn't part on the best of terms and neither are happy at the situation they find themselves in. Cameron does act professional when faced with Pallas and thankfully doesn't throw a diva fit. I was concerned that the author might take that road but fortunately she didn't.

Jack Pallas is a smart, confident, good-looking guy. He's also got a deep seated, intense dislike for Cameron Lynde. The one and only time they worked together Jack liked and respected Cameron until things went very bad and he now blames her for the black mark on his career. Jack is shocked when he sees Cameron again. He's also pissed off when he finds out he has to work with her. Then things get dangerous for Cameron and Jack finds himself protecting her while they try to figure out who the killer is and what really went on in Room 1308.

Cameron and Jack have a past that is certainly part of their present. It's there in the mistrust that Jack feels for Cameron and in the secrets Cameron is keeping. I did like when they would talk about everyday things and get to know each other outside of the case. The problem was those times were few and the suspense parts were too many. When the antagonist(s) would come on the scene I was interested for a while, then I got bored. It just felt like things were too spelled out for the reader as to who the bad guys are and their motives. If the murder mystery is going to eat up a large chunk of the book than I would rather there be some actual mystery to it.

The romance was light with mild flirtation and some snappy repartee but not as much, IMO, as the two previous books. I missed that. Maybe it was because of the murder and the danger to Cameron, I don't know but it wasn't as funny as what I was hoping for. Julie James does dialogue very well, that smart, witty Tracy/Hepburn dialogue that I love. I just didn't feel a lot of that here.

So while I liked Something About You, it didn't wow me. I didn't feel there was a good balance of the romance and the mystery. I have a feeling I'm the odd one out since it has gotten a number of glowing reviews. I'll continue to read Ms. James. Her next book, A Lot Like Love, is due for release in Spring 2011.

Rating: B

My reviews for Julie James' other books
Just the Sexiest Man Alive
Practice Makes Perfect


  1. I heard so many great things about Julie James. But I was seriously underwhelmed by her first novel, 'Just the Sexiest Man'. To the point that I decided not to bother with her other books, not even 'Something About You'.

    Yours was the first somewhat negative review of 'Something' - and I kept nodding along to your point. I had the exact same problems with her other book! Your review made me glad I didn't buy this e-book. Thanks!

  2. You're not the only one, Leslie. I had the same reaction to the book. The characters were likable and once the two got together they were fine... but they was too little of it for me. The suspense took too much of the book for too long, and well... I don't know. It was a good read not great. My first James book and not a wowzer... I'll just have to try one of the other ones on my TBR pile. :)

  3. I really liked her first book, JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE, it was fairly predictable but James's skillfully written banter drew me in. Jason & Taylor had me cracking up. It read a bit like chick-lit, but I enjoy that, so it was ok with me.

    My biggest complaint about her first 2 books were the 'fade to black' love scenes. She fixed that problem in SAY but I never felt the zingy chemistry btwn Cam & Jack. I was surprised at the slew of 5 star ratings, it was good but forgettable, in my opinion.

  4. Danielle ~ I liked her first book and thought her second was better but still had a few problems with both. Something About You is my least favorite of the 3.

    Hils ~ she's does the h/h dialogue well but you're right, there wasn't enough of it this time around.

    I forgot I reviewed her other two books - guess I could at least link to them. LOL I've added the links in the review.

    Scorpio ~ yep, it's the h/h banter that I found so enjoyable in her first two books. This time, not so much. Hopefully her next book will have a good balance of banter and physical chemistry.

  5. I find for some reasons that Ms James books are not that romance-y. All of them. Yes, there is interaction between the H/H... but is it real romance? I'm not too sure. I mean, she's headed towards the right direction, but it's as if, she holds off a little... not wanting to totally write romance. know what I mean?

    I think that's why I haven't been wowed by her books as much as the rest of blogland.

  6. @nath

    I think I know what you mean, JJ's style is similar to Emily Giffin, who is very popular & successful, but who is decidedly NOT known as a "romance" writer.

    I think James is closer to romance than not though, especially with the release of SAY, but her first 2 books felt more like chick-lit to me.

  7. nath ~ hmmm, I never really thought about it. There is more physical intimacy in this one. Like Scorpio said it's not all behind closed doors this time around. All three books begin with the dislike/distrust between the h/h so they have to get past that first.

    I don't think I've read chick-lit so I don't really have anything to compare.

  8. I find this to be an interesting discussion... the comparison between Emily Griffin & Julie James, and the chick-lit feel to the James book.

    Having read both authors (one book a piece, not much), I would say that the one thing they had in common was the end. They both felt more like a "happily for now" than a "happily ever after" to me. It's almost as if the couples saying to each other, "I love you and let's commit for now and see how this works out between us." But, there was no "going to the Chapel, and gonna get married" song being sung in these people.

  9. @Hilcia

    I agree with you. James's HEAs are definitely more implied than guaranteed. And this sorta keeps in line with the "chick-lit" feel.

    Chick lit is defined as: women's fiction which addresses issues of modern women often humorously & lightheartedly.

    All of Giffin & James's heroines are ultra-modern and successful career-wise. The men they pair up with have to fit into their lives, not them into theirs. There is less "I NEED you" and more, "I CHOOSE you" in that regard it's a departure from traditional romance which emphasizes forever/destiny more.

  10. “The men they pair up with have to fit into their lives, not them into theirs. There is less "I NEED you" and more, "I CHOOSE you" in that regard it's a departure from traditional romance which emphasizes forever/destiny more.”

    I love this description! I wonder if this is going to be the new wave of romance. A happy for now with the woman having more power in dictating the boundaries of the relationship. Interesting discussion.

  11. Like you, I didn't enjoy this book as much as her previous two. Unlike you, I liked JTSMA more than PMP. It's her best book to date, IMO.

    Interesting discussion about the chick-lit feel. I've heard James say she thinks of her novels as romantic comedies (a la Hollywood), so I suppose that's how I think of them as well.

    As for the fade-to-black sex scenes, I have to say I preferred them in JTSMA. The relationship between the h/h wouldn't have worked as well if sex had been involved, IMO.

    Having said that, I tend to agree that her novels seem more chick-lit than romance.

  12. Sounds like I started something here LOL.

    Quite frankly, her books don't feel that chick-lit-y to me, simply because the hero POV is quite present in her books.

    It's like she's stopping just short of making the jump into romance. Perhaps it's like Holly says, it's because she's writing romantic comedies à la Hollywood. Movies and books are different. She can be more daring in books and focus more on the romance. Ah well.

  13. @Leslie -
    I can definitely live with the "happy for now" endings & more enpowered heroines, if trend is moving in that direction, but I personally do not care for the multiple potential heroes scenario that has been cropping up (mostly in paranormals/UFs) recently. I'm still an old-fashioned, one man at a time romance reader ;-)

    I think Holly hit on the head, that James looks at her books as rom-coms. I'm curious to see how her next book will read, in ways SAY felt transitional.

  14. Holly ~ the first two books felt like romantic comedies, this one, not so much. Probably why I liked this one the least.

    The sex scenes I could take either way. At this point my favorite parts are the dialogue between the h/h. That's what I liked best in PMP - the smart, witty dialogue.

    Nath ~ I should read some chick-lit for comparison. :)

    Scorpio ~ as long as it’s believable, the happy for now works for me too.

    SAY did feel different from the other books. Maybe James is moving towards a blending of romantic comedy and suspense? It should be interesting to see where the next book falls.

  15. Definitely a great discussion. This book didn't feel like a rom-com to me either. And although I don't mind & can enjoy a "happily for now" ending in chick-lit because I expect it, it's not what I look for in romance.

    Lisa Dale is writing a mixture of chick-lit and romance. "It Happened One Night" her second book, was definitely a mixture of chick-lit and romance, the chick-lit aspect of it was found throughout the story, BUT the difference there was that it definitely, had an HEA. Not perfect, but a pretty good balance of romance/chick-lit. I have hopes for her next book. :) An interesting trend in contemps?