I’ve been in a book slump for so long I almost forgot what it was like to absolutely love a book. Thanks to Julie James, I remember that feeling. Again and again.
This past week I have read two of her books…ones that fell under the whole enemies to lovers trope that I adore. And thanks to a search on Goodreads, I was able to discover these two of her books.
The one that I just finished today, gets a solid ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.
Something About You is the first book in James’s FBI/US Attorney series.
First of all, there are three different covers for this book, so I figured I would share them all here…
This is the slow burn murder mystery and eventually romance story of assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde and Special Agent Jack Pallas.
If Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court didn’t already have my heart, I might be willing to give it to Jack.
This is a story of a bunch of my favorite tropes, done in such an incredible and non-cheesy way, that this story has reminded me of why I love these tropes so much in the first place.
- Enemies to lovers
- Second Chance Romance
- Soul Mates and Fate
- Redemption Arc
- Revenge Plot
- Murder Mystery Needs to Be Solved
- Fake Relationship
In addition, there are some of my other favorite elements included in this story, like:
- Over-protective best friends
- Motorcycle riding
- Wedding drama
- Sharing a hotel room
- Mentions of things from pop-culture, like the Bachelorette
- SLOW BURN
- Feminist men and women
- And incredibly funny scenes
Generally speaking, I think that James is one of the best romance authors I have ever read. She is right up there with Jane Austen. She has such an incredible way of drawing out the romance thanks to such minute interactions between the characters, that they gradually, over time, fall in love naturally. The drama isn’t so extreme or angsty. The characters are incredibly mature (in regards to the fallout the second time around) and slowly seek forgiveness and retribution for their past mistakes.
This book, in particular, features characters who have a misunderstanding because both characters are missing some vital information to explain why situations have ended as badly as they have.
What I love about James’s books is that the characters aren’t stagnant. They learn from their past and are willing to forgive and even fall in love with those who have been responsible for some of the worst moments in their lives, or so they think.
If that isn’t the ideal for all of us, then I don’t know what is.
Now, here comes the spoiler portion of my post….
…this is the only warning that there will be major spoilers.
Jack: arrogant, holds a grudge against Cameron for almost ruining his career, holds a grudge against Cameron for making him lose his calm composure 3 years ago…in front of a reporter…who made sure his outburst made it onto national television for years to come, is incredibly sensitive of people’s changing facial expressions and what that means for their thought processes, has perfected the glowering look, takes his job and protective custody seriously for the woman that he even considers his enemy.
Cameron: Assistant U.S. Attorney who isn’t the same “I don’t want to make waves with my boss” employee that she was 3 years ago, has a strong sense of right and wrong, wants to protect people, has the worst luck in the world picking a hotel room next to people who kept her up all night and then was the scene of a murder hours later, incredibly selfless woman who takes protective custody without fuss or complaint.
So basically, our main characters are two quirky, realistic, and down to earth characters who I 100% can get behind. Even the “mistakes” that each of them have made in their past are things that I, and other readers, understand why they both did what they did. Cameron in supporting her boss’s decision not to try the case, and Jack in losing his cool.
And this comment, “But before he realized what he was doing, Jack fired back a reply to the reporter’s question.
‘I think the assistant U.S. attorney has her head up her ass, that’s what I think. They should’ve assigned the case to somebody with some fucking balls.’”
When I first read this scene I was cringing, and not even sure if I would continue to read the rest of the book, if he was as much of an asshole as he was in this scene of his backstory. And now after getting the rest of it, I think it is hilarious. Especially that years later, the video has resurfaced after the couple got together and the whole issue was rehashed, which “usually brought on another glowering session on his part, Cameron personally found it amusing to watch.”
And then the best part…
“She’d even slipped once––while he was trying to wrestle the remote control out of her hands to turn off the ten o’clock news, she’d teasingly said they should share the footage with their kids someday as evidence of their love at first sight.”
What I really loved about their relationship, though was that they both had feelings for one another from years ago, but neither of them ever brought it up until years later, as if the time and distance has been too much.
And I can’t forget about the “I took a bullet for you” scene that was quite a tense moment, but luckily Cameron’s bullet wound only ended up being a .2 on Jack’s 1-10 scale, so she lived. And I cracked up.
Some of the aspects of this book that I also love are the minor characters. Jack, after returning from Nebraska is partnered with the rookie agent, Sam Wilkins, who I absolutely adore, if only for knowing what a meet cute is in a romance novel, and sharing that with the other officers. But there is more. He is an expert “good cop,” so much so that he even helps to turn down Jack’s “bad cop” levels a few notches. Aside from him being such a sweetheart, he is smart, too, and just as protective over his witness as Jack is, when it comes to her safety at the bachelorette party she is hosting. And the date that she got stood up at.
And thank god for Sam, being the only connection to pop culture that Jack has. He has to educate his partner on everything from what that new club that opened is like, to themes in chick flicks, to Carrie Bradshaw’s role in Sex and the City, and the sacrosanctity of going into a woman’s purse, and even to knowing the name and face of their famous local sports writer, when Jack doesn’t have a clue about any of these things.
One of my favorite Sam scenes is when he convinces Jack to pop into the bachelorette party:
“You thought going into a purse was sacrosanct? Infiltrating a bachelorette party is way beyond that.”
Wilkins rubbed his hands together eagerly. “ know. And I’ll never have an excuse like this again”
“You’re an FBI agent, Sam,” Jack reminded him.
“I’m also a single man, Jack. And inside that house are twenty gorgeous women who are drinking and showing off their panties. It’s a no-brainer.” He pushed off the car and headed toward the house.
“Easy for you to say, good cop. I’m the one who’s going to catch hell for this,” Jack grumbled as he followed.
Wilkins grinned. “I know. That’s what makes it so perfect.”
I was dying. And even worse was that I couldn’t wait for them to show up to the house and be mistaken for strippers. That scene wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it was going to be, nothing like on Jane the Virgin, but it was still pretty hilarious, too.
Then my other favorite secondary character is Colin. I love how he gives Jack shit.
“Sorry I didn’t recognize the name. I’ve been out of touch for a while.”
“Oh? The Sun-Times doesn’t deliver to Nebraska?” Collin quipped without thinking.
But he also notices Jack checking Cameron out and then subtly pushes them together by just casually bringing up that he is gay. Even though Jack doesn’t know if he believes him and is still jealous. And he notices Cameron blushing over talk of Jack.
“Collin was intrigued. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen Cameron blush because of a guy.
The plot thickened.”
Us writers are always using book lingo in everyday life. If I didn’t already use the whole “the plot thickened line in everyday life, I would start now.
There was one thing that was missing, that I am really hoping might pop up in future books…Jack spending time with his nephew, who he was so excited to move back to Chicago for. But of course being around when Cameron was under protective custody because there was a murderer on the loose would not have been the best place for a toddler, so I will let that one slide.
All in all, this book is definitely going on my favorites shelf, which I have very high standards for. It was an amazing book, with amazing characters. No angst or love triangles. No unnecessary drama. Just a great crime fighting story where fate brings these two characters together after years and drama had divided them.
I highly recommend.