Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James


Form: pdf format
Genre: romance, contemporary fiction
Target audience: adults
Borrowed from a friend that shouldn’t be named.
Why I read it:
I have sadistic friends. Some of them keep borrowing me copies of romantic fiction, especially when I am planning to go away for a day or two. I am a compulsive reader, I am an addict, I read everything, good, bad and ugly and they take advantage. Sometimes I shrug these offers off, sometimes I succumb to them. This one had good reviews on Goodreads so I thought: “why not? A freebie for a dull train trip…it might be actually fun…” Right.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that that a single woman in a  possession of a good fortune (like several millions and a wine shop not to mention a fine prospect of inheriting more when the daddy kicks the bucket), must be in want of a husband. Or at least a steady boyfriend. Or two. Jordan Rhodes finds herself in such a position – she is incredibly beautiful, young, rich, educated, intelligent, independent, down-to-earth, not spoiled at all and so very conspicuously single you really have to wonder what’s wrong with that girl. Something must be wrong with her, right? Some skeletons in a closet full of Gucci shoes?  It’s not that she has no social life because she has to work 24/7 to feed her twelve illegitimate children and an alcoholic mother, paying off her mortgage all along, right?
Soon you find out. Beware, it is shocking, even heartrending. You see, her twin brother, Kyle, has created a kind of Twitter crisis when his ex-girlfriend  broke off  by posting a  video of herself giving another guy a blowjob. Yuck. Small wonder poor little Kyle hit the roof, hacked into the system and immobilized the whole site for 48 hours or so. Imagine that. No Twitter. How people communicated during that period? Texting? Sign language? Skype? Snail mail, perish the thought? Really, a terrorist attack, nothing less!
Anyway now Kyle, like every other criminally-inclined citizen, is serving his time. As you perhaps know (or maybe not) a prison is not exactly a health spa. Our poor millionaire is being on the brink of mental breakdown, not to mention the fact that his inmates pick on him constantly, (complete dumbasses all of them but they have to be that way so the story continues). When two FBI agents in their government issue dark suits and glasses appear in Jordan’s posh wine shop’s door, offering to release Kyle from prison if Jordan takes an undercover officer to a wine tasting party, she doesn’t feel she has a choice. Not really. You see, she is not only a great girl (see the section above) but she also loves her bro insanely. Aww…
Off she goes to a party organized by a certain Xander Eckhart, a restaurateur who is doing business with gangsters or mafia and secretly nourishes other plans concerning Jordan (guess what). Her partner for the night a.k.a male arm candy is, despite initial complications, a smolderingly handsome undercover agent extraordinaire, Nick McCall. Nick, his manly charms, intelligence and bedroom skills notwithstanding, hasn’t found what he is looking for (U2 anyone?)  in the prospective wife department so he also remains conspicuously single…Awww…two stars collide, angels are singing “All You Need Is Love”, St. Valentine is smiling benignly from one fluffy cloud and white doves are crapping on your car while kissing furiously…sorry, just a daydream.
I am pretty sure even a ten-year old girl playing with her Barbie would know what happened next. It’s always the same old scenario. Jordan and Nick fall for each other. They find they are simply compatible, there is no other word for that. They cannot get enough of…each other of course (pst, pst, yes, they go to bed!). Jordan saves her brother, Nick saves Jordan’s life, the sun is shining, the grapes are ripening in Napa Valley, summertime and the livin’ is easy, fish are jumping and cotton is high, oh your da is rich, your mum is good-looking…wait it’s from another story.
What I liked:
Not much. It was a DNF to tell you the truth so perhaps I really appreciated the fact that I could stop reading this book at any given moment and I wasn’t compelled to start it again as if I was a completely normal, addiction-free person. Every cloud has a silver lining. 😉
What I didn’t like:
  • The main heroine. She was simply obnoxiously perfect. No women are like her, neither in real life nor in good books. Once again a plastic Barbie doll comes to my mind. A study in pink…
  • The main male lead. Nick was so incredibly boring in his special-operative routine that I gagged from time to time. Not to mention the fact that he, supposedly a great FBI agent, never hesitated to reveal his real identity to any of his casual sex partners which created quite a commotion at one point.
  • His relationship with Jordan lacked psychological reality. One moment he is such a macho agent with a big black gun who won’t allow any chick take any decisions, billionairess or not,  the next moment he goes meekly on an expensive trip, completely funded by his girlfriend and, sipping a glass of expensive wine, he discusses his FEELINGS for heaven’s sake…when did FBI agents actually acquire feelings?
  • The plot. It was so very predictable. I’ve watched and read the same story like I can’t say how many times –certainly enough to make me nauseated at the mere whiff of it.
  • The Kyle-in-prison situation was simply artificial and false. Any millionaire would buy his way out of trouble but not Kyle. Why? Saving up for another Maserati? Or rather another Mac?
  • The novel contained too much backstory (infodumps et all) to make the plot really fast-flowing and interesting to me even on a completely superficial level. From time to time the well-known landscape outside my window seemed to be far more compelling. A dog barking. A cat scratching its ear. A rat in a dustbin. An old car coughing loudly on the road. Children eating ice-cream. Fascinating stuff, especially when compared to this book!
  • No good sense of humour to alleviate my boredom.
Final verdict:
I wouldn’t recommend this Julie James novel to anybody, not even a romance fan, but perhaps it is only me. Ok, I can criticize my own person as well. I know why Anachronist hates romances overall and this story in particular. She is jealous like hell. She will never be a wine-sipping heiress of a  fortune. She will never drive a sports car and date handsome FBI agents. She will never wear a purple dress showing her bare back up to the equally bare bottom cheeks (see the cover) to a party or, in fact, anywhere else. That’s why she hated this book. Not because it was crap. Quod erat demonstrandum. 😉
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