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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

'Just the Sexiest Man Alive' by Julie JAMES

From the BLURB:

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her–not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.

Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize that she may just be his perfect match. . .

Ummmm… don’t hate me – but I didn’t like this book at all.
I know there are lots of Julie James lovers out there who will be absolutely bamboozled by this statement, but I cannot join the Julie James fan club.

My first problem was the fact that the main characters are all ‘beautiful people’. Movie mega-star, Jason Andrews, has been voted the ‘sexiest man alive’ three times. Fair enough, I can understand why the male film star protagonist is a modern-day Adonis. But Taylor Donovan, a Chicago sexual harassment lawyer, is also drop-dead gorgeous. So gorgeous, in fact, that Jason Andrews (who has dated supermodels and actresses in the past) describes her as being a ‘Goddess’.
Then there’s Scott Casey, Jason Andrew’s up-start acting rival who takes an interest in Taylor purely to get on Jason’s nerves…. Scott Casey (a runner-up ‘sexiest man alive’) also thinks Taylor is hot and ‘fuckable’.

Forgive me, but I think that’s just a little too much beauty in one book. Sure, Taylor does feel inadequate compared to those supermodels and actresses Jason’s dated in the past – but not nearly enough. And it’s hardly believable for her to feel lacking when she ends up with TWO sexy film stars chasing after her.

I don’t know why I had such a problem with all these gorgeous characters. Maybe because the last few contemporary romances I’ve read (and enjoyed) have had storylines that concentrate on the inner/outer beauty debate… and I’ve found myself enjoying the more complex characterizations that stem from such stories....

‘Tigers and Devils’ by Sean Kennedy – average Joe hooks up with a hot football player, and spends a good deal of the book feeling insecure and wondering what said football player sees in him.

‘He Loves Lucy’ by Susan Donovan – Woman enters into a weight-loss campaign and falls for her good-looking trainer – the book is all about her regaining her self-confidence and realizing she is lovable at any size.

‘Start Me Up’ by Victoria Dahl – female mechanic falls for a high profile architect, and wrestles with her feelings of inadequacy and lacking femininity when compared to his past conquests.

My second complaint is to do with Taylor’s character development. In the beginning of the book we learn that part of the reason she’s moved from Chicago to L.A. is because she caught her fiancée (dated for 5 years) cheating on her. At the start her ex-fiancée, Daniel, has a minor role in that he sends her flowers and calls her constantly. I would have liked this storyline to wrap up a bit more – maybe with an appearance?

So in the beginning we can assume Taylor is still feeling a little raw (though she doesn’t show it – in fact, she could care less about her 5 year relationship going down the toilet and the man she loved cheating on her). And it’s because of this betrayal that when she develops feelings for Jason, she is more than a little hesitant. She (and the rest of the world) knows that Jason is a ladies man and has a new pinup girl on his arm every night. Jason is actually a bit sexist about his female appetites – at one point comparing women to film scripts, ‘if they don’t hold my interest after an hour, I throw them out’. I think she overcame her reluctance a little too easily, and I don’t think Jason did enough to ease her concerns… I wouldn’t be surprised if her worst fears came true and she one day caught him banging a supermodel in their living room.

And finally on to my biggest complaint – no sex. Seriously? But the cover is so romance-y and it’s all about the ‘sexiest man alive’ and yet there’s no actual sex scene. Seriously? To put it into perspective; it’s like going to see a Hugh Jackman movie entitled “Let’s all get naked” only to walk out of the cinemas 2 hours later having not seen one butt cheek!

This book only has one redeeming feature – and that is Jason’s best friend (and personal Jiminy Cricket) Jeremy. Sure, Jeremy and Jason have a relationship that strays perilously close to the Eric Murphy/Vince Chase friendship on the HBO show ‘Entourage’… but I liked any scene with Jeremy.

Jeremy barely stifled his smile. Ahhh… if only the paparazzi could capture moments like this.
“So, I guess this means you and Taylor are friends now,” he said.
Jason scoffed emphatically while rubbing his nose. “Please – I’m never just ‘the friend.’”
“Scott Casey might beg to differ with you on that.”
Jason pointed at him. “You say his name again, and I swear I’ll get you fired off that vampire flick of yours.”
Jeremy was highly offended by this.
“Hey – let’s get something straight. It’s a vampire/alien/zombie/warlock/ hybrid flick.”

Sorry guys, but I hated this book. I have heard good things about Ms. James’s new release ‘Something About You’ – but I’m not going to rush to buy it.



  1. hmmmmm yeah, that is so my thing... no sex? that is weird!

    great review =)

  2. I did enjoy this book, but out of the three books Ms. James has written, this was my least favorite. (and I did want more sexin', LOL!)

  3. This book to me was cute..but I wanted more sexin'..LOL

    I don't know - sometimes the beautiful people thing really gets on my nerves in books and sometimes I go with it..It worked for me in this one.

  4. Agreed that the no sex was total false advertising.

    To my surprise though, I liked Just the Sexiest Man Alive. I think one of the reasons may have been that I didn't have very high expectation. I found Practice Makes Perfect "meh" so when I backtracked I wasn't expecting anything that would wow me.

  5. D.L. - to be honest, I don't think Ms. James excelled at writing a lawyer character, or in the courtroom scenes. It was more 'Ally McBeal', less 'The Good Wife' (which is what I would prefer). So her 'Practice Makes Perfect' does not appeal one bit. BUT her 'Something About You' is about a a Secret Service Agent romance - which sounds kinda fun. But I think I'll leave it for a while, maybe come back and visit Julie James when the bad taste of this book has left me.

  6. Sorry to hear this one didn't work for you. I enjoyed SOMETHING ABOUT YOU and as a result have this one on my shelf. I'll get around to it one of these days (though I'm not feeling rushed about it, especially now.) Thanks for the honest review!


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