Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Club: Practice Makes Perfect and a Visit with Julie James

WHEN IT COMES TO THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION . . .

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.

. . . THERE ARE NO RULES.

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 . . .

From today's co-hostess Mary G.: Where do I start with Julie James? She has the distinction, for me, of being the first author I wrote to before I’d even finished her book. It was to tell her that I was no longer allowed to read it in public because I became a “laughing out loud” lunatic and the strait jacket look is not good for me.

This talented lawyer and author is also an award winning screenwriter. That doesn’t surprise me at all. When I read I see the story happening in my head like a movie. With Julie, you get Technicolor and 3D with the actors and music picked out. You feel you are there with the characters.

I read a lot of rom, susp, contemps & erotica with sex scenes aplenty. Julie’s books are rated hot with hardly any of that (in the first two anyway) because she's a master at creating sexual tension.

Payton works hard in a male-dominated profession. J.D. is a competitive conservative, who thinks female lawyers have an advantage because of their sex. The dialogue between these two is like watching a strategic tennis match with the witticisms volleying back & forth (sorry son, I know you hate my tennis analogies). When he calls her a “feminazi” I was laughing to the point of tears - such a great expression.

His friend Tyler uses the Pride & Prejudice book analogy to explain the chemistry between Payton & J.D. J.D. “you know, Tyler, you might want to pick up your balls – I think they just fell off when you said that.” The secondary characters are amazing too.

While the sparks fly when they rub each other the wrong way, they also have a healthy respect for each other’s intelligence. They get along at the office but outside of it they are so competitive, they even race to see who makes it to work first in the morning. When the powers that be announce that only one of them will make partner, they are shocked that all their hard work might not make a difference. This only makes things more tense between them.

Through the progression of the book, you will see that the push/pull of their relationship has years of sexual tension at its core. Julie does an excellent job of drawing that out. I’ve loved every book she’s written and I smiled through every one. I look forward to A Lot Like Love due March 2011.

In honor of Payton & J.D. I though a recipe for Sweet & Sour Sauce would suit LOL.
A quick and easy recipe that can be poured over a dish or used as a dipping sauce

Yields about 1/2 cup
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:
• 1/3 cup white or rice vinegar (Note: rice vinegar gives better results)
• 4 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon ketchup
• 1 teaspoon soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water

Preparation:
Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce together and bring to a boil in a small pot. Mix together the cornstarch and water, add to the other ingredients and stir to thicken.

(If desired, you can add 1 green pepper, cut into chunks, and pineapple chunks as desired after adding the cornstarch. For a thicker sauce, increase the cornstarch to 4 teaspoons while keeping the water constant.)

Julie is giving away a book of choice to one commenter today! Find out more about Julie and her books here.

51 comments:

Marie Force said...

Morning everyone!
I'm heading for the train station but will check in en route! Looking forward to visiting with Julie today!

Mary G said...

I'll be popping in & out too.

Lea said...

Good morning ladies! Great post Mary..

Julie's books never fail to delight this reader!

Great post Mary. :-)

Please don't enter me I have, and treasure ALL Julie's novels.

Mary G said...

Hi Lea!!
Thanks for dropping in. Yes, Julie is one of the authors we've bonded over. Heat & humor are such a great combination.

Aly said...

WOW! Everyone slept in this morning! That will make Howe happy :)

For me, the best thing about this book is the characters. I like the banter between JD and Payton. It is witty and fun and definitely LOL at times! And Julie does a great job with the tension between them!

OK sorry to hit & run but I must go do some work! I hope to come back later!

Mary G said...

Hi Aly
Yes that witty banter was just right.

Hope said...

Good Morning everyone :) Safe travels Marie, I know Brandy misses you.

I am just popping in this morning, great write up Mary, and the Sweet and Sour sounds yummy, thanks, I will have to try that out.

I love Julie, so great job suggesting her for book club.

Have a great day...

krisgils33 said...

Hi all,
Hope you make it home soon, Marie!
I love Julie James books and have read most of them, although not this one. Couldn't manage to squeeze it in before club either! Someday I hope to read everything on my shelf!!!

oklanannie said...

Good morning everyone!

Great review, Mary G!! And the sweet and sour recipe sounds just yummo.

Julie James writes books that are just plain fun to read! I've read them all and each book brings a smile and great hours of reading pleasure.

"Practice Makes Perfect" delivers the humor, steam and wit wrapped up in a great story. I loved the he said/she said rivalry between these two lawyers. The courtroom scene was an A-1 laugh-out-loud moment!

I can't wait for "A Lot Like Love" to hit the bookshelves in March! And I just read that the brother of our heroine in "ALLL" will get his book next! Fantastic - he's a billionaire ex-con - sounds fun!

Marie Force said...

Morning again!
I'm now on the train somewhere in CT. Psyched to be getting home after the two-day trip turned into a four day trip. Morale of the story with winter travel is to always pack extra clothes. I learned that years ago and it paid off big time this week!

I love Julie's books! The opening to Something About You is one of the best I've read in any romance, so if you haven't read that one, make sure to check it out. It grabs from page 1 and doesn't let go. I read it during a road trip last year and my hubby was complaining about being lonely while I was engrossed! :-)

Practice Makes Perfect has been on my TBR for a while now and was coming on this trip with me until I FORGOT it! Ugh! Work was so busy I wouldn't have had time to read anyway, but it's next on my list! Thanks again for Julie for being here today!! She's in the mid-west so I'm sure we'll hear from her a little later.

Jolene Allcock and Family said...

Good Morning! I was so excited when I found out you were suggesting Julies books. I randomly came across her book Something About You a few months ago. Decided to pick it up and LOVED it. Can't wait to get ahold of her other books and am looking forward to her new release.

Crystal (cmac) said...

Good morning everyone!
this is yet another book I need to put in my TBR pile! I think it is growing at an alarming rate! lol Have a great day everyone! Marie I hope you have no more delays!! :)

Alison said...

Good Morning!

This is the only book I've read so far from Julie James, but I loved it! I need to add her other books to my TBR pile.

The back and forth banter between Payton and JD was great! I loved the courtroom scene...it had me laughing out loud.

authorjuliejames said...

Good morning, everyone! Sorry for the slight delay in getting here-- with a 12 week-old baby and a 3 year old who needs to be taken to school, mornings are a bit chaotic for me. : )

First off, thanks so much to Marie for having me here and for picking PMP for the book club. And also a big shout-out to Mary G. Thanks as always, Mary, for the kind words about my books!

Okay... let me dive in...

authorjuliejames said...

Hey Lea-- nice to "see" you here. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you enjoy ALLL as well. : )

Aly: Glad you enjoyed the banter between Payton and J.D.! I'll admit-- I focus a lot on dialogue, so it's nice to hear that it worked for you.

Hi Hope-- good morning to you as well! And thanks! : )

Ronlyn said...

GOOD MORNING!!!
I'm laughing that Mary G had to make herself not read this book in public because of the LOL moments. That's great!!

*darn phone* be back in a few....

Mary G said...

Hi Julie
Glad you “see” you here. Have to confess one of my fave moments: In an interview you were asked what your fave mail was from a fan. You said it was from someone who couldn’t read your books in public because they were LOLing too much. I couldn’t believe you were talking about me!! (which you confirmed in the same post)

Julie James said...

krisgils: Oh, I hear you--my TBR pile is out of control these days. I've started ordering new books for the Kindle so I don't see just how large the pile of to-read books is. LOL.

oklanannie: So glad you dropped by! And thanks! It's always nice to hear that my books make people laugh. And wow, you are really on top of things about A Lot Like Love and Book 5--yep, the hero in Book 5 is introduced in A Lot Like Love. As soon as he came on the page, I knew he was going to get a book of his own. : )

Mary G said...

Actually Ronlyn, I was also warned by Julie's fellow Chicago author, Beth Kery, not to read Julie's books while drinking milk LOL.

Julie James said...

Hi Marie: glad to hear you made your train okay! Did you go somewhere fun?

Thanks for the nice words re: the opening of Something About You. I knew SAY was going to be a bit more R-rated than my earlier to books and I wanted to give the reader a heads up to that right away. : )

Hi Jolene: Thanks for dropping by! So glad to hear that you enjoyed SAY!

Julie James said...

Hi Crystal: thanks for dropping by. If you pick up one of my books, I hope you enjoy it. : )

Alison: glad you liked it! Also thrilled to hear the book made you laugh out loud. That tell me that I've done my job. : )

Hi Ronlyn: I laugh too, thinking about Mary having to stop herself from reading in public. Such a nice compliment. That said...

Mary: remember, you're not supposed to stop reading in public, you're supposed to laugh even louder, and then hold the book up nice and high so everyone can see what you're reading. That's the best PR out there. ; )

Ronlyn said...

*making note: no reading Julie James while drinking milk* LOL

Now, Julie, HOW do you find time to write with a wee one and a 3 year old at home?! My kids are 7 & 3 and, man. Busy doesn't begin to describe them...

Mary G said...

Good idea Julie!! I'll time itbetween wiping the tears off my face and getting my breath back LOL.

oklanannie said...

Julie, now that you mentioned "turning up the heat" - will "ALLL" continue in this pattern? I have loved all your books but I'll be the first to admit I loved the extra heat!

Mary G said...

Just remembered one episode: Reading in the lunch room at work & laughing (feminazi!)so much. I was fine in my own little world but of course had to read parts out loud to the curious.

Penfield said...

As was stated above, Julie James does a wonderful job with dialogue. The banter between characters is always funny and not forced.

In the upcoming book, do we learn if the heroine's brother is innocent or do we have to wait for book #5?

Julie James said...

Ronlyn, I'm not going to lie, it is a challenge at times. The key is multitasking!! But really, having young kids is why I only do a book a year right now.

oklanannie: LOL. You'll be pleased-- A Lot Like Love has a similar heat level to Something About You. In fact, I think it feels even a little hotter because one of the intimate scenes is from the hero's POV. For whatever reason, that makes it feel steamier. : )

Mary G: too funny!

Penfield: Glad you dropped by! And thanks!

Re: the brother... oh, he definitely committed the crime. No doubt about that. The anticipation is in learning what, exactly, he did to be in federal prison.

Aly said...

WOO HOO! A hot scene from a guy's POV! I love it already!

Marie Force said...

Hey gals,
I am just NOW getting home from the trip from hell! Got some weeds to dig out of and then I'll be back by! Sorry to be out of it today!
Marie

oklanannie said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh - I like that he's definitely guilty BUT obviously redeemable. Is he gonna fall in love with his probation officer? LOL!

AWESOME news on the "heat" factor issue, Julie!! Looking forward to the FBI's POV on that issue, as well!

Vivi said...

Julie, how did go from screenwriting to bookwriting?

One of the best parts of your books (besides the awesome snappy, witty dialogue) is your description of Chicago. I have not visited Chi-town in a few years. After re-reading your books, I always want to go back.

Marie Force said...

Me again... Now that I am FINALLY off the damned train, I'm having a crazy busy day at work and fending off a puppy who thinks I have nothing to do but play with her now that I am finally home! :-)

Julie, I'm so glad you cranked up the heat in SAY. I loved that one and I'm looking forward to your new one, too. I'm with Anne--the more heat the better, but these girls know that about me!

Question for you: did you find it difficult to add a spicier heat level to your books? Some writers absolutely hate writing love scenes. I wondered how it was for you!

Goddess of Blah said...

I've read this book- and I can certainly tell you that prior to reading Practise Makes Perfact _ I had no idea who Julie James was.

In fact – a lawyer turned chick lit author is not a common occurrence. But its GREAT news for us chick lit readers!!

There are very few chick lit books available where the author knows exactly what she's talking about when discussing the complexities of the legal world. For a chick lit - its a brilliant rendition of a career woman. A lawyer who actually sounds like the REAL deal – and of course she will as The Amazing Author herself was formerly a lawyer.

Loved this book – I cannot reiterate enough how great it was. I read it in one sitting.

The Characters:

Payton: a believable character- you will greatly admire her. She's ultra smart, ultra competitive, witty, sassy, independent and endearing. And as a career woman myself, (I've met a few women like her and trust me) - these women are formidable.
The great thing about Payton that unlike many chick lit protagonist, she isn't stupid, doesn't fall into silly scrapes, or obsessed about celebrities or shopping. She has girly interests (e.g. nice shoes etc) but its immediately evident that the latest designer shoes doesn't keep her awake at night.

J.D: he's self-confident, cocky, funny and strangely endearing. Also extremely believable. I was expecting a typical tall, dark handsome bad boy lawyer who saves the heroine from herself...– but instead found a average brown haired, tall good-looking male who can be juvenile at times (which adds flavour and realism to this book!).

The only thing that I thought may have needed some adjustment was the way in which J.D's best friend and colleague occasionally used phrases that I'd expect from a female adolescent... And it ought to have been longer – there ought to have been more detail on the history of how their relationship developed (but then that's just us being greedy!).

Over all I loved this book – its great for a light but interesting read. Extremely romantic, funny and engrossing- I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5!

Melanie S. (Books for all eternity) said...

Julie, Something About You was the first book I read written by you and I knew after the first few pages that it will be a keeper for me!! I loved the humor and I couldn't put it down...

Julie James said...

Hi again, everyone!

Vivi: I made the transition from screenplays to novel when my film agent suggested that I turn my first script (called "The Andrews Project") into a book. So I did, and that book became my debut novel "Just the Sexiest Man Alive."

Glad you enjoy the descriptions of Chicago! It's a great city to live in--except for the weather. Ugh.

Julie James said...

Hi Marie,

Did I find it difficult to crank up the heat level...? Yes and no. No, in the sense that I knew it fit better with the book-- SAY includes a suspense subplot, and has slightly grittier elements, so making the sex scenes more earthy felt like the way to go.

That being said, it was completely foreign territory for me to write one of those scenes. So I cracked open a bottle of wine, started sipping, and said, "All right, let's do this."

True story. : )

Marie Force said...

LOL, Julie. The first time I ever did it (ahem) I was alone in a hotel room while hubby had the kids at the pool. I said to myself, write this scene like no one is ever going to see it. Just GO for it. So I did, and I'm happy to report that it has gotten easier over time. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing!

Mary G said...

So fun to hear about the process of writing especially love scenes.

Julie, I think you'd be the perfect person to write the screenplay for one of your books that'll get turned into a movie. Any chance of that? I know you've been asked before.

Julie James said...

Goddess of Blah-- where do I start??? How about with 'thank you'!! Glad you enjoyed the book! I had a blast reading your comment.

I think too often in literature, female characters are stereotyped as either the cold, career-driven girl, OR as having no interests other than wanting to land a guy and start a family. But we all know that women are far more well-rounded and complex than that! It is possible to have a successful career and want a relationship, too.

I've heard from a few readers that, like you, they wanted more background on some of J.D.'s relationships. Others have commented that they would've liked to see more of J.D.'s relationship with his father. Good feedback for me, as an author, to know!

Julie James said...

Hi Melanie! Thanks for dropping by! Glad you enjoyed SAY.

Marie: good to hear! : )

Mary G: Well, there's always "talk." I've learned not to get too invested in that--Hollywood is a tough scene. The most recent "talk" has been about possibly turning the books into a television series. The idea is that the heroines from my first three books would be friends from law school and the books would be each of their storylines. I'd love for something to happen, but who knows?

Mary G said...

That would be great. Sex in The City but not about clothes LOL.

Seriously, I love law shows & the idea.

Judy F said...

YOu all were busy while I was at work. LOl

Julie I loved all your books. I won your first two at Lori Fosters get together and Stacy A pimped you all over the place. I just loved each and every one of them

So did you two to the wine testing?

Julie James said...

Thanks, Judy! Glad you enjoyed the books! I've been trying to get Stacy to go to a wine tasting--I keep telling her how much fun they are. : )

JenM said...

Well, I'll admit that I haven't read Practice Makes Perfect, but I loved Something About You - I think I found it through an excerpt on a blog and the excerpt was so good that I just had to buy the book. What I loved about it was that the heroine was mature and normal - I really dislike ditzy, self-doubting, and immature heroines. I'll definitely have to get Practice Makes Perfect if the heroine in that one is similar.

Marie Force said...

Thanks to everyone who came out to play today! It's great seeing some new "faces" here this week. Hope you'll come back again!

Next week (this is embarrassing but Aly and Ronlyn tell me I hafta...) we'll be featuring a lovely book called Fatal Justice, book 2 in the Fatal Series. I hear the author is a bit of a hag with an Oreo fixation, but I'm told the book is pretty good. :-) Hope to see you there to discuss, Sam, Nick, Freddie and just HOW much more of Dr. Harry we'll be seeing!

Ronlyn said...

LOL. such a tease you are Force.

Marie Force said...

MOI???

BTW, forgot to add, I'm consulting with Ms. James to announce today's winner. We'll be back to you on that one!

Marie Force said...

The winner of Julie's giveaway is....

JOLENE!!!!!

Jolene, please email me at marie@marieforce.com with your address and your choice of Just the Sexiest Man Alive, Practice Makes Perfect or Something About You and Julie will get the book to you!

Thanks everyone! See you next week.

Ronlyn said...

congratulations Jolene!!!

oklanannie said...

Congrats to you Jolene!

Hope to "see" you again next Thursday for "Fatal Justice"!!!

Nounouche Writings said...

I want to win something. I just want to win a book just once from one one of my favorite authors. Just once!