About That Night - Julie James
I'm a little confused.This is a good book. Make no mistake about that. Another more than solid contemporary romance from Julie James. Damn, she writes them well. I wish she could write faster!The thing is, when you wait eight months for a book sometimes your expectations run away with you. In A Lot Like Love we met Kyle Rhodes, brother of Jordan Rhodes (ALLL's Heroine), and the catalyst for Jordan's actions in that book. As twins they have a close and loving relationship usually shrouded in a thick cloud of quips and sarcasm. I quickly loved him as much as I loved her.Oh, and he looks like this:So, once I found out book three would be his story I was on pins and needles waiting for it. This is where my major disappointment with this book comes in. I felt like there wasn't enough Kyle. I would say we spent much more time in Rylann's POV than Kyle's. Now, that's not to say Rylann wasn't interesting. I just wish we got to spend more of our time with Kyle. I wanted to read about him adjusting to life outside of prison and any lasting trauma. He was only in for a short time but it was still hard time in a maximum security federal prison. I would have liked more on him opening himself up to another woman after his last relationship ended so disastrously. We got some good time in with his family, especially Jordan. And even Nick in one fantastic scene where all three FBI/US Attorney series leading men were in one room. Please and thank you. (Though I would have loved to have read the conversation that lead to that scene and it being set up.) I think we probably got more family time than I could have hoped for but I love that family's interactions so much I'm not sure any amount would have been enough. I even loved the scenes showing what happened after their mother's accident, they were so emotional and poignant – especially the things Grey said about his wife. My heart hurt.Kyle was everything he promised to be from his scenes in A Lot Like Love. A little arrogant but a really sweet and loving guy. He had to endure a lot due to the stupid drunken mistake he made over the course of three days seven months ago. I felt like he was reasonably contrite over what he did, and only got angry about the right things. Usually with a Hero in this kind of situation I get annoyed at his inability to really take responsibility for his actions or for taking himself too seriously. But even I was yelling, "OMG, IT WAS JUST TWITTER!" at some points. And, of course, there were Rhodes quips like this:“Where, exactly, did you hear that? Siblings of Ex-Cons Anonymous?” Jordan glared. “Yes, we have weekly meetings at the YMCA.”I hated Rylann. Okay, it wasn't so much "hate" as it was "burning, seething jealousy" over her job (and the internship that got her there). Don't mistake that and my wanting less of her POV and more of Kyle's for real dislike. I quite liked her. Prosecutrix Pierce – which I maintain is one of the best nicknames ever, I kind of loved seeing that term somewhere outside of casebooks – is another really strong JJ female. That might be the thing I love most about JJ's books. I never have to fear that her Heroine will be an unmitigated twit or an absolute moron over the Hero. They're always intelligent, witty, and self-possessed. Rylann was no different. No matter what she was feeling physically and mentally she stuck to her beliefs and I love that. Now, that said, I think she did go a bit overboard in being worried about 'what ever will people think?!' No doubt it was necessary for her to heavily consider the possible ramifications when it came to her career, especially as a female. She just took it to a greater degree than I think was truly necessary.Kyle and Rylann made a great couple when they were together. Their conversations were so enjoyable to read. Nine years after meeting each other for the first time they're thrown together and given the chance to discover what could have been. He stood her up on what was to be their first date, but for an unassailable reason. They discussed this once, though I found it strange that even though he definitely had a lot on his mind at the time, he never seemed to think of her again. I just can't believe that at some point when his life and emotions settled down he didn't think, "Oh, shit! I stood her up!" The story was not a romantic suspense this time, so a lot of the conflict and tension was internal until it reached a boiling point and caused problems. In general, I prefer romantic suspense, but in this book while the lack of suspense allowed us to delve deeper into the characters, it did pose a problem because they weren't thrown together as often. In fact, the majority of the book they had to keep their distance. I think it's for this reason that I didn't feel it as much when they said "I love you" like I did in the first two books. What they had was certainly not insta-love, in fact they both weren't looking for long-term when they started their relationship. But we spent so much time with them individually instead of together that we didn't see it evolve to the same extent as the previous books. I don't have any doubts about them as a couple though.“Because nine years ago, I walked up to the most beautiful girl in the bar, and tonight she’s still the only person I want to talk to.”I read the following quote and it immediately reminded me of what I said in my review of A Lot Like Love and it holds true for this book as well:In fact, US romance has become more and more explicit and the sensuality level is often sustained by rather crude expressions or words. These are very difficult to translate into French, because crude words are not often written and give a really vulgar undertone. That’s why translators use euphemisms to tone down the vocabulary a bit.Séverine Olivier, Francophone Perspectives on Romantic Fiction: From the Academic Field to Reader’s Experience, 2 Journal of Popular Romance Studies (2012)I'm obviously not offended by explicit by any means, but I don't think it's necessary in non-erotic romance novels. At least not when the author has the talent JJ has for writing characters with a lot of chemistry, fantastic sexual tension, and emotionally charged love scenes. I find the more explicit the love scene the more it detracts from the sensuality. But, once again, they were very satisfying scenes, and I won't lie – Kyle has a flair for dirty talk (and the romantic talk).Oh, and did I mention that he looks like ?Just checking.The secondary characters, as always, were very strong in their own right. It becomes a problem because I then want a book for each of these characters. Of course, none more than Sam Wilkins. I'm hoping more than ever for the possibility of a Wilkins book since he was in this one so much as well. Really, there are only two choices from this book, for Hero in the next one, for it to continue to be the FBI/US Attorney series. Well, unless of course JJ makes up a random character again like Nick. There's a glimmer of hope for a Wilkins book, but it's still very much in the air. I'm almost tempted to be optimistic about it. I do wish one of the other characters Rylann talked to about Kyle got the 'nine years ago' part of their story (aside from her best friend Rae, who was there that night). I kept waiting for her to start telling the story to people, but it never happened. The same goes for Kyle and Jordan. I also wanted to see Rylann tell her mother about her relationship. That would have been an entertaining conversation to read.I hope you haven't forgotten by this point that this is a four star review. I may have had some disappointments and felt that some elements weren't as strong as the previous two books but this is a good book that I enjoyed reading quite a bit (well, maybe except the jealousy part). It was a great entry into the FBI/US Attorney series and I will be waiting for book four just like I did for this one.