Apparently, I'm not the only one to think this way. It seems like the increase of traffic at my blog is due to search results for Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James. I guess people must have been disappointed, not finding any information on it... So to make it up, I've read the book and decided to review it right away :)
Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James
published by Berkley in October 2008
COOL. CALM. COLLECTED.Genre: contemporary romance
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.
CONFIDENT. FAMOUS. IRRESISTIBLE.
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...
The Story: The storyline of the book pretty much goes as described in the back blurb. Taylor Donovan is a lawyer from Chicago, presently on loan to the firm's LA branch to work a case against the EEOC. While in LA, the firm partner asks her to coach Jason Andrews, the number one star in Hollywood. Not having much choice, Taylor accepts reluctantly as it puts her behind in her work... Therefore, when she discovers that the superstar did not show up at either of the meetings planned because of an impulsive fun trip to Las Vegas, she is understandably pissed off and blows the star off when he finally shows up for his coaching. Taylor's attitude and rejection baffle and intrigue Jason... and the courting is on.
My Opinion: Okay, so what did I think of Just the Sexiest Man Alive? This was definitively an interesting book. Some parts I liked; others, not as much... but that's to be expected.
Let's start with the characters. I really liked the heroine. Taylor Donovan is pretty much the perfect woman: strong, driven, ambitious and she loves her job. I enjoyed her wit, sarcasm and humor. She got a lot of backbone and I liked that she wasn't easily swayed by Jason Andrews :P My only complaint is that we got very few information on her background and her relationship with her family. Perhaps, instead of seeing her with her friends, I'd rather see her and her family. Then, there's the hero. To tell the truth, I'm not sure whether I liked Jason Andrews or not, but he was an interesting character. Jason Andrews has been a star in Hollywood for 16 years and it shows. He's not the typical celebrity hero in romance looking for some normalcy in life... He likes his celebrity life to a point where he seems totally disconnected with "real" life. If it wasn't for his best friend who brought him back to Earth, I wonder how bad it'd be. The man is arrogant, macho and very conscious of his status in Hollywood. All these things aren't necessarily bad, but hardly endearing. Also, his ego is sooo big that it seems to fry his brain and therefore, he acted very immature in certain instances. Of course, he could be charming and friendly and he did a few cute things for Taylor... however, I don't know... I'm not sure if Taylor and Jason were truly a perfect match together.
The storyline was quite interesting and I liked the whole courtship between Taylor and Jason. I liked that Taylor didn't fall for Jason immediately and it took time for him to woo her. However, I'd like to have seen a bit more of them together. The ending seemed rushed to me and their HEA ending, a bit premature. Perhaps it would have been better to focus on Taylor and Jason instead of adding a third party - Scott Casey. (Okay, Scott Casey is definitively based on Orlando Blooms, LOL... and it was kind of funny, but it makes me wonder at Orlando Blooms real personality and it begs the question, does Ms James know him personally?)
It'd say the strong points of this book were the lawyer-ish aspect and how Ms James didn't sugar-coat the Hollywood scene. As it turns out, Ms James was actually a lawyer for many years before focusing on her writing and it shows in the book. Taylor really felt like a lawyer to me, the way she acted, the way she thought... that cross-examination scene between her and Jason was quite powerful and entertaining. Ms James' experience added authenticity to the book that perhaps other books lacked.
Finally, I think that Ms James' writing style is very easy to read, but it doesn't flow very well. All of her scenes were rather short and there was a break every time there was a narrator change, breaking the flow. Therefore, there is place for improvement... but I have a feeling that her voice will become stronger in the next book :P
My Grade: B. Ms James has definitively delievered a good effort with Just the Sexiest Man Alive and it is quite a good first book. My grade would probably have been higher if I've enjoyed Jason's character more and of course, as I said, there is place for improvement. However, I'll definitively be giving a chance to Practice Makes Perfect, Ms James' next book, released in March 2009. I'm sure that it'll be an even better book since Ms James will really be in her element, as both the H/H are lawyers :)