Reviewed: December 21, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A ~ (Non-Series / Stand-Alone)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Length: 320 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Jason Andrews has been voted The Sexiest Man Alive, and no woman under the age of 80 would argue against him being the hottest, most well known A-list actor out there. He is, of course, rather fond of being top of the heap. He runs through women as quickly and as casually as he changes his underwear, has entitlement issues larger than that big canyon in Arizona, and when he and his ego go somewhere, they need a stadium to fit comfortably. Like the one in Ann Arbor.
Needless to say, Jason's thrown a little off stride when he's completely blown off by gorgeous lawyer Taylor Donovan when he finally deigns to show up to the meeting that one of his people had arranged for the prior week. So what that he was supposed to show up Thursday, and again on Friday? The casinos in Vegas had been calling his name and he was entitled to have a little fun. How dare the sixth year Chicago associate, in LA to try a big case for her firm, not make time for him when he's ready for her to help him with his next role. And how dare she not only walk out on him after putting him rather neatly in his place, but repeatedly refuse to respond to his attempts to contact her after their less than pleasant initial meeting.
Does she have any idea who he is?
Taylor does, actually, know exactly who the superficial, self absorbed, womanizing prat is - and she has no time for the "Actor" with all his entitlement and ego issues. Unfortunately she's in LA, so when Andrews' publicist contacts her boss, there's absolutely nothing Taylor can do but work with the insufferable (though, admittedly gorgeous) man.
One is the unstoppable force, the other is the immovable object, and when Jason sets his sights on the titanium-skinned Taylor, something is either going to give, or break into the sort of pieces that even all the king's horses and men can't put back together again.
A slick, sassy narrative with a strong, intelligent female protagonist who takes no crap and who has a solid head on her shoulders really sets this Julie James romance apart from a full pack. I thoroughly enjoyed Taylor's grounded and sharp-witted personality and appreciated how she was so firmly entrenched in the real world even as she disabused Jason of his ideas on his. Wounded from a past relationship, I liked how James incorporated that ding to her pride into a genuine fear when things between Taylor and Jason turn serious. It added depth and a realistic dimension to the romance.
It took me quite a while to warm up to Jason as anything more than a punchline, and the portrayal of his inflated idiocy and adolescent behavior, combined with the sleazy machinations of up-and-comer actor Scott Casey, provided a harsh commentary on the brittle fantasy of popularity and did little to recommend actors or LA to the romantic-minded. I was, however, highly amused at the parallels between Casey's breakout role and that of Legolas for Orlando Bloom. There were lots of tongue-in-cheek moments to be had there.
Just the Sexiest Man Alive lacked a bit of the laugh out loud comedy of James' Practice Makes Perfect, but it had more sardonic humor with a bit more bite to it. I enjoyed both books and fully intend to keep going with the most recent of Julie James' work, Something About You. I have found myself genuinely and delightfully entertained by James' smooth, polished writing style and completely appreciate the witty, sassy dialogue and the solid, three dimensional, realistic characters (even when that "realism" is Hollywood fake). True, I would have liked to have seen a bit more depth given to Jason in this book, though maybe that would have started to tiptoe into the waters of cliche. But even at the end the actor still seemed in need of some humility and I would've liked to see a bit broader redemption for him.
I was completely entertained, though, regardless of a few minor issues or slight preference differences. I'm just a book away from putting James on my instant-buy list. If I like Something About You nearly as much as I have this one and Practice Makes Perfect, I just may have found another preferred author for light romantic comedy.
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