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Thursday, November 20, 2008:
"Just the Sexiest Man Alive" by Julie James - (2008) review


Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (October 7, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0425224201
ISBN-13: 978-0425224205

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. . .

Taylor Donovan is having a pretty damn good day as far as she's concerned. Working on a big sexual harassment case in sunny L.A., this Chicago attorney knows her business inside and out, and she's not about to let the opposing side bring her down. In fact things are looking so good for Taylor that her boss asks her for a special request: it turns out that THE biggest name in Hollywood - the drop-dead gorgeous Jason Andrews - is working on his next movie, a legal thriller, and he wants it to be as believable as possible, and head partner figures she's just the right person for this "special" case. Not exactly pleased that she is expected to tutor a movie star on top of her already full plate, Taylor nevertheless takes on the assignment, knowing full well she doesn't have much choice if she wants to make partner in the firm.

Only Jason doesn't make a good first impression on Taylor. Nor a second. Taylor is steaming mad that he's blown her off twice after all she had to do to clear her schedule to be free to work with him, and upon meeting him, she's not about to let him off the hook, no matter how gorgeous he truly is in person. In fact Taylor gives him a taste of what it's like to be given the brush-off, which Jason definitely doesn't expect. He's been too used to people falling all over themselves to please him, yet this maddening, beautiful woman has gotten the best of him, and it's definitely made him sit up and take notice.

Taylor is quite pleased with herself for putting Mr. Superstar in his place, but instead of things ending there once and for all, which is exactly what she had anticipated, Jason decides it's Taylor or no one, and in less she wants to jeopardize her future partnership, she must learn to bite her tongue and play nice. It almost kills her, but Taylor is a professional after all, and she's smart enough not to let her feelings get in the way of their arrangement. She agrees to work with him for his upcoming role, and is surprised to see the discipline and attention he pays to learning the ropes. Not only that, but he also manages to make her laugh. Still, he leads a life she wants no part of, and Jason just cannot fathom this. Everyone else he's ever known, except maybe his best friend, want something from him. Everyone. So why should Taylor be any different?

Only she is, and he realizes this more and more as he spends time with her and learns exactly what it is that drives her. And he likes it. He likes her. He's drawn to her confidence, her intelligence, that challenging sparkle that let's him know she's going to do something he doesn't expect, and he looks forward to it. Anticipates it even. Taylor is a woman who fascinates him possibly more than she frustrates him, and he's completely intrigued.

As for Taylor, well she's surprised to discover that despite her initial reaction to him, Jason is actually a really likeable person, and that they share a similar sense of humor. She finds out a little on what it's like to be him on a regular basis, with all the attention and paparazzi and demands, the women who throw themselves at him and the pressure it takes to stay on top. It makes sense why he expects things to happen a certain way: because that's how it's always been since he's become a star. He responds to what he knows to be true, and after awhile he takes it for granted that no matter what he actually does, the outcome will always be the same and people will continue to gush and kiss his ass if it means they can get their fifteen minutes of fame.

Taylor and Jason eventually spend more time together, even after Taylor's helped him for her latest film, and it's pretty obvious they're crushing on each other. Jason can't stop thinking about Taylor when she's not around, wondering what she's up to, and these things totally confuse him because he's never gone through anything like this before and he doesn't know how to handle it.

Taylor on the other hand is not sure she can handle his lifestyle, or what it would be like for her if she was truly with him. And the bigger issue in the back of her mind is that one day soon in the not so distant future, the case she's working on will come to and end and then she's heading back to Chicago, so a relationship is out of the question. And even if she did stick around, could she ever trust a guy who only has to snap his fingers and scads of women will come running, ripping their clothes off along the way? Or is she ready to throw caution to the wind and take a chance on something truly special?

My thoughts:

I first heard about this book from Rowena's review over at Book Binge, and I enjoyed her take on the story so much that I knew I just had to get this book. Then I read Buffie's review, and knew it even more. When I did, it took me a little while before I finally read it, but still on a "high" from reading Erin McCarthy's "Flat-Out Sexy", I knew this would be the perfect follow-up, and boy was I ever right about that. It was just so enjoyable to read.

Julie James wrote a very engaging story about two people from different lifestyles that meet, clash again and again, and eventually end up falling in love. Like the old black 'n white movies she loves so much, "Just the Sexiest Man Alive" is filled with snappy banter and sexual sparks. It's a flirtatous contemporary that focuses on the amazing chemistry and quick comebacks of two people who are both damn awesome at what they do and shows what happens when circumstances throw them together and they inevitably collide.

I absolutely adored Taylor and how smart and absolutely confident she was, especially when it came to her career. I loved that she didn't need to rely on anyone else; this is one woman who knows how to take care of herself. Plus she had a wonderful and wicked sense of humor that was just so much fun and suited her personality so well. I was cheering her on when she put Jason in his place time and again. While she wasn't completely immune to his charms, she hid it well, and that kept him unsure of her feelings, and made him realize that she was not so easily won.

And Jason, well, there's just not enough words to describe this luscious hero of many women's fantasies: the quintessential movie star with looks, personality and money to back it all up. Okay, the movie star. Now Jason needed to work his charm on me a little bit before I could get past his arrogance, but underneath that ego was a guy who could be pretty sensitive and caring, it's just not all that obvious. But he remembers things about Taylor that her ex-fiance' never did, and I found that to be completely sweet and endearing. I laughed out loud numerous times at his shock when he just couldn't believe Taylor would reject him. Him, Jason freakin' Andrews. Ha. I liked that he had these moments of uncertainty, that his normal confidence would falter in Taylor's presence, yet he was never brought so low that he came across as lame or "girly". And sometimes he still did stupid things. And I liked how he had the same best friend since college, one that put him in his place from time to time but had Jason's back when he needed it.

Together, Taylor and Jason were a pretty dynamic pair, and I thoroughly got a kick out of their bickering and teasing, especially when Taylor got the best of him. Which was most of the time. What I also found surprisingly refreshing is that they didn't immediately fall into bed, despite their strong attraction for one another. I thought that made their interactions all the more potent. I would have definitely liked to have had the bedroom door thrown wide open so we could get an eye-witness view of their hot lovin' because they were such a gorgeous and exciting couple, yet it wasn't a total disappointment that most of it was left to our imagination, because sometimes that can be hotter than anything we read. However if Julie wants to write some steamy love scenes for her next book, well I say bring 'em on!

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****
Stay tuned for your chance to win a copy of
"Just the Sexiest Man Alive"

And coming in 2009....


Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0425226743
ISBN-13: 978-0425226742

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.
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 . . .



  1. This books was too cute for words. My review should be up in a week or so.
    I only had two issues, probably my own personal ones which, I wish Taylor was more of a "real" woman. I noticed that she is a size two, and I thought, of course, why wouldn't she be, because the hot Hollywood hunk would only fall for her more easily because of that.
    The other is more my view about Hollywood in general, is that the hottest thing in Hollywood would really remain faithful?
    But even with these small issues, I really loved this book. The way Taylor gives Jason the run around is too good for words!

  2. I really need to pull this thing out of my tbr pile and read it. Seeing all of these great reviews is quickly putting this at the top of my list of things to read.

  3. Hi Stacy! Thanks so much for the wonderful review! And it was great meeting you last night!

    Yes, yes, the sex question... while I thought it worked for this book to "shut the bedroom door," so to speak, I promise-- there's more on that front in the next book. ; )

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