Practice Makes Perfect, by Julie James

PMP_Julie_JamesRemember all my allusions to not having enough willpower* to put down a book in yesterday’s post? Well the book I had in mind was my most recent read, Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James.

I read it in one sitting. Upon finishing it I googled the sh*t outta Julie James, read the archives of her blog, and ordered the only other book she’s written (Just the Sexiest Man Alive). All these signs point to —> I really reeeally liked this book. I wanted to immediately read any other words Ms. James had written.

And not just because Ms. James is from Chi-town-what-what and set her book there (although I am always partial to peeps and books from my hometown). But because of Payton, the story’s heroine whom I have a huge girl-crush on, and the laugh out loud moments throughout the whoooole book!

Katiebabs was kind enough to give me her signed copy of Practice Makes Perfect at RWA and I read it immediately, it had been on my wish list ever since I’d seen some great reviews from both her and the Booksmugglers earlier in the year.

I don’t read a lot of contemporaries so I was shocked at how much I adored this book, they are usually just not my cup of tea.

So many other great reviews of Practice Makes Perfect have been written, so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail…here is the summary and just a few of my thoughts…


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 . . .

As I mentioned I have a crush on Payton. I don’t think I have a “type” of heroine that I typically gravitate towards, I like variety in my romantic leading ladies and Payton was a fresh character for me. Her lawerly smarts, confidence and taking good care of her looks, embracing and discarding some of her mother’s hippie liberal ways, and her highly-charged sharp rejoinders when sparring with J.D. all combined into someone so unique to me.

And unique to J.D. too. She was so special he just HAD to have her! Don’t get me wrong, J.D. was a great hero, but this time around I had the proverbial hots for the heroine.

Even in the heat of The Moment when Payton and J.D.’s sexual frustration is about to culminate in consummation, she jokes about checking his condom for a “polo pony logo” in homage to his ultra-conservative-country-club-name-brand ways.

Just like all the other reviews I’ll say that the snappy dialogue was super impressive and hilarious. I got really into it during all the bantering scenes, my eyes flew across the pages, slight smile on my face, waiting for that one ZINGER. When a point really hit home and was hurtful I also REALLY felt that, I got a bit of a physical heartache on Payton’s behalf when J.D. took one of their bantering matches too far and told her she was using low-cut shirts to get ahead with male clients and team members.

And the dialogue wasn’t the only part that was well written, take this quote for example, from J.D.’s thoughts:

Frankly he was fed up with all of the things that constantly came between them, like work and Chase Bellamy and client dinners. And clothes.

Simply put, I thought PMP was clever all around and simply made me smile. Often. What more could you want in a romantic comedy type book?

 I just wish PMP had been longer! The paperback is 291 pages. The romance novels I usually read clock in more around 400 and I think it was a combination of my enjoyment of the book and my reading habits that made me wish it were longer. Plus some of the conflicts like J.D. trying to win his father’s approval could have been fleshed out more. And while the ending was definitely a happily ever after I wouldn’t have minded seeing some of those “after” scenes since the last scene ended on such a dramatic note. I also wouldn’t have minded finding out J.D.’s real name (for a while I was stupidly confused and thought his first and last names were both Jameson) or maybe a secondary romance plot following J.D.’s friend Tyler finding a HEA for himself. Someone he could share a blanket and a pot of Earl Grey with while reading P&P

The love-making scenes were at a “gentle simmer” level and very much alluded to or totally off stage, so I would recommend this book for chick-lit lovers and romance novel lovers looking for a great contemporary.

 *yes i spelled willpower right today. thank you.

15 Responses

  1. Yay! I love this book, and no secret,I love Julie James! She writes terrifically smart heroines. I had to laugh because my only complaint about either of her books was that I wanted them to be hotter — and that was a minor complaint. Very minor.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Be sure you drop Julie a line and let her know you wrote the review. She’s great about popping by…

  2. This book had me almost on the ground holding my stomach because I couldn’t stop laughing. PMP is adorable, sweet and everything in a book I want.
    I could read about Payton and JD all day long.

  3. I have this one now. Yes, I do :D I can’t wait to start it. Every review I’ve read has been raving.

  4. KatiD: i am now in the same circle of love, and happy to be here! and yeah, i didn’t put it in my review, but (obvi) i enjoy the lustier scenes!!!!

    katiebabs: You! *shaking my finger* You are responsible for my new JJ obession! Haha, in a totally good way!

    Barbara: I’m so glad I didn’t let it languish in my TBR (ok my TBR is only like 22 books, but still) It would make a great beach read!

  5. That sounds awesome- thanks for the rec!!

  6. I thought ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ was hilarious! Julie James excels at witty dialogue. Also, the legal practice makes for a refreshing change from the usual contemporary romance settings.

  7. Hey, we met briefly at the literacy signing (fellow DC resident!). Anyway, I really liked Practice Makes Perfect, but Just the Sexiest Man Alive is her better book by far. It was one of my top reads last year, and I lend it to everyone I know….and I told Julie James that at the signing!

  8. I really enjoyed this book – even more then her first book. Although her books aren’t high on the sex scenes, they prove that you don’t need sex in books for it to be a great romance.

  9. I really liked JTSMA, but I loved PMP. Julie really got it right here, especially with her heroine. Instead of turning her into a bitter shrew, as I’ve seen done time and again, she’s made her smart & funny and confident and quick with the comebacks. I loved Payton. I loved J.D. I wish there’d been more heat in the love scenes between them, but the book was so wonderful that you really didn’t need it, you just want it LOL.

  10. Thanks for the great review! Glad you enjoyed the book– I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you like JTSMA as well…

    It was wonderful meeting you in D.C.! Always nice to meet another Chicago girl (or former Chicago girl.) Psst– Book 3 is set in Chicago, too. ;-)


  11. Dang! You read it already. This is the book I picked for the book club next month. Oh well! Make sure you drop by for the discussion portion of the club. *g*

  12. Jillll: hope you enjoy it as much as i did!

    SarahT: totally agree re: the legal practice. although i don’t read a lot of contemps it seems the H/H’s careers always play sucha focal role and this was a new setting!

    Kate: well then I’m glad my copy of JtSMA is set to arrive this week. thanks for visiting my blog and it was great meeting you at RWA!

    KristieJ: great comment, i might write a post about that…”you don’t need sex in books for it to be a great romance.” if it’s done right you don’t NEED it, but that doesn’t stop my from WANTING IT, especially if there is a lot of sexual tension.

    Stacy: Payton was really a balanced character, with enough quirks to make her interesting, but not annoying, loved it!

    HI JULIE: wow thanks so much for visiting! in my massive googling attack of you i did see the teasers for your next book and was so happy to see it set in Chicago, i can’t wait!

    Aymless: due to my issues with deadliens i’m glad i’m ahead of the game on this one *phew* and i’m really excited to discuss it with y’all!

  13. I just got this book last week but ended up putting it on the bottom of the “To Read Pile” I’ll move it back to the top. I think you’ve recommended a few books that I’ve moved to the top of the list now. Thanks.

  14. I was browsing which books got an “A” in your blog and here I am. I devoured this book : can anybody recommend other titles with some “battle of sexes & smart dialogues” ?

  15. […] read this perfect review on Lusty Reader. […]

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