Sunday, August 30, 2009

SARBC Discussion: Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

Welcome everyone to the very first Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club discussion. The book of the month was:

The official book blurb:

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 . . .

Read excerpt here.

******************************SPOILER ALERT*********************************

Now that everyone has had a chance to read this book, let the discussion begin!

1. What made this book work/didn't work for you and why?

2. Did the HEA satisfy you or was there something missing?

3. What aspect of the hero did you find appealing/annoying?

4. What aspect of the heroine did you find appealing/annoying?

5. Revenge or the high road (let it pass)?

6. Office romances, do they work or are they doomed to failure?

7. Being naughty in public, do or don't?

8. How do you deal with unfairness at work? Bring it up or let is pass?



Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I loved the ending where Payton and JD walk into the sunset with one another as equals. One of the best endings I read this year.

orannia said...

YIKES! Ummmm...confession was a DNF for me *hangs head* I don't know why. I've racked my brains (not literally) trying to work out why it didn't work for me...I can't put my finger on it. Perhaps perhaps this was a wrong time in I read it at the wrong time. I'll just have to try again at some point, won't I :)

I'm not really a revenge person...and I usually avoid people if I know they don't like me/I don't like them as I try to avoid confrontation at all costs.

I agree with KB on the ending (yes, I cheated and read the ending ;)

orannia said...

Oh, I just thought of something. I have to be honest and say I didn't like either the hero or the heroine at the begining...but they grew on me :)

*off to sit in the dog box*

AnimeJune said...

Hmmm, well, I eventually ended up liking both hero and heroine, but Payton was the harder one to like. All her assumptions and hatreds about JD were completely WRONG! He didn't use his dad's connections, he doesn't ride polo ponies, etc. etc.

She based a lot of what she believed about JD off of cliches and assumptions she'd never bothered to follow up on. That was the thing about this book that strained credulity the most - the fact that Payton would remain prejudiced and ignorant about JD in such an incredibly incorrect way for eight years. While I really liked this book, this was one of the flaws and I was disappointed that Payton never confronted her bigotry against rich people.

Renee said...

I loved the book. It's funny, 'cause I'm with orannia on the whole revenge plot. Usually, it doesn't work for me because it points to character flaws in the h/h that I usually really don't like. However, it worked for me here for some reason. Maybe because it was not a relationship predicated on the revenge, which is usually the case in most books with this trope.

What did really work for me was JD's character. At first he seemed really smarmy, and I wad afraid that I wouldn't be able to root for him as the hero. But, the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. What made this book a standout for me was his feelings for Payton. When he acknowledges that he's always loved her, for years, man, I totally melted. Even the reveal of his locker room talk with the senior partner (whose name escapes me) was forgiven by me. Normally, that would have been unforgivable, but the way Julie James wrote JD made it possible to cut him some slack. I LOVED his emotional vulnerability at the end. sigh.

Payton, I liked. I think she did have some stereotypical assumptions that she made, but I think the courtroom scene totally humanized her and saved her from coming across as too pompous or taking herself too seriously.

Office romance I'm cool with.

Naughty in public: it worked here. It doesn't always work for me, but did in this book!

Great discussion questions, Aymless!

Lea said...

Hi Amyless:

Great questions!

This book worked for me I think because the dialogue was so well crafted and just funny. Plus I loved that thrust and spar dialogue.

The HEA was very satisfying, both characters worked through their issues and realized what was important.

I actually really liked both the hero and heroine from the beginning of this novel. I thought their personas fit their professional situation and career very well.

I don't think revenge is ever a good idea, however in this book it was well written into the plot (and the consequences were damn funny).

I think office romances can work if the people involved are willing to work at the relationship. It is like any other situation.

I guess it depends how "naughty" we are talking here! lol

It depends on the depth of unfairness. Some things are worth the fight. However, if it is extremely unfair then I think the issues do need to be brought to the forefront and hashed out.

Thanks Amyless! It's getting very late here but I'll try and stop by tomorrow.


Cecile said...

I loved it, but it did not rock my world - kinda book. The back and forth for... 8 years.. is a bit much. I mean, after this much time, don't you think you would have learn some things about the people you work with. So, at first, it was annoying... but when they both started opening up... I was undone. Their characters suited them well.
Then when Payton stated dating Chase... the game got interesting... and then when Chase met JD again... I have to admit that was funny (to me).

The ending was great. I loved it. I loved how it was handled. And how they embraced each other for the equals they are. I really starting loving it when they both quit. That was when it got knee deep involved!

I loved his charm. Once we got under the layers of what motivated him, I fell in love. I am not sure if I found anything annoying about him or her... just the fact that they went eight years "fighting."

I liked her determination... her character was very likable.

My inner selfish side would say revenge, but the real me would say the high road, let it pass. I am the one to say forgive and forget and let go. Life is to short to hold grudges. And I guess that is what got to me about this book... I mean for 8 years! Come'on. I can understand the fighting for the position they were being offered... but still...

I do not know about office romances... All relationships are work, but being you are both in the same workplace... it would take more work from each person... and if willing, it could work!!

I did love the scene in the restaurant with the clients. When she put her hands on his thighs... and then he did the same. Those things are highly erotic and great... It matched their whole game.... Kinda like I am going to one up you... if you think you can do this, I can do this instead. So, I enjoyed that!

It would depend on what the issue would be about. I would speak to the person face to face that I have an issue with. I am not one to run to someone else... I either decide .... let it go, it's not worth it, or face up and talk to this person.

I will check back tomorrow Aymless!!
I hope everyone had a great weekend and I hope your move went well!

Aymless said...

Whee! Glad you like the questions.

Good discussion so far (and packing now done but the movers come earlier and then I have to disconnect internet *gasp* how will I be able to cope?).

As for me:

1. The book worked for me. The opening was very catchy and had me hooked. But I too was a little annoyed with the whole 8 years thing.

2. When they both quit and then stole the client was great! Loved it.

3. JD didn't bother me much. The one thing that did annoy me was when he cut and then glued Payton's heel. Talk about a bit thoughtless. He should have ruined her clothes instead. Although then we won't have had that great courtroom scene.

4. Payton's intolerance towards the wealthy just didn't work very well. She works for a huge law firm that only the wealthy hire. You would think she would get over it.

5. I'm not one for revenge but if the opportunity presents itself I would be tempted to take it. I usually just hold a grudge and try (key word that) to take the high road.

6. Office romances in real life just don't work for me. Too messy. But is a book it can make for great tension.

7. I don't think I would have the nerve to be naughty in public but its sure fun to read about it.

8. Unfairness at work really is one of my pet peeves and I tend to get quite vocal about it. (probably why I didn't do so well as a contractor, being politically correct just goes against the grain)

KB: It really was a great ending. A HEA and revenge. Gotta love it.

Orannia: Sorry it didn't work for you. But I too think that a lot of times mood and where you are mentally can make or break a story no matter how well written. I hope you will try it again but if not there are plenty of other books I'm willing to pimp to you ^_~

AnimeJune: I completely agree about Payton. Though I did love the mention of the polo pony boxers and enjoyed trying to picture them on JD.

Renee: I too enjoyed JD's realization. *sigh* And his character made the book very enjoyable.

Lea: Really really naughty *g*

Cecile: Yeah that 8 year thing got me too. And I was glad when Payton cut Chase loose. He just wasn't right for her.

Kati said...

Great questions, Amy!

I love this book. And I have to say, Payton is one of my favorite heroines. The reason that I love Julie James books is her heroines. They are strong, intelligent women, who aren't afraid to "swim with the big boys", but they don't lose their softness. Plus, the humor is soft but really very funny.

My big complaint about this book (and really it's a minor one) is that I'd have liked the heat index to be higher. It was definitely hotter than Just the Sexiest Man Alive, but I'd have loved for it to be even hotter. But then, I'm always at Julie about "mor sex pleez".

Lea said...

Good morning ladies!

Good luck with the move Aymless - I hope you get back on line soon..

I get the impression from reading Julie's blog and such that she has turned up the heat level in her next book Kati? Am I wrong?

I hope everyone has a great Monday..


Cecile said...

Oh wow, Lea. I will have to head over to Julie's place when I get home. Turning up the heat!

Yea, the 8 yr bickering was a bit much. The time span maybe could have been shorter and the book still would have worked.
I agree with you with the shoe part... but it made a hellva show for her in the courtroom and showed her character.

I am glad she was with Chase though, because that put JD in the front of her mind. He was not the right choice for her, but he would have been the safe choice.

Lea, I did love when they stole the client too.

Julie James said...

Hi everyone!

Aymless-- thanks so much for inviting me to drop by. And good luck with moving and packing!

I don't want to impede discussion or anyone's critique of the book by lurking around or anything. ;-) But if anyone has any questions they'd like to ask about the book, or my thought process in writing it, etc., please feel free to ask.

And Orannia: you don't need to hang your head! Books are subjective-- what works for someone might not work for someone else. I, myself, have been in a book club for the past six years--we read roughly a book per month-- and in that entire time I think we all universally liked a book only TWICE. I'll tell you, there's some really tough critics in that group...

Oh-- and Lea, you are correct. SOMETHING ABOUT YOU is steamier. ;-)

nath said...

Great idea, Aymless :)

I have to say, I'm with AnimeJune on this one. Peyton was harder to love. She was prejudiced and the worst is that most of her assumptions were wrong. I was definitively rooting for JD in this book... and although it pains me to say, JD was right to be pissed when he heard that they'd increase/favorize female partners. The idea of equal rights is great; however, it should be based on merits as well. Not simply a game of numbers.

orannia said...

Thank you Julie :) I have Just the Sexiest Man Alive on my TBR list.

Aymless - yes, head space has a lot to do with how you react to a book - what you will and won't accept :) All the best with the move! And tell those packers to take care with your books..them's fragile them's are *grin*

Aymless said...

Movers have taken all my stuff (minus the four huge bags of books, the aero bed, my lotion collection, some clothes and my computer).

Julie Welcome!

Orannia I liked JTSMA better that PMP if that helps. ^_^

AnimeJune said...

Orannia - sometimes there are books that one just doesn't "get". I've tried reading Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonriders of Pern" series TWICE and still haven't gotten through the first book!

LeeAnn said...

I missed out! UGH I really did read the book though! And I loved it!

I remember giggling within the first chapter and thinking did she really just call him that in her head? It totally drew me in form the beginning. And I agree with Kati I would have liked it a bit steamier but I'm not really sure if it would work with the plot line. All in all it was a winner for me!


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