Reviewed by Ami
Title: The Thing About Love
Author: Julie James
Heroine/Hero: Jessica Harlow/John Shepherd
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 Pages
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.
FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .
Review: After the pushed-back release date (it was supposed to be released in 2016), along with the cover AND title change (the original title was Flirty Little Secrets) – I’m so happy that I got the chance to read this as an advanced copy! Julie James is one of my favorite romance authors. I LOVE her FBI/US Attorney series! The pushed-back release date for this means it has been almost two years without a new story from her.
Was it worth the wait?
Well, at times, I think it is. BUT I hate to say it, The Thing About Love is definitely the least favorite of mine from her FBI series.
My biggest problem is that I didn’t particularly care about the technical part of the undercover case set-up that John and Jessica were part in. Unfortunately THAT took quite a lot of page time, in my humble opinion, which made the story very dragging. The case did become action-interesting near the end, but it didn’t make up for the boring beginning.
In addition, for a story that has a root of “¬enemies-to-lovers” to it – with John and Jessica having clashed during their FBI training at Quantico six years ago – I didn’t feel enough juicy banter and sparkling tension between the two of them like I expect coming from Julie James. I think the attraction part simply wasn’t as sizzling as the heroes and heroines of the previous books.
I did like the whole “she said” vs “he said” portion of their past. It is evidence that a situation can be seen from different angles, depending on how you see it. The secondary characters were also delightful and I had fun whenever they were on page – most especially John’s younger brother, Nate and Jessica’s best friend, Tara.
And when John and Jessica really connected — like when they were commiserating over their failed previous relationship, they were pretty good.
With their relationship being temporary – John is on the brink of joining FBI Elite Hostage Rescue Team, which requires him to move to Virginia for training and later to move around the country a lot – I also thought both John and Jessica were acting pretty mature in handling the situation. That is what I always love about James’ characters, really … they always approach their problems without drama. There is a levelheadedness to it and that’s I appreciate.
I did enjoy this, but it wasn’t as stellar as I hoped, sadly.
Overall Impression: I liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*