TeriLyn's thoughts: **Cross the Line generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**
I’m a TOTAL Julie Johnson fangirl. With each book she releases, Johnson continually dazzles me with her cleverly crafted stories. Cross the Line gives us another comedic, contemporary romance in only a way Julie Johnson can write. I couldn’t put it down once I started and read it in one sitting. This book comes as the second in her Boston Love series but can be read as a standalone although I personally don’t recommend it since you’d be missing out on Chase & Gemma’s excellent story in Not You It’s Me where we also meet the heroine of Cross the Line.
Witty and intelligently written the words just flow across the pages of this book making it impossible to put down the love story of Phoebe West and Nathaniel Knox. Julie Johnson makes reading so simple with her stories. It’s effortless to become enamored in the plot right from the start. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, and you’ll fall in love with her words and her zany characters. The way the book is plotted takes you on an adventure. So vivid the words on the page they play like a rom-com movie in your mind. I can see Phoebe’s nervous gestures that punctuate her wit. Nate’s uber alpha mojo vibrates from the pages with the exact intensity as Phoebe describes. Since the book is told solely from the heroine’s first person point of view, we feel this quite often.
Phoebe West and Nathaniel Knox have known each other since childhood. Phoebe’s unrequited crush on Nate spans over many years with many blundering failed attempts to get his attention. Until Phoebe goes on a date with a dangerous man for whom Nate warns her away. From there hilarity, perfectly-timed snark, true feelings, passion, and a cat-and-mouse game of fun and danger ensues. With a colorful cast of secondary characters, including Chase and Gemma from Not You It’s Me, Phoebe takes us on the crazy journey that is her life. At the beginning of each chapter is a little Phoebe or Nate anecdote that made me giggle every time. I feel it important to note as it helps enhance the personalities of each character. Full of antics and fun twists and turns Cross the Line is yet another prime example of this author’s penchant for excellent story telling.
Her characters are always perfectly suited, their personalities shine through the writing making them completely compatible. Julie Johnson also always writes a quirky, down-to-earth heroine that I want to befriend. Phoebe’s honesty in her emotions, her rambling, her sadness, her humor all resonate with me on a basic level. I understand her plight and I root for her through the entire story. And Nathaniel Xavier Knox? Holy wow. Told from Phoebe’s perspective really ramps up the alpha bad ass levels of Nate. He’s the man you want stalking towards you, pinning you the wall with his heated stare. He’s the man you feed all your fiery sass to because deep down you know he loves it just as much as you love zinging it at him. Phoebe presents to Nathaniel Knox a challenge. Actually Phoebe provides him the biggest, most rewarding challenge of his life. Watching this controlled man come to terms with that fact, a fact he’s held dormant for many years, was beyond satisfying. This is the first of Johnson’s books where her hero was an all-consuming, demanding, bossy, more in-your-face alpha who bottles his feelings until the exact PERFECT moments when he lets it out in all his alpha male glory. I’m telling you Phoebe West’s reaction to those moments were pure gold. Because like her, as the reader, I was liquid – a melted puddle of gooey warm heat in my reading heart.
If you like comedic, contemporary romances with adventure and wit brilliantly woven into great characters and a fun plot Cross the Line most definitely will work for you along with its counterpart the first standalone of the Boston Love series, Not You It’s Me. Infused with a precise kind of humor, a great plot, clever characters, and awesome pop-culture references, Johnson creates uniquely refreshing stories that I anticipate with bated breath from the time she announces her works in progress until their release. She’s one of my favorite authors. When I need good pick-me-up, a good laugh in my reading life I always revert back to one of her stories. Julie Johnson stories are good for the romance reading soul. Cross the Line will make you laugh, it’ll melt your heart, and it’ll you remind you why you love a good love story. Another Bravo-job-well-done for you, Julie Johnson. You rocked it again!