Anniversary Giveaway!


Please note: the giveaway is now closed.

Can you believe it?  This time last year, Berkley published my first book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive.


While authors often joke that their favorite book is the one about to come out, I’m guessing what’s also true is that every author holds a special place in his or her heart for that first published book.

Thus, to celebrate the one year anniversary of the release of my first book, I’m doing a giveaway this week.  The first prize is a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Amazon (at the winner’s choice).  In addition, I’m giving away five signed copies of Just the Sexiest Man Alive.

To be entered in the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below.  Since this is a blog about first books, I’ll stick with the theme and ask this question: what is the first book that truly captivated you and opened your eyes to the joys of reading?

The giveaway will be open until 10pm CST on Sunday, October 11th.

Happy reading!

91 thoughts on “Anniversary Giveaway!

  1. Jennifer M. says:

    I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. Beverly Cleary’s, “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” was my FIRST “big girl” read. I remember to this day being enchanted by the mouse’s adventures!

    Congrats on your Anniversary!

  2. mflaum says:

    I remember being a kid and loving Nancy Drew and also the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. Both series drew me in and held me for re-reads, and more re-reads. The first romance book I fell in love with was 15 (B.Cleary) – I think I read that about 100x as a pre-teen/teenager… and several more as an adult.

    Great give away – and congrats! LOVED your first book – and looking forward to what comes next.

  3. kbug44 says:

    Happy Anniversary!! I loved that book! I loved your second one too 🙂 My email is kristidavis at gmail dot com.

    As for the book question, hmm… I started reading romance when I was in elementary school with Danielle Steel. I will also remember Judith Krantz, Princess Daisy because I wasn’t supposed to be reading it. 🙂 Before that, it had to be the Saddle Club books, or Sweet Valley High. I was reading those all the time before I really got hooked into romance.

  4. Kate A says:

    I’ve always loved to read since I was really young. But I’d have to say the book (or series in this case) that really opened my eyes to reading is the Harry Potter books. It was my ninth birthday when I first got them and I haven’t been able to stop reading since. I think the longest I’ve gone without reading a book is a month…and it was torture lol.

    Happy Anniversary! and great giveaway 😀


  5. erika says:

    The first series of books that truly had me reading with a fury was Sweet Valley High. How dated am I?

    Congrats on the anniversary. The Sexiest Man Alive is my favorite Julie James book. 😀

  6. austenfan says:

    Oh my gosh. Just The Sexiest Man Alive is one of my favorite contemporary romances ever! You have to pick me, KIDDING. LOL. 🙂 Happy anniversary! And many more books to come. 🙂

    As for the question:

    I’ve read a lot before but I’d say the one book w/c really opened me up to the beauty of reading is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s all about a man reaching for his dreams and along the way finding the woman he’ll love. That first meeting was so poignant, I literally cried! Haha. Love at first sight at its finest! 🙂

    Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂


  7. tennismom mary g says:

    Hi Julie
    Congratulations to Mommy Author!!! I’ll bet this year has just flown by so fast. The first book I remember devouring, I got for Christmas from my grandparents when I was 9 (Grandpa was a voracious reader but his eyes are bad now). It was called Donna Parker in Hollywood which led to the Bobbsey Twins & Nancy Drew. Have a fun celebration week.

  8. Mari says:

    Hi Julie. The first book I read that opened my eyes to reading, so to speak, was The Magician’s Nephew, by CS Lewis. It was a long time ago, when I was about 6 or 7, I think!

  9. kh says:

    it has to romeo and juliet and i saw the movie too
    it was very romantic and sad

    grreat contest and prize
    congrats ont eh books

    good luck all

  10. elaing8 says:

    congrats on the anniversary!

    When I was a kid I hated reading,if there was a movie of the book I had to read for school I’d watch it.Or I just wouldn’t bother reading it. Until 10th grade I read Catcher in the Rye.And I was hooked on reading since then.

  11. Liza says:

    Happy Anniversary Julie! I started reading when I was 4, but the Ramona series really gave me my love for reading. I also loved Little Women and the Little House books, but my dad read those to me before I actually read them for myself.

  12. Kim says:

    Congratulations, Julie. You’re about to be the author of 3 books. How exciting for you.

    When I was in school, I enjoyed reading The Scarlet Pimpernel, A Christmas Carol and Davis Copperfield. Unfortunately, not all classics are great reads. If I thought all novels were as boring as Heart of Darkness, I wouldn’t have picked up another book. LOL

  13. RKCharron says:

    Hi Julie 🙂
    My first book(s) were the Dandelion Books where you had two stories in one book and had to flip the book over & upside down for the other. I remember Peter Pan & Flip, etc. I was two. I’ve loved reading ever since.
    All the best,

  14. Amy M says:

    Congratulations on the Anniversary! So very exciting!!

    Regarding your question…I hated to read when I was younger. Going through grade school, high school and college, I never liked any of the books that I had to read. I don’t know why, because I love to read now. So I cannot say that any book from when I was younger grabbed my attention and got me hooked. A few years back, my sister started reading the James Patterson series, the Womens Murder Club (that is so not right, geez, my mind is so bad these days!) But I got hooked onto those, and have been reading anything I can get my hands on ever since. 🙂

    Your book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive is at the top of my TBR pile! I have to finish the one that I am reading now for my book club, and then I am onto this one, and I cannot wait!!

    Amy M

  15. AnneW says:

    Congratulations on the Anniversary of “Just the Sexiest Man Alive”! It grabbed my attention immediately and then along came “Practice Makes Perfect” and I knew we were going to be seeing a lot more Julie James’ books! I can’t wait for your next one in March!

    I’ve been reading for so many years that it is hard to name only one book that “did it” for me! If pressed for romance, I would have to say that Susan Elizabth Phillips and her “Chicago Stars” books appealed to me instantly. And, of course, there is Judith McNaught, whose historicals and contemps brought many, many hours of wonderful reading into my life. “Perfect” and “Paradise” are two of my very favorites.

    Now I’m really enjoying all the new authors that are giving us many fun reads with wonderful characters.

  16. rigmarole says:

    Another Nancy Drew-er here. The Moonstone Castle Mystery, to be more specific. (I tried the Old Stagecoach first, but it just did not work for me. It took me years to finish it.)

  17. april says:

    I loved the Ramona books growing up. I remember just breezing through those. Loved Superfudge, too. That was my first book without pictures. I kept thinking the next page would have a picture and it never did.

    My first romance was Morning Glory (if you don’t count hand-me-down Danielle Steel books). Morning Glory was the one that hooked me on the genre. I haven’t stopped reading or reading romance since.

  18. Colleen says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    I loved reading as a kid but for some reason have no memories of what I really enjoyed back then. I know I read the Ramona books and Judy Blume.

    But there were two books that really got me when I was in high school: The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. I re-read Gatsby every year or so. There’s just something about it.

  19. Carol Thompson says:

    Oh, that is so long ago in my early youth.

    I think it was the Enid Blyton books (Secret Seven and Famous Five series).


    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  20. limecello says:

    Congratulations on your book anniversary, Julie! What a great milestone.
    As for a book that opened my eyes up to reading… I haven’t stopped once I learned – but the Witch of Blackbird Pond might be one of my all time favorites. I’ve honestly read it ~36 times :X

  21. Emmanuelle says:

    The first book that really captivated me was Michael Connelly’s The Narrows. I devoured it and baught the whole auhtor’s backlist in the days that followed. Some months after I read Outlander and That was a revelation : romance became my favorite genre 😉

    Thansk for the awesome giveaway Julie !!!

  22. Miranda says:

    The first book that I was truly stuck on was Aurian of the Artifacts of Power Series by Maggie Fury. I remember waiting with baited breath for each new book to be released! The magical world she created fueled many summer days designing princess outfits and visiting the local renaissance festival!

    Thanks for the giveaway and congratulations!

  23. Frana says:

    Hello! Congrats on your one-year anniversary!
    The first one was The Process by F. Kafka 🙂 Unusual, I know. But the first that brought the romance world in my life to stay there was Dream A Little Dream by Susan E. Phillips.

  24. Joder says:

    As a kid, Nancy Drew and Dr. Seuss were my faves. To this day, I still quote lines from Dr. Seuss stories. My first romance novel was Kathleen Woodiwiss A Rose In Winter. After reading that, I was hooked on the HEA.

  25. Jen says:

    The first book that I remember reading completely by myself was when I was in second grade. The book was “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” I loved that book so much and have been hooked on reading ever since!

  26. Melanie says:

    My first books was Dr. Seuss…when I got older I moved up to the Ramona series. My favorite! Then Judy Blume and the Sweet Valley High series. I had to have them all! My first romance book was Vows, by LaVryle Spencer, which is still one of my favorite romance books of all time.

    Congrats on a year! I’m so glad I discovered you!

  27. Jeanette Juan says:

    The book that began my reading frenzy would have to be Sherrilyn kenyon’s Dance With The Devil.
    Happy Anniversary!!!!

  28. Terri W. says:

    Happy Anniversary, Julie!

    I remember when I was a kid I loved reading the Nancy Drew and Ramona series. I also got into the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden series.

  29. Julie L says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    This was by far my favorite romance of 2009 – I simply loved it (as you already know). I’d love an autographed copy – enter me in the giveaway!

    Gosh, I’ve been such a big reader for so long, since I was in 2nd grade, but I think the Little House books were the first that really spurred me onto read like crazy, but as far a romance related book, Gone With the Wind! It changed my life in 6th grade! LOL!

  30. Jennifer D says:

    Congratulations of your anniversary! I actually just gave my copy of Just the Sexiest Man Alive to a friend to read – I thought it was a wonderful story. As for first books, when I was a kid I loved Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. My first romance novel was Man of My Dreams by Johanna Lindsey, which got me hooked on romances.

  31. Rashmi @ A Book Blogger's Diary says:

    Oh gosh, I don’t know which one exactly. I’ve been reading since I was around 3 years old, so probably it was some children’s board book that got me hooked. The one series I was definitely a fan of and remember to date was the Famous Five by renowned British children’s author, Enid Blyton. She wrote many others as well that I loved including the Noddy series, Amelia Jane Books, The Faraway Tree etc.

    Thanks for this great giveaway!
    abookblogger at gmail dot com

  32. Maureen says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! I think the Little House on the Prairie books were the first ones that I remember loving.

  33. Roberta Harwell says:

    Happy Anniversary!!

    My first books I fell in love with had to be the Nancy Drew series and the Hardy Boys. I’m a little bit of a tomboy at heart. Have a great day.

  34. Maya M. says:

    Hippo Birdy Two Ewes
    Hippo Birdy Two Ewes
    Hippo Birdy, Hippo Birdy, Hippy Birdy Two Ewes!

    OK that is really Sandra Boynton’s version of the Birthday song but AFAIK she hasn’t yet made one for the Happy Anniversary song so that will have to do.

    Reaching back into my post-picture book childhood, I clearly remember the dramatic tension of reading Madeline L’engle’s ‘Wrinkle in Time’ for the first time. Stood the test of time, also.

  35. Shelly says:

    My first children’s book was Little House on the Prairie, but my first romance was Hummingbird by LaVyrle Spencer. I read it when I was 12. It will always be my favorite.

    I love your books. Keep up the great work!


  36. Chelsea B. says:

    I wasn’t all that into reading until I sat down and read Lee Child’s ‘The Hard Way’ I loved that book and read it in just a few hours. Havn’t looked back since!:)

    Congrats on your first year of being a published author!

  37. Virginia C says:

    Hello, Happy Anniversary! Thanks for the Great Giveaway! I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t enthralled by reading. I read A LOT as a child, and I was the kid who always ordered the most books from the Scholastic Book Service in school. In younger days I was captivated by Doctor Dolittle and other stories about animals. Then I hit puberty and Georgette Heyer beckoned. I also loved (and still do) Marry in Haste by Jane Aiken Hodge. When I stumbled into adulthood, I discovered Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Ashes in the Wind is my favorite Historical Romance. gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  38. mariellebetz says:

    HI Julie
    Congrats on the one year anniversary- I trust it has been selling well?
    My first ‘real’ book that I read to myself was The Bobbsey Twins . With that I was hooked and eventually went on to read the entire series. My reading addiction became so powerful that by sixth grade I always had an open book in my desk and ended up doing classwork as homework because I’d spent all the time allotted for it in class… reading 8~)
    Then I would read til way after sleep time and have trouble going to school.
    We actually had a contest going all that year in class to see who read the most books- does it make sense that I won it hands down?
    Thank God for books!
    OF course I read a cereal box if there’s nothing else to read 8~)

  39. Pam P says:

    Happy Anniversary, Julie.

    I’ve loved reading since a child, remember reading Bambi and Golden House books, then the Bobbsey Twins. Got into Agatha Christie, gothics, DuMaurier (Frenchman’s Creek) and Anya Seton (Green Darkness) early teens. Then my aunt gave me a Rosemary Rogers for romance but the one that got me into the genre, especially historical romance was recommended by a friend, The Wolf and the Dove by Woodiwiss.

  40. Karen W. says:

    Oh, my gosh – I can’t remember since I’ve adored books since I was too little to read them myself! My mom is a bookaholic and everyone in the family read to me from the time I was born.

    I went to the library as a little kid and always checked out the maximum amount of books allowed. I remember loving the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books, as well as the Madeline books and anything about animals.

    Thanks for a great contest!

  41. Edna says:

    I was obsessed with Time for Andrew by Mary Downing Hahn. My 4th grade teacher read it to my class and I instantly fell in love. I started ordering from book orders more and going to book fairs. I believe I still have the original book around my house somewhere. Even now, I’m thoroughly entertained when i read it.   

  42. Val Pearson says:

    Congratulations on your book! Oh my gosh, let’s see. I did love Beverly Clearing but my first series that I fell in love with were the Sweet Valley High books! I fell in love with them!

    Thanks for the cool contest.

  43. Pamk says:

    I love the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown were all favorites of mine when I was growing up. I also liked the Hardy Boys. I graduated to romances when I was around 12 lol and never looked back since.

  44. Dr. Blondie says:

    Happy anniversary, Julie! I fell in love with the Little House on the Prairie books when I began reading them in first grade. I read every book in the series over and over and over, and then did the same with the Nancy Drew books, as well as anything written by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary.

    I’d love to win a copy of Just the Sexiest Man Alive. Both of your books are still on my “to be read” list… I can’t wait to get to them!


  45. Booklover1335 says:

    Ok this is going way back, but it is the very first book that I remember reading and loving, and I think as a result started my love of reading books. That books is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Been a reader ever since, but more so within the last 5 years. I have a lot of catching up to do and missed out on a lot of great books….slowly but surely 🙂

    I’ve never read Just the Sexiest Man Alive, but congrats on your anniversary!!!


  46. Cybercliper says:

    The first book I can remember that truly captured me heart and soul was Gone With the Wind. I was very young and remember sneaking off to read it so my mom wouldn’t see it. I was at the age that Laura Ingalls Wilder books were all that I was allowed at the time. I’ve been hooked ever since!

  47. Beverly G says:

    humm first book i do believe was charlottes webb I lovedd that book so much i read it like once a year as a kid then id have to say nancy drew and like someone else mentioned beverly cleary i confess tho i started reading her honestly because we had the same name i thought that was just well awesome

    congrats on the aniversery


  48. Kara C says:

    Congrats on the success of your books! They are automatic buys for me. As for the first book to make a big impact on me, I loved many of the ones already listed. However, I remember reading Harriet the Spy and wishing it would never end, so I guess I’d have to put that at the top of my list.

  49. Amy says:

    Congratulations on the Anniversary!
    The Sexiest Man Alive is my favourite comtemporary romance 🙂

    My first few books are by Nancy Drew. I remember reading Mary Kate and Ashley too. But then it was The Bride by Julie Garwood that got me hooked.

  50. Mariska says:

    Happy anniversary, Julie! I’m so excited when i read you’ll have signed copies to giveaway. Hope i can win one, as this will be my first book too that you wrote. You are a new for me Author 🙂
    i start to like read books when i was 9 years old. The first book that i read was Alfred Hitchock’s book. Then followed by all the mystery series by him.

  51. blodeuedd says:

    Oh have no idea, I was reading even before I could read.
    But let’s take the book that opened me up to English books, and I never looked back since I love to read in the original language and some translations are just bad.
    Magician by Raymond E Feist, and still it’s the best book I have ever read

  52. Bella says:

    Happy Anniversary Julie! Wow, I have hears so many great things about this book, I would love to win a signed copy!

    The first books I remember DEVOURING were the Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twins and Clara Barton books. I suppose my first “romance” was the Little House on the Prairies series (Manzo, sigh) — or maybe Little Women? My first erotic romance: Forever. Thank you Judy Blume!

    Congrats again!

  53. Cathy M says:

    For me it was Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie. I loved the idea of a series,enhaled each book and couldn’t wait for the next one.


  54. Ceci says:

    It’s so hard to think of only one book… i guess i shoud say gabriel garcia marquez’s books… i remembered reading it for high school and i was so speechless. It was so beautiful…

    happy one year anniversary!! Just the sexiest man alive was one of the best books that i’ve read this year! it was an amazing job!! 😀

  55. Pa-Mela says:

    I started reading when I was a showgirl on the road with RBBC. One of the girls gave me a romance by Constance O’day Flannery, it was a time travel romance and I was hooked! After that I read all of her books.

    I fell in love with “The sexiest man alive” and immediately wrote Julie. I thought the characters were very witty, hilarious and the sexual tension was hot! So, ever since reading my first book and adding certain authors to my “must read” category, Julie is there also. I read “Practice makes perfect” as soon as it went on sale 🙂

    Congratulations Julie!

  56. Venus Vaughn says:

    I simply can’t remember the first book that captivated me. I like reading so much, and have for so long, that I have a big long list of Oh-I-LOVED-that-book books.

    I do know, through family rumor, that I refused to learn how to read before school started. I do believe I resisted because it was something my sister did, and I was my own person. Even at 5 years old.

  57. Buffie says:

    It’s been a year already??!! I can’t believe it!

    Julie, I guess I’ll talk about the book that opened my eyes to romance novels. The first romance book I read was THE WEDDING by Julie Garwood. She sucked me in so quickly to the joys of historical romance. The strapping alpha male and the gal who could stand up to him. The passion was unbelievable and the connection was fabulous.

  58. Chris says:

    I really don’t remember – I’ve been reading since I was 4 or 5 and had library privileges in kindergarten. There are definitely books that I love to reread, such as Connie Willis’ Bellweather.

  59. Book Fiend says:

    When I was a kid, I had this book of fairy tales, which I loved. The most memorable story in there for me was the princess and the pea. Not sure why. But I’ve been reading ever since! My first romance book was Danielle Steel’s Star. I secretly read my aunt’s copy. 🙂

  60. Marsha says:

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Esther Averill’s “The Fire Cat.” Happily, my four-year-old daughter is continuing this tradition! 🙂

  61. Keira Soleore says:

    Julie, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Berkeley for releasing that first book and then the second. Thanks to Elyssa Papa, I “discovered” your books, and have since been hassling you for your next. Congratulations once again on starting on your new career with a bang. Selfishly, I hope you go on to have a long career with many books out in the next few years.

    *I already have both your books, so please don’t enter me in the contest.

  62. Dottie says:

    I started reading fairy tales as soon as I learned to read. So, I’m going to go with the Brothers Grimm, I loved each and every one of them, read them until I knew each story by heart and could re-tell the stories to my little sisters at night. We had a great time with them. The first romance novel that sucked me into the genre was of one Dame Barbara Cartland’s books I’m sure. I was 10 when I found my grandma’s book stash.

    Dottie 🙂

  63. Patti says:

    I’ve loved reading as long as I can remember – my first love of books were my grandmother’s Bobbsey Twins books (I still have them!) them moved along to Little House then Nancy Drew. I’m thrilled that I’ve passed my love of reading on to my kids!

    I started reading romance about a year ago and, wow, it’s a whole new world – love it!!!

  64. mskayz says:

    The first book I recall that made a big impression on me was one of The Boxcar Children series. I don’t know which it was only the memory of reading about the children collecting coins from a public fountain. Thanks for the contest and congratys on your anniversary of your first book!! Hope I win a copy to read!!

  65. Alexandrea M says:

    I’d love to read your book! I can’t remember the first book as I even got in trouble in first grade for reading when I was supposed to be doing other things, but the first magical book that really transported me was “The Neverending Story” and I was probably in 5th or 6th grade when I read it.

  66. Lynne T says:

    Honestly at age 45 I can’t remember the first book that got me into reading. All I know is that I just love to read and will go through 2 or 3 books in one week when time allows.

  67. Beatrice D says:

    I can only truly remember the first romance book I picked up and that opened my eyes to reading including the required books to read at school. I talked my mom in 1989 right before New Kids on the Block caught my attention to buy me Julie Garwood’s Guardian Angel, to this day I still have that copy I got to read. I now have another copy to be my reader’s copy 🙂

  68. Marsha Jones says:

    I have loved reading for as long as I can remember, but the first book that made a real impact on me was “Little House in the Big Woods.” One Christmas I received the whole series and read them cover to cover endlessly. The books were so descriptive and the food always sounded so wonderful.

  69. janil says:

    Momo by Michael Ende was the first captivated me… but I used to read since more before… I love it!

    Thanks for thechance!
    cal_rubies at yahoo dot es

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