Welcome to Cozy Jo's Romance Review blog. This is where you'll find reviews and discussions on historical or contemporary romance books and maybe a few other bits and bobs thrown in for good measure.
So come on in, sit down and find yourself a good romance book to read.

Friday, 29 December 2006

The Earl of her Dreams by Anne Mallory

Very enjoyable regency romance
4 Stars

Anne Mallory's fourth novel is a fresh and enjoyable historical and she is definitely an author that I will be looking for in the future.

Kate Simon is on the run from her despicable half brother who intends to marry her off to his disgusting friend in order to steal her dowry. So, disguised as a male tailor's assistant Kate stays at the Dragon's Tale coaching inn hiding out until she can make enough money to get safely to London.

In order to find his friend's scandalous journal - Christian Black, Earl of Canley is also at the Dragon's Tale and also in disguise. But with no room left at the inn Christian is forced to share with the young tailors assistant who he soon realises is not exactly what he seems.

When a murder occurs at the inn and the occupants trapped by a blizzard - Kate and Christian turn amateur investigators to try and find out the secrets of all the guests while trying very hard not to reveal their own secrets and passions.

I really enjoyed this book. Although I'm not really a huge murder mystery fan this story was written so well that it really draws you in to the story and the characters. Kate and Christian both have their demons and strengths that make them perfect for each other and it really is fun to watch them interact with each other while trying to stay unaffected. The colourful secondary characters really come alive too and having a map of the inn at the front of the book is a fun little extra which again draws you into the story.

The only downside to the book would have to be that as soon as the mystery was solved the end of the story seemed slightly flat compared to the puzzle that had been ongoing for most of the book. But the change of pace certainly didn't ruin the book which still had a satisfying conclusion.

If you enjoy colourful characters, a touch of mystery with good wit and a fast paced story then I really would recommend that you give this book a try.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Don't Open Till Christmas by Leslie Kelly

Sexy and fun Christmas romance
5 stars

When sexy Chicago detective Mark Santori bursts in on Noelle Brandenton in a department store changing room neither knows that their interlude will be the start of something so much better.

So when a fake Santa steals money from the homeless shelter where Noelle works and the pair are thrown together it isn't long before they both realise what they really want to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Leslie Kelly has once again written a sensual, fun and highly entertaining hot romance that doesn't disappoint. Mark Santori is a delicious dark hero who is by turns smart, funny and brooding but always sexy. Noelle is also smart and fun but cautious and more importantly she's real and someone you actually like and understand.

The story is spicy, interesting and oh so satisfying with plenty of chemistry and sexual tension throughout the book. It is a Christmas story and I did feel that nice festive glow but without all the cheesy stuff that you normally associate with a Christmas romance.

If you've never read Leslie Kelly or if you're her biggest fan I'm sure you will love this book. Definitely 5 stars.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Only A Duke Will Do by Sabrina Jeffries

Intelligent and engaging historical romance
5 Stars

Louisa North is a strong, independent, unmarried lady who is dedicated to her charitable work with her ladies’ reform group. She has no desire at all to marry. But that is before Simon Tremaine, Duke of Foxmoor - the man Louisa once loved, and who broke her heart - comes back from India where Louisa had him exiled. When he once again begins to pay her attentions and is hell bent on wooing her into marriage - Louisa is suspicious. Does he want to marry her because he loves her - or is it revenge? But when Simon’s schemes are uncovered, Louisa is determined to make him pay - with his body, soul and his heart.

Those people who have read Sabrina Jeffries Royal Brotherhood series will recognise Louise North as Marcus’s sister from To Pleasure a Prince. Although dealing with the same characters - this book can definitely stand on it’s own so you don’t need to have read To Pleasure a Prince to enjoy and understand this book.

The book itself is wonderful. The characters are engaging and believable with Louisa being a spirited lady without being brash, and Simon an arrogant duke with a believable touch of vulnerability about him. The exchanges between the two are charged and heated and their relationship throughout the book develops beautifully and is very enjoyable to read. The story is a cat and mouse tale with lots of secrets and hidden agendas to go along with the wooing and seduction. And the background of politics and reform makes this an intelligent, fresh read yet it never becomes heavy and bogged down with political detail.

I really enjoyed Only a Duke Will Do. Sabrina Jeffries writes a fast-paced, fun and clever book that fans of historical romances are sure to love. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of Sabrina Jeffries and those looking for a romance with intelligent, strong characters and an interesting storyline - I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Here Comes Trouble by Leslie Kelly

Fun, sexy and quirky romance
5 stars

Being a huge fan of Leslie Kelly I was very much looking forward to her newest book and it really didn’t disappoint.

Here Comes Trouble is the story of Max Taylor - a former playboy who goes to the town of Trouble to lay low from the media frenzy caused by a tell-all book in which a whole chapter is dedicated to his erotic exploits with a congressman’s widow. He plans to stop the book before it ruins him.

Sabrina Cavanaugh is a junior editor for a publishing company who is in Trouble posing as a rich investor. Determined to make the book a success, she is in town to prove that Max really is the womaniser the book makes him out to be even if that means seducing him to do it.

But when the two meet - Max has a hard time remembering why he was supposed to be staying away from women and Sabrina has a hard time remembering that she was seducing Max for business, not pleasure and losing her heart was not part of the bargain. Throw in a 5 year unsolved murder, a pregnant sister, stalker ex-boyfriend, missing money and an array of crazed, eccentric townspeople and you have the beginnings of a fun and entertaining original story.

This book really is an excellent read. Max is a delicious reformed bad boy while Sabrina is a strong, sexy woman with a sweet vulnerable streak and together the pair have great chemistry and the sex scenes really fizzle. The secondary characters are also well developed and hopefully we will see more of them in future books set in Trouble. The writing is sharp and entertaining and as is usual with Leslie Kelly - full of wit and humour.

I would highly recommend this book. It was a fun, sexy and smart comedy romance which I’m sure you will enjoy even if you’ve not read Leslie Kelly before. Definitely five stars.

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Suite Seduction by Leslie Kelly

A fun, sexy read
5 Stars

Ruthie Sinclair is having a terrible day. She is the last single member of her family, wearing the bridesmaid dress from hell and now her boyfriend has run off at the prospect of getting a little more intimate. So when she meets sexy Robert Kendall it isn’t a surprise that she has amazingly erotic dreams about him all through the night. Only in the morning she realises it wasn’t a dream. But now Ruthie wants nothing to do with Robert and when they clash to save Ruthie’s family hotel it’s a rollercoaster ride for Robert to convince Ruthie they are perfect for each other - inside the hotel and out.

I am a huge fan of Leslie Kelly and this book really didn’t disappoint. It’s fun, sexy, fast moving and the characters real and believable. Ruthie is a great heroine as you can really relate to her and Robert is strong and delicious - everything a hero should be. The writing is excellent and you can really get lost in the story which does focus on the romance but has an interesting back story too.

If you’re a fan of Leslie Kelly or if you’re just looking for a quick sexy read then you really can’t go wrong with this book. Definitely recommended.

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Gone With the Nerd by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Fantastic, fun romance
5 stars

I am currently reading my way through all Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Nerd books and this one, like all the rest so far, has definitely made me into a girl who loves nerds!

This book is about Zoe Tarleton - a movie star who is ready to gain some respect in the industry by taking on a new challenge - the role of a nerdy, plain character in a new film. And to get some input for this role she asks her very nerdy lawyer Flynn Granger to coach her at a hideaway cabin in California’s Bigfoot Country. Add in some Bigfoot sightings, killer bees, strange locals, jealous lovers and threats to Zoe’s life and you have the beginning of the adventure neither Zoe nor Flynn will forget in a hurry. And the fact that Zoe is starting to fall for her nerd makes everything so much more confusing - and interesting.

This is such a fun story that you really get caught up in all the excitement. Zoe is not the stereotypical starlet that you might expect, but she does need a few lessons on how to be uncool which makes her endearing and someone you can admire. Flynn on the other hand is a typical nerd - but with a killer body, a heart of gold and a delicious alpha-male streak. He’ll make everyone want to go out and snag their own nerd! The pair work well together and the chemistry they have really jumps off the pages.

The plot always keeps moving and there are enough twists to keep you guessing and enough sexual tension to keep you reading right the way through to the end. The Nerd books are not a series so you don’t have to have read any of the other books to get this one but I’m sure that you’ll want to read the rest when you’ve finished Gone With The Nerd.

Recommended for those who like their romances with a lot of fun and a tiny touch of mystery.

Sunday, 19 February 2006

She's Got the Look by Leslie Kelly

Enjoyable, sexy romance
4 stars

This is the second Leslie Kelly book I have read and the follow up story to her previous book She Drives Me Crazy. And this one definitely has made me a fan.

The story centres around Melody Tanner who is making a fresh start in a new town after a very messy divorce. Her friends think it's time she cheered herself up by having a fling with a guy from the lists they made at Melody's bachelorette party - of guys they could sleep with no matter what.

But when the guys on Melody's list start dying suspiciously she has to call in the police and the detective put on the case just happens to be her number one guy - former marine and bad boy Nick Walker.

After that there's nothing but drama, romance, murder, mystery, arguments, sex, interfering friends and the theft of a set of special peacock panties as the pair try to solve the murders and start to fall for each other.

Both Melody and Nick are great characters and there are plenty of colourful supporting characters and secondary storylines adding something extra to the story. You really get to know and love them all throughout the book. The story itself is fun, sexy and fast paced with something always going on to keep your interest.

The book does follow on from She Drives Me Crazy but although there are references to that book - this story stands alone. But for those who've read the previous offering - it's nice to catch up with Johnny and Emma-Jean again.

I really enjoyed this book although I only gave it 4 stars as I did feel that the ending was slightly weaker than the rest of the book. Having said that, I would definitely still recommend it to those enjoying fun, sexy romances with a little murder thrown in. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, 12 February 2006

She Drives Me Crazy by Leslie Kelly

Funny and sexy romance
5 stars

This was my first book by Leslie Kelly and I'm so glad I picked it up on impulse despite having heard nothing of Ms Kelly's previous work.

The story revolves around good-girl Emma Jean Frasier who is back in her hometown after ten years away - and Johnny Walker, the bad boy turned good whom she has never forgotten.

Small town gossip soon labels Emma as the famous porn star who has come to build a strip club in the little town. Throw in dodgy town officials, pecan pies, lust and murder and soon Emma isn't acting as sweet as she seems and Johnny is enjoying every minute of it.

Emma, Johnny and the large cast of secondary characters are all wonderfully written and you really get to know and like them through their interactions with each other. Emma is someone you can really root for and admire and Johnny is the wicked bad boy we all love. The story is fun and fresh and there are some lovely sexy moments thrown in to top it all off.

I really enjoyed this story - the romance was definitely central but the mystery and murder elements made it something extra. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy fun, romantic stories with something different mixed in and an ending that will really make you sigh. I will certainly be keeping a look out for other books by Leslie Kelly in the future.

Sunday, 22 January 2006

Drive Me Wild by Julie Ortolon

A Highly Enjoyable Read
4 stars

Having been recommended Julie Ortolon's books a few times I finally relented and decided to give her a try - and I'm so glad I did as this book was a fantastic read.

It tells the story of Laura Morgan - a small town girl who has always been the reliable, shy, do-gooder type of girl but who really yearns to break free of her dull life. And she gets that chance when bad-boy turned good, Brent Michaels comes back to town for a 'Dating Game' fundraiser. But Laura isn't the same tomboy friend that Brent remembers and soon friendship is the last thing on either of their minds - which causes confusion and chaos for both commitment phobic Brent and romantic, idealist Laura.

This is a real character driven book so we really get a chance to know the characters and watch them develop. Laura is a sweet girl and as you watch her grow you can really feel for her and feel inspired by her. Brent too is complex with a lot of issues to work through but you never feel bogged down in melodramatic detail. It doesn't hurt that he's a sexy, brooding type of hero either! The pair have fabulous chemistry so you really root for the couple to work things out for a happy ending.

I really enjoyed this book. The writing is fresh and exciting and really draws you into the heart of the story. Being so character driven it did take me a while to get into the book - but once it got going it was really worth it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun, romantic read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, 7 January 2006

To Love a Thief by Julie Anne Long

Excellent, well-written regency romance
5 stars

This was my first book by Julie Anne Long and so I really did not know what to expect after buying it on impulse. I am glad to say that by the end I was very much a fan.

The story uses Pygmalion for its inspiration but although there are similarities - this is so much more than just a reworking of an old story.

Lily Masters is a skilled London pickpocket who steals to support herself and her sister, and is good at what she does. Gideon Cole is a handsome barrister who has a desire to better his position in life and plans to do so by marrying the daughter of a marquis and so obtain a position in the government.

Gideon catches Lily trying to rob a man and in exchange for her freedom she must pose as the object of his affection to make the marquis's daughter jealous enough to accept his proposal. So Lily and her sister move to Gideon's estate and as she is polished into a lady, they find themselves drawn to each other and start to fall in love.

Lily is spirited and feisty without being a stereotype and is someone you can really root for. Gideon is your typical deliciously rugged male who despite his desire to marry high to better his life, is not single-minded and makes a convincingly troubled hero. Together, the pair have chemistry that jumps off the page and this makes you more than interested in their story.

The basic story is not new, but with the quality of the writing it really shines through as an original. The character development shows you the characters struggling with their feelings and you can really see why they act the way they do and feel their happiness and pains. At times the book is poignant and touching but is also witty, and on occasion laugh-out-loud funny. The secondary characters add depth to the book and are entertaining and realistic but never overpowering.

All in all I was thoroughly impressed with the book and will be seeking out Ms Long's first book and any she writes in the future. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a sweet, well-written regency romance that is similar in style to Julia Quinn or Sabrina Jeffries - I'm sure you will enjoy it.