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.

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.