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.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Daring the Duke by Anne Mallory

A Fun Romance
4 stars

Audrey Kendrick has been forced to return to her life as London's most legendary thief - a title she thought she'd managed to leave behind until a family crisis draws her back into the underworld for one last mission.

Stephen Chalmers, the new Duke of Marston is a spy charged with capturing the thief who is terrorising the town and jeopardising government secrets. When Stephen unmasks Audrey as the thief - she is in danger of losing more than her freedom to him. And when a greater danger moves onto the scene the pair realise that the best way to survive might be to work together even with the risk that they might fall in love.

I really enjoyed this book - it was a fun romance with plenty of action to keep you interested and wanting to keep turing the pages to see what will happen next. Stephen is your typical suave gentleman spy who cannot help but be charmed by the unconventional, feisty heroine Audrey. Their romance is believable although possibly slightly overshadowed by all the action.

There was quite a lot going on and although the plot is not overly complicated there are so many characters and plot points that you do have to pay attention to understand what is happening. I would also suggest that you have read Anne Mallory's first book Masquerading the Marquess before you read this book as there are many references to events and characters from that book that not having read it might make things slightly confusing.

However I would still give this book 4 stars as it is an enjoyable read and one that I would recommend. I will definitely be reading more of Anne Mallory's books in the future.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Once Upon a Wedding Night by Sophie Jordan

Enjoyable historical romance
4 stars

Lady Meredith Brookshire has a problem. She has suddenly become both husbandless and penniless and about to be tossed from her home by the new earl - a man that everyone thought was dead. So, in order to protect her family and keep her home Meredith devises a desperate plan to ensure that their futures are stable - she will fake her own pregnancy, finding a male child to pass off as her own after the nine months to ensure that he will inherit the title of earl.

Nick Caulfield, the new Earl of Brookshire doesn't care for the aristocracy and doesn't much want to be an earl. But when he meets Meredith, his half-brother's widow - he is sure she is up to something but cannot help but be bewitched by her guileless manner and decides to stick around to find out her secrets.

As Meredith's plans start to go awry Nick does some planning of his own - to get Meredith wed and out of his life as soon as possible. But no sooner than his plans start to fall into place he realises that maybe he doesn't want to be rid of Meredith after all.

Both Nick and Meredith are interesting characters who play off each other well and arose constant passions in one another. Nick is definitely an alpha male while Meredith is both the naive innocent and the seductive widow. When together sparks fly - both in anger and passion - and you can really feel the chemistry between the pair. However Meredith, although a likeable character, did seem at times to be overwhelmed by such a strong character as Nick and it would have been nice to see her stick up for herself during some of their arguments.

The story moves along nicely always keeping you wanting to turn the page and find out what happens next so it really keeps you hooked. I'm not sure how historically accurate the story line is or if it would actually have been able to happen (the passing of the title before a pregnancy has been determined, marrying your brother's widow etc.) but this doesn't really detract from the story although I believe it might annoy some readers.

Overall, this was an enjoyable historical romance and one which despite its faults you can't help but like. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Sophie Jordan in the future.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Too Hot to Handle by Cheryl Holt

Sensual historical romance
5 Stars

Emily Barnett has run to London to escape her scheming cousin who plans to marry Emily and then send her blind sister to an asylum. Now needing to raise funds, Emily interviews for the position of a governess for the wards of Michael Farrow, Earl of Winchester - only when she arrives at the Earl’s residence she realises that she’s accidentally stumbled across the Earl’s interviews for a new mistress instead!

Michael Farrow likes his women to be experienced with lusty appetites much like his own. One look at Emily in her drab outfit and he can tell she is not the type of woman he is used to but he’s intrigued all the same. When she runs off, scandalised, Michael tracks her down to offer her the position of governess. But as they are thrown into close contact together they both begin to realise that neither can deny the passion they find in one another. But when Emily’s cousin, a jealous ex-mistress and a devious ward all start to plot - Emily and Michael have to decide how much they really want to fight for each other.

This is the first book of Cheryl Holt’s that I’ve read and I found that I really enjoyed it and will definitely be looking out for other books of hers in the future.

I really liked Emily’s character especially - an innocent and naive young woman while still refreshingly strong and resilient. Michael on the other hand is one hundred percent alpha male and tries so hard to keep his emotions out of his life that it is really enjoyable when you finally see him brought down by love. Their interactions are funny, fiery and sexy. The secondary characters are also very well developed and have their own stories which add nicely to the story.

The plot isn’t too demanding and you definitely focus more on the interactions of the characters because of this. If you enjoy your historical romances light with some passion and emotion thrown in then I would definitely suggest that you give this book a try as I’m sure you will like it too.