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.

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Player by Rhonda Nelson

Sexy start to a new series
5 stars

Former Ranger Jamie Flanagan is very happy to finally be free of the military - especially after his last mission which left him guilt ridden and emotionally scarred. But in his haste to leave, he and his friends promised their former commanding officer one favour. Anything. Anytime.

Now Jamie's favour is being called in and he has to protect the lovely Audrey Kincaid at her de-stressing camp in the middle of Maine. But it isn't long before he realises he's actually there to woo her away from another man. But there's one, hard and fast rule. No kissing, no touching and no seducing. Jamie always follows orders - but Audrey is testing his limits - and he's not in the military anymore.

This was a fun, enjoyable romance that is the perfect start to a new series about Jamie and his two ex-military buddies.

Jamie himself is a to-die-for hero. Sexy, rugged and alpha with a wounded soul to go along with it. And Audrey is the perfect match for him as he tries to rid himself of his demons while fighting his attraction to her. The chemistry is real, the sex scenes spicy and satisfying and there is enough humour to keep the book light. Although potentially dealing with some heavy issues such as ill-health, grief etc. - at no point does this book become melancholic or too dramatic - it's a romance and the author has written it as such.

As I mentioned, this is the first book in a new series by Rhonda Nelson with The Specialist and The Maverick following on from this.

All in all, this is a better example of a Blaze romance - fun, sexy, smart and definitely worth a read. 5 stars.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Going All The Way by Isabel Sharpe

Enjoyable but not perfect
4 stars

Back in school Jenny Hartmann was shy and unassuming. But now she has become a minor celebrity after writing her sizzling self-help book entitled 'What Have I Done For Me Lately?' She aims to liberate all women to become as sexually confident and sassy as she too has become.

Back in school, Ryan was a hell-raising bad boy but now he has grown up and calmed down. But this new Jenny is really driving him crazy especially when she decides that she will have a fantasy fling with him. And whatever the new Jenny wants, the new Jenny gets.

But when the pair get together - they both begin to realise that maybe they haven't changed all that much after all.

While I enjoyed this book I really wavered between giving it 3 or 4 stars. I liked Jenny to begin with as although she was sexy and confident, she was still vulnerable and not a man-hating feminist like she could have been written. But halfway through the book she started to become very selfish and immature and not someone that I liked at all. Admittedly by the end of the book she saw the error of her ways and had become nice again but I was still suspicious of her! Ryan is an enjoyable character - sexy and straight-laced with his inner bad boy just waiting to get out! There were also two strong secondary characters that had quite a lot of book time and while enjoyable - they weren't as good as Ryan and Jenny.

I decided to go with 4 stars as despite its faults, it's an uplifting, enjoyable, sexy read that doesn't flag and keeps you turning the pages right to the end. While not perfect, it's written well and although maybe not a keeper - it is still a book you should pick up if you get a chance.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Just One Touch by Debra Mullins

Intelligent and Engaging Romance
5 stars

When Rogan Hunt happens across the beautiful Lady Caroline being accosted by highwaymen he cannot help but intervene. But he is thrown into turmoil when the lady's grateful father offers her hand in marriage in thanks despite his lowborn status.

Lady Caroline Ware is terrified of the handsome Rogan but she is surprised when she starts to care for her new husband. But just as the pair seem to be getting along - secrets are revealed and enemies from the past reappear that put their newfound passion in jeopardy.

As seems to be the norm for Debra Mullins - this book is passionate, intense and thoroughly enjoyable.

Rogan and Caroline are well-developed, believable characters with flaws that make them interesting and perfect for each other. And most importantly - both are intelligent. There are no ridiculous misunderstandings or jumping to conclusions, which is so refreshing in any novel.

And despite it coming quite late on in the book - there is a nice amount of sensuality and sex in the novel without it overpowering things. Also, there are an interesting set of supporting characters that again, don't overpower the main storyline but still add something to the story.

Interesting, intelligent and beautifully romantic - this book delivers everything that a historical romance should. A definite 5 star read and one I would highly recommend.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

The Runaway Heiress by Brenda Hiatt

Enjoyable Regency romance
4 stars

Dina Moore's only chance to claim her rightful inheritance from her scheming brother is to wed before she's 25. But when her intended ditches her two days before her birthday, she decides to take her chances of finding a husband in Gretna Green. Her plans go awry however, when instead of finding a husband she saves a naïve young woman from the clutches of a fortune hunter and earns the gratitude of the lady's handsome brother.

Grant Turpin owes the beautiful stranger a debt of gratitude for saving his sister but he did not anticipate that Dina would request his hand in marriage as a reward. And he certainly didn't anticipate that he would find his new wife so attractive, or that with every bit more independence that Dina offers him - the less he desires to take it.

This was my first novel by Brenda Hiatt and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Both Dina and Grant, or Thor as he's known to his friends, along with the large cast of supporting characters were all well developed and extremely likeable.

The storyline was fast moving, interesting and kept the pages turning. While possibly not the most original of storylines - there were enough unique plot points to keep it from being clichéd or dull.

There were, however, a few things that stopped the book from getting 5 stars in my opinion. Dina was written as a small woman and Thor as a large man and the more intimate aspects of marriage were a source of conflict within the book. However, despite this raised anticipation - the sex scenes really lacked sizzle which was a little disappointing.

There were also a few oddities within the book that while maybe not historically inaccurate - did seem slightly out of place in a Regency set novel. Dina's love of exercise and callisthenics and Thor not having a house of his own and living with his parents were two things that struck me as odd. But although unusual - neither changed what is essentially a very enjoyable read and one that I would recommend if you're looking for a little light entertainment. I will definitely be looking out for more of Brenda Hiatt's books in the future.