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.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Mills and Boon Annual 2008

Fun, romantic Christmas annual
4 stars

The 2008 Mills and Boon Christmas Annual is once again a delight for fans of romance and Mills and Boon.

The small (A5) annual is packed full of content. There are delicious Christmas recipes from punch and nibbles to main course accompaniments; several puzzles from sudoku to word searches; features on gardening, Christmas traditions and 100 years of Mills & Boon; horoscopes; craft ideas from gorgeous edible gifts to a knitted baby shawl and much more.

And of course there are the stories. You get Modern romance from Kate Walker, Annie West, Trish Morey and Jane Porter; straight Romance from Rebecca Winters, Shirley Jump and Claire Baxter; Historical romance from Elizabeth Rolls, and short stories from Debbie Macomber and Kate Mayhew - the winner of the Woman's Weekly short story competition. Some of the stories are only a page long while others are more in-depth but each is fun and well-written.

The only downside for me was that I would have liked to see some stories by Blaze authors - as this is my favourite Mills & Boon line. But I can't really let this detract from the book as if you are a fan of either the Modern or Romance lines then you will be in heaven with all the stories! Also, being a book out for Christmas with plenty of festive articles, I would also liked to have seen at least a couple of the stories being Christmas themed.

But having said that, the annual is fun, interesting and a perfect purchase if you enjoy Mills & Boon romance and Christmas. There's so much packed into the book that it will keep you engrossed all day and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Bad Girl Bridesmaids: Three All-New Erotic Tales

A reasonably enjoyable anthology
3 Stars

This is a set of three erotic stories, all written by Susanna Carr, showing just how naughty bridesmaids can be.

Serial Bridesmaid on the Loose
Kelsey Morgan is sick and tired of being a bridesmaid – especially when she realises that she’s only being asked so she can be treated as a slave. To stop the demands of the current bride, Kelsey hooks up with gigolo Zack Cooper to keep her occupied. Only Zack’s actually a multi-millionaire – and he’s not used to giving up the power and control.

The Bridesmaid’s Diaries
Two years ago Tara Watkins, the wedding co-ordinator at her family’s vineyard, had the most amazing sex with the best man at a wedding. Ever since then she’s been writing a Bridesmaid Blog on the net about her experiences. Now Luke Sullivan is back and determined to use the information gained from her Internet diary to relive that wild night.

Wedding Wrecker
Amber Hughes left her small town home after she ruined the wedding of a close friend. Now she’s back to be a bridesmaid again but this time sexy Josh Griffin plans to make this wedding crazier than her last – this time for all the right reasons.

All three of the stories in this anthology are fun, well-written and enjoyable. Mostly the characters are people you identify with and can root for although I wasn’t too taken with a couple of the heroes – far too domineering and arrogant for my tastes (and I generally tend to like an alpha male). And they do all suffer from the short length of the stories, as there is no real character or plot development. This also means you have to suspend reality in order to believe in the happy endings as love happens very quickly in each case.

And while these are billed as erotic stories, I found myself being slightly disappointed. All the words and actions were there in spades, but the actual sex scenes lacked any real sparkle or sizzle that would set them apart from other romance books.

Overall – if you’re looking for something light, fun and romantic then you should give this book a try. While perhaps not being the best example of erotic short stories, the writing is good, the stories hold your interest and they will take your mind off things for a while.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

There Goes the Bride by Lori Wilde

Enjoyable, quirky romance
4 stars

Texas socialite Delaney Cartwright is having second thoughts about her extravagant society wedding to her predictable childhood friend especially since she came across a magic veil which apparently grants the wearer their deepest desires. Determined to spice things up with her fiancé - Delaney decides to kidnap him for a night of passion - and ends up with the wrong guy!

Detective Nick Vinetti is slightly surprised to be accosted by such a beautiful woman and even more surprised, and annoyed, to find that she is already taken.

So now Delaney is even more desperate to get out of her wedding so she decides to arrange her own kidnapping. Throw in some true love, blackmail, heart stopping kisses, magic, ghosts and car chases - and things are just starting to look a little interesting!

This is the first book in the new 'Wedding Veil Wishes' series by Lori Wilde and it is a fun book to kick things off.

Delaney is an enjoyable character, trying to find herself despite her mother's constant criticism and expectations. And Nick is just lovely - sexy, rugged but strong in his convictions as he won't allow Delaney to break her vows to her fiancé. Which is nice for us because it throws in some delicious sexual tension! Together the pair work well and I liked their interactions with each other which seemed real.

There are also a good cast of entertaining, and sometimes slightly odd secondary characters, many of whom you assume are getting books of their own in the series.

The book is sensual, but not overly so, and while it does have it's quirky elements, it's not in the least scary or disturbing. Just some fun, romance and crazy situations!

If you enjoy your romances slightly quirky with some unusual and interesting plot points - then this is the book for you. A definite page-turner, it will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Coming Undone by Susan Andersen

Thrilling, Sexy Romance
5 stars

Bright new singing sensation Priscilla Jayne Morgan should be having the time of her life. Her country music career has finally hit the big time and she's selling out concerts across America. But she's just had to fire her crooked manager mother and the press have gone crazy. Now her record label have decided to hire a watchdog to escort her on her summer tour and who should they hire for the job but Jared Hamilton - the guy from her past that she's never been able to get out of her head.

Jared's here to do a job and although he remembers just how headstrong little P.J. can be - he's not going to let her damage his legendary self control. But he didn't factor in how much P.J. has grown up or how much she drives him crazy.

So being stuck with the hottest girl in show-business for five weeks is going to be bad enough but when her very life is threatened he decides he needs to stick even closer - he just doesn't know if that's going to be a problem or not!

If you are a fan of Susan Andersen you will be happy to finally see a story for Jared (Tori's runaway brother from Hot and Bothered) and his street-wise runaway friend, P.J.. Although this book probably does stand alone, I would really suggest you've read Hot & Bothered before reading this one as otherwise you'll miss out on quite a lot of back story that is essential to the plot.

Both Jared and P.J. are wonderful characters. P.J. is feisty, fun and strong while Jared is a delicious former marine with a tough exterior and a lovely soft centre! The pair together are fiery, sexy and perfect for each other.

As is often the case with Susan Andersen - there is an element of suspense/danger in this book with the addition of a deranged stalker. This works well within the book while never overshadowing the plot and it's interesting enough to keep you involved without being scary or disturbing.

Overall, I am so glad that P.J. and Jared finally got their own story and Susan Andersen has created a book filled with her own brand of humour, edge and sexiness. This is a book that you will not want to put down and one I would highly recommend if you like your romance with a little bit extra. 5 stars.