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, 22 March 2008

Three Nights... by Debra Mullins

Entertaining and engrossing story
4 stars

In order to save her gaming father from certain death, innocent Aveline Stoddard offers herself to rakish, rogue Lucien DuFeron. In return for her father’s vowels, Aveline will submit to three whole nights to satisfy any of Lucien’s deepest, darkest desires and passions. The nights are a revelation for them both but when they are over – Lucien vanishes.

Betrayed by someone close to him, Lucien is handed over to evil brigands and imprisoned by them. Five years later, he manages to escape back to London, determined to find the enemy responsible. Instead he finds the one woman who he has never been able to forget – Aveline. But things have changed a lot in five years and despite passions still running high between the pair, Lucien can’t let go of his need for revenge. If his quest leads him to someone close to Aveline he may destroy a love that is powerful enough to free his tormented heart.

I am a huge fan of Debra Mullins and she doesn’t disappoint with this story. Lucien and Aveline are larger than life characters and you are easily drawn in to their story through their interactions. Lucien is a fantastic, tormented hero who has a heart-warming vulnerable side while Aveline is an innocent miss who is also strong and determined. There are no missish, stupid heroes or heroines in this book!

The story is primarily about Lucien and Aveline and their relationship, with the ‘mystery’ of who betrayed Lucien really only taking a small part. And it’s not really a mystery as we are told enough, quite early on in the story to realise who is likely to be the culprit.

The sensuality and deep characterisation in the novel are typical of Debra Mullins and this book is really a page turner. While being by no means her best novel, it’s still engrossing and a very good read. If I had to have one complaint, it would be that the conclusion of the mystery/betrayal plot was ever so slightly disappointing as I personally felt that the wrong people got their comeuppance at the end and some not at all! But this wasn’t enough to ruin what is essentially a delightful, romantic story. 4 stars.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Tex Appeal

Fairly enjoyable Texan anthology
3 stars

This book contains three sexy Blaze stories which all revolve around a Valentine’s Day newspaper contest. Set in Texas, each tells a different story of hunky, Texas cowboys and the women that tame them.

Real Good Man – Kimberly Raye
Cheryl Anne Cash is fed up of being dowdy, sensible and boring – so she decides to spice up her life by dumping her long term boyfriend and becoming a “carnal” coach. But things get complicated when her ex doesn’t want to let her go and wants her to show him all her new found skills.

This was a cute, light read about two people who had lost the essential sparkle in their lives. Although I didn’t understand the motivations of the main characters at certain times – this was still a well-written story that kept you turning the pages.

Unbroken – Alison Kent
Dr. Tess Autrey is writing a story on rodeo ‘buckle bunnies’ and decides to do a bit of time at a ranch for some in depth research. But when ranch owner Wyatt Crowe turns up the heat – the research becomes more one-on-one.

This story really wasn’t my cup of tea. It was slow paced and in my opinion, slightly boring. I didn’t like either of the main characters and while I’m usually happy to suspend belief in a romance – I just didn’t believe this happily-ever-after. Disappointing.

I Can Still Feel You – Cara Summers
Several months ago chef Macy Chandler had a sizzling affair with Texas Ranger Cade Dillon until he disappeared in the night. Now he’s back and Macy is determined not to fall into the same trap as before. But this time Macy’s life is in danger and Cade has no problem in staying as close as possible.

This was a slightly different story to the first two as there was the danger element thrown in along with the romance. Although this isn’t usually the type of story that I would go for, it was still a fun and enjoyable read. Both Macy and Cade were interesting, well rounded characters that seemed perfect for each other.

Overall, this was a fairly enjoyable anthology of stories centering around Valentine’s Day in Texas. While possibly not being the best Blaze anthology, it’s still worth a read although it’s maybe not a keeper. If you’re looking for short stories to pass the time then you can’t really go wrong with this book.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

In The Highlander's Bed by Cathy Maxwell

Fun and adventurous romance
4 stars

After failing in his mission to retrieve the legendary Sword of McKenna from the English, Highland warrior Gordon Lachlan decides to strike personally at those who hold the sword – by kidnapping Constance Cameron from her boarding school and demanding the sword from her relatives in return for her release.

Constance is fed up with being stuck away in a boarding school and decides to run away and make a life for herself in her American homeland. But before she can escape the school, she is kidnapped by a roguish, but very handsome, Scottish rebel.

Neither are what the other expected and as passions run high, the pair realise they may have to fight for something more precious than freedom.

This was the concluding book in a series about the Cameron Sisters of Ohio (after The Price of Indiscretion, In the Bed of A Duke and Bedding the Heiress) although it does set up another book after this one so I suppose the series is a continuous one. There is a plot line that flows throughout the books so I wouldn’t suggest you read this book without having read the others first.

Constance is fiery and independent without ever coming across as a stereotype while Gordon is a fantastically tortured hero – torn between his need for freedom and his desire for love. The pair were well matched and I liked the banter between them throughout the book. I am also a fan of this kind of plot line and so I enjoyed the romance between the pair too.

Despite enjoying the book, I did have a few problems with it that stopped it from getting the full 5 stars. Firstly, the underlying plot of the Scottish cause and the Sword of McKenna seemed to fade as the book went on and although the romance was satisfactorily ended, the ‘sword’ plot was not and I felt slightly disappointed that nothing came of the so called rebellion. Gordon was so passionate for his cause at the beginning and then gave up his fight without much thought at the end of the book. There were also factual errors that really irked after a while such as when they left Edinburgh and travelled east yet somehow managed to end up in the Highlands!

As I mentioned before, I did actually enjoy the book even with the faults. It was exciting, romantic, a real page-turner and very well written. I would recommend this book to fans of Cathy Maxwell and those who enjoy a fun romantic adventure. 4 stars.