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, 26 October 2008

Snowy Night With A Stranger

Readable historical romance
4 Stars

A HOLIDAY GAMBLE by Jane Feather
Newly returned from India to take his place as the Viscount Allenton, Ned Vasey finds himself at the mercy of the weather when he gets stuck in a snowstorm. To make matters worse he is accosted by highwaymen and must take shelter in nearby Selby Hall where he meets some unscrupulous people as well as Lady Georgiana Carey – a woman with secrets Ned is determined to uncover.

This was a readable story but I found it lacked any passion, excitement or sparkle. It really suffered from being a short story and silly little editing mistakes (such as at one point changing the hero’s name from Ned to Nick) didn’t help either.

WHEN SPARKS FLY by Sabrina Jeffries
Heiress Elinor Bancroft is on her way home for Christmas with her aunt and young cousins when their coach gets into an accident during a snow storm. They seek shelter at Thorncliff Hall, home to the notorious Black Baron, about whom there are some dreadful rumours. Despite Martin Thorncliff’s reputation, Ellie is determined to bring some Christmas joy into his heart for the season.

I love Sabrina Jeffries and found this story delightfully festive and sweet. I wish it could have been longer to develop the characters more but they still had some great chemistry together and it was perfect for a winter night by the fire.

Lady Fiona Haines must find her brother to protect him from scandal. Unfortunately for her, he’s hidden away in the Highlands of Scotland and she needs someone to take her there. Laird Duncan Buchanan is scarred after a terrible accident and agrees to take her even as he obscures his ruggedly injured face. But what will Fiona do when she realises the identity of her protector?

I liked the idea of this story and the writing was engaging and kept you reading. However, the story was enormously let down by the embarrassing attempts at Scottish accents (why do all American’s assume every Scottish person speaks with a Glaswegian accent?) and the constant inaccuracies – you won’t find woodchucks in Britain, for example.

Sabrina Jeffries story was the stand out story in this collection although all three were readable and quite enjoyable. If you like historical romance and are looking for something to read on a long winter’s night then you really can’t go wrong with this collection. 4 stars.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer

Murder, Mayhem, Fun & Sex
5 stars

Food columnist, Agnes Crandall is having a bad week. She has the wedding of the century to plan all while someone attempts to sabotage it; she has dog-nappers appearing in her kitchen; the threat of losing her house and a fiancĂ© who is more interested in making money than in her. And then Shane, the hitman, appears through her bedroom window and Agnes realises her old problems were nothing compared to what’s about to come.

This book is a deliciously chaotic but fun crime caper and really shows off Jennifer Crusie’s humour and how well she and Bob Mayer work together.

Agnes, given the moniker of ‘Cranky Agnes’, is more feisty than cranky and she is funny and despite her issues, someone you want to be like. Although this isn’t really a romance, her interactions with Shane (who himself is a gorgeous man’s man) are great and very sexy.

The body count in the book is high but the crime and murder isn’t particularly gruesome (despite the book being full of mobsters and hitmen!) and is more fun and entertaining than anything. There is so much going on that you really are kept guessing and I wasn’t sure exactly what was what until the very last chapter.

Overall, this is an entertaining and sexy romp of a read and certainly one that will have you turning the pages. Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer seem to be perfect writing pairing and I look forward to more of their collaborations in the future. Definitely recommended. 5 stars.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Cutting Loose by Susan Andersen

Passionate, exciting and fun romance
4 Stars

Jane Kaplinski is very proud of her cool, calm and collected persona – she grew up with drama and theatrics and she will not let that into her life as an adult. But all that goes out the window when she meets Devlin Kavanagh, the man that’s just been hired to work on the mansion Jane and her friends have just inherited.

Dev knows that uptight Jane is not as prim as she appears, despite the conservative way she dresses. The pair virtually shoot sparks off each other and soon they are embarking on a passionate affair. But Jane thinks passion isn’t for her, and Devlin doesn’t do commitment – so it’s probably time for them both to cut loose!

I am a huge fan of Susan Andersen and I’m really happy to see her back with the start of a new trilogy of books. This series, The Sisterhood Diaries, focuses on three friends, Jane, Poppy and Ava, who have just inherited a mansion.

In this book we get to meet all the girls, as well as Dev’s family, but it really is Jane and Dev that stand out. Jane is an independent, modern girl with enough faults and hang-ups that you can really support and love her. Dev is a typical Susan Andersen hero – strong, alpha, rugged and deliciously sexy. Together the pair are passionate, fun and burn up the pages.

As always with Susan Andersen, there is an element of suspense/danger in the story but it is minor enough to not eclipse the main story yet is interesting enough to keep the pages turning.

I wouldn’t say that this was Susan Andersen’s best book but it was still a fun, interesting and passionate read. The characters really stand out and I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the Sisterhood Diaries. 4 stars.