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.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Double Fantasy by Cheryl Holt

Readable but disappointing erotic romance
3 stars

Jamieson Merrick and his twin brother Jack were hidden away at birth, denied their inheritance and forced to endure a tough and difficult life. Now they are back and Jamie is determined to get back what is rightfully his.

Orphaned Anne Carstairs has always been at the mercy of ruthless relatives and she’s not sure that Jamie Merrick – now the Earl of Gladstone – is going to be much better.

Anne is just a pawn in Jamie’s plans for revenge but he never guessed that she would be so alluring, so sweet and so tempting. But there are people that are less than pleased with the new earl that puts everyone in jeopardy.

I have always enjoyed Cheryl Holt’s erotic romances but unfortunately this one really didn’t hit the mark for me.

The characters weren’t particularly endearing and it was hard to muster much enthusiasm for them. Jamie was your typical overbearing alpha male but he took a little too long to realise his true feelings for my liking. Anne was the biggest disappointment for me as I found her far too weak and spineless and she really let Jamie (and some other characters) walk all over her.

The book was also quite erotic but it wasn’t as hot and spicy as many of Cheryl Holt’s previous novels and, for me, was a let down in that sense. I also found the behaviour of some of the secondary characters was quite disturbing and made for some quite uncomfortable reading – not ideal for a romance novel.

Despite all it’s faults, Cheryl Holt’s writing style makes her novels readable and easy to finish. It’s not a book that I would read again but it’s still worth 3 stars.

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Spanish Aristocrat's Woman by Katherine Garbera

Light yet enjoyable romance
3 stars

Heiress Kara deMontaine has always been self-conscious about her weight and body image – so she is the most stunned when delicious international playboy, Count Guillermo de la Cruz, announces their engagement just moments after the pair first meet. Unfortunately the man of her dreams has only offered marriage as an act of revenge against his former lover.

Kara should have stopped the charade before it began, but the way that Gui looked at her made her believe she was a beautiful woman. But could she really manage to tame the playboy and convince him they could have a happily ever after together?

This was a light, quick read with enjoyable characters and a very readable storyline. Kara’s insecurities made her a character that you could identify with and root for while Gui was definitely someone to fall in love with as he genuinely couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t find Kara attractive.

However, there were some negative points of the book and these reason that I only gave it 3 stars. The first, and biggest was that I couldn’t understand the motivations of the characters, particularly Gui. We also very rarely scratched the surface of the emotions of the characters and it just wasn’t deep enough for my liking. The story was also wrapped up too neatly for me to really believe in it.

It was still a light, interesting read but not one of the best stories I have read. However, if you like a sexy Spanish hero and a shy heroine then you still might really enjoy this book. 3 stars.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

What She Really Wants for Christmas by Debbi Rawlins

Sexy and enjoyable Blaze romance
4 stars

Liza Skinner’s life is a complete disaster. Thanks to a horrifically bad ex-boyfriend, she’s lost her friends, her job, her life and her share of millions of a huge lottery win. To top it all off – she’s being blackmailed.

Getting involved with someone is really not what she needs right now – even if the man she has in mind is hunky doctor, Evan Gann.

Soon she is able to forgot all about her problems as she learns Dr Evan is a whole lot naughtier than she expected him to be. But how will he react when he finds out all she’s been hiding?

This is the concluding book in the Million Dollar Secrets Blaze mini-series, which has seen various cast and crew of a talk show winning a huge lot of money on the lottery. Despite this, ‘What She Really Wants for Christmas’ still makes perfect sense if you haven’t read any other books in the series.

The book itself is a good, engrossing and enjoyable read with characters that you will learn to love. Evan is delicious as a not-so-stuffy doctor while Liza manages to win you over as you find out about her as the book continues. The pair have some sizzling sexual chemistry which makes for steamy reading in some places.

All in all this is a fun and sexy read from Blaze. Despite its title, it’s not a Christmas book or even really Christmas themed – but it’s still an enjoyable read to help you through the long, cold nights. 4 stars.

Monday, 10 November 2008

'Tis the Season by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Sweet, old fashioned Christmas romance
4 Stars

Anna Tilford has just bought the perfect rural retreat – a lovely old farmhouse in a small Connecticut town. Using it as a weekend retreat she is delighted by the place as it gives her a peaceful place to get away from her high pressured job as a New York interior designer.

But her peace looks like it’s going to be shattered when her gorgeous neighbour and Christmas tree farmer, Sam Garrison, wins a competition to have one of his trees as the centrepiece for the White House.

The rugged, outdoorsman is delighted by Anna’s move to the area and is even more thrilled when she agrees to help him decorate each and every room in his house for the cameras – starting with the bedroom!

This was a short and sweet festive tale with opposites attracting in city girl, Anna, and outdoorsy, country boy, Sam. Both characters were relatable, fun and had some lovely teasing banter. Unlike other of Vicki Lewis Thompson’s books, this one was not heavy on the sex and raunchiness. There was sex but it was more of a sweet, slow-burning kind of chemistry between Anna and Sam.

The Christmas theme ran throughout but was subtle enough to make you think of a good, old-fashioned and rustic Christmas time. The snowy, small town was perfect and made me want to visit.

My only problem was that I felt the ending (despite being the traditional happily ever after) could have been written a little better so as to wrap up all the loose ends.

Having said that, it’s still a fun, festive and really enjoyable, quick read for the dark cold nights in the run up to Christmas. 4 stars.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgeway

Fun & festive romance
4 stars

Despite her family owning a Christmas themed store, Bailey Sullivan hates the whole holiday. But now that her mother and stepfather are fighting, she’s been called back to her small home town to save the store. She knows what she must do: arrive 1st December, save the store, leave by the 25th.

What she didn’t anticipate was that sexy bad boy, and her long-lost high school sweetheart, Finn Jacobson, would also be back for the holidays and living right next door. Soon the sparks are burning brighter than the town’s Christmas lights and Finn and Bailey have to decide whether they believe in the magic of the season!

This was a fun and festive book with some wonderful characters. Christie Ridgeway writes in a really informal and chatty style and really makes you care about the main characters. Bailey hates Christmas, and understandably so while Finn is a rough, tough man who is hiding a heart of gold. Seeing the pair fall in love was beautiful and heart-warming.

The book was hot, the plot kept you reading and I loved the little Christmas facts at the beginning of each chapter. This book is followed by Not Another New Year’s and I’m looking forward to seeing if that one is as good as this one.

If you’re looking for some festive, romantic and sexy escapism then this book is definitely worth a read. 4 stars.