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, 18 February 2009

If You Could Read My Mind by Jeanie London

Sweet Blaze romance
4 stars

Jillian and Michael Landry have been married for seven years but lately it seems that the spark has dimmed. The couple no longer communicate and both worry what will become of their marriage.

All that changes when Michael gets a magical gift – the ability to read Jillian’s thoughts. It might not be as much of a blessing as he first thinks when he hears things that leave him shrinking in embarrassment. Fortunately, he realises that there’s another way to fix his marriage as he’s now privy to each and every one of his wife’s fantasies and plans to bring her wildest dreams to life.

This story was different to most other Blaze romances in that the focus of the story was on a couple already married. While making things a bit different, it was definitely a good change while also meaning the couple got hot and heavy almost from the get go.

While hot and sexy, this book was more of a sweet read. I liked both Jilly and Michael and they really were nice people deserving of a happy ending. Not being married myself, I assumed I wouldn’t identify or empathise with the characters but I really did and I enjoyed reading about how the couple worked things out.

If you’re looking for a sweet but hot read with appealing characters and a satisfying ending then I would recommend this book to you. 4 stars.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Too Tempting To Touch by Cheryl Holt

Slightly disjointed Regency romance
3 stars

Ellen Drake is all alone in the world after a scandal years ago tore her family apart. Working as a paid companion, she tries hard to be proper at all times. When she catches her employer’s fiancĂ© engaging in a tryst she is scandalised and vows that she will ensure he will stay celibate until his wedding day.

Alex Marshall, Lord Stanton, is irked and intrigued by the companion who has taken it upon herself to keep him out of mischief and he can’t help but find her irresistible. So he proposes a bargain – he won’t dally until his wedding – with anyone else but her!

Despite being a fan of Cheryl Holt, I wasn’t overly enamoured with this novel and it certainly wasn’t one of her best.

I liked both Ellen and Alex as characters – Alex being the arrogant, sexy lord and Ellen being the downtrodden, lovely hired help. They did have good chemistry together but I didn’t find the book as erotic as some of Cheryl Holt’s previous books.

The main problem that I had was that there were just too many characters. We spent so much time reading about each different character that by the time you get back to Alex and Ellen, you wonder how much you’ve missed! I also found some of the characters were completely pointless and distracted from the main story even more. There were also a lot of modern Americanisms throughout the book which gets a bit tiresome and jars you away from the story as you read.

Overall, it’s not a terrible book and I really did enjoy the ending, but unless you’re a fan of Cheryl Holt’s I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to you. Readable but only 3 stars.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson

Not my cup of tea
1 star

In an alternate world, the King of Alaska is determined to see his oldest son and heir, David, married and settled. While he is out on a fishing excursion he meets American chef Christina Crabbe and decides that she is perfect princess material so takes her home to the palace to meet David.

David doesn’t really care who he marries so long as he can continue his work with his beloved penguins but he can’t help but be charmed by the unusual, feisty commoner, Christina. Soon the pair are engaged but it will take a lot of work to turn Christina into the perfect princess.

I really liked the premise for this book of an alternate world where Alaska became an independent country rather than part of the USA and had its own quirky, eccentric royal family. Unfortunately for me, the actual book didn’t live up to my expectations.

The worst thing about the book was the heroine, Christina. She was supposed to be feisty but I just didn’t find her likeable at all. She was cocky, sarcastic and ridiculously foul-mouthed yet everyone around her seemed to think she was the best thing since sliced bread. I just didn’t get it. The other characters were slightly better but we didn’t go deep enough to really like any of them.

Because of the lack of depth, the romance also fell flat and the sex scenes were such a disappointment with not a bit of chemistry between the characters.

This is probably a personal thing but I didn’t even crack a smile while reading and there was no humour at all in the book, in my opinion.

Overall, I really didn’t like this book. Having said that, it was my first book by Mary Janice Davidson so perhaps fans of hers might enjoy this more than I did. Only 1 star.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Ex, Why, and Me by Susanna Carr

Fun and light-hearted romp
3 Stars

Pastry chef, Michelle Nelson, has no desire to return to her small hometown that she left 5 years ago but she has promised her best friend that she will help out with the town’s Annual Horseradish Festival and can’t get out of it. All she has to do is take part in a scavenger hunt then she’ll be free to go.

Much to Michelle’s surprise and annoyance, her partner for the hunt is Ryan Slater. The night before she left town 5 years ago, the pair had a disastrous night together and Michelle has never been able to forgive him. However Ryan is more than willing to see what he can do to make Michelle change her mind about him and give them another chance together.

This was a light-hearted and fun story about two opposite people with a disastrous past who are forced to spend time together. Both Ryan and Michelle were likeable characters if not particularly deep or well-developed. I enjoyed their banter and interactions even if their chemistry was a little fleeting and the sex a little tame.

The story itself of a scavenger hunt was enjoyable despite being quite unbelievable. It was still fun to read what they were put through and you kept turning the pages to see what would happen next.

My main problem with the book was that there wasn’t enough romance for me. I was never sure why Ryan and Michelle weren’t together and towards the end their feelings and the conflict were all a big muddle. The ending was also less dramatic than I would have liked but everything worked out well so it wasn’t too bad!

Overall, this wasn’t a bad story and if you are looking for a nice, light read that takes your mind off things for a while then I would recommend this book to you. 3 stars.

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Power of Love

An enjoyable selection of short stories
4 Stars

This collection is 12 short stories all dealing with love and empowerment.

Sweet Dreams – Lori Foster
A workaholic finds exactly what she’s always wanted in the arms of her neighbour.

Unpredictable – Erin McCarthy
Hannah feels cursed by her psychic ability until she meets a sexy cop and his adorable dog.

After Hours – Toni Blake
Marla has been in love with her boss for years. When she tells him she’s quitting her job – his response isn’t what she expected. 

Last of the Red-Hot Mammas – Dianne Castell
Divorced single parent Gloria’s birthday treat is a night with a male escort. Or so she thinks. Rob isn’t who she thought he was and he’s determined to win Gloria’s heart.

Salesman of the Year – Karen Kelley
Jenny always did what she was told, including turning down bad-boy Devon in high school. But now he’s back to show her he’s a much better man than her fiancĂ©.

Dance the Fandango – Rosemary Laurey
Grandmother Magda’s husband died over a year ago and her children think it’s time the started dating again. They’re surprised when they learn what she’s been up to with sexy Spaniard, Juan.

The Girl Next Door – Janice Maynard
Jason left college to look after his sisters when their parents died. Now he is selling up and moving away so Felicity, the girl that has loved him from afar, decides it’s time to make her move.

Chicken Soup For Annie – LuAnn McLane
Single mum Annie is new in town when she bumps into pastor Josh in the thrift shop he runs. A misunderstanding leads to the pair spending time together and finding that they may be exactly what the other needs.

No Angel – Lucy Monroe
Cheryl has the hots for her boss, Zach, but is scared to go for it due to a past abusive relationship. Luckily, Zach isn’t the kind of guy that will let her get away.

Angel in the Alley – Patricia Sargeant
Sara has finally divorced her abusive husband and is trying to start afresh when she finds a homeless man in the alley behind her shop. Feeling an affinity with him she gives him a job but he isn’t who he says he is.

Hannah’s Choice – Kay Stockham
Moving back to her home town after splitting up with her abusive ex, Hannah finds herself face to face with Mitch, the one man she would be willing to risk her heart again for.

The Mouse Who Roared – J.C. Wilder
When Amy overhears her boss telling someone that she is dull and mousy, she decides it’s time she changed her look, life and go after the man she’s been dreaming about.

This was an enjoyable collection of stories by some popular romance writers. I felt that the book’s cover made it look more like an inspirational or self-help book rather than the set of sexy, funny but sometimes sweet and tender stories that it was.

The stand out stories for me were: Unpredictable, Chicken Soup for Annie, No Angel and The Mouse Who Roared. While there were no duds, some of the stories were a little ridiculous in my opinion although not offensive in any way.

Reading this book is like reading the ending of a love story – it’s sweet, happy and you like it, but you also wish you had read more of the story. At only (roughly) 25 pages per story, they are short, sweet but perhaps not as involved as you might like. This is still a good selection of stories and definitely worth a read if you can get hold of the book.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Going Deep by Kimberly Dean

Delightfully exciting erotica
5 stars

Back in college, cheerleader Brynn Montgomery was determined to ignore her attraction to Cody Jones, the football team’s star player, bane of her existence and her boyfriend Rex’s roommate. One fateful night things came to head and a scandal ensued that saw Brynn leaving university for good.

10 years later, Brynn is back at Southern Trinity University as a professor and determined to lay the scandal to rest. Little does she know that Cody is now the coach of the football team and Rex the coach of their biggest rivals. Soon Brynn is once again caught between the two delicious athletes and a scandal is brewing that will make everyone forget what happened 10 years ago.

This book is a delight for people who like erotica but also want an actual plot to go along with all the sex. The story is unashamedly hot and there are numerous sex scenes that will get your heart racing.

You are really drawn into the world of cheerleaders and football players and the writer writes in such a way that you won’t want to put the book down.

All the characters are a delight especially Cody who was a rugged alpha male with a soft, sensitive side – you couldn’t help but fall for him! I did like Brynn and felt that her confusion was very real, I just wish she had been a little less clueless at times. However, if she had been, there wouldn’t be nearly as much sex in the book so I guess I shouldn’t complain!

I have enjoyed Kimberly Dean’s stories in the past (and would recommend High School Reunion for another great erotic tale) and this story does not disappoint. Erotic, exciting, interesting and with a sweet happily ever after – this is definitely a book I would recommend. 5 stars.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

My Secret Life by Lori Wilde

Slightly boring Blaze romance
2 stars

Graphic artist Katie Winfield is blue-blooded, pretty and has a great life – except when it comes to guys. Her latest faux pas included seducing a hot guy at a masquerade ball. A hot guy that turned out to be her sister’s ex-boyfriend.

Determined to take charge of her love life, Katie joins the Martinis and Bikinis Club – a group that specialises in very naughty dares. The man she chooses as her unknowing accomplice is none other than Liam James, her man from the masquerade ball. The pair have chemistry but will they be able to make it work when the dares are over?

I’m sorry to say that this story just didn’t work for me. The story itself, despite the idea of the Martini Dares, was a little too formulaic and forced, and I didn’t really believe in it, or enjoy it. The two main characters were okay but it did seem like I was reading about two rich and beautiful people being rich and beautiful together. Not very exciting.

I was determined to get through the story as it wasn’t offensive in any way – just bland. Unfortunately, things kept coming up that seemed more important than finishing the book (tv, cooking, even ironing!). As I said, it’s not terrible or unpleasant in any way, it just didn’t grip me and I found it rather obvious. Fans of Lori Wilde might still enjoy it or if you are reading through the Martini Dares mini-series which this is part of. I’ve read worse books so I can’t give it only 1 star but it’s still only 2 stars from me, I’m afraid.