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.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Tempted by the Night by Elizabeth Boyle

Interesting paranormal romance
4 Stars

Lady Hermione Marlowe has been in love with Lord Rockhurst forever. Despite the gossip, she refuses to believe that the handsome, mysterious man is as wicked and scandalous as they say he is. She just wishes he knew she existed.

Lord Rockhurst doesn’t care about his reputation as he has more pressing, and dangerous matters to deal with. But when a mysterious woman ends up falling into his arms, and saving his life, he realises that perhaps there is more to life than the quest he is on as whoever this woman is, he can’t resist her and that could be disastrous for everyone.

This is the second book in Elizabeth Boyle’s Marlowe Series (after the brilliant His Mistress by Morning) and while it probably does stand alone, I think that by reading them in order will make the magical element of the book a little easier to understand.

When I first picked it up I didn’t realise that this was a paranormal historical and that’s really not really the kind of book I usually enjoy. Having said that, I did very much enjoy the story as despite the magic and supernatural goings on, it wasn’t scary and it was still a good romance.

I love a good tortured hero and Lord Rockhurst was certainly that. Hermione was a great feisty heroine and I loved how, due to Hermione’s affliction of invisibility, you really felt like the characters got to know each other which made their falling in love all the more real.

Despite enjoying the book, I don’t think I’m likely to read any more paranormal romance but I would still recommend this book if you’re a fan of Elizabeth Boyle or if you just like a good romance with some fun action thrown in. 4 stars.

Monday, 23 March 2009

This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle

Entertaining, fast-paced romp
5 Stars

One kiss is all it takes for rakehell Lord Jack Tremont to completely ruin Miranda Mabberly. After mistaking her for his mistress, he kisses her senseless ensuring her banishment from her parents and polite society.

Years later, Miranda has made a respectable life for herself as a school-teacher, with a new identity that is untouched by scandal. Everything is going well until Jack, now a penniless, humbled but still gorgeous man, makes an appearance at the school.

Soon the pair are once again thrown together but this time they have three matchmaking schoolgirls to help them along the way towards true love. Unfortunately, there are obstacles in their path including dead bodies, smuggling and enough secrets to destroy everyone.

This is the second book in the Bachelor Chronicles series (after Something About Emmaline) although it stands completely alone with only minor references to the previous book.

I have recently really started to enjoy Elizabeth Boyle’s stories and this one really hit the mark for me. I loved both Jack and Miranda and liked how they were intelligent and witty and had some real chemistry. The secondary characters were also fantastic and it was nice to have some meddlesome schoolgirls that were fun, feisty and not at all stereotypical. I can’t wait until they get their own stories.

The book may not be perfect but I have to admit that I really enjoyed it. It was fun, light-hearted, well-written and really kept me interested from beginning to end. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and would recommend this book and other books by Elizabeth Boyle if you enjoy stories by Sabrina Jeffries or Julia Quinn. Definitely recommended and a 5 star read.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Secret Fantasy by Cheryl Holt

Lacklustre and disappointing erotic romance
2 Stars

Orphaned and destitute, Margaret Gray has lived at the mercy of her awful aunt and cousin her whole life. With no dowry and no marriage prospects, Margaret’s life is destined to be dull and boring. Everything changes when Jordan Prescott, Viscount Romney comes to visit with the intention of offering for Margaret’s spoiled cousin.

After his father squandered the family money, Jordan needs to marry and heiress in order to provide for his half-siblings. But Margaret makes him feel things he’s never felt before and soon the pair are involved in something neither of them expected. Will they be able to survive the scheming and plotting that’s going on around them?

I am a big fan of Cheryl Holt so I was disappointed to find this book lacklustre and flat. The plot was very similar to some of her previous books and didn’t offer much in the way of exciting plot or characters.

My main criticism would have to be the lack of emotion throughout the story – I just didn’t believe in the love which is never good in a romance. As a result, the sex scenes did nothing for me either. I liked both Jordan and Margaret but there were so few chapters dedicated to them that at times I forgot this was even their story. With so many other characters and storylines the real love story got completely forgotten at times.

Overall, I can really only give this book 2 stars. It was easy to read and to finish but the story didn’t feel deep enough and I’m sorry to say that I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Blazing Bedtime Stories

Fun, magical anthology
4 Stars

This is an anthology of tales based on bedtime stories that are given the sexy, Blaze treatment. Days before Valentine’s Day, Cupid needs to prove that love still exists by helping three Valentine-hating women.

Once Upon A Bite – Kimberly Raye
Beauty salon owner, Shay Biggs, is through with the bad boys – she’s now on the look out for Mr Right. She doesn’t think she’ll find it in new guy in town, Matt Keller, but there’s some animal magnetism pulling the pair together. Do beauty and the beast stand a chance?

This story didn’t really do it for me, I’m afraid. I didn’t really get the whole werewolf/vampire thing and the whole story lacked any romance and was wrapped up far too quickly for my liking.

My, What A Big… You Have! – Leslie Kelly
Children’s author, Scarlett Templeton, doesn’t believe in fairy tales. But all that changes when she meets a sexy hunter in the woods on the way to her Grandmother’s house.

Despite being pure fantasy, this tale was believable and very sexy. I loved both Scarlett and Hunter and felt really drawn into the world of fairy tales.

Sexily Ever After – Rhonda Nelson
Ugly duckling Juliet hates Valentine’s Day with a passion but secretly wants someone to make her feel beautiful. Hunky Gareth is determined to win Juliet and make her see that she truly is a beautiful, sexy woman.

This was the only one of the three stories that didn’t have any magical element to it and was also my favourite of the three. Juliet was such a likeable character and you really wanted her to get her happy ending.

Magical, fantasy tales aren’t my usual choice but I have to say I enjoyed this anthology. The first story wasn’t particularly memorable but the other two were fun and well-written. If you like something slightly mystical or simply want to see if fantasy stories are your cup of tea then I would recommend this book to you. 4 stars.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Seduced at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro

Gripping and emotional tale
5 stars

Lady Julianne Bradley's dream is to marry a man who loves her madly and embark on wild adventures together. Unfortunately the man she wants to share her adventures with is someone that can never be hers. When a spate of murders start in Mayfair and it seems that Julianne is the next target, her father hires the man of her dreams to protect her.

Bow Street Runner Gideon Mayne's most difficult task is to catch the killer - while also managing to keep his hands off Julianne. Convinced she is a pampered princess he is stunned to find himself utterly wrong which only makes the passion burn hotter between the pair. But with Julianne set to submit to an arranged marriage - she is determined to taste passion at least once in her life and is determined that Gideon will be the man to help her.

Despite being the third book in the Mayhem in Mayfair series (after Sleepless at Midnight and Confessions at Midnight) this was the first book of the series I have read and found it stands alone quite nicely although it does whet your appetite to read the other books.

This book was a delight from start to finish. I loved the characters and the emotions really packed a punch as both Gideon and Julianne struggled to cope with their feelings and the restrictions placed on them. The book was nicely sensual and I really felt the chemistry between the main pair.

There was a light mystery element to the story that did keep me guessing right to the end but didn't scare me at all (and I'm a complete scaredy cat!). The writing was excellent and I felt drawn into a rich picture of Regency London.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down and found myself constantly thinking of it when I wasn't reading. I'm definitely going to buy and read the first two books in the series and can't wait for Logan and Emily's story in Tempted at Midnight. Definitely worth 5 stars.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

At the Bride Hunt Ball by Olivia Parker

Uninspiring Regency romance
3 Stars

Gabriel Devine, Duke of Wolverest doesn’t want or need a wife – so he decides that his younger brother should marry, thus securing the appropriate heir. He decides the best way to do this is to invite several young ladies to a house party that culminates in a ball where his brother will choose his new bride.

Madelyn Haywood is independent, spirited and manages to create a scandal wherever she goes. She has no idea why she has been chosen to attend the Bride Hunt Ball. However it’s not the younger brother that captures her attention but Gabriel himself. Despite knowing that it’s wrong – the pair can’t seem to stay away from each other.

As I started reading this book I honestly couldn’t understand the average reviews it received – it was a fairly interesting, if simple plot and the characters seemed both engaging and not stereotypical. Unfortunately, about half way through the book I started to wonder whether anything was actually going to happen and when the story would actually pick up and get going. By the end I was so bored and disinterested in the story and found myself rolling my eyes during the “romantic conclusion” which is never a good sign. There were also a good handful of Americanisms, which is irritating in a book supposedly set in Regency England.

The book never really got going which was a shame because I liked the writing style and it really had potential. It took me a while but I easily finished the book without skipping any parts and overall it wasn’t a terrible romantic story just a bit basic and uninspiring. 3 stars.