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, 17 July 2009

Sand, Sun...Seduction

Sexy and sultry summer romance
5 Stars

ENTICED by Stephanie Bond
Attorney Kimber Karlton is having a stressful time. She’s missed her flight to her romantic getaway and now she has to take a chartered plane with rugged rogue and sex god, Finn Meyers.

This was a fun, likeable story with great characters and some real emotion. It really made me smile and was the perfect summer read.

After her messy divorce from her cheating ex, Liz Talbot finds herself tending bar in gorgeous St Lucia and loving it. That is until millionaire Jack Beaumont tracks her down and tempts her with a proposition she isn’t sure she can refuse.

Like the first story, this was a summery, sweet and exciting read with great characters, hot sex and the perfect ending.

FEVERED by Lori Wilde
Journalist Macy Gatwick is determined to get a promotion by getting the story of the year. She just needs to find Armando Cutler and find out why the corporate whiz suddenly left his job and exiled himself in Costa Rica. But getting stuck with the gorgeous man in a cabin during a tropical storm makes her change her priorities.

This was the weakest story of the three, for me, yet it was still a good read with interesting characters, good dialogue and a sultry setting.

You rarely get a romance anthology where all the stories are strong and enjoyable but they definitely are both in this book. The settings will transport you to hot, sensuous places while the romance will make you sigh. This is the perfect book for a summer read and one I would recommend. 5 stars.

Monday, 13 July 2009

For Blackmail... or Pleasure by Robyn Grady

Unlikeable characters ruin romance
2 stars

Multimillionaire Tate Bridges isn't about to let his younger brother go to jail for a crime he's convinced he didn't commit. So he does the only thing he can think of to stop that happening - blackmail psychologist Donna Wilks into giving his brother a good court psychology assessment.

As it happens, Donna is his ex-fiance and the only woman Tate has ever loved and he's desperate to rekindle the passion that still simmers between them. But have things changed since they broke up or are they destined to keep repeating their previous mistakes?

I really enjoy second-time-round love stories so I was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, despite the good premise, the characters really let the book down. Tate was controlling, arrogant and his domination of the heroine and everyone else in his life made for some quite uncomfortable reading at times. Donna was the complete opposite and despite being packaged as a strong, successful business-woman she was pathetically wimpy and never once stood up to Tate or said no to his demands and manipulations.

All in all, this is a simple story that would do if it's the only thing you have to read but other than that I really can't recommend this book. 2 stars.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Four Dukes and a Devil

Slightly lacklustre romance anthology
3 Stars

THE IRISH DUKE by Cathy Maxwell
Pretty Susan Rogers is a 26 year old spinster who helps the young ladies of the ton find suitable husbands – so long as they are not Irish Dukes. So who should appear at the beginning of the season to find a wife but an Irish Duke, Roan Gillray, who seems to have set his sights on Susan herself.

This was a sweet story but lacked believability due to the short length. It was still an enjoyable, well-written story that will make you smile.

Gray Gilliam has come to sleepy Wellfleet, Massachusetts to spend a summer changing her life. But that’s before she goes skinny dipping, a dog called Duke steals her clothes and her hot neighbour, Sam Gregory, sees her stark naked!

This was a good, fun-loving story with good characters and a cute dog. I couldn’t really decide the purpose of the ghost in the story but apart from that I enjoyed it.

DEVIL TO PAY by Jeaniene Frost
Blake Turner has been possessed by an evil demon and the only way to get rid of it is to die. But now he’s met gorgeous vampire Elise, he suddenly realises he desperately wants to live.

I am really not into vampire/demon stories and this one didn’t change my mind. It was interesting with a good ending but it really wasn’t a romance story.

When John Varick, Duke of Beaufort nearly runs down Miss Victoria Givan in the middle of a country road, he has no idea that by offering her and her teenage charges a lift to their destination, he might be risking his bachelor status.

I enjoyed this story and the characters in it but towards the end the story started to brim with characters from previous Nash books. Having never read her before, I found this annoying and spoiled the story for me somewhat.

CHARMED BY HER SMILE by Tracy Anne Warren
Miss India Byron is being plagued by the unwanted attentions of a rather insipid suitor. So she enlists the help of Quentin Marlowe, Duke of Weybridge to pretend to pursue her in the hopes of deterring the love-struck lad. But is it really pretend after all?

I could have lived with the tried and true plot if it had a little magic but it was actually quite bland and boring. I also didn’t believe that it was anything more than infatuation and lust between the couple. Disappointing.

The good thing about this anthology is that it has a wide selection of very different types of story. Unfortunately, personally I didn’t find any of the stories particularly thrilling and although a few of them were fairly interesting, I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to read any of the stories again in a hurry. 3 stars.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Bending The Rules by Susan Andersen

Another fabulous romance
5 stars

Tall, dark and sinfully delicious Detective Jason de Sanges is Poppy Calloway’s sheik fantasy come to life. Unfortunately, he’s also the man who’s been told to help out with Poppy’s programme to help some delinquent teens who’ve been caught spray-painting their Seattle neighbourhood. He’s not happy about it and boy does it show.

The men in Jase’s family were always on the wrong side of the law and he is determined not to give in to his baser instincts. However he can’t seem to stay away from sexy, free-spirited Poppy and she’s wearing him down with every step he takes.

This is the second in Susan Andersen’s Sisterhood Diaries trilogy that follows three friends, Jane, Poppy and Ava. This book does stand alone although I would still recommend Jane’s story in the first book in the series Cutting Loose.

There are lots of characters in the book and although we do focus on more than just the main couple, it’s definitely Poppy and Jase that capture your attention. Jase is such a man’s man – sexy, dangerous and tough but with a real need for the love of a good woman. Poppy is a real woman to aspire to. She’s sweet, feisty, loyal and perfect for Jason. The pair had chemistry to make your stomach flip over and the whole book was sexy, fun and upbeat.

There is a slight suspense element to this book but it isn’t the whole point to the story and it’s not scary or violent.

Susan Anderson always manages to write books that really make you feel good. There are wonderful characters, hot sex and a great plot and this book is no exception. Definitely recommended and worth 5 stars.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Disappointing summer anthology
2 Stars

THE GUY DIET by Thea Devine
Food columnist Lo Cavallera has decided that it’s time to give up men. Unfortunately newspaper editor Jed Costigan has plans to change her mind.

Written in first person and also third person, this is a terribly written, pretentious and cringe-worthy story with a shallow, distasteful heroine and a lackluster hero. It wasn’t hot – just juvenile and crude. Embarrassingly bad.

LIGHT MY FIRE by Debbi Rawlins
Marketing guru Jordan Samms has been ordered to take a break from her hectic life. She decides to take a wilderness vacation where hunky tour guide Zach Wilde might just take her mind off her work.

A pretty stereotypical story of high flying city girl stuck in the wilderness. While being fairly well written – unfortunately the heroine was sarcastic, spoiled and deserved a good slap of reality. The hero could do so much better which isn’t ideal in a romance.

NO RESERVATIONS by Samantha Hunter
Edie Stevens is shocked when she gets to her holiday cottage by the ocean only to find it occupied by gorgeous Joel Roberts because of a mix-up with the dates. They plan to steer clear of each other but they didn’t count on their sizzling chemistry.

It isn’t the most interesting story I have ever read but this was still a sweet, enjoyable tale with likeable characters and a good, solid romance. Easily the best story of the bunch.

This is supposed to be an anthology of stories that are hot and perfect for summertime reading. Unfortunately, the first two stories are mind-numbingly bad and despite the sweet warmth of Samantha Hunter’s tale, it just isn’t good enough to make this book one I would recommend. There are much better anthologies out there that I think would be a more satisfying read. 2 stars.