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, 29 November 2009

The Soldier by Rhonda Nelson

Entertaining and sexy romance
4 Stars

Being a soldier is in Adam McPherson’s blood until a horrific roadside bomb takes away part of his leg and his career. At home and injured, Adam knows he wants to get back into the army but doubts and fears haunt him.

Winnie Templeman has been in love with Adam for years and she’s determined to make sure he heals and she knows just how to go about it. Her sexual healing method is guaranteed to get Adam back on track but will it be enough to keep them together?

This book follows on from Letters From Home which dealt with Adam’s brother and Winnie’s best friend. It’s probably okay not to have read the first book but I do think that it might give you more background into the story if you have.

This story is very focussed on the developing relationship and love between Adam and Winnie. The pair are perfect for each other and I loved the relationship between them. There is plenty of heat in the story and it’s interesting, exciting and sexy.

Although the book deals with some real and serious issues, it never feels heavy or bogged down in melodrama. Rather it is a page turning, romantic story that will leave you with a smile on your face. 4 stars.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Power Play by Nancy Warren

Good, basic romance
3 Stars

For Emily Saunders being single is one thing. Being single at a family wedding is quite another – especially since her family are trying to set her up with the disgusting Buddy. As if that wasn’t enough, a hotel mishap means she has to share a room for the duration of the wedding.

Luckily for Emily, her roommate is hunky cop, Jonah Bett who’s in town for a hockey tournament. Despite all the other dramas (including an on the loose murderer), Emily can only think of one thing she’d like to do and it doesn’t involve leaving the hotel room.

This book is part of the Forbidden Fantasies series although if I’m honest there was little that was overly exciting or sexy about the story as a whole. It tries hard but doesn’t quite get there.

The characters were fine enough although I didn’t feel we ever really got to know them. Plus, I’m not really turned on by hairy men and Jonah is described as “hairier than necessary” which for me was a little off-putting. I gave him a mental shave and luckily it wasn’t mentioned overly much so I managed to live with it!

About half way through the book a second love story between Sadhu and Kirsten was introduced. These characters had little to do with the main plot and were, to my mind, completely pointless and unnecessary. It felt like complete filler and I just didn’t care about the pair.

Overall, I read this book with ease and it did hold my attention from beginning to end. Despite some faults, and the inclusion of the secondary love story, this was still a fun read that manages to take your mind off things for a while.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

More Blazing Bedtime Stories

Magical and sexy short stories
5 Stars

Following on from the success of the first collection of Blazing Bedtime Stories, this second book features two longer length short stories both featuring fairy tales for grown ups.

INTO THE WOODS by Julie Leto

Tatiana Starlingham is a frustrated fairy godmother, granting pampered princesses their deepest desires. Unfortunately, Tatiana’s own desires have never been fulfilled. That all changes when she meets delicious Jack St Cloud and finally has mind-blowing sex. But if Tatiana wants to keep her new, sexy life, she has to grant an impossible wish but may end up losing Jack in the process.

I really enjoyed this story and found it exciting, interesting and very sexy. It had the magic of a fairy tale with plenty of heat, romance and sex to make it good enough for the grown ups. I loved both Tatiana and Jack and they felt real despite the fantasy of the story. Overall a perfectly romantic bedtime read.

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Not long lost princess Penelope Mayfair especially since the wolf in question is Lucas Wolf – the darkest, sexiest man Penny has ever laid eyes on. Not only that but he’s giving her better sex than she could ever even have dreamed of! What Lucas hasn’t told her is that he’s there to bring her back to the fairytale land of her birth where she’s betrothed to another man. But Lucas is determined to keep her all for himself…

For those who read the first Blazing Bedtime Stories collection, this story features Lucas from Kelly’s ‘My, What A Big... You Have!’ but easily stands alone. It’s not a werewolf story but wild and dangerous enough to make it exciting with plenty of delightful sex. A fun plot and great characters make this another great read.

If you like some magical, sexy stories with plenty of romance then this book is definitely one I would recommend. The stories are long enough to get really into the stories which are both perfect to snuggle up with in the cold, dark, winter nights. 5 stars.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Kissing Santa Claus

Pretty standard Christmas romance anthology
3 Stars

Holly Berry hates everything to do with Christmas. So it’s no great joy to her when she inherits her mother’s Christmas shop in the small town where she grew up in and then left as soon as she was able. But her childhood crush Sean Gallagher is determined to make sure this is a Christmas season that Holly won’t soon forget.

This story lacked any sparkle, Christmas or otherwise. The plot was quite plodding, the characters lacking depth and the main focus of the story, a diary of secrets, was seemingly the prelude to another story by Kauffman. Disappointing.

BAH, HANDSOME! – Jill Shalvis
Hope O’Brien is struggling to keep her Colorado B&B in the black. She can’t afford to turn down any paying customers but when accountant Danny Shaw (who just happens to be the man who’s trying to put her out of business) turns up she might just change her mind. But the sparks that are flying aren’t out of anger so the B&B staff attempt a little holiday matchmaking.

This was an adorable story that kept my interest from beginning to end. I do love a sexy geek as a hero and Danny definitely was that. The couple had chemistry, there was humour and there was lots of snow. Not terribly Christmassy but it doesn’t matter when the story is as good as this one is.

Marissa just can’t believe her luck – all she wants is to leave Hawaii and head home to Philadelphia to enjoy some snow at Christmas yet she’s been the victim of two thefts and now can’t get a flight. The only person that can help her is police deputy Ted who is determined to show Marissa that Christmas doesn’t need snow to be perfect.

While I did enjoy this story, it didn’t really have any real excitement. The plot was predictable and quite unrealistic and the characters weren’t particularly endearing. It’s not a horrible story but not one I can really remember despite only finishing it a couple of days ago.

If you’re looking for some light, festive, sexy reads then this might be the book for you. For me, the Jill Shalvis story is excellent but I could take or leave the other two. 3 stars.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

All I Want by Isabel Sharpe

Readable if uninspiring story
3 Stars

Krista Marlow only wants two things for Christmas – a sexy man and a relationship that lasts longer than 30 days. She manages to get the first when, due to a reservation mix-up, she finds herself shacked up in a cosy cabin with her dream man.

Seth Wellington can’t believe his luck when he meets Krista. But he knows that should she discover his real identity then their affair will be over. So will this be the best Christmas present both have ever received or just another holiday fling?

This was, overall, an entertaining story if a little thin on excitement and drama. Both Krista and Seth were likeable enough characters if not ones I could either really relate to or wholly admire.

Like Krista, I did wonder at Seth keeping his identity a secret for such a long time. It just seemed like something that could have been worked out with a simple conversation and that kind of conflict in a story always bothers me a little.

Not hugely festive but a nice story to pass away an afternoon. 3 stars.

Santa, Honey

One great story and two stinkers
2 Stars

HO, HUMBUG, HO – Kate Angell
As community service for speeding in a school zone, hotshot baseball player Alex Boxer is stuck playing a mall Santa right before Christmas. It’s lucky he’s got cute little elf Holly McIntyre to keep him company.

I have read Kate Angell before and thought she was okay but this story read like a proposal rather than a finished story. There was absolutely zero emotional depth to the characters and I neither believed nor cared in their love.

Luke Carter thinks his luck is out when he’s taken hostage by a gun-wielding Santa on Christmas Eve. But when the Santa turns out to be desperate Jessie Jones, he realises his luck might be in after all.

This story was originally published in 1996 (in The Night Before Christmas) and it really doesn’t stand the test of time. The hero is said to be a Brad Pitt wannabe – only older and with a long ponytail. Not my kind of hero at all! The storyline was far fetched but when Janet Jackson showed up in the story I knew it was just too ridiculous for my tastes.

The only thing Casey is worried about over Christmas is the deadline for her newest interactive marketing campaign. That’s until her sister drags her up to a snowy lodge in the middle of nowhere that doesn’t have anything – not even electricity. Luckily for Casey there’s a sexy outdoorsman who’s happy to keep her warm for the holidays.

This is, hands down, the best story in this book and one that I actually very much enjoyed. Casey is such a likeable, realistic character and could barely put the book down as she and Matt fell in love. Sexy and sweet – a perfect, quick Christmas read.

Overall, this really isn’t an anthology I can recommend. The third story is a definite winner but the two quite terrible first stories really bring this book down. There are some much better Christmas romantic anthologies out there and I would think any of those would be a much more satisfying read. 2 stars and both of them are for the Joy Nash story.