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, 28 February 2010

As an Earl Desires by Lorraine Heath

Delightful love story
5 stars

Archibald Warner was a simple teacher until a death elevated him to the new Earl of Sachse. With the rules of the ton overwhelming him, Arch is glad to have Camilla, the former Earl’s young widow to help tutor him through the pitfalls of high society and help find him the perfect bride.

But Arch is convinced that he has found the perfect bride in Camilla. He seduces her with his kisses and tempts her with his touch yet she still resists his advances. When Camilla’s past comes to light and Arch uncovers the secrets that haunt her eyes, he must make a decision that will change their lives forever.

I have enjoyed Lorraine Heath’s books before and this book just reminded me of what a good storyteller she is. As seems to be the norm for Heath, the book is very character driven with the main story being about how Arch and Camilla interact with each other and fall in love.

The love story is very emotional and I just adored both Arch and Camilla. Arch is a wonderful hero – determined to do the right thing while battling his desires for Camilla. Camilla herself was the standout character for me as she was both strong willed while also being so vulnerable and in need of the love of a good man. Together the pair are perfect for each other and the ending, or more importantly the epilogue, is just dreamy!

This book is the first in a trilogy (coming before A Matter of Temptation and Promise Me Forever) but apparently both Arch and Camilla first appeared in Heath’s Love With A Scandalous Lord. The books do appear to all stand alone though so there’s no need to read them in order.

Overall this is a really well written, emotional and satisfying love story that I’m sure you will really enjoy. Definitely worth 5 stars.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Seduction by the Book by Stephanie Bond

Short quickie romances
3 Stars

The four stories in this anthology focus on four women who take their favourite stories they’ve read in their erotic book club in order to seduce the men of their dreams.

Cassie Godwin still lusts after her ex-boyfriend, Mark Shapiro, who dumped her over 6 months ago. After telling her he ‘just wasn’t that into her’, Cassie is determined to make the man eat his words.

This was a cute story and while both Cassie and Mark were both likeable, I couldn’t really get over the fact that Mark had initially dumped Cassie because she wouldn’t go to bed with him.

Admin assistant, Page Sharpe, has been in love with her boss, Richard Armstrong for 5 years and it’s high time she made her move. Taking her cue from Venus in Furs, Page manages to show Richard who is really boss.

If I’m honest, I really couldn’t get into this story. I’m happy to read about sexual  submission but when mousy Page turned Richard into a pathetic, wimpy man, I just couldn’t see why I was supposed to route for the pair.

When wild child Wendy Trainer realised she was in love with her best friend, she needed to plan his seduction. Worried he might not believe her capable of settling down, she invents a pretend boyfriend and asks Nate Betram to help plan the seduction hoping to make him jealous enough to make his move.

I love stories where best friends fall in love and because of their shared history, this one felt real and complete. Wendy and Nate were perfect for each other and this was definitely the best story of the anthology for me.

Jacqueline Mays has always longed to find someone that she could indulge her bondage fantasies with. When she is tasked with auditing the accounts of celebrity chef, Elliot Nicholson, she is sure she’s found her man.

This was an okay story that focussed more on spanking than on heavy bondage. I could get behind the way the couple met and interacted but the story was much too short for any real emotion to come through.

With four stories covered in this book, each one only lasts about 50 pages. While this makes them perfect for a quick read, it does take away from the characterisation, back story and emotional connection. Stephanie Bond is still a great storyteller and although it’s not her best book, if you’re looking for some quick and fun reads then this is a good choice. 3 stars. This book is followed by the e-book Too Hot to Print and the longer length story Her Sexy Valentine.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Private Confessions by Lori Borill

Pretty standard romance
3 stars

Experience has taught sexy ad-exec and agency boss, Logan Moore, to be careful when it come to affairs of the heart. That’s why his spicy online romance with Scorpio63 is perfect. He gets steamy, anonymous encounters and takes his mind off the secret urge he gets for Trisha every day in the office.

For Trisha, virtual sex with Pisces47 is so sinfully good that it leaves her hungrier for the good, old-fashioned kind with Logan Moore, her unattainable boss. But a chance remark from him makes him wonder whether there’s much difference between fantasy and reality.

This is the debut novel by Lori Borrill and while it’s interesting and pleasant, it is a little standard and by the book.

There’s the main romance between Logan and Trisha which is fine but a little lacking in emotion and sparkle. Neither character felt particularly well drawn out and while I liked them, they were, all in all, forgettable.

Then there was the obligatory secondary romance which bored the socks off me. Trisha’s best friend and Logan’s best friend battling with their fledging relationship and finding out they’re going to be parents was not exciting at all and not something I wanted to read about.

Overall, if you have this book or see it in the library then it’s worth a read but it’s really nothing special and not one I would take pains to recommend. 3 stars.

Her Sexy Valentine by Stephanie Bond

Fun and clever Valentine romance
4 stars

Carol Snow is dedicated to her job and would much rather get her heart rate up with a dirty book than with a messy, real-life romance.

But that doesn’t stop her form being tempted by her exasperating, charming and ruggedly sexy co-worker, Luke Chancellor. But when he asks for a real date, she runs like hell…

And finds herself reliving the exact same day complete with Luke and some sizzling hot sex.

Carol’s happy to take the perks of reliving the day but she soon realises she wants more than multiple one night stands. But how can she manage to stop reliving the day and wake up with Luke the next morning?

This is the sequel to Bond’s Seduction by the Book and her e-novella Too Hot To Print. I hadn’t read either of those books when I read this one and it made no difference so this book stands nicely alone.

I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, witty, sweet and sexy. You do have to suspend belief for a while because the plot mixes reality and fantasy but it’s still believable and really makes the story.

I liked both Carol and Luke and thought they had excellent chemistry together. Carol, especially, was a really sympathetic character and someone I could understand and cheer for.

There were only a couple of things that stopped this book from getting the whole 5 stars. Firstly, because the same scenes were played over and over, it was very odd to be reading the same paragraphs as you’d just read. Not that they weren’t slightly different each time but it was still strange! The other was that I really could have done with an epilogue to see the couple in the future especially because Carol was so reluctant to form a relationship.

This is still a very good, very well written and clever Blaze romance. 4 stars.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Moonstruck by Julie Kenner

Enjoyable New Year romance
4 Stars

Claire Daniels is dateless on New Year’s Eve and not happy about it. When she sees her ex boyfriend with a new woman just as midnight strikes she grabs the nearest man to her and kisses him instead. Only, he doesn’t want to stop at just one kiss…

It turns out that the man Claire kissed is none other than Ty Coleman – club owner, multi-millionaire and the biggest, and sexiest, playboy in Dallas. Claire is happy to start her New Year with a bang but Ty is leaving in 2 months and it’s all fun and games until someone loses their heart.

This books follows on from Kenner’s Christmas romance, Starstruck, although it completely stands alone.

The book itself is well written and kept my interest throughout. The characters of Ty and Claire were both likeable and had good chemistry meaning that the sex scenes were nicely hot like you would expect from a Blaze romance. I could have done with a bit more emotional attachment and conflict. Although there was the necessary obstacle for the pair to overcome to make sure they could have their happily ever after, it wasn’t really something that couldn’t easily be solved making the conflict quite weak.

Overall, this was an easy book to read and a sweet, romantic story. If you’re looking for something quick to read on a cold night then I would recommend this to you. 4 stars.

Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl

A great end to the Tumble Creek series
4 Stars

Office manager Jane Morgan is happy with her sedate and proper life. Having endured a difficult childhood, she’s managed to leave her past behind her and become a professional and prim woman. All that changes the moment that William Chase walks into the office. Big and sexy with tattoos covering his impressive biceps, Chase is exactly the kind of man that Jane promised herself she would avoid.

Jane isn’t Chase’s usual type either but there’s something about her that just makes him want to ruffle her feathers. When Jane agrees to one explosive date, Chase is thrilled. But he soon realises that she’s not all she seems and realises they could be perfect for each other – if only he can get her to agree.

This is the third and last of Dahl’s Tumble Creek series after Talk Me Down and Start Me Up. While the characters from those books do make brief appearances in this one, it easily stands on its own so you don’t have to have read the first two to understand and enjoy this one.

I have enjoyed the Tumble Creek series although if I’m honest I thought this was the weakest of the three. There was the usual wit, romance, heat and sex but I just felt that there wasn’t the same sparkle as with the first two books.

Chase is a great hero – who doesn’t want a big, strong man with a heart of gold? Jane was also a good character and although I did feel sympathetic towards her, I did feel that it took her too long to get her stuff together. The way she continually dismissed Chase because of his appearance did make me wonder why he stuck around at times!

In the end though, this is still a fun and very engaging story. If you like your romance with a little bit extra then I would recommend this and the first two books in the Tumble Creek series to you. 4 stars.

Sexy Ms. Takes by Jo Leigh

Simple and sweet set of stories
3 Stars

This book is part of the Blaze Encounters series whereby a single author writes three, sexy short stories all around the same event or theme.

In this case, each of the heroines are aiming to get to a New York casting audition for a huge broadway play.

Actress Bella Lacarie is sure that she’ll get the part in the new play but instead finds herself kidnapped at gunpoint and imprisoned in a basement. Luckily for her, hunky detective John Greco is trapped there with her.

This story was head-shakingly unbelievable and the Italian family stereotypes did nothing for me. The romance was flimsy and I want more of a happily ever after than there seemed to be.

Dancer Willow Hill needs to land her audition so she can start to make something of her life. Instead she gets knocked over on the street and damages her leg. When she’s confined to bed, she’s very happy that Dr Flynn Bradshaw is on hand to make her feel better.

This was a cute story and I really liked both Willow and Flynn. Their romance was sweet although I could have done with an epilogue or some more information about their ending.

Singer Maggie Trent is on the way to the audition of her life when she gets a call from her best friend Colin Griffith asking for her help. Maggie would do anything for Colin but now all she wants is for him to realise that she’s in love with him.

This was a good read and another sweet story, I could have done without the references to British pop culture (as if trying to prove that the character was genuinely British) but I liked the romance and the ending.

All in all this isn’t a book that I would go out of my way to read again. It was easy to read, sweet and the writing was engaging and well done but none of the characters or stories were outstanding. If you’ve only got a few hours or want something quick and simple then I think you’ll still enjoy this book. 3 stars.