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.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Destined to Last by Alissa Johnson

Light and fun romance
5 Stars

Lady Kate Cole is exceptionally talented, exceptionally beautiful and the darling of the ton. The only problem is that she is also exceptionally clumsy and so prone to accidents that many find it wise to stay as far away from her as possible.

But that doesn’t include Andrew Hunter. The strong, rugged man is barely a gentleman but he can’t help but be charmed by the delightful Kate. When he decides that she’d make the perfect wife his mind is made up. Only Kate won’t settle for anything less than a love match and Hunter doesn’t believe in love. Who will win in their battle of wills?

This is actually the fourth and last book in the Providence Series (after As Luck Would Have It, Tempting Fate and McAlistair’s Fortune) a fact I hadn’t realised when I started to read this book. Characters from the previous books featured and while it whet my appetite to read the previous books in the series, there’s no need to have read them in order to understand and enjoy this story.

And I really did enjoy it. Kate was a likeable character – pretty and sweet with enough oomph to make her someone we could really root for. As for Hunter – he’s my favourite type of hero – a rugged, sexy man who is barely a gentleman and in need of the love of a good woman. Together the pair were funny, sweet and had great chemistry.

The plot was fairly calm, focusing more on the relationship between Kate and Hunter than anything more adventurous. There was a sub plot concerning smugglers and Hunter’s line of work but that really was only a very minor secondary story.

I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed this story and the writing style of Alissa Johnson. I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in this series and would recommend this book for people looking for a light, enjoyable romance. 5 stars.

Monday, 27 December 2010

His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell

An entertaining, readable romance
4 stars

Abigail Montross has been waiting for the man of her dreams to propose for what seems like forever. But when he finally does propose – it’s to her cousin! But things keep getting worse for her as her father threatens to marry her off to a man twice her age with 13 children.

Baron de Vasconia, Andres Ramigio is in desperate need of money. Knowing of Abby’s dilemma, the pair hatch a plan to elope so she gets his protection and he gets her money. But the pair soon begin to realise that once they reveal each other’s secrets, there is nothing that can stop them from falling in love.

Despite the title, this book isn’t Christmassy at all despite the conclusion taking place on Christmas Day. As much as I like Christmas romances, I didn’t feel that the book tried to be a festive romance so I didn’t feel let down but the lack of Christmas content.

Both Andres and Abby are likeable characters and have a good chemistry together. I liked the way that Abby especially grew into a more confident woman and how the pair shared their dreams together and how they easily fell in love.

There were one or two jarring Americanisms which I am inclined to overlook simply because it’s rare to find a book that doesn’t have at least one. That said, it’s still very annoying in any book.

This book stands alone but the characters have been featured in previous books by Cathy Maxwell. Despite having read those romances, I couldn’t quite remember the back stories of the characters but it really made no difference to my enjoyment of this particular story.

Overall, this was a nice story to pass the time. It’s well written, enjoyable and the story really kept the pages turning. 4 stars.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Holiday Affair by Lisa Plumley

Fluffy and lackluster romance
2 Stars

Recently divorced and feeling a little overwhelmed by her life and the lives of her three kids, Karina Barrett accepts a job evaluating a Michegan B&B – The Christmas House. With free gingerbread, cocoa and enough Christmas spirit to move Scrooge – Karina is looking forward to the best Christmas she’s ever had especially when she meets sexy innkeeper, Reid Sullivan.

Globe-trotting adventurer turned single dad turned inn-keeper, Reid Sullivan isn’t quite sure how he and his two daughters ended up looking after his family’s Christmas themed B&B. But once he arrives and Karina catches his eye – he’s more than happy to stay warm inside with Karina by his side. But will it all last until New Year?

Who can resist a Christmas romance to snuggle up with when it’s cold outside? I have to say that I was really looking forward to this book and perhaps that’s the reason that I’m so disappointed.

Both Karina and Reid were nice enough characters but were fairly insubstantial and had little depth to them or their relationship. I don’t mind a sweet romance but there was no real emotion or oomph to go along with all the sweetness and fluff. I also would have liked a little more naughtiness in the book as it felt a little tepid in many parts.

The plot was fairly basic and nothing much happened apart from the mishaps at the B&B. This meant that when you put the book down there wasn’t much incentive to pick it up again and as it was it’s taken me ages to finish this book. The fact that I did manage to finish it is a point in it’s favour though. The ending was also very suspect – with the wrapping up of all the loose ends bordering on the ridiculous. I can suspend belief with the best of them but it just got farcical!

Perhaps I just didn’t feel I understood the main characters or perhaps the book was just a little too fluffy for me. Either way, I’m sorry to say that it’s not one I can really recommend. It was readable but not overly exciting in any way. 2 stars.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance

A good taster of Regency authors
4 stars

I’m always on the look out for enjoyable Regency romances but never want to try a new author’s full length book incase I don’t like the writing style. That’s why I was delighted to find this large anthology. At such a low price (£4 at the time of writing) I felt I couldn’t go wrong.

There are 23 stories in this book, all of them original to this collection so you can guarantee you won’t have read them anywhere else. There are offerings from well known authors such as Lorraine Heath, Candice Hern and Elizabeth Boyle as well as many from less the less well-known. Some stories are sexy and some are quite tame. Basically there’s something for everyone no matter what your taste.

Much like another reviewer, I also found it quite astonishing how good most of the stories in this anthology were. For being so short (each lasts roughly 30 pages), there were remarkably few that I couldn’t finish or didn’t enjoy.

I really liked quite a number of the stories in the book and will definitely be checking out longer length stories by a few of the authors. My standout stories were Upon a Midnight Clear by Anna Campbell, Cinders and Ashe by Elizabeth Boyle, Stolen by Emma Wildes and The Devil’s Bargain by Deborah Raleigh.

Overall, for the price, you get a really good selection of stories and even if you don’t enjoy them all, you’re bound to get find a few that take your fancy. This is a book I would definitely recommend. 4 stars.