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, 20 February 2011

Not Another Blind Date by Leslie Kelly, Janelle Denison & Jo Leigh

A good selection of Valentine’s stories
4 stars

This is Blaze’s annual collection of stories for Valentine’s Day all focusing on blind dates and what they can lead to.

SKIN DEEP by Janelle Denison
At a fancy dress party, good girl Jayne decides to give herself one night of craziness with a hot, bad boy. Jayne’s never enjoyed sex so hot but it was a one-time thing. Or so she thinks. When Jayne gets set up on a blind date with Brian she realises the Cupid has other ideas.

I really enjoyed this story as it was sweet and cute with some good heat running through it. Definitely the best of the book.

HOLD ON by Leslie Kelly
Shy Sarah Holt is enamoured with sexy Doctor Steve Wilshire but he doesn’t know she exists. So when a twist of fate allows Sarah to step in as Steve’s blind date she jumps at the chance and has the best night of her life. But will it last?

This was a good story if a little far-fetched. I liked the romance but I was surprised Steve wasn’t a little more angry when it came out who Sarah actually was which made the conclusion a little unbelievable for me.

Paige Callahan has just lost a big break for her job so it’s the icing on her crappy week when her ex-boyfriend sets her up for a blind date on Valentine’s Day. But things start to look up when she meets sexy, wealthy, Noah.

I could barely finish this story as it was ridiculous – what ex-boyfriend, described as careless and thoughtless, would set his ex up on a Valentine’s date and what girl would accept? It was also boring and the ending was forced and unbelievable.

Overall, there are two good stories in this anthology and one that didn’t do it for me at all. Despite the bad story I’m still going to go with 4 stars as even if you’re not a fan of Valentine’s Day this anthology is worth a read if you get the chance.

Turn Up The Heat by Isabel Sharpe

Average romantic read
3 Stars

It’s been a year since party planner Candy Graham was dumped by her ex and her friends think it’s about time she gets back in the dating game. So they sign her up for a dating site with not one but four e-profiles to give her a chance to see all different sides of herself.

Writer, Justin Case, has to make an effort in the town he’s just moved to – and that means signing up for a dating site. But it’s neighbour Candy who is ticking all his boxes for an ideal date. But when he discovers she’s got 4 different dating profiles on the site then things are going to get complicated.

This was an average romantic read and one that centres around Valentine’s Day. Candy was, despite her name, a likeable character and one I was surprised I could like. Justin, too, was nice enough and I liked him and both as a pair. Neither were particularly memorable and I didn’t feel huge chemistry between them so ‘nice’ is the perfect word.

The plot was okay but I did feel it was a little bit silly and juvenile at times. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the characters and getting them to admit that they liked each other. I understand there was supposed to be distrust over each other’s motives but it was nothing that a decent conversation wouldn’t have sorted out.

Added to that was the fact that both characters, Candy in particular, were still caught up on their exes. There was so much boo hooing about losing the love of their lives that it had me rolling my eyes. I want to read about the romance of the couple, not about the people who have dumped them!

Overall, this is an average read that I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend. I finished it and enjoyed it for what it was but I can’t give it more than 3 stars, I’m afraid.

Friday, 11 February 2011

When Harry Met Molly by Keiran Kramer

Well written but un-engaging romance
2 Stars

Lady Molly Fairbanks and Lord Harry Traemore have known each other since they were children – and have been enemies for just as long.

When Harry finds himself part of a wager to find the most delectable companion he’s sure to win. But when his current mistress runs off his only option is to get Molly to stand in as his false mistress. But with more at stake than the wager – who will win in this battle of the heart?

I picked this book in spite of its gimmicky title and I should have paid more attention to that because that cutesy, silliness is a key feature of this book. It’s very light and has a very unbelievable plot. That’s not a problem if you’re happy to suspend belief but if you’re looking for historical accuracy then you’ll be disappointed by this book.

The characters went from displaying some depth of emotion to being ridiculously flighty within the space of a sentence which frustrated me no end. I’m all for both seriousness and fun in a novel but it bounced around too much for my liking. There was also the inconsistencies and fickleness of any emotions from the characters, especially Molly. In one breath she liked Harry, then she despised him, then she loved him, then she could never love a man like him etc etc. It grew tiring quite quickly and made me unmoved by her as a character and of her ‘love’ for Harry.

Harry was also a little bit all over the place. He was the second son of a duke but also a rake. Fair enough but surely his gentlemanly instincts wouldn’t have let Molly get into many of the situations that presented themselves during the house party.

I finished the book and was interested in where the story would go but I was ultimately disappointed. It was readable and I enjoyed the writing but the story and characters weren’t engaging and as a result I don’t feel I can recommend the book. 2 stars.

This is the first book in the Impossible Bachelors series.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

With This Fling by Kelly Hunter

Pleasant enough romance for a new series
3 stars

Hot shot archaeologist and socialite Charlotte Greenstone’s fiancĂ© is the perfect man – sexy, fun, confident, kind, absent… and fictional. When he gets a little too problematic and her colleagues start to ask questions Charlotte has no problem killing him off.

So when a misunderstanding leads to the arrival of sexy Greyson Tyler – a man who very inconveniently looks exactly like her fictional fiancĂ© – what’s a girl to do but enjoy every moment of him?

This is one of the first books of a new Mills and Boon series and the first of the line that I’ve read. These books are billed as sparky and sassy and perfect for every kind of passionaista.

I admit that it took me a couple of chapters to get into this story. The writing style was quite fast paced, choppy, light and took a little getting used to. Once the story got started I really got into it and found that by the end I was very much enjoying it.

Both Charlotte and Grey were likeable characters if perhaps not very relatable. They had good chemistry although neither their interactions nor the story as a whole had particular depth.

I would say that this kind of book appears to be a mix between the Modern and Blaze lines. It’s a little bit more sexy than Modern but not as much as Blaze and has Blaze’s typical feisty, sassy heroine.

Overall I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It was light and not without its faults but I’ll probably be on the look out for other books in the Riva line in the future. 3 stars.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Claiming His Wedding Night by Lee Wilkinson

Readable modern romance
3 stars

Perdita Boyd has one chance to save her father’s ailing business and there’s only one man that can help her do it. Unfortunately, that one man is Jared Dangerfield – the sexy, dangerous man who also happens to be her estranged husband.

Married in a secret ceremony, Jared and Perdita were young and in love. But when Jared seemingly betrayed Perdita on their wedding night, she left and managed to stay hidden for three years. But now Jared’s back and ready to take his revenge and ensure he gets the wedding night he’s due.

I liked the premise for this book as I always like a ‘second chance at love’ story. Being part of the Modern Mills & Boon line, I was expecting the strong, ruthless man and a woman perfect for him. However there were times that I thought that Perdita was a little too weak and almost pathetic compared to Jared. With his strong, domineering ways it would have been nice to see her match him rather than sometimes come across as bending to his will. It wasn’t all the time but it irked me a little!

Overall the plot is quite basic but easy to understand and perfectly believable for the most part. It’s not demanding and I enjoyed reading about Perdita and Jared and the evolving love story up to the inevitable conclusion. I would have liked the ending to be a little bit more fleshed out with perhaps an epilogue but it was satisfying nonetheless.

If you’re looking for an enjoyable, readable Modern romance story that takes you away for a couple of hours then I would recommend this book to you. It’s not earth shattering but I enjoyed it and it did the job. 3 stars.