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.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

His Little Black Book by Heather MacAllister

Frustratingly bland short stories
3 stars

This is a collection of three short stories all based around one wrong text message sent by the boss of an advertising agency and the consequences of the text.

Text and the Single Girl
Junior copywriter Sophie Callahan is determined to move on up the corporate ladder so when she gets a text to attend a private party with the creative director of the ad agency she sees it as her great chance. But when she gets to the beach house she finds the party only consists of client Adrian Dean – what will they do to pass time when a hurricane strikes?

Neither Sophie or Adrian were particularly likeable characters – Sophie because she was too grasping and Adrian because he felt too weak. With that the story fell flat and I didn’t believe that the pair would ever have a happy ever after.

Text Appeal
On her way to the beach house party, Mia Weiss skids off the road in the hurricane only to be rescued by hottie, Kevin Powell. Mia has always been smart in love but Kevin makes her want to throw all her resolutions out the window and just wait out the storm in his bed.

This was a fair enough story but it wasn’t particularly exciting and it was obvious that Kevin and Mia’s attraction was purely physical for the vast majority of the story which is not great when you’re reading a romance.

Safe Text
Being assistant to a demanding boss is running Cammy ragged especially since she’s infatuated with him. But Gil, Cammy’s former partner has the perfect cure in mind and it involved changing her mind about the right man for her while the storm rages outside.

While being the best of the three stories, this one was let down as Cammy had given up three years of her life and a promising career due to her ‘love’ of her boss. Gil deserved a better woman.

For all the stories I didn’t like the fact that all the women were so hung up on or obsessed with Jonathon – the boss of the agency and the man who sent the original text. I know that without that fact the stories wouldn’t make sense but who can root for women who are so pathetic and delusional? Unfortunately this anthology is only worth 3 stars and even then I think I’m being quite generous.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

How To Marry A Duke by Vicky Dreilling

Mixed bag romance
3 stars

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is looking for a wife but all he finds are silly, simpering girls. So in order to make the best choice, he hires London’s respectable and proper matchmaker, Tessa Mansfield.

Tessa is determined to find a love match for the duke even if his criteria are a little more practical. So she invites 24 of the ton’s most beautiful women to compete in a scandalous competition for his hand. But then she breaks a matchmaker’s number one rule by falling in love with the groom.

This is Vicky Dreiling’s debut novel and overall it was a fairly enjoyable read. However it really didn’t present anything new or different from other romance books and I’m not sure I’ll actually remember much about it in a couple of weeks.

Tessa was an enjoyable character – independent and strong without being a cliché. Unfortunately all the other female characters were insipid dimwits that I couldn’t take to at all. I also liked Tristan – your typical rakish duke brought down by love but if I’m honest the pair had little chemistry and not enough heat or emotion to give you that ‘butterflies in your stomach’ feeling that you want when reading romance.

The story was a little disjointed and didn’t always flow. Towards the middle I wondered whether anything exciting was actually going to happen and the ending was so drawn out that I could have screamed! I felt that all the characters were ridiculously proper on occasion – probably correct to the time period but a little dull none the less. And the hugely devastating secret of Tessa’s turned out to be fairly tepid compared to other books I’ve read which was a little anticlimactic.

I actually enjoyed reading this book and it was never a chore to pick it up. It wasn’t overly exciting but if you’ve got it on your bookshelf then it’s worth a read. 3 stars.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win A Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean

Enjoyable romance and good end to the series
4 stars

Juliana Fiori may be the sister to a powerful Marquess but that doesn’t mean she’s a simpering English miss. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth as trouble and scandal seem to follow her wherever she goes and the ton delights in making her the subject of their gossip.

Simon Pearson, the Duke of Leighton doesn’t have room in his perfect, ordered life for scandal of any kind. He is too focussed on his reputation, title and keeping his secrets well hidden. But Juliana presents a temptation that he can’t quite resist and when she promises to show him passion – he might just find he’s not as above love as he first thought.

This is the third and final book in MacLean’s Love By Numbers trilogy and one that I’ve been very much looking forward to. I don’t suppose it needs to be read in order but I think you would understand more of the back story (and be aware of Juliana and Simon’s history) if you’ve read the first two books – Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake and Ten Ways To Be Adored When Landing A Lord.

From the first page I was hooked by this book. I loved Simon and Juliana from MacLean’s first two books and couldn’t wait for them to get their own story. Juliana was the feisty Italian that I came to expect and Simon was even more of the disdainful, arrogant duke than he first appeared.

The story kept me interested and I couldn’t put the book down. Until about the middle. Then, for some reason, I became a little disenchanted. Simon and Juliana seemed to be on a neverending cycle of her doing something scandalous, him being disdainful and neither of them ever bending, learning or changing. It picked up again towards the end and I liked the ending although, if I’m honest, I didn’t feel that I ever got to completely understand the characters, their love or their motivations.

I’ve still given this book 4 stars because I’ll admit that since I was so looking forward to this book it probably could never have lived up to my expectations. Add to that the fact that it could never beat the exceptional Nine Rules to Break… and I’ve probably given worse books more stars.

Overall I still really liked this book and would recommend it to someone who enjoys a good ol’ Regency romance. It’s well written, engaging and I’m sure you will enjoy it. I’ll also eagerly be waiting for MacLean’s next book and the start of The Fallen Angel’s series, A Rogue By Any Other Name.