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, 17 September 2011

Fool For Love by Eloisa James

Not particularly exciting
3 stars

Lady Henrietta Maclellan has always dreamt of having a London season and falling in love with and marrying the perfect man. However Henrietta cannot have children and so she contents herself with living in the country and resigns herself to a life of spinsterhood.

But then Simon Darby arrives in her sleepy little town and makes Henrietta long for stolen kisses, whispered words of longing and illicitly dangerous love notes. Soon the pair are inadvertently causing a scandal and although neither had planned it, each may be exactly what the other needs.

This had all the elements for the perfect story: an arrogant lord who is brought down by the love of a woman who is so far from what he expected yet perfect for him in every way. I so wanted to love this book but it really missed the mark for me.

I liked the premise of the story and at first I liked and was rooting for both Henrietta and Simon as they seemed to play off each other well. However it wasn’t long before my liking for both Simon and Henrietta took a turn for the worse. Simon was described as an elegantly perfect man who wore an astonishingly large amount of lace over his clothing including his red velvet suits. Despite the reason for the lace being explained away, the image of a man, any man, in a red velvet suit does not tend to make me giddy with lust! I could also understand Henrietta and was sympathetic to her plight however when she schemed to trap Simon into marriage simply to suit her selfish wants I really questioned her as leading lady material.

As well as the main story there was the story of Esme and her baby which, despite taking up a fair number of pages, was never resolved by the end of the book. There was also mutterings of Simon’s best friends Rees and his estranged wife and talk of a married Duchess who seemed to have been previously engaged to one of the other characters within the book. I now realise that this book is part of a series after Duchess in Love and before A Wild Pursuit and Your Wicked Ways although if I’m honest this book did little to make me want to read the rest.

Finally, the number of modern Americanisms in this book was truly appalling – babies 'spitting up' and people telling others to 'give over' were just two of the more memorable that had me shaking my head in annoyance. Then you have to add in the surprisingly frequent amount of spelling and grammar mistakes littered throughout the text as well as some baffling instances of repeated words.

I’ve read and very much enjoyed Eloisa James before but I would only recommend this book to avid fans or those reading The Duchess Quartet in order. It’s not truly terrible but it just didn’t grab or hold my attention to any degree. 3 stars.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Seduction of Scandal by Cathy Maxwell

Romance full of intrigue and deception
4 stars

Daughter of a duke, Lady Corinne, refuses to marry Lord Freddie Sherwin. He may be the catch of the season but he’s also a pig and Corinne only wants to marry a man she can love. So rather than face a life of misery she runs away. Only to find herself in the arms of notorious highwayman, Thorn.

Thorn is involved in a dangerous game – his identity is a mystery, his life a secret. Until Lady Corinne tumbles into his arms and turns his world upside down. If he wants her silence he must hide her until after her wedding day passes. But when passion flares it might be the most dangerous thing either has faced before or perhaps the start of a lifetime of adventure.

This is the fifth book in Maxwell’s Scandals and Seductions series after A Seduction at Christmas, The Earl Claims His Wife, The Marriage Ring and His Christmas Pleasure. Corinne briefly featured in the last book but apart from that the books stand very much alone and in this one at least, there are no appearances by the main characters from previous books.

From start to finish I really loved this book. It is full of intrigue and romance all the while maintaining the lightness that put me in mind of The Scarlet Pimpernel. However, the real highlight of the book for me had to be Thorn. When we first are introduced to him I was intrigued as to how he would fare as a romantic lead but he turns out to be a brooding, tortured and lonely man who desperately needs the love of a good woman. I liked Corinne too and together the pair had good chemistry. The writing was sharp and this is the kind of story you’re desperate to pick up again if you can manage to put it down in the first place.

My one negative about the book was the sheer number of typos. It drove me mad to see duplicated words, spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes on top of the smattering of Americanisms dotted throughout the book. I realise that this isn’t necessarily the fault of the author so it’s a shame that it affected my feelings about a book whose characters and storyline I otherwise very much enjoyed.

Having said that, if you like regency romances that you can get lost in and really root for the characters then I would very much recommend this book to you despite its faults. 4 stars.

Monday, 5 September 2011

For Love or Legacy by Ruth Cardello

Enjoyable second part of the trilogy

4 stars

Nicole Corisi will do anything to break the terms of her tyrannical late father’s will – even if it means pairing up with ruthless businessman Stephan Andrade to do it. But not only is Stephan her estranged brother’s rival but he’s also the man Nicole could never forget.

Stephan is one step away from ruining Dominic Corisi and taking back the legacy that was stolen from him years before. When Nicole walks back into his life he realises he can put a new spin on his revenge until he realises he might have to choose between reclaiming his legacy and the love he has found.

This is the second in the Legacy Trilogy after Maid for the Billionaire and before Bedding the Billionaire. You probably could read them on their own but it’s so much better if you read them in order so you know who’s who in the supporting characters and situations.

Although looking forward to this book I was wondering whether I would identify with Nicole as she seemed a bit snippy in the first book. I was glad to be proven wrong as she instantly came across as a real woman who had insecurities but a real strength about her. She was fun and likeable and a great foil for the delicious and broody Stephan. The pair also had good chemistry although I would have liked to see a little more action between the pair in the earlier stages!

The storyline was interesting and I was always keen to pick up the book and continue where I’d left off. The writing flowed and the style was very readable. The book also nicely set up Jake and Lil’s story which I’m very much looking forward to. And I have to make mention of the second last line of the book which I thought was so sweet and made me swoon!

Like with Maid for the Billionaire, I feel that this author shows exactly how Mills and Boon Modern/Harlequin Desire books should be written. Men who are powerful without being too arrogant and women that are strong enough to tame them. I am really enjoying Ruth Cardello’s books and would recommend you give her a try. 4 stars.