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, 22 March 2012

Ex on the Beach by Lisa Scott

A likeable short story 

3 stars

It’s been 1 year since Heather was dumped by her fiance just 2 weeks before their wedding. It’s taken her the whole year but she’s beginning to think that she might just be over him.

But then, during a family reunion at the beach, who should she bump into but Nick, her ex. The spark is still there but even with the help of some meddling relatives, will the pair be able to get past old hurts and rekindle their love?

This is a short story that’s just under 40 pages and was free at the time I downloaded it. Being so short, there’s not much character development and I think I would have liked the story much better if it had just been a little bit longer.

Having said that, the writing is good and I read it easily from beginning to end in about 25 minutes. I could have loved both characters but they both made choices that I didn’t much like and their chemistry didn’t quite sizzle for me. 

Again due to the short nature of the book, the ending came quickly and felt rushed. Overall this was a nice little story that, having picked it up for free, was worth a read if you have it on your kindle.

Midnight Fantasies by Various

Fairly sub-standard romance anthology
2 Stars

Mystery Lover - Vicki Lewis Thompson
When an unexpected storm hits, rancher Jonas takes shelter in a nearby cave. But he’s not alone and soon finds himself seduced by a mystery lady who refuses to tell him her identity. It’s the best sex of his life so it’s a shame he doesn’t know who it’s with - or does he?

This story was okay but really nothing special. I couldn’t take to B.J. (or her eye-rolly name) as she was just too much of a wimp. Jonas, however, was much worse. He was very proud of his sleeping around and I just had no idea why anyone would want to be with him. Not the best basis for a romance, unfortunately.

After Hours - Stephanie Bond

Michael Pierce has always seen costume shop owner, Rebecca, as a quiet wallflower. But all that changes when he goes over after hours and sees her dressing up as a sexy vampire. Suddenly he wants to know her a whole lot better...

I couldn’t really take to this story, either. Both Michael and Rebecca were just weeks out of very serious relationships and from the get go you could hardly expect either to be in a place to start looking for love again. I also didn’t particularly like the thought that Michael only started to like Rebecca once he’d realised she wasn’t mousy in the looks department.

Show and Tell - Kimberly Raye
When bad boy Dallas Jericho finds a piece of paper left over from a lingerie party that details someone’s fantasy with him, he’s intrigued. But when he finds out he’s been starring in good girl Laney Merriweather’s dreams he just has to show her what she’s been missing.

I liked this story of two people who were at odds with each other but secretly desired each other. It was cute and I especially like bad boy Dallas. As the story went on, however, Laney started to grate on me. She went on and on about keeping her reputation that in the end I wondered if Dallas (another daft name, in my opinion) didn’t deserve someone better.

Overall this wasn’t the best anthology that I have read. None of the stories grabbed my attention and I just couldn’t like a lot of the characters which is key in a romance. I’ll give the book 2 stars because I at least finished it but I didn’t like it and I really can’t recommend it, I’m afraid.

In the Mood by Ellen Fisher

Bland and uninspiring short story
1 star

Jude Patterson is a cute and shy romance novelist who’s more at home with his historical romances than the contemporaries he’s trying to write. And that includes his love scenes which tend to be on the flowery side.

When a beautiful fan, Alyssa Stone, offers to help him write better love scenes, Jude jumps at the chance. But now he has to write a happy ending as well as make sure he gets one for himself.

I liked the premise of this short story and, at the start with the introduction of Jude, I started to enjoy it. But then along came Alyssa and the story took a major nosedive.

Alyssa was such an unlikeable character that I just couldn’t root for her in any way, shape or form. She wasn’t relatable and her attitude towards Jude was horrible. I wondered why Jude even liked her but the descriptions made it clear that it wasn’t for her winning personality. Even when the reasons behind her behaviour were revealed, I couldn’t drum up any sympathy for her as it seemed so far fetched and ridiculous.

Together, Jude and Alyssa had little chemistry and the story plodded along without much happening of interest. By the end, while I did finish it, I was extremely bored and had little interest in the love story or how it ended up.

Lots of people seemed to enjoy this story but I’m afraid it just wasn’t for me. At least it was free when I downloaded it but even then I really can’t recommend it.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bring It On by Kira Sinclair

A fun and seductive Blaze romance
4 stars

With her wedding ruined, graphic designer Lena Fuller decides to escape the resulting chaos by taking off on her honeymoon with her best friend, filmmaker Colt Douglas.

But when they arrive at the adult’s only resort they realise that Lena’s ex set up a week long photoshoot to help showcase the resort’s business. With each photoshoot becoming more and more steamy, the pair soon begin to wonder if faking it is all it’s cracked up to be? And after the week is over will they be able to forget?

This is the first in a new series by Sinclair called Island Nights that focus on the adult’s only resort in the Caribbean, Escape. After this one comes Take It Down and then Rub It In.

I very much enjoyed this book with its lush scenes and steamy encounters. The characters are sympathetic and I liked both their interactions with each other as well as their chemistry. The sex scenes are nicely hot - perfect for a Blaze - and the whole storyline was fun and frivolous.

This book was exactly what I would expect from a Blaze and I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in the series - the characters of which we meet briefly in this story. If you are looking for a little escapism in a hot and sultry setting and a quick and easy read then you can’t go wrong with this book.

Lady Sophie's Midnight Seduction by Dorothy McFalls

A quickie erotic encounter
4 stars

Lady Sophie is a self avowed spinster and happy with her lot in life. But ever since her father’s death she has had to deal with his heir - Lord Benton Black who is determined to make her his wife.

Lord Benton-Black confuses and confounds Sophie but when he begins to haunt her dreams she realises she must confront him - and her true feelings.

This was a short story that I counted at around 35 pages long so will only take you about 20 minutes from beginning to end.

Despite its short length I decided I liked the main characters and their relationship with each other. This was an erotic story and while it was steamy - it really didn’t sizzle or heat up the pages overly much.

Having said that, the writing was fun (any book that features the word ‘zounds!’ gets points from me!) and I liked the characters, their interactions and the conclusion.

For a short, historical story that’s not too expensive, you can’t go wrong with this one. 4 stars.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Once Upon A Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare

A fun and feisty Regency romp
5 stars

Violet Winterbottom is getting over heartbreak at Spindle Cove - a retreat/refuge for women tucked away from the prying eyes of the Ton. She’s quiet, sweet and intelligent - hardly the type to have men falling at her feet.

Until one night during the Spindle Cove Christmas ball when a dashing stranger does just that. He’s dirty, soaked, bleeding and speaking in a language only Violet understands. A sensible girl would stay well clear. But Violet’s not as delicate as she looks and has just one night to find out his secrets that might lead her to the love, and adventure, of a lifetime.


This novella is a short story that is part of Dare’s Spindle Cove series. This story follows A Night to Surrender and comes before A Week to be Wicked. I’ve not read either and found that this story was an intriguing insight into the series and didn’t need to be read in order to be understood.

The characters in this story were great. Violet was a quiet girl but didn’t fall into the cliche of being shy with it. She was feisty, honest and bold - I really liked her. Equally, the hero was everything I like in a leading man - brooding, mysterious and willing to sacrifice anything for the woman he loves. The pair had great chemistry and I really liked them as a couple.

This is an implausible, fun and feisty romp with characters I really enjoyed and an almost farcical, fast-paced storyline that was a delight from start to finish. It will only take you a little while to read, but the price is right and the story is a great way to spend an hour or so. If you’re a fan of Tessa Dare or just looking for a light and frothy tale to take your mind off things for a while then I would recommend this to you. 5 stars.

Love Letters by Lori Brighton

Two short Regency romances
3 stars

This book contains two short, unconnected stories where love letters play a part in bringing the hero and heroine together.

The Art of Seduction
All Clara Cameron wants to do is escape from the clutches of the horrible man her family are forcing her to wed. To do so she needs money which is how she finds herself agreeing to pose nude for artist, Brendan Evans - the man she once loved. Will Brendan recognise her and will their session lead to a happily ever after?

I liked the premise of this story although I wasn’t completely in love with Brendan. I suppose he wasn’t supposed to be your usual hero but he didn’t really capture me to any great degree. I liked Clara and admired her for trying to get away from her situation in life. The pair had good chemistry although I didn’t feel much spark during the love scenes. I also thought that there was a gaping plot hole when it was discovered that Brendan’s sister had been writing letters to him about Clara. Overall still a likeable and readable story.

Meant for Me
Cynthia Shaw is the poor relation living on the charity of her wicked aunt and cousin. She’s also the person that’s been replying to Gabriel Baston’s letters pretending to be her cousin - and his fiance. When the pair meet there are misunderstandings and mistaken identities - will Gabriel find out who he truly loves before it’s too late?

In this story the heroine was strong despite her difficult position in life and I liked her character and her spirit. Unfortunately the hero was a little bit of an idiot although I suppose I can’t blame him for being confused by all the machinations going on around him - I just wanted him to be a bit more aware! The story was cute but I have read a very similar story before which lessened my enjoyment somewhat.


Overall these were a readable and likeable set of stories. There were a couple of glaring typographical errors which always irritate and annoy me but the writing was still good and the stories were finished quickly. I debated between 3 and 4 stars for these stories but, despite having enjoyed them, there just wasn’t enough spark for me to give them higher than 3 stars, I’m afraid. Having said that, this book is currently (at the time of writing) free from the Kindle store and you certainly can’t go wrong with that!

The Headmaster's Confession by Laurel Bennett

A short, fun and sexy story
4 stars

The headmaster of an all girl’s school in Regency England is tested to his limits when the lovely, wayward Miss Winters breaks the rules and is sent to his office for her punishment.

This is a very short and sexy, erotic tale and the first that I have read by Laurel Bennett. It’s the same story as The Headmaster’s Fall but this time seen through the eyes of the headmaster rather than Miss Winters.

At only 17 pages long the book is more of an encounter rather than a full story. Having said that, the writing was very good, the situations hot and I enjoyed it very much. The twist at the end is both welcome and handled well; it made me like the story much more.

Overall, if you’re looking for a hot, 10 minute read then I would recommend this to you. 4 stars.