Reviews by Rike Horstmann

B
A Dedicated Scoundrel

When I picked up the Robert Hale reissue of A Dedicated Scoundrel, my eyebrows rose when I saw that it combines Regency spies with an amnesia plot. I do not care for either of these plots in general, but I found myself loving the characters. Indeed, I thought these characters strong enough to carry ...

B
The Christmas Date

On a whim this year, I ordered several Christmas romances online. By coincidence the one contemporary romance I picked was The Christmas Date by Michele Dunaway, whose name I had never heard before. Imagine my delight when this proved a novel to enjoy. Kate Merrill and her new neigh ...

C+
A Western Winter Wonderland

Anthology
With all the praise for Cheryl St. John’s The Preacher’s Daughter earlier this year, I got curious about this author and took the opportunity to review short stories by her and two other authors. I read very few Western romances and wanted to know if this was a genre I should include more often ...

B
General Winston's Daughter

Sharon Shinn’s Archangel is an all-time favorite of mine. I love her world-building, her characters and their romance. So I was curious about reading a Young Adult novel of hers. I was not disappointed in General Winston’s Daughter. This is a very good book, even if it does not quite achieve th ...

C+
A Trace of Memory

Yes, A Trace of Memory by Elizabeth Bailey has a heroine with amnesia. I know this has been done to death, but must hand it to this version that it’s actually quite well-done here. While I appreciated the amnesia plot, the novel left me fairly cold otherwise, which is why I only rate it slightly b ...

A-
The Down Home Zombie Blues

In the three Linnea Sinclair novels I read before picking up The Down Home Zombie Blues, there is a similar set-up: Ordinary woman meets man who is somehow – technically, biologically, psychologically – enhanced and has super-human powers. Now don’t get me wrong. I loved each of these books an ...

B+
The Parfit Knight

The Parfit Knight by Juliet Blyth is an old favorite. Rereading it for this review, I was delighted to find it as charming as I did 20 years ago when it was published. In the prologue, the author describes an accident: a girl plays catch with her brother in a country lane as a carriage carrying a yo ...

B-
An Affair Before Christmas

Eloisa James writes ensemble romances, and her central characters always consist of a group of women whose stories are told sometimes one after another, sometimes simultaneously. In each volume you have one central story, but added to this are bits and pieces of other stories that are not concluded ...

B
Unlucky

Last year I enjoyed Jana DeLeon’s debut novel, Rumble on the Bayou, very much indeed and considered it the best mystery I read in 2006. So I looked forward very much to reading her second romance/mystery, Unlucky, and I was not disappointed. Mallory Devereaux from Royal Flush, Lou ...

A-
Lessons of Desire

How much you enjoy Lessons of Desire by Madeline Hunter will depend very much on how you relate to her heroine, Phaedra Blair. I found her slightly annoying at first, but step by step grew to like her hugely. The masterful way in which Madeline Hunter changes the reader’s perception of this charac ...