Monthly Archives: February 2014

John Brunner, Stand On Zanzibar [A]

Both his hands lay on the edge of the desk before him, as lax as vegetables. The left one showed its pinkish palm to the ceiling, with the creased lines that once, when he was a very small boy, had led a woman of half-French and half-Shango breeding to predict he would be a great hero. The other was turned to show its mahogany back, its tree-knot knuckles, as though poised to rap out a nervous fingertip rhythm.

It did not stir.

And so forms the description of a man, the president of a small and poor country in the midst of a futuristic and commercialized wealthy Earth. His back story of a war injury to the left side of his brain introduced by the fact that he could not move his right hand .

John Brunner, Wikipedia:

Nina Croft, Break Out (Dark Desires) [A]

He cocked his head to one side, listening for the sound of the mob, judging its distance. His pursuers would be on him soon. Tannis had better get unbusy and fast. 

“Tannis, stop whatever it is you’re doing, bring my goddamn spaceship, and pick me up.”

She was silent for a moment. “I’ll think about it.”

Such were the conversations between the into-himself vampire with swagger, Rico, and his sidekick, captain of his spacefaring vessel, Tannis. Croft has loads of fun with her intimidating characters with a heart. For me, idiosyncrasies in the characters and their dialogue is the best kind of humor. It entertains, rather than overwhelms.

Nina Croft’s Website:


Jade Lee, The Devil’s Bargain[A]

“Is this my bedroom alone? Or do I share it?”

She detected a slight lift to his lips, but his eyes remained remote, his tone distant. “It is yours alone.” Then he gestured to a doorway half hidden in shadow beside the bedpost. “That leads to my bed chamber. I will thank you to knock before entering.”

She stiffened, turning to him in shock. “I shall not enter at all, sir! I am to be married, and I shall enter that state with my purity and my honor intact.”

This time he did smile, though the expression seemed cold. He stepped into the room, folding his arms across his chest as he leaned negligently against the bedpost. “Your honor is not my concern. Your purity, however, shall be grossly torn by even the most lax standards.”

Lee characterizes a young pious woman, whose father has died, leaving her penniless, to be sexually trained and married to the highest bidder. This passage sends more chills down my spine than most horror stories. Undeniably, this novel is my favorite historical romance.

Jade Lee’s website

Carrie Ryan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth [YA]

In the beginning:

My mother used to tell me about the ocean. She said there was a place where there was nothing but water as far as you could see and that it was always moving, rushing toward you and then away. She once showed me a picture that she said was my great-great-great-grandmother standing in the ocean as a child. It has been years since, and the picture was lost to fire long ago, but I remember it, faded and worn. A little girl surrounded by nothingness.

At the end of Chapter Four:

I think about how we are so focused on the peril presented by the Forest that we forget that the rest of life can be just as dangerous. I think about how fragile we are here–like fish in a glass bowl with darkness pressing in on every side.

You guessed it. Ryan’s description of the main character’s dystopic world. With the first excerpt she perfectly describes what an ocean might look like to someone who has only known forest. The second, foreshadows events to come. The fish out of water.

Carrie Ryan’s website:

Howard Fast, The Edge of Tomorrow, The Sight of Eden [YA, A]

They were in orbit, and it was over. They had crossed the void, leaped all the gaps of time and imagination, and bridged the unbridgeable, and they had been through the seven fires of hell. They were sane, although they had touched all the fringes of insanity. Continue reading

Lori Brighton, Wild Heart [A]

His eyes narrowed into slits and his nostrils flared, his breath a soft whisper as he inhaled deeply. Slowly, he moved around her as if she were prey and he the hunter. He stepped close, too close. With his chest hot to her back, his essence seeped into her skin. His fingers brushed her nape, wrapped around a loose lock, and the fine hairs on her neck stood on end. 

 I had much trouble choosing an excerpt from this adult, paranormal/historical romance. Brighton engages the reader throughout. A young psychic woman is contracted as governess to the hero who is wild from some jungle trauma, but he’s soon to inherit a dukedome.  Great conflict and sexual tension. 

Lori Brighton’s website: