The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley

Dukes of War The Captains Bluestocking Mistress

Rating: 2.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

Under normal circumstances, Miss Jane Downing would have been eager to alight from a chilly carriage and rush indoors for a welcome respite from the brutal winter.

Plot

Captain Xavier Grey’s body is back amongst the Beau Monde, but his mind cannot break free from the horrors of war. His friends try to help him find peace. He knows he doesn’t deserve it. Just like he doesn’t deserve the attentions of the sultry bluestocking intent on seducing him into bed…

Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man. Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. She may not be destined to be his wife, but nothing will stop her from being his mistress. She could quote classical Greek by the age of four. How hard can it be to learn the language of love?

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The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Lost World Conan Doyle

Rating: 4 Stars  ★★★★☆

Mr. Hungerton, her father, really was the most tactless person upon earth, – a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a man, perfectly good-natured, but absolutely centered upon his own silly self.

Plot

Unlucky in love, but desperate to prove himself in an adventure, journalist Ed Malone is sent to test the infamous and hot-tempered Professor Challenger on his bizarre South American expedition findings – not least his sketches of a strange plateau and the monstrous creatures that appear to live there.

But rather than being angry at his questions, Challenger invites him along on his next field trip. Malone is delighted: until it becomes clear that the Professor was telling the truth about the terrible lost world he has discovered.

Will they all survive the terrifying creatures on the island? And will anyone ever believe what they saw there?

 

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It by Stephen King

It Stephen King

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boar made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

Plot

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Rating: 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

The Opera ghost really existed.

Plot

Christine is a beautiful young singer at the Paris Opera. She is watched by the Opera’s ‘phantom’ – a mysterious masked figure who terrorises the Opera’s management and players. With the Phantom’s help, Christine rises to become the Opera’s star performer, but when the Phantom demands her heart in return, Christine is torn between gratitude and pity for her strange benefactor, and love for her childhood sweetheart, Raoul.

 

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Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2016 Edition

Some of the Best from Tor 2016 Edition

Overall Rating of the Anthology: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

You can get the anthology on tor.com here.

About:

Tor.com regularly publishes original fiction, short stories and novellas on their website. And each year, some of them are collected into an anthology. The stories in the 2016 edition are varied, but all are either Fantasy or Science Fiction.

While there were some stories that did not speak to me, there were also some really great and enjoyable ones. The best stories in the anthology, for me, are:

  • The DestroyerTara Isabella Burton
  • A Dead DjinnP. Djeli Clark
  • Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-SavageAlix E. Harrow
  • Your Orisons May Be RecordedLaurie Penny
  • The Great DetectiveDelia Sherman
  • Finnegan’s FieldAngela Slatter
  • That Game We Played During the WarCarrie Vaughn

Read on for a more detailed review of the individual stories.

 

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The Soong Dynasty by Sterling Seagrave

The Soong Dynasty Seagrave

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

Shanghai no longer smells like the Mysterious East.

About

Descendants of a Chinese runaway who grew up in America under the protection of the Methodist church and who returned to his homeland to make a fortune selling Western bibles, the Soong family became the principal rulers of China during the first half of the 20th century and won the support of the American government and press for many decades.

Sterling Seagrave describes for the first time the intricate and fascinating rise to power of Charlie Soong and his children: daughters Ai-ling, who married one of China’s richest men, H.H. Kung; Ching-ling, who married Sun Yat-sen, leader of China’s republican revolution; May-ling, who married Chiang Kai-shek, the autocratic ruler of Nationalist China whose ties to the Shanghai underworld the author has documented; and son T.V. Soong, who at various times served as Chiang’s economic minister, foreign minister and premier. How all of the Soongs except Ching-ling amassed enormous wealth while millions of Chinese starved or were killed in the long fight against Japan and the equally bitter struggle with Mao are just some of the revelations in this explosive book.

 

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The Phantom Toolbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Toolbooth

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.

Plot

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .

 

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