The Hastur Cycle (The King in Yellow Anthology #6) ★★★✬☆

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Title: The Hastur Cycle
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #6
Editor: Robert Price
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 329
Words: 139K

Price appears to be a HP Lovecraft and Cthulhu buff and one of those bores who will kill a party quick as spit by telling you the historical importance of the works of HPL and why it matters. HPL did enfold some of the King in Yellow mythology into his works and thus, Price splits this book into stories directly about the King in Yellow and the rest are about Cthulhu with some of the KIY mythology names tacked on.

They were still good stories and I enjoyed them, but I wanted All the King in Yellow, All the time and I didn’t get that. So I waffled between giving this 3 or 4 stars and ended up coming down in the middle because my disappointment was perfectly balanced with my overall enjoyment.

This definitely felt puffed. Price includes a full story from both Chambers (who wrote The King in Yellow) and Lovecraft (who wrote Cthulhu) and while I appreciated that as it helped tie down the other stories by reminding us of why they were included. Saying a “random” name once in your story appeared to be enough to be included, so knowing how that “random” name actually tied into the mythology was good. But it didn’t take away from the fact that Price was including copyright/royalty free stories to pad the page and word count. Instead, I wanted all new stories and I didn’t get that.

Overall, between the “feels like padding” stories and the fact that this wasn’t strictly a KIY collection, I had to ding it. As a cosmic horror collection, I think it’s pretty good though. So there’s your mixed message for the day 🙂

★★★✬☆

Mending Fences (Bone #17) ★★✬☆☆

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Title: Mending Fences
Series: Bone #17
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 22
Words: 1K

Gran’ma Ben reveals that Thorne is a lost princess, that the Lord of the Locusts is her deadly enemy and that war is now inevitable. We also learn that the Lord of the Locusts is just an underling to some invisible spirits who live in a deserted cave. Yeah, that is EXACTLY what I want to find out when I read a comic.

When I read the One Volume way back when, the turn into an epic fantasy storyline took me by surprise. Here, with the change in direction taking so long, I’m almost ready to close my eyes and take a nap while Smith drives us around that curve.

★★✬☆☆

Trouble for Lucia (Mapp & Lucia #6) ★★★☆☆

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Title: Trouble for Lucia
Series: Mapp & Lucia #6
Authors: E.F. Benson
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Pages: 281
Words: 81K

The final Mapp & Lucia book by Benson.

While I enjoyed this, I am at the same time glad it is over. Both Mapp and Lucia were so petty and small minded that it stopped being fun part way through it. In one instance Lucia is so taken up with presenting an “image” that she even freezes out her husband Georgie, who has been used to seeing her in private as she really is and loves that side of her. That was unpleasant to read about. Then Mapp. She becomes the Mayor’s Woman (a post to empower females) AND becomes a Town Councilor and her only goal is to stymie and undercut Lucia. The level of backstabbing and bickering jumps to a whole new level too.

There are still flashes of the humor from previous books but it wasn’t as prevalent. Definitely not a series I ever plan on re-reading and it really put the kabosh on me seeking anything else by Benson.

★★★☆☆

The Currents of Space (Galactic Empire #2) ★★★☆☆

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Title: The Currents of Space
Series: Galactic Empire #2
Authors: Isaac Asimov
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 165
Words: 69K

Rik is a victim of soicumstances! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk….

I’m never going to re-read this, you’re never going to read it and I just don’t care. While a step better than the previous Galactic Empire book, that is because Asimov left out the romance angle. While the absence of something can make the whole better, it doesn’t mean that what is left is actually better. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it now and I’ll say it again in the future, Asimov couldn’t write a full length novel to save his life.

His strength was in the short story, in the “Idea”. His anthologies are great. Some of the best SF out there in my opinion. But these Galactic Empire novels, well, they’re already on the dust heaps of history and sinking fast.

On a funny side note, every time I see the title all I can think of is Currants of Space. And I imagine The California Raisins in space suits playing their instruments, hahahahaa.

Thankfully, there is only one more book to go and I’m already girding up my loins to do battle. Conan AND Tarzan, combined, couldn’t do more loin girding that I am doing. And with that wonderful image, I shall say my goodbyes.

★★★☆☆

Three Doors to Death (Nero Wolfe #16) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Three Doors to Death
Series: Nero Wolfe #16
Author: Rex Stout
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 151
Words: 65K

A collection of three novellas. I am finding that I do not enjoy these collections nearly as much as the full novels. There is nothing wrong with the novellas collected together but it is like getting one serving of eggnog (1/2cup, misers!) when I want to simply chug about 3cups worth of the stuff.

Plus, in one of the stories not only does Wolfe leave his house, but he goes blundering about in the dark, in the snow, through a stream, to break into a house. I found it too unbelievable. It would have been like me recommending the Tripitakas to all of you. Inconceivable!

I am tempted to skip all of the books with “Three” in the title so I don’t have to deal with this, but the fact is that I still do enjoy these and skipping them would make me sad. So it’s time to pull up my big boy pants and just read the books. All of them. The Great and Powerful Bookstooge will never be accused of not manning up.

★★★✬☆

Cain’s Last Stand (WH40K: Ciaphas Cain #6) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Cain’s Last Stand
Series: WH40K: Ciaphas Cain #6
Authors: Sandy Mitchell
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 326
Words: 110K

This really should have been called Ciaphas Cain versus Space Hitler. Cain is retired and teaching on the world where the Shadow artifact is and suddenly a chaos fleet is on its way to take over the planet and find the artifact. They are led by a small, dumpy guy with a small mustache who can turn even the most ardent Emperor Botherer (Cain’s description) into a full supporter of chaos, who is Space Hitler. It was pretty blatant and made me laugh. Unfortunately, he and Cain only have one encounter and Cain wins by pushing him over a cliff. Yeah, for real. And it made me laugh too. But I was hoping for more fighting between them. Oh well

You’d think from the title and the fact that Cain is in his late 100’s (hadn’t hit 200 yet I don’t think) that this was going to be the last book, but nope, there are at least 3 more and I think I saw that a 10th one recently came out?
* elevator music *
Ok, so it was 2018, but that’s recent as far as I’m concerned.

I was pleased by my read of this and if I could find some more non-Space Marine Warhammer 40K stories, I’d be very tempted to dive into them after this series. Wanting to read more is usually a good sign.

★★★✬☆

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13 ★★☆☆☆

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Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #13
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 47
Words: 2K

So, this is not written OR drawn by Eastman or Laird. Some guy I’ve never heard of is heading the helm. Don’t have a good feeling about this.

Space President Queen Chick ambushes Space President Peasant Chick, who crashes to Earth and is rescued by the boys. Space Elections are apparently decided by combat. So everybody fights and President Peasant defeats President Queen by branding her with what appears to be a weiner (seriously, I kid you not). President Peasant promises justice and fairness for everyone and the local Space Spaceship takes her back to rule her planet. The end.

This was pretty bad. The story was about what I’d expect FROM a fifth grader and the artwork, well, it was on par with the number 2 pencil drawings I’ve seen so far. I’m going to give this series until #15 to improve and if it doesn’t (and I’m not very hopeful) then I’ll be cutting my losses and trying to find some other comic to read.

Once again, if anyone has any ideas for comics for me to try out, shoot me a comment please.

★★☆☆☆

Better Off Dead (Victor the Assassin #4) ★★★☆☆

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Title: Better Off Dead
Series: Victor the Assassin #4
Authors: Tom Wood
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 257
Words: 115K

Victor helps out the daughter of a Russian Mob Boss who he used to have ties with. Said Mob Boss was also married to a woman who Victor loved from afar, because he knew no woman could survive being involved with him. So while the daughter isn’t his daughter, she is emotionally. And it turns out it is because the daughter read a legal brief that mentioned a high ranking British Intelligence woman who is trying to clean up her past, by any means necessary.

Lots of killing ensues. And car chases. And big russian mobsters getting cut to rags by corrupt american special forces. And Victor killing them in turn.

This series has a very simple premise and Wood does a good job of sticking to it and not trying to turn Victor into something he’s not. I appreciate that simplicity.

★★★☆☆

Boyhood (The Russians) ★★★☆☆

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Title: Boyhood
Series: (The Russians)
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Translator: Unknown
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Autobiographical Fiction
Pages: 98
Words: 28K



A quick sketch of Tolstoy’s tween and teen years. I believe this is the middle part of a trilogy (childhood, boyhood and youth) and as such, should have been read together. This just abruptly ends after a chapter and that makes it obvious this was chopped up into the 3 volumes for no good reason. Also, this “complete collection” of Tolstoy’s works are put together alphabetically and thus it will be a little bit before I get to Childhood and VERY long time before I hit Youth.

This was a bit of a tough read because Tolstoy is honest about portraying himself as a teenager and man, I always forget what self-absorbed twat-heads teenagers are. There’s a reason I don’t even attempt to help out with middle or highschool sunday school 😀 It doesn’t help that there is a good bit of class awareness going on here and that is so foreign to me that it’s very jarring. I also don’t know how much is straight biography and how much is fictional.

The ironic thing is I can identify with a LOT of what he writes, even from the teenage perspective. Self-absorbed introverts have a lot in common, no matter the country, the culture or the time they lived. Of course, I’m not going to go on and become a world famous author whose works live on to shape the future, but you know, I’m really ok with that. That would be a lot of pressure and I don’t mind saying I ain’t got no time for dat!

Judging this portion, Boyhood, on its own, I wouldn’t like Tolstoy as a person. But that’s true of most teens, so it doesn’t surprise me, hahahahaa 😀

On a final note, that cover is totally misleading. This book records him from about 12-15 or so. He’s not a child in this and I find the cover set my mind down a path of him being a child. Of course, the only other covers I could find showed him as a full adult with the big white russian beard, so that was even worse in my opinion.

★★★☆☆

James and the Giant Peach ★★★★★

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Title: James and the Giant Peach
Authors: Roald Dahl
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Childrens Fiction
Pages: 131
Words: 26K

I don’t know what it was this time around, but this read was perfect in every sense of the word. It was amusing. It was appropriately macabre in the proper Dahl fashion (James’ aunts get squashed by the giant peach after all). It was silly. And it had a happy ending.

I doubt I’m ever going to re-read this again, and considering this was perfect this time around, I’m perfectly ok with leaving my memories of it in pristine condition. Sometimes when life is tough, you need a simple story where everything works out ok. That’s what this was for me this time around. I hand out a literal handful of 5stars each year, so when I do, you know I’m serious.

Sometimes life is hard. It can be messy and complicated and no path is the best one. As adults we all know this, have experienced it and we know we can’t shut our eyes and pretend it away. It doesn’t work that way. And we see what happens to people who do try to pretend it away. Drugs, drinking, excess in some form or another. But while I read this for the 60minutes it took, I could shut my eyes, take a breath, let it all slide from me and when I was done, head right back into the roles and responsibilities I have to deal with. This is why I read mainly fiction. It allows me to escape in a controlled manner. Let’s me catch my breath so I can keep on swimming.

★★★★★