Cassilda’s Song (The King in Yellow Anthology #7) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Cassilda’s Song
Series: The King in Yellow Anthology #7
Editor: Joseph Pulver
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Cosmic Horror
Pages: 241
Words: 92K

Table of Contents:

Introduction by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

Black Stars on Canvas, a Reproduction in Acrylic by Damien Angelica Walters

She Will Be Raised a Queen by E. Catherine Tobler

Yella by Nicole Cushing

Yellow Bird by Lynda E. Rucker

Exposure by Helen Marshall

Just Beyond Her Dreaming by Mercedes M. Yardley

In the Quad of Project 327 by Chesya Burke

Stones, Maybe by Ursula Pflug

Les Fleurs du Mal by Allyson Bird

While The Black Stars Burn by Lucy A. Snyder

Old Tsah-Hov by Anya Martin

The Neurastheniac by Selena Chambers

Dancing the Mask by Ann K. Schwader

Family by Maura McHugh

Pro Patria! by Nadia Bulkin

Her Beginning is Her End is Her Beginning by E. Catherine Tobler and Damien Angelica Walters

Grave-Worms by Molly Tanzer

Strange is the Night by S.P. Miskowski

This was a collection centered around the character of Cassilda, the former queen of Carcosa that the Yellow King subjugate/co-opted/seduced depending on which story you decide to hold to. In some of these stories she is fighting against the King in Yellow, other times the story is about her influence in our world and in some instances it’s just a feminist story wrapped in the liturgical wrappings of the King in Yellow.

I actually started to read this back in January, but with everything that was going on medically at the time, stories that dealt with despair and madness and hopelessness were way more than I could handle at that time. But now that we appear to be on the other side, I could dive into this cesspool with nary a shudder or twinge of disgust.

Two stories stood out to me. Not that they were the most enjoyable ones, but I felt like they encapsulated the best and worst of the King in Yellow mythology.

In the Quad of Project 327 was about a group of school kids who find the play The King in Yellow and one girl reads it. Unlike everyone else who has ever read it, it doesn’t drive her crazy but gives her psychic powers and she in turn gives these powers to the other kids. They use the power to make their Quad (apartment building area) a better place and to make their white male teacher hate Columbus and be a “nicer” guy. This exemplified the worst in my opinion. The author wrapped up her white male hatred and used some of the literary terms used in the King in Yellow stories. But she either didn’t understand or chose to ignore that the play has to drive people mad, or it isn’t The King in Yellow. As such, this didn’t have that hopeless, the walls are closing in, claustrophobic feel that a genuine KiY story should have. There is no hope, there is no betterment, there is no strength in a King in Yellow story. And if you choose to go outside of those bounds, then your story isn’t a KiY story. It wasn’t necessarily a bad story, but it was missing that downward punch that was needed.

Old Tsah-Hov was a story about a dog that ends up being owned by a woman named Cassilda, in Jerusalem. She adopts him as a stray and gets married and has a kid and then a war breaks out and her husband breaks under the strain and tries to hit her. The dog intervenes, only the son tries to stop him and the dog ends up biting the son by accident instead of the father. So he’s taken away to be put down. Once he’s put down, he awakens in Carcosa, where a mob is waiting for him, with hands filled with stones. To kill him. Again. Now THAT is how you tell a KiY story. The dog is loyal to Cassilda, loves the little boy and is doing his best to protect and serve. And his reward? To be killed again by the King in Yellow. The pure perversity of the entire situation, the twistedness of it, is exactly how a KiY story should be written.

Black Stars on Canvas, a Reproduction in Acrylic, the lead story, is a great KiY primer. If you can read that story and like it, The King in Yellow is for you. If you read it and don’t like it, or aren’t interested, I sincerely doubt you’ll like much else in the King in Yellow mythology. I’ve never been tempted to write a book, or even a short story, but if I ever did, it would be something to do with the King in Yellow.

The main reason I didn’t give this a 4 ½ rating was because one of the stories was poetry. Poetry is an essential element in the play The King in Yellow, but I don’t like poetry and I don’t have to.

I’ve included a large version of the cover below as it is hard to see in the little one I include with most reviews.


The Death Tower (The Shadow #6) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Death Tower
Series: The Shadow #6
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 138
Words: 45K


The Shadow comes to grip with Dr Palermo, a murderous psychopath who is almost as smart and intelligent as the Shadow. And Dr Palermo is one of the Silent Seven and can call upon the Something Something 50, one of which is a celebrated police detective. Can the Shadow, with the help of the ever trustworthy and reliable Harry Vincent (and others) defeat this menace? Of course he can. And he solves the problem by throwing Dr Palermo off a 40story building. Now that’s doing it with panache!

The last time I read a Shadow novel was back in October of ‘22, so it has been a while. It felt really good to dive back into this literary universe though. I like the Shadow. He’s no namby pamby pussy but will kill when it’s needed. At the same time, he’s no John Wick who just kills everyone. Reading about the Shadow go braino-e-braino with Dr Palermo was fun and made for a nice change up from mobsters and gangsters and hoodlums.

My enjoyment wasn’t so much from reading about the Shadow being stymied but from enjoying a more equal fight. In previous stories the Shadow has jumped into groups of hoodlums and beaten the snot out of them even when outnumbered a billion to one. He’s outsmarted gangsters and even mad scientists but Dr Palermo “felt” like a Shadow gone bad. I don’t know if the author, Grant, decided to create Dr Palermo along those lines and thus wrote him accordingly, but it seemed so to me and it was a choice that I really enjoyed.

A welcome return to the Shadow’s adventures for me and I am looking forward to reading more over the coming months.

Finally, that cover! I love these Bantam covers. The little version is clickable to expand to the big version. If I do a cover love section in my monthly Roundup & Ramblings for March, I already know this is going to take the cake.


November ’22 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 12 ↓

Graphic Novels – 4 ↓

Average Rating – 3.09 ↑

Pages – 3141 ↓

Words – 1088K ↓

The Bad:

Predator: Eyes of the Demon – 1.5stars of woke stories about pregnant predators and such.

Jackal of the Mind – 1star DNF for the usual reasons in fiction nowadays.

The Good:

Galactic Odyssey – 5stars of perennial favoriteness that I think I’m done with now.

Hidden Voices – 4stars as the newest entry in the Arcane Casebook series.


Didn’t review any movies this month. I am sure you all were as devastated as I was about that 😉

Miscellaneous Posts:


The last week of October and the first 2 weeks of November were sunny, warm and work was great. Weeks like these are why I put up with the winters of New England. I was soaking in the sunshine and humming to myself and life was good. Of course, by the end of the month I was wearing my thermal underwear and mountaineering socks, so winter came in fast.

The Author Index is going along quite swimmingly. I’m working my way backwards from Z to A and I’m working on the S’s already. It is already paying dividends as I found another book I hadn’t reviewed on the blog and so added it. I did have to change how the page behaved, as I realized I had over 900 authors and one single page with 900 links was going to be so unwieldy as to be useless. So each letter now opens up to its own page and associated authors. Not what I wanted but I suspect long term it will work out better.

I wrote what felt like was a lot of non-review posts and I HAD SO MUCH FUN AGAIN. Not posting on Tuesdays did mean I had to double up posts on other random days, but it worked for me. I do have to ask, how do you all feel about? Do you care if a blogger has multiple posts in a day or would you rather they were spread out completely? If you have never thought about this subject, I think you should. Being a wiser, discerning blog reader is important and besides, I want to raise the tone here on my blog. So raise that left pinky when leaving a comment please.

Life has been changing, in small ways but more than I was expecting. Upgrading my avatar, buying a new computer, going Dot Blog, the disastrous new theme that didn’t work out, Mrs B becoming a contributor to the blog, all little things in and of themselves, but for someone like me, that’s a veritable avalanche of changes. Last month I joked about reading my old journals being my midlife crisis, but in all seriousness, this much changing in such a short time is not like me at all. But I am enjoying it instead of worrying about it, hahahhaaa. In the words of the Immortal Bill & Ted, Party on Dudes!

Cover Love:

Hidden Voices, book 9 in the series, does not fail to once again deliver a stunning cover. I LOVE these!

Plans for Next Month:

Well, pretty much the same as this month I think. 12 books a month seems to work out well for me in terms of reviewing without burning out and adding 4 comics on top of that was not too much. I’m still not going to be reading any manga though. That’s going to have to wait until January.

I am going to be watching and reviewing Event Horizon for my movie. Starting next year I’m going to have to figure out something as watching and reviewing random movies really doesn’t work for me. The Muppet journey was perfect and if I could find something akin to that, it would be great. I doubt I’ll be able to though. I might even give the whole one movie a month thing the toss.

Got a bunch of non-review nonsense posts queued up. Just need to actually write them. That’s the biggest problem with blogging I have found. I have some great ideas but then I actually have to work and write it out. Totally bogus.

Survive the holidays. Thanksgiving wasn’t nearly as bad as I was afraid it might be, but we’ll see what happens with Christmas and New Years. Speaking of Christmas, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing A Christmas Carol as read by Patrick Stewart. Please look forward to it!

Gangdom’s Doom (The Shadow #5) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Gangdom’s Doom
Series: The Shadow #5
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 166
Words: 54K


The Eyes of the Shadow (The Shadow #2) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Eyes of the Shadow
Series: The Shadow #2
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 171
Words: 51.5K


From & me


Six prominent men were expecting a share in a glittering fortune. But, one by one, they were being brutally murdered. Until the Shadow discovered the plan—a plan so fiendish that only the twisted mind of a monster could have conceived it. The Shadow assumes the identity of Lamont Cranston to investigate the serial murders and stalwart Harry Vincent gets to play camper and act as bait. Justice is committed, Shadowstyle!

My Thoughts:

Another enjoyable entry in the Shadow series. I’ve got a bunch of omnibuses (omnibie?) of Shadow stories that come in sets of 5, so I’m guessing I’ll read a quintet each rotation and then take a couple of months off before adding another quintet back in. I can see myself easily burning out on these and I’d really rather take a few extra steps to prevent that as I am enjoying them.

These are beyond a shadow (ha, aren’t I clever?) of a doubt “pulp”. So if you know you don’t like pulp stories, then you can safely assume The Shadow isn’t going to work for you. If you know that you DO like pulp, you can’t automagically assume this will work for you, because this is as different from Conan or John Carter as you can get and yet both of those are pulp too. But chances are still better than even. If you like pulp and you like the 1920’s era and double pistols are your thing, then I’d say it’s a match made in heaven.

The Shadow has some sort of power to blend into “shadows” but it isn’t speculated upon or dwelt upon at all. Is it supernatural, is it a mutant power or is it just him being really, really, really good at hiding and disguises? Personally, my vote is that he drank a shot of bad russian vodka and it gave him superpowers. The other thing is that Lamont Cranston, a rich playboy that Bruce Wayne was modeled on, appears to be the Shadow’s alter-ego. But I’ve read enough stuff by Riders of Skaith to know that even that simple deduction isn’t so simple and weirdness is going to abound there too. Basically, I don’t try to figure anything out.

Bad guys do bad things. The Shadow investigates one way or another, his agents (his “eyes”) act on his behalf and there’s a lot of weird laughing going on in the shadows. Oh yeah, and the badguys get what’s coming to them. Or their henchmen do anyway. A really good badguy manages to get away.

I’ve been looking at various covers and man, this one rocks! I couldn’t find a really big version of it, but this was as big as I could find. Two-pistol’ing it baby!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Currently Reading & Cover Love: Capital Murder

Capital Murder

Ahhhh, another Arcane Casebook story. I’d read these for the covers alone but thankfully Willis tells a good story too. I thought about saving this large version of the cover for my Cover Love section for next month’s Roundup but I couldn’t hold on that long. So here you go! 🙂

Storywise, Capital Murder seems to be chugging right along with all the previous installments.

January ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 10
Pages – 2594
Words – 741K
Average Rating – 3.75

The Bad:

Wicked Bronze Ambition – 2stars that whimpered all the way to the end. Pathetic really.

The Good:

Transfer of Power – 4stars of studly responsible machoman’ness


The Muppet Movie was laughing, grinning, dancing, singing fun! I have a feeling this Year of the Muppets is going to be good for me.

Miscellaneous Posts:

So this month I turned into one of those book reviewers that I’ve come to not particularly care for over the years. The ones that have more non-reviews than reviews on their blog and as you scroll by vapid posts of nothing, desperately looking for a review, your hope dwindles. My minimum preference has always been 50/50. That simply didn’t happen with my read of Gulag II going on. I feel shame. My family feels shame. My cow feels shame!

Ok, with that out of the way, here’s the list, sigh.


What a month this turned out to be. From a national & political level to a personal level, I was glad to see the backside of January. Being bombarded by pure propaganda by the news outlets didn’t help, especially as I was seeing direct parallels to what I was reading in Gulag Vol II. After the second day I just turned the radio off to keep my sanity.

My laptop also just up and died part way through the month. While a smaller thing, it definitely added to the stress of “everything”. Throw in that we found out our car is going to need about $1K of work to pass inspection in a couple of months and well, it all kept adding up. It still amazes me how unsmooth life is. You’d think I’d be used to the bumpy (at best) ride by now. Speaking of rides, better start saving ’cause gas is going up to $5 a gallon way too soon.

And then of course, right at the very end of the month I went dotcom. Definitely a spur of the moment thing but I had been thinking about it for some time. The damnable NSP’s were the last straw.

Cover Love:

Ahhh, one final McKillip cover. While it’s not a Kinuko Craft cover, it definitely is aiming for that same touch. Love it!

Plans for Next Month:

My mind was all over the place this month so I kept making, and breaking, plans for February. I finally decided to stop trying to plan and just let stuff happen. So besides the usual suspects of Movie and Manga Monday, my only planned thing is a book giveaway and starting my Project X in earnest. I’ll make up the rest of February as it happens.

Gulag II slowed me down so much that if not only affected January but has pre-emptively affected February already. I’m usually about 3 weeks ahead in my reviews. Now? I’m a week and struggling. As such, prepare for another onslaught of non-review posts like in January. I’m already sharpening my sepuku knife and sword in preparation.

You Call Yourself a Book Reviewer?!? Hellen Keller was more of a book reviewer than you!” quote attributed to Sergeant Bookstooge during Book War III.

is this format of Monthly Roundups getting stale for you? I realized I’ve been doing this since my Booklikes days, so we’re talking over 5 years now. Just wondering if I need to change things up any.

Currently Reading & Cover Love

Both of these books came out at the end of October. Obviously, I had November already filled up with reads so I have to wait until December, but let me tell you, I am jamming these in first thing! Uhhhhh, I just looked and it won’t quite be “first thing”. Second week. I promise!

Blood Relation is the 6th Arcane Casebook by Dan Willis. He’s been churning these out at a pretty good clip too. I read the first one, In Plain Sight, at the beginning of 2020 but it was published in 2018. Larry Correia introduced me to the series in one of his posts and besides his own works, it’s some of the most enjoyable stuff I’ve read this year. And the covers are to die for!

Next up is God of Night, the 4th book in the God Fragments series by Tom Lloyd. The cover of the first book, Stranger of Tempest, is still one of the best covers I’ve ever seen. The stories are fun and violent and I am really looking forward to this.

So come on December, do your worst! I’ve got some fantastic books to combat anything you can throw at me.

*Ultimate Muscle Pose*

(now that brings back some memories. I guess we know another post I’ll be doing in December)

ps, I do have an actual Thanksgiving Post coming up later today.

March ’20 Roundup & Ramblings


Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 6228

Words – 1753.6K (ie, 1.75 Million words)

Average Rating – 3.75 Stars


The Mediocre:

SF Hall of Fame, Vol. 2A – 2 Stars

NPC’S – 3 Stars


The Good:

The Great Hunt – 5 Stars

Academ’s Fury – 5 Stars

The Arcane Casebook Series – 4 Star Average!



Started the 10th Kingdom mini-series by Hallmark and had a blast.


Ramblings & Miscellaneous Posts:

I read some real Chunksters this month and as a result my page and word count were pretty impressive. Or I messed up my count. I’m going with “Impressive” 😀

I wrote a lot this month, so I’m just going to bullet point them all, sorry. 



March was something else, for sure. Work stress, car stress and Wuhan-chan stress.  I ended up stress writing and that gave me a whopping 24 posts this month (including this one I believe). 

Car stuff. We’re a two car family and I’ve known since last year that the car I drive wasn’t going to pass inspection this year. The mechanic barely passed it last year and he told me he wouldn’t do that again. It was rusting out all over the place so I knew I needed a replacement by the first week of April.  I began scanning craigslist (we can’t buy a new car outright and won’t go into debt for one) and eventually found one.  Coordinating schedules was stressful enough, but then my car just outright died about 3 days before we could pick up the new car.  And then dealing with the town offices as they all were preparing to shut down due to Wuhan-chan.  It just made for an incredible amount of stress over something that really shouldn’t have been. 42c

Then of course, right at the end of the month joining the rest of the World in shutting down until May. Thankfully, both Mrs B and I work in “Essential Businesses” but for me, work is now on a day by day basis. A lot of uncertainty swirling around, that is for sure.

Thankfully, the reading was great. The Arcane Casebook series was a delight to read and I looked forward to a new book every week. That was a nice feeling. Highly recommend the series.


Book Give-Away:

Doing a Hardcover Michael Crichton book giveaway this month. It is open until April 11 and I’ll contact the winner April 12. Due to the uncertainty of just about everything, I think I’m going to be holding off doing any more Give-Aways until we’re in a more settled place.


Cover Love:


I talked about this cover in my review of Ghost of a Chance, but my goodness, is that cover spiffy looking or what!?!? Best of the bunch in my opinion.


Plans for Next Month:

I don’t know if this will be a regular new feature for my Roundups, but I’ve seen other bloggers do them as a separate post and I like the idea. It also works well to help me construct the narrative for the blog for the coming month. I realize most of you are never going to notice something like that, but it helps me as the content creator.

Even though I only wrote a tiny bit more than I did in January,  March just felt like I wrote and wrote and wrote. So I’m going to use April to re-charge. I’ll be doing my book reviews and the next 10th Kingdom movie review, but I suspect that will be about it.

Oh, Mrs B says she’d be interested in showcasing some more artwork so maybe you’ll see some of her drawings on random weekends. I should probably come up with a clever series title for them but nothing immediately springs to mind. Suggestions are welcome.

And with work being so uncertain, I don’t know if I’ll be stuck inside reading, whatever. So I might end up needing to write to vent and blow all of the above right out the window.  Things are changing so fast that planning for an entire month is almost impossible now.


bookstooge (Custom)

November ’19 Roundup & Ramblings



Raw Data:

Books – 7

Pages – 3070

Average Rating – 4.14


The Mediocre:

Last of the Plainsmen – 2 1/2 Stars


The Good:

Bleak House – 5 Stars

The Two Towers – 5 Stars



Superman III was campy and yet still quite enjoyable. Reeve did an excellent acting job and made the movie work despite itself. I’ve been warned that Superman IV is pretty bad though, so we’ll see how that turns out for December.


Miscellaneous And Personal:

This month has held a lot for me. I’ve been a full month, full time, at my new job and I must say, I don’t enjoy it. However, they are giving me what I asked for in terms of people and office training. I just have to hold on until the training/learning curve evens out a bit and I’ve got to learn to deal with different personalities in the office. THAT is probably my biggest issue. Which is why I’ve always stayed out in the field until now. People suck.

I’ve “graduated” to Progressive lenses in my glasses, so the end of the month was me getting used to using those instead of the single vision lenses that I’ve had ever since 5th grade.  I didn’t have the motion sickness as bad as some people I know but it was still there and did affect me for a day or three.

Here is the list of some non-review posts for the month:

In regards to the book side of things, even though I only read 7 books,  my page numbers were up almost 900 pages (thank you Bleakhouse!) and my rating skyrocketed to over 4. To put that in perspective, last month I was under 3. I didn’t have a bad book this month and I had several 5 stars. That is how it is supposed to be, even while rarely turning out that way. It made me happy and it is yet another reason to do these Roundup posts. Looking at the month as a whole gives me a different perspective than just the day in and day out view that I normally live in.

December is looking busy with me diving into the Burning White. I’ve got a few other books already read to schedule reviews for, but I suspect I’ll be padding things out with some manga. I’m going to try another series I own and hope like crazy it turns out better than Oh My Goddess! did. I’ve chosen Kare Kano, known as His and Her Circumstances, in English. Highschool drama, so wish me luck.


Book Give-Away:

This month I am giving away Mercede Lackey’s Dragon Jousters tetralogy in hardcover. We have an interesting situation already. Ichabod made a very public claim in the comments section and Lashaan followed that up asking if he could bribe me to let Icky win. The thing is, several other people have entered as well and to complicate it even further, I know one of them in real life and he’s a very good friend.  I might end up letting Mrs B roll the die to determine the winner so I don’t have to 😀

Of course, no where in the rules does it say that if you win that I have to send it to you.  Just saying…


Cover Love:

With a McKillip book, do you even need to ask?




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