Welcome!


Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

I post my reviews to:

booklore.co.uk
midwestbookreview.com
2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
Librarything.com
Goodreads.com
Bookwormr.com
Books-a-million.com
Reviewcentre.com
Onlinebookclub.org
Pinterest.com
and on Twitter
(seriously)

I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Golden Dawn

The Golden Dawn, Billy Wong, CreateSpace, 2017

Julianna is the ruler of the five realms that make up the land of Aerilea. She is smart, beautiful and beloved by her people. She is also a powerful mage, and a very formidable fighting opponent, whether with swords, magic or bare fists. Her latest battle is against the Mother of All Monsters, a being the size of a mountain, who has been dormant for many years. She defeats the monster, but dies in the process. She returns to life a couple of years later.

Julianna is now a being of energy, held together by magic, and the sheer force of her will. While she was gone, three of the five realms of Aerilea broke away. She is able to convince them to return. The five realms are also subject to attack by armies of monsters. They are large, carnivorous beasts with claws and tentacles. They are led, or controlled, by a humanoid who calls himself the Father of All Monsters. His motives are a lot more than just killing all humans.

A much bigger problem is that the supply of magic is almost gone. Aerilea is an island continent that floats in the air due to magic. Some of the outlying islands have fallen to the Lower World. An emissary is sent from the Lower World to ask Julianna how they have displeased her. Since Julianna's body is held together by magic, the crisis is personal. A search of the magic "reservoirs" around Aerilea reveal that they are all practically empty. A way is found to stop the collapse of Aerilea, but it involves Julianna leaving this world forever. What is her decision? Is there no alternative?

I enjoyed reading this story. Julianna is a very strong female character, almost a superwoman. There is plenty of sword and sorcery, along with lots of good writing. Fantasy fans will love it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Deep Cover

Deep Cover, Mara Moore, 2016, Instafreebie

Ashley Pepper is a present-day Washington campaign strategist. For the past couple of years, her life has revolved around getting Senator Mueller elected as President. The election is in a few weeks.

A big donor walks into Ashley's office, carrying a check with lots of zeroes. His name is Max Armstrong, and he happens to be incredibly handsome. Ashley's laser-sharp focus on the campaign deserts her. All she can think about is Max. They have quite a steamy relationship going, until the Mueller Committee's offices are raided by the FBI.

It is then that Ashley learns that Max is really FBI Special Agent Max Armstrong. Ashley is  not happy, to say the least. A woman was murdered in the private club next door, and if a cover-up was going on, Ashley would know about it, right? Ashley is attacked in her home, so Max appoints himself as her FBI protection detail. He is torn between doing his job, and totally falling in love with Ashley.

Suspicion then falls on Mason Bryant, Ashley's second-in-command. He is a brash Texan with no "filter" on his mouth. Supposedly, Mason found about his wife's infidelity, so he thought he would do the same. When the dead woman threatened to expose the affair, Mason killed her and dumped her body in the Potomac River. After his FBI interrogation, Mason's truck, and his body, were also found in the Potomac. Suicide is the official ruling. Simple, no? Ashley refuses to believe it.

As election day approaches, Ashley is kidnapped by people working for the real killer, and taken to an isolated Virginia farmhouse. Will Max and the FBI get there in time to rescue Ashley? Will Ashley be added to the fatality list?

This is a good mystery/thriller that will keep the reader guessing. But, the thriller part does not start until the reader is one-fourth of the way through the book. Until then, it is a steamy romance novel. Even if this is intended as a romance/thriller instead of a thriller/romance, the thriller part could have started a little sooner than it did.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Siding With Plato

Siding With Plato, Michelle Manning, Clink Street Publishing, 2015

Brooke is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. A native of small-town California, she quickly makes friends with three other women in her dorm. Along with Stella, Kate and Darci, they form their own version of "Sex and The City."

The frat parties start almost immediately. There are a number of occasions where they go to a party, and wake up sometime the next day, maybe in their own bed, and maybe in someone else's bed. They may, or may not, be alone in that bed. They also have no memory of how they got there.

Along the way, Brooke meets James. He is kind, very handsome, and treats her the right way. She was not looking for romance, so she tries to hold on to an opinion of him as a rich, conceited jerk. It doesn't last long. She falls for him very hard. He seems to also be falling for her. Life is good.

Around the middle of the semester, James express his feelings about being in a relationship, with anyone, at this point in his life. Suffice it to say that it does not coincide with Brooke's feelings on the matter (the word "marriage" has crossed her mind). An atom bomb has just exploded in her heart. She loudly breaks up with him, and goes into an emotional tailspin. Her schoolwork suffers, and her friends have to drag her out of bed.

In the second semester, James is in one of Brooke's classes. She is determined to stay broken-up with him, but that, also, does not last long. They are together as often as possible. She is very reluctant to tell Stella, Kate and Darci. Does it break some sort of "rule" to get back together with the person with whom you have broken up?\

Near the end of the school year, Brooke hears from another male student that James has been "playing the field" when he wasn't with Brooke. This sends her into another emotional tailspin. Is she nothing more than a name on his sexual conquest list? Can they clear the air, and maybe even reconcile, before separating for the summer?

This one is rather lighthearted and pretty good. Of course, Millennials and "Sex and The City" fans will love it. In any college "relationship," what one person considers just hooking up, the other person might take a lot more seriously. Yes, it is worth reading.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Dark Place

The Dark Place, William C Risp, CreateSpace, 2017

This story, the novelization of a graphic novel series, brings together several different people to fight some extreme evil.

A young woman named Reh-Reh has done unspecified, but awful things for Franko, the local drug dealer. She is desperate to get away from him, but is trapped in his bathroom. Reh-Reh does have a unique ability. Whenever she cuts her wrists, she is instantly transported to the Dark Place. It is a different plane of existence, where people are still visible, but everything is gray and shadows. It is also full of hell-hounds that are best avoided.

Reh-Reh meets Tony Salazar, a 300-pound brute of a man who has never been loved by anyone. The attraction is instant, and mutual. Tony wants to do the right thing, but he also has a huge temper that makes even hardened street thugs get out of the way. During the story, Tony gets shot several times. Reh-Reh takes him to the Dark Place, Where his gunshot wounds are miraculously healed.

Michael is a very special kind of private investigator. His companion is a nine-foot tall humanoid named Zophiel, who only Michael can see. They are real angels, and Michael does his own physical transformation when he draws his sword.

The extreme evil comes from a well-dressed, older gentleman called Mr. Sunshine. He is a being whom the hell-hounds of the Dark Place respect, and fear. He pushes Tony to accept the evil that is within him, and accept his destiny as a god. Tony wants no part of it; he just wants to be normal. The book ends with a handful of humans, in the Dark Place, and a pair of angels, facing thousands of hell-hounds. Do any of the humans survive? Do Reh-Reh and Tony get back together?

Let's start with Wow, and go from there. He is an incredible piece of writing. Based on a graphic novel, it has plenty of action, and weird stuff. There is also heart, and really good characters. This novel zooms past the level of "deserves six stars." I very much look forward to a sequel.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The True Language of Love

The True Language of Love: The Book of Life, Sean Azimov, CreateSpace, 2017

First of a series, this is more than just another self-help book. Many books assert that, to create happiness, a person must stay positive, or believe in themselves. How does a person actually create that happiness? That's what this book is all about.

The author spends a lot of time talking about exactly what happens in the brain, when things like memories or perceptions are created. It also looks at the basic human needs, like food, shelter and personal security, and what the brain does about it. If the memory or perception is an unpleasant one, the five senses can combine to give a complete picture of that moment.

The author also looks at a number of herbal supplements that can be taken that might just improve things internally. Needless to say, talk to your doctor first. Don't try to take the supplements all at once. Start with just one, and if there are no side effects, then you can add another supplement.

There are a number of exercises in the book that can turn those negative parts of your personality into something positive, or, at least, something neutral. They seem pretty easy.

The famous saying goes something like: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." I must not be ready, because I had a very hard time "getting" this book. I don't mean to imply, for a second, that this is a bad book, because it isn't. I am sure that it has helped, and will help, a lot of people. I am just not one of them.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Unbound

Unbound, R.C. Butler, Bulldog Press, 2015

This is a present-day New York City police novel, with a twist.

Lt. Ellison Frost is a female Homicide detective. Her latest victim is Deedrie Bouton, member of a very rich and powerful family. For the past several months, Deedrie had frequently appeared in the local tabloids. She was found tied to a bed, with various ropes, harnesses and collars, and with sex toys nearby. Evidently, she was involved in some kinky BDSM sex before she was murdered.

The twist is that Lt. Ellison is part of that same sex community. The day of her murder, Deedrie made several calls to a local escort agency, wanting to book a specific person. Ellison goes to the agency to ask Angel, the owner, some unpleasant questions. The two women are old friends and former college roommates. Should Angel's client list get released, things could get very unpleasant for Ellison, because her name will be on it.

Ellison gets a lot of help from Rob, the Department's "IT guy." He just happens to be very handsome, and reveals that he, too, is part of the BDSM community. The sexual tension between them stays just below the boiling point. Both of them would love to go somewhere private, and "let it all out," but they know that catching the murderer comes first.

Deedrie, with plenty of money and intelligence, was planning to start her own business in the sex world. It also would have dragged her family name through the mud (intentionally). Did Angel want to eliminate the potential competition? Did her father place the family corporation above his own daughter?

This may sound like a cliche, but this novel is better than excellent. Just as a police novel, it feels very realistic. The reader is kept guessing until the last few pages. The erotic parts, which do not overwhelm the story, are also done really well. The reader will get a look inside the BDSM world, about the line between pleasure and pain which is not supposed to be crossed. On several levels, this is very much worth reading.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dylan's Cosydoze

Dylan's Cosydoze, Elsa Joseph, New Generation Publishing, 2017

Dylan is a very happy little boy. He is happy because he, and his parents, are off to Grandma's house to spend the weekend. Dylan can barely contain his excitement, but curling up with his cosydoze (his favorite blanket) puts him right to sleep.

Dylan has a great time playing with Grandma. When Dylan's bedtime comes, his cosydoze is suddenly missing. A diligent search of the house fails to find it. Grandma tries to substitute one of her blankets for the cosydoze. Dylan replies with the little child equivalent of "No Way." Dad tries to distract Dylan with food; Dylan does not cooperate. Mom suggests that a trip around the neighborhood in an old pram (baby carriage) will put him to sleep. Dylan is very much not interested. It looks like the weekend visit to Grandma will have to be cut short. Where is Dylan's cosydoze?

What child does not have a favorite item (toy, blanket, stuffed animal, etc.) that they can't live without? How many times has that item been misplaced or lost? This is a very good and heart-warming story, told all in rhyme, with which many children can identify. Yes, this is worth reading anytime.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Just Another Girl's Story

Just Another Girl's Story: A Memoir on Finding Redemption, Laura Eckert, CreateSpace, 2017

This is the autobiographical chronicle of one person's difficult journey through life.

Growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Laura was the sort of child who lived for pranks and practical jokes in Catholic school. Dad walked out on the family when Laura was very young. Mom eventually remarried, and just before Laura was about to start high school, announced that the family was moving to a small town 40 miles away.

Laura found herself living the life of an addict. Her addiction was not to drugs or alcohol. She was addicted to sex, with Shawn, her 2-years-younger step-brother. They were intimate whenever, and wherever, they could be. The concept of "protected sex" was unknown to them, so, an abortion when Laura was 16 years old was followed by another one a year later. Her family was very supportive. At age 18, she decided to keep her third pregnancy. The family did what they could to keep them apart, but they used any opportunity to be together.

Laura began to turn her life around, going back to school and working as a waitress. She told her family the truth about her and Shawn. He joined the Army, and was stationed in Colorado. One night, he called her and asked her to marry him, along with moving to Colorado. She immediately said Yes. Now with two children, they managed, except for their frequent arguments, where their sordid past was never far away.

After Shawn's Army tour was done, they immediately moved back to Wisconsin. Studying for her Bachelor's degree, she elected to write a paper on abortion for one of her classes. It forced her to re-examine her feelings from her two trips to the abortion clinic. She had a very hard time dealing with it. She withdrew from her family, and started drinking heavily, which her family certainly noticed. Can God ever forgive me for my actions? Can I ever forgive myself? When I reach Heaven, will the souls of my unborn children welcome me or, figuratively, turn their backs on me?

This is a very open and heartfelt chronicle of one person's experience with the aftermath of abortion. Any woman having a similar hard time would do very well to read this book. Anyone, male or female, who wants to know more than just the politics of abortion, would do very well to read this book. It is well worth the time.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Expect Civilian Casualties

Expect Civilian Casualties, Gary Bonn, Firedance Books, 2012

Jason is a teenager living alone on a secluded beach. There are hints of abuse and time in an institution. One night, a young woman joins him at his fire. She doesn't have a name, so Jason calls her Anna. She is wild and vivacious, and they have a great time hanging out together on the beach. That is, until the day that Jason sees Anna eat another person.

She sucks the other person down her throat, like a Hollywood special effect, instead of consuming flesh like a zombie. Anna immediately takes off, closely followed by a large group of soldiers and scientists. They are trying to get a handle on what Anna is doing, and are trying to stop Anna and the others (she is not the only one) by any means possible. When a report is received on their location, the intention is to kill them, instead of capturing them.

Later, Jason tries to convince Anna to give herself up (her answer is an emphatic No). Jason learns that Anna, and everyone in her group, are compelled to each consume 1000 people, and then they will leave. Is this the first step in some sort of invasion?

As Jason gets to know some of the soldiers, he realizes that he could consider them to be his friends. But they also want to kill Anna, with whom Jason has fallen in love. Taking matters into his own hands, a scientist has decided to do something about climate change. It involves doing something extremely illegal to Anna and the others. Do Anna and Jason ever get back together?

This story is told from Jason's perspective, so it may seem rather dry reading. It is also a really well-done story, combining love and chaos. This is very much worth checking out.

Terminal City

Terminal City, Trevor Melanson, Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2016

This paranormal novel is about Mason Cross, resident of Terminal City and student at the local university. His father, John Cross, was a well-respected professor at the university until his death several months previously.

A mutual friend, Lester Wright, tells Mason that John was a Necromancer, someone interested in magic and communicating with the dead. Lester is also a Necromancer. Mason is shown Dad's library of old books on necromancy, and learns that he is also a Necromancer. Mason has no interest in raising the dead, or anything like that, he just wants to know more about it. That does not matter to the Inquisitors.

For the past several hundred years, an all-out war has been going on between Necromancers and Inquisitors, religious fanatics who think that the only good Necromancer is a dead one. Lester is killed by them, and so is Mason. He finds himself in the spirit realm, where the spirit of his father helps convince the being in charge to give Mason another chance. Mason is returned to Terminal City with a task; kill a "bad" Necromancer named Rowland, and send him back to the spirit realm.

Rowland has been alive for over 300 years, and has perfected the ability to kill with a mere thought. He also knows that Mason is coming for him. Meantime, Rowland has made it known to all the Inquisitors in North America that he is making his final stand at the top of a Terminal City skyscraper that is still under construction (come and get me). Mason is also there. Who is still alive when the battle ends; Rowland, Mason or any of the Inquisitors?

This is an excellent piece of writing. It is just weird enough, without being too weird, or too much like a horror story. The body count gets pretty high by the end, but it is very easy to read. I look forward to a sequel.