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:

2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
and on Twitter

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

Friday, January 20, 2012

Diary: Alone on Earth

Diary: Alone on Earth, JD Weldy, 2011 (Kindle e-book)

It's normal to wonder what it would be like to be the last person on earth. That is, until it actually happens

David is a senior citizen who has reasons for wanting to cut himself off from the rest of the world. He finds an isolated house outside of a small town in Alabama, where he plans to spend the rest of his days with his faithful dog, Ralph. One day, the whole world is menaced a strange humming sound. The media is full of speculation as to the cause. Several hundred people are driven to suicide, including one of David's neighbors. Countries are ready for war, convinced that their "enemy" is about to attack. David goes to bed.

The next morning David wakes up to no electricity, and no battery power, either. Even new, freshly charged batteries are dead. David travels to the houses of his neighbors, to find them deserted. He visits the small town, a place called Axis, to find it also deserted. He finds a motorcycle that he can push start, and visits Mobile, Alabama. He finds hundreds and hundreds of abandoned, burning cars, like people were in a panic. But there are no people, not even dead bodies. He finds the same thing in Atlanta, along with signs that people tried very hard keep something out, or in.

The book turns into something of a psychological battle between David and a being that he calls The Blackness. David feels that it wants him dead, but it can't kill him, so it torments him constantly. David hears Ralph barking, but no matter how much he calls out to Ralph, he doesn't come. David also hears voices that he should recognize. David and The Blackness meet late in the book (think "demon from hell"). David decides to travel west to keep looking for any other people. For some reason, he feels that answers will be found at the end of Interstate 90, in the town of Van Horn, Texas. As he travels, with The Blackness making it as hard as possible, David has to maneuver around thousands and thousands of smashed and burning cars, but still no people. Does David reach the end of his journey? Does he discover what happened to mankind?

Told all in diary form, this is a really interesting suspense story. It does a very good job of showing the despair that will set in after the "novelty" wears off, including the wondering if God would really let such a thing happen to His people. It is very much worth reading.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The House of Dark Shadows

The House of Dark Shadows, Digger Cartwright, Xlibris Corp., 2011

This is a novel about an Internet romance that starts off very innocently. It quickly enters the realm of weird and bizarre.

Alex Rommel is a young, hotshot attorney in present-day Charleston, South Carolina, with a large hole in his heart. Not only did Shannon, his long-time love, break up with him, but she also moved to Brazil, with the intention of never being found by Alex. One day, he runs into an old college buddy with his new girlfriend, who he met on the Internet. They seem totally compatible and happy, so Alex, the last of the Internet dating skeptics, joins a dating site.

He gets an e-mail from Hope, a twenty-something French photojournalist who is living in Atlanta, and studying for her doctorate in international relations. She is a bit of a traditionalist, insisting that Alex come to Atlanta for their first date. The fact that she is gorgeous makes the travel very much worth it. She also lets Alex know that she is a virgin, and will stay that way until her wedding night. Hope does and says several things that, individually mean nothing, but when put together, mean that something is not right.

After their second date, Alex gets a phone call from Charity, Hope’s mother. First, she demands Alex be tested for HIV, in Atlanta, by a doctor of her choosing. Then, she wants to know when Alex is going to marry Hope. Right after that, she implies that Alex doesn't know how to satisfy a woman. In the meantime, Alex owns a piece of ocean front property in Hawaii, that a shadowy corporation named Xanadu Holdings wants very, very much. Alex learns that Xanadu is having him followed, because they know about him seeing Hope in Atlanta. Things are getting more and more bizarre, so Alex's friends encourage him to get out now, before it is too late. Does he listen to them, or does Alex see things through to the bitter end?

This is a really good cautionary tale about Internet dating. That person with whom you have a blind date could be just a jerk. He or she could also have ulterior motives of a very different sort. This one will keep the reader very interested