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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lilith Rising 1969

Lilith Rising 1969, Roberta Kagan, 2013, Kindle e-book

This novel is about one person's experiences in late 1960s America.

Lily is your average teenager living near Chicago. She ran away from home because life at home had fallen apart. At a party, she is noticed by Red, the leader of a local biker gang. Realizing that she is too far from home, Lily calls her mother, looking for a ride. To her shock, her mother says that coming home, at that time, was not a good idea. Lily has no choice but to hop on Red's motorcycle.

Lily soon learns that she is Red's prisoner. She has to ask his permission for everything, including getting money for food. She learns, the hard way, about Red's hair-trigger temper. He can go from decent and reasonable one second, to total, red-faced, rage the next second. Lily's feelings toward Red vacillate between hatred and fear for her safety.

One day, Cricket (his real name is Sam), Red's brother, shows up at their door. Having just returned from Vietnam, where he was an Army medic, Cricket needs a place to stay for a while. The attraction between Lily and Cricket is instant. Red expects Cricket to resume the biker lifestyle, but Cricket is very uninterested. While Red is off planning a war against another gang, the relationship between Lily and Cricket grows into real love. They make plans to run away together to San Francisco, but Lily is very scared of Red's expected reaction. Circumstances suddenly force them to move up their timetable, and head west, now. How does Red react? Do they make it to San Francisco? Do Lily and Cricket live "happily ever after"?

In a way, this is very unpleasant reading, but it's very good reading. The author does a fine job from start to finish. This story is not for the faint of heart, but it is well worth the reader's time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All My Love, Detrick

All My Love, Detrick, Roberta Kagan, 2012, Kindle e-book

This is a love story set in Nazi Germany.

Detrick is an Aryan, living in Berlin, who, for years, has worked in the bicycle repair shop of Jacob Abdenstern. Accompanying Jacob home one night, Detrick meets Leah, his daughter. There is an instant attraction between them. They have to keep their romance very quiet, because, in Nazi Germany, any public affection between an Aryan and a Jew is very illegal. Detrick is extremely uninterested in anything to do with the Nazi Party.

Karl, Leah's brother, is one of those accustomed to using his fists in public. During a fight, he kills a member of the Hitler Youth, so fleeing Germany is suddenly a very good idea. He finds himself in the Warsaw Ghetto, preparing to fight. Detrick's sister, Helga, has fallen for Eric, an SS officer. He treats her like a goddess, showering her with gifts; that is, until the day he tells Helga that he is married, and cuts off all further contact between them. Helga is forced to travel to an isolated "institute" to have Eric's baby, without telling her parents.

Meantime, Leah's best friend, Dorothy, has fled Germany with her family. They are living with an uncle in Chicago. Her thick accent and unfamiliarity with English make school nearly impossible. She get a job, but her career choice goes over very badly with her father, who throws her out of the house. Dorothy is noticed by an older man named Tony, who also treats her like a goddess, showering her with gifts. But Tony tells her upfront that he is married, and still wants to see her.

Back in Germany, Detrick reluctantly joins the Nazi Party. He feels that it is the only way to earn the money to pay a sympathetic family to hide Jacob and Leah in their attic. detrick goes to work every day expecting that his deception will be discovered. Do Leah and Detrick "live happily ever after?"

This is an excellent piece of writing. It shows how the Nazi era tore apart even "good" Aryan families. It is well worth the reader's time.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Monsterjunkies: An American Family Odyssey

The Monsterjunkies: An American Family Odyssey, Erik Daniel Shein & L.M. Reker, Arkwatch Holdings LLC, 2012

This is the story of a very unique American family.

The Monsterjunkies live in a walled compound on the coast of Maine. Talon, the father, is a crypto-zoologist who specializes in rescuing animal species thought to be extinct, with the intention of returning them to the wild. Pandora is his wife, and their children, daughter Indigo and son Crow are students at the local high school. Because they are "different," both children have been noticed by Rutherford, the school bully. Crow wants the bullying to end, and Indigo wants the family to start being a little more trusting of outsiders. No one is allowed on the property, and the family doesn't talk about it, which leads to the expected rumors of monsters on the property.

Indigo invites Winter, a friend from school and a budding artist, for an overnight sleepover, and shows her what is really going on behind the walls. Crow becomes friends with a trio of boys from school who attempt to sneak onto the property to see for themselves. They are stopped by an actual sasquatch, who, they learn later, is intelligent and is named Beauregard. The visitors are also introduced to a pygmy elephant named Thunder who loves marshmallows, and an actual sea serpent named Sybil who can't eat enough squash.

At school one day, the group publicly humiliates Rutherford, in front of a bunch of girls. Naturally, he is not going to go away that easily. Does the Monsterjunkie family get "outed" prematurely? Does the bullying stop, once and for all?

This is an excellent YA novel. It has a very strong environmental and anti-bullying message. It is a well-done piece of writing that is recommended for all young people (and adults, too).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Navy Fun

Navy Fun: When Ronald Reagan Was In Charge and Being in the Navy Was a Blast, Vince Stead, E-Book Time, LLC, 2007

This is one person's chronicle of life in the US Navy.

The author grew up in a small town in Michigan. Part of a large family, his father's attitude was that when each child reached 16 years old, they moved out of the house. A friend was joining the Navy, so the author followed him.

Boot camp, held in Florida, consisted of a lot of yelling, for no good reason. When it was time to choose the area of training the sailor would learn, the author, having no better ideas, went to yeoman school. There he learned to type memos the Navy Way, and otherwise entered the world of military paperwork.

His first duty station was aboard a submarine tender. It followed several submarines, and acted as their supply ship. He worked directly with the ship's Commanding officer and Executive Officer, most of whom were decent, reasonable people. He compared himself to Radar O'Reilly, from the TV show MASH, taking care of the paperwork. It was not the most strenuous job in the Navy. Later in his career, he found himself doing similar work on a destroyer and an aircraft carrier.

When it is time to board a ship for your tour of duty, the ship does not come to you; you go to the ship, wherever in the world it might be. The author talks about some of the places he visited in his travels. Places like Manila and Seoul very much cater to American military personnel. There are many, many bars and nightclubs, each with many beautiful young women available for one-night stands. Even the most plain-looking guy, who can't get a date back home, could have a different woman each night, if he was interested. He noticed that things are very different in places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He also visited Hawaii, Guam, Hong Kong, the Maldive Islands and Diego Garcia (which is little more than a giant military base).

This is an interesting book that's worth reading. It's short, and is written in a very informal style.