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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Fight Presidents

How to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country, Daniel O'Brien, Three Rivers Press, 2014

Did you know that a number of former American Presidents would fit in quite well in a Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger action film? Imagine that they now want to beat you to a pulp. What do you do?

Thomas Jefferson designed his own tombstone (among many other things). He intentionally left out any mention of his time as President, because he didn't think it was that important. To quote from this book, "If "leaving your Presidency off of your tombstone" isn't the nineteenth-century equivalent of "walking away from an explosion without turning around to look at it," then I don't know what is." John Quincy Adams was involved in fighting the British when he was eight years old (What were you doing at eight years old?). He also swam the width of the Potomac every day at 5 AM, and thought that having sex outside in the snow was a good idea. James Madison may have been short and scrawny, but he did grab a couple of pistols and a horse, and rode out to the front lines to fight the British during the War of 1812 (as a sitting President).

It takes a peculiar amount of ego and ambition to want to be President, but Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson belongs in a category by himself. At age thirteen, as a British prisoner of war, Jackson was forced to march forty miles, barefoot, with an undressed head wound, and suffering from smallpox. If there were no wars to fight, Jackson liked real duels. On one occasion, Jackson allowed the other man to shoot first. The bullet almost hit his heart. Jackson then shot and killed the other man.

If a person wanted a private word with Lyndon Johnson, the person frequently had to follow Johnson into the bathroom and watch him poop. Johnson's sexual conquest numbers, while President, were comparable to John Kennedy, the King of Presidential Sexual Conquests. Chester Arthur is compared to Lex Luthor, and Ronald Reagan is compared to Wolverine. William Howard Taft once got stuck in a bathtub; it took four men to extricate him. The biography of Calvin Coolidge reads like the origins of a serial killer. Every day, Herbert Hoover played a game with his friends called Hooverball. Think of volleyball played with a ten-pound medicine ball.

Get past the foul language in this book, and this is a huge eye-opener. The reader will look at the past inhabitants of the Oval Office in a whole new way. It's also really funny. This is highly recommended for everyone.  

An Abduction Revelation: The Comeback Kid Returns

An Abduction Revelation: The Comeback Kid Returns, Thomas L. Hay, Balboa Press, 2012

(Kindle Book Review)
This book is about an average person with an almost unbelievable story to tell, a story that involves abduction by aliens.

Hay lived a rather normal life. He joined the Navy after high school, becoming a radioman, and getting very good at sending Morse Code. After the Navy, he married Claudia, and settled down to a normal life, except for the part about being abducted by aliens. With no prior warning, one night Claudia asks for a divorce (at the end of the book, Hay learns that she had a very good reason).

While living and working in Saudi Arabia, Hay falls in love with Fiza, an Arabian woman (very bad idea). They keep their relationship very quiet, but the male members of her family find about it, so Hay has to practically run to the airport to catch the next plane out of the country. They re-connect outside of Saudi Arabia, get secretly married and live in America, but things end very badly.

In the depths of depression, Hay is visited by a couple of men from NASA, with an invitation to join a Top Secret project. It seems that all the reports of UFO sightings and abductions since the mid-20th century are not all mass delusions; they happen to be true. Hay is able to telepathically communicate with a real alien, who really is not so alien after all. He also learns why, during an earlier visitation, the aliens took some sperm from him. The alien race is sterile; Hay is asked for his assistance. This is one of those decisions where there is no going back. What is his decision?

Hay had some memories of his abduction experiences, so he wrote a book about them. Claudia discovered a way to totally neutralize the alien mental blocks that were put in her head. Hay tried it, and he suddenly remembered everything that happened to him. He felt compelled to write a revised and updated book about his abduction experiences; this is the book. The reader can decide if this is fiction or non-fiction; the author insists that it is a true story. Either way, it works really well. It's very well-written and easy to read, with more than enough "strange" in it. Yes, this deserves five stars.

(The Kindle Book Review Received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Guardian Dragons

Guardian Dragons, Catherine L. Vickers, Kindle Direct Publishing, 2013

(Kindle Book Review)
Part of a series, this fantasy novel takes place on a very divided world.

Aarabassa is one of those planets where one side is always light, and the other side is always dark. A magic Wall separates the two sides, a Wall which none may cross, except for Guardian Dragons (keeping watch on the Dark side) and a powerful human mage called the Changeling.

Heather is the newest Changeling. She is an impetuous teenager who can't wait to try out her abilities. She turns into a huphin, a human/dolphin hybrid, and meets Prince Gadon, the huphin leader. Heather's friend, Prince Leon, tries to get her to slow down, but to no avail. She is one of those who doesn't know the meaning of "no."

Meantime, Leon's father, King Alfred, has simply given up on everything. He is no longer interested in being King, or even in taking care of himself. His beloved wife, Elma, died several years previously, giving birth to Alfred's son, Raphael. Alfred is still in mourning. He knows it is wrong, but he can't help but hate Raphael.

The Master (the Dark side Emperor) is not standing still, content with simply hating the Light side. He is able to take control of humans on the Light side, and have them serve his wishes, knowingly or unknowingly. The mother and son duo of Rikka and Fedros are among them. She is a healer around whom the sick tend to die. She isn't incompetent; she is making it possible for the Master to feed on their souls, and subject them to eternal torment.

There is a lot of introducing of characters in this book, and not much in the way of action. That is quite reasonable; the author has to introduce the characters sooner rather than later. The author does a really good job with the characters and the society-building. I hope the action and the "sword and sorcery" will come in later books.

(The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book in exchange for an independent, fair and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Unrecognizer, Rheo Palaeo, 2013, AuthorHouse

(Kindle Book Review)
This novel is set several hundred years from now, when Mankind has spread out throughout the galaxy.

Nearly every political and sociological way of life, from anarchism to communism, has been tried somewhere. A series of wormholes, both natural and artificial, has aided Mankind's expansion. Earth is no longer the "center" of Mankind. Rumors start to spread of a new, and very powerful, drug called Unrecognizer.

It temporarily disables the part of the brain that understands human speech, and the part that allows a person to speak. That's why it is also called Mute. A sort of cult has grown up around the drug. In some places, it is practically worshiped. A first-time user of the drug is called a "newborn." Of course, smuggling the drug can be very lucrative, and very dangerous, as one character discovers, the hard way.

Another side effect of the drug is that it gives some people strong psychic and telekinetic powers, with little or no distance limit. Can the pro-Unrecognizer forces get past corrupt police and politicians on nearly every planet to spread the drug far and wide, and maybe bring about a new system of galaxy-wide government?

This story easily gets four stars, maybe 4.5 stars. It has some interesting economic and political ideas, and it's also a good story. The reader won't go wrong with this one.

(The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.)  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Max Daley, the Lion and the Werewolves

Max Daley, the Lion and the Werewolves, Akin Ola, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2013

(Kindle Book Review)
This short novel is about your average young person who learns that he is really not so average.

Max Daley goes to middle school, has his eye on Anne, and deals with the school bully. One day, his mother tells Max that he was adopted as an infant, and he had with him a crystal cylinder. It brings forth some very powerful assistance, which Max finds that he will really need in the future.

Max is at the center of an ancient prophecy. A trio of vaguely European-looking men come to town, and suddenly people end up very dead. They aren't just dead, but looking like they were torn to bits by some huge creature. The trio is coming for Max, but he has some help in his Native American godfather, who knows something about visions and paranormal beings. Does their interest in Max have to do with the identities of his real parents? Does Max learn his destiny? Does Max survive?

I read this entire story in less than an hour, and it's pretty good. It's a present-day, and believable, YA story that has just enough weird in it. Yes, it's worth checking out.

(The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book in exchange for an independent, fair and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Aliens From the Black Sub

Aliens From the Black Sub, Liliane Bird, Exophilia Press, 2014

This short novel is about a new kind of First Contact with aliens.

The narrator lives alone in a tree-house somewhere near the Cascade Mountains. She enjoys living off the grid. She has an on-again, off-again relationship with Peter, her boyfriend. One day, a black, submarine-shaped spaceship lands in the forest right next to her tree. Curiosity gets the better of her, and she goes out to investigate. Suddenly, she is running for her life, chased by . . . something. It is not long before she is caught and brought back to the ship.

Next thing she knows, she is inside the ship, and strapped to a table. The thought of alien "experiments" crosses her mind more than once. But these aliens are interested in a different type of experiments. These aliens are interested in sex.

Not being a modest person, the narrator needs little convincing to get involved. There are several sexual encounters with the aliens, in various positions and combinations (described in detail). Peter returns, and is very uninterested in joining in the orgy. The aliens hypnotize him into participating, and, afterwards, he takes off again. The narrator thinks that maybe she can introduce the aliens to the good parts of humanity. Maybe she is the only thing keeping Earth from being invaded. Does she become pregnant with an alien baby? Do the aliens take her back to their home planet? Do the aliens suddenly leave in the middle of the night?

As the reader may have guessed, this is a very "specialized" story; it is not for everyone. For those who don't care for detailed descriptions of human/alien sexual encounters, this book can be skipped. For everyone else, who's to say that First Contact won't happen this way? This is well done, it's a very quick read, and, yes, it's worth reading.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Time Sniffers

Time Sniffers, C.S. Lakin, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2013

(Kindle Book Review)

First of a series, this novel is about a group of young people who are the only thing keeping Earth from being destroyed by an evil alien.

Set in the near future, Bria Harrison is the brilliant daughter of two famous scientists. Several weeks previously, her mother's experiment with lasers went very wrong, and her entire laboratory vanished. Bria is convinced that she is still alive.

Attempting to re-create Mom's experiment in her family's basement, Bria creates a small hole in space/time. A time sniffer pops out of the hole and into her basement. It looks like a big, shaggy dog who can camouflage itself (like a chameleon) and can sniff out time streams with its nose (it also speaks English).

The time sniffer, named K-Six, tells Bria (and several friends) that the disappearance of the laboratory (Mom is still alive, but trapped somewhere in time) has created a huge rift in space/time. It has allowed an alien named The Interloper to pour huge amounts of dark energy into our galaxy. The Earth will eventually be destroyed.

K-Six tells the humans that the only way to close the rift is from the inside, by finding the right time stream. They are taken through the space/time hole, where they are trained and physically altered. After several close calls on other worlds, the group finds itself inside the lab, before it disappears. Of course, it isn't as easy as Bria simply explaining to her mother why the experiment should be cancelled.

This is a really good YA story (at least four stars) that is full of science. Things may get a bit convoluted at times, but sticking with it will be worth the reader's time. Teens and adults will enjoy this story.

(The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Allied: First Contact

Allied: First Contact, Blake Ridder, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2013

(Kindle Book Review)
Prequel to an upcoming novel, this novelette is about an Earth whose climate changes from normal to catastrophic seemingly overnight.

Ethan is your average resident of England who wakes up one morning to find a hurricane going on outside his window. He grabs Cara, a young woman who lives in the same high rise apartment building, and they get out of the building before it collapses. Making their way to the nearest Underground station, they find it jam-packed with people, who start disappearing. They find an open shop, where a man named Fisher gives them a partial explanation.

What looks like a permanent overcast cloud cover has made any watching of the sky impossible. Fisher has a cousin named Jake, who is currently aboard the International Space Station. Jake tells Fisher of some Very Interesting Things going on in orbit, not least of which is the sudden appearance of an alien spaceship. The secret mission of the astronauts is to investigate the alien visitor. Jake is the only survivor of the crew, by being taken aboard the alien ship. Ethan, Cara and Fisher also find themselves on board. The ship is run by a group of humanoid aliens who just happened to be in the vicinity. They quickly realized that the only way to save humanity was to take as many of them as possible aboard their ship. Conditions on Earth are getting worse, so going back home is not an option. What do they do now?

If the writer can keep up this level of writing in the upcoming novel, then it will be very much worth reading. The story is short, and has believable characters. It is more than worth checking out.

(The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.)