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).

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Saturday, July 2, 2016


Wish, Scott Hungerford, Amazon Digital Services, 2013

The city of Emerald (formerly known as Seattle) is like something out of the Arabian Nights. Communication is done through a form of Skype that uses talking mirrors. Getting around the city is not done with cars or buses, but with flying carpets. The Sultan (the absolute ruler of Emerald) has been deposed in a coup. The new Sultan is a young man named Cassim. He is known to Shea, and her scholar father, as an arrogant, elitist jerk. Several magic rings give Cassim the power to, among other things, command an army of stone soldiers.

Few people know this, but Cassim started his reign by marrying his sister (without her consent), taking her to his bedroom, and, the next morning, ordering the disposal of her headless body. The stone soldiers spread out throughout Emerald, gathering up 500 young women, including Shea, and her best friend, Chloe, to be part of Cassim's harem. The previous night, Shea was attacked by a djinn who forced on her the ability to know a person's complete life story, including when they were going to die, just by touching them. Inside the palace, a sprawling complex of unimaginable luxury, the other women dream of being Sultana, but Shea knows that they have a very short life expectancy. Cassim finds out about Shea's abilities, and orders her to read anyone he wants, and tell him their story, especially the violent and sexual parts.

After being forced to read Chloe, the two manage to get Cassim's magic rings away from him, and help many others to get out of the palace with help from Shea's mother, Eve, a professional assassin. It's now a race to a cavern deep inside a mountain to get a magic lamp, the ultimate source of Cassim's power. It just happens to be guarded by a very large dragon. Do Shea and her parents get to the lamp first? Is Cassim the winner, and does he consolidate his tyranny?

This belongs in that large gray area of Pretty Good or Worth Reading. The story gets better in the second half of the book. Even a small explanation as to how Seattle became Emerald would have been appreciated. Teens will enjoy this book, and adults will like it, too.

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