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.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Quantum Roots II

Quantum Roots II: Worm Holes, Kyle Keyes, CreateSpace, 2017

Present-day America is being menaced by a vigilante who looks like he just stepped out of a Western movie. Whenever someone is in trouble, whether it is an attempted rape, or someone getting beat up in a bar, he is there, with the black hat, the tin badge, and being a crack shot. He says his name is Leroy McCoy (a real person who lived in 1870's Dodge City). Could he be traveling by wormhole, to exactly the right place, or is the explanation much more down-to-earth?

The feds are hot on his trail. Alexis Grumman, head of the Department of Paranormal Affairs, and fellow agent (and boy-toy) Jeremy Wade are always one step behind. Can they stop him?

This one is really good, and pretty easy to understand. It's got some science fiction, some paranormal, some humor and a considerable amount of violence. It is the second in a series, but it stands on its own really well. Yes, this one is worth checking out.

To Dream the Blackbane

To Dream the Blackbane: A Novel of the Anomaly, Richard J O'Brien, Between the Lines Publishing, 2018

This novel takes place on an altered present-day Earth. The Anomaly has opened portals between Earth and the faerie/paranormal realm. It also caused people to be fused with whatever animal or thing was closest to them at that moment. Pure humans, called pedigrees, have relegated fairy refugees and hybrids into ghettos.

Wolfgang Rex is a retired Chicago police detective who is part dog. He is now a private investigator who has been hired by a couple of vampires to retrieve an ancient scroll. At the same time, Charlotte. a pedigree woman, wants him to travel to very rural Louisiana to exorcise a headless demon from her house.

Of course, it is not that easy. Wolfgang falls for Charlotte, and the vampires demand results. They make it clear that failure to find the scroll is not an option. Can Wolfgang stay alive long enbough to find the scroll, while his friends are killed by the vampires? Do Charlotte and Wolfgang live happily ever after?

This one is a first-rate piece of writing. The author explains The Anomaly in the first few pages to instantly get the reader interested. The story is full of strange creatures, good world-building and some really good writing. Detective story fans will love this book.

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Slower, Ted Shepherd, 2018, self-published

Emit is an average high school freshman who discovers, one day, that he has the ability to slow time. In the beginning, everything is cool. He pranks friends, and gets back at the school bullies. The power goes to his head.

Things get serious when he learns that there is someone else with the same ability. He learns that this other person was involved in several major historical moments. The other person says that he was forced to do these things; Emit learns later that his participation was a lot more voluntary. Emit is asked if he wants to help make the world a "better place" (according to whom?).The thought is very tempting. The final confrontation takes place in Washington DC, in the House Chamber, during the State of the Union address.

This is surprisingly good. It is very easy to read, and moves really well. It touches on things like neo-Nazis, the Kennedy assassination, Operation Paperclip and puts on the S&P 500 (betting that the entire stock market will go down). This is very much worth reading for teens and adults.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Chinatown (Ten Possible Endings - One Way Out Alive), Charles Hanna, Amazon Digital Services, 2018

For anyone who grew up with those Choose Your Own Adventure books, they have returned.

This one is about four friends (two married couples) who decide to visit San Francisco's Chinatown. Things go very badly for them. They experience underground tunnels that go on for miles, living stone beasts and a hole in the ground that actually does go to China. In one scenario, they are decapitated, and their heads are turned into shrunken heads. In another adventure, they are turned into human-sized piggy banks.

This is a short book, less than 100 pages, so it is a very fast read. It is also pretty macabre, so it is OK for teens and adults, but not recommended for smaller children. The actual writing is pretty good, so it is worth checking out.

Pastor of Paris

Pastor of Paris, Anil John, Amazon Digital Services, 2018

This is a collection of jokes, one-liners and short stories mostly about the subject of religion. This book also changes your perspective, it reduces your heart rate and blood pressure and helps the body fight infection.

Here are some examples. Consciousness: that annoying time between naps. Marriage is a three-ring circus: engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering. A man doesn't know what happiness is until he is married. By then, it's too late. I keep trying to lose weight but it keeps finding me. What do you get when you cross a Unitarian with a Jehovah's Witness? Someone who goes around knocking on doors for no apparent reason.

How many Roman Catholics does it take to change a light bulb? None - they use candles. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again? Dear Lord, please protect me from your followers. The secret to a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, and to have the two as close together as possible.

This is an excellent book. It is short and very easy to read. Humor is always a good thing, on some days in particular. This is very much worth reading, even for those who are not religious.

Height of Day

Height of Day, Desmond Cory, Amazon Digital Services, 2018

Set in 1950's Central Africa, Johnny Fedora is part of British Intelligence. He has hired a boat to search for a near-mythical white ape. He runs into an archaeological expedition looking for some specific ruins. They are going in the same general direction, so they hitch a ride on Johnny's boat.

As the days go on, it becomes clear that the expedition is not looking for ruins. Johnny is not really looking for a white ape, either. The words "Fourth Reich" are used. Johnny's real mission is to recover a mysterious object, wanted by the Nazis and British Intelligence, regardless of the cost.

Things get interesting when members of the expedition start dying. Can Johnny discover the real purpose of the expedition, and keep himself from becoming the next victim?

This book hearkens back to the days, before technology, when an intelligence agent used his wits to survive. It is very easy to read, has plenty of blood, and is very much recommended for all fans of spy novels.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Quality DNA

Quality DNA, Beth Martin, Beth Martin Books, 2017

Set in the near future, America's answer to climate change is to impose a strict one-child policy. Sterilization is mandatory, for men and women, after the birth of their first child.

Annette becomes pregnant after a one-night stand with a sexy stranger. Everyone's DNA is listed in the Genome Database. It gives Annette the name of a man who she never met, who died several years previously (frozen sperm does not last for several years). Irene is an investigator with the Seattle Social Department. More such anomalies cross her desk. This is not just a "glitch" in the system; something is very wrong. Just to make things more complicated, Jamie, Irene's wife, really wants to have a child (much more than does Irene). Finding a suitable sperm donor is easier said than done.

Focus shifts to a very off-the-grid group called the Alliance for Quality DNA, or AQD. It is almost a cult, and is run by Aidan, who is charismatic, but nuts. Irene goes undercover, with help from the FBI. They are concerned about terrorism, but Irene is on to the reason for the birth anomalies. Does she become an unintended guinea pig for whatever the AQD has planned?

Here is a really good piece of writing. It's gripping, it's plausible and it will certainly keep the reader's attention. This is very much worth checking out.