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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Get Rich Quick Book

The Get Rich Quick Book, Jeffrey Blake, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2014

Here is a short, and interesting, book about how to make money online, even while you are sleeping.

There are many different types of items that can be sold online. The easiest, and least costly, for you, the seller, to sell is some sort of electronic product, like an audio or video recording, or an e-book. If your website is properly set up, you can receive orders any time of the day or night. It takes just a few keystrokes to "mail" the product, removing the need for inventory and overhead.

Find a way for your product to make the life of your customer easier. How can it fulfill a need they don't even know they have? It's easier to make money teaching a person to do something instead of doing it for them.

The book gives some subject areas to consider. Can you do something to help people get over their fear of heights, or flying? Perhaps you can sell miniature cameras, and other such spy equipment, for couples in the middle of divorce proceedings. There seem to be a million smartphone apps available. Consider starting a subscription site where you review some of these apps. Find someone on one of the freelance sites to actually create the apps for your client (be sure to split the revenue equally).

If you are a fashionista, you can start a site keeping women informed about the latest fashion trends (with affiliate links helpfully provided). Start a site that provides the services of a psychic, astrologer or medium. Last, but not least, where would the internet be without pornography? Start an adult web chat or phone sex site. Start a subscription site where you review other porn sites.

This is a very "basic" book that is light on details. Those are in the free, with purchase of this book, DVD (with a retail value of $97). Maybe that will help ease the pain of the high price for this book. Yes, this is worth checking out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Shoeleather History of the Wobblies

A Shoeleather History of the Wobblies: Stories of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Connecticut, Steve Thornton, Shoe Leather History Project, 2013

In the early 20th century, the Industrial Workers of the World, or "Wobblies," attempted to organize a working-class movement that crossed racial and ethnic lines. This book looks at one part of their story, their strikes and campaigns in Connecticut.

Free speech may seem like an obvious right for all Americans. It wasn't always that way, especially for those who opposed the prevailing order in society, like labor union organizers. There was no mass media, so the only way to reach a large mass of people at once was to do it live, whether in a local theater, or literally standing on a soapbox on a street corner. Such gatherings were usually broken up by the police, or by paid henchmen working for the owner of whatever company was the subject of the latest labor unrest.

Many of the important figures in early 20th century labor came through Hartford, the state capital. They included "Big Bill" Haywood, Eugene Debs and Emma Goldman (who actually got her start in Hartford). The long, bitter, and ultimately successful, strike in Lowell, Massachusetts was a big inspiration to Connecticut workers. While an IWW strike was in progress, one would think that the American Federation of Labor (AFL) would be willing to help whenever possible. Rarely did that happen. Among the best IWW organizers was Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who traveled the country organizing strikes while still a teenager.

A constant problem for the IWW was the accusation that they were an anarchist or socialist organization. Anyone who opposes capitalism must hate America, right? After World War I came the Red Scare. Led by the Justice Department, America was convinced that Moscow was going to take over and turn America into a socialist state. This led to many arrests and deportations of union leaders, and the destruction of many IWW offices. It never recovered to its former strength, but the IWW is still around today.

This is a fascinating piece of American labor history, and of the history of Connecticut. It is the sort of history that will not be taught in school. On many levels, this is very much worth reading.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vic: Never Give Up

Vic: Never Give Up, Jerry Gill, Ann Darrow Co., 2014

This is the third in a series of novels about your average female resident of the early 20th century who isn't really so average.

Victoria Custer's "day job" is as a travel and adventure writer for her local, Nebraska, newspaper. Using the pen name Vic Challenger, she travels to places that even experienced, male adventurers would hesitate to visit. Vic has a very good reason; she has inside of her an avatar of a 100,000-year-old cavewoman  named Nat-ul. She came from an era where violent death could come at any moment. If Nat-ul has survived all these centuries, then Nu, her lover, must also be alive. That search is the real reason for Vic's adventures.

Vic and her friend, Lin Li, are booked on a very fancy ship for a trip to England in a couple of weeks, so they make a quick trip to the Grand Canyon for some camping. They will take some photos, write some articles; it will be fun, right? They are taken prisoner by some Native American warriors who accuse them of being human slavers targeting Native American children, they are later taken prisoner by actual human slavers, and they come across a bottomless cavern full of what looks like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. They manage to reach their ship for England with minutes to spare.

Once in Britain, they head for Scotland, intending to camp in the ruins of a Scottish castle on the shore of Loch Ness (home of the famous Monster). The local inhabitants are tormented by the mysterious disappearances of animals, and people. Some say that the Loch is inhabited by a number of "beasties." Other tales are about a family of human cannibals. Vic and Lin learn, to their horror, that both stories are true. Amid all this Vic just misses meeting an artist named Stu James, who she is sure is the reincarnation of Nu, her lover.

I totally enjoyed this book (and this series). It's got a strong female main character, it's got plenty of action and brushes with death, and it would make a really good movie. This is very much worth reading.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Coconut Ketogenic Diet

The Coconut Ketogenic Diet, Bruce Fife, Piccadilly Books, 2014

This weight loss plan actually encourages the consumption of fat on a daily basis.

The low fat or low calorie diet that you are on is the reason why your weight loss has been slow, or non-existent. Fat is an essential nutrient; the human body needs a certain amount of it every day. It helps to slow down food in your digestive system so that it can be absorbed. Besides, food producers will add chemicals to make up for the fat or calories that have been removed, chemicals that are even less healthy than fat.

Your whole thyroid system may be malfunctioning, not just your thyroid gland, which the usual thyroid blood test may not pick up. The problem may be an iodine deficiency, or chemicals like fluorine, chlorine and bromine that are in your tap water. Take your temperature several times during the day. If it is chronically more than 0.3 degrees low, that may indicate a thyroid or metabolism problem. How can a person stimulate their metabolism? Drink lots of water, get regular exercise and exposure to sunlight, eat a wholesome diet, consume coconut oil and add cayenne pepper to the diet.

What about this coconut ketogenic diet? The two most important parts of it are to greatly reduce, or eliminate, your consumption of carbohydrates, and have three tablespoons of coconut oil with each meal. If your body tells you to start with one tablespoon per meal and work your way up from there, that's fine. The book has a list of the carbohydrate content in fruits, vegetables and breads, along with a chart showing desired body weight. The explains why coconut oil (also known as medium chain triglycerides) are so healthy.

This is an excellent book. It is not the usual "diet," where the dieter is limited to certain foods. If all a person can do is greatly reduce their carbohydrate consumption, and do a lot more exercising, without doing anything else, that can only help. This book is recommended for everyone, with and without a weight problem.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Shadow on the Sun

Shadow on the Sun, R. Julian Cox, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2012

This present-day techno-thriller is about the intersection of government, big business and a possible nuclear apocalypse.

A well-known dissident Iranian scientist tells the US President, Juan Sanchez, that a major earthquake is coming for the Pacific Northwest. The "Big One" won't happen sometime in the future, but in the next couple of months. The fault line just happens to go through the Hanford nuclear complex, home to thousands of tons of nuclear waste. If that waste got loose, the Pacific Northwest would become a permanent nuclear wasteland. The Iranian scientist has all his data on a couple of portable hard drives, but he needs American supercomputer power, like at Los Alamos Laboratory, to help America with Plan A (Plan B is to permanently evacuate everyone in Oregon and Washington State).

Meantime, the British are about to test a very classified, over the horizon, laser-based missile defense system (not even America knows about it). The bean will be on for only a fraction of a second, but the power is so high that no one knows just what will happen. Will they punch a hole in the space-time continuum? A high US official is heading to London for an extremely important meeting. He is traveling in a classified, and very fast, space plane called Aurora. Suddenly it disappears from radar. Why would the wreckage be found, buried in the English countryside, along with swords and other metal objects dating from the time of King Arthur, about 1500 years ago? Naturally, the two hard drives were on board. Can they be found in time? Do they still work?

This one is really worth reading. It has everything a person may want; it has high-tech, it has impending disaster, it has medieval history, and a bit of romance. It also has some very good writing. The reader will not go wrong with this story.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Red Rising

Red Rising, Pierce Brown, Del Rey Books, 2014

First of a trilogy, this book is all about revolution, and love.

Darrow has spent his entire life as a miner, living underground on Mars. Part of a colony whose job is to mine Helium, all of the miners have been told, for many years, that the surface is uninhabitable. They are helping to build a new human society on Mars. Doubts enter into Darrow's mind after his wife is murdered by the brutal, sadistic government. Recruited by a secret underground group, Darrow learns that, for the past couple of hundred years, the miners have been Really Lied To.

The usual revolt would be crushed within a couple of days, so Darrow is given a different assignment. Months are spent turning him into a member of the elite class, both physically and mentally. He is to infiltrate the elite class, and become one of them. After he has risen to a senior position in the regime, then he will bring it down from the inside.

Along with a couple of dozen other young people, Darrow becomes a student at an institute to decide the next member of the ruling class. Split into several groups, they are each assigned to a castle in a river valley, and told to go from there. What follows is a Hunger Games-style competition, with real casualties, to winnow down the field. Darrow shows real leadership, and plenty of guts. Another student, the son of one of the rulers, is "supposed" to win, but isn't going to follow along. Does Darrow pull off an unauthorized win? Does he even survive?

This one is a gem of a story. It has everything; a brutal government and dystopian society, growing revolution, young people and some possibilities for romance. It also has an easy to read story. This is very much worth reading.