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)
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I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Socialpunk, Monica Leonelle, Spaulding House Publishing, 2011

First of a trilogy, this novel is about a near-future world ravaged by environmental collapse. As usual, things are not always what they seem to be.

Ima is a teenage girl of Asian ancestry living in the domed city of Chicago. Leaving the city is forbidden, because outside conditions are so bad. It is the year 2052, and Chicago is cut off from the rest of the world, because satellite access has been lost. Ima sneaks out of her parent's apartment, and attends a downtown party with Dash, the love of her life. At the party, she meets Nahum, a recent immigrant from Dubai. The rare immigrants to the city are mind-locked, preventing them from remembering anything about their lives before entering the city. Ima and Nahum are suddenly pulled outside by Vaughn, a mysterious young man in a black hoodie, just before the party venue is destroyed in a huge explosion.

Told that they are in a lot of danger, the two join Vaughn on the subway, and travel past what Ima thinks is the last stop on the line, outside of the city. The part about environmental collapse is true (the world's population has been reduced by more than 90 percent), but, otherwise, everything that Ima knows is a lie. Silicon City of the year 2198 revolves around the creation and dissemination of art. The city is in the middle of a huge controversy about the length of copyright. Most times, people ingest pills for nourishment instead of eating real food. Ima and Nahum join Vaughn's "hash," or gang, called the Socialpunks (they have little choice). Everyone in the city has been "upgraded" with things like bionic eyes, superhuman strength, etc., so Ima and Nahum get similar modifications (again, they have little choice).

Domed Chicago, what Ima knows as home, is going to be destroyed very soon, so Ima insists that the few remaining Socialpunks rescue Dash, who, Ima is sure, loves her as much as she loves him. Complications ensue.

There may be echoes of other such novels here, but this is still a very worthy addition to the cyberpunk/dystopian genre. This might work best as a Young Adult book, or as an introduction for people who are new to the genre. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

3 Steps to Recovery: One Man's Triumph Over Alcohol and Drugs

3 Steps to Recovery: One Man's Triumph Over Alcohol and Drugs, Dan Farish, T-87 Publishing Co., 2011

This is the story of one person's journey from alcoholism to recovery and sobriety.

Dan was your average native of the Boston, MA area. Dad worked as a subway janitor, and seemed to come home angry every night. Taking it out on his family, Dad reached new levels in Mean, Rotten and Nasty. He was the person in the neighborhood who would loudly complain if the local kids were making too much noise, or if someone rode a loud mini-bike past the house. Mom was not much better. A number of times, she stuck her head in the oven, wanting to commit suicide. The rest of the time, she would take Dad's side against her children. Dan's older sister, who had no problem in standing up to Dad, packed a couple of suitcases, and practically ran out of the house the day she turned 18, never to look back.

During adolescence, Dan discovered the "joys" of alcohol and drugs. He would stay out all night nearly every night, drinking a case of beer daily. Soon, he was drinking all day, too. There were several smashed cars and run-ins with the law. Somehow, Dan graduated from high school, after which, he too left home. Marriage, and 2 children, soon followed. They moved to a small town in Tennessee, where they opened a pizza place. Their total lack of experience in running a restaurant was not important. For a couple of years, the place was thriving. Dan turned the restaurant into the local after-hours drinking establishment, which was not a good idea (he was still drinking heavily every day). He also upset the "wrong" people in town. After the restaurant failed, he decided to try again, in Atlanta. This time, Sue, his wife, wanted no part of the new restaurant. Still drinking heavily, this one failed pretty quickly. Dan finally realized that he had hit rock bottom, and agreed to rehab.

He though very little of the 12 Steps in Alcoholics Anonymous, and of group therapy. His attitude must have showed, because he was named Most Likely To Fail by his counselors and the rest of his group. He was also kicked out of the program with only three days left to completion. After much soul-searching and sleepless nights, he reduced the 12 Steps to only 3 Steps, and held on to those very tightly. Is he stiil an alcoholic, or did he kick his addiction? Did his vital organs shut down from all the beer he was drinking? Can the 3 Steps also work for any other addiction?

This is a very inspirational story. Farish is also a really good writer, who does not sugarcoat anything. The 12 Steps will not work for everyone; perhaps the 3 Steps will work. Anyone affected by alcoholism would do very well to read this book. It is very much worth the time.