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.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lies to Die For

Lies to Die For, Todd M. Thiede, CreateSpace, 2013

This present-day murder mystery is about a small town being menaced by a serial killer, soon after putting another serial killer in jail.

Detective Max Larkin of the Rockton Police Department has just returned to work after taking a mandated psychological leave. Larkin and Jesse, his partner, are investigating a double homicide. After a third murder, suspicion falls on Liam, the hot-headed estranged husband of one of the victims. The circumstantial evidence is pretty strong, but it's not enough to force a confession. Larkin, whose instincts about a person's guilt or innocence are usually very good, is convinced that Liam is innocent. Jesse is just as convinced of his guilt.

After Liam goes to jail, there is another dead body. Suspicion points in a totally different direction, toward someone a lot closer to Max and Jesse. After that possibility is no longer a possibility, another person is found dead. Can Max and Jesse stop the killer before Max becomes the next victim?

This one is really good. It feels realistic, and it has lots of twists and turns. The reader will be kept guessing until the last few pages. It is very much worth reading.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lifelong Sobriety

Lifelong Sobriety: How to Stop Drinking and/or Using Drugs, Bajeerao Patil, BRP Books, 2013

Why are some people able to permanently give up drugs or alcohol, and start to turn their lives around, and some people just can't do it? Are those people destined to be alcoholics or junkies forever?

You, the addict, have to want to change; today, and tomorrow, and the next day. There will be setbacks and relapses. Are you going to give up because you fell "off the wagon" once, or are you going to re-focus your efforts to never let it happen again? Don't be afraid to ask for help. If your friends and family see you making an honest effort to change, they might be willing to meet you halfway.

There are many things that you, the addict, need to stop doing, now. First and foremost, stay away from your drinking or drugs buddies. Stop being so self-centered. Denying that you have a problem, when everyone around thinks otherwise, helps no one. Drop the "My way or the highway" attitude. Stop lying to others. You are responsible for your actions, and no one else. The world is not out to get you.

Anger, depression and anxiety are normal human feelings. The way a person deals with those feelings is what, figuratively, separates the men from the boys (or the women from the girls). Once you are clean, what do you want to do with your life? Come up with some life goals. Learn to follow directions, and honestly share your feelings. Last but not least, learn to recognize the situations that could lead you back to using drugs or alcohol.

This is general book, intended to start a person on the road to sobriety, and not so much a detailed, everything-you-need-to-know book. The chapters are short, and it is very easy to read. It is highly recommended for everyone, including addicts and those whose family member is an addict.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Courvalian: The Resistance

Courvalian: The Resistance, Benjamin Reed, Amazon Digital Services, 2013
(Reviewed by Paul Lappen - Kindle Book Review)

First of a series, this novel is about three brothers who are thrust into a very strange world.

Charles, Matthew and Travis are experienced winter hikers and campers. On a recent trip, there is a cave-in in the cave where they were sleeping. Next thing they know, they are in a place called Archelon, which is in the middle of rebellion against the tyrannical king. With no memory of their previous lives, the three join the Resistance. Matthew is tasked with delivering a vital message to Fort Renee, several days away on foot. After many trials and tribulations, Matthew is successful in delivering his message. Meantime, Charles and Travis go to a place called Lake Victorbland, which is something like Resistance Headquarters.

While Matthew is at Fort Renee, several thousand of the king's men stage an attack, along with mentally altered people called Mirages. The attack is barely repulsed. It is decided to send a small group of people, including Matthew, to Lake Victorbland, where he is reunited with Charles and Travis. Several years ago, Kurtax, the overall commander of the Resistance, was forced to abandon a place called Gowand's Keep. He has vowed to get it back, regardless of the cost. The three brother spend several days watching the castle, looking for any weaknesses or "back doors". There are none. Any conventional attack on Gowand's Keep would be a suicide mission. What about an "unconventional" attack?

This is a strong, well-done piece of sword and sorcery fantasy that is heavy on the "sword" part. It easily rates 4 stars, maybe even 4.25 stars. The reader will not 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.)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Great Cholesterol Myth

The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease - and the Statin-Free Plan That Will, Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra, Fair Winds Press, 2012

"High cholesterol and saturated fat are the major causes of heart disease." That statement has been a medical article of faith for many years. According to the authors of this book, it is also very wrong.

There are several different types of "good" and "bad" cholesterol (some "good" cholesterol is bad for the body, and some "bad" cholesterol is good for the body), so a single number for good and bad cholesterol each is rather worthless. People with really low cholesterol numbers can easily get heart disease, and those with really high cholesterol numbers can live their entire lives without one bit of heart disease. Why do some native cultures, who practically live on saturated fat, have little or no heart disease?

The real cause of heart disease is chronic inflammation, which comes from damage caused by free radicals (the book explains everything). Sugar is much more harmful to your heart than fat. It contributes to inflammation in the walls of your arteries. It increases the amount of insulin in your blood, which increases cholesterol and raises your blood pressure. It also raises your level of triglycerides, which is a much better indicator of heart disease than cholesterol.

What is the problem with statin drugs, the usual treatment for heart disease? Their benefits have been extremely exaggerated. The brain depends on cholesterol to function normally. A common (but under-reported) side effect of statin drugs is sexual dysfunction. Most doctors dismiss complaints of side effects from statin drugs, and don't report them to the FDA. The only people who should take statin drugs are middle-age men with documented coronary artery disease.

The book mentions tests that are much better indicators than cholesterol of heart problems. Ask your doctor to order them. Get rid of sugar, soda, processed carbohydrates and trans fats from your diet. Eat more vegetables, berries, nuts, beans and dark chocolate. If you can add only one supplement to your diet, make it Coenzyme Q10.

This book easily reaches the level of Must read, especially for anyone on a statin drug. It is an eye-opener that will give the reader plenty to discuss with their doctor at their next appointment.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Digger's Story: Surviving the Japanese POW Camps was Just the Beginning

Digger's Story: Surviving the Japanese POW Camps Was Just the Beginning, David Barrett & Brian Robertson, Amazon Digital Services, 2012 
(Kindle Book Review)

This is the chronicle of one person's life as a Prisoner of War in World War II, and his life after he returned home.

Barrett was your average Australian teenager who enlisted in the military for some adventure, and to escape a difficult home life. He found himself in an ambulance corps in Malaysia, near Singapore. The average soldier knew very little of what was happening, but they were sure of one thing. The British commanders in the area were doing a terrible job. They were more interested in retreating than in actually fighting the Japanese. Everyone knew that surrender was inevitable.

For the next three years, Barrett was a prisoner of the Japanese, "helping" to build a railroad through Burma and Thailand. To say that conditions were beyond brutal and inhuman is much too generous. He was part of the medical detail, doing whatever he could for the very sick. Barrett spent his days digging mass graves outside the camp, for the thousands who dies of causes ranging from starvation and overwork to diseases like cholera and dysentery. After the war, Barrett joined an Allied commission that traveled that same railroad, looking for mass graves. The intention was to look for evidence of Japanese war crimes, and to give those who were buried a final bit of recognition and dignity.

Fast forward to the 1980s. After a successful career in sales, Barrett learned of a group of Canadian ex-POW's who, through the United Nations, demanded reparations from Japan. Why couldn't Australian ex-POW's do the same thing? Barrett put together a Reparations Committee, and found that the vast majority of ex-POW's were totally in favor. Th Executive Committee of the National Ex-POW Association did not agree. Secret negotiations with the Japanese Government start moving in a direction that Barrett does not like. Does he stick it out? Does he ever reduce his hatred of all things Japanese?

This book easily gets 5 stars. It does not go too far in any one direction, but is very well-done chronicle of a person's journey to hell and back. It is highly recommended.

(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.)