Welcome!


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:

booklore.co.uk
midwestbookreview.com
2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
Librarything.com
Goodreads.com
Bookwormr.com
Books-a-million.com
Reviewcentre.com
Onlinebookclub.org
Pinterest.com
and on Twitter
(seriously)

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

Spiritual Cashflow

Spiritual Cashflow: A Story About Sex, Money and Enlightment, Steven E. Schmitt, 2011, Kindle e-book

This is the story of one person's spiritual "rags to riches" journey.

Set in present-day Southern California, the narrator, who calls himself "E," had a difficult home life. The youngest of eight children, there was lots of love in the house. There was also lots of alcohol, bikers and all-night parties. Mom did the best she could while battling cancer. Dad committed suicide before E was born. While growing up, E got inklings that there is something more to life, something that he calls "spiritual cashflow."

He barely graduated high school, and had zero interest in college. Mom moved to the desert for her health, and E was left on his own. Moving from one freind's couch to another, E got the entrepreneurial spirit. While living with Julian, in a used car lot run by Julian's father, the two would go club-hopping every night. They would "borrow" one of Dad's used cars, usually a Porsche, and go to clubs looking for women who were only interested in sex. The pair were young and handsome, so it was easy. Moving to a local motel, lots of wild sex would ensue. Afterwards, while the women were asleep, E and Julian would steal their wallets and leave. It became very lucrative, but, spiritually, E knew that something was wrong. One night, it all changed.

During another night of club hopping, E met an Asian woman who, spiritually, hit him like a ton of bricks. She reached the "good" part of him, hidden under all that fear and attitude. E was forced to do some heavy thinking. He began to realize that his life of sex and theft was not working any longer. He became interested in religion, and read the Bible cover to cover. He was upset by the dichotomy between the universal love message of Jesus, and the present-day assertion that the only way to be with God when you die is to believe in the Christian conception of God. Naturally, old habits die hard. Does E continue on his new path, or does he go back to being a misogynist thief?

This is a very inspirational book, but it is also not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of drugs, sex and swearing. Get past that, and this shows how anyone can change for the better. Yes, it's really worth reading.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Goodnight, Brian

Goodnight, Brian, Steven H. Manchester, 2013, Kindle e-book

Here is a story about one family's journey through life, in the face of some considerable obstacles.

Brian Mauretti is the second child of Jan and Frank Mauretti, residents of Rhode Island. For his first few months, while he is breast-fed, everything is fine. When Jan switches him to a supposedly organic, soy-based, bottle formula, Brian's condition collapses. It starts with constant diarrhea, and inability to sleep, and goes downhill from there. Her pediatrician says not to worry. After six months of this, another pediatrician diagnoses Brian's condition.

The formula maker intentionally removed the salt from the formula, allegedly to make it more healthy. A newborn baby needs certain minerals, including salt, every day. The lack of salt has done major damage to Brian's frontal lobe; he will never be able to walk or talk on his own.

After the tears and anger, Jan's mother, Mama, the family matriarch (as New England Italian as they come), dismisses the bleak diagnosis from the doctor. She tells the family that the number one priority is helping Brian to reach his full potential. Dissent will not be tolerated. It takes several years, but Brian does learn to walk and talk. He thrives in the Rhode Island Special Olympics.

If any of the local kids start teasing Brian, or just look at him the wrong way, Russ, his older brother, has no problem with pounding that person into a bloody pulp. As the years go on, the family experiences the same trials and tribulations that happen in any family. Jan and Frank's marriage does not survive. A daughter of Jan's sister Bev declares that she is gay, while the other daughter marries a black man. Mama takes the news much better than does Bob, Bev's husband. Mama is slowing down, but doesn't tell anyone in the family that she has cancer.

This may sound like a silly cliche, but do whatever is necessary (and legal) to get a copy of this book. If purchasing it is not possible, then ask your library to get a copy. When life gets too difficult, a person sometimes needs an old-fashioned inspirational story about things like love and faith and hope. This is that story.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

V.E.A.R. Toward Success

V.E.A.R. Toward Success, Mike Caldwell, Trafford Publishing, 2008

This book shows how anyone can achieve their goals in any part of their life.

Vision comes first. For example, it's not enough to simply say to yourself, "I would like to open a cupcake shop." You have to visualize yourself in your shop which is full of customers, you have to dream about it, you practically have to make it part of your inner being. If you aren't totally committed to your goal, whatever it is, then why bother?

Next comes Energy. Visualizing, by itself, is not enough; what are you going to actually do about it? To continue the cupcake shop example, take a hard look at your finances, research the local health and safety requirements, and visit your local bank to start the loan process.

Your Attitude is an important part of reaching any goal. Are you a "glass is half full" or "glass is half empty" type of person? Well-meaning friends, and family members, may gently, or not so gently, question your goal. If you are totally committed to "it," whatever it is, are you going to let anyone steer you away from your goal? Can you look at a vacant, garbage-filled storefront, and visualize a clean, and busy, cupcake shop?

Last, but not least, is Resolve. There will be setbacks. There will be days when it seems like the whole world is conspiring against you, when curling into the fetal position and giving up is very tempting. This is when you find out what you are made of on the inside. Do you have what it takes to keep your focus on your goal, no matter how impossible it may seem?

This book can work with any type of goal, whether it's losing weight, or running an Ironman triathlon. The author may not have intended it, but this book also works as a cautionary tale for anyone who wants to build their own "off the grid" home in the woods (the author gives many examples from his own experiences). The goal may be "green" and noble, but, a seemingly infinite amount of patience and resolve may be needed to get there. On any level, this book is easy to read and follow, and is recommended for everyone.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Boy Who Played With Dark Matter

The Boy Who Played With Dark Matter (The Count of Monte Cristo), Holy Ghost Writer, 2012, Kindle e-book

Set at the dawn of the 22nd Century, this is about a young boy whose view of the world is turned upside down.

Zeddy lives with his parents, Zane and Zadie. The world is under the control of the fascist International Government. All citizens have to check the computer each morning to see what new laws have been imposed overnight. Instant adherence to all new laws is expected. The penalty for non-adherence is to be taken away by the International Police, and never seen again.

One day, while walking the dog, Zane vanishes. He is a scientist who recently completed several months of work for the IG, so the first thought is that they have kidnapped him for reasons of their own. Zeddy shows great math and science abilities, which the family keeps quiet for the same reason. Any smart children are taken by the IG for their own purposes, and never seen again.

Zeddy asks Zadie if they really are free in this society, and is taken to a secret room in their house, which he never knew existed. It is filled with books, the possession of which is very illegal. Zadie reads Zeddy the story The Count of Monte Cristo. A neighbor, who happens to be a witch, tells them that they must undertake a harrowing journey to be re-united with Zane. Fake travel documents are provided; one wrong move and the International Police will make them disappear, permanently. A local professor is asked to go with them. He is in trouble with the Police because of a previous "accident", from whom they barely escape.

This is a really good Young Adult/dystopian story, akin to "1984." It is worth reading for everyone, young and old.