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.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Monster Loyalty

Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics, Jackie Huba, Portfolio/Penguin, 2013

Lady Gaga is one of the most popular pop stars in the world. Her strategy for getting, and keeping, extremely loyal fans is incredibly successful (with 33 million followers on Twitter, she must be doing something right). This book shows how businesses of any size can copy her strategy.

First of all, who are your passionate fans, those whose world revolves around your brand? Are blogs or Facebook pages dedicated to your brand? Do people call your toll-free number, or send emails, with suggestions on how to improve your website? Those are your One Percenters. Find them, and don't let go. It's easier and cheaper to keep a present customer than to create a new one. (How is your customer service? What do review sites like Yelp say about you? It's pretty hard to get, or keep, passionate fans if your customer service stinks.)

What are your company's values? Making money is what you do, how and why you do it is what is important. Find a way to bring those passionate fans together, whether online or in person. Add an online forum to your website, or solicit testimonials and spread them throughout your marketing materials.

This group of fans is going to need a name. If they haven't decided on a name, ask their input in coming up with one. When it comes to deciding on a symbol for this group, watch how your customers use (or don't use) them; some symbols just won't work. Be open to adopting fan-created symbols.

Find a way to make your customers feel special, to put them in the spotlight. Invite them to special VIP events, or put them on your products. Give those passionate fans something to talk about, but don't be outrageous just for the sake of being outrageous. It could be something really simple, like one new design feature.

This book is highly recommended for businesses of all sizes. It won't be fast or easy, but if Lady Gaga can create legions of loyal fans, why can't you? It is also highly recommended for those, like yours truly, whose only exposure to Lady Gaga has been through the media. It was very surprising to learn that she is  much more than just a pop star.

What God Really Wants You to Know

What God Really Wants You to Know: God's Universal Truths Shared by All World Religions, C. David Lundberg, Heavenlight Press, 2009

For hundreds of years, mankind has used religion as a source of division and a justification for war (our God is better than your God). This book looks at the very deep similarities between the world's major religions.

Each of the thirty-three major points are illustrated with quotes from each religion's holy books. Along with the Talmud, Bible and Qu'ran, there are also quotes from the Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism), the Dhammapada (Buddhism), the Tao Te Ching (Taoism) and the Doctrine of the Mean (Confucianism).

Here are some of the areas in which the world's religions are similar. Life, with God, is Good, God gave us free will, so we are responsible for all we create. We are a part of God. There is One, All-Knowing, All-Powerful God, who created all good things. Maintain inner peace. Give praise and gratitude to God for all the blessings of life. God is Everywhere and Eternal. Live with moderation and balance in this world. Your body is God's temple, so keep it in good condition.

Always live by the Golden Rule. Help others and be charitable. Do no harm. Be patient. Respect others and don't judge them, unless their choices will harm the innocent. Be honest and merciful toward others. Acquire wisdom and knowledge to help you accomplish your goals. Use effort, persistence and discipline to help achieve your goals.

Step away from the religious radicals and hotheads, on all sides, and the world's religions are not so different, are they? This book can be opened to any page, and it will show that the different conceptions of God around the world are very similar. It is recommended for everyone, religious or non-religious.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Section 51 (Project Solstice)

Section 51 (Project Solstice), V.G. Harrison, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2013

First of a series, this science fiction/paranormal novel is about Ava Frost, part of a set of triplets. She has always had a strong empathic connection with her brother, Ian, until the day that he "disappears." She heads for the small town of Willow Falls to get some answers.

It all has to do with a bit of Native American folklore about people called skinwalkers, who can turn into animals, and back again. Ava knows, almost on arrival, that something is really wrong. She meets Ian at a local restaurant, but she knows that this is not her brother. The usual empathic connection is gone. She soon learns that Ian was killed two months previously, and his death was covered up.

Ava suddenly finds herself in the middle of a super-secret government program called Section 51 (yes, it's an offshoot of Area 51). It involves using genetic engineering to intentionally turn people into skinwalkers. She also runs into Colonel Briggs, the megalomaniac who runs the program. His intention is to create an army of such soldiers. Ian was working on a sort of skinwalker GPS system, and it's up to Ava to re-create his steps and bring it online. Briggs wants it very much, and there isn't anything he won't do to get total control over the skinwalkers.

This story is surprisingly good. It's very easy to read, it moves very quickly, and it will certainly keep the reader, whether science fiction or paranormal fan, very interested.