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, December 25, 2018

Power of Vitamin D

Power of Vitamin D, Sarfraz Zaidi MD, Outskirts Press, 2010

This book is about a miracle chemical that most people lack. When a person's body has a reasonable supply of it, this chemical can help reduce the severity of many physical ailments. The miracle chemical is: Vitamin D.

Yes, that is the same Vitamin D that comes from being outside on a sunny day. Maybe parents should re-think covering their children with sunscreen anytime they go outside (for fear of skin cancer). Being outside or drinking milk with Vitamin D are certainly not bad ideas, but, by themselves, they will not provide all the Vitamin D that a person needs. The author also feels that the recommended amount of Vitamin D per day, 400 I.U., is much too low (Vitamin D is measured in International Units). The author also cites studies showing that a lack of Vitamin D can be linked to a variety of physical problems, ranging from high blood pressure to heart disease to multiple sclerosis to fibromyalgia to depression.

Does this require a trip to your local doctor? Yes, so that a blood test can be done that specifically measures the level of Vitamin D in your blood. It is helpful to know if your Vitamin D supply is a little low, or if you are. figuratively, empty. Then you should go to your local pharmacy, buy some Vitamin D, and start taking 2000-3000 I.U. per day.

Can it really be that simple? Can your illness be lessened, or even cured, with Vitamin D? There is little, or nothing, to lose. This is a very interesting book that is very easy to read. It is very much worth reading.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Give People Money

Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work and Remake the World, Annie Lowrey, Crown Publishing, 2018

What if the US Government started depositing $1000 every month in the bank account of everyone in America, with no strings attached? Sounds incredible, doesn't it? This book gives the details.

No doubt, some people will use the money to purchase items that are not healthy, like cigarettes, liquor or hard drugs. The vast majority of people will use the money to pay overdue bills, or stock up at the grocery store, or make a long-delayed trip to the dentist or doctor. The Universal Basic Income (or UBI) is meant to replace some, or all, of the current welfare system, which seems to be designed to be as confusing as possible.

Why should America consider a UBI now? It is not China, or immigration from Central America that will put millions of people out of work, it is automation (especially the rise of artificial intelligence). Not all of those newly unemployed will find new, 21st century jobs. Establishing a UBI will give these people a reliable amount of money each month, and it is easier, and cheaper, than pushing millions more people into an already overloaded welfare system.

How will America pay for it? The estimated cost of giving every American citizen $1000 per month, every month, is just under $4 trillion (the present size of the entire US economy). The closing of many tax loopholes, and the raising of many tax rates will have to happen to even come close to raising that amount.

This is a gem of a book. It is very thought-provoking, and very easy to understand. A UBI will help fill the "cracks" through which many low-income people fall. Here is an excellent place to start that discussion.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Undead, Ryan W Aslesen, BookBaby, 2018

Part 2 of a series, this book is about Max Ahlgren, CIA/black ops agent. In the previous novel, Max was part of an armed squad that traveled to Alaska to see why a mining operation had suddenly stopped. There, they faced people who had turned into hideous creatures, with extra arms and horns and a need to kill everything. The mining operation was vaporized, and Max was the only survivor of the squad.

In this novel, the North Koreans have gotten hold of the test data from the Alaskan mining operation, and plan to use it to, at minimum, give immortality to Kim Jong-Un. Max is seduced by a Korean woman named Juno to join a super-secret operation. The intention is to parachute into North Korea, find the (mostly underground) installation, get the test data, and destroy everything, with help from a backpack thermonuclear bomb.

The squad arrives at their target, but things start going wrong soon after. Juno, the leader of the mission, has a private set of objectives. The safe return of all members of the squad is not necessarily among them. After the squad survives attacks by North Korean soldiers, the practically indestructible monsters are unleashed. Perhaps they were political dissidents, or just "test subjects". The nuke is armed, and the test data is found. Can Max, and his rapidly dwindling number of squad mates, make it out alive? After that is the small problem of reaching the coast and activating the rescue beacon.

This is a pretty violent story (the body count gets pretty high by the end), but it is a really good story. Max learns, pretty quickly, just who he can, and cannot, trust. I look forward to more books in this series.

Escape from Hypatia 5

Escape from Hypatia 5: The 18th Shadow, Jon Lee Grafton, Amazon Digital Services, 2018

Part 4 of a series, this near-future novel takes place partly on the Moon. That is where the North American Union has built Hypatia 5, the ultimate in maximum-security prisons. Run by a person called The Architect, the only way to leave is in death.

It is also a place of gladiatorial games, involving humans, androids and cyborgs. Naturally, the battles are televised live on Earth. It is also a popular destination for the ultra-rich to watch the battles in person. A new cyborg is on the scene, a former person called The Prophet who remembers her former life. Is the "Escape from Hypatia 5" a success? Who wants to escape and why?

This is a very good, but very violent, novel. My only complaint is that it is fourth in the series (hardly the author's fault). I am one of those who Must read a series in order. For those who have read the other three books, this book is very much worth reading. It is less successful as a stand-alone novel.

The Seventh Guard

The Seventh Guard: Destiny Expires, Francis Halpin, Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2018

Robert is in his mid-twenties, and is abrasive and sarcastic. He has a part-time job in the computer repair department at Best Buy. He has been forbidden to have any contact with customers because of his near-total lack of social skills.

At home, in an attempt to give his life some meaning, Robert conducts strange experiments at the expense of customers and his few friends. One day, he becomes obsessed with a flickering fluorescent tube light in the Best Buy men's bathroom. He records several hours of it, and runs it through his home computers. He is able to turn the flickers into numbers, and turn the numbers into locations. Robert is convinced that he is going to meet some aliens.

Robert attracts the wrong sort of attention (not from a super-secret government agency). This person is able to influence people's minds, leading to Robert almost being murdered inside a Starbucks. As time goes on, Robert finds that he has acquired the same sort of mental abilities. The end of the book has the big confrontation with the Bad Guy. Who walks away at the end? Does the author leave room for a sequel?

It is not easy to make an unlikable person like Robert into a likable person, but the author does it. It's a very good story, with moments of humor, and is a gem of a book. I look forward to a sequel.