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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
Pinterest.com
and on Twitter
(seriously)

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

We Run Bad

We Run Bad, John Curry, The Okie Doke Book Publishing Corporation, 2018

Set during the Great Recession, Tim is a failed house flipper. He heads to Atlantic City to attempt to regain his luck at the gaming tables. That doesn't last very long. Having hit rock bottom, Tim is given a chance to run an underground (and very illegal) poker game in New York City.

For Tim, it looks like a no-lose proposition. He gets a free place to stay, and a piece of the action. Life is pretty good. That is, until the police use their battering ram and break down the reinforced steel door. Tim spends the night in jail.

After being released, Tim figures that his underground poker days are over. Brian, his "boss", is incredulous. Dealing with the police is simply part of the cost of doing business. He needs to be up and running today.

Every week, Tim moves between a couple of different locations. Heading to one of the locations to get ready for "work", Tim sees several vans parked in front of the building. They are full of people whose jackets say "FBI".

This is an excellent stream-of-consciousness novel that is a very quick read. It certainly feels like the author has first-hand experience with the world of underground poker games. It does a really good job at showing the seamy underbelly of present-day America, and is very much worth reading.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Biblical Clock

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity With God's Plan, Daniel Friedmann, Amazon Digital Services, 2019

For may years, it has seemed like science and religion see the world in totally different ways. This book attempts to reconcile those differences.

Did God create the world in one week or do biblical "days" last for thousands of years? Are the End Times coming in the foreseeable future? Those are the sort of questions explored by this book.

This is a lot different from (and much better than) the average science/religion book because it profiles those who thought about such questions throughout history. In 11th century France, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki would sit in the back of the room at the Torah Seminary. If a concept wasn't understood by the students, like the phrase "it was good" from Genesis, he would think about it, and consult his own books. Writing up a clearer explanation of the not-understood concept on parchment, he would secretly insert it in the teacher's book. The next day, when the piece of parchment was found, Rabbi Yitzchaki made sure that he was in the room, but acted like he wasn't listening. Included in this book is a possible near-future scenario for the coming of the End Times.

This is a very interesting book. Those who are not religious might have a hard time with it. For everyone else, any book that can bring science and religion closer together, if not totally reconciled, is a good thing. It will take some effort on the part of the reader, but it is a first-rate piece of writing. It easily gets four stars, if not four-and-a-half stars.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

How To Live To 100

How To Live To 100: Secrets From the World's Happiest Centenarians, Elizabeth Lopez, 2019, Leaders Press

Who doesn't want to live to be 100 years old? This book gives some details.

It focuses on an isolated part of present-day Costa Rica, which seems to have a higher-than-normal number of centenarians. There is no magic formula for longevity, but several things will certainly help. A positive or optimistic attitude toward life in general is a must. Their diet may not be very diverse, but it is certainly healthy. It consists of a lot of beans and corn and rice, all grown locally, along with some meat.

Another must is daily exercise, whether it is working in the fields, all day and every day, or running the local equivalent of a convenience store. Their grown children, and their families, usually live in the same village, so there is lots of human contact. Also included is a lot of socializing with friends and neighbors, and a lot of dancing. Last, but not least, there is a strong belief in God. They attend church frequently, and have what might be thought of as a fatalistic attitude (it's all up to God).

Sounds simple, doesn't it? It all comes down to adopting a "simple" lifestyle, not easy in this 24/7 online world. Even if a person can't totally change their lifestyle to reflect this book, just a small change can only help. This book is short, easy to read, it has pictures and short profiles of several centenarians, and is very much worth reading.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Dragon Grammar Book

The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons and the Whole Kingdom, Diane Mae Robinson, 2017, self-published

Intended for middle grade children, here is a very accessible book about English grammar, that most hated of school subjects.

The author clearly explains things like the difference between and adjective and an adverb, or the correct time to use 'who' or 'whom'. There are quizzes at the end of each chapter to build on a student's knowledge. All of the sentence examples deal with kings and castles and dragons (who doesn't love dragons?).

This is an excellent supplement to the usual dry school textbook. It is also recommended as a homeschool textbook. Older readers, who barely survived English grammar class, should also read this book. It will help a great deal.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Marketing Book 2019

The Marketing Book 2019, Jason McDonald, JM Internet Group, 2019

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small. This book attempts to take the reader through the whole process.

What are you selling, a product or a service? Who is your customer?(Please be more specific than "everybody".) A Business Value Proposition defines what you sell that they want. Why should a person buy from you? Come up with an elevator pitch; describe your business in one or two sentences. Do some market research, and see if there really is a market for what you are selling.

Are you selling Business to Business (B2B), or Business to Consumer (B2C)? The marketing will be different for each. Find your niche; the high-end or the low-end, value part of the market.

Your business reputation is extremely important. Keep an eye on review sites like Google or Yelp. A single upset customer online can do great damage to an otherwise healthy company. Consider advertising on sites like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, but don't do it because "everybody" is doing it. Are your potential customers going to be there?

All this time and effort spent on finding the best places to advertise will be worthless without some amazing content in those ads. The book looks at topics like keywords and search engine optimization, or SEO.

This book is very much worth reading for any marketing person, regardless of the size of the business. Don't try to understand the whole book in just one read. It has good information for all types of businesses. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Literature

Literature, Guillermo Stitch, Nineveh Editions, 2018

Set in an undefined present-day/near-future world, this is the story of Billy Stringer, newspaper reporter at the last newspaper in the city. He has messed up his first big assignment not on the sports desk, he is going to be late for work, his girlfriend is spending more time working for her PhD than with him and his only available clothes are from his high school prom.

Just to make things worse, he is convinced that people are trying to kill him, because he is a terrorist. In Billy's world, new fiction powers the highways. Old-style fiction is banned. Merely possessing a book will get a person thrown in prison, if not get them a date with the gallows. Billy has become addicted to books. He suddenly fears for the safety of his girlfriend and his mother.

This is a dystopian noir thriller about the power of words. It is a world where asking questions can be very hazardous to your health. There is not much explanation of how things got to this point, but it is still a first-rate story that will keep the reader interested.