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.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Die to Live Again

Die to Live Again, David Crane, Foremost Press, 2013

Tanya is your average recent graduate of grad school on the day that the nuclear bombs fall, all over the world. After a confusing, and harrowing, couple of hours, she finds herself inside Crystal Palace, a large, military-run sanctuary. The outside door is sealed.

As the weeks and months go on, the perception among the thousand or so people inside Crystal Palace is that Colonel Pierce, the commander, is turning into a dictator. Meantime, other pockets of humanity around the world start to make themselves heard. Tanya, and Jack, her boyfriend, are involved in a plot to overthrow Pierce, and rejoin the lawful American government. Pierce finds out, and exiles Tanya and Jack to the radioactive surface.

The radiation sickness comes pretty quickly. When Tanya and Jack are almost dead, they are visited by an anonymous individual who says that radiation sickness can be cured. They come across some strange black trees. Tanya is grabbed by one of the trees, and cured. But, it involves a rather large physical transformation. Jack refuses; he would rather die as a human.

Tanya is introduced to other transformed people (they're called panthers) and other sanctuaries. She also learns of a religious fanatic who wants to kill all panthers, since they are spawns of Satan. On live TV, the American President confesses that others are to blame for starting the war, and names them. The "bad guys" sanctuary is surrounded by several thousand human, and panther, soldiers.

This novel is surprisingly good. It feels plausible (may we never find out for sure), it is very easy to read, and has plenty of action. This would make a really good movie, and is well worth reading.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sell to Excel

Sell to Excel: The Art and Science of Personal Selling, Asif Zaidi, iUniverse, 2019

These days, the art of selling involves a lot more than simply saying "Buy my widget". This book gives the details.

A customer is not buying a product or service, they are buying a solution to a problem. A salesman has to know a customer's company and industry as well as the customer knows it. A salesman has to show how their product or service will solve the problem better than anything else on the market. A salesman has to fill a customer's need that the customer doesn't even know that they have.

It is rare when a customer will sign on the dotted line with absolutely no problem; there is going to be some sort of objection. Usually, the stated reason will be something like "It's not in the budget" or "Try again next quarter." The salesman should ask open-ended questions to find out the real reason. Sometimes, the stated objection is not the real objection.

The book spends a lot of time looking at the personal relationship between the salesman and the client (sometimes the decider is a committee, not one person). Qualities like honesty, credibility and trustworthiness are required in the salesman. Once those qualities are gone, they are not coming back. A salesman should never over-promise and under-deliver; it should be the other way around. Look at things from the client's perspective. Always keep in contact with the client, with a handwritten note on the client's birthday, or tickets to a football game. Your consideration and generosity will be remembered.

For some people, the information in this book may be common knowledge, but it bears repeating. This breaks the art of selling into smaller, more manageable pieces. It is easy to understand and is very much worth checking out.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Understand Women

Understand Women: Win The Heart Of One, Mike Curtis, Amazon Digital Services, 2017

This is a step-by-step book on understanding what women want (and don't want) to hear from a man when it comes to dating and relationships. The author emphasizes that this is not a book on picking up women. His advice is: Be patient, and don't act like a jerk.

It starts with approaching a woman for the first time, when to ask for her phone number, the first date and those days when she is angry, but says that everything is fine.

A five-star rating is not enough for this book. It is excellent, and extremely recommended.

Monday, August 5, 2019


East, Kirk Kjeldsen, Grenzland Press, 2019

America is no more. It has collapsed, politically and economically. Job, a teenager living in the Pacific Northwest with his older brother, has just learned that his mother is not dead. She abandoned her sons several years previously, and went to look for work in China, untouched by the collapse.

He gets on a train to the Free State of San Francisco. Job, and a bunch of other refugees, gets on a fishing boat for a very illegal trip across the Pacific. It is a harrowing trip, stuck in the dark, stinking hold of the boat. When they reach China, Job is handed over to a man who takes him to a factory near the city of Chongqing. It is the sort of place surrounded by a chain link fence with barbed wire on top. The hours are long and dangerous, the food is meager and the pay is mostly non-existent.

After a year, Job escapes the factory and moves from job to job. He spends every spare moment showing an old picture (the only one he has) at every factory he can find in Chongqing. He eventually gets a job as a motorbike delivery driver. The food and pay are decent, and it lets him spread out to more factories. He learns that he ought to start looking for his mother in the city's brothels and whorehouses. After several more months, he sees a woman who looks a lot like his mother. He runs after her.

This is an excellent Young Adult novel. The author does a very good job from start to finish. I wonder if this is the sort of thing experienced by Latin American refugees coming to America (before the recent refugee flood). It is very much recommended.

Friday, August 2, 2019


Tetrastatum: An Introduction to Psychothotonix, The Discovery of Unknown Universes, Dr Richard and Tim Smith, Epigraph Books, 2019

This novel is about Tim Smith, a researcher at DARPA. He is working on a quantum teleportation system (instant travel to nearly anywhere), but things are not going so well. He is also having a very hard time dealing with the death of his wife and young daughter in a fiery car accident several years previously.

An early morning suicide attempt gets him a one-way trip to a mental hospital. Under electroshock therapy. Tim does his teleporting, but only in his mind. Among the places he visits is Universal Depot, the biggest store in the galaxy. Tim is not there to do grocery shopping. Another place he visits is the planet Atlantis. It is a modern civilization, with nuclear missiles and a 24-hour news channel. It is also in the middle of a rebellion against the tyrannical government.

As things go on, Tim's grip on reality gets more and more flexible. Perhaps he can find a different universe where his family did not get in the car on that fateful day.

This is a very strange story, so it will give the reader quite a mental workout. There is also a lot of very high-level quantum mechanics, so physicists will love this book. The average reader can skip the physics, and stick with the story, which is nice and mind-blowing.