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, September 30, 2019

Tomcat Fury

Tomcat Fury: A Combat History of the F-14, Mike Guardia, Magnum Books, 2019

The F-14 Tomcat fighter plane, made famous by the movie "Top Gun", was a workhorse of the US military for 30 years. Here is its story.

Made by Grumman Aerospace in New York, it rolled off the assembly line in the mid-1970's. It was intended as a carrier-based bomber replacement for the F-4 Phantom, which had reached the end of its lifespan. It was involved in the tail end of the Vietnam War, mostly in a recon and support capacity.

The F-14 got its first taste of combat in 1981's Gulf of Sidra incident. Muammar Qaddafi declared the entire Gulf to be Libyan territorial waters. The problem was that the entire Gulf was many times bigger than what can be declared territorial waters, according to international law.

The Shah of Iran was a good friend of America. He needed modern weapons to counter Iraq, so he bought many F-14's, along with spare parts. After US-Iranian relations collapsed, and America backed Iraq in the Iran/Iraq war, America cut off all access to F-14 spare parts, forcing Iran to cannibalize their planes to keep some of them in the air.

The F-14 was not used very much during Operation Desert Storm, but it made up for it in Afghanistan and Iraq, flying thousands of sorties. It, too, reached the end of its lifespan, and, in 2006, the F-14 was retired. All surviving planes and spare parts were intentionally destroyed to prevent rogue nations, like Iran, from getting their hands on them.

This is a very specialized book. For those with any sort of military connection, whether historian, veteran or enthusiast, this book is a Must Read. The military jargon is kept to a reasonable level.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Divine Dots

The Divine Dots: A Transformational Novel, Ali Khan, The Author House, 2018

Set in present-day Bangladesh, this is the story of a boy named Bijoy. His father is determined that the generations-long cycle of extreme poverty in his family must end, so he walks Bijoy to the village school every day. After his father's sudden death, his mother does the best she can to keep him in school.

Circumstances force them to move to Dhaka, the capital, along with another more well-off family. Bijoy is put into an orphanage, which is acceptable for the extreme poor. He gets a decent education, while his mother is able to work as a cook/maid, and she visits him often. After several years in the orphanage, Bijoy goes on to college, where he meets someone. He takes the relationship much more seriously than she does, so things do not end well.

Bijoy takes up music to heal his broken heart. He gets pretty good at playing the bamboo flute, good enough to join a musical group that plays several concerts in Canada. While there, his mother begs him not to come home. He is on a political party's hit list. They think that he saw something that he shouldn't have seen, and they want to silence him, permanently.

He applies for refugee status in Canada, continues his music studies, and meets someone. He is afraid of getting burned again, so he takes things very slowly. Bijoy also applies for his mother, stepfather and younger sister to emigrate to Canada. Is he successful? Do they re-unite in Canada?

This one is surprisingly good. It is a heartwarming story about overcoming adversity and keeping your "eyes on the prize". It also works really well as a self-help book. It is very much worth checking out.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Heart of a Warrior Angel

Heart of a Warrior Angel: From Darkness to Light, Lali A Love, Tellwell Talent, 2019

This novel starts in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Dragan marries Mira, who is a teenager. She is pregnant soon afterwards. Dragan is very cruel and abusive toward Mira, and Lilac, their daughter. Mira's parents (he is part of the Russian mob) give Mira, Lilac and Jasmine, another daughter, a safe place to go. Abruptly, Dragan moves the family to Israel.

Mom and Dad are able to follow. Dragan does his compulsory military service, then is committed to a mental hospital, because of PTSD. Mira and the girls are actually able to have normal lives. Dragan escapes, and, in the middle of the night, moves the family to Toronto.

Among Dragan's many demands is that Mira produce a male heir, but she gives him two more daughters. If anything, the emotional and physical abuse gets even worse. Dragan opens a local restaurant, at which the whole family is expected to work, as slaves. Years later, in a fancy house on the outskirts of Toronto, the moment comes when Dragan is out of the picture, permanently.

The family then learns how to breathe again, and starts the process of healing (it is not always a straight line upwards). A nagging question for all is: Was Dragan's behavior learned from his father, was it because of his PTSD, or was it genetic, and will any of the family exhibit the same behavior?

This is not an easy novel to read, but it is a very good novel. Personally, the second half of the novel got a little too new age-ish, but, having endured that level of abuse, emotional help from anywhere will be appreciated. Yes, it is very much worth reading.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Revelation: Mature Look

Revelation: Mature Look, Maurice A Williams, Amazon Digital Services, 2017

A total rewrite of an earlier book, this book attempts to interpret parts of the Book Of Revelation from the Bible, both from a historical and a futurist perspective.

Lucifer was a senior angel who was cast out of Heaven, because he and God had a major difference of opinion. He took about one-third of the angels with him. Many of the events and descriptions in Revelation can be interpreted to apply to the Romans, who ruled the area. They also fought a number of battles with the Judeans, before they flattened Jerusalem in the 2nd century A.D.

Moving to the present, the author has very little good to say about present-day humanity, especially America. He talks about evolution, abortion and the general removal of God and religion from the public square. The sightings of Mary at places like Lourdes and Fatima are an attempt to encourage humanity to return to the right path, the path to God.

Those who consider religion an important part of daily life will enjoy this book. For history buffs, in general, this book might take a while to get going, but it reaches the point of being worth the reader's time. The author is in his 80's, but he doesn't lack for passion or strong opinions.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Dark Web Rising

Dark Web Rising, Eugene T Schurter, Amazon Digital Services, 2018

Part one of a series, this near-future novel is about Stewart, an expert computer hacker. Among the computers he hacks into is that of the ultra-secret Central Security Agency (not a good idea).

The CSA goes after him, but he manages to stay just out of reach. It all has to do with the Egg, a supposedly unhackable online chat room that Stewart has created.

Along with a couple of friends, and Reyanna, a fellow computer geek, Stewart gets help, and a safe house, from a shadowy rich person called "Daddy Warbucks". Attention shifts to a colony starship being built in lunar orbit. Stewart attempts to hack into the double-ultra-secret CID system, to get them on the passenger list. The book ends with the ship on a one-way trip to the stars. Are Stewart and friends on board? Is the CSA waiting for them?

This novel is really good. It is nice and high tech, but it is also easy to understand. I look forward to the rest of the series.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

And Then I Met Margaret

And Then I Met Margaret: Stories of Personal Transformation, Rob White, Mind Adventure Press, 2013

It is normal, and reasonable, for a person to read, or listen to, self help gurus like Stephen Covey, Marianne Williamson or Tony Robbins. However, it would be a big mistake to ignore life lessons that happen every day, taught by average people.

The author grew up in small-town Massachusetts. In his tweens, one winter, he found a deer with its foot stuck in the ice. He did his best to reassure the deer that he was only there to help. He intentionally stood between the deer and a policeman who was about to shoot it. The deer eventually got free. Soon afterwards, his father wanted to introduce him to the tradition of deer hunting. After his encounter with the deer, White refused to take part.

Another tradition, right after high school, is to get a job in either of the two factories in town. White decided that he would rather go to college. He was caught cheating on an English Literature final exam. Did the teacher blow the whistle, or did White get a second chance? After a number of years as a teacher, a job that he enjoyed, he gave it up to enter the world of buying and selling real estate. Like anything else, there were days when he felt on top of the world, and days when he wondered how he ever thought he could be a success in real estate. Meantime, the life lessons continued, from the most unlikely sources.

This is an excellent book, almost reaching the level of being a wonderful book. The stories are very easy to understand, and they are only a few pages each. The life lessons here are applicable to anyone in any stage of life. It is very highly recommended.

Monday, September 2, 2019

As Wings Unfurl

As Wings Unfurl, Arthur Doweyko, Red Adept Publishing, 2016

Set in the mid-1970's, this story is about Apple (short for Applegate) Bogdanski, who has just returned from Vietnam, minus part of one leg. Working in a local used bookstore, he comes across a couple of blurry photographs, which other people want very much.

A woman named Angela suddenly appears. like a guardian angel, and gets Apple out of several tight spots. He finds himself in the middle of a war, with the survival of humanity hanging in the balance. Mankind was seeded on Earth several thousand, not several million, years ago. Some, led by an angel named Dane, want to terminate the "experiment" and give Earth back to its original inhabitants, represented by a yeti from Tibet named Yowl. Angela, another angel, has fallen for Apple, and wants to leave humanity on Earth. Who will prevail at the end?

This is a really good novel that will keep the reader interested. It almost, but not quite, reaches the level of being an excellent novel. It is still very much worth checking out.