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, June 30, 2020

Isolation Moderation

Isolation Moderation, Tonali Windslor, Handwritten Direct Mail LLC, 2019

This book attempts to present solutions to some of the problems faced by America, and the rest of the world.

The main idea is encapsulated in the book's title. Countries, including America, should put much more effort into fixing things at home before they try to fix the rest of the world. America needs to do a much better job at getting a handle on immigration. If a wall along the southern border is needed, so be it. There should be only a couple of places of entry. Maybe should send some technical assistance to Mexico and the countries of Central America to help build up their countries enough so that citizens won't head for America.

The author feels that a temporary military alliance, for a specific purpose (like Operation Desert Storm to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait) is a good idea. A permanent military alliance, like NATO, is not a good idea. Once the objective has been accomplished, the alliance should dissolve, and the foreign troops should go home. Pushing a tyrannical dictator out of power is another good reason for a temporary military alliance. Peacemaking and peacekeeping are two very different things. UN peacekeepers should have the authority, and the firepower, to start shooting, if it becomes necessary (Rwanda 1994).

An important concept in politics is to read the "other" side, to get an idea of what they are thinking. This book may be pretty conservative, but it offers solutions, without finger-pointing. It's short, easy to understand, and will benefit those on the political Left (trust me, the conservatism in this book is pretty painless).

Monday, June 29, 2020


Psi-Wars: Classified Cases of Psychic Phenomena, Joshua Viola (ed.), Hex Publishers, 2020

This group of new stories looks at the subject of psychic phenomena, that mainstay of science fiction from the earliest days.

The settings of these stories range from Atlantis to the far future. A nurse in World War I France uses her powers to care for the injured soldiers. But, it's not that simple. There is a secret war going on between psychic factions, a war about which the average present-day person is totally unaware.Another tale is set in Europe, during World War II, after the Nazis have taken the entire continent, and repulsed the D-Day invasion.

Individually, these stories are really good. Put them together, and this is a first-rate anthology. These tales are easy to read, and they are very much worth reading. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Ass, Cash and Grass

Ass, Cash and Grass: Welcome to Cali, Chad Vegas, Amazon.com Services, 2017

Part 2 of a series, this continues the story of Max and Chad, who are trying to make it in the marijuana business in 1990's California. Max has bought a piece of land in Peru, for some heavy duty growing of weed. The land has suddenly become very valuable, so powerful people, with the help of the Peruvian Government, are doing their best to steal it from him. Max and Chad are back in California to sell some of their weed supply, to help pay the legal bills.

This was the time when medical marijuana was legal in California, so everyone was growing their own. This led to a huge drop in price for people like Chad. Evidently, driving all over central California to sell several pounds of weed to dispensaries is not something to be done alone, or sober. Jorge, a friend and fellow total drug addict, is up for a road trip. Armed with huge amounts of drugs and alcohol (for them), they are off.

Along the way, there is a home-made porno film (done in a casino hotel room), there are several instances of Chad passing out (from way too much drugs and alcohol in his system at the same time), and Chad gets a chest-sized tattoo that includes a Care Bear taking a Xanax. What happens with Max's court case in Peru? Is there a Part 3 to the series? (spoiler alert: Yes)

As with the first book, this is certainly not a boring book. It will very much keep the attention of the reader. Some might have a hard time with the insane amounts of drugs and alcohol that are consumed in this story. Get past that, and there is lots of good writing, and this book is very much recommended.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Vanwest: The Past

Vanwest: The Past, Kenneth Thomas, Amazon.com Services LLC, 2020

Set in the year 3000, Earth has been environmentally devastated. The only habitable land is in Antarctica, which is under the total control of the Universal Council. Captain Vanwest is an Enforcer (sort of like the secret police). A group of anti-tech zealots, called Utopians, wants to get rid of the Council, and stop man's scientific progress, by time travel far into the past. Vanwest is given the task of stopping them.

Vanwest travels to Geneva 1951, to the international meeting which led to the formation of CERN, the European nuclear research agency. He is able to disrupt their plans. Returning to the year 3000, Vanwest falls for the daughter of the founder of the Utopians. The final confrontation happens at Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1998. The Space Shuttle "Endeavor" is about to launch, carrying an important part of what will become the International Space Station. Stopping the ISS from being built, by causing the shuttle to explode in flight, would throw a huge obstacle in the way of man's scientific progress. Is Vanwest successful in stopping the Utopians? Does he return to the year 3000?

On the positive side, this is a very good story that is worth reading. On the negative side, this book needs a trip, or another trip, to a proofreader or copy editor. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Bamboo-Scented Love

Bamboo-Scented Love, Vered Kaminsky, 2020, self-published

Set in 1990's China, this is the story of Mira and Ron, a couple from Israel, who, along with their two young children, are spending the next two years in the city of Qingdao. 

They are there for Ron's job; he has been appointed manager of a rice processing plant. The early days are not easy. The children are enrolled in the local elementary school. Eventually, they relax and start to enjoy school. Mira's housekeeper, Linda (she came with the apartment), helps her get used to China. Linda helps Mira learn Chines, and Mira helps Linda learn English, one word at a time. Linda also helps Mira navigate the local food stalls. Mira is greatly helped by making contact with the local expatriate community. She learns to relax, and even enrolls in a Chinese language class at the local university.

Cheng is the assistant manager at the rice processing plant. He was in line for the top job until Ron was appointed over him. Cheng says he is OK with being passed over. Whenever Mira needs a ride somewhere, Cheng suddenly appears. Over time, Mira starts to have feelings for him. Does it become a full-blown affair? Does Mira "find herself"?

This is a very good story. It gets very "ground level," down to the level of individual people, just trying to live their lives. Set in a, for most Westerners, exotic part of the world, this is really worth reading.