PaperBackSwap Blog

Free Book Friday!

August 29th, 2014

Today’s Free Book Friday prize is:



You’re Next by Gregg Hurwitz


Mike Wingate had a rough childhood – he was abandoned at a playground at four years old and raised in foster care. No one ever came to claim him, and he has only a few, fragmented memories of his parents. Now, as an adult, Mike is finally living the life he had always wanted – he’s happily married to Annabel, the woman of his dreams; they have a wonderful young daughter; and his successful construction company guarantees a solid future for them all. Until Mike’s past comes back to haunt him. Menacing characters are starting to surface in Mike’s life – and when he reports them, the police seem more interested in Mike’s murky origins than in protecting the family he has now. With no one left to turn to, Mike calls on Shep, a truly dangerous man – and Mike’s only true friend – from their childhood days together in foster care. Together, the two of them will do whatever it takes to protect Mike and his loved ones against a hidden enemy who comes with a deadly warning: You’re Next…

ISBN 9781250005892, Mass Market Paperback


There are currently 20 members wishing for this book. 1 lucky member will win a brand-new copy.


To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win.


We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.


You have until Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.


Good Luck to everyone!

    Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Nonfiction Review – Buffalo for the Broken Heart

August 26th, 2014

Buffalo for the Broken Heart by Dan O’Brien


Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)

Ever since I saw the mini-series Lonesome Dove and read the books in the Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry, I wanted to see buffalo on the plains. A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit South Dakota with my job and the first thing I thought was ‘I can see buffalo!’  I was able to tack a few extra days to the work trip to do some sightseeing.   I had a few items on my list of places to visit (Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood and Crazy Horse Memorial) but at the top of the list: find buffalo!

I discovered Custer State Park, especially Wildlife Loop, was the place to go to find buffalo.  One day during my trip I packed a bag lunch and hit the road for Custer State Park.  I was on a mission…and I succeeded! I’ll just say the name ‘Wildlife Loop’ is very accurate.  I saw wild burros, deer, prairie dogs, antelope, and hundreds of buffalo.  I pulled my car into a pull off along the Loop and ate lunch while watching the buffalo.  It was a dream come true and it’s a day I’ll never forget.  Here’s a picture of my lunch dates that day.


Later in my trip I visited the Museum of the American Bison in downtown Rapid City.  The museum is dedicated to telling the story of the American bison and its brush with extinction as a result of America’s westward expansion.  The highlight of visiting the museum was talking with Susan Ricci, museum director and co-founder.  Her passion for these amazing creatures was palpable and her dedication to the protection of the buffalo was contagious.  She told me about her buffalo George, buffalo ranches, and the role of these ranches in preserving the buffalo. I told her about my dream come true at Custer and we parted with a hug, bonded over our love of the buffalo.

Once I got home from South Dakota I wanted to learn more.  I had fallen in love with South Dakota; the buffalo and Black Hills, the parks and national monuments were all incredible.  After some research I found Buffalo for the Broken Heart.  The book is a journal of sorts of author Dan O’Brien’s undertaking to introduce buffalo to his Broken Heart Ranch in South Dakota and restoring more buffalo to the grasslands that have long suffered under the hooves of cattle. He told of the difficulties of ranching and farming in the Black Hills and what it took to convince him to give buffalo a try on his ranch. O’Brien describes helping with buffalo roundups on other ranches and the roundup and buffalo sale at Custer State Park, where I had my lunch with the buffalo.  His stories of the buffalo, their introduction to the ranch, the growth of his ranch, and the importance of the buffalo in the bigger picture of repairing the West was touching, educational, and emotional.  O’Brien weaves his personal story with the story of the young buffalo on his ranch to create a dynamic story of redemption and hope.  I think readers who enjoy nonfiction, environmental studies, American history and culture, and ecology would all identify with and enjoy various elements of this book.

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to sit and eat lunch while watching the buffalo at Custer State Park.   I send my best wishes to Susan at Museum of the American Bison and thank her for taking the time to talk with me that afternoon I visited her and for all of her efforts on the behalf of the American bison.  I have Lonesome Dove and Larry McMurtry to thank for inspiring me to visit the land of buffalo and I have Dan O’Brien’s Buffalo for the Broken Heart to thank for giving me a greater understanding of the grasslands and importance of the buffalo in the West.


Mystery Monday – Blues for the Prince

August 25th, 2014



Blues for the Prince by Bart Spicer


Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

Published in the early Fifties, this hard-boiled mystery was the second in a series of about a dozen novels starring Philadelphia PI Carney Wilde. Wilde investigates a murder among the members of a band that still plays hot jazz (aka Dixieland) in the face of up-and-coming bebop. Admittedly, this novel has little action or detecting, but its setting, scenes and characterization make this an outstanding read. It is included on many “best mystery” lists.

Spicer was a journalist so that implies he valued an organized plot and fluent understandable language. His style is neither simple like James Cain nor complex like Raymond Chandler, but he strikes a balance between concise and literary. His dialogue is authentically hard-boiled without being cheesy (Cain’s failing, on his bad days), and his similes and metaphors are not self-conscious or over the top (Chandler’s failing, at times). The character of Wilde doesn’t crack wise nor is he given to mordant urban folk wisdom. His portrait of the weary homicide detective is realistic and humane.

Interesting to readers who like music would be the asides about Early Jazz, the kind of music that Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, and Joe Oliver played. Obviously, in a book about jazz, race is an unavoidable topic. Spicer makes clear that among the musicians, it was not an issue compared to the artistic judgments of “plays good music” versus “plays lame music.” The critic for the New York Herald Tribune Book Review said that Spicer does an “excellent job . . . showing the relationship between whites and Negroes both in the unbiased world of jazz and the more deeply biased outside world.”



August 24th, 2014



The Winner of this week’s Free Book Friday prize,

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson is:


Heather D.


Congratulations, Heather, your book will be on its way to you soon!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!



Free Book Friday!

August 22nd, 2014


This week’s Free Book Friday prize is:

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Jack’s mom is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened? — Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and “spinning” wildly until its over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself – starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties – and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.

ISBN 9780763663339, Trade Size Paperback


There are currently 14 members wishing for this book. 1 lucky member will win a brand-new copy.


To enter, simply leave a comment on this Blog post. You must be a PaperBackSwap member to win.


We will choose 1 winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.


You have until Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.


Good Luck to everyone!

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!





Mystery Monday – The Hanging Captain

August 18th, 2014



The Hanging Captain by Henry Wade


Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

In this classic English detective story from 1932, an unlikable captain is found hanging in his library. The Chief Constable dubs it suicide in order to make the affair go away. But a professorial  outsider proves the captain was murdered. The two local detectives brought in on the case are the impetuous veteran Detective-Inspector Herbert Lott and his rival to the promotion of Chief Inspector, the dully logical plodding Poole.

There are numerous suspects, as becomes a Golden Age mystery. Thus, a plethora of alibies must be checked, intricate time tables constructed, and lor’ love a duck, there’s even a floor plan of the country house. What distinguishes this from the comfy atmosphere of Sayers and Allingham is the possible motives for the murder are quite bold, adult and shocking enough that I can’t in good conscience give them away in a review. Wade is less warm and bleaker than most Golden Age writers.

Wade wrote as many as 22 detective novels or story collections between 1926 and 1957. This one and Mist on the Saltings were published by Harper Perennial in a series of great re-issues in the Eighties. In their reference book Catalogue of Crime, Barzun and Taylor said about Wade: “Though insufficiently known in the US, Wade is one of the great figures of the classical period. He was not only very productive bit also varied in genre. His plots, characters, situations, and means rank with the best, while his prose has elegance and force.”


Mystery Monday – A Touch of Death

August 11th, 2014

A Touch of Death by Charles Williams


Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

An knee injury kept college football star Lee Scarborough from going pro. At the beginning of this superb noir mystery, he’s on his uppers and ripe for trouble. It finds him in the guise of two beauties. Diana James recruits him to break and enter the house of Madelon Butler who may or may not be sitting on $120,000 that her missing husband embezzled from his employer. Outstanding is the scene in which Lee breaks into the darkened house only to find an utterly plastered Madelon. When she wakes up the next day, Lee finds out she one of the toughest, shrewdest femme fatales a reader has ever met in fiction.

Pulp expert Woody Haut calls Williams the “foremost practitioner” of hard-boiled suspense that sold in the thousands from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s: “So prolific and accomplished a writer was Charles Williams that he single-handedly made many subsequent pulp culture novels seem like little more than parodies.”Williams was from Texas so he was skillful with the homey, apt metaphor: “I drove as if the car was held together with paper clips.” Another fantastic set piece is when Lee and Madelon are trapped in a hunting cabin by unseen sniper skulking in the woods. Williams weaves narrative magic when Lee and Madelon are fleeing the bad guys and the cops, while driving on Florida back-country roads and small towns in darkness black as pitch.

Finally, it’s not just action. Williams has Lee oh-so-gradually go off the rails, from a struggling guy to a thug that beats cops over the head. And for what, as Frances McDormands’ character asked in Fargo, “For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know.”