PaperBackSwap Blog

Free Book Giveaway Winner! (Tell us why YOU love books)

May 27th, 2016


The Winner, chosen at random, of the brand-new copy of
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is:

Cynthia H. (preciousoils)

“Why do I love “Real Books”? Ask my overflowing bookshelves where I somehow always find room to add a new friend.” ~ Cynthia H.


Just as we suspected, there are as many reasons to love books as there are PaperBackSwap members!

Here are just a few that caught our attention:

“I love the page by page turning” ~ Dawn R. (dawnr56)

“They’re like trophies to me. And book cases are my trophy cases where I present my prizes!” ~ Summer D.

“Holding a book in my hand just feels right.” ~ Debbie D.

“The main reason for me is the swapping.” ~ Denise B. (dkb1269)

“I love printed books because it is one of the very few things that is socially acceptable to hoard. And I do… by the thousand.” ~ Roxy W. (ravyn)

“There is nothing like that feeling I get after I’ve read the last sentence of a book and clasp that book shut.” ~ Sharon V. (shawie)

“There’s nothing better than a shelf full of good books that friends can borrow from.” ~ Emily W.

“Books just make me happy!” ~ Cindy M.


Thank you to everyone who commented sharing their reasons for Loving Books!



Fiction Review – The Paper Magician Series

May 25th, 2016

The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg

Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)

The Paper Magician series is a series unlike any other I have read.  I experienced reader highs and lows and moments of confusion and clarity through a story that was refreshing and enchanting in its uniqueness.

The series begins with The Paper Magician.  Ceony Twill does not want to be a Folder, a magician who uses paper.  She wants to be almost any other kind of magician.  But upon completing her schooling at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, she is forced to choose folding due to the low numbers of current Folders.  In order to finish her education and become a professional, practicing magician, Ceony must successfully complete her apprenticeship with a mentor Folder and she is placed with Emery Thane.  Ceony and Emery develop an unexpected connection and they are projected into an adventure of fear and love.

Throughout The Paper Magician, and in books 2 and 3 of the series (The Glass Magician and The Master Magician, respectively), Ceony and Emery are thrown on the course of fighting and defeating Excisioners, magicians who practice illegal flesh magic.  They both have moments of self-doubt and they question everything they know about how magic works. What can an apprentice magician have to offer to defeat a magic that other practiced magicians cannot?  And how can she manage to focus on her apprenticeship and passing her final magician’s exam while trying to defeat this dark magic? And what about the feelings and connection she has for Emery, does he feel the same?

I thought book 1, The Paper Magician, was the weakest of the series.  The ‘quest’ Ceony jumped into was long-winded and I started to lose some interest. I felt having Ceony basically on her own so soon wasn’t the easiest scenario to believe and I felt like the character development wasn’t totally successful.  But even with that disappointment in the first book, the premise of the series brought me back for more.  Happily, for me, books 2 and 3 were more fast-paced and allowed the readers to really get to know the characters more deeply and understand their personal motivations.  I read books 1 and 2 but listened to the audiobook of book 3.  The narrator for The Master Magician was adept at bringing life to the different characters and listening to the book gave me different visualizations of the scenes.

Overall, I found The Paper Magician series unique and thoughtfully considered.  Every story line has a purpose and each is a part of the larger picture.  Readers looking to go on a magical adventure should check out this series.

Books 2 and 3 in the series:




Free Book Giveaway! (Tell us why YOU love books)

May 23rd, 2016



Why is it that we love books so much? Is it the solid feel of them in our hands? The cover art? The new-book smell? The old-book smell? Is it being able to tell how far we’ve read into the book (and how much is left) without even looking? Is it that they can be read anywhere, without batteries or technology of any kind? Is it that our eyes get tired from screen reading in a way that they don’t from reading ink on paper? Is it that we can continue to read our printed book on an airplane during those times when digital devices must be turned off? Is it that we actually own printed books (not just the right to read them), and can put them on a bookshelf when we’ve read them, or lend them or swap them?

For us, it’s all of those things! And we’re clearly not alone: publishers are again reporting a significant fall in ebook sales, while the sales of print books continue to rise, for the second year in a row.

We have nothing against ebooks — we think any kind of reading is great! We know that ebooks have their conveniences (for example, they’re lightweight to pack for travel, and the ability to enlarge the font can be useful for visually impaired readers). But we’re glad they haven’t replaced the real thing. Because we love the real thing so much. Don’t you?

We bet you do! In fact, we’re inviting you to tell us the one main reason why you love print books … if you do, you’ll have a chance to win a free book! The book is a brand-new hardcover of a very heavily wishlisted book — the New York Times Bestseller Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.

Luckiest Girl Alive
Jessica Knoll
ISBN 9781476789637, Hardcover
A young woman is determined to create the perfect life — husband, home, and career—until a violent incident from her past threatens to unravel everything and expose her most shocking secret of all.  A riveting debut novel that reads like Prep meets Gone Girl, described by Reese Witherspoon as “one of those reads you just can’t put down!” This book currently has over 400 active wishes in the club.





Make a comment below before noon ET on Friday, May 27, 2016, and that will enter you into the random drawing to receive the book. NB: Contest open to PaperBackSwap members only (join here!).

Here are a few comments from some of our members to get you thinking:

There are too many awesome bookmarks out there to never use them! I have some really old ones passed down from family members that make me smile every time I see them. You don’t get to use those bookmarks with ebooks!”  ~ Jill H.

“It’s very nice to be able to pass a book around the family before I swap it.”  ~ Rick M. (RickMatt)

“I really prefer to hold a physical book, and the feel of the pages as I am turning them.”  ~ Diane G. (icesk8tr)

“I like the feel of a real book 📚.  I find them easier to read and not as hard on my eyes 👀 as an e reader.”  ~ Angela H. (Halti4)


Free Book Friday Winner!

May 23rd, 2016

FBF spring 2016 banner winner


The Winner of the brand-new copy of

Margaret Powell’s Cookery Book is:


Sahra P. (speshialty)


Congratulations, your books will be on the way to you soon!


Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!

Free Book Friday is Back!

May 20th, 2016

FBF spring 2016 banner


Today’s Free Book is:

The Cookery Book by Margaret Powell

ISBN 9781250029263, Hardcover

In the national bestseller Below Stairs, Margaret Powell told readers what it was really like to work in the great houses of England. In Margaret Powell’s Cookery Book, she gives readers a closer look at the world inside the vast kitchens of these great houses. It’s an eye-opening and mouthwatering snapshot of that world. The upstairs dining room always demanded the best of Continental cuisine and, cooking downstairs, Margaret Powell obliged. 

Her cookery book is a firsthand account of the way people cooked and dined in the early twentieth century when houses like those in “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey” were fully staffed and running like clockwork. Describing kitchen equipment such as the black ranges that had to be shined daily, the fancy moulds that needed screen covers to keep out the flies and tubs of ice that were used instead of refrigerators, she tells readers just how big a job it was to keep the upstairs dining table abundantly filled. 

Giving away the secrets of the manor, she presents more than 500 recipes, from the simple to the sophisticated. Divided into chapters such as Hors d’oeuvre, Soups, Fish, Entrees, Roasts and Meat Dishes , Savouries, Puddings and others, she shows readers today what it was like to eat well, if you were a member of England’s upper class.  Classic, but simple, dishes such as Shepherd’s Pie and Roast Chicken Stuffed with Herbs alternate with sophisticated fare and long-lost recipes like Potatoes a la Florence, Rabbit Pilau, Compote of Snipe, Sardines a la Bombay and Queen Mab Pudding. 

With her trademark wit and gimlet eye, she tells readers what it was like to cook for her “betters” but she also states one thing proudly–“Food is more than just food. I like it to be prepared and cooked well, and I like trouble taken over it.” Behind every well-fed family like the Crawleys of “Downton Abbey” or the Bellamys of “Upstairs, Downstairs” was a cook like Margaret Powell and, now, she invites readers everywhere to the feast.

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

You have until Sunday, May 22, 2016 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!

Remember, every new book purchase supports the club and helps keep membership free!


A PBS Member Helps Out The Postal Service

May 18th, 2016

By Pat O. (PatinKS)mailbox


The Northeast Kansas Local Chapter of PaperBackSwap (which meets in Topeka, KS) is small but active. We meet twice a month and do not have any set agenda, but mostly get together to talk about books, PBS, exchange books,  and anything else that ‘trips our trigger’. We meet one Sunday afternoon a month at a local donut shop and one Monday a month for lunch.

At our October luncheon one of the members, Evelyn F (bluemoon2421) mentioned that she had taken some books for mailing to one of our Post Office branches, and mentioned that she really liked PBS because she still likes the “feel” of holding a book in her hands to read. She also told them that she has a friend who is blind and who reads lots of books on tape but her preferred method of reading is still holding a Braille book in her hands to read.

Then the clerk piped up and said “You can read Braille? We need help.” Evelyn said that she did not read Braille but had someone in the car who could. They asked her to please bring her in. They needed help! They had several trays of talking books that belonged to the State Talking Books Library, with the labels written only in Braille that someone had dropped in the mailbox. Evelyn’s friend, Nancy immediately knew what to do. She called the Post Office on the following Monday with the address of the State Talking Books Library in Emporia and the books were dispatched. They were very grateful.

Pictured below are some of the PBS members of the Topeka Chapter at their November luncheon. We always welcome anyone who would like to join us.  Pictured are  DeAnnette H. (deanie) (sitting);back row to her right is Linda B., standing in the middle back is Pat O. (PatinKS) and to her left is Evelyn F. (bluemoon2421).



The Northeast Kansas PBS Chapter meets twice a month. We meet on the first Sunday of each month at the Baker’s Dozen on SW 21st Street in Topeka, at 2pm – we call it Donut Sunday.
We meet on the third Monday of each month at Perkins Restaurant on Wanamaker at 11:30am for lunch.
We are always looking for new members so if you enjoy reading come join us for both meetings, if possible, and if not come when you can.



Fantasy Friday Review of the Legend of Drizzt Series

May 13th, 2016

The Legend of Drizzit Series by R. A. Salvatore

Review by Julie D. (ecomama)




I have been a lifelong fan of fantasy, reading Tolkien & Heinlein as a pre-teen, among whomever I could find at the libraries in California’s Silicon Valley megalopolis.  One character stands out among many & for a long time, I wished to read more about the dark elf, Drizzt, Do’Urden, who was introduced in 1988, in The Crystal Shard.  It is finally time to read the Legend of Drizzt series from beginning to end…and it begins with The Dark Elf Trilogy.  What struck me then, as now is how desperately I want to jump up & shout “I will be your friend!”  I am not alone; this lonely drow has won the hearts of millions across the world.

I have seen many requests in my time as a member here for recommendations in the fantasy genre, as people who have never read the classic masters of the 60s, 70s & 80s, have now become intrigued by a genre that has, in some ways become eclipsed by paranormal romances & YA fantasy.  So, I thought a review, as I read this prequel series, detailing the early life of Drizzt, would interest members looking for a classic & engrossing epic fantasy written by a master storyteller.

Sometimes the epic fantasies can become so bogged down in some overarching theme or quest, coupled with world building, that much of the flow & character connection stumbles along.  Not so with RA Salvatore!  The details of this fantastical, underground world inspire without bogging you down in pages upon pages of detail.  Enough that you can plop yourself into the story & observe the characters as it unfolds.  Readers who are inspired by delving deeper into the motivations of various characters will not be disappointed, as Salvatore did indeed explore his characters in depth…even to allowing some understanding of characters whose motivations are completely at cross-purpose & value of my own.  By understanding the drow (dark elf) culture & how it came to be, you then can understand more fully the conundrum of Drizzt’s life.

The first book, Homeland, details the circumstances of Drizzt’s birth & how that affects his childhood & most of his youth, through to his 30s.  Salvatore expertly separates his life into comprehensive experiences, beginning with 10 years of indoctrination as a male drow in a female-ruled, underground, chaotic spider-worshipping society.  His sister’s role is to teach him his place, and he spends all of his time cleaning the chapel, listening to lectures, and being punished quite violently in an attempt to mold him into the perfect drow prince.  I refer to the “kind” sister.  Next, he is a servant to the household, not allowed to look beyond his own feet.  And finally, when he is accepted as the “second-son,” his mother screams at him for not looking her in the eye.  He eagerly accepts his place in society as a noble & spends the next several years as the sole pupil of the Weapon’s Master of the house, where he is further taught, not only how to fight, but how to live.  But here is the twist.  The Weapon’s Master himself does not truly accept the ways of the drow, rejoicing in Drizzt’s innocence, joy & morality.  Around 20 years of age, Drizzt is sent to the Academy, where he will finish his warrior training over 10 more years.  A great deal happens during this portion of Drizzt’s life, both to his relationship with Weapon’s Master & within the Academy, where enemies from his birth lurk.  The culmination is a moment of decision regarding Drizzt’s future.  Dark elves have lifespans nearing a millennium…if someone doesn’t stab them in the back.  Who does he want to be?  How does he want to live?

If you are not thoroughly attached to Drizzt by the end of book 1, before the middle of book 2, Exile, you most certainly will be a fan.  Having left the city of his birth, his homeland, for the wilds of the Underdark, Drizzt learns that survival is simply not enough…not enough to keep him living for centuries.  His family is hunting him, and killing all that get in their way.  He is tired of being alone.  He fears he is becoming something contrary to everything he believes in.  So, he seeks out an enemy of the drow, the deep gnomes.  He resigns himself to the prospect of dying if they will not accept him; he does not even accept himself, so expects nothing from them.  Blingdenstone, the city of the deep gnomes, offers him a glimpse of a community working together…and Drizzt learns what “living” truly is.  When word of his family’s continued hunt threaten the people who have welcomed & accepted him, Drizzt realizes he must, once again, venture into the Underdark alone, with only his most trusted, occasional companion & long-time friend, a magical panther.  He is thwarted, of course, by Belwar, a deep gnome whose life he saved during his days in the Academy, who insists on accompanying him.  The camaraderie & pranks between the three companions had me laughing out loud.  Drizzt experiences many challenges to his personal beliefs, and, finally, he returns Belwar to Blingdenstone, while his honor carries him alone, in his exile, to the surface world.

In Sojourn, Book 3, Drizzt’s first battle is quite obvious, after four decades of near darkness his eyes must adjust to the light of the sun.  Drizzt was born with unique eyes for a dark elf, along with a wider range of light-sight, giving him an advantage during this transition…and I appreciate that this transition was not rushed or glossed over.  Salvatore’s style allows for the realities of everyday life, the trials, the joys in simple things & the humor.  I found it disconcerting to imagine Drizzt as a rogue, dealing with prejudice, rather than as a trusted companion; I suppose someone new to this character would not experience that off-balance sense.  Either way, my heart goes out to him and the many people around the world who simply search for a safe & peaceful place to belong.  “One day, I was determined, I would find acceptance and find my home…in the end, principles would be seen and accepted for what they were, the character of the person would outweigh the color of his skin and the reputation of his heritage.”  As with the other books, there is a lot of deep prompting & thinking; I love books that inspire readers to new perspectives!  I especially love the character of Montolio, the blind ranger, who teaches Drizzt about nature on the surface, as well as connecting him to a higher purpose & spirituality.

I dislike reading books full of harsh negative realities & ugliness…though some writers are simply too good to put down for all that; you will find book 1 especially has a darkness to it.  At times, I am frustrated, others saddened or disgusted & it reminds me too much of the present  tragedies on this planet. It is the mark of an exceptional writer to evoke your emotions & keep you thinking decades later!  Though it was more grim than I prefer to endure for my reading pleasure, be assured there is an HEA for our hero.  The occasional musings of our hero, written in a much older, experienced voice, give tantalizing glimpses of the future & of how his early years affected him throughout his life.  These books certainly left me wanting more of Drizzt, and ready to reread the Icewind Dale trilogy next. There are 28 books thus far in the series, released in subseries of 2-4 books, all of which can be read independently if you are not ready to tackle the whole.

* The Dark Elf Trilogy
* The Icewind DaleTtrilogy (written 1st)
* Legacy of the Drow
* Paths of Darkness
* The Sellswords (overlaps with Paths of Darkness #3)
* The Hunter’s Blades
* Transitions
* Neverwinter
* The Sundering (Book 1 only)
* Companions Codex
* Homecoming

PaperBackSwap currently has 3 copies of Book 2 & 3 listed.  However, I also noted that the Wish List lines for others are not long, and in some cases zero.