PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for April, 2013

Mystery Monday – Baby Shark

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Baby Shark by Robert Fate


Review by Cheryl R. (Spuddie)


#1 Baby Shark series; Protagonist: Kristin “Baby Shark” Van Dijk

Kristin Van Dijk’s life changed forever one fateful night at a pool hall in Texas in 1952. She’s only 17, but she’s there with her father who’s a traveling pool shark. Her mother having died a couple of years previously, Kristin’s father gave her a choice of traveling with him and living in the back of his big old car or going to live with stuffy, religious Aunt Dora in Oklahoma City. You’re sixteen, curious about the world, haven’t yet really gotten to know your father and have just lost your mother—which would you choose? Right. Now Mr. Van Dijk isn’t your typical hustler. He’s a rather erudite pool shark and the trunk of their car contains just as many books as clothes and other possessions, and he generally seems to have done a fairly good job of looking after his daughter.

That is, until he misjudges an opponent’s intentions and Kristin is forced to watch her father brutally beaten and killed, and then she herself is raped repeatedly, beaten senseless and left for dead in the burning pool hall—except that the owner, a diminutive Chinese man named Henry Chin, who has watched his own son be murdered as well, drags Kristen from the fire. After many weeks of hospital stays and surgeries, Kristin leaves to live with Henry on his isolated farm where she has her own small cottage and begins to plot revenge on the four men who left her an orphan and so physically and emotionally scarred.

Henry brings in a team of old friends who specialize in different things—hand to hand combat, firearms, physical training of all sorts—and Kristin trains hard, while Henry has hired a private investigator to help figure out who the men were and locate them. The police, of course, are just not that interested in pursuing justice. And after awhile, Kristin also decides she wants to shoot pool like her daddy, so one of his old cronies comes to work intensely with her and she becomes very good, eventually being given the name Baby Shark.

I wanted to like this book more than I did. The biggest problem I had with it was that this was 1952, supposedly, and yet very little about it made me feel like it was 1952. The attitudes of people, the way Kristin dressed and acted, even the medical attention and surgeries she had after her beating seemed too modern and didn’t work for me; she was obviously a modern woman transported back in time and would have stuck out like a sore thumb in her tight jeans. Much of what happened with the training and these mysterious friends of Henry’s also just seemed very implausible. So as much as I was rooting for Baby Shark, I just couldn’t really get fully behind her and the story because I never was quite able to believe it—and there was too much of the anachronistic about it to simply suspend disbelief. I’ve given it three stars for originality mostly, but I’ve decided not to read on in the series.








Free Book Friday Winners!

Sunday, April 28th, 2013





The winners of Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve are:

Franklin L. (sooholee)


Nicholas M.



 Congratulations to both of you, your books are on the way!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!






Free Book Friday!!

Friday, April 26th, 2013




Today’s Free Book is: Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve



A stunning, new novel by master storyteller Philip Reeve. Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. In a time and place where women are not seen as reasonable creatures, Fever is an anomaly, the only female to serve in the order. Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb-nearly the only person she’s ever known-to assist archeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project. As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. Fever has also been (cont’d)singled out by city-dwellers who declare her part Scriven. The Scriveners, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she’s been told: that she is an orphan. Is Fever a Scriven? Whose memories does she hold? Is the mystery of Fever, adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb, the key to the secret that lies at the heart of London?

ISBN 9780545222150, Trade Size Paperback, Young Adult Science Fiction

We will choose 2 winners at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, April 28, 2013 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!







Fiction Review – Stolen

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Stolen by Daniel Palmer


Review by Kelsey O.


John and Ruby Bodine are living the typical American life. John is trying to launch his online game, One World, and Ruby is a struggling college student. John has also finally emerged from a deep depression after an incident that happened during a mountain climb with his buddies. A trip that left one of them dead and the two survivors just learning to cope with what they had to do. Even though John and Ruby struggle to live day to day, their love is the shiny beacon guiding them to what they know their future can be. Then one day, John discovers a strange patch of skin on Ruby’s foot that sets into motion something they never planned on.

Ruby has an aggressive form of cancer and there is only one treatment. Unfortunately the generic version is unavailable and their current insurance won’t cover the name brand. John feels he has only one option, steal the identity of one of his gamers whose insurance will cover the treatment. He finally finds the perfect one, Elliot and Tanya Uretsky. They pack up and leave their life behind and begin to live their new life as the Urtesky’s.

One day John gets the phone call that he could never dream would happen. The caller says, “My name is Elliot Uretsky, and I believe you stole my identity.” Elliot wants to play a game called Criminal and he wants John and Ruby to be the main players. They can continue using his insurance but they have to pass his tests. They start out easy and John and Ruby think that it is all a prank and they decide not to play this fiend’s game. That is when the bodies start to show up, brutally murdered, they know this guy means business. From here till the end is a tale of suspense and terror. The things that Elliot makes this couple do will blow your mind.

Daniel Palmer’s mind is something I would not want to be living in but I am thankful he is able to put it to paper. Even though this couple commits insurance fraud and as the game goes on some pretty devious things, you as a reader start to cheer for them to somehow win and outsmart the devious villain. Every page is a new twist thrown into the plot and Palmer keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering how far John and Ruby will go. Palmer has really outdone himself in his third novel and has solidified himself among some of the great mystery/thriller writers, in my opinion. I know he isn’t going anywhere and I look forward to what his next project will be.










Mystery Monday – Deadwood Mystery Series

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The Deadwood Mystery Series by Ann Charles


Review by MIRAH W. (mwelday)



Recently I’ve found myself gravitating to light mysteries. I can’t seem to handle hard core mysteries with gore and more.  I want mysteries with some humor, some serious (yet somehow still quirky) moments, some love interest, and some sleuthing gone awry. The Deadwood Mystery Series by Ann Charles provides all of that and more.  In trying to describe these books I would say her mysteries combine the quirky humor, if-it-can-go-wrong-it-will feel of the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich and the paranormal mystery from the Harper Connelly Series by Charlaine Harris.  Charles finds a way to bring these two types of mysteries together in a way that really works.

Violet is a woman fighting to make a living for herself and to support her two children.  She lands a job at a real estate agency in Deadwood, South Dakota and she comes into contact with a variety of characters: Harvey is her client turned ‘partner in crime’, Doc her love (or should that be lust?) interest, her wacky friend Natalie, and deplorable co-worker Ray.  I must admit, I never anticipated modern-day Deadwood to be so colorful.  Even the houses and clients Violet takes on for the real estate agency have interesting stories to tell.

There is an adventure in every new installment and you never know where Violet’s purple boots will take her.  No matter what sticky situation Violet gets herself into, I can’t help but cheer for her.  She is intelligent, gutsy, stubborn, spunky, and determined to make things work.  When she stumbles into sleuthing situations the outcomes are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny and, to be honest, I want to be along for the ride.

The Deadwood Mystery Series:

Nearly Departed in Deadwood

Optical Delusions in Deadwood

Dead Case in Deadwood

Better Off Dead in Deadwood





Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, April 21st, 2013




The Winner of Saving CeeCee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman is:


LuAnn H. (orangelady)




Congratulations,  LuAnn, your book is on the way!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the blog!







Free Book Friday!

Friday, April 19th, 2013


Today’s Free Book is Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman



Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille–the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town–a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah’s perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman’s sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, “packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart.” It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.


Audio CD, Unabridged, ISBN 9780143145547

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

You have until Sunday, April 21, 2013 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!