PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for August, 2013

We are NINE! Happy Birthday PBS!

Friday, August 30th, 2013

PaperBackSwap is 9!!


To celebrate 9 years of PaperBackSwap, here is a contest for our members!



Tell us a story in exactly 9 words. Not 8, not 10, but 9 words. Exactly 9.



The Grand Prize Winner will receive 9 credits! 8 runners up will each receive 1 credit!




We will announce the winners on Tuesday, September 3rd. Contest is only open to current PBS members whose accounts are in good standing.



Good luck to everyone!




Thriller Thursday – A Dram of Poison

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

A Dram of Poison by Charlotte Armstrong

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)


In this 1956 suspense mystery, a crime may occur. The protagonist and his merry band must prevent the crime. Otherwise, the protagonist may lose his wife and his freedom. The ending delivers the satisfying emotional release that we look for in a suspense novel. But on the way to the climax this story also provides the intellectual pleasure that we want from a mystery.

Like Shirley Jackson, Armstrong was a keen and cool observer. Of a wedding procedure between a middle-aged poetry prof and a girl young enough to be his daughter: “It was an ugly, dreary wedding. It made Mr. Gibson wince in his soul, but it was quick, soon over. He was able to take it as just necessary, like a disagreeable pill.”

Armstrong had a dab hand at constructing a plot that dragged her characters through the mill until the very last moment. In this novel, she examines the physical and psychological effects of a bad car accident. Now lame and feeling old and unsure, the protagonist goes into a depression that his unhelpful sister worsens with her cheap cynicism and amateur Freudian psychoanalytical mumbo-jumbo.

When the post-World War II anxiety is reaching a pitch, however, Armstrong twists the plot and changes the tone from somber to comical and philosophical. With lesser writers we would wonder about the wisdom of sudden changes in plot and tone and the introduction of a five new characters half-way through.  But Armstrong pulls off these audacious moves. She was truly a surprising, enchanting writer.

Christopher Pym in the Spectator wrote: “Nobody gets hurt in this pleasantly sentimental, good-natured version of the `psychological study’ sort of crime story, but there is plenty of suspense, and a good chase after the poison bottle. Full marks for the fresh approach.”

This novel won the 1957 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. I read another of her suspense novels, a ‘howdunnit’ called The Unsuspected (my review is here), which I also highly recommend though it is as unclassifiable as this one.







Fantasy Romance Review – Heart of Obsidian

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling, Bk 12) by Nalini Singh


Review by Cynthia F. (frazerc)


This is a book I’ve been waiting for. The author has been teasing the readers with glimpses of Kaleb Krychek for some time. Is he a good guy? A bad guy? Does he only have his own agenda or does he have a moral compass? In this book, you find out the answer to all of the above is ‘yes’…

If you’ve been following this series, you start the book knowing some things about Kaleb. He is an incredibly strong telekinetic cardinal. He is a member of the Psy Council. He has a tentative alliance with the Arrows. He was raised, if that is the right word, by counselor Enrique – the serial-murdering villain from Slave to Sensation. And he’s looking for someone—someone from his past—someone who seems to have been erased…

And he finds her. Mostly. She’s tortured, starved, and abused but alive. But her mind? Her shields have been stripped and she seems lost within her own mind. As the story progresses you find that while her shields were ripped from her, she created the labyrinth herself. Created as a self-defense mechanism, she believes she built in a method to escape – now if she could only remember what it was…

The story arc of the series has been exploring the possibilities of rebellion, the collapse of the PsyNet, and the fall of silence. We discover that much of this hangs on the ability of Kaleb to heal his lady. If she falls, the world will fall with her – Kaleb will see to it.

This is an incredibly moving love story between a woman who considers herself broken and a powerful man who considers himself Silent. Both of them are wrong…  And the sex? Let’s just say that when they make love the earth moves – literally. And there is no question, it IS love. Everything he has done has been to find her, heal her, and protect her.

Nalini Singh has managed to keep her Psy/Changeling series alive and thriving.  Her characters are strong, people you would like to know. Her plots manage to advance the series story-arc while still accomplishing a satisfying end to each book. Each book brings new material to light without violating any of the previous books. (I hate it when authors call their books a series but don’t bother to maintain consistency from book to book.  But maybe that’s just me.)


I loved this book but don’t start here if you’ve never read any of the earlier ones.  This is a series best read in order.


Below is the chronological reading order according to the author’s website, www.nalinisingh.com:

1. “Beat of Temptation” in Wild Invitation

2. “Whisper of Sin” in Burning Up

3. Slave to Sensation

3.5 “The Cannibal Princess” – free short story

4. Visions of Heat

5. Caressed By Ice

5.5 Movie Night – free short story

6 . “Stroke of Enticement” in The Magical Christmas Cat

7. Mine to Possess

7.5 “A Conversation” – free short story

8. Hostage to Pleasure

8.5 “A Gift for Kit” – free short story

9. Branded By Fire

9.5 “The Party” (deleted scene from Branded By Fire)

10. Blaze of Memory

11. Bonds of Justice

12. Play of Passion

12.5a “Wolf School” (deleted scene from Play of Passion)

12.5b “Declaration of Courtship” in Wild Invitation (overlaps with Play of Passion)

13. Kiss of Snow

14. “Texture of Intimacy” in Wild Invitation

15. Tangle of Need

16. Heart of Obsidian

(The free short stories are available on the author’s website)






Mystery Monday – Blunt Darts

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Blunt Darts by Jeremiah Healy

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)


Widows we accept as part of the natural order of things. We’ve even seen widows who flower after their hubby settles into that big barcalounger in the sky. But widowers, we fear they’ll fade by turning to the bottle and nineteen-year-olds with ex-con boyfriends.  And unfortunate things do indeed happen to John Francis Cuddy, a Boston PI, after he loses his wife Beth to cancer.

Cuddy quit jogging and took to bending his elbow on nightly drunks. He also loses his job as an insurance investigator because he rejects signing off on a fake claim.  He goes on relief, tries to manage his drinking, and sets up as a PI. His first case is through the recommendation of Valerie, an old friend of Beth’s, who casts a romantic eye Cuddy’s way.

Cuddy often goes Beth’s grave and talks to her about what’s going on in his life and his cases. The graveyard chats weird-out the teenaged groundskeepers, which makes Cuddy observe, “Too young to know anything.  Especially anything about cemeteries.” Too right, we middle-aged readers agree.

In this mystery, Cuddy tells Beth about his search for a missing genius kid whose father, a hanging judge, doesn’t seem to care if his son is found.  The characters are original, with the heavy being particularly repulsive. The settings and situations are realistic without provoking too much anxiety about going out at night in the big bad city.

This book was the first of a series of about 14 novels. It was selected by The New York Times as one of the seven best mysteries of 1984. Critics and fans regard the Cuddy series was one of the better ones during the Eighties and Nineties. Fans of Robert Parker and Stephen Greenleaf would probably like this book.




Free Book Friday Winner!!!

Sunday, August 25th, 2013






The winner of this week’s Free Book, What a Ghoul Wants by Victoria Laurie is:




 MONA (monkeyface)




Congratulations! Your book will be to you soon!






Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!

Free Book Friday!!

Friday, August 23rd, 2013


Today’s Free Book is:



What a Ghoul Wants by Victoria Laurie

M. J. Holliday has the unusual ability to talk to the dead. But when it comes to a vengeful ghost and a mysterious drowning, this time she may be in over her head…. — THAT SINKING FEELING — Kidwella Castle in northern Wales is rumored to be haunted by a deadly ghost — the Grim Widow, who allegedly drowns unsuspecting guests in the castle’s moat. Not long after M. J. and her crew arrive at the castle to film their ghost-hunting cable TV show, Ghoul Getters, two new victims are added to the Widow’s grisly roster.

Fear ripples through the castle, especially when it’s discovered that the victims may have had help into their watery graves from the land of the living. The local inspector suspects father-son serial killers, but M. J. thinks that theory is all wet. To catch the true culprit she will need to dive deep into the castle’s past and bring some long buried secrets to the surface.
Mass Market Paperback, ISBN 9780451238979

Please note: This copy is a book from the PBS Market that we can not sell. This copy has what appears to be a slice from a box cutter on the front cover. The cut does not go all the way through the cover and the pages are not affected.




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




You have until Sunday, August 25, 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!

Thriller Thursday – The Confession

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

The Confession by John Grisham

Review by Cheryl G. (Poncer)


I admit it, I have loved reading John Grisham for years. I have read all of his books, some more than once. A few of them, many times.

Before I found PaperBackSwap, newly released hardcovers were way out of my reach. I would wait for months for his books to come out in paperback, and devour them.

Now I usually have the luxury of reading his books fairly soon after their release dates, thanks to a little research and getting in on the wish lists early.

This was true of The Confession. I was offered this book just a month or so after it was released. But this time it sat on my shelf for a long time. It was the perfect length though for a recent trip to visit friends, and once I opened it, I couldn’t put it down.

The Confession is fiction, but could very well be non-fiction. And I have no doubt that what happened to the young protagonist in the book happens way more times in this country than is acceptable.

The book follows a death row inmate and his attorney through the nightmare of a wrongful conviction. It reveals what power is wielded by prosecutors, detectives and judges who are all too prone to their own human weaknesses. And what can happen to real human lives when that power is combined with a stubborn will to convict someone. Anyone.

Some parts of the book are raw, and my emotions ran high through most of it. I was drawn in to the plight of the characters, the accused, the attorney, the minister who got drawn into the fight to keep this young, innocent man alive. And even drawn into the not so heroic characters, an author following the case to write a first-hand account, the witness who lied at trial placing the accused at the scene of the crime, the warden of the prison, and even a really unsavory ex-convict.

Grisham is a master of character development and this book is no exception,  the mother of the victim, the family of the accused, the attorney’s staff, I felt as if I understood them all, from their own points of view.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys courtroom dramas, anyone who is concerned with the death penalty, and anyone who is concerned that we in the United States may be putting to death innocent people. And to anyone who wants to read a really good book

5 Stars