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Archive for November, 2016

Books for Schools 2016

Monday, November 28th, 2016

motd BFS 2016 altDear Members,

The air has a chill, the days are shorter, and the leaves are turning: autumn in all its glory has come. We’ve just finished up a weekend of family, food, friends and counting our blessings; now it’s time to hang the outdoor decorations and plunge into the whole week of Cyber Monday deals! We hope that you’re finding all the things on your lists.

The passing of Thanksgiving means it’s not only holiday-shopping time, it’s also time for the return of Books for Schools! So many of you have asked when it would start up again, and we’re happy to say that the day is here: Monday, November 28th 2016! What better season to share our love of reading with children across the country who may never otherwise have a book to call their own? Most of us can’t imagine what a childhood without books would have been like. Please take a few minutes to help these children learn the joy of reading. This year we have schools from Mississippi to Illinois, and Minnesota to Tennessee. You can read more about each school on the Books for Schools page where you can also donate Book Credits or PBS Money.

In all the holiday hubbub, we do hope that you find some time to turn some leaves yourself…BOOK leaves! No matter how busy things get, give yourself a time out whenever you can and find a cozy spot, conjure up a cup of tea or hot cocoa (don’t neglect the marshmallows!), and open up a good book. You deserve it!

Richard and
The PaperBackSwap Team

PS. If you know of a school that serves needy children and you would like to suggest it as a Books for Schools participant for next year, please submit the information here.



Mystery Monday Review – Too Many Cousins

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Too Many Cousins by Douglas G. Browne

Review by Matt B. (buffalosavage)

Six cousins stand to inherit a substantial fortune built by a merchant prince of a grandfather. Then certain of them run into a singularly foul run of bad luck.

One is run down in a road accident.

One is poisoned.

One is drowned.

The fourth, a lucky survivor, is sure that she was pushed into the path of a lorry.

Living to tell her lurid tale, she captures the attention of Mr. Harvey Tuke — Senior Legal Assistant to the Director of Public Prosecutions. On his vacation – of course – he investigates these odd accidents.

Browne is a very clear writer, despite his employment of challenging vocabulary and complex grammar. The plot is seamless and the characters distinct and memorable. Browne captures professional wariness and rivalries so well that I wonder if he was writing from direct experience. The setting is London near the end of WWII so there are curious periodic touches of bombed ruins and saving electricity and gas.






Historical Fiction Review – Mistress of the Revolution

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors

Review by Mirah Welday (mwelday)

I was hooked by Mistress of the Revolution from the first page.  Told in memoir style, Delors delivers a novel that feels like a real life experience.  I was swept back in time to France in the years leading up the French Revolution and thought it was engrossing and told from a unique point of view.

Starting in 1815 with a moment of reminiscing, the reader is quickly plunged back to childhood years of Gabrielle de Montserrat.  From a noble family who no longer possesses the wealth and status they desire, Gabrielle is used as a bargaining chip to hopefully increase their family wealth and position.  Thus the reader joins Gabrielle in her heartbreaking life journey. Love is gained and lost, along with Gabrielle’s innocence. Thrust into circumstances that are far, far from ideal, Gabrielle has seemingly impossible decisions to make about her survival and connections.  While she has few willing to come to her rescue, Gabrielle finds a way to forge new friendships and connections to make ends meet in the years leading up to the French Revolution.  But what will happen when politics and her personal life converge?  Will her connections save her or will she be another person caught up in corruption and greed?  Delors created a story that kept me interested and unsure of what would happen next to Gabrielle.

While it seems the author did extensive research and there was a lot of information later in the book about the politics behind the revolution, Mistress of the Revolution didn’t read like a history lesson.  Delors found a deft way to balance history and intrigue with love and hope with one character’s resilient spirit.









Mystery Monday – Somebody Owes Me Money

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake

Review by Matt B. (buffalosavage)


Chet Conway, a cabbie in the Big Apple, gets a tip on horse race from an appreciative fare who enjoys Chet’s conversation. The horse comes in to the tune of $900.00. At the time the story was set, 1969, that’s about $5,300.00 in our post-modern dollars.

Chet, a gambler, badly needs the cash to pay off markers. But when he goes to collect his winnings, he finds his bookie dead on the floor, his chest looking as if he’d been “hit with anti-aircraft guns.”

Though he hasn’t a clue whodunit, Chet finds himself in the middle of struggles among the cops, two rival gangs of thugs, and the dead bookie’s hottie sister. Abbie’s a card mechanic in Vegas. She has flown in from Las Vegas to avenge her brother’s murder, since she figures her cheating sister-in-law is the perp. Chet and Abbie have slapstick adventures while they avoid the bad guys and get to the bottom of the murder.

Readers looking for a comic-caper stand-alone mystery will be entertained by this novel. Since many chapters end with a cliffhanger, it keeps us readers turning the pages. Westlake is deft with twists and turns and creates interesting characters. He keeps the language simple, so this is extremely easy to read. Westlake is a master of the quip. For instance, Chet ruefully observes that impetuous Abbie has “all the self-preservation instincts of a lemming.” The author is firmly in the tradition of mystery writers poking genial fun at the conventions of mysteries.

I hadn’t read Westlake, whom fans remember fondly for his humor, since I was teenager during the Nixon administration. Clearly, I don’t read in the comic-crime genre much. The reason is that for me comedy, however refreshing witty or farcical or absurd, pales into the merely facetious over the course of a 250-page book. In a mystery, character, setting, plot and suspense have to trump burlesque and high jinks. Still, I liked this return to reading Westlake and will read another of his before another 40 years go by.




Winner! Angelique’s Storm Winner!

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016


The Winner of the brand-new copy of

Paula W. Millett’s new book Angelique’s Storm is:

Nancy C.


Congratulations! Your book will be on the way to you soon!

Thank you Ms. Millett and Diane G. for the interview! And thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!

To read the interview click here.