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Archive for August, 2018

Free Book Friday! The Man Who Fell From the Sky

Friday, August 31st, 2018


The Man Who Fell from the Sky
by Margaret Coel


When Robert Walking Bear’s body is found in the Wind River mountains, his death appears to be accidental—except for the fact that he had been hunting for Butch Cassidy’s buried loot with a map he had gotten from his grandfather, a map believed to have been drawn by the leader of the Hole in the Wall gang himself.  — It isn’t long before rumors circulate that Robert was murdered by his own cousins to get the map and find the treasure themselves. Despite there being no evidence of foul play, the gossip gains credibility when both Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley are contacted by an anonymous Arapaho claiming to have witnessed Robert’s killing.

When one of Robert’s cousins falls prey to another deadly accident, Vicky and Father John are convinced the victim is the witness who confided in them, and the hunt for the killer is on in earnest—before more die in search of Cassidy’s cache.

ISBN 9780425280317, Paperback

There are currently 5 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, September 2, 2018 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!


Fiction Review – South of Broad

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

South of Broad by Pat Conroy

Review Vicky T. (VickyJo)



I’m going to make a confession here: I have never read a novel by Pat Conroy.  I’ve heard lots of wonderful things about him, but as you may or may not know, there are a LOT of books out there.  I can’t read them all, a fact I have almost accepted.  Pat Conroy, while I heard high praise for his work, was just one of those authors I never got around to reading.   

So when his novel “South of Broad” came out, I ordered the audio version.  I drive a lot, and so I listen to books as well as read them.  And I decided, for some reason, that now was the time to delve into Pat Conroy.  I am so glad I did!  

South of Broad is set in Charleston, South Carolina, a city beloved by Conroy and his characters.  We meet Leo Bloom King, an 18-year-old boy on the 16th of June, 1969.  It’s an important summer for Leo, because he meets a group of people who will become his lifelong friends.  He meets orphans Starla and Niles Whitehead, dirt-poor “white trash” from North Carolina; twins Sheba and Trevor Poe, who move in next door and immediately charm everyone they encounter; Chad and Fraser Rutledge, from Charleston’s highest social ranks, and Chad’s girlfriend Molly Huger, who is another high society girl, and finally Ike Jefferson, one of a group of African American students who will be integrated into Leo’s high school in September. 

The story plays out over the senior year of the group of friends.  We follow them through the integration of their school, the racial tensions when Ike’s father is hired as the new football coach, and the frightening appearance of Sheba and Trevor’s violent, psychotic father.  Then we move forward to 1989 to see what has become of everyone.  Leo is a well-known columnist for the Charleston newspaper.  Sheba has gone to Hollywood and become a household name and sex symbol; Ike is the local chief of police; Chad and Molly’s marriage is none too secure, and Niles married Fraser, in spite of her family’s disapproval.  While they have remained in touch through the years, it’s only when one of their group desperately needs help that they all come together and cement their bonds even more strongly. 

At one point, I actually thought to myself, “Pat Conroy has done it. He has spoiled me, with his beautiful writing, for any other author.”  This man can write.   He uses language as a tool, as a means to open our hearts and remember what it feels like to fall in love, to be hurt, to be outraged.  He uses language to make us smell freshly baked cookies, and nail polish, and newsprint.  He uses language to remind us of the common connection we all have, as human beings.  I am in awe of his talent. 

But the book didn’t get glowing reviews, much to my amazement.  I think, if everyone who gave it unfavorable reviews had listened to it, they would have felt differently.  The narrator of South of Broad did a wonderful job of bringing Leo King to life, charming southern accent and all.  He made this story breathe, and his portrayal of each character truly made a difference to my listening pleasure.  He gave me some laugh out loud moments, and I found I couldn’t wait to drive to or from work, just to hear what was going to happen next!  A reader can make or break a book, and I have to say this narrator was a wonderful asset.  I highly recommend listening to this one. 

Now that I have revealed the dark secret that every librarian has an outstanding author which he or she has never read,  I will just end with this:  I’ve never read To Kill a Mockingbird either.  I know, I know….  






Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, August 26th, 2018



The Winner of the brand new copy of

Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers is:


Dorthy H. (Blueiris)

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


Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!

Free Book Friday! Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers

Friday, August 24th, 2018


Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers



From the award-winning author of Hide Me Among the Graves, Last Call, Declare, and Three Days to Never, a phantasmagoric, thrilling, mind-bending tale of speculative fiction in which one man must uncover occult secrets of 1920s Hollywood to save his family. In the wake of their Aunt Amity’s suicide, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat, the eerie, decaying mansion in the Hollywood hills in which they were raised. But their decadent and reclusive cousins, the malicious wheelchair-bound Claimayne and his sister, Ariel, do not welcome Scott and Madeline’s return to the childhood home they once shared. While Scott desperately wants to go back to their shabby South-of-Sunset lives, he cannot pry his sister away from this haunted “House of Usher in the Hollywood Hills” that is a conduit for the supernatural. Decorated by bits salvaged from old hotels and movie sets, Caveat hides a dark family secret that stretches back to the golden days of Rudolph Valentino and the silent film stars. A collection of hypnotic eight-limbed abstract images inked on paper allows the Maddens to briefly fragment and flatten time – to transport themselves into the past and future in visions that are both puzzling and terrifying. Though their cousins know little about these ancient “spiders” which provoke unpredictable temporal dislocations, Ariel and Claimayne have been using for years – an addiction that has brought Claimayne to the brink of selfish destruction. As Madeline falls more completely under Caveat’s spell, Scott discovers that to protect her, he must use the perilous spiders himself. But will he unravel the mystery of the Madden family’s past and finally free them. . . or be pulled deeper into their deadly web?

ISBN 9780062262462, Paperback

There are currently 9 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 26, 2018 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 – I Wish I’d Been There

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

I Wish I’d Been There by Byron Hollinshead

Review by Vicky T. (VickyJo)


“What is the scene or incident in American history that you would like to have witnessed—and why?” This is the thought provoking question that Byron Hollinshead posed to twenty of our finest American historians, with an invitation to answer in essay form. Those essays were then gathered together and put into a fascinating book called “I Wish I’d Been There: Twenty Historians Bring to Life Dramatic Events That Changed America.”

This is such a fun book! First, I had to think about my own choice. If I could only pick one incident, which one would it be? That’s a hard one, but I think I’d have to say I would have loved to sit in on the first Thanksgiving. Or maybe be at Roanoke Colony, right before everyone just disappeared. Then again, it would be so neat to sit in a crowded, darkened theater and watch Harry Houdini perform.

I don’t know if the participating historians had as much difficulty as I did when choosing their one, single event to witness—but I do have to say they choose some great ones.

Mary Beth Norton, a professor of American History at Cornell University, chose the Salem Witch Trials. Of course! What really happened in Salem in 1692? Were the four young girls truly being tormented by witches…or just bored? To watch an entire community descend into panicked paranoia would be compelling. On the other hand, these accusations could have been made in order to seize lands and property, to benefit a few greedy men. Mary Beth Norton tells us what she knows, what she believes, and why she would love to have witnessed it all.

Thomas Fleming, historian and author of fine historical fiction, wanted to be with John Brown at Harpers Ferry. Being a novelist, his essay is a rich imagining of what it would be like if he had been…say, a journalist in 1859, assigned to follow Brown and report on the happenings. He drops the reader into that long-ago time, and brings us along on the raid that changed our country forever.

There are so many choices! We have essays on the day Abraham Lincoln was shot; the day Chief Joseph surrendered; the day Lewis and Clark first see the Rocky Mountains; the day Jenny Lind debuts in America, courtesy of P.T. Barnum. Each historian chose a fascinating snippet of American history, and the enthusiasm and longing for that snippet comes through in each chapter. Not every choice was from our distant past, either; there are essays about sitting in on the meeting between JFK and his brother Robert when they discussed America’s role in Vietnam; one historian wanted to march on Washington with Martin Luther King; one wished he could have been in the White House on March 13, 1965 when Lyndon Johnson confronted George Wallace. Read: at one point, Johnson says “Now look, George. don’t think about 1968, think about 1988. You and me, we’ll be dead and gone then, George. Now you’ve got a lot of poor people down there in Alabama, a lot of ignorant people. You can do a lot for them, George. Your president will help you. What do you want left after you die? Do you want a great big marble monument that reads George Wallace—he built? Or do you want a little piece of scrawny pine board that read George Wallace—he hated?” That meeting would have been something to see.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Each participating historian offers a well-written, well-reasoned explanation of the slice of history he or she wishes to have witnessed. And to be honest, I wish I could have been at each one of these events too. It certainly makes one think: which historic event do you wish you could have witnessed?



Fiction Review – Someday, Someday, Maybe

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018


Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Review by Mirah Welday (mwelday)

So, I suppose I should start this review with a disclaimer.  I love Lauren Graham.  I loved her in The Gilmore Girls and Parenthood.  When I found out Lauren had written a novel (yes, we’re on a first name basis), I had to add it to my list of books to read.  Granted, it took me a few years to get to it (I mean, in my defense, I’ve moved twice and had four surgeries since it was released so I’ve had some things going on).  But, this summer, it was the perfect go-to for pool reading.

Here’s the breakdown of Someday, Someday, Maybe: Franny Banks has placed herself on a timeline to become a successful actress.  She has given herself three years to really be able to make a living as an actress, no more waitressing and odd jobs to make ends meet.  Someday, Someday, Maybe picks up with only six months to go on Franny’s timeline.  We follow Franny on her ups and downs during these final months of auditions, call backs, agent interviews, acting class, waitressing gigs, boyfriend drama, and a family wedding.

I won’t give away the ending, you’ll have to read the novel yourself to determine if Franny finds her success as an actress.  With excerpts from a handwritten daily planner dispersed amongst the chapters, Graham has a funny, fast-paced novel that was quirky but enjoyable.  The sections of daily planner really took me back to my college days when my life was chronicled by the notes in my daily planner.  I’m not sure that was even an intention of Lauren’s, but I rather loved it!

I also really enjoyed the reader’s guide at the end of the paperback edition I read that included a conversation with Lauren and her Parenthood co-star Mae Whitman, whom I also love. But the thing I loved most about this novel was the character of Dan.  Dan is one of Franny’s roommates and the scenes with him are some of the best in the novel.  His personality is endearing and his changing relationship with Franny was, for me, what pushed the novel along. The questions about their relationship kept me interested almost as much as wanting to know if Franny would get that big break for her acting career!

If you want a novel that is both lighthearted and heartwarming this summer, give Someday, Someday, Maybe a chance.





Mystery Monday Review – Death and Taxes

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Death and Taxes by Thomas B. Dewey

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

This Detective “Mac” mystery was published in 1967. Mac’s first and last names were never revealed in these PI novels, which went on from the early 1950s to about 1970. Mac never aged either, staying in early middle age for the entire run.

Mac is assigned to deliver a million dollars in cash to the daughter of his client, a notorious gangster Marco Paul, upon the thug’s death. However, Marco Paul is gunned down in an old-style gangland hit before he has a chance to tell Mac when he stashed the stacks and stacks of hot cash. Gangsters being awful gossips, plug-uglies sniff the existence of the million and assume that Marco told Mac of the location of the cache. This makes Mac’s life difficult, as he becomes the subject of strongarm tactics to get him to tell. This is a hard-boiled mystery for 1967 so the strongarm scenes aren’t disgusting. So Mac needs to catch the killer and find the cash fast.

There are two attractive female characters in the mix, but Mac, as always, is chaste. Mac, in fact, is rather a worrier, who wears his emotions and concerns on this sleeve. After reading lots of Dashiell Hammett lately, I feel that Mac rather pales beside the rugged but human Op. Mac is based in Chicago, but besides street names there is little local color. Finally, Mac doesn’t wrestle with The Ambiguities like Phil Marlow or Lew Archer. Nor does Mac seem to have any kind of life outside of detecting (his lives in an apartment attached to his office).

I still recommend these hard-boiled mysteries, with a tight stories, a minimum of violence, and no foul language, for readers to this old-school genre.