PaperBackSwap Blog

Book Winner!

February 21st, 2020

The Winner of the brand-new copy of
Cabin 1 (Steele Shadows Security)
by Amanda McKinney is:

Norma L.


Congratulations, Norma! Your book will be on the way to you soon.
We hope you enjoy it!

Thank you to everyone who entered!




Horror Book Review of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel

February 18th, 2020

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires: A Novel
by Grady Hendrix

Review by Cyn F. (Cyn-Sama)


I think the southern Gothic setting just works for a story about vampires. The lush, dense heat of a summer night, and something rotten seeping into a otherwise perfect town. Maybe it has something to do with my first introductions to literary vampires was Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice, and Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. Of course, those books showed vampires in a sympathetic light. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires takes the concept of vampires, and brings them back to their horrific roots.

Patricia Campbell’s life is a small, quiet one. Her husband is distracted with his work, her children are becoming more and more distant. Her monthly book club is supposed to be a shining moment, a chance to get out of the house. Only problem is, no one wants to read the titles that are assigned.

Some of the disgruntled book club members decide to form their own book club, where they can read what ever they want. Including a boat load of classic true crime masterpieces.

Then, strange things begin to happen.

Patricia looses a large chunk of an ear to a rabid neighbor.

Intriguingly a stranger moves into the neighborhood, and children start to go missing. Is there a connection? Or have they all been reading too many sensational novels?

Being a bigger fan of novels where the vampires are the heroes, I was not sure I was going to like this book. I have to say, that I was a fan.

It was nice to go back to the roots of horror, and read something that creeped me out a bit. Plus, I loved the setting. I like seeing these supposedly perfect families succumb to the rot within. Most of the rot was there before there was a vampire, it just all rose to the surface the more these ladies investigated.

If the rest of Grady Hendrix’s work is of this caliber, I will be seeking out more of his books.




Mystery Monday Review – The Veiled One

February 17th, 2020

The Veiled One by Ruth Rendell

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)


Rather more violent than the usual Reg Wexford outing. A housewife is strangled with a garrot, of all the horrible things. And a car bomb explosion puts our series hero Reg into hospital. His high-strung but likeable partner Mike Burden stands in. He takes aim at a suspect but can’t get him to talk. When Rendell is on a roll, as she is in this 1988 mystery, she is spellbinding.






‘Bed Head: A Hair-Raising Adventure’ Winner!

February 11th, 2020

Bed Head: A Hair-Raising Adventure

The Winner of the brand-new copy of


 Bed Head: A Hair-Raising Adventure 

by Holly Hall Becker is:


Dan C.


Congratulations, Dan C! Your book will be on the way to you soon. We hope you enjoy it and that it makes a great addition to your town’s library!


Thank you to everyone who entered!


And, if you would like to purchase a copy of this book, or any of thousands of other titles, you can find great books for great prices in the PBS Market.  Here is the link: PBS Market.


Mystery Monday Review – The Arena

February 10th, 2020

The Arena
by William Haggard

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

In this crime and spy novel from 1961, the merchant bank known as Bonavias is declining. However, a upstart competitor approaches them, offering an amount 20% over Bonavias’ market value. Series hero Col. Russell must become interested when he learns that also part of the deal is a research start-up called Radarmic. There is suspicion that an unfriendly power wants access to the radar technology Radarmic is developing. The rep of the unfriendly power would stoop to criminal violent means to take over the bank and the start-up.

Haggard, an Englishman, was an intelligence officer in India during WWII and then worked in Whitehall after the war. So he has the knowledge and experience that we trust in a writer of intelligent crime and espionage stories. Back in the day, Haggard’s novels were not popular in the US, though critics often praised his work as “James Bond for adults.”

Like William F. Buckley’s series hero Blackford Oakes, hero Col. Charles Russell, head of the Security Executive is a “man of the right.” The department minds odd security issues that fall in the grey areas where no clear authority to act exists. Russell is a cheerful conservative who maintains his cool in stressful situations. Russell doesn’t do much except think and talk to people in posh clubs and stuffy offices. He spends much time being perplexed. I don’t know how Haggard makes this fascinating and un-put-downable. But he does.

Haggard’s ability to take the reader into the closed worlds of research, government, criminal syndicates and spy agencies is irresistible. At least to readers who like John le Carré, John Bingham, Emma Lathen, or Alan Furst.



Author Interview with Amanda McKinney & Book Give-Away

February 5th, 2020


Author Interview with Amanda McKinney
by Diane G. (


Thank you so much for doing this interview for the PaperBackSwap blog!! I have really enjoyed reading the 3 books in the Steele Shadows Security series.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife to the ultimate alpha male, mother of two angels who remind me every day how precious life is, daughter to my real-life hero and heroine, mom to two stinky mutts, die-hard Titos lover (very important to mention that), and someone who wandered aimlessly through life until I found writing. I’d always struggled with what I was meant to do professionally. Post college, my world was cheap power suits, grey cubicles, PowerPoint presentations, quotas, and butt-kissing. I knew this was not my path. I wanted to be the person who said, “I love what I do so much that it doesn’t feel like work.” After decades of sending positive energy into the world, hoping I would find my dream-job, the quest finally ended after I wrote the first paragraph of my first book (that was so terrible it never saw the light of day). I fell in love instantly and never looked back.

I myself do not like to read “romance novels”, but I love mysteries. For some reason your books seem more mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. What gave you the inspiration for the Steele Shadows Security series?

Steele Shadows Security was an unplanned spin-off from the Berry Springs Series. I like to think of it as Berry Springs’ steamer, darker, grittier, bad-boy brother. The series was created when I finally submitted to the unrelenting voice in my head telling me to write something more intense, more emotional, and more alpha. With blind faith, I wrote Cabin 1, which became my first #1 bestseller. It was a good lesson to follow inspiration and have faith in your gut instinct!

You really brought these stories to life with your writing and made me feel like I was right there with the Cabin residents! How much of your experiences and background played into this?

I was born in a small, southern town that has more cows than people. Big trucks, American flags, cowboy hats, sweet tea—all the fantastic clichés. From a very early age, I loved two things: reading and the outdoors. For me, inspiration sparks when I’m in nature. There’s something about being out in the mountains, that can be magical and enchanting, but also dark, creepy, and extremely lonely—which makes one heck of a backdrop for a murder mystery series. Nature plays a huge part in every one of my books and is as much as a character as the hero and heroine. I visualize each scene as I write it, and try to feel the world happening around that moment with hopes its transfers through to the reader.

The men in the security company come out as very strong until those layers are peeled back. Are the men in your life them?

Absolutely. You’ve probably noticed most of the heroes in my books are former military or service men. I come from a long line of military men and woman and I truly believe that soldiers, combat veterans, and first responders carry a shield of armor that others simply don’t, and this manifests in many different ways within each person (all those layers and layers!). I have the utmost respect for them and I hope that shines through in my writing.

How long did you take to write these books?

I’m someone who loves schedules, plans, and consistency. Spontaneity scares the crap out of me. So I keep myself on a tight schedule packed with deadlines. I write every day, no matter what. I find that this helps keep the same tone through the book, and keeps my creative juices flowing. There’s nothing more frustrating than opening my computer and staring at the screen for thirty minutes trying to figure out what my next word should be. Writing every day helps to avoid that. I also have a daily word goal, and I’m pretty hard-core about meeting it. I’ve been known to set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. to get in some writing time before the kids wake. Thanks to this restless nature, I can usually write book a book in a few months.

Did you stay within your planned outlines, or did you ever write yourself into a situation you could not get out of?

When I begin a new project, the first thing I do is write a detailed outline—bulleted, of course. Although the story develops as I go, I try to stick to that outline as much as possible. I’ve realized that if I don’t, the story becomes scattered, filled with major plot holes. And no one likes a massive plot hole.

How do you deal with the times you may encounter writer’s block?

I step away from the computer and take a walk outside. I focus on my breathing and just still myself. I truly believe in the healing power of nature. If it’s epic writers block, I meditate. It’s amazing what clearing your mind can do you for creativity and attitude!

Do you enjoy reading books yourself? If so, what types of books do you enjoy?

I’m a sucker for romantic suspense/mystery. I love the delicate mix of romance, intrigue, and heart-pounding suspense, and of course the grand finale of it all, the happily ever after ending! And let’s be honest, a swoon-worthy hero doesn’t hurt either. As a reader and a writer, pacing is very important to me. One of my favorite things about the genre is that the stories are fast-paced. Nothing pulls me out of a book more than slow pacing or that ever-dreaded lagging middle section. When I write a book, I focus on creating a page-turning experience and making the reader feel a mix of emotions—fear, anticipation, shock, lust, you name it. If he, or she, goes to bed thinking about my book, or stays up all night just to finish it, I’ve done my job.

What’s next? Do you have other books already published, and are you working on another book?

2020 is going to be a big year for the McKinney Machine! I’m carrying out the Steele Shadows Security series with three more books (at least)! I am so excited to continue these character’s stories! I’m talking kid-in-a-candy-store excited. The books will have everything you’d expect in a McKinney novel—hot romance, alpha males, strong females, fast-paced suspense, and mystery, but will be standalone novels. No cliffhangers!

Where are your books available?

I am currently exclusive to Amazon, but plan to reach new retailers later this year.

Do you have a website / blog / Facebook page?

My website is the hub for all things McKinney— But the best way to stay up to date on new releases, enter fun contests, and get tons of freebies is to sign up for my newsletter here.

Thanks so much for spending time with us today!! I can’t wait for your next books!


Ms. McKinney has generously offered an brand-new autographed copy of her book, Cabin 1 to a PaperBackSwap Member who comments here on the Blog. A Winner will be chosen at random. You must be a PaperBackSwap Member in good standing to win.

Good Luck to everyone!





Mystery Monday Review – The Black Dudley Murder

February 3rd, 2020


The Black Dudley Murder by Margery Allingham

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

Our series hero Albert Campion makes his debut in this 1929 whodunnit. A reader’s response depends on the reader’s patience with tried and true customs of the Golden Age of the Mystery. Yay or nay: it is melodramatic in places, Campion is silly-simple on a Bertie Wooster level, and the detecting part of things is slighted. Plus or minus: the setting is a gloomy country house, characters are paper-thin, a romantic angles arises, ceremonials use a ritualistic dagger. It’s all rather over the top, but if that floats your boat….