Book Review – Highland Rebel (ARC)

Highland RebelHighland Rebel,
A Tale of a Rebellious Lady and a Traitorous Lord
Written by: Judith James
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date: September 1st, 2009
Pages: 480
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 978-1402224331
(Available NOW!)

Highland Rebel blends history and fiery romance together in an adventurous story of divided loyalties, betrayal and blazing passion”

Detached and jaded, Jamie Sinclair wants to do nothing more than follow his orders and return home to reap the rewards for his faithful service; until one day on a battlefield, when he meets and mistakes Catherine Drummond for a lad and he is forced to act. Before long, Jamie and the rest of the men realize that the struggling youth is actually a woman. To save Catherine (Cat) from the blood thirsty band of mercenaries, Jamie finds himself married to the daughter of a Highland laird and heiress. Through out all of the confusion, Cat remains suspicious and fears the worst about her captivity and the handsome, aloof Englishman who guards her.

This story grabbed my attention from the first page and held on until the very end! The story is fast-paced, full of intrigue, excitement (bloody battles) and romance. The plot has really good momentum so there is never a dull moment. The camaraderie between Cat and Jamie that made me laugh, smile and really pulled me deeper into the story. The romantic chemistry between the two main characters really sizzles off the page.
I highly recommend this book for romance readers who enjoy lots of romance with their historical adventure stories!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
 

Read more about Highland Rebel.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Sourcebooks, Inc. for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Holly’s Inbox (ARC)

Holly’s InboxHolly's Inbox
Written By: Holly Denham (Bill Surie)
Published By: Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks Inc., 2009 (originally published in 2007), 672 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-1402219030
(Available NOW!)

Holly’s Inbox is addictive and entertaining; a fresh, fun take on inter-office politics and romance in the workplace.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“System alert: Inbox full of scandal, romance, and office hilarity!
Meet Holly Denham. It’s her first day as a receptionist at a London investment bank and inexperienced Holly is struggling. How’s a working girl supposed to have a love life with a demanding job, crazy friends, a dysfunctional family, and gossipy colleagues? Not to mention that Holly’s been keeping a secret from everyone – and the past is about to catch up with her.
An affair with a sexy VP heats things up at the office, but when Holly’s first flame (who, she thinks, left her in the lurch) gets a job at the same company, complications abound and Holly’s inbox becomes a daily source of drama, laughter and scandal.”

Holly’s Inbox is written in an email format which is unique and for me, a little distracting as well (having to check on who the emails are to and from all of the time). Holly’s new job as a receptionist gets a rocky start and she gets more than she’s bargained for with the new employees that she communicates with. As she settles in, Holly finds a new love interest who provides a great deal of fodder for the email gossip-mill. The story is told via emails that Holly and the other characters send to one another. For the most part, it is fairly enjoyable to read; the first 2/3’s of the book was a little slow for me but I am happy to tell you that it picked up in a BIG way after that and it finished with a satisfying, well written ending! As I read through the book, I began to care about Holly and how I hoped her life would turn out…as I said before, the last 1/3 of the book is where Holly’s story really starts to seize the reader’s attention. The story isn’t as fluid as I would have liked; it is broken up by the email format and the constant back and forth between the different email senders. The plot consists of some fairly typical office-type romances and the stresses that office workers deal with on the job.
Make sure you check out www.hollysinbox.com/ to visit the fun, interactive website that looks like Holly’s REAL inbox!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (7 out of 10 Diamonds) – I really enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.hollysinbox.com/

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.sourcebooks.com/

A special thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – The Girl Next Door (ARC)

The Girl Next DoorThe Girl Next Door
Written By: Elizabeth Noble
Published By: Penguin Group Canada, 2009, First Edition, 464 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-0143168829
(Available NOW!)

The Girl Next Door feels a little bit like Friends with more depth and dimension; this multifaceted story will slowly pull you in and leave you wanting more.”

Product Description – From Amazon.ca
“A gorgeous and unforgettable novel set in a turn-of-the-century brownstone on New York’s Upper East Side, The Girl Next Door follows the stories of the building’s residents, showing their lives, their loves and the way they live together.
Meet Eve Gallagher in Apartment 7A, newly moved to New York from London with her ambitious banker husband. She’s lonely and lost…until she meets elderly neighbour Violet, who’s concealing a tragic story of her own. The Kramers and the Schulmans in Apartments 6A and 6B are about to find their lives intersecting in a most unfortunate manner when Jason Kramer falls head-over-heels for Rachael Schulman.
Jackson Grayling III in Apartment 5A is 26, fantastically wealthy and a directionless layabout. He’s attracting the attention of a gold-digger in 2B even though he’s far more interested in the beautiful and hardworking Emily Milanowski in 3B. And finally, plain, dull and self-conscious Charlotte Murphy rents 2A and works in the Public Library. She lives in a dream world and is desperate to be anyone but herself. Will any of her neighbours ever take enough notice of her to help her?”

The Girl Next Door starts off slowly, no doubt do to the somewhat long list of characters that you have to sort through. Thankfully there is a helpful ‘List of Characters’ at the beginning of the book which the reader can refer too; I had to do so several times. Once you remember who each of the different characters are (perhaps you have a better memory then I, so it might be quicker for you) the story’s pace picks up and the reader quickly becomes enmeshed in the lives of these apartment dwellers. As the narrative progresses and the reader becomes more familiar with each of the characters, it is very easy to forget that you are reading a book instead of watching a movie. Each of the characters is well-developed with their own unique personality and distinct voice. One of the nicest things about this novel is how the author has blended all of their lives together in such unlikely ways; normally I can see the end of the book coming from a mile away but The Girl Next Door held many surprising plot twists, some of which had me in tears with poignant sadness that tore at my heart. I wouldn’t call this a light-hearted easy read because it has too much depth; this charming story will satisfy the innocuous voyeur in all of us.
I highly recommend this book.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.elizabethnoblebooks.com/content/index.asp
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.penguin.ca/

A special thanks to Penguin Group Canada for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Commercial Book Bindings…

I’ve been really curious about different types of book bindings. I have gathered some wonderful information and a few photos pertaining to several different types of commercial book bindings. 

Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It also usually involves attaching covers to the resulting text-block. 

bookbinding 

A mass market paperback (MMP or MMPB) is a small, usually non-illustrated, and inexpensive bookbinding format. They are commonly released after the hardback edition, and often sold in non-traditional bookselling locations such as airports, drug stores, and supermarkets, as well as in traditional bookstores. Many titles, especially in the area of genre fiction, are first editions in paperback and never receive a hardcover printing. This is particularly true of first novels by new authors. Mass market paperbacks (pulp paperbacks) are small (16mo size), cheaply made and often fall apart after much handling or several years. 

A trade paperback (TPB), sometimes referred to as a trade paper edition, is a standard-sized or large-sized paperback book. If it is a softcover edition of a previous hardcover edition, and, if published by the same publishing house as the hardcover, the text pages are normally identical to the text pages in the hardcover edition, and the book is usually the same size as the hardcover edition. The only difference is the soft binding; the quality of the paper is usually higher than that of a mass market paperback. Trade paperbacks are more sturdily made, usually larger, and more expensive. 

stitching_with_dark_sashes 

A hardcover, hardback, or hardbound is a book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth, heavy paper, or sometimes leather). They may have flexible sewn spines which allow the book to lie flat on a surface when opened, although most modern commercial hardcover books have glued spines. 

Thermal Binding uses a one piece cover with glue down the spine to quickly and easily bind documents without the need for punching. Individuals usually purchase “thermal covers” or “therm-a-bind covers” which are usually made to fit a standard letter size sheet of paper and come with a glue channel down the spine. The paper is placed in the cover, heated in a machine (basically a griddle), and when the glue cools, it adheres the paper to the spine. Thermal glue strips can also be purchased separately for individuals that wish to use customized/original covers. However creating documents using thermal binding glue strips can be a tedious process which requires a scoring device and a large format printer. 

side_book_flat 

Library binding refers to the hardcover binding of serials and paperback books intended for the rigors of library use. Though many publishers have started to provide “library binding” editions, many libraries elect to purchase paperbacks and have them rebound as hardcover books, resulting in longer life for the material. 

book-binding-close 

An advance review copy, also known as an advance reading copy or ARC, is a copy of a book released by its publisher before the book has gone to press for a complete printing. ARCs generally do not have the final dust jacket, formatting or binding of the finished product; the text of an ARC may also differ from that of the published book if the book is edited after the ARC is produced.
Publishers also produce uncorrected bound proofs, also known as galley proofs, in advance of publication. Galley proofs were historically only used in the editing and proof-reading process, but publishers have recently begun to use them as ARCs. These galley proofs may have bindings and illustrations similar to that of the final copy, unlike old-style galley proofs which were usually bound in plain paper covers and without illustrations. Galley proofs differ from ARCs in that ARCs are printed in full colour and in the same format as a published book, while galley proofs are generally printed in black and white and are significantly larger in size than most books.
 

Hand Binding (below) 

400px-relieur_jpg01 

bindery 

If you found this post helpful, I’d love to hear from you! 

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy 

   

Sources: please see below 

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Book Review – Vexing the Viscount (ARC)

Vexing the Viscountvexing-the-viscount
Written By: Emily Bryan
Published By: Leisure Historical Romance, Dorchester Publishing, 2009, First Edition, 320 pages, paperback
ISBN 978-0843961348
(Available NOW!)

Vexing the Viscount is witty and entertaining: a sizzling Historical Romance that you won’t want to miss!”

Product Description– From Dorchester Publishing
“As children they’d sparred with play swords. She’d scarred his chin, and he broke her heart. Now, more than a decade later, the true battle was only beginning…
Daisy Drake needed Lucian Beaumont, Viscount Rutland. Tired of being labelled “on the shelf,” she craved adventure. And Lucian held all the clues to a long-buried Roman treasure. Surely her desire to join his search had nothing to do with his dark curls and seductive Italian accent. Too bad Lucian wanted no help from her—until she donned the disguise of an infamous French courtesan and promised to teach him all she knew about the pleasures of the bedchamber. Of course, she only knew what had been written in naughty books. But Daisy had always been a quick learner. And night by naked night, they’d discover treasure neither expected to find.”

Vexing the Viscount is a marvellous book, full sexual tension and wonderful characters whose stories pull you into their world for a few lovely hours. The pacing is smooth and steady, with vibrant visuals and intensely amusing banter. This story is very well written with an unerring focus on supplying the reader with a captivating story that includes lots of romance. The plot includes some fun twists and turns, that are sure to surprise. Lucian and Daisy are an enchanting mix. When they get tangled up together, sparks fly and sexual tension abounds! These characters have a sizzling chemistry which is sure to satisfy the romantic in all of us. Emily Bryan writes with talent and skill; she pours her heart into each and every page. I really enjoyed this book and I’m positive that you will enjoy it too.
I highly recommend this book!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.emilybryan.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.dorchesterpub.com/

A special thanks to Emily Bryan for sending me a copy of her book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – A Love Letter to Black People (ARC)

A Love Letter to Black People,a-love-letter-to-black-people2
Audaciously Hopeful Thoughts on Race and Success
Written By: Brian McClellan
Published By: Sherian Publishing, 2009, First Edition, 288 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-0979567650
(Available NOW!)

A Love Letter to Black People is uplifting and positive; a supportive and inspiring book written to encourage Black People around the world.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“I Love Black People! I Just Can’t Help It.’ A Love Letter to Black People: Audaciously Hopeful Thoughts on Race and Success’ by Brian McClellan is a book sure to challenge and inspire those who have this type of deep affection for the Black community but also deep concerns for its future. Inspired in part by the historic political success of Senator Barack Obama, ‘Love Letter’ explores the unique way high achieving African Americans view race and success and why, for the love of the Black community, all Black people must apply these lessons. The insightfulness of McClellan’s discussion in ‘Love Letter’ is bolstered by a supporting survey about race and success completed by more than 100 young, Black business and community leaders. Their opinions regarding provocative racially charged topics such as ‘acting white’ are inspirational, thought-provoking and sometimes more provocative than the questions themselves. ‘Love Letter’ is a must read for those who love Black people and just can’t help it!”

A Love Letter to Black People is a moving book. No matter what your skin colour is, this “Love Letter” really explains a lot about the inner workings of the Black community. It strives to build hope and a strong belief that there is every possibility, for a Black person to be totally and completely successful. By asking some tough questions and answering them with a flourish, Brian is hopeful about the future of the Black community, as he should be! This somewhat controversial book, inspires everyone to take some risks and dare to believe that you DO have the right, even the responsibility, to be everything you ever hoped you could be.
Some chapter titles include: Living Angry, The YSB’s, Carrying The Weight, The “Man” Is Dead, Keeping It Real, Can’t We Do Better? Responsibly Black, Who To Be, How To Be, Ignoring The Evidence – The Remix. There are lots of interesting testimonials from successful Black people and great quotes throughout the book.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (7 out of 10 Diamonds) – I really enjoyed it
 

Link to the Author’s website:
http://www.bamstrong.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.sherianinc.com/

A special thanks to Bostick Communications for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Drood: A Novel (ARC)

Drood: A Noveldrood
Written By: Dan Simmons
Published By: Little, Brown and Company, USA, 2009, First Edition, 784 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-0-316-00702-3
(Available NOW!)
Top Pick

Drood: A Novel is a powerfully-captivating, finely crafted tale of multiplicity, enmity and foreboding.”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens–at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world–hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?
Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens’s life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens’s friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author’s last years and may provide the key to Dickens’s final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.”

Drood: A Novel is fantastic! Even though this novel is quite long, it is worth every minute spent reading it. This story is masterfully written with an incredible amount of depth. The story is told from Wilkie Collins’s increasingly bitter, resentful and laudanum-hazed perspective. Though Dickens and Wilkie had been writers and friends for what seems like an eternity, deep-down Wilkie always felt inferior to his friend’s writing ability and accomplishments. This undercurrent drives many-opiate induced dreams and nearly pushes Wilkie past the edge of reason and sanity. The characters are written with great depth and detail, each with their own follies and short comings, making them all the more believable and human. The pacing is excellent and the story flowed smoothly despite the creative transitions and twists.
For a novel as large as this one, the writing and plot must be created with definite purpose and skill. This writer’s expertise is undeniable! With the story based in-part on historical fact, I was left wondering, after an in-depth and satisfying read, just how much of the novel is fact-based and how much of this incredibly mesmerizing story sprang forth from the writers own imagination. I hesitate to write more: I don’t want to give away further details from within this story and risk ruining it for you. This is a novel which is well worth your time and money.
I highly recommend this book to everyone who has need of a satisfying and enjoyably-long read!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!

 
Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.dansimmons.com/
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/publishing_little-brown-and-company.aspx

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy