Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage fallcleaning Crocktober Music Deals Store Fall Tools
Profile for BookChick > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by BookChick
Top Reviewer Ranking: 224
Helpful Votes: 292

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
BookChick (Simcoe, ON Canada)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18
The Banks of Certain Rivers
The Banks of Certain Rivers

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting!, May 1 2013
After a tragic accident left his wife, Wendy, in a permanent vegetative state, Neil Kazenzakis has been working on making the best out of his circumstances. Several years after the accident his son Chris is well-adjusted, all things considering, Neil is a popular high school teacher, and he is even managing to have a secret yet loving relationship with one of the nurses that takes care of his mother-in-law. His carefully ordered life manages to fall apart all at once as a student posts a questionable video of him on YouTube, his son finds out about Neil's girlfriend in the worst way possible and Neil begins to receive malicious calls and e-mails. What follows is the heartening story of how Neil copes with everything that has been thrown his way while attempting to protect those that he loves the most.

Harrison's debut novel is truly a joy to read. Despite the fact that our protagonist Neil has had more than his share of bad luck The Banks of Certain Rivers is an uplifting and encouraging story of a man who refuses to let life get him down for long. Right from the beginning the reader wants Neil to find his personal happy ending. This is a man who refuses to give up despite the fact that he lost his wife in every way that counts tragically and at a young age. He continues to hold his head high and, by all accounts, seems to be doing a fantastic job raising his son. When Neil has more trouble heaped on him than one man should have to handle I was on the edge of my seat hoping for a positive conclusion. I appreciated that the storyline always felt realistic and never overdone.

The Banks of Certain Rivers is well-written and eloquent with a bevy of characters both well-rounded and sympathetic. What I took from the book is that life is rarely black and white and that when we are handed more than we think that we can handle we need to hang in there while we try to achieve our own personal happy ending. The subject matter could potentially have been depressing, yet it managed to be both uplifting and encouraging. The Banks of Certain Rivers is one of those stories that you won't forget about after you finish the book and if you haven't read it yet I strongly encourage you to do so!

Bella Summer Takes a Chance
Bella Summer Takes a Chance

4.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read!, Feb. 25 2013
Bella Summer (known as B.) is stuck in a rut. She loves her boyfriend of 10 years, Mattias, but she is not in love with him, nor does she think that she ever was. B. decides that this is an important distinction and she breaks up with Mattias despite his earnest protests. B. also realizes that it's not just her love life that is stuck in a rut, but her career as well. For years she was a musician who consulted to pay the bills but now she realizes that her musical career has fallen by the wayside.

B. figures that if she is taking a leap of faith with her love life, she may as well take a leap of faith with her career too. As B. discovers how the dating world has changed since she last put herself out there, she puts herself out there musically as well. Along with her group of wacky and fiercely loyal friends B. finally finds out what exactly she is made up of.

I loved Bella Summer Takes a Chance. It was one of those books that I started out liking a lot (solid, interesting plot, a likable main character) but finished off loving. As I read I fell more and more in literary love with this book. I can say with certainty that one of the things that I loved the most was the colorful cast of characters. B. is, of course, central to the plot but her friends have ample reasons to shine and author Gorman makes sure that she leaves them plenty of space to do so. My favourite supporting character had to be B.'s new roommate Frederick. I wanted to be friends with him from the moment that he introduced us to his Thighmaster-toned thighs. Also excellent additions to the plot were B.'s long-time girlfriends Kat, Faith, and Clare. These ladies were not shrinking violets, and they most definitely did not blend into the background of B.'s story. They all had their own valid storylines, and I enjoyed each one of them.

I also couldn't help but love the adult feel to the book. Gorman didn't shy away from the more mature topics of sex, threesomes, and pornography but she also didn't make them her focus. The way that she handled those topics made the whole story seem more realistic to me. She made them feel necessary. Most of the books that I read in this particular genre either stay away from these topics altogether or address them in a way that feels awkward to read so it was a refreshing change that Gorman made their inclusion feel so natural.

Witty, well-written and next to impossible to put down, Bella Summer Takes a Chance is a must-read in my opinion.

Sophie's Run (Part 2 in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy)
Sophie's Run (Part 2 in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy)
Price: CDN$ 4.15

4.0 out of 5 stars An intruiging read with lots to love, Feb. 23 2013
I was first introduced to Sophie when I read Sophie's Turn in 2011. At the time I liked her, a lot, but I found her indecisiveness irritating. She was waffling between two men, both good choices in their own way, but neither of them was definitely the right man for Sophie. At times I wanted to shake her and bring her back to her senses! Thankfully Sophie seems to have grown into her own in the second book of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. This time around she has made her decision and she seems determined to stick with it. I liked her even more because of it.

All of the characters in Sophie's Run were well-developed and quite likable! The cast was eclectic, and they had their individual issues with varied and interesting conclusions. I love a good ensemble cast and while Sophie was the one that shone most brightly, everyone got their turn in the limelight. I look forward to seeing more of them all in the third installment of this series.

My only criticisms this time around are these: I felt that Sophie's reaction to one of the scenarios in the book was a bit more dramatic than the circumstances called for, and I felt at times that the story lost focus. There was not a major loss of focus, but there were times that we were dealing with one scene and then it jumped to another, leaving me wanting more of the previous scene. Neither detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book, but they were things that I did take notice of.

Sophie's Run is an intriguing read with several great talking points (friendship, betrayal, love at first sight, coming to terms with past relationships). I really enjoyed it and I'm already looking forward to the final installment in the series!

All At Sea (Toronto Collection Book 9)
All At Sea (Toronto Collection Book 9)
Price: CDN$ 4.40

3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable light read, Dec 21 2012
All At Sea is Heather Wardell's tenth novel and to date I have read them all! In All At Sea Wardell continues to entertain with her trademark writing style and creative plots. This plot is unique and fresh and she certainly kept me guessing as to what would happen right up until the end. I enjoyed getting to know Melissa and I felt like I was really able to get into her head. She is, to put it bluntly, a doormat and since I tend to have doormat tendencies myself I could relate to her as a person. I could relate to her ability to blank out the stuff about husband-to-be Owen that was making her uneasy. I could even relate to her indecision regarding whether or not she should marry him. I enjoyed watching her come into her own.

That being said, All At Sea is not my favourite novel of Wardell's to date. It felt rushed to me. There were parts of the plot that I felt could benefit from a bit of marinating time, and sometimes the characters felt too cliched for me. Although the book is edited meticulously, which I appreciate very much, the word "cuddled" was overused in my opinion, and that started to grate on me after a while.

Despite the things that I had issue with I can still recommend All At Sea without hesitation. It's an enjoyable light read and a great compliment to Wardell's "Toronto" series.

More Like Her: A Novel
More Like Her: A Novel
by Liza Palmer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.83
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I can't recommend this one highly enough, May 8 2012
This review is from: More Like Her: A Novel (Paperback)
Frannie is a teacher at an exclusive school and she, along with her friends and fellow teachers Lisa and Jill, are in awe of their new headmistress, Emma Dunham. Emma appears to be perfect. She is the first female headmistress in the history of the school and she is poised and beautiful and she seems to have it all. Frannie, on the other hand, does not seem to have it all. She is pining for her ex-boyfriend despite the fact that he has moved on with his life, and she just doesn't like herself all that much. Frannie and her friends think that they want to be just like Emma until the day that they realize that they were dead wrong about the elegant headmistress all along.

More Like Her is an excellent book. It is a page-turner, impossible to put down, and it is incredibly well-written. Trust me, I know that I sound like I'm gushing but that's because I am. More Like Her had me riveted from the first page until the very last.

The introduction foreshadows what is to come, and trust me, it's not what you would expect from typical women's fiction. It's gritty, scary, and disturbing. However the first chapter introduces us to Frannie who is unsure of herself and struggling with finding her place in the world and since the story heads into familiar waters I was able to kind of forget about what I found out at the very beginning. The story is cruising along when suddenly, WHAM, something crazy happens, something that changes the story entirely. Even though I knew that it was coming, I was floored when the climax occurred and I had to read it several times to take it all in.

I just cannot recommend this book enough. Liza Palmer captured my attention and held it throughout. It is a book that will stay with me for quite some time and I'm already anxiously awaiting her next release.

The Singles: A Novel
The Singles: A Novel
by Meredith Goldstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.36
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging read, May 2 2012
This review is from: The Singles: A Novel (Paperback)
The Singles. They are at every wedding. Where do you seat them? Where will they fit in? Will they cause a scene? These are the questions that plague Bee Evans just days before her country club nuptials. She invited all of her single guests to bring a date but an unfortunate few declined to do so, leaving Bee frantic as to where to put her "singles" on the seating chart and wondering why they couldn't just have the courtesy to bring someone with them!

The Singles by Meredith Goldstein tells the stories of these singles. The first chapter is from the point of view of the frantic bride-to-be, Bee, and the remaining chapters are told from the point of view of her single guests. These guests include one of her bridesmaids, unable to get over her ex, an unreliable old friend from college, a man whom she has never met before whose mother happens to be a friend of her new mother-in-law, and her Uncle Joe. Although their stories rarely intersect, they do weave together here and there as each story comes to a conclusion.

The Singles is going to be a popular beach book! It's light reading at its finest. The story is enjoyable and fast-paced, the characters are people that you really want to know more about, and the book is very well-written. Had I not had to, you know, eat and sleep, I would have read this one through from start to finish without taking a break. There was something compelling about each individual character and I loved the fact that the characters really didn't intersect all that much. They did come together, and artfully so, but I was able to enjoy each story individually as well as a whole.

My only complaint would be that the book was too short. There were several characters whose stories were being told and I would have liked to have heard more about each one. It's not that the stories were not told in completion, but that I was enjoying each individual story so much that I wanted more!

I enjoyed The Singles and can recommend it without hesitation to anyone looking for a light and engaging read. This will be perfect reading material for the warmer and more relaxed days of summer.

These Girls: A Novel
These Girls: A Novel
by Sarah Pekkanen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read About Friendship, May 2 2012
This review is from: These Girls: A Novel (Paperback)
Initially it is geography that brings 30-somethings Cate, Renee and Abby together in their small New York Apartment. Cate is thin, disciplined and accomplished, having been recently named the features editor of Gloss magazine, a high end lifestyle publication. However being the editor brings along its own set of complications and new challenges for Cate to overcome.

Renee looks at Cate's life with envy. Slightly overweight and definitely underpaid, she will do anything to nab the job as the beauty editor of Gloss, even if that means relying on black market diet pills to shed those few extra pesky pounds. Will Renee gain the job that she's always coveted or will she lose everything that she had in the first place?

Shy and quiet Abby is a recent transplant to New York from D.C. Cate and Renee struggle to discover what happened to her there that would have made Abby flee her seemingly happy life as a nanny to a little girl that she adored and a graduate student.

These Girls tells the story of these three very different women as they struggle to navigate the path that life has laid out for them, and as they learn to rely on one another for friendship.

I must warn you that I'm a bit of a Sarah Pekkanen fangirl, and I just can't help the excitement that comes with reading one of her latest novels. In fact she is one of the authors whose books have made it onto my permanent bookshelves. I was thrilled when These Girls arrived in the mail, and I was certainly not disappointed when I read it.

The ultimate theme of These Girls is the exploration of female friendships and how they work. As a woman for whom female friendships have not always come easily (although I am blessed with the friendship of a group of great women now, it did take a while for these friendships to form) I appreciated the fact that these three very different women did not instantly share a bond. I get tired of reading books where the friends who the plot is formed around have always been best friends and have been through everything together and who just happen to still be best friends into adulthood. The friendship that emerges between Cate, Renee, and Abby is earned, little by little, piece by piece. In fact in the beginning of the book Cate laments that it is not easy for her to relax and open up to the far more friendly character of Renee. Pekkanen's observations about women and how they interact with one another as they navigate their thirties were spot on.

Although These Girls explores the theme of friendship, it also explores each woman's individual story in depth. Although I enjoyed both Cate and Abby's stories, I found myself relating the most to Renee, the slightly overweight, eager-to-please nice girl. Renee is that typical woman who finds herself so anxious to be liked by those around her that she finds it irrelevant if she actually likes herself. When Renee receives nasty comments on her blog regarding her weight something inside of her snaps and she decides to do anything to lose weight, even if that means ordering black market diet pills off of the Internet. While the pills have their intended result, the changes in her behavior threaten to alienate all those around her. I think that most women will find something about Renee that they were able to relate to, whether that be her insecurities or her desire to please people at her own expense.

These Girls is an engaging story about three very different women and the bonds that form between them as they discover what adulthood has in store for them. As with all of Sarah Pekkanen's novels I had a hard time putting it down once I picked it up and am thrilled to recommend it to anyone looking to read women's fiction filled with depth and heart.

by Catherine McKenzie
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 3.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and Original, May 2 2012
This review is from: Forgotten (Paperback)
Emma Tupper is a young lawyer on the fast track to becoming partner when her mother becomes ill and dies. Her mother had always dreamed of visiting Africa, but Emma is surprised when she finds out that her inheritance is a ticket to visit there. Emma is also a little annoyed, truth be told. It's not that she minds about the inheritance, because she could care less about the money, but it's the fact that she'll have to take a month off work for the trip, something that is strongly discouraged at her law firm, and that Africa isn't really anywhere that Emma had ever wanted to visit. This was her mother's dream, not hers.

Feeling the desire to connect with her late mother, Emma decides to take the trip against her better judgement. She falls ill while on the tour and is left in a remote village to heal, but just as she's recovering a massive earthquake hits and her one-month long stay turns into a six-month long one.

Returning home months after her expected return date, Emma is shocked to find out that her bank account has been frozen, her apartment re-rented, and all of her belongings disposed of. In just six short months Emma has been completely forgotten. Or has she? As Emma struggles to get her old life back she resists making the changes that those around her suggest that she make. After all, she worked so hard to get where she is, why should she have to give it all up now?

I loved Catherine McKenzie's first two books, "Spin" and "Arranged", so it came as no surprise to me that I loved "Forgotten" as well. The plot was so original and fresh. Despite the fact that there are so many books coming out every week, I haven't read a book with this particular plot before and I found that refreshing. The story itself was well-written and fast-paced. I hunkered down with the book one evening and before I knew it it was several hours later and I was about halfway through. McKenzie has created a likable character in Emma, a no-nonsense lawyer determined to get ahead even when the odds are not stacked in her favour. The fact that author McKenzie is a lawyer herself lent credibility to the character of Emma and to her experiences at work.

I especially enjoyed the fact that the ending wasn't really what I would have predicted. I read a lot of women's fiction and while I don't mind a predictable ending, it is the ones that are unpredictable that really stick out in my mind. I'm sure that I won't be the only reader who is a little surprised but pleased with how things ultimately turn out.

"Forgotten" was fresh and interesting, well-written and fast-paced. Be prepared for the fact that when you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down for a while!

Merry Acres Widows Waltz
Merry Acres Widows Waltz
by Nan D. Arnold
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.92
6 used & new from CDN$ 15.91

3.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced read, April 19 2011
Georgiana Duncan insisted that she and her husband, Daniel, move to the retirement community of Merry Acres when they reached "that" age. Now, with few prospects for making new friends, a husband too busy gambling or playing golf to stick around for long, and a money-pit of a house to fix up, Georgiana isn't too sure. She becomes even more concerned about her decision to move there when several women's husbands end up murdered. Are the newly minted widows in Merry Acres hiding something, or is there some other force at work here? And would Georgiana really be so unhappy if her own husband were to mysteriously kick the bucket?

"Merry Acres Widows Waltz" was certainly a departure from my usual reading selections. It had murder, intrigue, and a breathless (yet satisfying) ending. I couldn't help but feel some pity for our main character, Georgiana. We find her at the beginning of the novel uncertain as to why she was so determined to move to Merry Acres in the first place. Her husband certainly hasn't changed since the move, their house continues to drain their financial resources, and the women in the community seem distant and just a little unusual. When the men living in the community begin meeting their untimely demise, one by one, Georgiana is really questioning her decision to become a part of the retirement community. But with a mystery on her hands, and the free time to solve it, she begins chasing down some surprising answers.

Well-written, fast-paced, and clever, "Merry Acres Widows Waltz" is a must-read for anyone who enjoys curling up with a good mystery.

3.5 stars out of 5

Love in Mid Air
Love in Mid Air
by Kim Wright
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 9.21
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking look at marriage, Aug. 27 2010
This review is from: Love in Mid Air (Hardcover)
Elyse Bearden is on a flight on the way back from a pottery show when she makes a decision that will change her life. She switches seats with a stranger and ends up sitting next to Gerry, the man who will cause her to question everything that she's ever believed in. After a brief but chemistry-filled encounter with him, she returns home to her passive husband Phil, her fulfilling pottery business, and her young daughter Tori, but suddenly things don't look the same as they always have.

Weeks later, Elyse finally gathers enough courage to call Gerry. The chemistry between them is still there, and they meet up in a hotel. Their affair has officially begun. In the next months Elyse alternates between trying to save her failing marriage while falling for Gerry. Her friends and fellow book-club members try to convince her of all that she will lose by walking out of her marriage, and by doing so spark heated discussions about their own flawed personal lives. Ultimately Elyse must decide if all that she will gain by walking out on her marriage will be worth all that she loses.

Anyone who has ever been married knows that it's not all a walk in the park. Yes, there are good times, bordering on perfection. For every good time, there seems to be a bad time too; many marriages eventually reach the point when one contemplates walking out the other, even if that final step is never taken. Our divorce rate (almost 40% of Canadian marriages ended in divorce in 2003) should emphasize that point. "Love in Mid Air" was a reflection on marriage- the sacrifices that we make to stay married, the times when we wish that we could leave, what can be lost by staying, and what we can gain by leaving. It was interesting to me that Elyse spends much of the book giving her marriage one last shot. She attends counselling with her husband, she tries wearing sexy lingerie for him, and she tries to be more agreeable in his prescence. Yes, she's involved in an affair with Gerry at the time (including monthly hotel visits and frequent phone calls), but she's still giving her marriage one last effort. Some could argue (and some in the book do) that Elyse isn't being fair- she should either concentrate on her marriage, or she should leave Phil and concentrate on her new relationship, but I would have to say that at least she did make an effort. The fact that these continued efforts didn't work attest to the fact that her marriage really wasn't working anymore.

I only had one small problem with the book, and that was within the conclusion. A particular event occurs towards the end which wrapped things up tidily, but I felt that the particular event essentially excused Elyse from her actions. Cheating is wrong (although not always black and white), even during the last gasps of a marriage. I think that Elyse should have had to fully face the consequences of cheating on her husband.

Aside from that, I found the book enjoyable and found it very thought-provoking. It presented the institution of marriage from a variety of different directions. It would make a fantastic book club selection.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18