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BookChick (Simcoe, ON Canada)

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Walking on Trampolines
Walking on Trampolines
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down!, Feb. 14 2015
Tallulah de Longland is coping with more at home than a girl her age should have to when the glamorous and worldly Annabelle Andrews barges into her classroom and into her life. From that moment on Tallulah and Annabelle are inseparable. For some reason unknown to Tallulah, Annabelle has chosen her to be her best friend and when Annabelle makes up her mind about something, nothing will stand in her way.

Annabelle's parents are glamorous and eccentric artists, best known for their quirks and for the drama that always seems to follow one step behind them. Tallulah's dad is a plumber, his motto being that he "plumbs the depths of excellence". Tallulah's mom has struggled with crippling depression for all of Tallulah's life. When her mother is feeling well their house is full of baked goods and cheer, and when she is not feeling well her mother is a shell of herself. The two friends navigate the tricky waters of their home life together and somehow it just makes things easier to handle.

Everything changes when Josh enters on to the scene. Josh is a free-spirited surfer boy, practically ignored by his chain-smoking mother, who walks into the corner store one day when Tallulah happens to be there and suddenly she finds herself with a beautiful and attentive boyfriend. Annabelle is not about to be ignored, though, and Annabelle, Josh, and Tallulah find themselves making up a tight-knit threesome. When an unspeakable betrayal happens and breaks their group up for good, Tallulah finds herself with emotional scars that last well into adulthood and one day she is faced with a choice- does she continue to do what is expected of her, or should she do something that is quite possibly unforgivable?

Walking on Trampolines was nothing like I expected and everything that I hoped for. It was a compelling story about first friendships, first loves, and first betrayals. The story was set in Australia but the themes were universal and they carried themselves well across the pages. I was sucked in from the beginning. I loved the characters- each vibrant and unique- and I loved how the story changed and deepened from page to page. It was one of those stories that I found myself thinking about even when I wasn't reading. Not only did I want to know what happened next, but I wanted to get into the character's heads!

More than just a coming of age tale, Walking on Trampolines is a tender exploration of how the events from our childhood continue to shape our adulthood. It is a story that examines family dynamics and childhood friendships and first loves and how they shape who we are to become later in life. This book was sad and funny and larger-than-life and I won't hesitate to recommend it to absolutely everyone since I had such a hard time putting it down myself. I am already looking forward to this authors next book!

Three Amazing Things About You
Three Amazing Things About You
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing Jill Mansell book!, Feb. 1 2015
Hallie is living with cystic fibrosis on a daily basis. Every day her ability to breathe diminishes and she doesn't know how she would get through without the love and support of her fantastic friends and her mother. Hallie manages to keep her attitude positive, despite her desperate need for a lung transplant if she wants to live much longer, but the fact that she has a crush on her doctor isn't really helping things. Especially as her best friend is completely oblivious and she keeps scheming to get the handsome doctor and his ex-girlfriend back together.

Tasha can't believe that she met her boyfriend while she was rummaging through a trash bin looking for her lost credit card, but she has. And he's perfect in every way with one exception- he is into extreme sports and he loves the thrill of adrenaline that comes with trying them all. Tasha is incredibly worried that one day Rory just won't return from whichever adventure he went on, and this worry plagues her day in and day out.

Flo really likes Zander, and Zander really likes Flo in return. The problem is his selfish, scary sister who will not be even slightly amused if she finds out that the two are seeing one another. There is no way that she will allow that to happen with her blessing but the two are in love, and love conquers all, right?

It's no secret that Jill Mansell is one of my favourite authors. Her new releases are one of the few things that I have to look forward to in dreary January! I always find that her new releases are filled with heart, and the happy endings (while entirely predictable) are the equivalent of soaking in a warm bath with a cup of tea and a new book to read. They are just that enjoyable!

I have yet to meet a Jill Mansell book that I haven't enjoyed and Three Amazing Things About You is no exception. There are three stories being told, and while at first they weren't intertwined in any way I had a guess that they soon would be. I was right, although they didn't come together in the way that I originally predicted! I like that Mansell threw me for a bit of a loop with how she chose to have things go. I'm sure that I was not the only one who thought that things would go one way when in fact they went another!

I loved all of the three main characters in this book, and I was equally satisfied with how each of their stories went. Hallie was a strong character despite her debilitating illness, and somehow she managed to never let her dire circumstances get her down. Flo was quirky and sure of herself, and I admired her strength. Tasha was a lot of fun as well and I wanted things to turn out well for her. She had a great supporting character as a best friend, and their parts of the story made it really fun to read.

I just can't complain about Three Things About You. What was there to complain about? There was a strong, intriguing plot, characters that I rooted for all along the way, and a conclusion that was satisfying without being too over the top. While parts of the story were most definitely sad, others were less so and the overall result was a story that was warm and heartfelt and thought-provoking. I read this one purely for my own pleasure, not for review, and I'm glad that I did.

Bad Will Hunting (Seven Exes series Book 2)
Bad Will Hunting (Seven Exes series Book 2)
Price: CDN$ 3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excited for more!, Jan. 25 2015
Ashley can't believe how the producers of the show Ragged Royalty duped her. They made her miss her closest friend and cousins funeral under the guise that she would be on the show Stranded! in his honour, and when she finds out that she's been tricked and instead is being stranded on an island with her ex-boyfriend and a few of his other exes, she is furious and determined to get her revenge. Revenge comes in the form of Will Smith, a sexy attorney that she meets on the plane home, who tells Ashley that she should sue the producers of Ragged Royalty and make them pay.

When Ashley discovers that Will is a fraud, her anger is incensed even more and revenge remains foremost on her mind. She knows that she needs to find Will and make him pay for humiliating her in front of the Ragged Royalty producers and that she won't be able to rest until she does so. She also knows that in order to put this whole ordeal behind her she doesn't want to see anyone from the show ever again. That's why she is surprised when MC and Kent make it a point to start inviting her to their parties and gatherings, and she's even more surprised when they invite her to do a reading at their wedding. Why are these people even bothering with "Angry Ashley"? She's even more surprised when Sam, a fellow contestant on the show, starts spending time with her and helping her with her dream of starting her own hair braiding video business. Why would someone as nice as Sam want to spend time with someone like her?

Despite the new people and experiences that come into her life Ashley finds it impossible to move past her plans for revenge for those who have hurt her. With so much negativity in her life will Ashley be able to find happiness?

I have mixed feelings about Bad Will Hunting. On one hand, it was everything that I have come to expect from Heather Wardell. The writing was spot-on, as usual, and the plot was unique and it drew me in. I really enjoyed the fact that this is a sequel to Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many, one of my favourite books by this author. The cast of supporting characters were great, and I especially liked the development of Sam's character, someone who we did not get to know well in the previous book.

What I didn't like about Bad Will Hunting was Ashley. This is the tricky part for me. On one hand I know that Ashley being angry and unlikable was a key plot point, and the book would not have been the same without it. On the other hand I really, really did not like her. I understood that life has not been kind to her up to this point. Abandoned by her parents at a young age, raised by her cantankerous grandparents, losing her best friend and cousin suddenly- all of these things are bound to make a person miserable. But to me Ashley seemed to have given up on life. She refused to better herself in life because she was worried that she could fail, or that by bettering herself she would be opening herself up to being hurt in some way. I found her to be whiny and angry and fixated on revenge, and therefore she was not a very pleasant person to read about. I didn't root for her throughout the book because of her "woe is me" attitude, and I even thought that the sweet and patient Sam was far too good for someone like her. She just refused to try to make the best of her life for so much of the book.

What turned the story around for me was the ending. It was during the final quarter of the book that I came to like her, and I'm glad that I did because the conclusion saved the book for me. Ashley finally started becoming a likable person and I like how those changes in her personality changed the tone of the book.

Even though Bad Will Hunting is the sequel to Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many, it isn't necessary to read the one to enjoy the other, though that will certainly enhance your reading experience. I was especially excited at the end to read that there will be a sequel to the book that starts where this one leaves off, although this time the focus will be on the vivacious Summer. Despite the fact that Ashley was by far not my favourite person to read about, I can definitely recommend Bad Will Hunting. Heather's writing style and the fabulous conclusion will get you past the fact that Ashley is not the most sympathetic of characters for most of the book. My thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of this book.

How Do You Know?
How Do You Know?
Price: CDN$ 4.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking read in many ways, Jan. 25 2015
This review is from: How Do You Know? (Kindle Edition)
Maggie Piper is 39- and she's dreading turning 40. It's not that she's not happy, because she is, but she questions if she's happy enough. Her boyfriend Doug is amazing but she has her doubts about their relationship. She likes her job and she's good at it but it isn't necessarily her dream job. She's not sure if she wants kids or not but if she does want them her time to have them is running out. All of her friends seem to have a good idea of what direction they want their lives to take, but Maggie feels like she's a mess. When she sits Doug down shortly after her 39th birthday and requests a break, Doug requests a break-up, and Maggie spends the next year on a tumultuous path towards figuring out what it is what she really wants from life, and if being merely happy is enough for her.

I loved How Do You Know? for so many reasons. I read a lot of women's fiction and chick lit and I found that this book was well-written and very thoughtful. I loved the main character, Maggie Piper. She was far from perfect and she seemed fixated on her appearance as she approached forty but she somehow felt approachable still and she was definitely easy to relate to. I found myself rooting for her. Although we have chosen very different paths in our lives- I had three children and was married by the time I was 30 and she is unsure of the path she wanted her life to take by 40- I wanted her to find her own happy ending. I appreciated her journey towards getting to know herself. It was bumpy and unsteady at times but it was authentic. Maggie's voice felt real and not forced at all, and I honestly didn't know what path her story would take until the very last pages. It's not often that a story can surprise me- I can usually see an ending from a mile away!- and I loved that How Do You Know? kept me guessing.

The supporting characters are fantastic as well. I loved that author Schorr created characters that were all so distinct from one another, yet it didn't feel like she was writing them in just to fill a particular role. They felt like a real group of kick-ass girlfriends who you would be able to rely on during your time of need. All of them supported Maggie in her choices, even if they didn't always make sense! In reality, I wish that I had a group of girlfriends this awesome!

I laughed during parts of this book, and I reflected on my own choices in life during others, but most of all I sat back and enjoyed this one. Schorr has ventured into writing women's fiction (rather than its lighter counterpart, chick lit) with How Do You Know? and I feel like this was a successful expedition. I'm definitely looking forward to future books in this series, and I thank the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review!

FRiEQ® iPhone 6 Wallet Case - Premium PU leather Wallet Case with Card Slots, ID Holders and Cash Compartment for iPhone 6 (4.7 inch) - Black
FRiEQ® iPhone 6 Wallet Case - Premium PU leather Wallet Case with Card Slots, ID Holders and Cash Compartment for iPhone 6 (4.7 inch) - Black
Offered by T.M. Enterprise
Price: CDN$ 39.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 35.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Leave the purse at home!, Jan. 22 2015
The FRiEQ iPhone Wallet Case is perfect for a night out! There are nights when I go out and I don't want to bring my purse (especially when I go to a bar or the club), and this case provides the perfect solution. I can bring my phone, a few cards (ID and a bank card) and cash, but this case takes up barely any room in my pocket and I don't have to go crazy trying to watch a cumbersome purse all night!

It has room for two cards, some cash, and the phone. If you want to take pictures with the phone's camera the moulded case detaches easily, allowing for that. The clasp on the case feels secure enough that I don't worry about things falling out, and it certainly looks cute!

I'm really pleased with the product. If you are looking for a shockproof case, this isn't it, but if you are looking for the perfect solution for a night out and a night free from hauling your purse around, look no further! My thanks to the company for providing me with a complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.

*This is fitted specifically for the iPhone 6, not the iPhone 6 plus or any other phone*

FRiEQ® Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit for Cars with 3.5 mm Aux Input Jack - Compatible with all Bluetooth enabled devices including iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Galaxy Note 2 / 3 and Other Smartphones - Dual USB Car Charger and Magnetic Base included
FRiEQ® Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit for Cars with 3.5 mm Aux Input Jack - Compatible with all Bluetooth enabled devices including iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Galaxy Note 2 / 3 and Other Smartphones - Dual USB Car Charger and Magnetic Base included
Offered by T.M. Enterprise
Price: CDN$ 59.99
7 used & new from CDN$ 15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hands-Free at a Great Price!, Jan. 22 2015
I was so excited to receive this product- I recently purchased a used car and it didn't come with Bluetooth. Since my previous vehicle did, I have been missing the ability to talk in the car while driving and I've been missing playing my phone's music over the stereo! Note that in order for this product to work you need to have a 3.5 mm AUX Input Jack. I simply attached the base to my car using the included stick-on base, plugged it in to my Input jack, synced my HTC's Bluetooth and it was ready to go!

I'm thrilled with this product- it was easy to install, even if you don't tend to be technologically inclined, works great, and it allows people without included Bluetooth capabilities already installed in their car to have them. I find that the product works great (it doesn't disconnect), although I would suggest installing it as close to your mouth as possible. Of course, the further away it is, the less well it works but that is common for hands-free products.

This is a great product for a great price and I highly recommend it!

The Good Girl
The Good Girl
Price: CDN$ 7.69

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-deserved five stars for this one!, Jan. 18 2015
This review is from: The Good Girl (Kindle Edition)
I read this for my online book club, and I'm so glad that I did! It's a book that I may not have picked up on my own but I enjoyed it so much!

The Good Girl captured me from the first few pages- we discover early on that Mia Dennett, the daughter of a prominent Chicago judge, is about to be kidnapped by the shady Colin Thatcher. It isn't until later on that we discover why, and the pieces to the puzzle are revealed piece by tantalizing piece. The story cleverly tells the story from several different points of view and times (both before and after she is found). It was a fascinating choice by the author, and I was truly gripped while reading the book. I found myself sneaking off to read a chapter or two whenever I had the time, and when I was reading I was thinking about the story.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone! I enjoyed it so much. It was well-written and it captured the reader from the very start. There was a twist at the end that some people saw coming, but I certainly did not and it floored me. I will read anything that this talented author releases in the future- five easy stars from me!

Love Is Pink!
Love Is Pink!
Price: CDN$ 6.46

3.0 out of 5 stars On The Fence, Jan. 9 2015
This review is from: Love Is Pink! (Kindle Edition)
Michelle thinks that she has it all- money, good looks, charm, designer clothing and an apartment to die for! She also has her rich, successful dream man, Valentin, but there's one catch. He's married, and its not to her.

The plan is that Valentin will leave his wife over Christmas and publicly declare his love for Michelle, but it is no surprise to anyone but Michelle when he chooses to stay with his wealthy wife and Michelle finds herself stranded in the French Alps with no way home. Hitching a ride back to Berlin with penniless stranger David and his precocious daughter Emma in their rickety old car, Michelle finds herself re-examining the life that she has created for herself and wondering if she is truly happy or if she's been pretending all along.

I'm really torn about what to say about Love Is Pink!. I almost didn't finish reading it. I was half way through and I just about put it aside for good. I wanted to like it! I liked the plot very much. It reminded me of JoJo Moyes' One Plus One, which I absolutely loved. The writing was pretty good too. The book was translated so at times the wording was a bit choppy but it was always grammatically correct. The problem that I had was with the main character, Michelle. She was rude, abrasive, snotty, and her sense of entitlement was off the charts. It was unbearable! She had no problem stealing a married man away from his wife, she was incredibly rude to the people around her who she deemed to be "beneath" than her and then, when a complete stranger offers to drive her all the way to Berlin, she is beyond condescending to him because she believes that he has no money. Truthfully, David (a kind and patient man) and his daughter Emma deserved far better than to be stuck inside a car with her for three days.

Granted, I did continue reading, and Love Is Pink! did get better. Michelle (predictably) begins to change and to realize that a person's worth does not correlate directly to his or her bank account. There was a scene that takes place in a castle that I absolutely loved and I wished that I could actually be there myself! The conclusion was decent and there is a really cute scene between David and Michelle at the end that made me laugh. Unfortunately it just wasn't enough to completely redeem the book for me. I enjoyed it, but I didn't enjoy it enough. If you are willing to suspend your disbelief for a bit and if you don't mind really unlikable characters I would tell you to pick this one up, but for most people I would recommend giving it a miss. The second half of the book just doesn't make up for how awful the first half is. I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Pear Shaped: A novel about love, heartbreak and dessert
Pear Shaped: A novel about love, heartbreak and dessert
Price: CDN$ 2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting!, Jan. 4 2015
Sophie Klein walks into a bar one night and she meets a man who is about to change her life- James Stephens. He's charismatic and a bit of an enigma. He likes to eat and drink and have a nap afterwards. He enjoys wild bouts of lovemaking followed by more relaxed cuddling. He's the man of Sophie's dreams- or is he?

His stunning ex-model girlfriend casts a shadow over their relationship. As someone who enjoys indulging every once in a while Sophie feels like she can't live up to his ex. And after a while, James begins to eye up the competition and it is the beginning of the end.

A novel about love, loss, heartbreak and food, Pear Shaped is an often insightful, sometimes sad, look into the life of a girl who truly enjoys her food and everything that comes with it.

I usually love books about women who struggle with their self-esteem and their weight because it is something that I have struggled with my whole life and I can relate to it on a personal level. I have read countless books about women who are overweight and manage to come to terms with it in some way. I was expecting a lot when I picked up a copy of Pear Shaped. I was hoping for a bit of feel-good chick lit (my favourite!) but unfortunately I liked this book far less than I thought that I would.

Let me start with the good things about this book, of which there are plenty! Pear Shaped is really well-written and it's very readable. I read it, almost in its entirety, on an international flight to Denmark. Sophie was a sweet and vulnerable and very likable character in my opinion, and I wanted so badly for her to find her happy ending. I enjoyed the appearance of her mentor, a wise and entirely likable woman. Sophie's job and co-workers were interesting, as were her descriptions of food, and I especially liked the character of Will, a man who worked for a supplier for Sophie's job.

Now on to what I didn't like. What I didn't like could essentially be summed up in one word- James. There was not one part of him that I liked or cheered for. He was essentially building up his own self-esteem by constantly putting Sophie down, and I'm not sure why she put up with it as long as she did. From the sounds of things, Sophie was quite a catch- funny and independent and beautifully curvy, and James was described as being middle-aged and a little paunchy, not to mention overly critical and too mysterious for my liking (who takes off for weeks at a time without contacting his girlfriend even once?). Yet she continues to put up with him long past his expiry date. Why? Because she doesn't feel she can do better? I'm not sure, but there were much better options just in front of her and it was frustrating that she didn't even see them.

I ended up with mixed feelings about Pear Shaped. On one hand I liked the subject matter (for the most part) and I enjoyed the writing and I liked some of the characters. On the other hand I wondered when being a curvier woman became synonymous for settling for a man who isn't remotely good enough for you. The book was interesting, for sure, and perhaps it portrayed a slightly grittier version of this story that I'm used to, but as a whole it just didn't work for me. That being said, it hasn't scared me away in the slightest from reading this author's other offerings. In fact I have Leftovers in my TBR pile right now! My thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of this book.

The Girl's Guide to Falling in Love
The Girl's Guide to Falling in Love
Price: CDN$ 2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read with a deliciously happy ending!, Jan. 3 2015
Sex therapist Annie Hall gets a lot of questions about her job- most of them along the lines of what you would expect. For the record, no she does not watch couples "getting it on" nor does she expect them to strip naked in front of her, but she does help couples who are experiencing roadblocks with their sex life move past them by figuring out what the real issue is behind the troubles in the bedroom. There are Nick and Julia, a young couple trying desperately for a baby and finding that sex has lost all appeal to them both. Will Annie be able to fix their relationship before its too late? There are Zoe and Simon, engaged to be married and unable to keep their hands off of one another. They've vowed to stay celibate until their wedding day. Will Annie be able to help them keep their promise to one another? Finally there is Roy and Linda, a couple at retirement age. Roy wants to retire and enjoy his golden years with his wife but she refuses to stop working. Will Annie be able to help them rediscover the magic that has been there all along?

As Annie begins to help these three couples work on their issues she finds herself falling for the handsome guy who works out of her building as well. Having been hurt in the past Annie is reluctant to open herself up to Jamie and to the potential of love. Will she be able to take some of her own advice and be successful in a relationship of her own?

If you're looking for an erotic novel, A Girl's Guide to the Birds and the Bees isn't it. But if you're looking for a fun and witty novel about love and relationships and romance, then you've found it! I enjoyed this clever novel. The character of Annie definitely ties everything together and makes A Girl's Guide... a pleasure to read. Her wisdom was sage and scarily accurate and when her own vulnerabilities to love are exposed she was even more likable. The supporting characters were great as well. I found myself especially enjoying Julia and Nick's story. Nick was so eager to please his wife, and you could tell how much he loved her and wanted to make her happy, but at the same time he was tired with the way things were between them and you could tell that he really wanted to fix their relationship. I couldn't help but like him!

The scenes when all of the characters were participating in group therapy were especially enlightening. I loved that the author managed to make those scenes feel natural instead of awkward and I even managed to pick up a relationship tip or two- a bonus! Sophie Hart definitely did her homework when it came to relationship counselling and it made the story feel all that more authentic.

I did find the scenes when Jamie (Annie's love interest) was explaining to her how to play a video game that he was designing a little tedious. I didn't think that it was necessary to the plot to know exactly how it worked and what the levels were like. I found myself skimming through those parts, though thankfully I believe that it only came up twice!

A Girl's Guide to the Birds and the Bees was a light, romantic read, perfect for curling up with on a lazy afternoon. The characters were all likable, some difficult things were touched on but the book never became too heavy, and the book was well-written and flowed nicely. If you're looking for an enjoyable read that feels like you're catching up with old friends and has a deliciously happy ending you've found it in A Girl's Guide to the Birds and the Bees. My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of this book!

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