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BookChick (Simcoe, ON Canada)

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Love Struck: A Novel
Love Struck: A Novel
by Chantel Simmons
Edition: Paperback
10 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Book from a Great Canadian Author!, Feb. 15 2010
This review is from: Love Struck: A Novel (Paperback)
27-year-old image consultant Poppy Ross discovers that her husband, Parker, has been having an affair on the same day that he conveniently is struck by lightning and develops amnesia. Parker remembers Poppy, and that they are married, but the details of the last three months of his life are completely gone and he doesn't remember that he's had an affair. When Poppy discovers that her husband's lover is in the same hospital that he is, having received a little of the lightning current that passed through Parker, Poppy comes up with a fake name and cover story and sets out to meet her. Sienna is nothing like Poppy. Sleek, gorgeous, the owner of plump lips and even plumper breasts, Poppy is shocked that her husband would go for someone like her. Convinced that Parker's amnesia has provided her marriage with a second chance, Poppy sets out to turn herself into someone reselmbling Sienna in the hopes of holding on to her husband. Her efforts often have disastrous (and hilarious) results, but will Poppy manage to lose an important part of herself in the process?

This fun book from Canadian author Chantel Simmons kept me laughing until the end! Poppy's attempts to turn herself into something that she's not made for entertaining material, and Parker's abrupt personality change certainly helped to keep things interesting. At times I wanted to yell at Poppy and Parker as they stubbornly refused to communicate with one another, but that was definitely part of the underlying theme of Love Struck: marriages without communication are bound to have problems. Poppy was endearing as a confused wife willing to do anything to save her marriage, and Parker was entertaining as a man who almost lost his life and was determined to live his life to the fullest, given this second chance. I really enjoyed this charming book, and loved that just underneath the surface there was a great lesson to be learned.

BioShock 2 - Xbox 360 Standard Edition
BioShock 2 - Xbox 360 Standard Edition
Offered by EntertainmentForLess
Price: CDN$ 15.48
21 used & new from CDN$ 2.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy follow-up, Feb. 15 2010
Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
"Bioshock 2" is certainly a worthy follow-up to the original version. The story remains similar, but interesting nonetheless. This game has the ability to hold my attention for hours. I find it challenging, yet not so hard that it is impossible to clear the levels. The game continues to be rather eerie, made all the more so with the enemies jumping out from unexpected places, the old-fashioned music, and the background.

My only complaint would be that the graphics are a little basic compared to the outstanding ones that I've seen in recently released games.

Overall, a fun, challenging, exciting game, well worth adding to your collection.

Toby: A Man
Toby: A Man
by Todd Babiak
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.60
8 used & new from CDN$ 3.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh literary voice, Feb. 15 2010
This review is from: Toby: A Man (Paperback)
Toby Menard is a rising television star; he has his own show on television about how to be a gentleman, his girlfriend is one of the hottest TV presenters around, and his face is on billboards all over town. Then one night everything changes for him. After he rescues his father from a suspiciously burning car, and then goes to see his girlfriend and finds out that she's been cheating on him with his boss, he is unable to sleep and messes up a interview with a local politician- big time. All of the sudden Toby has no job and no prospects for getting one, and he has to sell his house and his car. Toby moves back into his parent's house and starts helping out at their failing hot dog restaurant. When he meets single mother Catherine, Toby thinks that they are both after the same thing: a night of no-strings-attached sex. It turns out that she's looking for more than that and abandons her son Hugo with Toby as she goes off in search of her birth father. Toby knows nothing about being a parent, since up until this point in his life he has been rather selfish, but he and 2-year-old Hugo quickly bond and Toby really starts learning how to become a man.

Todd Babiak has written a novel that captures the beauty of Montreal, where the book takes place, with his scenes full of decriptions of streets and homes and people. He also offers witty social commentary on what happens when you make a mistake and everyone that you thought was your friend, abandons you. Toby: A Man is about parenting, true friends, aging parents, illness, love, and above all, what it means to be a man. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were endearing, especially Hugo and Toby's father, and I would have loved to be able to have them over for dinner. Toby's search for manhood is so raw and real that I rooted for him the entire way through. The ending wasn't at all what I expected, yet it certainly ended in the way that made the most sense. I plan to read Babiak's earlier novels because I enjoyed the freshness of his literary voice; he has a quality that I don't see often enough.

Penny Pinchers Club, The
Penny Pinchers Club, The
by Sarah Strohmeyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.00
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read with an ending that will keep you guessing..., Feb. 14 2010
Kat is a Jersey girl at heart. She shops, and shops, and then shops some more. When she gets home she hides how much her purchases cost from her husband, Griff, a professor at the local University. She loves her job as an interior designer, but she doesn't love her manipulative boss. When Kat begins to suspect that Griff is cheating on her she finds that he has both a secret bank account and a secret Mastercard. After a consultation with a lawyer she discovers that she does not even have close to enough to pay for divorce, not to mention the ensuing life on her own. Kat joins "The Penny Pincher's Club", a group that meets in the basement of the local library made up of people who are experts on money management. Kat hope that in time she will be able to not only pay for her divorce, but be able to live on her own in the future.

I'll admit that I didn't like Kat at the beginning of The Penny Pincher's Club- not even a little! She seemed selfish and obsessed with shopping, something that I'm not. For that reason alone I had a hard time relating to her in the beginning, but luckily she began changing shortly into the book and as she changed I started warming up to her.

I ended up loving this book, despite the fact that Kat's shopping habits initially made me wary of the whole thing. Strohmeyer kept me guessing as to how the whole thing would end, and I liked that. I love chick-lit, but I don't always want to know how it ends right away. It's nice when an author can keep me guessing througout. Bravo to her! It really was a satisfying read with characters that I could relate to (and root for!) and an ending that kept me guessing. Highly recommended to both chick-lit fans and those looking for a light (yet satisfying) read!

Sex Dungeon for Sale!
Sex Dungeon for Sale!
by Patrick Wensink
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.05
16 used & new from CDN$ 4.55

3.0 out of 5 stars Fiction that is "outside of the box"!, Jan. 28 2010
This review is from: Sex Dungeon for Sale! (Paperback)
A realtor tries to sell a home with a real-life sex dungeon set up in the basement. A popular dishwasher brand has a brand new cycle available: the KILL cycle. A man can't help but notice that his son looks an awful lot like his wife's old boyfriend. A woman sees an image of Jesus in a piece of burnt toast. Kidnappers are advised how to overcome their "empty-nest syndrome" once their kidnapee has been returned home. Yup- these are all in Patrick Wensick's book of short stories "Sex Dungeon For Sale!".

Full of dark humour and bizarre scenarios, "Sex Dungeon For Sale!" is perfect for those who enjoy their fiction with a healthy dose of off-the-wall. These bite-sized stories are perfect for our brevity-obsessed Twitter generation, as most are only a few pages long yet leave the reader with a lot to think about when the last sentence has been read.

I found myself enjoying these unique, well-written stories, although I enjoyed some more than others. While I loved "Jesus Toast", "My Son Thinks He's French", and "Clean Bill of Health", I didn't enjoy "Wash, Rinse, Repeat" or "Pandemic Jones" as much: the themes were just a little too dark for me personally, but are sure to appeal to anyone who likes their humour black. I'm glad that I had the chance to experience stories that are different from what I usually read- it allowed me to "read outside of the box" for a bit.

The Happiness Project
The Happiness Project
by Gretchen Rubin
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm happier just having read it!, Jan. 28 2010
This review is from: The Happiness Project (Hardcover)
Gretchen Rubin is pretty happy. She's got a wonderful husband, two great little girls, they are financially secure and she's doing what she loves- writing. One day on the bus she comes to a realization- she's happy, but she could be happier. This realization leads her to create a "happiness project"- 12 months of tasks and resolutions that will (hopefully) result in her being the happiest Gretchen that she can be. Armed with her personal 12 commandments and her secrets of adulthood, she sets out on her year-long quest for personal happiness, and "The Happiness Project" is born.

I loved this book! I managed to pick up a lot of great ideas from the tasks that Gretchen set out to do. I learned the most from the months of January (Boost Energy), February (Remember Love), April (Parenthood), and July (Buy Some Happiness). After reading January's chapter I was inspired to organize my home more effectively, February's chapter inspired me to nag my husband less and to be thankful for the great person that he is, April reminded me to be more patient with my frustrating, aggravating, yet amazing children, and July inspired me to make some more concrete goals when it comes to saving money.

Another thing that I liked about the book was that Gretchen never tries to be anything that she isn't. In fact, one of her commandments is "Be Gretchen". When some of her friends tell her that she should take up meditiation, or that she should see a therapist, and those suggestions don't resonate with her personally, she just doesn't do them. She's not saying that they don't work, just that they don't work for her. She doesn't encourage anyone to do "her" happiness project, but to do one that works for "them". She also openly admits when she fails, giving her a human quality that I really appreciated. She's not saying, "I did it, and I did it perfectly", she's saying, "I did it, and sometimes I failed, but in the end, I felt happier".

I did have a few minor problems with this book: she often incorporates comments from her happiness blog into the book. They were relevant, but truthfully if I wanted to read the comments of her blog readers, I would probably just read her blog. They got a little repetitive. I also found that things dragged a little in the chapters for the months of September, October, and November. I found that the things that she was saying were similar to those things said in previous months, so I skimmed those chapters a bit. These were minor problems, though, and they really didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

A great read- and yes, I feel happier just because I read it...

Family Feud 2010 Edition
Family Feud 2010 Edition

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing at best, Jan. 28 2010
Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Family Feud 2010 Edition (DVD-ROM)
My husband and I love watching the Family Feud on TV. We enjoy playing along at home and we thought that this video game would be a fun way to play ourselves! Man, were we disappointed! Very little thought appears to have gone into this game. The questions are silly at best, and often have very obvious or very obscure answers. The graphics aren't great and my copy even has a glitch on it which obscures the "number 3" answer on it every time, but it's not even worth it for me to ship it back. The "fast money" round isn't realistic at all, with some of the "top answers" being worth 65 points or more! We've played it a couple times and win easily every time.

I can deal with poor graphics, but this game would be far better if it had difficulty levels so that adults could play and if the questions were a little more realistic. I would have paid $5 for this game, but am disappointed that I wasted $20.

Up (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (Bilingual)
Up (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Ed Asner
Price: CDN$ 39.97
25 used & new from CDN$ 24.98

5.0 out of 5 stars A movie for the whole family, Jan. 24 2010
It's been a while since I've watched a movie with the family that was really the whole package. "Up" is certainly worth watching.

The background story is about lifelong love between a man and a woman. Budding adventurers Carl and Ellie meet as children. They fall in love and marry and when Ellie passes away Carl realizes that he never took her to Paradise Falls, South America as they had dreamed of doing. When Carl finds out that he is being sent to a retirement home, he rigs thousands of helium balloons to his house and sets out to give Ellie this one last gift. It's not long before he finds a stowaway, Russell, an earnest little boy and the son of a single mother, and at that point it is too late to turn back so he's stuck with him.

Carl and Russell manage to land themselves in Paradise Falls and along with their new friends Kevin (a rare exotic bird and a new mother) and Dug (a dog who talks) set out on the adventure of a lifetime.

This movie was hilarious yet sentimental and as a family we laughed and "awwwww'd" the entire way through. A must-have addition to your kid's movie collection, although it may be the adults who watch it over and over again!

In the Wake of Loss
In the Wake of Loss
by Sheila James
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
22 used & new from CDN$ 10.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories meant to be savoured..., Jan. 23 2010
This review is from: In the Wake of Loss (Paperback)
"In The Wake of Loss" reflects on the many facets of loss experienced by diasporic South Asians. "Ana's Mother" is the story of a woman who suspects that her husband is having an affair, but her suspicions become unimportant when her only child goes missing one afternoon. "Outside Paradise" is the story of an old woman who loses everything that mattered to her in life. "In The Wake of Loss" follows a woman whose on- again, off-again lover has died. "On Ruby's Birthday" is the story of a man who has lost his wife and children in his home country, and struggles to build a new life in Canada. "On a Mountain on an Island" is the story of two women who run a B&B together and who are falling out of love with one another. "The Arrangement" is the story of a couple in a unique situation who will do anything to have children, and "Demure" is the story of a mail-order bride who is trying to make her way in a strange new world. Finally, "Girlfriends" is the story of a woman who has lost her mother and is determined not to lose her father as well.

Eight stories, all very different, but all reflect on loss and how it affects every aspect of our lives. Whether it is the loss of identity, a country, a lover, a parent, a child, a friend, or a dream, Sheila James does a beautiful job of connecting us to her many characters, and of making us experience a sliver of the pain of their loss.

Sheila James has written eight diverse stories, ones that really drive home the point that when people immigrate to Canada they lose both their home and part of their identity, and must often become someone new in a new country. How fitting this theme was, considering Canada's diverse population and the many ethnicities that call Canada home. This was a beautiful book, and one that I would highly recommend to anyone seeking a new perspective on the world around us.

A Bad Bride's Tale a Bad Bride's Tale
A Bad Bride's Tale a Bad Bride's Tale
by Polly Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 4.74
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Despite some plot/dialogue problems early on, a fun read, Jan. 23 2010
Stevie Jonson is two weeks away from her wedding to Jez and is having some serious doubts. Why is it that almost everything that he does is annoying her? Is it pre-wedding jitters or is it a sign of things to come? When Sam, Stevie's high school crush, comes back to town to attend her wedding, sparks fly between them and Stevie seriously wonders if she's doing the right thing by getting married.

Katy Norris is 36, takes great care of her body, and is ready to settle down, get married, and have children. Unfortunately her boyfriend Seb has yet to pop the question and Katy isn't sure if it is even imminent. Complicating matters, Seb works in New York and she lives in England, making their time together sparse.

Stevie, Jez, Katy and Seb coinicidentally meet up while they are in Thailand: Stevie and Jez are there for their honeymoon, Katy and Seb are there for a romantic vacation. The four of them spend some time together and eventually discover that things don't always work out as planned. Or do they?

I had some serious doubts about A Bad Bride's Tale from the first page. Now I love chick lit as much as the next girl, but both the writing and the plot were a little too much for me. The writing seemed stilted, the plot overdone. Luckily, I like to give every book a proper chance (I try to read at least 100 pages before I give up) and this one got better immediately following Stevie and Jez's wedding (which is early on in the book). The plot picked up after this point, and actually started to get interesting. The plot remained fairly predictable throughout, but I stand by my theory that it is okay for good chick lit to be a little predictable here and there.

Although I wouldn't recommend that you run out and buy this one right away, I do still recommend reading it if your library has a copy or if it is sitting in your TBR pile. If you can get through the first few chapters, it's a great read for a rainy day or the beach, and the conclusion is fully satisfying.

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