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Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo (Toronto #1)

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  2,851 Ratings  ·  305 Reviews
When Candice's in-laws were killed eight months ago buying a huge faux polar bear rug for her Christmas present, she lost more than just two of her favorite people: she lost her husband Ian as well. After only two years of marriage, their guilt and pain have left them living together but apart, unable to really talk for fear of what they'll say to each other.

Ian leaves for
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published May 30th 2011 by Heather Wardell (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Katrina Passick Lumsden
Show. Don't tell.

I've read books where there was more telling than showing, and yes, it negatively effects the story. Never before, however, have I read a book where there wasn't even a single instance of the author showing the reader anything. This book is 250+ pages of the author telling the reader what's going on. And somehow, even though she tells the reader such banal details as the fact that the female protagonist brushed her hair before leaving the gym, she still managed to leave out cer
This is the first book I have read from Heather Wardell and I loved it! Her writing style is quite unique and the story is very original in my opinion. Every character development in the story was captured my attention. Specially Candice. ;)

Though comparing between the two, Ian and Kegan I was quite confused like Candice was. Who wouldn't be? But the way Candice grew through out the novel was absolutely amazing. I loved the fact that she had a friend like Larissa to keep her on her her toes. Eve
This was a free e-book I downloaded from Barnes and Noble because it sounded decent, especially for a free e-book. Starting the book caused me to feel a little lost, as if I was a few pages behind. I didn’t have enough information to understand the weirdness and struggle between Candice and Ian so it felt odd. As the story continued the reader receives for information and is able to start piecing together the event that lead to the near breaking point of their marriage. I struggled to give Ian a ...more
Have you ever thought about the one that broke your heart? Candice and Ian have only been married for a short time, but tragedy, misplaced guilt and blame have built a wall of ice and doubt between them. Ian has a month long job overseas, will this time apart give them the chance to examine their true feelings or will outside forces interfere and cut the last remaining tendrils of love they share?

A new client has sent Candice reeling, falling down the rabbit hole of heartbreak, fantasy and love
New author for me…surprised this book was a freebie! I really liked this author and the story. It was considered chick lit, but the storyline is so intense and keeps you guessing on the edge of your seat that I’d almost give it a suspense category. I just HAD to finish it once I started. I was beside myself waiting to find out the ending. If the book had had a table of contents (Kindle books sometimes leave them out) I admit I would have “reader cheated” and read the ending to stop my anxiety at ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Tasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, e-book, 2011
This was a free e-book offered by Barnes & Noble. I didn't have expectations for this book. It was free. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a refreshing read. A simple, straightforward plot. No complicated character backstory. It was a needed change after reading A Discovery Of Witches.

Candice and her husband Ian's marriage of two years has been a little rocky since his parent's death in a car accident eight months prior to the story's beginning. Their situation is complicated further when
Jan 20, 2010 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I really liked this book. It was a freebie on B&N book reader and I was unsure about it when I downloaded it. I don't know what I was expecting but I was NOT expecting to sit at my desk and cry and pour my soul out to a co-worker about how this book touched something inside me. Being married is so hard sometimes. Stressors come into the relationship and past baggage and sometimes it is so hard to forgive the other person. Words are exchanged that can shatter your life and you just shove ...more
Tara Chevrestt
This was one of those kindle freebies that simply caught my eye, partly because of the title. I love tattoos and I think polar bears are cute as hell. And the cover is cute too.. and it was free! However, I didn't expect much from it as my experience with the kindle freebies hasn't always been great.. Boy, was I surprised.

It was one of those weeks in which nothing I picked up held my attention very well.. and I kept coming back to this one. I first read a few pages just to see if it was worth ev
Mar 28, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a free download, I didn't have very high expectations. I'd never read the author so I figured I'd give her a shot. I thought it ws very good. It certainly showed the strain marriage can have, especially when there's a long-distance element involved. Sometimes love isn't enough. Yet, sometimes love is -just- enough to muddle through until things get better. I thought the author showed this beautifully.

One negative I have to state was that the story didn't flow very well. That is to say, there
Read, Run, Ramble
This book is an enjoyable, light read, but it lacked depth. The characters never got past the superficial stage - I was never fully invested. The author's transitions weren't always clear, smooth, or concise. Instead she sometimes just let everything drop. There were several times when I flipped back because I felt as if I'd turned more than one page, or turned a page when I hadn't meant to - like something was missing. The chosen topic/storyline was a good one - one readers can relate to. The l ...more
Jul 17, 2010 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, romance, e-book, 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a 30 something married woman, I felt very connected to Candice and her situation. After the death of her in-laws die in a car crash at Christmas while they are out getting her Christmas gift, her life and relationship with her husband completely change and she begins to question what she wants. She has a cancer scare and opts not to tell her husband about it as he is leaving for an overseas trip for a month. She is an assistant to an interior designer and she feels pretty content in her work, ...more
Jun 14, 2011 Nenette rated it liked it
Now here's a really nice love story about the trials and triumphs of a relationship. The title doesn't have much to do with the overall story itself; it's just that the character of the narrator loves polar bears so much she had one tattooed on her.

The story tells of what happened in the course of 27 days, almost a month, when a married couple had to live apart because of some job the husband had to go to overseas. It would have been just a month of missing each other, but they parted while ther
Jan 28, 2011 Iris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna Hatridge
Oct 01, 2011 Donna Hatridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like that Heather Wardell writes about flawed people. Her Characters are easy to accept when reading because of their flaws. Though not everyone will like this book because of some of the things her characters do, these things can & do happen in life. ( don't want to have spoilers for those who haven't read the book.)
You can be sure I will continue to read Heather Wardell's novels.

When Candice's in-laws died in a car accident eight months ago, she lost her husband Ian too. After only two y
Aug 08, 2010 Kel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Interesting characters and a pretty good plot kept me reading despite the extreme lack of scene transitions and chapter breaks which drove me nuts. Sure, I wanted to smack the main character silly a few times, but I generally think of that as a good thing because it means I care about the character. :) I found myself just as torn toward the end as Candiace was and was genuinely happy with the way the book ended. All in all, good for a free book, but it could have used a little help with editing.
May 07, 2011 nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very pleasantly surprised by this free nook selection. The title caught my eye and I was curious to find out how I could enjoy a book with a polar bear in the title! The writer held my interest and the flow of the book was very easy to read. I immediately connected with the main character, Candice, and could feel her pain when making one of the biggest decisions of her life. I would highly recommend this book and will definitely read other books by this author.
Jul 07, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Who hasn't been plagued by memories of a former love especially that first love! And what would happen if your spouse/partner was on a long term trip and you had the chance to rekindle that relationship. Well, that was Candice's life. I very much enjoyed this story and her exploring the choices that she had to make! Plus, can't go wrong with a FREE Nook book!!!
Jan 26, 2013 Heather added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: electronic
Rereading my own book? Yup - I'm making a page for my web site of connections between my books so I need to reread them all to make it happen. :)
Apr 07, 2011 Kaley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed at Books Etc.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present one of my new favourite books...Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo by Heather Wardell.

When Heather first asked me to review her books a little while ago I poked around her website and found an excerpt from this book. I was hooked. I couldn't stop thinking about the story and the characters and wondering how they got through everything. I had quite a few other books to read but when I finally got around to reading Polar Bear
Dec 21, 2012 Resa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo by Heather Wardell Review

Candice's marriage hasn't been the same since her in-laws died in a car accident coming back from buying her Christmas present. With her marriage on shaky ground and her husband leaving for six weeks to build houses out of the country Candice thinks she'll have plenty of time to decide what she wants to do about her crumbling marriage. Instead she's given a blast from the past, former lover Kegan shows up at the interior design firm Ca
Dec 13, 2016 Juanita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review: Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo by Heather Wardell.

This was a splendid charming romance story. It was interesting enough and kept me captivated and that says a lot for me because I don’t read too many romances. The story was well written and the characters were fit their roll with accuracy. The novel felt and read with realism even though it was fiction. The main character Candice actions were normal because sometimes people make bad choices or do things they shouldn’t do or a sudden
The Bookworms' Lair
Aww I feel all warm and fuzzy:) it's 10pm and I have literally just finished reading this book. I stashed it in to my 'To Review' folder on my Kindle fully intending to review it some time later. I then spotted Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many (also by Heather Wardell) on my Kindle and I thought ooo I'll try that next. As I started to read my subconscious started going cooee over here *waves*, so here I am pen and paper in hand doing it the old fashioned way.

Heather Wardell has created a lovely bit
I'd So Rather Be Reading {Nat}
I really, really enjoy Heather Wardell's writing. I read and loved two of her books, Planning to Live, and Go Small or Go Home, and just didn't expect Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tatoo to measure up. It did, though.

There's just something about the way Wardell writes that resonates so strongly with me. I think it's the way she develops her characters. It makes me put myself in her characters' shoes so easily. All of her books are written in the first person and I always feel like I could be the
Andrea Guy
Mar 30, 2011 Andrea Guy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads, ebook
I read Heather's Planning To Live a few months ago and I loved it. I was anxious to read more of her books and there are many. This particular one is a free ebook read @ Barnes and Noble. I actually read it on my smartphone which wasn't exactly a fun experience, as I'm just adjusting to the new device, but back to the book.

Heather has definitely created another winning story. It is all about the characters. Candice is a very real, thirtysomething, going through a rough time in her marriage. Keg
Kathryn Laceby
Oct 17, 2013 Kathryn Laceby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes

Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo was immediately engrossing for me. I never hesitated in following Candice down whatever thought process or path she was taking and could see parts of myself in her immediately. Wardell did a great job of making her personable from the first page.

My gut reaction to Wardell’s novel is that this could be any woman in any marriage, anywhere, at any time. There are always things that trigger a re-examination of your wants in your
Sep 02, 2013 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This and other review found at

I received a copy of this book as part of a goodreads giveaway.
This book has proven difficult for me to pen my exact opinion and thoughts. It was not a terrible book nor an epic read for me falling somewhere in the middle.

What this book did do was create a philosophical debate about what I would do if I was in Candace' shoes. How would you react if the one you had committed your life to said something unforgivable (in my opinion
I read this shortly after I read Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin. I was not a huge fan of that one. Both stories are similar in that both involve a wife who is torn between staying with her husband and leaving him for a former love. This is the better of the two stories. In this one, the marriage is in trouble from the start of the book. Candace's husband, Ian, is still grieving his parents who have recently died in an accident. He is withdrawn and distant from Candace, and on some leve ...more
P S Karr
Jul 14, 2014 P S Karr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tattoo might seem like a long title, and an unusual one. But the story it tells is quite profound. Heather Wardell won my heart with her book Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many. And she has done it all over again with this book.

I have had this book on my Kindle for a while. And I also have Fifty Million Reasons which is from the same series. In Life, Love and a Polar Bear Tattoo, we meet Candice who lives and works in the Toronto area. She is married to Ian who is a carpen
Carla JFCL
Mar 01, 2011 Carla JFCL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this fun book. It’s a fast-paced, well-written light romance that had me guessing what was going to happen right up to the end. Every time I was sure I had it figured out ... I didn’t.

I thought the characters and their relationships were intriguing. I especially enjoyed the e-mail correspondence between the main character and her husband. Another thing ... I am not a regular reader or fan of the standard “romance novel” and that’s not what this is (perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it
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Goodreads Librari...: Combining Editions 2 15 May 24, 2013 04:16PM  
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I am a natural 1200 wpm speed reader and the author of eighteen self-published novels including the free ebook "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo" which has had over 385,000 downloads.

In my spare time, I read, run, swim, crochet, take care of my aquarium and my cat Trinity, and play drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.

I only record books here if I absolutely love them and hugely recomm
More about Heather Wardell...

Other Books in the Series

Toronto (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Go Small or Go Home (Toronto Series #2)
  • Planning to Live (Toronto, #3)
  • Stir Until Thoroughly Confused (Toronto Series #4)
  • A Life That Fits (Toronto, #5)
  • Live Out Loud (Toronto Series #6)
  • Blank Slate Kate (Toronto, #7)
  • Finding My Happy Pace (Toronto, #8)
  • All At Sea (Toronto, #9)
  • Good to Myself (Toronto, #10)
  • Pink is a Four-Letter Word (Toronto, #11)

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