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Pamela A. Poddany "Book Freak!" RSS Feed (Toledo, Ohio)
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The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon
The Blue Baboon in the Big Balloon
by Sarah Mostyn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.96

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ONCE UPON A TIME ---, April 17, 2014
THE BLUE BABOON IN THE BIG BALLOON

I sat down with my six year old grand girl, Paige, and we read this book together. The story line was quite cute -- two brother baboons take some of their friends in their big balloon and take off for the moon. While there they meet some new friends and have a good time.

Paige loved the illustrations and the story line. Her two favorite characters were Holly and Molly who are raccoons who live in a cocoon. She loved their pink outfits --

While a fun rhyming book with some words that a first grader like Paige can easily read, this book didn't flow in the rhyming department. The sentences themselves were too long and choppy -- we like our rhyming books to snap and flow and have a 'beat' so to speak.

There were also so many characters involved that they were somewhat forgettable - except for Molly and Holly of course! However, the story line was fun; who wouldn't want to visit the moon with their friends and have some fried rice along the way.

All and all, a cute, short, little book for the young. This makes a good book for your youngster to sit down and read to YOU for you both to enjoy.

Sarah and Steven Mostyn, along with their three children, had to have had a glorious time writing and illustrating this book. How kind of them to share with the world. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors in return for a fair review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Thank you.

Pam


Apple Tree Yard: A Novel
Apple Tree Yard: A Novel
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I FELL OUT OF LOVE WITH MYSELF, April 13, 2014
APPLE TREE YARD

This book reads as such -- picture a large beautifully wrapped gift -- for YOU -- sitting just waiting for you to dig in. You open the first package, then there's another, filled with a surprise, then another holding another surprise, and so on and so forth until the final package is opened, the present is revealed and you are stunned. What an excellent read - one that should NOT be missed.

Yvonne Carmichael is fifty two years old, married with two grown children. Yvonne and her husband, Guy, have a comfortable marriage, both with demanding jobs that seem to fulfill their lives. Then, suddenly, Yvonne finds herself in a quandary -- married, having a hot and lustful affair, falling into a deep web of deception, half-truths, full lies.

To tell anything further would totally ruin the reading enjoyment of this book for others. I will say this is one of the best psychological thrillers I have read. The writing is brilliant and the prose is grand. The plot is full of drama, so thrilling, so intense that I was actually squirming in my seat wondering what would happen next. I decided early on in the book to NOT try to figure anything out for myself because Louise Doughty just grabs you into the world of her characters and there is absolutely no time or way to come up for a fresh breath or to try and figure things out. So, I decided just to go with the flow and just be totally stunned. This book will take your breath away.

You will be devouring this book and will never want it to end. You will be hanging on to each and every word Doughty writes. The bombshells and thunderbolts she drops along the way will shock you. The road is rough and bumpy, situations are descriptive, characters are so fleshed-out and real. The scenes in the courtroom will make you break out into a cold sweat.

If you read and enjoyed GONE GIRL and love a passionate, emotional, striking book, this is one you will surely enjoy. I highly recommend this one to everyone!

Thanks --

Pam
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2014 12:13 PM PDT


The Free: A Novel (P.S.)
The Free: A Novel (P.S.)
by Willy Vlautin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.24
57 used & new from $5.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REMEMBER TO BE NICE -- REMEMBER TO BE KIND, April 6, 2014
THE FREE

It's a hard knock life -- more for some than for others. Willy Vlautin grabs you by the hand, runs you through his world, never letting you go, never letting you fall, and opening your eyes to the world that most of us live in. And things will never look the same to you again.

The story revolves around three main characters --

Leroy Kervin -- who lives in a group home after being gravely wounded in the Iraq war. Leroy has never been the same since he returned home and finds he can no longer cope with his life as it is now. After ending up in the hospital, we get to know Leroy better through his thoughts and dreams, which take on a sci/fi vibe. He is well loved by a former girl friend and his mother, but Leroy needs to move on.

Freddie McCall -- works the night shift at Leroy's home and also works days at a paint store. His life has fallen to pieces; his wife and young daughters live in another state, he is in financial ruins, and he can barely sleep causing him other problems. When he is offered a proposition, will he jump on this to make some much needed cash? Freddie is a kind and loving man and life has dealt him a hard blow. He is constantly taking two steps forward and one step back.

Pauline Hawkins -- is a nurse and works at the hospital where Leroy will end up. She has burdens and problems of her own, but always puts her patients first, giving them top-notch care, going over and above what her job requirements call for. Sometimes Pauline even tends to get a little too involved in the lives of those under her care. Pauline pulls no punches, is outspoken and honest, yet, she is a character that everyone would love to have as their friend, someone you can always count on and who would be there for you.

All of these wonderful characters end up meeting and knowing each other under extenuating circumstances. The plot of the book tells the truths of life, as disturbing, depressing, stunning, and sweet as they tend to be for all of us. The characters are So real and human, their situations also SO down-to-earth and honest. As we move through the days of Leroy, Freddie, and Pauline, you will most definitely see yourself or those you know depicted on the pages of THE FREE. Vlautin has this thing called life down pat and his writing is thrilling. While this book does ring with depressing and disturbing situations and gloom, it is bright, hopeful, sweet, and just totally wonderful.

I cannot praise this book enough. Vlautin writes so well; this reader was mesmerized and totally engrossed from word one. Vlautin has three other books that I will definitely be reading --

THE MOTEL LIFE
NORTHLINE
LEAN ON PETE

I cannot wait to read these. THE MOTEL LIFE has even been made into a movie --

This novel packs a hard punch and hits you hard in your mind, heart, and soul. I absolutely adored and loved this book and it will ALWAYS be one of my all time favorite reads and journeys.

Thank you.

Pam


The Weight of Blood: A Novel
The Weight of Blood: A Novel
by Laura McHugh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.60
74 used & new from $10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I WAS DONE WAITING FOR GHOSTS, April 3, 2014
THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD

Is every citizen in the small Ozark town of Henbane, Missouri, a thief, murderer, witch, drug addict, or a victim? It seems that way in THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD.

Young Lucy has a friend disappear -- as her young mother did years ago -- and Lucy takes matters into her own hands, visiting the past and opening up old wounds. As she digs deep to find out the truth about her friend, Cheri, and her mother, Lila, Lucy unearths so many secrets, unsolved mysteries, and unanswered questions that I would want to hit the road and get out of Dodge quickly if I were her.

Told in alternating voices, we meet many characters -- Lucy, her Uncle Crete and father, Carl, her mysteriously vanished mom, Lila, and a host of others. Some of my favorite figures were Ransome, a female friend of Uncle Crete's, and Birdie, the local mid-wife, healer, and neighbor of Lucy's.

This plot centers around Lucy trying to figure out what really happened to her mom so many years ago and piecing together questions regarding her friend's apparent murder. As Lucy uncovers many secrets and slowly finds out the truth, her entire world is getting ready to collapse and become turned upside down. This small town tucked away in the Ozarks is filled with superstition, unfriendly citizens, and so much crime and lies that this reader found it almost hard to really believe such circumstances could be happening and not one person would suspect a thing ---

Some readers have compared this book to Daniel Woodrell's masterpiece, WINTER'S BONE. The two books take place in the same geographical area of our country, but that's where the similarities stop. This is Laura McHugh's debut novel; I think she has a bright future ahead of her and this book serves as her stomping ground so to speak.

While I did enjoy this book, at times it seems shallow and predictable. It did not strike me as creepy or chilling, but it does have good bones. Her vivid descriptions of the Ozarks were beautifully done and her prose is vibrant. Her portrayal of the occupants of this small Missouri town were top-notch, and I enjoyed the spunk and determination of the main character, Lucy.

If you are looking for a mystery told by many characters set in the beauty of the Ozarks, this is the book for you.

Thank you.

Pam


Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel
Shotgun Lovesongs: A Novel
by Nickolas Butler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.21
71 used & new from $12.21

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU'RE LIKE MY BROTHER -----------, April 1, 2014
SHOTGUN LOVESONGS

The name itself -- along with the cover -- made me want to read this book NOW. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy, it was literally calling out my name. I was not disappointed in the least --

This is the story about friends growing up together in Little Wing, Wisconsin, four men who have known each other since before they started school. Their lives have all taken different paths since they have reached adulthood, but they are still so close that they are practically brothers.

Henry -- who has stayed in Little Wing and works his family farm. He is married to Beth, they are deeply in love, have two children. Henry is a kind and smart man, loving, a wonderful father. But when dark and ancient secrets are revealed, how will he handle the truth? Henry is well known and popular in Little Wing and a loyal friend.

Kip -- has moved on to the big city and is in the business of trading commodities. He has come back to Little Wing to try and make a go of an old mill that has been abandoned, hoping to bring some fun and business into his old home town. He sinks so much money into his business venture, trying to make his dreams come true. Kip, always looking out for number one, makes some big mistakes involving his friends, tries to find love, and also become a better man.

Ronny -- sweet and kind, loyal to a fault, retired from the rodeo circuit. Ronny depends upon all of his friends for many reasons. He also has an on-going battle with the booze, and hopes to find true love, and loves his friends fiercely. Everyone loves Ronny; he is a special man.

Lee -- has hit the big times; he is a rock star, known world-wide. Yet, Lee is still a simple man at heart, a man who loves his friends and Little Wing with a passion. Traveling the world, he still considers Little Wing to be his home town. Lee comes home frequently and is welcomed with open arms by the town and his friends.

The book centers around a wedding taking place in Little Wing and the consequences of all these friends coming back home. Secrets are revealed, friendships are tested, marriages turn shaky. This book grabs your attention from word number one and keeps your interest until you reluctantly close the book.

This is a debut novel for author Nickolas Butler and kudos are well deserved. I loved this book and highly recommend it to everyone. While most of the book revolves around the four main characters and their lives, it is beautifully written. The prose is magic, the plot divine, the characters so true and fleshed-out. Butler writes as smooth as silk --

"Outside, the day was white as heaven, and entering the bar, I had to pause just inside the door to let my pupils adjust to that box of darkness. There wasn't any music playing, but above the bar was an ancient television mounted to the ceiling where Alex Trebek stood browbeating three nerds in turtlenecks."

or

"I made it into Nebraska. Pulled off the highway before a storm filled the ditches with water. Watched the night sky crack itself like a broken window."

While reading SHOTGUN LOVESONGS I was transported smack dab in the middle of Little Wing, Wisconsin. I became a citizen watching life play out from the sidelines. I wanted to hang out with Kip, Henry, Ronny, and Lee. I wanted to go to the VFW and have a few drinks with Beth and Felicia or watch a storm blow in over the pasture. I could hear the cows mooing, hear the chords on Lee's guitar, feel the bitterly cold snow, and feel the love of these friends.

This is one book you certainly DO NOT want to miss.

Thank you.

Pam
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2014 4:05 PM PDT


All That I Have: A Novel
All That I Have: A Novel
by Castle Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.56
104 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THERE'S A NEW KIND OF MALE, I SAID. I'M ONE OF THEM., March 16, 2014
ALL THAT I HAVE

Castle Freeman, how is it that I have just recently discovered you? Wow, this man can write. His story is serious, funny, full of wit, charm, suspense, surprises. Yet, this book just slowly meanders along -- and in a good way.

Lucian Wing is the sheriff in a small backwoods town in Vermont -- [although in my mind, I relocated all characters and setting to the South, due to the avenue of conversation and sayings, but that may just be me] -- and he has held this job for years. Wing has a different way of handling the law, the law-breakers, drunk drivers, petty thieves, etc. He takes things slow, thinks deeply on situations, and lets things just happen and fix themselves. He's pretty laid back and can afford to be living in such a small community where not much goes on in the area of law breaking.

Until -- until a nude foreign man is discovered beaten and tied to a tree. Enter local bad boys, their trailer park girl friends, some Russians thrown in for good measure, and Lucian and his wife, Clemmie, who seem to be having some marital problems. Why was this man beaten and left bound to a tree? Why are Russians showing up in a little hayseed town in Vermont? Who are these people? What was taken from a mansion that was broken into and why do the Russians seem so interested? Read this book and find out.

Freeman writes with charm and wit. This reader laughed out loud more than once at the banter that goes on between characters. The conversations flow so quickly, easily, and sincerely that you feel as if you are right in the room with them, listening to them converse and trying not to laugh. While you won't be sitting on needles and pins or squirming in your seat with dread, wonder, and anticipation at what's to come next, you WILL be enjoying a great read, laughing at the characters and their antics, and just taking a hint from Lucian and relaxing a bit and relishing the ride.

Freeman has authored many other books that I will definitely be reading and enjoying -- GO WITH ME, JUDGMENT HILL, THE BRIDE OF AMBROSE & OTHER STORIES, ROUND MOUNTAIN, and MY LIFE AND ADVENTURES. He also writes essays and is a contributor for THE OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC and VERMONT LIFE magazine. Kudos to you, Mr. Freeman.

Lucian Wing is a character I will not soon forget. He is a man who has deep thoughts, cares for people, and does his job well. He is a man who is not in a hurry and is very wise, yet very down-to-earth and human. The other characters in this book -- Clemmie, Lucian's wife, the other law enforcers, the Russians, Jackson the giant dog, and many others are ones who make this book the delight it is.

Thank you.

Pam


Out of My Mind
Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.28
162 used & new from $0.55

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I JUST WANT TO BE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, March 16, 2014
This review is from: Out of My Mind (Paperback)
OUT OF MY MIND

It's no wonder that author Sharon Draper has won the Coretta Scott King Awards multiple times. This woman can write! I have wanted to read this book for a long time and finally reserved it from our library. I read it in mere hours, laughing and crying along the way.

You see, this story is about a lovely eleven year old girl who is just like most eleven year old girls -- she has deep thoughts, feelings, emotions, cares about people, loves country music, wonders if others like her, worries about her clothes. But for Melody, life is so unfair and cruel at times, for she has cerebral palsy and is more or less trapped in a body that won't cooperate with her. However, she is of superior intelligence but also can't speak. Her parents just know that Melody is smart and treat her as such. Enjoy Melody's story as she walks you through her days at home, school, wanting so badly to have other kids like and befriend her. Melody holds nothing back in her story and she will certainly open your eyes, along with warming your heart.

This book broke my heart. I cried more than once. This book also uplifted my heart and made me laugh and smile. Melody takes on the world, tries to do her best, and in the end, reaps the benefits of her on-going struggle with daily life. This book helps people understand how others have to deal with life and maybe find some compassion for people with disabilities. I would love it if schools around the world would make this a must-read for students, just to open doors and windows and show 'normal' kids how lucky they are and how they should appreciate everybody in this world.

I am not trying to sound preachy, but this book says it all and in a voice that everyone can relate to.

Melody tells the story of her life, how she feels, how others treat her, her wonderful parents, her fun-loving and dedicated neighbor, Mrs. V, and how the rest of the world sees her. Melody is fun, full of wit and humor, is intelligent, loving, and caring. And all she wants is to be a 'real girl'.

I am a cafeteria manager at an elementary school. We have a class of special needs kids who are great. I cannot quite express the feeling I get when I joke around with them or tell them how cute they look and they reward me with a smile, or better yet, a hug. These kids just want to be treated like everyone else is treated.

Sharon Draper hits the nail on the head with her book. She has many other books, COPPER SUN, DOUBLE DUTCH, ROMIETTE & JULIO, along with three series. While this book, OUT OF MY MIND, is categorized as young adult/teen, this old lady certainly enjoyed every word. I think you will too.

Thank you.

Pam


Gone Girl
Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.12
485 used & new from $2.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CATASTROPHICALLY ROMANTIC, March 15, 2014
This review is from: Gone Girl (Hardcover)
GONE GIRL

I was late to the party but enjoyed every second while there. This book simply rocks, and rocks hard. Flynn trots readers down a psychopath highway so full of twists, turns, twirls, and zig-zags that readers can't turn the pages quickly enough to find out what will happen next. However, Flynn's writing is so top-notch, so flawless, that you are never ever forced off the road, never loose your place. The story line is full but easy to follow. The characters are so deep, so fleshed-out, so real, they actually do jump off the pages and into your mind and soul.

From the first word to the last, this book is off and running -- hard. Nick and Amy Dunne's life is put on full display, full of lies, deceit, hate, love, half-truths. They've relocated to Missouri to help tend to Nick's ill parents. Nick is a handsome, down-to-earth guy, an all American boy. Amy is a rich, pampered, spoiled daughter and wife. Her parents made their fortune writing a children's series based on Amy and her life.

Ah, Amy's life -- her life is never what you think it is, her life is never what you thought it was, her life is totally and completely her OWN, changed to fit her needs and desires. Amy is one slick chick and when she comes up missing and Nick is the prime suspect the situation goes from bad to worse, from worse to bad, back and forth As the reader, you NEVER know where this book is headed or what direction it is going to take. It is so full of surprises and shocking situations you will find yourself literally sitting on the edge of your seat.

This book reminded me of a chilling Hitchcock type movie, so full of suspense and thunderbolt-type sensations. Expect the unexpected, and then when those events occur, you will still be completely caught unawares. When I wasn't reading this book, I could not stop thinking about it.

I will say the ending left me feeling a little flat, and I see that is a general consensus. However, do not let that stop you from reading this book. It is just THAT good.

For me, this is one of my favorite books of all times. If you only read one book this year, make it GONE GIRL. You won't be sorry and you won't be disappointed.

Thank you.

Pam
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 17, 2014 3:55 PM PDT


Hoover SteamVac Carpet Washer with Clean Surge, F5914900
Hoover SteamVac Carpet Washer with Clean Surge, F5914900
Price: $135.00
41 used & new from $113.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GETS THE JOB DONE AND THEN SOME, March 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
HOOVER STEAMVAC CARPTER WASHER WITH CLEAN SURGE

We have heavy traffic on our rugs daily. We are the owners of three beautiful Greyhounds, the only down side being they track in dirt, love to roll on the floors, and sometimes have the occasional 'yak' or two going on. Plus, our five grand babies sometimes spill drinks and/or food on the carpets, but we still adore and love them! The Hoover SteamVac is just what we needed.

THE PROS:

Easy assembly, took approximately fifteen minutes, start to finish
Separate tanks for cleaning solution and dirty water
Large capacity tanks for large areas
Twenty foot cord adequate for most rooms
Speed control for brushes so they can operate at high speed or gentle scrubbing
Brushes may be turned off when cleaning up just a spill
Rugs dry very quickly
Surge button for extra cleaning where necessary
Light weight and easy to maneuver
Very good price

THE CONS:

Absolutely none.

This unit replaced our thirteen year old version of this same model -- which still works -- but is a little tired after serving us very, very well. Also, the price is half of what we paid thirteen years for our previous model. You can't beat that!

Do we recommend the Hoover SteamVac Carpet washer? Heck, yeah! With all the canine/human traffic our carpets get, they look brand new after being cleaned and smell great too.

Thank you.


Takedown Twenty: A Stephanie Plum Novel
Takedown Twenty: A Stephanie Plum Novel
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.82
257 used & new from $5.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MURDER, MAYHEM, MYSTERY, February 27, 2014
TAKEDOWN TWENTY

Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is a guilty pleasure for me. I love these books. Always fun-filled, full of action, and loaded with real down-to-earth characters, these books are ones I always look forward to reading.

Stephanie is still bounty hunting for her cousin Vinnie. She enjoys her job, but feels she is getting nowhere in her career. Stephanie wonders if it may be time to hang up her stun gun and hand cuffs for a different type of employment. She also feels the same way about the two men in her life, Joe Morelli and Ranger. While she feels as if she is 'practically engaged' to Joe, neither of them can make a commitment to each other and prefer to just keep exclusively dating. However, Stephanie has the hots for Ranger -- as do all of the women who lay eyes on him -- and the two worlds tend to collide.

Murder is involved in this book -- elderly women are being found in dumpsters and Ranger is devoted to finding out who is responsible. Of course, Stephanie is dragged into the scenario and chaos, action, and fun abound. Then there are the bounty hunting situations that are always fun and different. The entire gang is back -- Grandma -- who is always hysterical -- Lula -- who is also always hysterical -- Morelli, Ranger, Vinnie, Connie, and a host of new characters that will leave you laughing. Even though you pretty much know where the road is going, the journey is fun and worth the read.

My only wish -- along with others -- is that Stephanie would make a decision regarding the men in her life. However, I personally feel that this choice will not happen until the last installment of these books. Makes me wonder how many more books in this series Evanovich has up her sleeve.

I definitely will be along for the ride. I love the characters, the situations, the dialogue, and everything about these books. They are light, easy to enjoy and read, and just down right fun. Yes, they are repetitive, yes, they are pretty much the same old same old -- but to me, this is life as it truly is. Take these books for what they are and just enjoy them.

If you want some fun, start with ONE FOR THE MONEY and work your way up to the latest, TAKEDOWN TWENTY.

Thank you.

Pam
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2014 12:53 PM PST


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