Sunday Summary

Recap of last week
Reviews
The Charlatan’s Boy, Meet Franklin Bean, Worlds Apart, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out, Driving to BelAir. Wow. No wonder I’m tired.

Giveaways
“Make It Mine” Monday
Emily W. was the winner of A Sound Among the Trees

I also wrote about Jeffrey’s birthday last weekend and our Lego overload. (Okay, I’m the only one on overload.) We went to today to Toys R Us to get his Lego video game and saw this. I give up. (It is kind of cool, though.)

Yes, it’s a Lego Wii remote. Uses real Legos and everything.

Sneak peek at next week
Giveaways
“Make It Mine” Monday: jesus freakz + buddha punx by M.E. Purfield
You know the drill. If you want a different book, you have a few hours left to vote. I’m trying to get a larger variety of books, but most of the books I’ve been reading are ebooks. I do have several paperbacks coming up, so I’ll be adding to the poll soon.

Gratitude Giveaways Hop: Nov 17-27
I think I’m probably going to giveaway a hardcover copy of The Help that I won. (Which I suppose means I need to post a review before Wednesday.)

Book Review: Driving to BelAir by William G. Jones

Amazon summary
Is it the road trip from hell or the opportunity of a lifetime?

Dale had it all–a prominent career with a Manhattan ad agency, a luxury car, a beautiful, rich girlfriend–but when his ex-fiancé calls to tell him that his father has died, his world crashes around him. What he thought would be a quick trip home for a funeral turns into a week-long journey to scatter his father’s ashes in the Gulf of Mexico. Trapped in a cantankerous old car with two quarrelsome brothers, a still-bitter ex-fiancé, an increasingly high-maintenance girlfriend, and a pee-happy poodle, Dale finds himself trapped as everything that can go wrong does.

Will a father’s last wish be the key to reuniting a family torn apart by tragedy? Or will Dale lose everything while driving to BelAir.

Book Length: 41,500 words.

My review
I laughed and I cried. No, I really did. This novella packs a big punch.

Dale ran fast and far from an abusive father and the family farm. Three years later, he’s back with a spoiled girlfriend and her little dog, too. To fulfill his father’s last wishes, he is supposed to make a trip from Indiana to Florida to scatter Dad’s ashes in the ocean. The catch is that he has to go with his brothers. One has just a little problem with marijuana, and the other is nursing a huge grudge against Dale for leaving home.

Can they make it all the way without killing each other? Or leaving someone on the side of the road? Maybe. But whatever happens along the way, you’ll laugh out loud. You might even shed a tear or two. It’s all worth it.

About the book
Title: Driving to BelAir: A Novella
Author: William G. Jones
Publisher: J.R. co… Publishing
Release date: August 25, 2011
Where I got the book: I received this book free from the author as part of Adopt An Indie Month.
Rating: 5 stars Can’t think of any reason everyone wouldn’t like this. There is a little bit of talking about sex, but it’s nothing graphic.

Book Review: Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out by Pandora Poikilos

Amazon summary
Anya Michaels is having the time of her life. She has the man of her dreams by her side. She has graduated at the top of her class. She has the job others were lining up for. Between late night drinks at her favourite bar and fancy dinners at the most expensive restaurants, she has a string of adoring friends.

Everything changes when she hears the dreaded words, “You are sick.” Being diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder, her world starts to fall apart, one piece at a time. Now dumped, her four year relationship is nothing but a memory filled with pictures, thoughts and a very broken heart. Her job becomes an even further challenge as she tries to hide her condition. Her friends suddenly have more important things to do, what is a party without a party girl? Perfect could not crumble any faster. Soon, caught between situations, people and pieces of life that she never dreamed of planning for herself, Anya begins to wonder if her brain condition is all that bad. As she absorbs the changes in her life and realization sets in, she begins to wonder if she is the only one saying: Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

My review
I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall, I liked it, but it wasn’t really what I was expecting from the blurb, so there was constantly a disconnect there. We don’t meet Anya until after her diagnosis, and the whole story is told in a series of letters about her past written to her father. Each of these vignettes focus on a different subject, friendship, trust, embracing life. This could have been a negative, depressing book, but it was upbeat and positive for the most part. My favorite line is, “Or there is another option. I could live. Not for everything that has happened or is going to happen, but what is happening right now.”

On the other hand, if we’re told how old Anya is at any point, I missed it, and I think it matters because I couldn’t keep up with the timeline. She talks about her current love, Bruce. She also talks about a few losers along the way, including the four-year relationship mentioned in the blurb. I can’t tell, though when she dated any of them. She mentions living with one guy who dumped her because of family issues, but I’m not sure if it’s the same guy as the four-year relationship. I was pretty confused about who came and went in her love life, as she didn’t name any of them (or was there just one? I have no clue) except for Bruce.

If you’re not as persnickety as I am about things like that, though, and you want to read a good book full of insights and comments about people and society that will have you nodding your head, and saying, “Yes! Those people drive me crazy!” then this is your book.

About the book
Title: Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Author: Pandor Poikilos
Publisher: Heart Press
Release date: April 17, 2011
Pages: 220
Where I got the book: I received this ebook for free from the author as part of Adopt An Indie Month.
Rating: 4.5 stars I’d give it 5 stars, because I really think everyone should read it, except that the annoying types of people she talks about will get mad when they read it. 🙂