There Goes the Galaxy by Jenn Thorson

So you guys probably know my taste in books based upon my reviews here.  I’ve never been one to get into science fiction stuff, whether it’s books or movies.  My suspension of disbelief threshold is very low (and here’s an interesting post about that on Book Riot).  Though, I did read the “Twilight” series, but whatever, who didn’t.  Anyway.  When I was approached to read and review a science fiction book, I thought I’d give it a shot because A) it was supposed to be a FUNNY science fiction book, so that gave me some extra incentive, and B) the author is from Pittsburgh, my hometown.  How can I not want to support a local author?

“There Goes the Galaxy” is about a Pittsburgh grad student named Bertram Ludlow who is abducted by aliens.  Not the short, green, big-headed and beady-eyed aliens, but ones who are somewhat human-like….. but different.  As Bertram spends more time with his abductor Rollie, who comes off at first like a tough guy and that he wants to dump Bertram as soon as possible, he learns that planet Earth (referred to as “Tryfe” everywhere else) is up for sale to the highest bidder.

Bertram goes on a quest, dragging Rollie and his motley crew along, to find the current owner of Tryfe and stop the sale before his planet and human life as we know it isn’t obliterated.  Bertram is helped along the way by a friend of his named Rozz who was also abducted and was forced into alien barista slavery (yes, I said barista.  She slings space drinks).  So, do they succeed?  What’s next for planet Tryfe?

As my first real sci-fi read, I really enjoyed it!  If there wasn’t humor involved, I think my opinion would have been different.  I found myself chuckling when I noticed something that the author threw in there that was a play on a real celebrity’s name or personality, and I think my favorite planet was definitely Ludd… home of the Luddites.  It’s exactly what you think.  The characters were all human-enough to have personalities that you could relate to, and I even found myself liking Rollie, who doesn’t seem to want or need anyone to like him, even though deep down he does have feelings.  The names of the planets and some of the characters got a little confusing, which often happens to me when there are too many new and unique names of things/places to keep track of (the same thing happened when I read the book “Wicked”), but I was easily able to pick back up and understand what was going on with no problems.  The book was also a little longer than I expected and it took me longer than usual to read, but I can’t imagine taking anything out of the book or splitting it up into two because it would completely destroy the story.  Bertram had so many different adventures that you wanted to keep reading to see what trouble he got himself into next.

Jenn Thorson definitely opened my eyes to a new genre that I may not have given a second look to otherwise.  I wonder what’s next for Bertram and Rozz!  Oh, and if you’re on Twitter, Bertram just joined, so you can follow him to get tips on how not to get abducted by aliens (and what to do if you do): @BertramLudlow.

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Today is my two-year blogiversary (yeah, I made that up, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?)!

Two years ago today, I posted my first post here on this blog.  January of 2009 was also the month when I posted a whole lot more than I do now.  I guess my goal to post several times a week didn’t quite stick.  Oh well!  I’m happy that I’ve kept it up though and plan to continue blogging about books until I decide to stop!  I admit that I’m wayyyy behind on books vs. blog posts, but I’ll get to the good ones stored in my memory eventually.

Speaking of reading, do you see the fancy little widget at the top of the menu on the ride side of the page?  The one that says 2012 Reading Challenge?  To follow up on my last post, you should set up your own reading challenge through Goodreads!  I already track the books I read there anyway, and this makes it so much easier to follow my progress.  Plus, it’s satisfying to see the little bar moving to the right after I mark a book as “read”.  What’s interesting is the Goodreads has some stats on the challenge, and the average amount of books in all of the 83k challenges is 64.  64!  I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to read 64 books in a year.  Maybe one day.

Anyway, thanks for visiting and for your support over the past two years and please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for me for the future.  Happy reading!

Seasons Greetings and Reading Resolutions

I know I’m a little late for some of the holidays this month, but I hope all of my readers had a wonderful holiday season!  It doesn’t feel like winter in my part of the world so it really didn’t FEEL like the holidays compared to past years.  On another note – look at this cute book tree that I found on Pinterest!

Did you get any good gifts?  Any good gifts involving BOOKS?  I know quite a few people who were gifted Kindle Fires.  I’m really curious about them but it doesn’t seem to make sense for me to get a tablet like that since I already have a smartphone, Kindle 2, and a laptop.  But they look pretty awesome!  I’ve noticed that the traffic here has been pretty steady over the past few days – I guess a lot of people are searching for new books to download to their e-readers and tablets!

One of my Twitter friends is a librarian, avid reader, and blogger and gave me an idea.  She had set a goal of 45 books to read in 2011.  And she hit the goal with a few weeks left in December!  Holy cow!  When I heard that, I thought I’d check Goodreads to see how many books I’ve read this year because I knew it had to be a lot.  I was slightly disappointed to see that it was only 26, but then I realized that 1) that’s a whole lot more than most normal people read per year (or per five years!  Or ten!), and 2) I was planning a wedding for the first half of the year and was too busy doing DIY stuff to read in my spare time.  So I GUESS I can be okay with 26.  But I bet I could get more than that next year.  35 maybe?  I also have to keep in mind that I have to pay for most of these books so I can’t go too crazy.  Although I still have a ton of books on my Kindle that I haven’t read yet for numerous reasons, so at least I have a stock to go to if I’m short on cash.

What’s your reading resolution for 2012?  Finish a series?  Read a classic that you’ve had your eye on for awhile?  Beat me in the number of books you read?

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Oh, Nicholas Sparks.  You really know how to get right to the core of a woman’s emotions and make us cry like a baby.

The Best of Me” is about two forty-something high school sweethearts, Dawson and Amanda.  While they were high school sweethearts, it was a Romeo and Juliet type of romance that didn’t last.  They went their separate ways after Amanda’s wealthy family didn’t approve of rough-around-the edges Dawson.  Twenty years later and after going two completely different directions with their lives (Amanda: married with two kids; Dawson: bachelor working on an oil rig), they are brought together again by a common thread between the two – a man named Tuck.  Tuck was an older man who took Dawson in as a teenager when he had nowhere else to go, and later, Tuck became a confidant of Amanda’s.

When Tuck passes away, Dawson and Amanda are drawn back to their hometown to take care of the arrangements but don’t know that the other one will be there.  While they’re getting to know each other again and wrestle with their conflicting feelings, they also have to worry about Dawson’s family, who are the troublemakers around town and aren’t happy to see him back.

I’ve been on the fence about some of Nicholas Sparks‘ books… there have been a few that I’ve loved, and a few that I wasn’t as crazy about.  This is one of the ones that I really really liked.  And it made me cry, so there are some bonus points.  I won’t tell you where it made me cry, but there were a few different spots.  The feeling of loss and sadness and love just really hits you.

Could I see this book being made into a movie (like a million of his other books)?  Absolutely.  I just hope it wouldn’t be ruined with the wrong casting.  Let’s see… a forty-something male and female… the male would have to be kind of rugged but handsome… the woman would have to be more polished and a pretty Southern belle… and then they’d need an old, quiet grumpy man (but not grumpy as in Clint Eastwood in “Gran Turino”, because that’s the wrong kind of grumpy)… I don’t know, I can’t think of names or faces right now.  If I think of some suggestions of actors to cast, I’ll update my post.  Any ideas?

A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis by Irene Woodbury

 

I was really excited to read this book when I was contacted by author Irene Woodbury.  It seemed like something that I’d like and enjoy reading.  Plus, I’ve never been to Vegas before, so I thought that maybe I could live vicariously through the characters in this book.

In “A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis“, mid-40′s newlywed Wendy Sinclair has just moved to Texas from Los Angeles to be with her husband, who she had been dating for seven years prior.   She’s realizing that she doesn’t really fit in with the Texas crowd, especially the rich, snotty wives of her husband’s colleagues that she is forced to socialize with.  She misses working in an upscale women’s clothing boutique in LA with her best friend, Paula.  Wendy and Paula plan a girls’ weekend together in Las Vegas to catch up and let loose and everything changes from there!

Wendy and Paula have a wild and interesting weekend, but Wendy doesn’t want it to end there… she doesn’t want to go back to Texas.  And frankly, she felt like her relationship with her husband, Roger, was better before they got married.  She decides to extend her weekend trip for a few more weeks.  And a few more weeks after that.  Then a few months.  Wendy is offered a job working with one of the casinos, which solidifies the feeling of her being needed somewhere other than Texas.  She makes some friends along the way and enjoys relaxing, eating, working (on something she loves to do!), and being pampered.  The entire time, Roger is none too happy that Wendy is spending their first year of marriage in a different city, and Wendy is suspicious of the daughter of one of Roger’s colleagues who starts hanging around him.  So, does Wendy stay in Vegas and follow her heart and do what makes her happy, or does she go home to Roger and rekindle their marriage?

This book was really easy for me to get into and it was interesting to hear about some Vegas stuff that most tourists probably don’t think about or see.  I found myself getting a little frustrated with some of the characters – I wanted to strangle Paula at some points, and I was going back and forth with being disappointed with Wendy for abandoning her husband and not just talking to him, while cheering her on in “you go, girl!” fashion for being independent and doing what SHE wanted to do.  But I don’t think it’s always necessary for characters to be likable… I think that characters that illicit mixed responses like that from readers are just as good!

Overall, the story was a fun read and was a nice escape from my own reality into someone else’s crazy life!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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