61 Minions
108 Overlords
AlexandrasAdventures

Alexandra's Adventures in Books

The real world is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

 

Primarily reads Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Mysteries. From Children's to Adult.

Authored by Alexandra's Adventures in Books:
Haven - A.R. Ivanovich, Michelle Ivanovich

I see there were earlier versions of this book.  If there were any issues with those versions I certainly don't see them in the version I read, which was released in January 2016.

I found this story imaginative, interesting, well written and well paced.  

Haven Valley is a large area of various towns surrounded by "impenetrable mountains".  It's a peaceful and crime free society that has been isolated for seven hundred years after, "Our forebears demolished the tunnels out of Haven Valley..."

The inhabitants enjoy some technology, and have electricity and indoor plumbing. But research in flight is forbidden, attempting to leave Haven is a crime.

Katelyn is curious, she's been known to wander and explore, and she wants to know what is outside the walls of their mountainous fortress.  "Where did we come from before we colonized Haven, and why can't we go back?" She wonders.  Wouldn't you?  I know I would.

I was very impressed with Katelyn.  I liked her.  She's a believable mix of spunk, loyalty, doubt, fear, and naivete.  I cared about her, and I rooted for her.

She has "a knack for finding what" she looks for, and what she looks for is a way out of Haven.  

Many of us are familiar with Young Adult heroes or heroines who are special in some way, a "chosen one".  What I found very refreshing in this story is that while Katelyn has abilities, which are learned about later in the story, she is not unique.  And she's not instantly a master, she must learn, she lacks knowledge, experience and confidence.  And through it all she remains a seventeen year old girl who's gotten herself into a situation that is over her head.

There is a bit of an appearance this story might develop a love triangle.  For those of you who, like me, dislike love triangles I can tell you there is not one here.

I am very glad I picked this one up, and have already purchased the next book in the series.

I was provided a copy of this book by Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  If I hadn't liked it I would have said so with no hesitation.  However I am pleased to have discovered another very good story.

 

Anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year?

I'm trying it, first time ever.

Free for Kindle: Ella the Slayer by A. W. Exley

Ella, the Slayer: Serenity House, Book 1 - A. W. Exley, Gabrielle de Cuir, Skyboat Media

I'm not usually one for zombie stories, but I've had my eye on this one simply because I've enjoyed other books by this author.

 

Just a heads-up that it's currently FREE for the Kindle version, if it looks of interest to you.

 

Ella the Slayer on Amazon

Maggie Stiefvater On Book Piracy

Very interesting article from Maggie Stiefvater about book piracy, how it hurts authors, and readers too: I’ve decided to tell you guys a story about piracy

 

 

I'm Doing It! Sorta, Kinda, Maybe

Although I've been a lifelong and veracious reader, along with having a healthy and active imagination, I have never tried my hand at creative writing until recently.

 

For a long time I've had snatches, bits and pieces, of a story, an idea, but not enough to turn into a cohesive whole, a story. An actual plot.  So, I've never tried actually doing so.

 

A while ago I played around with writing a bit of fan fiction, just for fun, just for me.  And I had fun with it.  Parts turned out fairly well, I think.  The best part was just in getting me writing something, just trying and playing around with it. Practice.

 

Well, that made me decide it was time to do the same with my story idea. Even if nothing comes of it, or all I end up with are a couple scenes I can't do anything with. It's still writing, and it's still practice. And maybe someday, just maybe, I might get to the point where I come up with something I think is worth sharing with others.  But even if not I can enjoy getting these ideas I have out of my head and down on (virtual) paper where they belong.

 

I've never taking any creative writing classes either. So I am a complete and total newbie. So far I have a paragraph, one I've rewritten and altered multiple times lol.

Ready Player One: The Movie March 30, 2018

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

I'd heard rumors Ready Player One was going to be made into a movie. Now I see there is a release date and a trailer.  Yay! I cannot wait to see it. I hope they do the book justice. It's being made by Stephen Spielberg, so I have some confidence it will.

 

Trailer: http://readyplayeronemovie.com/

 

My advice, if this looks interesting to you and you haven't done so, read the book first!  The audio version narrated by Wil Wheaton is also excellent, if you like audio books.  No matter how good a job they do with the movie, it won't be able to be as good as the book.

 

READ THE BOOK! You know you wanna!

 

Review:

There are already very good and helpful reviews for this one, all I can really add is to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

In case any think they might be lost with the 80's cultural references and gaming, I don't think there's much to worry about.  For the most part things referenced are given enough information to be able to follow. 

 

Since a large portion of the action does take place within a mega online multiplayer computer game a reader would need to find that interesting in order to enjoy this, but don't assume you need to be a huge gamer to enjoy it.

 

I thought this was interesting, well-written, action packed and enjoyed it completely!

 

 

And in case this book made you want to play Atari's Adventure again, here ya go:

http://chrome.atari.com/adventure

Article: My Surprising Career as an Amazon.com "Fake" Reviewer

Interesting article, check it out here: My Surprising Career as an Amazon.com "Fake" Reviewer

Review: The Delphi Resistance

The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy) - Rysa Walker

This is the hardest type of review for me to write, one for a subsequent book in a series and one that I did enjoy but have a few issues with.  Fair warning - this review may contain spoilers for "The Delphi Effect". 

 

Overall I enjoyed this book, it kept my interest and I never found the pacing to lag.  I really like the main character - Anna, and her group of friends, as well as her other allies.  In general they are believable characters.

 

In this story we learn more about the Delphi project and those behind it.  The major plot has Anna and her friends on the run and in hiding, while at the same time working toward rescuing other children and young people who have been kidnapped and are being held by this nefarious group.  As a middle book of a trilogy it's a solid read, advancing the plot, ending with a resolution of the immediate, but not yet wrapping up the larger issue.  Obviously there's more to come.  It also ends with an enigmatic bit of information that leaves the reader wondering and intrigued, but not to the point of being a cliff hanger.

 

There were a couple things though that had me rolling my eyes.  One of those things has to do with the head of security, Miller, hired by the woman bank-rolling Anna and her friends, Magda.

 

Magda has been presented as someone with apparently inexhaustible funds, but also someone who micromanages and does background checks so detailed it's nearly laughable.  However the man in charge of security she hired treats those he's hired to protect as if they are enemy combatants, and the ones he needs to guard as such, not as those he's been hired to protect from outside threat.

 

Granted, these people do have abilities that are potentially dangerous, however they are also children, children who are there to be protected from others who mean them harm.  While it's believable that there are those who would feel animosity simply because these children have abilities than can be dangerous, it's not believable to me that Magda would hire someone who was this incompetent as their security. This guy is ex-military.  Seems to me Magda would have hired someone who could be aware of the children's potential as dangerous while at the same time being calm and professional in handling his actual job of protecting them.  It just didn't seem believable to me that Madga would not have vetted him better.

 

As an example, one child sleepwalks and is in imminent danger of falling down a flight of stairs.  What does Miller do? The ex-military guy hired to keep these kids safe? He freaks out because the kid is up, and nearly causes the kid to fall down the stairs after being startled.

 

'"Hey, it's all right,' Aaron says, taking a few cautious steps toward the boy. 'Your dad is downstairs. I think you were sleepwalking. Why don't we move away from the stairs and--'
'What the hell is he doing out here?' Miller roars from the doorway. His body is a dark outline against the light from inside the house, his face illuminated only by the red dot of light at the base of his taser.
The boy flinches and screams as he loses his balance. His arms pinwheel in a futile attempt to stay upright. Aaron reaches out just in time and snags the collar of his T-shirt, yanking him back to safety. Had Aaron been a split second slower or a few inches farther away, the poor kid would have hurtled head over heels down the stairs to the lower deck."

 

It's not that I can't believe there'd be people who act like this, but the way Madga has been presented I find it hard to believe she'd hire one.

 

Another minor quibble - Anna and her friends have a puppy. 

 

"We're judging these kids in the same way that Pruitt and Miller judge all adepts, and I really don't think any of them would hurt the puppy on purpose. But he's still relatively helpless, so the rule stands: they can't play with him unless one of us is nearby. Just in case."

 

That's just being a responsible pet owner. Kids and dogs playing together *should* always be supervised, especially if either is very young.

 

They wisely decide to leave this puppy behind when they go off...somewhere (avoiding spoilers).  So far so good.  However while there are others where the puppy is being left, including a couple responsible adults, everyone who's previously been mentioned as helping to care for the puppy is leaving.  There's no mention of ensuring someone is going to be looking after the dog while they're gone.  Sure, it can be assumed someone will, but it's a missed detail, and Ms. Walker usually doesn't miss details.  And yes, I'll admit when it comes to pets in stories I am hyper-aware of their well-being.  So, a minor quibble.

 

This book also makes use of the tired trope of throwing in someone who believes in God only when a convenient bigoted character is needed, as a lazy way to explain their bigotry.  And it does so not just once, but several times.  I'm weary of such tactics.  We all know there are people like this, but there are also many people who believe in God who are not bigots, even to the point of finding reasons and justifications to not be bigots within that belief.  But here we are yet again only throwing in a character who believes in God when we need a bigot.  It's beyond tiresome at this point.

 

So, overall, a good and enjoyable story, with a few things I think could have been better but are relatively minor. I look forward to the final installment, and do plan to read it.

 

For those of you who'll want to know - the puppy is never in any danger and makes it to the end completely safe and unharmed.

 

*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley.  I purchased the Audible version with my own money.*

The Screaming Staircase - Kindle Sale $.99

By Jonathan Stroud - The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co.) (8/18/13) - Jonathan Stroud

The first in the Lockwood & Co. series, The Screaming Staircase, is on sale today. $.99 for the Kindle version.

 

This is a wonderfully imaginative Middle Grade story. I've really been enjoying this series. 

 

The Screaming Staircase on Amazon, Kindle Version

 

 

Sale On "All Things Kindle" Today

Hey everyone, Amazon is running a sale on "all things Kindle" today. I didn't find anything interesting to me personally with it, but I was able to get a $5 credit toward Kindle books from this link and clicking on "Claim Now"

 

https://www.amazon.com/b?tag=mr060-20&node=17276826011&ref_=pmwn_10.21_icymikindlesale_pro_exc

Anne Rice Sounds Off - Again - About 'gangster-thug "reviewers"'

In a post today to her Facebook Fan page, Anne Rice again opines about 'gangster-thug "reviewers'", the closing of the Amazon forums, encouraging others to vote on reviews and report "abuse", as well as promoting a blog article by author Anne R. Allen on the topic.

 

I apologize for the wall of text, Ms. Rice apparently is not a fan of paragraphs.  I'll provide links below both to this FB post and to Ms. Allen's blog article. I encourage you to read Ms. Allen's article, as well as the comments posted in response to it, as well as AR's FB post.

 

Here is the text of Ms. Rice's post,  

 

'Long & interesting article by Anne R. Allen on the Amazon gangster-thug "reviewers" who game the system to write phony reviews of authors they famously hate (often for a purely stupid personal reason), up vote negative reviews, and down vote good ones, and otherwise seek to confuse and mislead the book customer regarding the targeted author --- all for their own spiteful purposes. ---- Remember, when you buy on Amazon, you are asked if reviews you're reading are helpful. Taking the time to vote honestly on reviews is a good thing. You never know to what extent the gangster-thugs are campaigning against an author. --- When you see a book that has a very high rating on Amazon with dozens of positive reviews --- yet some negative screed holds the place of "top review" or "most helpful review" you're likely witnessing campaign voting and gaming. Again, take time to vote "helpful" on those reviews that do truly help you. And don't hesitate to report "hate" reviews when you see them. Look for the "Report Abuse" option & do it. --- I shop a lot on Amazon, but mostly for nonfiction or Tolstoy. So I don't run into these thugs all that much when I'm buying; but boy, do they do damage to young & indie authors. ---- They have also done considerable damage to some bestselling authors. Fortunately, I'm not one of them, though not because they don't try. They're furious that I've publicly exposed them. But I'm blessed with a very large audience & the genuine views, both negative and positive, outnumber the transparent thug attacks. ---- I hope Amazon wakes up to this and really does something. Books are different from other "products." And this needs attention. --- Cleaning off the Amazon Forums was a good move. The gangsters have no official site now on Amazon to call up the online lynch mobs and publicize the target of the week. But I suspect they've migrated to Goodreads. And they have their own hate blogs which do reach a handful of other gangster supporters. ---- Anyway.... the book world is a beautiful and blessed world, as I see it, made up of genuine human beings who love books, love writing them, love reading them, and sometimes generously & honestly reviewing them. Authors are humbly grateful for this, for the honest negative review as well as the honest positive one. The gangster thugs don't deserve a place at the table in this world, and I look forward to Amazon hiring some actual warm bodies to get rid of these malicious & destructive individuals once and for all. On to other topics.'

 

Link to FB post: https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10155888037125452

 

Link to Anne R. Allen's blog post: http://annerallen.com/2017/10/amazon-crackdowns-amazon-review-trolls/#comments

 

 

Currently Reading: The Delphi Resistance

The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy) - Rysa Walker

Thanks to Netgalley I've got a copy now, although I have preordered an audio copy due to be released on the 24th.

 

Typically I have a hard time getting to reading print books, but I couldn't wait to start book #2.

 

One thing I appreciate about Ms. Walker is that her books are professional quality, but still priced low as a self-pub.  That's a win-win for a reader like me.

Review: The Delphi Effect

The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy) - Rysa Walker

I'll admit I snagged this one mostly on the strength of the author's name.  I've already read previous books by Rysa Walker, and very much enjoyed them.  From the blurb it sounds potentially interesting, but not particularly original.  But I trusted the author, and I'm glad I did.

 

Anna Morgan is a seventeen year old who is jaded by the foster care system.  She also has the ability to communicate with the dead.  However in this story her communication is facilitated by a dead person attaching him/herself to Anna inside her mind.  She calls them "hitchers". And typically it's one at a time.

 

At the beginning of the story Anna is playing host to Molly, a young girl who had been murdered and wants Anna to communicate with Molly's grandfather, a retired police officer, in order to provide him with information that will hopefully catch her killer.

 

But there's more going on here than a simple murder mystery.  Molly's murderer was tied to a much larger scheme involving kidnapping and experiments. And Anna's contact with Molly's grandfather brings her, and her gift, to the attention of this nefarious group.

 

Anna, along with her younger former foster brother Deo, are both in danger.  Along the way they do have some allies, including Anna's therapist and Molly's grandfather.

 

I'll admit the basic plot isn't terribly original, although I did really like how Anna's gift was handled and the way it worked.  But it's much better and more engaging that it may sound.  What takes what might have been well-worn ground in another's hands and turns it into an interesting story is Ms. Walker's skill in writing a well paced story with believable characters and likable protagonists.  

 

And while there are occasional hints of attraction between Anna and another character, it remains infrequent and very slow burn.  There's no insta-love or teen angsty romance here.  Something I very much appreciated.

Reasons I Am Not More Active

There are many good things about BookLikes.  However the things I have issues with still exist, and in spite of my making requests and suggestions to Booklikes numerous times, and giving them ample time, it doesn't appear they will be addressed.

Most of these things, perhaps all of them, aren't big issues to others here.  But they are to me, and they are the reasons I rarely post any content and rarely shelve any books.

 

My first issue is the ridiculously outdated privacy options.  Yes, I realize these are blogs, and most enjoy having their blogs visible to everyone.  I have no such desire, nor am I comfortable with such a thing.  Which is why I think there should be user options to set our blogs to Followed and Following only, if we wish.  As it is the most I can do is set it to BL members only. Better than nothing, but not good enough for me to feel comfortable posting as I please.

 

The other major issue I have is the fact that we still cannot block BL users without first Following them, which is beyond ridiculous.  Additional to this is the fact that we cannot control who Follows us until after they Follow us.  And even then we cannot simply remove them, we must Block the poor person who has done nothing wrong, but has simply Followed someone who doesn't wish to be Followed by people they don't know in some capacity.

 

I believe we should have an option, if we choose, to approve a Follow request, or deny it.  We don't.

 

As long as these things remain as they are I'll pop in and enjoy keeping in touch with those here I wish to stay in touch with. And I'll post an occasional review or post as I have, but I won't be actively posting content or sharing my thoughts much. I want to be the gatekeeper of who does and who does not see what I share.  And sadly BookLikes does not allow me that choice.

 

Again, I realize these aren't issues for a lot of people, and everyone has opinions, comfort levels and ways they enjoy interacting here. This is my view, and my reasons.

Currently Reading: The Delphi Effect

The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy) - Rysa Walker Timebound - Rysa Walker

I started listening to the audio version of "The Delphi Effect" yesterday and I'm enjoying it so far.

I previously read "Timebound" by the same author, and enjoyed it, so I was hopeful I'd enjoy this new one.  First in a trilogy, already have the next one ready to go thanks to Netgalley (official release is next week).

 

The premise isn't terribly original, girl in her late teens has the ability to communicate with ghosts.  Our MC Anna is latched onto by the ghost of a murdered girl and she wants Anna to communicate what she knows to the murdered girl's retired cop grandfather in order to catch her killer.

 

But it's interestingly written, and Anna is likeable.  There's also something else going on here, hints of a secret group, experiments and a powerful man. One that may have something to do with Anna's "gift" and may want to stop her.

Yeah, not terribly original, but still enjoyable.  Ms. Walker can write.

Kindle FREE - Steamborn

Steamborn - Eric R. Asher

I've had my eye on "Steamborn" for a while.  Just checked it today and found the Kindle price had been reduced to FREE so of course I grabbed it.

Looks interesting!