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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.

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!

Trade Pubs Again Focusing on Print Books

According to the Wall Street Journal article, "Book Publishers Go Back to Basics" (linked below), "Now, e-book sales are on the decline, making up a fraction of publisher's revenue, and traditional book sales are rising."

Several reasons for this are claimed, however one very important and significant factor is quite interestingly ignored - the overpricing of e-books by major publishers.

Not coincidentally a couple years ago publishers won a battle with Amazon over pricing for e-books, wanting to price them higher than Amazon was allowing at the time.  For a while now the big publishing houses have tended to price their e-books from $10 up to $20.  Often as much, or strangely even more than, the pricing for a print copy. And now e-book sales have dropped.  

Consumers do have preferences, and consider a variety of factors as well as price. But price cannot be ignored as a factor.  Putting aside for a moment considerations such as convenience, immediate delivery, and functions assisting in issues with sight, and looking at the product itself - print vs. electronic and there is no real sensible reason for an electronic copy to be as much or more as a physical copy.

Consumers are not idiots.  An e-book does not have the exact same cost involved in production as a physical copy. Furthermore an e-book cannot be shared, lended, given away or sold as used as a physical copy can.  So the value of the product to the customer is less.

Yes, e-books have a cost in production, and yes, they have value.  But both are less than that of physical books.  Part of that cost savings should be shared with the consumer. In my opinion that is the smart business move.

So, it's no surprise to me when a consumer is given a choice between purchasing a paperback for $7.99 or an e-book version for $9.99, they're more often choosing the paperback.

I know I will not purchase an e-book for $10 or more.  I also will not purchase an e-book that is not at least $2 less than the new paperback price.  And I know I'm not alone.  And I am one who doesn't even buy physical books anymore. So, how many sales are they losing with their lack of reasonable pricing I wonder, and they should wonder.

Big publishers may prefer selling physical copies, and may be happy e-book sales are down, and so they may not  be taking an honest look in the reasons for the decline.  However, as consumers do have various preferences and needs I think they'd be smart to serve their customers fairly in their pricing of either option, and not inflate their e-book pricing at the expense of their e-book customers.

Book Publishers Go Back to Basics

 

Snagged this Kindle Freebie

The Gauguin Connection - Estelle Ryan

I had two people tell me this series is pretty good, starting with "The Gauguin Connection".  Since I do tend to like police procedural murder mystery type books and it's FREE FOR KINDLE I went ahead and snagged a copy.

Can't personally give an opinion (yet), but wanted to give you all a heads up if you want to grab a copy.

Self-Pubs That Shine

The Book of Kindly Deaths - Eldritch Black Rewinder - Brett Battles Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper - J.L. Bryan Paladin - Sally Slater Haven - A.R. Ivanovich, Michelle Ivanovich Nightfall Gardens - Allen Houston Marking Time - April  White Slumber - Samantha Young Timebound - Rysa Walker Nefertiti's Heart - A.W. Exley

Most of us these days are aware of the flood of self-pubbed books and how difficult it can be to find a gem in the sea of mediocrity.  We often see reviews of the sub-par and/or reports of unethical marketing schemes or unprofessional behavior on the part of some authors.

But some of us who have stuck a toe or two into those waters have come across a few gems.  I thought it'd be good to share a few self-pubbed & small press books I really enjoyed and that I feel stand well among their trade-pubbed counterparts. 

So here are a few I've discovered that I am proud to recommend.

Quicky Review - Arabella and the Battle of Venus

Arabella and the Battle of Venus (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby) - David D. Levine

Arabella and the Battle of Venus is the sequel to Arabella of Mars.  I enjoyed it as much, if not more, than the first.

 

An adventure story with a plucky heroine and a Steampunk flair, flavors of Verne and Burroughs.  Airships in space, battles between the English and French over Venus.

Arabella is a delight, brave, independent but still believable.  And don't fear, this is not another "YA Romance disguised as Science Fiction or Fantasy". Nor it is angsty.

 

It's technically got a romance going in it, as Arabella is engaged and rescuing her fiancé is the premise of this adventure. But the romance doesn't overtake the plot. And, due to the genre and time period it's positively reserved in that regard.

 

Thoroughly enjoyed it, quite an adventure. Hopefully awaiting a next installment.



And if you enjoy this series I think you may also enjoy Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Rice Celebrates The End of the Amazon Discussion Boards

"Folks, I'm happy to share that Amazon has indeed ended its Amazon Discussion Forums, including the Top Reviewers Forum which was a gathering place for pernicious bullies who delighted in trying to hurt young writers, usually indie writers, in the hopes of destroying their dreams and their careers. I suspect some of these predatory people will now migrate to Goodreads to continue their vicious and destructive behavior, that is, if they have not already been banned there. Remember, when you see this people at work on Goodreads you can report them. Amazon respects its customers. --- Both Amazon and Goodreads are beautiful ideas; and certainly Amazon has worked a huge revolution in the book business benefiting writers young and old, and book lovers galore. ---- But there were parasites on the site, gaming the system to persecute targeted authors for petty and often stupid reasons, and the system was not efficient at handling this miscreants. This certainly did not benefit customers who deserve to have some faith in the reviews they read of everything from a pair of shoes to a volume of poetry. And now at least we can heave a sigh of relief that the Top Reviewers Forum where these bullies gathered --- identified targets and whipped up internet lynch mobs --- is gone. I will miss the good discussions I enjoyed in the Forums, especially the Christianity Forum. But when a system is not regulated or policed in a consistent way, abuse is inevitable. Why Amazon took down the Discussion Forums, I don't know. It was always a case of the majority of posters being good people, and respecters of the system and only a minority obsessed with exploiting the Discussions for hate. Well, it's all gone. I'm glad, must confess, and any friends I knew there can easily email me if there's a desire to get in touch."

https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10155862686985452

 

 

Amazon Forums Closing

Hello Friends,

 

Haven't been active here for a while, but wanted to pop in and make a post about the Amazon Forums closing.  I'll sorely miss them, and am glad I am connected with some of the people there either on Goodreads and/or here.

For those who don't know (or don't remember), my nick on Amazon is Lessa.  Feel free to respond to this post if you'd like and share/connect with others or discuss the forums closing.

Review: Starflight

Starflight - Melissa Landers

I'd classify this story as a Romance, rather than a Sci Fi novel.

 

I'm disappointed, as I was hoping for a Sci Fi adventure, even if it contained a bit of romance. At about the half way point I'd have called this a romantic caper. A lighter story than I was hoping for, with a heroine who was a mechanic and on the run, I was hoping for something a bit grittier, more adventurous, and a MC who was a bit more kick butt.

 

But at that point, in spite of these disappointments and some eye roll inducing moments, I was enjoying it well enough. And I thought perhaps the second half would improve my estimation. At the half way point I'd have given this a solid 3.

 

Unfortunately the second half became more Romancy, with our heroine and her love interest sharing a fade-to-black night of bliss, and declaring their love for each other. That I could have handled, probably, but ugh, what we had to go through to get there.

 

Thankfully this story avoided the typical angst ridden back and forth of so many teen romance stories. But instead we got accidental ingesting of drugs, under the influence hickeys given, plus matching tattoos. We even were treated to a night on some planet somewhere, that just happened to be having some type of festival, where there were hay rides, a barn dance, a corn maze, and a rigged shooting game, just like you'd find at state fairs or country festivals. I kid you not. Yes, presumably this place was colonized by people from Earth, but come on!

 

This story could have been set on present day America with just a few tweaks. By the end I was just ready to be finished. I'd rate the second half a 2.

 

There are bad guys, chases and narrow escapes, but it all felt like an excuse and window dressing for the romance. I found the characters likable enough, and this story certainly isn't bad. But it's going to appeal more to the Romance audience than the Sci Fi Adventure audience.

Whoot! I read a graphic novel! Review: Mass Effect: Homeworlds #1

Mass Effect Homeworlds #1 - Anthony Palumbo

Am I one of the cool kids now?

 

Always had a soft spot for James, nice to get a bit of his backstory.  I wish it had been longer though, and covered other past events, such as the night Anderson convinced James to be Shepard's guard.  It's a pretty short story.  Showing James at the Citadel which I take to be when he was there at the start of ME3, then telling this story as a flashback, was a nice touch I think to tie the two together.

 

Although James is supposed to be a teen in this story, young enough to be referred to as a minor, old enough though to enlist in the military, he's drawn to look pretty much as he is later. A minor quibble, though.

 

Overall just a morsel for Mass Effect fans.  Others will have no idea who this guy is, or why we should care, or maybe even what the heck is going on.

Just Starting: Ravenscroft Conspiracy

Ravenscroft Conspiracy - Vic Connor

"So it's all real. They're going to kill me. According to their records, he murdered his parents soon after he turned sixteen. Only it was a lie. He hadn't seen them since he was six."

 

A Sci-Fi story with a virtual world setting.  A favorite premise of mine.

 

I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, but do hope it's at least reasonably entertaining.

 

Here goes!