Walmart eBooks | Review

I just wanted to buy The Atlantropa Articles by Cody Franklin (aka AlternateHistoryHub on YouTube) on Walmart eBooks. I had some money on there and was going to spend it.

I found the book on the app; it said if I wanted to purchase the book I would have to do so from Walmart. UGH! Fine! I headed to the Walmart app and searched for the book. I found it, but it was the hardback. I don’t want the hardback; I want the eBook!

I figured that maybe it wan’t in eBook format on Walmart since the author isn’t as well known. I tried “Dean Koontz.” I found only hardbacks and paperbacks. Finally, I saw an eBook filter option. When I clicked on that, I got random eBooks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What does that have to do with Dean Koontz? (I guess he did write the forward.)

I finally just gave up.

Walmart really needs to fix their search and eBook system if they want to compete with Amazon. On Amazon, you search, find the product, buy the product–no hoop jumping required. Nobody wants to go through 15 different sites just to buy a product, which is why Amazon is doing so well–you go to the site, buy, and you’re done.

I know I could get the eBook from Amazon, but I wanted to get it from Walmart eBooks because a) I have credit with Walmart eBooks and b) I don’t trust Amazon.

I never thought I’d see the day I was rooting for Walmart. Don’t get me wrong: Walmart is far from a saint. When I was younger, Walmart was always the “big bad” choking the life out of smaller businesses. There were tons of news and personal stories of Walmart causing local businesses to close because they couldn’t compete. Now, it’s Amazon, and they aren’t just hurting small businesses but the larger ones too (RIP Toys R Us, not to mention a few bookstores).

At first, I liked Amazon, but the more I dealt with them, the less I liked them. A lot of the trouble came from when I tried to self-publish eBooks with them. Their exclusive publishing program sounds good but that means you can’t sell it anywhere else–including your own website. Customers have their own preferences, like buying from Barnes & Noble. If you only publish at Amazon, you are limiting your customer potential.

Also with Amazon, you can’t sell your book for free unless you are part of the exclusive program, and you can only do that for like five days every few months. Finally, their royalty rates are pretty low. Most of the money from your sales, unless you go exclusive, goes to Amazon.

There are other sneaky things, but those mostly come from other people or are alleged rumors, so I won’t go into them here.

The point is I started seeing Walmart as the lesser of two evils. Kind of like with the “subscribe to PewDiePie” campaign. For a long time I’d see YouTubers mocking or saying how much they dislike or are annoyed with PewDiePie. Suddenly, everyone was saying “subscribe to PewDiePie” and “save PewDiePie.” I couldn’t understand the shift.

At first, I figured it was a joke or YouTubers trying to find something to vlog/make content about…and I’m sure that still plays a part, but I started to see a deeper reason.

PewDiePie, like his videos or dislike his videos, is an independent maker (or independent-ish). Meanwhile, T-Series is a multi-channel organization with a staff. And then there is the theory that YouTube itself is helping T-Series succeed in order to get a foothold in the Indian market.

To the other YouTube Creators, PewDiePie is a symbol of the small content maker who works out of their closet (even if PewDiePie might not actually be doing that) while T-Series is seen as a big company with big backing. It is the same reason that many YouTubers are having trouble with celebrities, like Will Smith, becoming YouTubers (as seen in the FootofaFerret video): the small scale YouTubers can’t compete with the high production value and fame that celebrities bring.

So even though PewDiePie has more subscribers than some countries have citizens, he is still seen as the lesser of two evils to the other content makers. To them, he is seen as “one of them,” some random person with a camera talking about stuff. They see the channels, like celebrity channels or T-Series, that can pretty much buy their way into the trending tab as a threat to their livelihood.

My point is that sometimes it is better to go with the devil you know. And also if Walmart doesn’t want to become the next sad, goodbye, going out of business meme–like Toys R Us–they better get to work on improving their eBook app.

(I can’t believe I mentioned “subscribe to PewDiePie” in a post, sigh.)


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The first interactive story game based on my book series can be found here.

The Unlikely Hero of 13B | Review

All reviews are my personal opinion. Spoilers ahead.

The Unlikely Hero of 13B by Teresa Toten tells the tale of Adam Spencer Ross who falls for Robyn Plummer. Adam immediately falls for Robyn and plans to marry her. Over the course of the story, he encounters many normal obstacles: a rival, age differences (he’s about 14/15 and she’s 16), and he feels he isn’t tall or manly enough for her (which leads to a hilarious scene in a coffee shop). He also pretends that his route home matches hers in order to walk with her. The twist to the story comes from the fact Adam isn’t “normal.” He has mental health issues like OCD.

Throughout the story Adam wants to rescue Robyn and be her superhero, but feels he comes up short because of his problems.

It was interesting to see the story through the perspective of the one with the metal illness. You get to see that Adam has a lot of the same feelings and fears that “normal” people have—they’re just cranked up to eleven.

I did have a problem with the story when Adam finds out that Robyn is getting better. She no longer needs to attend the support group meetings, which is where he met her. He then learns that her coming to the meetings and hanging out with him is harming her mental health. Adam freaks out about hurting her and says he’ll let her go, but then in the next chapter he’s still with her. It was kind of confusing to have this big, emotional moment with him in tears over hurting the one he loves only to have him continue to do so a page later.

Review Guide

But, you also get scenes like Wolverine talking about his heart problems and random illnesses or Green Lantern worrying about killing or hurting someone. At the beginning of the story, also known as the first meeting of Adam’s support group, the doctor in charge, Chuck, has everyone pick new identities to help them feel more comfortable; pretty much everyone chooses a superhero name. So, you have Iron Man worrying about his medicine dosage or Wonder Woman talking about being afraid of tight spaces.

I actually had some trouble finding negatives about the story. The flow and writing was well done. The characters felt real. The plot constantly moved forward, though it was a little cliché—boy meets girl, boy tries to win girl—but having main characters with mental illness brought uniqueness. The ending also seemed real. It was a happy-ish ending, but not an “everything is wonderful” ending. Adam isn’t suddenly cured of his mental illness, but he starts being able to cope with it. There are some pretty bittersweet moments, but you’ll have to read the book to find out about those. 4.8/5


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The latest Side Quest short story Carl Rogers Is Missing is out now for FREE.

Undertale Soundtrack | Review

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I finally got around to listening to “MEGALOVANIA” by Toby Fox from the Undertale game on Spotify. I know I’m a tad late; but give me a break, I didn’t even know about Undertale until a few months ago–about the same time Deltarune came out.

I’ll probably get in treble for this, but I found the song to be not very note-worthy. And…uh, what’s that blue energy?

“EW-OWWW!!!”

BAM! CRASH! BANGBASHSLAM! OOOFCLANGBOOF! Groan.

*I slowly look up from my position on the floor.* “Sans?” (The Undertale skeleton character, not the font.)

“i’ve got a bone to pick with you,” *says the skeleton in the blue jacket* “i’m the only one who makes bad puns around here.”

*I start to stand up.* Hmm, should I try to fight him or reason with him? “No, I can make bad puns too. You’re a video game character, and I’m a book character. It’s totally different.”

“oh. right. guess i’ll be going then.”

“Wait, just like that?”

“meh, why not? besides, i got to pay a visit to the guy who said i was ness.”

*I sigh.* “That’s never going away, is it?”

*Before walking out the door, San’s winks.* “not in this reality.”

Anywho, what I said earlier was a joke. I liked the “MEGALOVANIA” song. I liked it so much I listened to the other soundtrack songs. And guess what? I liked most of them too.

I enjoyed their 8-bit video game tune. I could really hear the EarthBound inspirations. Also, as I listened, I could picture the game’s events (and some you can dance too). I liked how the “MEGALOVANIA” song started out simple and then more and more instruments got added; soon, it was like a full on concert. It’s also impressive how Toby Fox is self-taught when it comes to music (at least according to Wikipedia). Finally, I checked the Toby Fox artist page (on Spotify) to see what else he’d released; I found the soundtrack to Deltarune’s first chapter. I’ll have to give that a listen…but at the rate I’ve been going that might be in the year 3000.

My only problem with the songs: some were too short. Well, yeah, some of them kind of repeated, but what do you expect for video game music–they need to be on a loop.

For those of you interested, Undertale is available on PC, PS4, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch. The Undertale soundtrack is also available on STEAM and iTunes.


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.

Cowards? | Scooby Doo and the Gourmet Ghost

May contain spoilers.

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I was watching Scooby Doo and the Gourmet Ghost when about 50-60 minutes in Shaggy said something interesting. He was talking to Scooby and said (I’m paraphrasing) that once again, pretending to be cowards landed them the easy assignments. What?! I rewound the video and listened again. I even put on subtitles. Shaggy indeed said “pretending to be cowards.” My mind was blown.

What’s next? You guys don’t really like Scooby Snacks? But me thinking about them not liking Scooby Snacks led me down a dark rabbit hole.

Suddenly, the whole series made more sense. Shaggy and Scooby pretend to be cowards and they get Scooby Snacks; what a hustle. Also, the ghost always coming after Scooby and Shaggy made sense; it’s karma for all their ploys. I also began to wonder if Fred (maybe one of the others) suspects or knows, and this is why Fred always has Scooby and Shaggy be the bait for the ghost traps.

Earlier in the movie, the gang have to cook their own meals. Shaggy and Scooby say they have to leave so that they can help another chef with their class (which in true comical fashion is the truth). Fred, I think, says to them (again paraphrasing), “You two will say anything to get out of work.” Again, makes me think one of them at least suspects that Scooby and Shaggy aren’t cowards.

Although, I don’t know if Scooby is pretending. I don’t remember him agreeing with Shaggy–I was too stunned by Shaggy’s line and the ghost floating by the window. Maybe Scooby isn’t pretending.

At first, I thought Shaggy was just referring to that instance and all the other times they were really scared, but why did he say, “once again.” Logic says they (or at least Shaggy) has done it before. This could mean he’s done it before but only in this movie. He doesn’t say, “like always.”

Now that’s out of the way, let me take off my tinfoil hat.

I really enjoyed the movie. It was a classic Scooby adventure full of humor and fun. But, it made me feel sorry for the gang if they ever do a family tree. They always seem to have some uncle or cousin that invites them somewhere. Just how big are Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and Velma’s families?

Ugh, I’m doing it again.

Anyway, the movie was great. I highly recommended it to any Scooby-Doo fan.


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

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Test Your Might | Mortal Kombat 11 Reveal

Thanks to IGN, GhostRobo, and Gamer’s Little Playground, I was able to get a “peek” (as did the rest of the Net-mosphere) at Mortal Kombat…ahem, I mean, *in dramatic, Mortal Kombat announcer voice* Mortal Kombat 11.

The graphics looked crisp. I liked the character designs and the move sets look amazing. And the combos…just wow. I also like the addition of the “fatal blow” mechanic.

But, I’m not sure how I feel about the new meter burn mechanic. Instead of pressing the same button each time, rumor is that you’ll need to press a different button for each meter burn move, and the button press is different not only between moves but between characters. On the one hand, it makes the game more immersive. On the other, it really promotes the idea of having a favorite character. In order to be successful with the meter burns, you need to focus on one character, get to really know that character and what they can do. This new meter mechanic doesn’t let you play as other characters, unless you have a good memory.

The developers also cranked up the blood and gore to eleven. Whoa, that’s weird. They cranked up the violence to eleven for Mortal Kombat 11. What are the odds? Anyway, the cinematic scenes, like brutalities and finishers, were always full of gore, but now it’s worse and even during the gameplay fights you can see blood spewing about. The game is definitely not for the faint of heart. (Also, I wonder how long it’ll take the “video games cause violence” people to start talking.)

I do like the customization, sorry Kustomization (it’s Mortal Kombat), addition. It’ll be neat to make my own version of Raiden or Sonya. (Or my favorite, Sub-Zero.)

Lastly, I’m looking forward to the plot. Some new time-manipulating character shows up trying to restore the timeline. And of course, there’s Rouge Raiden.

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

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Civil War Comes to Hermitcraft

After what seems like weeks of preparations, the cease-fire flag has finally come down, or more accurately been blown up.

What started out as a simple prank war between the G-Team and Team Star quickly escalated into a chaotic battle of fireballs and fire charges. Both sides seemed unprepared for the devastation. In what seemed like only a few minutes, the battlefield was in flames and both teams retreated. Fortunately, or unfortunately, both the water filter and turtle…I mean, G-Team and Team Star bases were virtually unharmed in the battle.

But, there were some sacrifices…namely the witch Gertrude (who was replaced by another Gertrude) and the hundreds of poor zombies G-Team released upon Team Star. Let’s have a moment of silence for the fallen code.

So far the only winner in this war has been cubfan135, who has been supplying both sides with arms (like TNT)–he’s been making a mint off the Hermitcraft Civil War. But, how long will it be before one side abducts Cubfan and forces him to make weapons for them. Cubfan will then have to become the Invincible Iron Fan.

As the dust settles, and the fires are put out, more questions arise. Which team will win? Who will strike first? Will Mumbo Jumbo be able to continue moling or will he get caught? When will this Civil War become part of the YouTube Cinematic Universe that Draw With Jazza began with his making YouTubers into superheroes (or villains) videos? How long before Thanos arrives and snaps half the Hermits into dust thus bringing us Hermitcraft: Endgame.

But possibly the most important question: how long can I keep a straight face while doing this post?

In all seriousness, the Hermitcraft “war” has been entertaining. If you wish to get in on the fun, here are a couple videos to get you started:

Hermitcraft VI: #38-Hermitcraft WAR! from Tengo Tek

Minecraft HermitCraft S6 | Ep 57: Chaos! from impulseSV

Hermitcraft 6: Episode 44: THE FUN BEGINS! from Grian

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

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