October 14, 2017

Gimme Five! or How I Survived a Half-Decade of Blogging

So, my dear friends and occasional readers...Offbeat YA turns five today! 🙌

I don't know if it's a big accomplishment or not. There are probably many blogs out there older than mine. For sure, there are SO many blogs out there that have been able to grow (much) bigger and better than my corner of the web in a (much) shorter span of time. There are so many dedicated bloggers who have worked hard and have grown an impressive reader base, while I was posting once a week in my best year (2014) and struggling to even do so. I can blame my hectic life and a whole set of issues that I have to battle every single day, plus work, plus age (because yes, I do tire more easily than I used to), plus the fact that I can't buy all the books most people can afford and I don't even want to, since I'm SO. DARN. PICKY. The fact is, after five years, I'm still one of the smallest fishes in an overwhelmingly vast sea of bloggers. Do I regret it?

October 01, 2017

James Wymore & Aiden James: "Return of the Saboteur"

Title: Return of the Saboteur [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: The Actuator (2nd of 4 books, but there's also a set of short stories which is Book 1.5)
Author: James Wymore [Site | Goodreads] & Aiden James
[Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Year: 2015
Age: It's marketed as an adult book, but it can be read by teens without any problem
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: Creative premise. Breathless adventure (though there's a lot of internal monologue as well). Constant change of scenery. Sheds more light on the Actuator and the people who have been involved with it.
Cons: Essentially a "male" book, where the main female characters end up needing to be saved. Some of the worlds would be interesting to explore, but are barely skimmed. As in Book 1, a handful of (harmless) typos that apparently escaped revision.
Will appeal to: Alternate realities enthusiasts. RPG fans. Readers who get bored easily.

Blurb: The Machine Monks fight to keep control of the Actuator while enemies attack the base. As besiegers wear them down, the rest of the world struggles to adapt to the chaos left in the wake of the great change. Their only choice is to push forward and find the next key and shutdown the fantasy realm surrounding the base. When they do, Xenwyn will die. Haunted by the incalculable death toll all over the earth, Jon accepts the mission to recover the next key. Desperate to keep Xenwyn alive, Red determines to find a magical cure before Jon gets back with the key. Seeing all his friends in turmoil, Dragon Star sets out to find the saboteur. None of them ever imagined the Actuator could still make the world even worse. (Amazon excerpt)

Review:  First off...DISCLAIMER: I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased. It's just that they have so many (sometimes underrated) gems under their belt.


The sequel to Fractured Earth takes place three months after the events in Book 1, and follows a bunch of Machine Monks (one of them being introduced for the first time) on their quest to restore reality as it used to be...or to achieve more personal goals. Despite my rating mirroring the one for Fractured Earth, this installment is actually more enjoyable than its predecessor, world-wise. The reasons why the aforementioned rating stayed the same have been stated in the Cons, and will be explored further in my review - but let me make this clear: The Actuator is a great series for those who like alternate realities, also because we can see how the people (and their possessions/transportations) that travel across the virtual boundaries between worlds are affected by the change, sometimes even emotionally. I have to say that we get to see more fantasy/steampunk realms than anything else, while personally, I would have liked a touch more of sci-fi, or at least some kind of contemporary setting where the ordinary rules were turned upside down somehow. Then again, the device some of the Machine Monks use in order to travel from world to world is definitely sci-fi (though conveniently, it works in any realm), and following our heroes on their different paths provides a high dose of entertainment. [...]

September 26, 2017

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Favourite UF Books

This is my first foray into Tell Me Something Tuesday. Yes...Roberta is doing a meme.

Let me explain a couple of things before I dive into this week's topic. I think you all know by now that I'm not a meme gal, except when there's no huge pressure and the topics are good - that is, not necessarily book related, but covering a wider range instead. TMST was brought to my attention when I saw Karen @ For What It's Worth participating in it. She also was the one who sent me the question list (updated till January 16th). Among the book-related discussions, there are prompts dealing with blogging, or prompts that are indeed book-inspired but not limited to your usual book list. Also, there's no Linky, so it feels much more relaxed than your usual meme. I plan on visiting the other participants' blogs of course, but without a sign-up list, it feels less intimidating. Also, should I decide to skip a week at the very last moment because I couldn't make the time to write my post, I wouldn't need to opt out or feel guilty 😉. (Mind you, I'm not saying I'm planning to participate every single week, but I'll butt in every time a topic strikes my fancy, unless I'm pressed for time). So here goes...

I even made a banner for this, so I'm committed!

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:


According to Wikipedia,
Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy are set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy, such as the arrival of alien races, the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence or conflict between humans and paranormal beings, and other changes to city life. A contemporary setting is not strictly necessary for a work of urban fantasy: works of the genre may also take place in futuristic and historical settings, real or imagined.
Now, I have to make a premise. Yes, ANOTHER one. I'm not a fan of straight-up fantasy (sorry everyone, I know most of you are reading it these days, also because fantasy and contemporary are all the rage lately and, like, 85% of the books that are being issued fit into those genres 😉). Which might seem at odds with my penchant for old ruins medieval castles and fortresses, the kind where pretty much all that survived the centuries are bare walls, better if a little broken, and no princess ever lived 😂. I'm not a huge UF gal either, in the sense that I'm not usually drawn to creatures (vampires, werewolves, werewhat), unless the book has some particular aspect that calls to me out loud. (You might wonder what I do read at this point. Short answer: afterlife, sci-fi, supernatural, some contemporary, anything weird that isn't historical, doesn't center on romance and isn't over-populated with the aforementioned creatures). But I do have a few UF books (or better, series) that I love despite my quirks - and I hope you will be able to get me interested in more. (Please note: I narrowed down my list to three examples, because this was becoming a monster post...wait, it IS a monster post already, and I haven't gotten to the list part yet...😨). So, here's my list (all in-progress series and a standalone), from YA to Adult...