June 03, 2023

Offbeat Offline: May 2023 (+ Announcing a One-Month-Long Hiatus)

Welcome to Offbeat Offline, where I bring you up-to-date with what went on in my life during the month just gone, give you a sneak peek of my next shenanigans, and share my favourite posts of late!

What happened last month to yours truly? A piping disaster, more eye trouble, return of the perm woes, usual amount of running around and caregiving. I had planned to take a month off blogging (this one), but as you know, I ended up starting my hiatus earlier than I anticipated, because I was spent. It didn't make a difference for the blog, because I had the whole May content scheduled already, but it caused me to pretty much disappear on you (brief Twitter stints excluded), and for that I'm sorry...but I can't seem to find the time and energy to stay up-to-date with your posts - not to mention, I want to be able to put my heart and soul into my interactions, and that just isn't feasible at the moment. So, after this post, I'll retire into my cave again for the whole month, and I hope to be able to make a proper comeback in July. Bless you for not giving up on me and for showing me support even when I'm M.I.A. 😭 🧡.  

May 30, 2023

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Which Books Are You Looking Forward to Reading This Summer? (June-August)

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings in order to discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging (and some slightly more personal matters throw in for good measure). After Heidi stopped blogging (apparently for good), five of us took over as hosts while providing new questions. The current team is composed of Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real LifeJen at That's What I'm Talking AboutKaren at For What It's WorthLinda at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Roberta at Offbeat YA. This week's question is...


I don't know if I'll ever get around to buying all these books or when, since 1) early reviews and excerpts might cause me to change my mind in the future, and 2) given my current situation (see: unemployment status), book money is scarce...(BUT! this is a lucky season for me, since I got access to 7 out of 10 of these books! I was approved for The Infinite Miles by Hannah Fergesen, The Wonder State by Sara Flannery Murphy, The Museum of Human History by Rebekah Bergman, The Dark Place by Britney S. Lewis, The Girls from Hush Cabin by Marie Hoy Kenny, and A Second Chance for Yesterday by R.A. Sinn, while The Never-Ending End of the World by Ann Christy was free to download both on NG and EW). Anyhow, I wanted to give a bit of exposure to all the summer books that caught my eye, so here's my list (complete with pub dates)...

May 24, 2023

Hannah Fergesen: "The Infinite Miles" (ARC Review)

Title: The Infinite Miles [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Hannah Fergesen [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi
Year: 2023
Age: 16+ (technically an adult book, but it can be read by mature and even younger teens)
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Inventive, heartfelt twist on the time-travel trope. Ode to the power of friendship and hope.
Cons: You have to buy into a specific branch of time travel in order to suspend your disbelief (click on the link at your own risk - it will spoil part of the fun...).
WARNING! Contains some violence and a dose of dark imagery (face scars, black blood, stabbing).
Will appeal to: Fans of Doctor Who (especially the Matt Smith era). People who know how to love ardently (and fight for what they love).

Blurb: Three years after her best friend Peggy went missing, Harper Starling is lost. All she has are regrets and reruns of her favorite science fiction show, Infinite Odyssey. Then Peggy returns and demands to be taken to the Argonaut, the fictional main character of Infinite Odyssey. But the Argonaut is just that...fictional. Until the TV hero himself appears and spirits Harper away from her former best friend. Traveling through time, he explains that Peggy used to travel with him but is now under the thrall of an alien enemy known as the Incarnate. Then he leaves Harper in 1971. Stranded in the past, Harper must find a way to end the Incarnate’s thrall...without the help of the Argonaut. And if Harper can’t find it in herself to believe - in the Argonaut, in Peggy, and most of all, in herself - she’ll be the Incarnate’s next casualty, along with the rest of the universe. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Edelweiss. Thanks to Blackstone Publishing for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


Let's address the elephant in the room first: if the synopsis gives you strong Doctor Who vibes, it's intentional. Ferguson does pay homage to the iconic British show and its titular character in the form of the Argonaut, a time traveler who trades the Doctor's space vessel masquerading as a blue police box for his own spaceship disguised as a black muscle car (and occasionally a lime-green VW bus). However, despite taking its cue from the long-lived TV series, The Infinite Miles isn't anything like fan fiction made novel. The disillusioned and bitter Argonaut couldn't be more different from whatever incarnation of the Doctor (even troubled time-war-survivor Nine and grumpy post-regeneration Twelve) if he tried. And for all their parallels and (often clever and oblique) similarities, the novel puts a number of spins on its source material and creates its own independent mythology, while ultimately conveying the same message of hope and love (self-love, too) being the biggest weapons. Let's put it this way: if you're a Doctor Who aficionado, you'll gobble this book up. If you've never seen the show, but you like time-travel stories that span both the Earth and the stars, and sci-fi with a heart, you'll love The Infinite Miles nevertheless - and maybe pick up Doctor Who because of it. [...]

May 15, 2023

Joshua David Bellin: "Myriad" (ARC Review)

Title: Myriad [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Joshua David Bellin [Twitter | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Year: 2023
Age: 18+ (but it can be read by mature teens)
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Mind-blowing variation on the time-travel trope, full of twists and turns - but also heart. Well-crafted, compelling main character.
Cons: At least one of the protagonist's actions is based on a leap of logic. At least one of the rules of time travel is unclear.
WARNING! Blood and other bodily fluids. Gun violence. Abuse (off page). Parent with Alzheimer syndrome. Suicide.
Will appeal to: Those who love the intricacies of a complex time-travel mystery. Those who crave a deeply human angle to it.

Blurb: Agent Miriam Randle works for LifeTime, a private law enforcement agency that undertakes short-term time travel to erase crimes before they occur. Haunted by the memory of her twin brother’s unsolved murder at the age of six, Miriam thinks of herself as Myriad - an incarnation of the many lives she’s lived in her journeys to rearrange the past. When a routine assignment goes wrong and Miriam commits a murder she was meant to avert, she is thrown into the midst of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of LifeTime. Along with her partner Vax, Miriam flees into the past in an attempt to unravel the truth before LifeTime agents catch up with her. But then her brother’s killer reappears, twenty years to the day since he first struck. And he’s not through with the twin who survived, not by a long shot. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Edelweiss. Thanks to Angry Robot for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


As a fan of all things wibbly wobbly timey wimey, I expected to get a kick out of Myriad, with its promise of changed timelines and temporal displacements - not to mention the dead sibling angle, whether the protagonist was supposed to try and save her brother in the past, or to fail to do that and continue to deal with her loss in the present/future. But after deceptively portraying time travel in a way that felt familiar for a while, Myriad ramped up the madness and let the unexpected take the wheel, with a series of wild twists and turns, up to the last, jaw-drop-inducing reveal...and beyond. I'll be honest - I picked up one of the clues early on, so there was at least one thing that I more or less expected...but you could say that the surprises in this book are as many as the timestreams Miriam enters, and I was floored by every single one of them after that first one (despite my being a seasoned reader and watcher of everything time travel). [...]