June 01, 2022

Offbeat Offline: May 2022 (+ Blog 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? Basically - unemployment benefits application, useless job searches, Covid, perm issues (again) 😭. I know, I'm such a drag. But I can't seem to take a breath - it's been an endless string of misadventures and annoyances (at best) since Dec. 31st 2020...I'm so tired and angry and frustrated and I feel like crying. The only good thing in my life is my blog and all the stuff that revolves around it. Which is nice and everything, but it's not enough to make a life worth living...

May 28, 2022

Max Gladstone: "Last Exit"

Title: Last Exit [on Amazon | on Amazon UK | on Goodreads] (Note: I got my copy from the UK-based Titan Books, so I'm using the UK cover and I'm linking to Amazon UK along with Amazon.com; but I decided to use the US blurb because it follows the story more accurately. The US version was published by Tor Books in March; the UK version came out this month)
Series: None
Author: Max Gladstone [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Multiverse, Urban Fantasy (more precisely, Portal Fantasy)
Year: 2022
Age: 16+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Engrossing, visionary yet painfully rooted in reality, with excellent characterisation and writing to boot.
Cons: There's a lot to absorb for a single story, both plot- and writing-wise: it takes a patient and disciplined reader not to get lost.
WARNING! Blood and gore. Bug horror. Suicidal thoughts.
Will appeal to: Those who want to get lost in a brutal, yet poetical work of fiction.

Blurb: Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda’s lover and the group's heart. Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart. Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US. When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts. Zelda’s getting the band back together - plus Sal’s young cousin June, who has a knack none of them have ever seen before. As relationships rekindle, the friends begin to believe they can find Sal and heal all the worlds. It’s not going to be easy, but they’ve faced worse before. But things have changed, out there in the alts. And in everyone's hearts. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Titan Books for providing an ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.

ABOVE AND BEYOND

When I first stumbled upon Last Exit, I thought it had all the marks of a book that I would love, but ultimately, it exceeded my expectations. I'm a sucker for alternate realities and a ragtag, apparently doomed band of adventurers trying to save the world against all odds. I did get the crazy worlds and their in-between, the dysfunctional found family, the road trip rife with danger and mystery (ha! the characters do have an exchange about the usage of the word "rife", and apparently, it stuck with me). But nothing, not even the excerpt I read before turning in my request, prepared me for the characters' being so much more than the literal driving force (because you know, road trip) of the story, the made-up worlds' allowing for a sharp social commentary, and the writing's being nothing short of evocative (poetical at times), despite the horrors our heroes endure. [...]

May 24, 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Do You Review Every Book You Read? Why or Why Not?


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...

DO YOU REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ? WHY OR WHY NOT?

I feel guilty if I don't, so yes. Also, I can be a bit obsessive about doing things a certain way without allowing exceptions, unless the exceptions have a rhyme and reason to them as well. It took me 9 years to decide not to review each and every book in full (until then, my mini reviews were only temporary, while I was waiting to reread the book and catch up with what I might have missed the first time around), and I only caved because it couldn't be sustained anymore; but I immediately made a rule about writing mini reviews for short stories, novellas (unless they were part of a series I was already reviewing in full before), anthologies and 1-to-3-star books, while the rest would go on receiving the usual full-review treatment. So...whether mini or full reviews, I'm stuck with writing them 😂 🤷‍♀️.

May 17, 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday: How Long Have You Been Blogging? And Has Your Blog Changed Over Time?


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...

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING? AND HAS YOUR BLOG CHANGED OVER TIME?

My blog will be ten (!!!) on October 14th. Back when I started, I had a very clear-cut idea of what it would be like, which accounts for its having changed very little through the years. I wanted all the unsung, underhyped YA books that I kept finding, reading and loving to have a home. I wanted to shout out about them. I wanted people to hear about them and buy them. After ten years, my blog is still small for a number of reasons, but if I've managed to get an equally small number of readers to pick up some books that were falling through the cracks (and I know I have), I'll call it a win 🙂.

In case you're wondering, I created my banner and my graphics myself using free PhotoFiltre (with the aid of a few pre-made icons that I tweaked, just like I tweaked my Face Your Manga avatar in order for it to look more like me). The cartoonish look wasn't intentional, but a consequence of my love of strong colours and my inability to actually design graphics 😂. That being said, I like the way my blog stands out because of it, and it absolutely vibes with my personality...

The only changes that have happened to my blog since it was born are that:

  • 1) I made awesome friends and I do have an audience now 😂 (with me being their audience in return of course);
  • 2) I started to post more about me and/or not necessarily post reviews;
  • 3) I've been incorporating more adult books into my blog in the last year and a half (speculative fiction/horror).

And frankly? I'm pleased with the way things are, and I don't plan to change course anytime soon 😉 (though I would like for Blogger to be able to incorporate an accessibility menu, but I've only been able to find WordPress plugins for now. I realised too late that my palette can be hard on color-blind people...).

Here, have a gif taken from a song that was wildly popular in my pre-teen years...
That's the Way (I Like It) by K.C. & The Sunshine Band