January 18, 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Have Been Your Most Fulfilling Blogger/Author Interactions So Far?


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). While Heidi is on an extended hiatus, there are five of us who are hosting it and providing the 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...

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST FULFILLING BLOGGER/AUTHOR INTERACTIONS SO FAR?

Let's tell uplifting stories and celebrate authors who love and respect bloggers, for a change - shall we? Here are the three authors I've been talking to/working with most often since I started blogging in 2012. In strict chronological order...



When I was still a newbie in the blogging world (first months of 2013), I messaged Deadgirl author B.C. (Bobby) Johnson on Goodreads to ask him a question about the book (which I had read and loved recently, and I was planning to review). He replied right away, very friendly. So I replied back, thanking him and whatnot, and in a third message (I was asking how I could give his book more exposure, since it was going to be reissued by a new pub house and have sequels) I gave him the most backhanded compliment ever (brace for my pointing out TYPOS/SMALL MISTAKES to him! Please notice that I won't actually include that part of my message though - and keep in mind that the original book had been printed by a very small publisher...):
Since Deadgirl is in the process of being reprinted, do you think it would sound hugely impolite on my part if I pointed out to you a couple of things I noticed? [...] I was surprised to find an example of that in a book so well-written...because yes, it is :). I do hope I didn't offend you in any way by what I said. In that case, I apologize.
(...also..."BY what I said"??? while pointing out typos? 😧 🤣).

So I hit "Send" and immediately was like "GAH! I've managed to alienate my very first author" 😂. Thank goodness Bobby was a great sport about it, and later he would even ask me if I was up for proof/beta-reading his next (indie) project called Riven. We've had a wonderful blogger/author relationship ever since. It's not like we are "friends", but we support and respect each other a lot - and by the way...can I bring the Deadgirl series to your attention (again)? Real life got in the way lately, but Bobby's working on the fourth and final book, and here's hoping it can come out in 2022! Also, give him a follow on Twitter. He's a really nice fellow (and nerds out a lot if you're into that sort of thing 😉).

January 09, 2022

Ron Walters: "Deep Dive" (ARC Review)

Title: Deep Dive  [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Ron Walters [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller/Mystery, plus a third one I won't disclose because it would be a giant spoiler...If you want to go into the book without knowing anything vital about it, I recommend that you not read the Labels at the end of my review either. No need to worry though - the review itself will be spoiler-free...
Year: 2022
Age: 14+ (I shelved it as Adult because of the characters' age, and it has definitely more of an adult appeal, but it can be read by teens) 
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: High-octane ride full of surprises and interesting (if far-fetched...but hey, that's the thing with sci-fi 😉) VR concepts.
Cons: The premise, when revealed, needs you to suspend your disbelief. You get the sense early on that, despite the number of possibilities (and of ways to get closure), there's only one ending that you may expect...
Will appeal to: Those who like a sci-fi story with a strong thriller edge, but with familial love at its core. 

Blurb: Still reeling from the failure of his last project, videogame developer Peter Banuk is working hard to ensure his next game doesn’t meet the same fate. He desperately needs a win, not only to save his struggling company, but to justify the time he’s spent away from his wife and daughters. So when Peter’s tech-genius partner offers him the chance to beta-test a new state-of-the-art virtual reality headset, he jumps at it. But something goes wrong during the trial, and Peter wakes to find himself trapped in an eerily familiar world where his children no longer exist. As the lines between the real and virtual worlds begin to blur, Peter is forced to reckon with what truly matters to him. But can he escape his virtual prison before he loses his family forever? (Amazon)

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

CLASSIC WITH A TWIST

When I requested Deep Dive, I thought I knew, more or less, what I was getting into...I was expecting a Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle scenario (minus the random avatars - and the jungle, of course 😉) and a classic quest story, if with a prominent family angle...but the combo of virtual reality + alternate one was too alluring for me to resist. Now, without spoiling the book, what I can tell you is that the story is far more creative than I expected (and much wilder - but more about that below). VR does play a big role in the plot (duh), but not exactly in the way you might think. And while there's something familiar in Walters' version of the cyberspace - at least for those of us who consume VR-related media - he sure put his own spin on it. I loved the broader scope of the virtual scenario and its inner workings, and I was a little bummed that we didn't get more of that (mind you, rightfully so, since 1) it's not what the story is about, and 2) it's part of a late reveal), because it was really cool. 10/10 would read another book set in the same universe. [...]

January 01, 2022

Offbeat Offline: December 2021


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 birthday, a week off work, a book haul, a Covid scare, vaccine booster, money hemorrhage and lots of Gmail spam. I was thinking...remember when I used to say I didn't have enough stuff going on in my life to justify writing a monthly wrap-up? Yeah…fun times…
Anyhow, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!! 🎉And let's see how I fared in the last month of the blasted 2021...

December 20, 2021

2021 Wrap-Up: In Which I Keep My Pace (And Deal With Anything Under the Sun)

Hello my beauties!
Welcome to my last post of the year, where I will wrap my 2021 up. This was, it goes without saying, YET another year of scheduling, both my reads and my posts. In my previous yearly wrap-up, I set up my usual goal of one post a week for 2021, since I knew I wouldn't be able to replicate my 2020 success (72 posts!!!) without working for it, and I made a conscious decision not to push myself past my limits. Anyhow, I ultimately managed to squeeze in a few posts more than my goal dictated, and that made me happy (granted, I would have been happy with 52 posts all the same...but it's nice to have a small edge 🙂). 2020 was an anomaly, if a pleasant one - this year I kept my "normal" pace, and to me, it was a great accomplishment.

Pt. 1: This Year in Blogging

As of today, I've been blogging for 9 years and a couple of months 😃.

This is what happened on Offbeat YA during the year, broken down by number of posts, events I took part in, books I reviewed, authors I interacted with and discussion posts I wrote...plus an off-blog, real-life section!