December 24, 2017

2017 Wrap-Up: In Which I Rear My Head and Try to Schedule

Hello my beauties!
Welcome to my last post of the year, where I will wrap my 2017 up. Well, if I should blurb was a slow, but rewarding year - due to a few great books I was sent for review, the handful of authors that made my day, and the small, but awesome group of old and new friends who supported my blogging adventure. Post-wise, it was a walk of shame when it comes to numbers - but as some of my most faithful and kindest readers like to remind me from time to time, it's the content that matters...and apparently, in that department I delivered 😊. Or so they say πŸ˜‰.

Pt. 1: This Year in Blogging

As of today, I've been blogging for 5 years and a couple of months πŸ˜ƒ.

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...

a) Numbers

This is my 36th post this year. I managed to produce an average of 3 articles per month, while I hoped would have liked to post at least once a week...but after my 2016 debacle, I knew it was VERY unlikely *rolls eyes hard*.
Only 16 of my 2017 posts were reviews - (which is still better than the NINE of 2015, and only slightly worse than the 17 of 2016...). Most of them were (digital) ARCs...thanks to Curiosity Quills Press and the usual suspects πŸ˜‰. And I did most of my review work in the second half of the year - come June I had only reviewed FOUR books...😳 what with beta-reading and (mostly) facing a ton of real-life problems. Then I started working around a schedule, and things got a little least for my standards.

b) Events and memes

As you may know, I'm not very much inclined to take part in memes and such when they require my weekly attention or are particularly time-consuming, but I do like short events and small memes. Lately, I've become familiar with Tell Me Something Tuesday, a feature of Heidi's blog Rainy Day Ramblings, since I saw my friend Karen @ For What It's Worth participating in it. As its name suggests, TMST is a weekly meme covering a wide range of bookish related themes, but - unlike Top Ten Tuesday and the like - it isn't limited to lists. Also, without a Linky, it's a laid-back meme with zero pressure. I'm taking part in it only when the topic strikes my fancy and I do have time. I think I'll keep this one πŸ˜‰.
('s my latest TMST, dedicated to the Best Books of 2017 -  and again, indie/small pub take the cake!).
As for my own would-be TV-series-related article series, Screen Time, it was meant to be a monthly feature when I first came up with it, but my ambitious project got put in perspective very soon LOL. No way I could adhere to a schedule like that with a monumental non-book-related feature, while I struggle to write actual reviews and bookish posts! So, I decided to do a ST when I felt like, which apparently only happened once this year. 2017 marked my full immersion into the Doctor Who world, and I decided to celebrate it with a ST post called In Which I'm Hitchhiking for the TARDIS. (Or, more precisely, for a TARDIS with the Tenth Doctor aboard LOL. But honestly, I am a Whovian now, David Tennant or not...).
Now, not an event in the above sense, but an EVENT as in, "an occurrence, especially one of some importance" ( celebrated my first half-decade of blogging in October, and I threw a few thankyous to a bunch of wonderful people who have supported me in my journey - and still do πŸ’—. 

c) Reviews

I've been trying to change the way I review books lately...if a little. My main problem with reviews has always been wordiness - and we all know few people have the patience to read a long-winded review. If last year I decided to break them down into small-ish sections and to apply a heading to every one of those (for readability purposes), this year I've been slowly trying to reduce them in size, too - without sacrificing the thoughts and feelings I mean to convey. This became canon since August 15th, with my review of The Switch. I've realised I don't need thousands of words in order to say that I liked or didn't like a book and why. More often than not, I was only revealing too much of the plot that way (though unintentionally), or expressing the same concept with different words...

These are the books I reviewed this year, broken down by genres/Reading Rooms:

Afterlife: Life After Dez/Missing in Atman by Michelle E. Reed (joint review) | Deadgirl: Goneward by B.C. Johnson (ARC review) | Child of Nod by C.W. Snyder (ARC review).
Supernatural: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich.
Multiverse: The Switch by A.W. Hill & Nathanael Hill (ARC review).
Contemporary: Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally.
Unwalled: The Outs by E.S. Wesley (ARC review) | Static Mayhem by Edward Aubry (ARC review) | The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich | Mayhem's Children by Edward Aubry (ARC review).
Adult: Darkscapes by J.R. Rain et al. | Fractured Earth by James Wymore & Aiden James | Borderlands Anthology by James Wymore et al. | Return of the Saboteur by James Wymore & Aiden James | Chaos Chronicles by James Wymore et al. | The Last Key by James Wymore (ARC review).
Also, I posted three Review Morsels installments: the first featuring Patrick Ness, Robin Wasserman and E.S. Wesley, the second featuring Janet McNally, Seanan McGuire and Janet Tashjan, and the third featuring B.C. Johnson, A.S. King and Dawn Kurtagich.

d) Author interactions

Erin Callahan, Troy H. Gardner, Fanni SΓΌtΕ‘

Off-blog: in March, Erin Callahan (whose book The Art of Escaping, which I beta-read in 2015, will finally hit the shelves next June - more of that later) asked me to beta-read her second solo YA effort (working title: The Fictionologist's Daughter). Now, me and Erin go way back, when it comes to blogger/author relationships. We met when I was a blogging spring chicken, and she was actually the first author to reach out to me AFTER SHE PERUSED MY BLOG (hell yeah! she really did! all the more work for her, since I didn't even have a review policy back then, woe is me), seeking out reviews for the series she had developed with Troy H. Gardner, Mad World. So, back to the more recent past - I happily set to beta-reading TFD...and, spoiler! it will BLOW UP THE EARTH UNDER YOUR FEET, guys. In the meantime, Erin had let me know that her agent sold The Art of Escaping to Amberjack (I got the news on February, before an official announcement was made), and it was SO REWARDING for me too...the first time that a book I beta-read was going to actually being published! I summed up my feelings about it (and told the whole story) in a one-shot Waiting on Wednesday post.
Again, off-blog: in April I beta-read Slasher Academy, a NA horror comedy by Troy H. Gardner (Erin's partner in crime for the Mad World series). It was my first dive into the genre, and no, it's not NA in the sense that it stars college girls anxious to get laid πŸ˜‚ - but it happens to feature a bunch of 18-and-up characters. I had fun with this one, and I hope it finds its way to publication soon! In the same month, I did an exclusive cover+blurb reveal for Deadgirl: Goneward by B.C. Johnson - Book 3 in my beloved Deadgirl series. To tell the truth, the author had already posted the cover on his blog a couple of days before, but as far as bloggers were concerned, I was the one and only to be granted the privilege. Thank you Bobby!
In July, I hosted an interview with my recent friend and aspiring novelist Fanni SΓΌtΕ‘. We met on Twitter due to our mutual love for Doctor Who and, well, David Tennant (I bet you were bracing yourself for that name πŸ˜‚). Fanni does have a ton of interesting and crazy book ideas, so I hope we'll be able to read her works-in-progress the meantime, for a taste of her prose, you can read her quirky flash fiction stories What You Wish For and Pop! Go Dreams Like Balloons. As the Tenth Doctor would say, they're brilliant!
In October, Erin Callahan enrolled my small, small blog for an exclusive cover+blurb reveal for The Art of Escaping. And my stats just went off the charts πŸ˜ƒ. Thank you so much again, Erin!
Off-blog: in November I've been proofreading version 2.0 of Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner's first collaborative effort Wakefield (you can read my original review here, and the story of how this series came to be in 2012, went on hiatus and was finally slated for republishing, here).
About Wakefield - in December, what with the new and enhanced/revised edition coming, Troy did a making-the-cover feature on my blog, which was a new and fun thing for me to host. And a few days before, I interviewed author C.W. Snyder after reading his debut book Child of Nod (which you should try if you like fantasy, mythology, characters in a dark place and dead protagonists...).

e) Discussion posts goes shame...I ONLY WROTE ONE DISCUSSION POST THIS YEAR *cowers*.
March: Tell Me Again How a Hyped Book Is Born.
Apart from the time issue...I just haven't felt inspired. Yep, all year. Also, during its second half I've been trying to be more active, blog-wise, but only on the review/book-boosting front. I had a few commitments, and authors I wanted to help one way or another, and yes I know that reviews are the thing most people mercilessly skim focus on the least, but I was trying to establish my weight as a blogger who - even with all her difficulties and hiatuses and disappearances - REVIEWS BOOKS. I needed both my authors and readers to know that this blog, small as it is, riddled with time lapses as it is, still holds the same purpose it was born spread the word about less hyped, equally amazing books. That been said, I hope to come up with a bunch of discussion ideas next year - because I really want to connect with my bookish friends more, and make MORE bookish friends.

Pt. 2: Goals for 2017 comes the quote...
[...] I would like to say I'll stick with a schedule of a post per week [...] but I've already failed [...] so I know it's not feasible. Unless my life unburdens itself from a number of things...which realistically, I can't see happening. But I'm sticking with this blog because...well, it's my one and only outlet, plus my one and only connection with the rest of the world. Some of you already know I don't have a social life, for...well, let's say, REASONS, and let's leave it at that. [...] Also, I genuinely like to talk about books and recommend good ones and interact with authors who may be less known, but by no means are less worthy. It's the reason why I started blogging (minus the authors part, because never ever would I have dreamt of that), and one of the reasons I'm doing it now (along with the outlet and socialisation part).
This is, more or less, what I wrote at this point in my 2016 wrap-up post. Sadly, things haven't changed since then. But my resolve, if possible, has strengthened in the face of this. I have my non-existent nails (because yes, I have the disgusting habit of biting them - don't judge πŸ˜“πŸ˜œ) firmly planted in this small blog of mine, and I'm trying to follow a schedule and not to disappear for weeks, and I'm blessed with a few amazing friends and friendly authors, so NO WAY I'M QUITTING. My goal is to stay. To read more books. To make more friends. To exist in this wonderful space where I can be myself. And yes, to post more...but only if I can. This is the life anyway πŸ˜ƒ.

Pt. 3: Holidays Hiatus

I plan on being back on January 9th with a new TMST post about my blog goals for 2018! In the meantime, I'll try and draft a few posts, while I'm waiting for my books (the ones I always order this time of the year) to arrive! As you might know by now, since my birthday and Christmas are close to each other, every year in December I treat myself with a bunch of physical books from this Italian webseller that also sports a rather wide selection of books in English. I'll let you know what I got!

In the end...

And a Happy New Year of course πŸ˜ƒ.
See you next year! Take care 😘.


  1. "My goal is to stay. To read more books. To make more friends. To exist in this wonderful space where I can be myself."

    Yes! This is the heart and soul of book-blogging, I think. I'm so happy that we became book-blogging friends this year! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to you, lovely! I can't wait to see what you're reviewing next year! <3

    1. I'm really happy too! I love our little (and not so little) chats, and the fact that I was able to recommend you a few books (though I ended up loving them more than you did LOL. I hope to do better next year!). Happy Holidays, and here's to the many wonderful books I hope you'll read in 2018!

  2. Congrats on another year of blogging, lady! Just a few months ago, a writer-friend and I were talking about how so many of the bloggers who were a really big deal when we first started writing have dropped off the face of the earth. But YOU ARE STILL HERE, writing your ridiculously insightful reviews and supporting authors.

    And this: "it will BLOW UP THE EARTH UNDER YOUR FEET, guys"

    I'm just going to go cry tears of validation. Seriously, thank you. Let's hope the big bad world of publishing feels the same way.

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

    1. I may never have been "a big deal" in the blogging world, but the fact is, blogging is a big deal to me - so of course I'm staying πŸ™‚. And five years from now, when you and Troy have become big deals in the writing world, I'll (hopefully) still be here to recommend your books and give them an outlet!

      Happy Holidays!

  3. DON'T. LEAVE. MEEEEEEE... lol

    I still think you are way too hard on yourself! I have several bloggers that I follow that post sporadically - especially this past year. I think you may even have more posts in 2017 than them.

    You share what you love, you're sincere in that and if it makes you happy then that's all that matters. Of course we all want to reach as many people as possible but you DO reach people with your brilliant insight.

    I haven't done TMST in a while because I am horrible at end of year lists. My mind goes completely blank lol but I looking forward to picking it up again in January. There are some fun topics coming up.

    {{hugs}} to everyone who made it through this year. For a lot of reasons it was a tough one!

    For What It's Worth

    1. Quote:
      "You share what you love, you're sincere in that and if it makes you happy then that's all that matters. Of course we all want to reach as many people as possible but you DO reach people with your brilliant insight."
      Also, for some reason "brilliant" is one of my favourite adjectives...*insert TARDIS emoji here*

      Heidi sent me the topic list for TMST, and I do agree - especially about the April-to-June prompts. I may have to post like a madwoman if I don't want to end up doing the meme and nothing else! *puts superhero mantle on*

      And was a tough year, especially for many of you in the US...though we felt the heat as well (cue global warming...). I'm joining in the hug!

  4. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY OMG!!!! I can't believe how I somehow always end up wishing you late on your birthday but I hop you had an amazing one! And I hope you get those books soon!! <333 Regarding your posts, or lack of them, I'd say quality over quantity any day, so you're doing just fine! We've been posting lesser this year too, but we're taking it slow at the moment because we're both busy and don't want to stress out too much over numbers.
    Anyhoo, looks like we all somehow survived this year- here's to an even better 2018! Happy new year, Roby!

    1. It's been only 17 days since my birthday after all...and it's still 2017, if for a few I'd say it's OK LOL. Thank you! Seriously, it's always appreciated 😊.

      Ah, we're all busy and stressed out, whatever the reason. Well, most of us probably. We do the best we can...and that's what matters.

      Happy 2018 (and happy blogging) to you!

  5. Be proud of the posts you were able to complete! When I started having kids, I deleted my old blog entirely. It just stared at me with sad eyes. I didn't have time to read, so there was nothing to blog about. I've only recently started blogging again, and it's still hard! I just do it when I can and am happy with what I'm able to accomplish.

    Good luck in 2018!

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Ah, I don't know how some bloggers are able to balance everything AND still be prolific post-wise (Nicole @ Feed My Fiction Addiction springs to mind). I can barely find the time for grocery shopping some days! But of course, we can be low-key bloggers and still take pleasure in what we do - not to mention, be proud of ourselves 😊.

      Thank you - and good luck to you too!

  6. 2017 was a weird year! I read a lot, but I failed with blogging. I also feel re-energized in January, so here's to a better 2018! I hope to comment more, to review more and to just enjoy the bookish world. Can't wait to see what books you bought! Happy Birthday!

    1. I don't think you and Kim failed...both of you have demanding work schedules, so one can't blame you for not blogging more. Then again, I hope you manage to write lots of posts in 2018, because even if I don't always comment (erm), I love reading them - they often make me chuckle (in a good way of course!).

      And thank you from this old lady LOL.


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