July 25, 2021

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #24 Andrea K. Hรถst, Samantha Mabry, Rory Power


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I never thought I'd do minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps ๐Ÿ˜Š. Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long reviews - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, I might as well give you the short version ๐Ÿ˜‰. Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random!

Note: all the mini blurbs (in italics) are of my own creation.

July 19, 2021

Sean McGinty: "Rainbow in the Dark" (ARC Review)

Title: Rainbow in the Dark [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Sean McGinty [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary with a Twist, Dark Comedy
Year: 2021
Age: 14+
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Unique story that balances dark humour and teen angst and delivers a powerful message.
Cons: The surrealistic style might not work for everyone.
WARNING! Themes of depression and suicide (the latter more on the page, though filtered through an absurdist lens). Some gore. A pet's death.
Will appeal to: Those who like a book that colours outside the lines.

Blurb: High school senior Rainbow is trapped with three other teens in a game-like world that may or may not be real. Together, they must complete quests and gain experience in order to access their own forgotten memories, decode what has happened to them, and find a portal home. As Rainbow’s memories slowly return, the story of a lonely teen facing senior year as the new kid in a small town emerges. Surreal, absurdist humor balances sensitively handled themes of suicide, depression, and the search for identity. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Edelweiss. Thanks to Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


Rainbow in the Dark is the epitome of a double-souled book: (mostly) set in a game-like world but contemporary in nature, alternating 1st person to 2nd person narrative (not to mention, there are a few chapters in 3rd person, whose protagonist is a character Rainbow dreamed up and wrote stories about), humorous and absurdist but tackling serious themes as depression and suicide. In short: dark comedy meets teen angst. However, you needn't be afraid to pick this book up, because the opposites converge quite successfully, and give birth to one of the most unique stories you'll ever read. Their connection is made even stronger by the fact that lots of details or incidents in the game-like world, no matter how preposterous, mirror/are connected to other details or incidents from Rainbow's real life, and the protagonist's fantastic journey is, for all purposes, a quest that will (maybe) result in her putting her life back together. [...]

July 14, 2021

New Twitter Account: Welcome to @OffbeatYABlog

 Hello sweeties!

I just meant to let you know that, in the wake of the Twitter disaster I told you about in this post, I decided to come back with a new account. Apart from not being able to spread the news about my reviews anymore (which, of course, held a great weight in my decision), I was feeling SO isolated, and I was missing every single one of you! Of course I had to make a new handle, and now you can find me @OffbeatYABlog. I started to re-follow everyone, but it will take a while...I don't want to accidentally incur Twitter's wrath for "aggressively following" other accounts, so I'm doing a few per day - keep your eyes peeled! If I haven't re-followed you already, I will ASAP. In the meantime, you can do the same with me if you want. Thank you in advance! ๐Ÿ’š

If you feel like spreading the news, please do it stealthy - either in PMs or on other platforms. If the powers-that-be sniff me out, I'll be dead meat again. Also, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who tried to reason with Twitter Support about my situation (and got ignored LOL). Some of you went above and beyond, and I only hope I'll be able to repay you somehow someday! ๐Ÿ˜ญ

See you in the pit of madness ๐Ÿ˜‰.

July 12, 2021

Seanan McGuire: "Indexing" (Series Review)

Titles: Indexing  [on Amazon | on Goodreads] & Reflections [on Amazonon Goodreads]
Series: Indexing
Author: Seanan McGuire [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Metafiction, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural
Year: 2013-2016
Age: 16+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Inventive, exciting, trope-subverting and -abiding at the same time. Heart-warming and funny around a dark core.
Cons: Not every story is tightly connected to the others, but it's likely that they weren't written with a book in mind at first (and they do provide a sense of unity nevertheless). While both books are self-contained, there are a few loose thread (mainly one) that were clearly supposed to be picked up in a sequel or more, except none was released.
WARNING! Horror and gore.
Will appeal to: Metafiction and retelling enthusiasts. Also people who don't usually like retellings, but enjoy a creative spin on (dark) fable archetypes.

Blurb for Indexing: For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected - perhaps infected is a better word - by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results. That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.. (Amazon excerpt)

Blurb for Reflections: The struggle against not-so-charming storybook narratives isn’t the only complicating factor in Henrietta “Henry” Marchen’s life. As part of the ATI Management Bureau team protecting the world from fairy tales gone awry, she’s juggling her unwanted new status as a Snow White, dealing with a potentially dangerous Pied Piper, and wrangling a most troublesome wicked stepsister - along with a budding relationship with Jeff, her teammate. But when a twisted, vicious Cinderella breaks out of prison and wreaks havoc, things go from disenchanted to deadly. And once Henry realizes someone is trying to use her to destroy the world, her story becomes far from over - and this one might not have a happily ever after. (Amazon excerpt) 

Review: As a rule, I don't do series review. I'm a firm believer in the fact that each and every book has its own unique personality. I've only done that a few times for different reasons, and in this case, my reason is that the last installment is five years old already and there aren't new books scheduled (which is a real bummer). Please note: these books were initially released in episodes as Kindle Serials. I'm not even sure that the author had a "proper" book planned at the time, which would explain the lack of an overall narrative arc, at least for (part of) Book 1.

July 07, 2021

A Thrilling New Experience...I'm in Twitter Jail for Getting Hacked

 Hello sweeties,

I'm technically still on a hiatus, but since this is the only way I have to let you know what happened, here's an unplanned post (@ Veronika: since it's late and I don't feel like writing the whole thing from scratch, I'm going to recycle parts of the email I sent you). Here goes...

As some of you noticed, my Twitter account got hacked today. I was at work, so I only got wind of it via Karen's message, which I barely managed to read (during a spare moment) before my account got suspended. The only thing I can do right now is read my timeline and my tweets up until the incident, and I counted 10 spam ones, all about bitcoins and Elon Musk? plus there's a tweet around 1pm that says "447", which I suppose was a test tweet to confirm they had managed to hack my account. If only I had noticed! But I was at work, and anyhow, it's not like one can be on Twitter 24/7.

This is David Tennant as Alec Hardy in Broadchurch.
Yep, there's a Tennant gif for everything...

July 06, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: How Do You Approach Writing Reviews?

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...


Reviews are a serious affair for me. I usually allow myself 3 days in order to complete one. If I manage to do it in two or - very rarely - in a single day, more power to me! but I prefer to keep a looser schedule based on the time it usually takes me to write one. Of course, when I say 3 days, I don't mean 3 WHOLE days LOL. Usually, I work on my reviews after dinner, and sometimes over the weekend (which is when I write a review in a single day on occasion). On the first day I fill in the book's vitals/Pros/Cons/Warning/Will Appeal To sections, upload the cover, copy the blurb, assign tags, fix the link if needed and schedule my post. On the second and (sometimes) third day I write the review proper. I'm not going to lie, I can agonise on the Pros/Cons/Will Appeal To sections for half an hour sometimes ๐Ÿ˜….

For a few years now I've been splitting my reviews in parts (sometimes 2, mostly 3, occasionally more) by way of headings, which I hope makes them more readable. Sometimes I spend more time on my headings than on the review itself LOL. I always try to go for puns on titles, sayings, etc., but it's difficult to find something every time, especially something I haven't used already (yep, I have a catalog of my headings...).

I like my reviews to be a mix between professional (so to speak) and emotional. Sometimes I talk too much, but I try to avoid spoilers (or I add a spoiler button if necessary). I can't seem to be able to stick to a specific length, but I'm working on it ๐Ÿ˜‰.