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 ๐Ÿ™‚). 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 ๐Ÿ˜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 an off-blog, real-life section!

a) Numbers

So...this is my 58th post this year. That's only 1 post less than my 2018 count, and 5 less than my 2019 one. As I said, I'm not making comparisons with 2020...that one was a mad race.

22 of my 2021 posts were reviews (they were 28 last year, but...see above), 15+1 of which were ARC ones (only 7 last year). I said 15+1 because one of those books was an anthology, so I included it in one of my Review Morsels posts, as per my new review policy. Of my non-ARCs, two were new books that I got a little after their release. Backlist books took a...backseat this year, which pains me, but with all the new ones I was being approved for, I couldn't do better. I also wrote 7 mini-review posts - the books in question are detailed (and linked) in the "Reviews" section below.

b) Events and memes

I'm still involved in Tell Me Something Tuesday (co-hosting, providing questions, participating when I can). I ultimately decided to ditch my Tooting Your Trumpet series, only to recycle it (in a simplified format) into my new Offbeat Offline monthly recap. I still plan on revamping my old A Reader's Quirks day. Especially since Lissa designed an awesome logo for it ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.

c) Reviews

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

Afterlife (2): Goddess of Nod by C.W. Snyder (ARC review) | The Suffering  by Rin Chupeco
Supernatural (2): Dying with Her Cheer Pants On by Seanan McGuire | Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
Contemporary with a Twist (2): The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. by Colleen Nelson (ARC review) | Rainbow in the Dark by Sean McGinty (ARC review)
Thriller (2): The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee | Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards (ARC review)
Adult (14 ๐Ÿ˜ฎ - twice the ones I reviewed last year!): Dead Space by Kali Wallace (ARC review - sci-fi) | One Day All This Will Be Yours by Adrian Tchaikovsky (ARC review - sci-fi) | Doors of Sleep by Tim Pratt  (ARC review - sci-fi) | Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur (ARC review - contemporary with a twist) | Angel of the Overpass by Seanan McGuire (ARC review - afterlife) | The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette (ARC review - sci-fi) | The Between by Ryan Leslie (ARC review - multiverse) | The Hotel at the End of Time by Michael James (non-ARC, but just published - fantasy) | Indexing series by Seanan McGuire (urban fantasy) | The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw (ARC review - sci-fi) | The Well at the Bottom of Everything by Michael James (non-ARC, but just published - fantasy) | The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater (ARC review - urban fantasy) | Swashbucklers by Dan Hanks (ARC review - urban fantasy) | Exposure by Louis Greenberg (ARC review - thriller, afterlife).

Also, I posted 7 Review Morsels installments: the first featuring Kali Wallace, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Gene Doucette; the second featuring Colleen Nelson, Kali Wallace and Sean McGinty; the third featuring Seanan McGuire by any other name; the fourth featuring Andrea K. Hรถst, Samantha Mabry and Rory Power; the fifth featuring Anna Reith, Jonathan Friesen and M.R. Carey; the sixth featuring Malcolm Devlin (ARC review), Jennifer Brozek et al. and Elliot Arthur Cross & Joshua Winning; and the seventh featuring Krystal Sutherland, Rebecca Mahoney and April Genevieve Tucholke et al. (please note: Kali Wallace recurs, but of course with different books reviewed).

It's odd...I saw many adult titles (mainly sci-fi ones) that appealed to me this year, and despite my blog being geared to YA, I was approved for nearly all of them...while I got less lucky with my YA requests. That accounts for my adult reviews being almost twice my YA ones. I feel slightly ashamed of betraying my blog's purpose (though, as I said, it wasn't entirely my fault), but for the most part my adult books were great or good, and I regret nothing ๐Ÿคท‍♀️.

d) Author interactions

(...I found a gif that matches my blog's aesthetic?!?)


The authors I usually have the privilege to review ARCs from were in writing/subbing/pitching/revising mode this year, so no books for review from them. But one of my most recent beta-reads found a home and will come out in March! Please welcome The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning ๐Ÿฅณ.


Nothing this year
. But I've been told that my beta services might be required in the near future ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. 

e) Discussion posts

I've got nothing ๐Ÿคท‍♀️. Again, I've been saving my best ideas for TMST - but as I said above, I would love to revamp my ARQ series. I "only" need to think of some discussion prompts that don't fit the TMST mold. Not that I've had the time and inclination lately...that is, in the latest two years...

f) Real life

๐Ÿ’‰ Author friend Erin Callahan called it my "medical year from hell", and I can't think of anything fitter. Here's a recap of everything I went through (I'm exhausted just by thinking about it, no matter writing it down, and most of you know all about my vicissitudes already, but here goes...I'll try to keep it short):

  • Pulmonary embolism (on Dec. 31st 2020), later ascribed to a deep vein thrombosis in my left leg. A series of checkups via doppler ultrasounds (basically every 2/3 months) would follow. But before I got diagnosed, there were bloodworks, CAT scans, EKGs...
  • Pain at the front of my right shoulder. I got a few ultrasound therapy sessions in the summer, and the pain receded...but now it's my arm that hurts ๐Ÿ˜ฅ.
  • Trigger finger syndrome in my left thumb. It took me 3 months to get surgery (on Nov. 23rd). Currently recovering. I mean, the surgery site still hurts when I try to bend my thumb all the way, but I guess it's normal?
  • Laryngitis (in October) followed by lingering hoarseness. An ENT said it had to be stomach-related, so I caved and booked a gastroscopy (more on that and other exams that are awaiting for me in my next Offbeat Offline installment).
  • Worse bloodworks than usual (I have chronic lymphocytic leukemia). My ematologist requested more exams, and depending on the results, I might have to start therapy next year...
  • ...and now my tailbone hurts when I stay seated too much.
  • Also, I didn't list all the exams and visits and check-ups I went through related to all the above problems. I wanted to, but I lost count ๐Ÿ˜“.
๐Ÿ˜ฑ As most of you know, in July my Twitter account got hacked by some Bitcoin bot and hence suspended, and the powers-that-be refused to listen to my pleas of innocence (and to those that some of my blogger/author friends did in my behalf) and give it back to me. I lost my account of six years, and for a book blogger it's THE PITS. All the relationships I'd forged with every author I ever reviewed, all my followers - gone. The only thing I could do was start anew. I was feeling so isolated without, the authors and publishers that give me free books to read, and also the ones whose books I buy, deserve a minimum of promotion, even if my original account was small to begin with - no matter the one I have now.
BTW - I think all my blogger friends who were following my old account are now following the new one, but just in case...I'm @OffbeatYABlog. Can you check? Thank you! (Of course I'll follow you back).

๐Ÿ˜ฐ Not enough drama? Add to it 3 months of wages guarantee fund, 2 major car problems, perm issues, and a series of renovation jobs (front door and blinds) that tested my patience BIG TIME. Plus a series of other problems that I'd rather keep to myself, and my giving up on the study plan I had formulated for the supposed 2022 public examination at my town hall. I haven't heard anything about it in forever, but even if it's supposed to take place for real...I don't have the time and energy for such a thing. Also, I'm old. No one wants a senior new employee. Who am I fooling? ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Pt. 2: Goals for 2021

I don't know...either than try to post at least once a week and survive? 2021 kicked my ass, and I'm not in the best headspace right now...I might even not be anymore. My books, my blog and my online friends keep me sane - that's old news. But it's too little when compared to the giant mess my life has become (for reasons you know about and reasons you don't). The only thing I'm sure of is, I'm going to cling to my books/blog/friends combo even more. There's this Queen song that comes to mind, The Show Must Go On - it was about Freddie Mercury's declining health due to AIDS (though no one knew at the time) and his stage persona, but I'll borrow a quote from it, because heck, it feels so appropriate...
"Inside my heart is breaking
My makeup may be flaking
But my smile still stays on"

Pt. 3: Holidays Hiatus

I'm looking forward to relax a bit over the holidays (...maybe without any last-day-of-the-year surprise - a.k.a. pulmonary embolism - this time ๐Ÿคจ)...except that, as usual I'll probably be drafting MORE posts because I don't have a life, but shhh. I'll be back on January 1st with my December Offbeat Offline installment + birthday/Christmas book-haul post! 

In the end...

('s Tom Hiddleston this year, blowing a kiss in front of a Christmas tree and saying "Buckets of love from me. See you in the new year". David Tennant was busy ๐Ÿ˜‰)

...Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
(or Happy Holidays if you don't celebrate)!
See you next year! Take care ๐Ÿ˜˜.


  1. You shouldn't have any regret for enjoying books you don't normally read. Honestly, you don't always have to read YA books just because it's your blog's purpose but maybe just throw in a few YA reviews but I guess that's not your style.

    I feel bad that you had such a bad year with your health. I hope you get better and nothing else strikes while you're on hiatus.

    I don't know much about twitter these days but it really is the pits that you have to start over with a new account. But I suppose being able to start over is better than not being able to do anything at all.

    I hope you enjoy your holiday hiatus. I don't celebrate Christmas but it's still a holiday that I like, so Merry Christmas. I hope your new year is happy and healthy and full of good things.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. "Honestly, you don't always have to read YA books just because it's your blog's purpose but maybe just throw in a few YA reviews but I guess that's not your style."
      I "almost" made peace with that LOL. Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres, and there seem to be lots of exciting adult titles in the field that keep coming.

      "But I suppose being able to start over is better than not being able to do anything at all."
      They warn you not to open a new account when they freeze your old one, but...of course they can't know you're back with a new name.

      Thank you for all your nice words and for supporting me through yet another year. Happy holidays, and I hope you have a happy and healthy 2022 as well!

  2. This really was a year of medical mayhem for you. I hope 2022 is kinder to you. That's very exciting that a book you beta read is coming out too.

    1. Thank you! Yep, it's the second time that a book I beta-read comes out (the first being The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan), and it feels exhilarating!

  3. Wow, you have had a challenging year. I hope that 2022 has less medical challenges for you! I'm excited to read The Shadow Glass๐Ÿ˜

    1. Thank you - I think I earned a better year...

      If I've learned anything about you from reading your reviews, I'm sure you'll love TSG ๐Ÿ™‚.

  4. Glad it went well this year! The numbers, I mean. The medical stuff... you've had a YEAR. I'm sending wishes/ vibes that 2022 is a little easier on you! :)

    I'm still thinking of trying that Natalie Richards...

    You know, it's funny as crazy as the world is I've found myself relying a bit on online friends too. It's funny how supportiv they can be! And as always, any time you want to talk...

    1. Thank you so much for your well-wishes and all your support through this hellish year. I hope you'll have an amazing 2022! As for the Richards book, maybe it will work better for you than it did for me. I've grown up reading Agatha Christie, so I may be a little spoiled ๐Ÿ˜‰.

  5. Happy blogoversary!

    You've had one heck of a year. Here's hoping next year is better. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    1. Thank you! I hope the holidays aren't too hard for you and your daughter without Ken, and that next year all the crazies in your neighborhood leave you alone!

  6. Happy blogoversary and Happy Holidays!
    I hope you have a nice break, and I hope you feel better soon, medical stuff is not fun.

    1. The blogoversary was 2 months ago, but thank you! Same for the rest. I hope all these well-wishes will do me good ๐Ÿ™‚. Happy Holidays!

  7. GOOD MORNING ROBERTA and I guess I'll see you next year??? Posting wise at least? But hey you did great, all things considered. 2021 was a rough year for you - I hope you'll get the chance to relax and 2022 will be much kinder to you. ๐Ÿฅฐ

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ’š I guess I did well? Not too shabby, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Nice job reaching - surpassing! - your reading/blogging goals this year! 2021 has been a year huh? I have great hopes that 2022 is going to bring us all better things <3 It's been a pleasure doing TMST with you and I look forward to more in 2022! Have a great holiday break- full of happiness and no medical (or other) drama!

    1. "Nice job reaching - surpassing! - your reading/blogging goals this year!"
      It's been the only good thing that happened to me this year LOL (along with continuing to have the support of my blogging friends!).

      Likewise about the TMST meme, and thank you!

  9. I'm sorry for not being around as much, Roberta! But I'm happy I was able to read your update and I wish you a Happy New Year! I know 2021 was a bad year for your health, and I'm sure a lot of people can relate. I wish you healthiness in 2022!

    1. You had your reasons for not being around, so no worries ๐Ÿ™‚. Thank you - have a healthy and happy new year yourself!

  10. So, let me offer up what I did when I found myself in the same situation (suddenly reviewing/being approved for more adult sci-fi stuff): I changed my blog's description! Done and done! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Now I "focus on YA and Adult fiction", problem solved bwhahah. Seriously, you have to do what makes you happiest. Your readers will still read regardless- and when I do my reviews, I usually try to get a mix of YA and adult, so there's something for everyone. But honestly, you just put your enjoyment first, zero regrets!

    I am so sorry you have had such a rough year. I feel like just when we're sitting here like "whew glad 20XX is over", the next one just gets us harder, so I am just going to not say anything heh. I am sorry you are going through so many health issues, and other personal issues- but also really glad that you can use books and blogging to be a light in the darkness. Sending you tons of love, and if you ever want to talk, I am here ♥♥

    1. LOL. It's a bit harder for me to justify the switch, since my blog is called "Offbeat YA" ๐Ÿ˜‚. But I'm trying to live with it...๐Ÿ˜‰

      Exactly...from a certain point on (especially when you get, let's face it, old), it seems like you can never catch a break...but you guys and the whole book/blogging affair are a lifeline. Thank you so much, and I hope 2022 will go easy on you...๐Ÿ’š

  11. Congrats on passing your blogging goal, sweetness! I'm sorry it was such a rough year for you health-wise though. Wishing you better health and happiness in this new year, plus lots of wonderful reads, of course! ๐Ÿ’›

    1. It's been a rough year, yes, but at least I got books to read and friends to talk to! and to beta-read/buddy-read with ๐Ÿ˜‰. Thank you! Have a great 2022!

  12. You had A YEAR. I'm here if you ever need to talk.

    It was a challenging one for me as well - things I haven't talked about either but we made it mostly in tact!! So go you!!

    I know you are YA focused but I always think of you more as a genre lol The afterlife, time travel etc.

    I truly hope you have a better 2022 Roberta!

    1. I only know about your pets problems, but I for one understand that you can't lay your whole life (and soul) bare on the internet. Anyhow, I'm here for you as well ๐Ÿ’š.

      "I know you are YA focused but I always think of you more as a genre lol The afterlife, time travel etc."
      Look mama, I have a brand! or even more than one! ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Happy new year to you, Kevin and the furry family!

  13. With everything you've been dealing with this year, it really is an accomplishment to have posted so much!

    I was thinking as I was looking at your list that it's funny you reviewed more adult books when your blog is YA. But that's ok, it's a hobby, you're allowed to read what you feel like :-)

    I am sorry this year was so rough. I know all the problems won't poof away when the new year hits, but I hope the next year is not as bad for you as this one at least and hopefully has some good things in it to make up for the not so good <3

    1. In a way, I posted so much (for my standards, that is) exactly because I was clinging to my books and blogging more and more. I'm sure you know the feeling...

      LOL, the adult books were a surprise for me too. But there's also the fact that it's easier to get approved for them than for the YA ones...even if, with my blog name (though I stated on NG and EW that I also read quirky adult books), I never fail to be amazed.

      Thank you - and same! I know you badly need a "plot twist" in your life, and I hope the new year will bring it!

  14. OMG I hope your health is the best that it can be moving forward! Health issues suck.

    I think that after 2 years of whatever the hell the world is right now, most of us aren't where we thought we would be - and we all need to go easier on ourselves.

    I know what it's like when life waits until you've just gotten to your feet to knock you down on your butt again - but as long as we get back up, we're winning! <3

    1. Winning, yes, but it's SO tiring. Everyone needs a break from time to time. Anyhow, thank you for the encouragement and the well-wishes!


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