January 30, 2022

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #28 Mira Grant's Novella Quartet 2015-2019


Intro


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 😊. Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long reviews - no such luck LOL (though for anthologies, shorter books or books that I didn't enjoy/I don't have enough to say about, I decided to stick to minis). But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, I might as well give you the short version 😉. Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random!

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

January 25, 2022

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Do You Do When That Pesky Review Makes You Work for It?


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 DO YOU DO WHEN THAT PESKY REVIEW MAKES YOU WORK FOR IT?

I hope that the review will magically write itself.

Wait...no. I mean, because we all know that it's never going to happen - otherwise...😆

Seriously...I give myself a couple of days before I try again, but I've learned that this rarely, if ever, changes anything. You would think that distancing yourself from a thing and coming back to it with a fresh mind would do the trick, but that's NOT my case. If anything, when the time off I took turns out to be useless, I become so angry at the poor review that I resent having to write it even more - which in turns causes further inability to perform the task. So, I finally approach it like I would with a school assignment...I tell myself "OK, it HAS to be done, one way or another" and I just force my brain to find a starting point (or the right words to start), until the blasted thing finds its flow and gets written. And you know what's funny? A review done that way isn't necessarily worse than the ones where you don't incur a block. Actually, there are some I'm quite proud of...

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...