August 01, 2023

Offbeat Offline: July 2023 (Trudging On, but With Books)

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 new eye scare, more hair woes and a never-ending heatwave that felt more like a deathwave. I'm aware that all I do in these monthly recaps is complain about whatever, but this is my life, y'all. And this blog is the only outlet I have where to get stuff off my chest, so please bear with me...Every time I try to make it short (if not sweet), but HAHA NOPE WHAT DOES "SHORT" MEAN ๐Ÿ˜ญ.

๐Ÿ“š EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE. I read 6 books (5 novels and 1 novella) in July, 2 of them ARCs (and I was approved for 5 more!). Actually, my reading was all over the place - a mix of ARCs, older releases, rereads, as well of different genres and age ranges - hence the title of this section. Here's a rundown of my bookish activity for the month... 

I can't believe I finally got approved for the fourth and final book in the series, while I had been rejected for the previous three! (I'll buy a copy anyway, but still). It's an October release.
  • The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall (YA, supernatural/contemporary/afterlife)
I realised I forgot about The Narrow coming out this month - which is why I didn't include it in my most anticipated summer books list. So this was a last-minute request (and approval).
This one was supposed to come out in June, but it got postponed to January. I loved Sutherland's House of Hollow, so I have great expectations!
I saw this one on NetGalley and requested it on impulse (YIKES), because the premise was SO exciting. I know there's romance in it, but at least it's not instalove LOL. It's a February release.
I've been trying to snatch an early copy of a WC book for years now, to no, I mean...WHAT HAPPENED?!? (see Under the Smokestrewn Sky above). Though weirdly enough, I was approved on NG but rejected on EW....Anyhow, of course I'll buy a copy when it comes out, but now I can read it months in advance! ๐Ÿ’ƒ (It comes out in January).

ARC - review coming in a few days (spoiler: it was good!).
  • The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall (see above)
I have to admit that I liked it a tad less than Marshall's previous YA titles...Mini review coming later in the month.
A bit lacking...Mini review coming later in the month.
This one is a novella, and for me it didn't live up to the other two I've read by the same author. Mini review on Goodreads for now.
This was a reread of a favourite series (duology, to be precise...unless Seanan gets the chance to write more books set in this universe). The link above will redirect you to my joint review for both installments.

  • A Second Chance for Yesterday by R.A. Sinn (see above)
Scheduled for August 21st.
  • The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall (see above)
In a mini-review round scheduled for August 14th.

Here is my review plan for the month:

Reviews aside, I'll participate in the Tell Me Something Tuesday meme on the 29th (question: Which books are you looking forward to reading this fall? (September-November)). After which I'm planning a new hiatus in September, so I hope to be able to make a proper (?) TMST comeback in October... 

๐ŸฅตHELL OF A TIME. The heat has been BRUTAL in July. I know that practically every corner of the world has been in the same boat as me when it comes to the temperature thing, but keep in mind that 1) I don't have A/C; 2) I travel by foot (by bus if I have to cover more distance...and at least buses have A/C, but ten minutes or so aboard are too few to feel refreshed); 3) the heat is bad for my health and my sleep, and I'm already tired and stressed enough without its giving me the last blow...I don't even care about what I eat, as long as it's something that doesn't involve actual cooking - bonus points for cold cuts and cold anything. That's sad, but I'm beyond feeling sorry for myself for treating food as a mere means of survival. Talk to me about that in a month or two...
(P.S.: the heat eased up a little at the end of July, enough for me to stop sweating all the time - but that doesn't mean I ceased to suffer altogether...also, who knows what August will bring? ๐Ÿ˜ง).

๐Ÿ‘️ NEW ADVENTURES IN EYE-ROLLING. On July 4th, I started seeing flashes with my left eye again, so I went to the ER for the 3rd time in 5 months. This time though, the doctor (a new one) told me that I didn't have any new holes in my retina, and that I'd have to live with the flashes, given my vitreous degeneration. So I asked how I was supposed to tell "normal" flashes from the ones that accompany a retinal hole, and he basically said "if you see them more often or see a dark shadow, that's your cue". Why, thank you. I'm seeing the flashes all the time already if I turn my head abruptly to the left, and a dark shadow would mean a retinal detachment, so if I saw it, it would be a bit late to prevent real damage, don't you think, genius? I mean, I'm sure he told me the truth - I Googled the thing, too - but now I feel like I'm sitting on a time bomb without the timer in sight. Even if I do a couple of check-ups a year, what will prevent me from constantly worrying that the flashes signal a new hole? The only thing I can do in terms of prevention is drink more and take supplements...right, see how well it worked for me after my first laser ๐Ÿ˜ฌ.

๐Ÿคฆ‍♀️PULLING MY HAIR OUT. So I went to the hairdresser's and asked her to do a perm touch-up to a few loose strands, and while those on left side got better, the rest refused to comply. My sides still look different from each other, and it seems to me that the darned perm is coming undone already in places after 2 months and a half (except for the bangs), especially on the right side that never took properly to begin with (though it's been redone twice) and on the rear top, so I have to work on it every day to minimise the difference/define the "curls". I also have a few almost-straight locks here and there, mostly on the rear - for crying out loud, we found a couple that were COMPLETELY STRAIGHT from root to end after doing the touch-up, and we...simply cut them and buried them under the rest at that point ๐Ÿ˜–. I mean...if you saw me, you'd probably think I look fine, but this is FAR from the glorious, homogeneous afro I've had for more than 30 years. I blame the modern chemicals (or lack thereof) at this point, but whatever - I keep spending money and time on touch-ups to no avail, while I used to get a perm a year (except for the top/bangs patches of course) and love what I saw in the mirror. And just so you know, my MIL has been having the same problems as me for years now...her latest perm lasted little more than 2 months, for goodness' sake...
(Before you suggest it: no, I'm not going to give up on curls. Not even if you paid me millions. This is my identity, though it's started to require a lot of work and pain to maintain since a long time ago now...).




I didn't take any notes, oops...๐Ÿ˜ณ


That's it for now. My next post will be up on August 6th, and it will be my review for The Never-Ending End of the World by Ann Christy I mentioned above.

So, what were your highs/lows in the past month?


  1. What is a blog if not a place to rant?! Lol, anyways I do hope you feel better, Roberta!

  2. And... August. So I don't think I knew about this pseudonym of McGuire's, or this particular series? And wait... is that dinosaurs in the January release? I was just talking about this series and now I have even MORE motivation.

    I've been hearing about the heat over there. Can't imagine not having AC (actually I can- it went out and it was miserable) so not having it... we've been lucky here. It's usually hot and humid here all summer but we've been (relatively) mild. I wish I could share it with some of you who are suffering through these heat waves :(

    I'm sorry to hear about the eye thing too. How awful.

    1. In case you haven't read the blurb..."Along the way, temptations are dangled, decisions are reinforced, and a departure to a world populated by dinosaurs brings untold dangers and one or two other surprises!" ๐Ÿ˜
      So...yeah, dinos ๐Ÿ˜‰. I still haven't started the book (I will in a couple of days), so I don't know how much of them there will be, but I guess not much, given the page count of these novellas. Anyhow...

      "It's usually hot and humid here all summer but we've been (relatively) mild."
      Hot and humid is the absolute worst. I hope you've dodged the bullet this year, though there's still August...

      Thank you!

    2. I hope she is able to capture the atmosphere of what it would be like to go back to that time, even if her page count doesn't allow her to show much.

    3. The series doesn't deal with time travel, so we'll most certainly see the kids visit an alternate world where dinosaurs never went extinct. Still exciting!

    4. Oh, well that's even better ha!

    5. OK, I did start it...and I finished it as well LOL. The dino cameo is brief, but intense, though maybe not exactly the way you'd expect it to be...I loved this book, dammit.

    6. Hmm... may need to get this!

      Oh, and sorry to hear about if you're into the World Cup...

    7. You need this series ๐Ÿ˜‰ (shameless advertising ๐Ÿ˜‚).

      The World Cup what? I'm totally out of the loop when it comes to sports LOL. Don't care a little bit...

    8. Italy got booted in the World Cup soccer :) I saw it the other night watching Sweden/ Argentina. We almost got booted too ha.

      I just finished with Teen Killers Club (rec'd by another blogger) maybe I'll start McGuire next...

      Oh and yes you probably did read one of those chapters before. Both posted before I had cleaned them up and there were even comments... I think one was yours. I'm not trying to make it hard to follow, honest!

  3. At least the reading is going well. Six books and all those 2024 approvals (crazy!). The weather has been better here. I am going to be happy about that. I hate summer, and I hope it ends quickly for you. That's unsettling about your eye. Your eye and my foot have me losing faith in doctors.

    1. I can't believe I got all these books either. Maybe the universe is going for balance, given how the rest of my life is a hot (literally!) mess... eye is in good company with your foot...I hope the new therapy works!

  4. Tammy...this is your comment that I accidentally deleted LOL - retrieved from my email notification:

    "Wait, Mislaid in Parts Half-Known is on NetGalley?? How did I miss that? I hope the heat gets better soon, I really feel for you and your no A/C๐Ÿ˜ฅ"

    1. Re.: Mislaid: I guess I did my good deed for the day then LOL.

      Thank you!

  5. Don't worry, this definitely is the place to rant :) Thank you so much for the shout-out <3 But I'm also sorry that things are going so rough with your eyes right now and the heat doesn't seem to be doing you any favours either. Maybe with August coming things will cool down soon. Now it's storm and hurricane season (yay?). There's a pretty big one headed for London. I'm going through an eye struggle of my own. I've been transferred from my GP to an opthologist to a neurologist about spots in my vision that are making it hard to see. The eye doctor's theory is that it could be related to my Disability but I'm quite skeptical of that because every medical professional always thinks any problem I have is because of my Disability.

    1. Hurricane season in the UK? I didn't even realise it was a thing...goodness. I hope you and Olivia are safe.

      "The eye doctor's theory is that it could be related to my Disability but I'm quite skeptical of that because every medical professional always thinks any problem I have is because of my Disability."
      This sounds patronising...or just lazy. Of course I don't have a clue how medical issues work, but it sounds unlikely, given the type of Disability you have. I hope someone can figure out something soon, and you can go back to making art and writing marvelous blog posts without having to deal with that!

    2. (Simone here) I meant hurricane season globally. There's just a storm headed our way. Don't worry :)

    3. Haha, OK! What with the global warming and everything, I thought that maybe something worse was coming for you as well...

  6. August is usually our hottest month and it's been 117f here in July. That's a lot of books. Hopefully all of them are good. Sorry to hear the perm woes are still a thing. I permed my long hair one time and while I liked it, it took 3 hours and my neck hurt real bad afterwards. Lol

    1. 117 f is a nightmare. Certain zones of Italy have been struck hard as well (while others have had patches of extreme winter-like weather). It was marginally better where I live, but I was dying all the same. Let's hope that August will be more lenient with both of us...

      Perms cost a lot and are a long, painful process, so one would expect them to end up well at least...but not anymore...Doing one on long hair must have been a real pain!

  7. It's your blog, you can complain as much as you like. I think it's good to let things out, even in a blog. At least you got books. I hope things will get better for you.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. It is good, but sometimes I wonder if people are rolling their eyes while reading LOL.

      Thank you! I hope you got out of your blogging slump (you said you settled for 3 or 4 posts a month, and it's a perfectly reasonable amount!).

  8. I am so sorry that things have been so rough. I genuinely cannot imagine how miserable you must be in the heat without AC and walking everywhere- I truly think I would die. It is the same heat level here, but nowhere is walkable and I thankfully have AC, so you feel free to complain away! I am also really sorry that you are getting no decent answers about your eye. That is incredibly frustrating, and scary. Sending hugs! I am glad you liked Second Chance! I did too, I thought it was quite well done. Very much looking forward to your thoughts on Never Ending World and The Other Valley, too!

    1. Very miserable...I'm glad there's someone who doesn't hate my venting LOL. Thank you!

      I'm looking forward to reading your Second Chance review!

  9. This is certainly your safe place to rant! Please feel free! ;-)

    That eye issue sounds awful. I would be like you - worried all of the time. May you can get a cool eye patch and be a fanciful pirate!

    I hope the heat is cooling off for you. August is usually our warmest month. How's your husband doing?

    I don't have expertise for you on your hair and you have done the research, but would taking a break from the treatments for a few months help? I know you don't want to give up on your curls, but could it be that the hair is over "cooked" and needs time to recuperate? I don't know.

    1. "This is certainly your safe place to rant! Please feel free! ;-)"
      ๐Ÿ˜… ๐Ÿ’š

      The eye thing is very worrisome...I don't have the means to realise if something is getting wrong(er) anymore. I'm going to book another appointment, but even if everything's OK, I'll start worrying again as soon as I come out of the doctor's office...

      July was off the charts, so it doesn't seem probable that August will reach the same peaks...Ugh, I hope your month will be "warm" as opposed to "hot"...

      My husband is still bedridden - progress is slow. But once his heel heals for good, at least he'll be able to move around the house...

      My hair is wild...part of it curls properly the first time around, while the rest doesn't. It's always the same zones, and it's never once happened with the old chemicals. It doesn't matter if you cut the old perm's ends and only work on "uncooked" hair ๐Ÿ˜ฅ. If you try to reperm, things get a little better, but never perfect or symmetrical, if you know what I mean. Grrr.

  10. Maybe you're getting approved for books now because you've put in work to review the other books and publishers are noticing? Ugh, sorry about the heat still. You know I know what it's like to have temperature affect your sleep, health, etc. (even if it's usually the opposite temperature for me). Also sorry about the worrisome eye flashes and the hair struggles. It sucks that you just want to keep that bit of your identity and the world is making it so hard for you.

    1. "Maybe you're getting approved for books now because you've put in work to review the other books and publishers are noticing?"
      It would be nice, but I'm afraid it's a totally random process...for instance, a friend on GR mentioned being approved for two of the Baker books and rejected for the other two, alternately...

      Yeah, it's the cold for you...anyhow...we're both under the weather...literally LOL.

      "It sucks that you just want to keep that bit of your identity and the world is making it so hard for you."

  11. 'Actually, my reading was all over the place' - lol, that's my life though ;)

    Thank you SO much for the link!!!! <3 (And *hugs* for all the difficult life stuff!)

    1. ๐Ÿ˜‚ (At least you still have a sense of humour! ๐Ÿงก)

      Thank you!


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