October 01, 2023

Offbeat Offline: September 2023 (Back and Meaning Business)

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? Oh, you know, the average blog hiatus. Except I spent it reading, and reviewing, and scheduling October/November posts ๐Ÿ˜‚. It's funny, because as soon as I decide to sit a month out and only read for fun, I'm suddenly feeling overwhelmed by all the books I still have to review - ARCs, but not only - and I start to produce blog posts for the post-hiatus months. I have 6 more posts lined up for October...๐Ÿ˜ฎ. Also, I got both good and bad news on the money front. The housekeeping, in the meantime, continued to suffer...

๐Ÿ“š DARKER THINGS. I read 7 books (all novels) in September, 2 of them ARCs. Speaking of which, I got approved for 3 - but I also downloaded a Read Now book from NG, the repackaging of a 2021 series starter. Only one sci-fi book in my list this time - the rest is a string of afterlife/supernatural/horror/fantasy stuff. Here's a rundown of my bookish activity for the month...

Approvals (3+1):
  • The Soul Sector (Valcara Incorporated #1) by Michael Karolewski (Adult, afterlife/urban fantasy)
Not technically an approval - it was (still is) Read Now on NG. It's a 2021 release that the author decided to revamp in order to build some series awareness before putting forth Book 2 (out on October 31st). It's about a (damaged) young woman who ends up in the afterlife before her time, and is sent back with a job to do...one that she doesn't like. But the corrupt purgatory executives that returned her to Earth will dispatch her dead sister's soul to Hell if she refuses (or so they say). Also, saving the world may be involved...It was a fun one! 
A suburban neighbourhood turned into a (literal) ghost town. Three survivors, among which a woman who lost her mother and sister to the supernatural phenomenon, and who's going back to the place after twenty years to uncover the truth. I haven't started it yet. Out in March.

I think the more years a series has been out, the more liberal the publishers become with their ARCs, because I GOT ANOTHER SEANAN ONE ASDFGHJKL ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜. It's a good thing that I've managed to catch up with the InCryptid series in less than one year, just in time to finally try my hand at requesting the latest installment (which I started as soon as I got access to it and gobbled up in two days)...This one is from the POV of Mary, the Price family's ghost babysitter (yes, you read it right), and features practically every family member and ally, trying to stave off their arch-nemesis' bloodiest attack ever. Heartbreaking but awesome. Out in March.
As usual with this publisher, I was given an epub, as opposed to temporary access to the file. Double perspective (two female narrators), double timeline (2314-2024), a story within the story. "An astonishing literary crossover novel about the pressures of growing up and the nature of authorship". I haven't started it yet. Out in January.

Reads (7):
  • Mister Magic by Kiersten White (Adult, supernatural/mystery)
Totally worth the hype! Review to come in November.
ARC. Really good! Review to come closer to pub date (which is in January).
  • The Soul Sector (Valcara Incorporated #1) by Michael Karolewski (see above)
As I said, very entertaining! Review to come at the end of the month.

  • Lucid by Jay Bonansinga (YA, supernatural/horror)
It could have been spectacular, if not for a few flaws. Still worth a read. Review on GR for now - on the blog at a later date.
Sheer horror and sheer beauty joined at the hip. Reread for full-review purposes.
  • Aftermarket Afterlife (InCryptid #13) by Seanan McGuire (see above)
ARC. Review to come closer to pub date (which is in March).
This one was a reread, so I'm linking to my review. These days I'm trying to reread at least one book a month.

Reviews (6...๐Ÿ˜ฎ):
  • Mister Magic by Kiersten White (see above)
Scheduled for November.
  • You're Breaking My Heart by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (see above)
Scheduled for January.
  • The Soul Sector (Valcara Incorporated #1) by Michael Karolewski (see above)
Scheduled for Thu. 28th.
  • Lucid by Jay Bonansinga (see above)
To come at a later date (on GR for now).
  • House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland (see above)
Scheduled for November.
  • Aftermarket Afterlife (InCryptid #13) by Seanan McGuire (see above)
To come in a mini-review round in February (like the previous installments in the series).

Here are my scheduled reviews for this month:

Reviews aside, I'll participate in the Tell Me Something Tuesday meme on the 24th (question: What's Your Favourite Supernatural Creature?). Sorry to be so scarce, but I really need to catch up on my reviews...I'll read your posts and comment on them though! 

๐Ÿ’ฐGIMME SOME MONEY. This month has been a mixed bag with regards to our financial situation. My husband got a reevaluation of his disability, and he was bumped up to the next level, which - among other things - should come with an attendance allowance (we'll talking about a monthly sum slightly higher than my old salary). We're waiting for confirmation, but I think it's safe to say that we'll get the money, which is a huge relief...On the other hand, we're facing a 50% deduction from his salary for 6 months if he doesn't go back to work in November, which is just not feasible. It sounded like, with the disability revaluation, he could stay home up to two more years while maintaining his salary, but it turned out it isn't so. Now, even if we got the attendance allowance at the same time of the 50% cut (which is wishful thinking), it would be a disaster, because the allowance wouldn't cover the lack of half my husband's stipend. So he (via the local health authority he works for) applied for early retirement on the grounds of his disability, but even if he's allowed, we don't know how long we'll have to wait before his pension starts to come in...๐Ÿ˜“ ๐Ÿ˜ข

๐Ÿ˜ FLATLINE.  Nothing else to write home about. It's still far hotter than it should be at this stage, but at least it's tolerable. My husband's ulcer is still healing at a glacial pace. My hair is still (or even more) subpar. I'm still busy and tired and apparently incapable to keep up with housework. And I have so many books to read, which is awesome, and I read them wicked fast, but then it takes me a week to review one...I'm also seeing more and more people migrate (ha!) to Bluesky, and...it looks like I won't need a desktop app to enter (I thought BS only worked on smartphones, but it doesn't seem the case), but I will most certainly need an invitation to join in...not so keen on starting anew on yet another social, but I guess it's become unavoidable...how many of you are on there? does anyone have a code to spare?

Since I was on hiatus, I haven't blog-hopped at all this month, so I've got nothing ๐Ÿ™. But as I said above, I'm going to reprise my normal routine, so this section will be operative in my next monthly recap!

That's it for now. My next post will be up on October 5th, and it will be the review for Lost in the Moment and Found I mentioned above.

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


  1. I hope everything works out with your husband's retirement (and his health). Sounds very frustrating. I had to google BlueSky, so don't worry about me migrating there. Yeah for so many approvals. I find the opposite with authors I like. I used to be able to get approved and as they got bigger, the approvals got harder to get. Maybe McGuire's pub likes you

    1. Thank you!

      Ha - not tempted to join yet another social network? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I miss the interactions I used to have on Twitter, plus I want to be able to give shout-outs to authors, so I'm caving in...

      It's sad that you're getting less approvals for your faves (though I know you rely on the library a lot, and you probably manage to get the books you want from there in the end). McGuire has a bunch of different publishers, so I doubt that ALL of them like me LOL. And anyhow, I'm sure that their late approvals are more a question of luck and - as I said - of series winding down and getting less buzz than they used to...

  2. Does the reevaluation mean he isn't getting any better? Dang, you get some good news and then bad news. So sorry. I'm not joining Blue Sky. If Twitter goes away, I won't be joining a new social media.

    1. The reevaluation is based on the recent circulatory problem that caused his ulcer, but also on the fact that he's been bedridden for over a year. That doesn't mean he won't get up eventually, but the Disability Assessment Medical Committee acknowledged that he will be even more challenged than he used to after this ordeal - and, let's be honest, they threw him a rope.

      I don't intend to leave Twitter (at least until there are people/accounts I care about/am interested in on there), so I'll keep seeing you there, but I need a plan B...

  3. Welcome back! As you are returning I am hiatusing lol. Such is life.

  4. You're more organized than me. My posts get written minutes before they post lol. McGuire seems to be plugging along. Catfish Rolling I'll have to make sure and read. I did end up doing my own dinos lol re: McGuire's ha.

    Sorry to hear about the work thing. It seems like disability and all of that is always a maze no matter the country. Hope the early retirement gets approved and you guys get some relief soon...

    Happy October. :)

    1. I've been scheduling my posts for years now...it's the only way to make it work for me - especially since I started getting eARCs...

      LOL, I saw your dinos! But seriously...try the Wayward Children series ๐Ÿ˜‰.

      Everything's a maze these days - maybe they hope we give up and die before our inquiries get accepted...I think in our case it's just a matter of when, but time is of the essence here. Thank you! Happy October to you as well.

    2. I used to do that. I remember circa 2017/2018 I had posts scheduled MONTHS out. Wow those days are gone...

      I am going to try those. I'm thinking of binging them since they're fairly short...?

    3. Haha. I started off without a plan, then realised that I needed a structure of sorts if I wanted to blog consistently...then came the ARCs.

      You can absolutely read one of them per day - they all clock under 200 pages except for one (usually between 150 and 180), and the font isn't on the tiny side.

  5. I'm so curious to hear your thoughts about Burn the Negative. And also Mister Magic! Both of those were a mixed bag for me, so I love to see what other people think of them. I signed up for the Bluesky waiting list, I don't know anyone with an invite, but I'm definitely migrating over when I can๐Ÿ˜

    1. I did like BTN, though I found it less brilliant/captivating than The Shadow Glass. I loved MM! (by the way, I linked to your review while writing mine, for reasons that will be clear once you read it).

      If I manage to find a way to join BS, I'll look for you there then ๐Ÿ™‚.

  6. I'm with Greg (his comment above) I write the posts when I'm in the mood lol I actually hate when I do get ahead. By the time the posts go up, I have forgotten what I said or felt & I have no idea what people are talking about when they comment lol


    Karen @For What It's Worth

    1. Also, out of all the non twitter sites, I'm liking BlueSky the most. It's the most twitter like - although I sometimes get confused as all the replies to people's posts show up with the original post in my timeline. I need to practice with it a little.

      I got my invite from a friend but if mine ever comes through and I get an extra code I will send it to you.

    2. "all the replies to people's posts show up with the original post in my timeline"
      Yikes. This sounds like a nightmare LOL. I hope it's just a glitch or there's a way not to make it happen...very time-consuming! Thank you in advance ๐Ÿฅฐ.

    3. I looked through the settings when I signed up, and I think you can turn that off if you don't like it. I know I saw something about showing replies.

    4. Thanks! I'll look into it when I manage to sign up.

  7. If I have too many ARCs, I tend to feel stressed if I try to read other stuff for fun, so I can relate. Ugh, why couldn't it have just been the good news about the money? I'm sorry the situation is looking bad. I didn't see this before I messaged you, but it's good we might have a Twitter backup. But I still sorta don't want to leave unless it gets, idk, really super bad? It feels too established and I have all my stuff there and switching is a lot of work and I just don't want to leave lol.

    1. Right? The ARC stress is real LOL.

      Thank you - we're hoping to have good news soon, before the 50% reduction starts...๐Ÿ˜ฌ

      I understand how you feel about Twitter - but most of our mutuals have already left/gone silent, so it's like shouting into a void (while incessantly battling ads ๐Ÿ˜ก). I don't plan to leave at this stage, but I think it's wise to have a backup plan. Such is the life of a blogger - always starting from scratch in whatever context...

  8. My September was forgettable or maybe I just choose to forget unconsciously.

    I'm not on social media so I have no idea what Bluesky is. Maybe it's better I'm not joining us. I would probably spend way too much time on them.

    I wish no one have to worry about money. It's a hard enough dealing ordinary things. I hope things worked for you and your husband.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. Yep, I saw your September wrap-up post (will comment soon!). At least nothing bad happened, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Bluesky is very similar to Twitter (its creator is the old Twitter CEO), minus the, um, questionable owner.

      Yeah...life is hard enough without having to worry about money (and it's not like we don't do that in normal circumstances, but this is worse). Anyhow, my husband has just been summoned for a visit in December that should confirm he's eligible for early retirement. I hope it goes smoothly...Thank you for your well-wishes! Have a lovely weekend.

  9. You mean you actually used your break to schedule things?! Can't relate (lol.)

    Good luck with all the money things *hugs*

  10. Impressive reading. I just can't seem to want to read. *sigh* I'm glad to see you back in the social media world. I'm liking Bluesky and continue to try Threads and Mastodon.

    1. I was surprised to be able to cram so many books into my month. Then again, without agonising over my reviews for days, I could read so much more. Ugh, no...did you hit the dreaded slump?

      Bluesky is a bit bare-boned for now...we'll see. Mastodon felt too intimidating to try. Threads is a no-no for me - I don't have an Instagram account, and I don't feel like joining a social that shares the same owner as Facebook LOL. I hope they all work for you!


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