February 01, 2024

Offbeat Offline: January 2024

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? Confirmation of the house loan disaster, but also good news on the blood count front. My mother in law fell again, but this time with minimal consequences, phew. I saw the second half of Around the World in 80 Days with David Tennant, and received great bookish news with regard to a favourite series. But my month was unproductive as heck on all counts...

📚 FROZEN IN PLACE. For the second month in a row, I did my best to get my reader and reviewer card revoked. I only managed to read TWO books, because I was stuck writing a review and I wanted to finish it before I started my next read...and I practically stalled that review all month 😳. As of now, I have 7 ARCs to review (4 of which are slated for March...!!!), and I still have to read...6 of them 😱. Not to mention, 1 more ARC (out THIS MONTH!!!) should join the pile anytime now...I mean, reading is NEVER a problem - it's the reviews that throw a wrench in my gears. Anyhow, here's a rundown of my bookish activity for the month... 

Approvals (1):
When she dies in an accidental collision she caused on the cusp of musical fame, Valentine is offered a deal: Complete a series of difficult tasks to get her life back. Fail, and she dies a final, everlasting death. Guided by Route 66 the Mother Road of America on her quest, she tackles one herculean task after another, giving up a piece of herself with each trial. Valentine begins to understand that the fame she once sought won’t bring her happiness or belonging – and if she fulfills the penance, she must decide what’s more important: Her old life or restoring the lives of the strangers who died alongside her.

Reads (2):
  • The Penance of Valentine Cash by Rebecca Rook (see above)
Some unfulfilled potential, but I liked it well enough.
I loved it! Review to come at the beginning of March.

* With flashbacks to when the protagonist and her friends were teens/new adults, but it's a grown-up novel on the whole.

Reviews (2):
I finally managed to review this one! On the blog later in the month.
  • The Penance of Valentine Cash by Rebecca Rook (see above)
Mini review coming soon (it's been written, but I'll only put it on Goodreads after posting it on my blog).

Here are my scheduled reviews for this month:
  • The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard (on Thu. 8th);
  • Aftermarket Afterlife (InCryptid #13) by Seanan McGuire, Three Eight One by Aliya Whiteley and Vangie's Ghosts by Paul De Filippo * (in a mini-review round on Wed. 14th);
  • Deadgirl: Daybreak (Deadgirl #4) by B.C. Johnson ** (on Tue. 20th).
* Please note: as of now, there are three different pages on Goodreads for Vangie's Ghosts, sporting different formats...and radically different ratings. Unsure of what to do (though only one of the pages features a cover, so it feels more official...?), I posted my review on all of them.

** Please note: Deadgirl: Daybreak doesn't have a Goodreads page yet...and I'm still waiting for the eARC to get delivered in my inbox. But the author set the pub date for Tue. 20th, so I trust him to send me my copy in time...🙂 For the book info, see the Tooting Your Trumpet section below.

Reviews aside, I'll participate in the Tell Me Something Tuesday meme on the 27th (question: Which Books Are You Looking Forward to Reading This Spring? (March-May)). Again...I'm so behind on ARCs that I must concentrate on reading and reviewing them, so I'll mostly skip the meme for now (what's new?). In the meantime, here's the TMST prompt list for the months of February and March, in case you want to join in:

  • February 6th: What's the last book you re-read? Did you like as much as the first read?
  • February 13th: Share your romance (HEA/HFN) recommendations.
  • February 20th: What's your favorite type of candy?
  • February 27th: Which books are you looking forward to reading this spring? (March-May)
  • March 5th: Describe yourself in three words (a question I submitted)
  • March 12th: Which book genres do you tend to avoid?
  • March 19th: Where would you like to travel? (a question I submitted)
  • March 26th: Will you start a series if you know it probably won't be finished?

💸FLYING MONEY. It's official: our 20-year house loan will be extended by 7 more years (see last month's recap) 😭. I mean...when my husband's bank bought our debit from the one we'd signed the loan contract with (because it had gone bankrupt), they "forgot" to tell our that they did it for 100,000 euros when the original loan was 61,000...so I guess we'll have to use my husband's severance package to pay the debt off and put the damned thing behind our backs. For now, we're still waiting for said package, his pension and the assistance allowance he was granted to get delivered - we were told that the latter should arrive by the the first half of March at the most, the pension by the end of the same month if not earlier, and the severance package around the end of April...

🩸 BLOODY GOOD. I got my blood drawn, and this time the leukocyte and lymphocyte count dropped exponentially compared to November - from 81,000 to 48,000 and from 73,000 to 43,000. Which means no therapy yet woohoo. Now I have to get a new bloodwork and my yearly abdomen and lymph nodes ultrasound in April, and I have my next hematologist appointment in May. Let's hope thing stay on track...

 MIXED BAG. So my mother-in-law fell again a few weeks ago...thank goodness she only broke four ribs this time. She had to spend three days at the hospital, but it could have been MUCH worse, and she's healing already. My husband had his measurements taken for a new leg prosthetic (he's gained a little weight and the old one doesn't fit anymore), which should be ready in a month or less. His ulcer is still shrinking at a glacial pace, but in the meantime he'll be able to start leaving the bed for a while, at long last. I saw the second half of Around the World in 80 Days with David Tennant, and though it's not typically my thing, I had fun. Nothing else to report...

  • Big announcement regarding one of my favourite series, Deadgirl by B.C. Johnson: the fourth book won't be the last, but there will be a fifth (and final) installment in August! In the meantime, Bobby revealed the cover for Deadgirl: Daybreak (out Tue. 20th), along with some end-of-series sneak-peeks...




That's it for now. My next post will be up on February 8th, and it will be the review for The Other Valley I mentioned above.

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


  1. Two books read is good. I guess you often read more than that so it probably seems like a small number.

    Reviews are hard to write even if you love a book. I don't suppose you can just say a few words and be done with it. Are you obligated to write a certain length?

    I didn't see Around the world in 80 days with David Tennant. I would like to see it but it's difficult to find a place to watch without having to pay for it. I had watched two, maybe three versions of this adaptation and they were fun.

    My January was unproductive, well, I seem to forget what I did or perhaps my mind did it without me trying to.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. "Are you obligated to write a certain length?"
      Oh no...it's a "me" thing. I have a compulsion to write my reviews in a certain format (unless I resort to mini or midi reviews for special cases)...which doesn't make my life easier LOL.

      I hope you manage to see ATWI80D...but yeah, it sucks that you don't have the means to watch it without paying. At least for us it aired on regular TV...

      What can I say - at least you didn't have a bad month. Sometimes we have to settle for that, though it's a pity...

  2. Well, goodness. I felt like you reviewed more than two books in January, but I guess you'd read them earlier? I had a good January - 4 ebooks and 6 audiobooks, but I'm dragging my feet actually writing the reviews and doing the blogging parts. I am getting to more of my TBR rather than review books, so that's good.

    1. Yep, I read my January books far in advance...

      You sound like me - reading 10 books and dragging your feet about the reviewing part...I mean, I didn't read 10 books only because that would have left me with 10 reviews in a row to write LOL. Good luck with finding the motivation!

  3. I am trying to wrap my head around that business with your home loan. It stinks, and your poor mother in law. I hope she is healing well, and that all goes well with your husband's new prosthetic. It's exciting that your bloodwork came back good and that the husband will be able to move around more. I have faith in you that you will get all your reviews done, and you have faith in yourself because you write great reviews.

    1. "I have faith in you that you will get all your reviews done, and you have faith in yourself because you write great reviews."
      Thank you! for everything 😘.

  4. I'm sorry you're dealing with so much. I'm glad your MIL's fall wasn't worse than it was. I'm glad your husband's going to be able to leave his bed for a little bit when his new prosthetic leg gets done. And, I'm glad your blood showed progress. I'm sorry about your loan issues. I think two books and two reviews with all of that is good!

    1. Thank you! It's been a hard year and a half, and I'm at the end of my rope. But then again, you know how it is, if for different reasons...

    2. I can only imagine. Hopefully, things get better soon. <3

  5. Haunting sounds promising! Thoe Deadgirl covers I always like. Glad to hear about your bloodcounts! And that's good news about that series, I know it's a favorite of yours.

    To answer your question- the ice world Arcangel is actually Ymir from Joon's stories, so it's a crossover.

    1. Haunting is great! and thank you for the info...you're writing crossovers now? 😉 My mind is spinning LOL.

  6. They changed your loan amount because the bank failed?????

    Well, you know, it's fine that mediocre - not bad things happened for you this month. I don't want to get to enthusiastic and jinx it lol

    1. To be precise, the first bank failed, so they sold their loans to the other bank for an almost doubled price...we asked a lawyer, and it's a thing they can do, though only once. Practically, it's like we threw our first seven years of loan money down the drain and started anew (with a much bigger debt) 🤬😭.

      Right? Let's lie low LOL.

    2. That is the craziest - AND WRONG(EST?? lol) thing I've ever heard.

  7. That seems highly illegal that they bought your debit for so much more than you had originally signed a contract for with the original bank and then want you to pay the difference.

    Good luck reading the books .

    1. Alas, the law permits them to do so. Just the once, but they can. There goes our severance package...

      Thank you!

  8. I guess you're just used to chaos at this point, Roberta! :(

  9. Ugh, I am SO sorry about the financial stuff, and about your mother-in-law. Hope your husband's new prosthetic works out, too! And hey, don't beat yourself up about reading and reviewing, we get to it when we can, real life has to come first. Glad to hear that Velkwood was a hit, I am very excited for that one! And I am off to read your review of The Other Valley, too! Glad you had some good bloodwork results, too!

    1. Thanks!

      "And hey, don't beat yourself up about reading and reviewing, we get to it when we can, real life has to come first."
      Real life did kick my ass this month, but what's new? This time I was lazy, mostly 😂.

      You're going to read Velkwood too? I'm looking forward to your thoughts!

  10. I also only read two books in Jan, yay two book club! I'm glad the bloodwork came back better this time, and you must be so excited for the Deadgirl books! I'm sorry about the less good things though. Why can't we just have good things and only good things sometimes? Aww thank you for sharing my art prints!

    1. "yay two book club!"
      😂 😭

      We're both long overdue for a batch of good things...

  11. Thanks so much for the links! <3

    I find that the cr*ppier my life is going, the fewer books I read, if it's any consolation (I read so few last year in comparison to what I normally read...)

    *Sends general hugs* <3

    1. Frankly, if it were a question of reading alone, I could do it all day...but I have to review the books as well, and that's the tricky part 😅. I'm sorry to hear being in a bad spot sucks the joy/will of reading out of you!

      *reciprocates hugs*

    2. I still read, I just can't seem to get through books as quickly... *shrugs*

    3. You have a lot going on right now - I'm sure things will get better once some of your problems are settled...

    4. Lol, I try not to think too far ahead any more. Last time I thought things were improving/settling, I ended up calling an ambulance so... yeh. I try not to get ahead of myself!


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