June 02, 2024

Offbeat Offline: May 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? Basically, medical check-ups (with an unpleasant find) and perm difficulties (what's new?) for me, and a series of visits and consultations with regards to my husband's situation. This is still a work in progress, so to speak, so I'll be able to tell you more in my next Offbeat Offline installment. For now, here goes my recap of May's most notable moments...

📚 OUT OF CONTROL. I may have bitten more than I can chew lately...as of now, I have 10 (still unread) ARCs lined up for review 😱 (though I did start one of them). Some approvals I didn't expect at all, so I requested the books in question just for kicks...it's funny how sometimes my request is declined on one site only to get approved on the other (or a book can only be "wished for" on NG, which means us European folks will never get it, while we can easily request and obtain it via EW). Anyhow, here's my monthly bookish recap...

Approvals (3+2):
A violent storm washes a mysterious house onto a rural Pacific Northwest beach, stopping the heart of the only woman who knows what it means. Her grandson, Simon Culpepper, vanishes in the aftermath, leaving two of his childhood friends to comb the small, isolated island for answers―but decades have passed since Melissa and Leo were close, if they were ever close at all.
Now they'll have to put aside old rivalries and grudges if they want to find or save the man who brought them together in the first place―and on the way they'll learn a great deal about the sinister house on the beach, the man who built it, and the evil he's bringing back to Marrowstone Island.
Kembral Thorne is spending a few hours away from her newborn, and she's determined to enjoy the party no matter what. But when the guests start dropping dead, Kem has no choice but to get to work. She's a member of the Guild of Hounds, after all, and she can't help picking up the scent of trouble.
She's not the only one. Her professional and personal nemesis, notorious burglar Rika Nonesuch, is on the prowl. They quickly identify what's causing the mayhem: a mysterious grandfather clock that sends them down an Echo every time it chimes. In each strange new layer of reality, time resets and a sinister figure appears to perform a blood-soaked ritual.
As Kem and Rika fall into increasingly macabre versions of their city, they'll need to rely on their wits - and each other - to unravel the secret of the clock and save their city.
  • Malicia by Steven Dos Santos (YA, supernatural/thriller/horror)
Four friends, three days, two lovers, and one very haunted theme park
On a stormy Halloween weekend, Ray enlists his best friends Joaquin, Sofia, and Isabella to help him make a documentary of Malicia, the abandoned theme park off the coast of the Dominican Republic where his mother and brother died in a mass killing thirteen years ago.
But what should be an easy weekend trip quickly turns into something darker because all four friends have come to Malicia for their own
Ray has come to Malicia to find out the truth of the massacre that destroyed his family. Isabella has come to make art out of Ray’s tragedy for her own personal gain. Sofia has come to support her friends in one last adventure before she goes to med school. Joaquin already knows the truth of the Malicia Massacre and he has come to betray his crush Ray to the evil that made the park possible.
With an impending hurricane and horrors around every corner, they all struggle to face the deadly storm and their own inner demons. But the deadliest evil of all is the ancient malignant presence on the island.

  • Whirly World by Brandon Jason (Adult, afterlife/thriller - not really an approval, because it was Read Now on NetGalley...and not really an ARC, because it's an October 2023 release that is being given a second chance to gain visibility, I guess)
Theme-park blogger Jason Green is dead and his spirit is stuck inside Whirly World, his favorite place to be. What should be a dream come true turns into an abstract nightmare as Jason confronts malevolent forces trapping him there. Desperate to escape, he has to befriend the other ten ghosts inhabiting this afterlife, from a disgruntled hostess crushed under a revolving stage, to a bereft security guard that still thinks it's 1983, and combine their strange powers to dig up the park's mysterious past.
  • Streetlight People by Charlene Thomas (YA, supernatural?/time travel - again, not really an approval, because it was Read Now on NetGalley)
For most, Streetlight is a dot on the map you pass on your way to somewhere else. But if you live there, you’re either a Have-Not, like Kady, or a Have-Lot like her boyfriend, Nik, who also happens to be a member of the exclusive social club, The IV Boys.
Known for their powerful families and the coveted ball they host for a selective guest list, The IV Boys have always refused to accept Kady regardless of how much Nik loves her. All the Boys except for Aaron, who didn’t grow up in Streetlight and is one of the few who knows that life—real life—exists outside of it. But his stepmom has the kind of wealth and power even IV Boys can’t resist.
With Nik at college, Aaron stands by Kady’s side. But all Kady really wants is Nik, and when a chance encounter on Halloween hands her the power to twist and hold time, she doesn’t hesitate. Now she can keep Nik close for as long as she wants.
While Kady tries to relive her best moments with Nik, the IV Boys have her in their sights. A rumor’s spreading that Kady and Aaron are much more than friends—and not even twisting time is enough to defend against the power that the Boys were born with.
The more Kady changes the clock, the more dizzying reality becomes, until she stumbles upon a truth darker than anything she could have imagined. Streetlight is filled with monsters—and maybe she’s always been one, too.

Reads (4):
  • Wink by Henry Herz et al. (YA, fantasy/sci fi - anthology)
I've already posted my mini review at the end of last month...
  • You Fed Us to the Roses by Carlie St. George (YA with a pinch of Adult, fantasy/contemporary/afterlife/horror - anthology)
Mini review posted - see Wink above.
I loved it! Review to come in a few days.
  • Malicia by Steven Dos Santos (see above)
A great ride (no pun intended, but then again, it's set in a theme park...😂) when it comes to horror, a bit less strong character-wise, but I enjoyed it! Probably more suitable for the younger crowd, though the horror is BRUTAL. Mini review to come when I have two more books to incorporate in a Review Morsels installment...

Reviews (4):
  • The Lilies by Quinn Diacon-Furtado (YA, supernatural/mystery/time travel)
Mini review already posted at the end on May, in a Review Morsels round with the following books.
  • Wink by Henry Herz et al. (see above)
Same as The Lilies - see link above.
  • You Fed Us to the Roses by Carlie St. George (see above)
Same as The Lilies and Wink - see link above.
  • The Pecan Children by Quinn Connor (see above)
Review to come in a few days.

Here are my scheduled reviews for this month (this is a tentative list, since I'm still in the middle of my ARCapocalypse...):
  • The Pecan Children by Quinn Connor (on Sat. 8th);
  • The Afterlife of Mal Caldera by Nadi Reed Perez (on Fri. 14th);
  • one of my July books (on Thu. 20th - if I manage to read and review it in time, that is...).

Reviews aside, I'll do a Tell Me Something Tuesday round-up for June on the 25th. Once again: I'm so behind on ARCs that I must concentrate on reading and reviewing them, but at least I get to play catch-up a little this way (though I'm skipping the May questions). In the meantime, here's the TMST prompt list for the months of June and July, in case you want to join in:

  • June 4th: What outdoor activities do you like to do in the spring/summer?
  • June 11th: Have your reading interests changed over time?
  • June 18th: Share some LGBTQ-character books you've recently enjoyed
  • June 25th: Mid-year check-in: what books have you loved so far in 2024?
  • July 2nd: Who’s your favourite celebrity (alive and/or dead)? (a question I submitted)
  • July 9th: Have you kept any hobbies that you started during the pandemic?
  • July 16th: Stars, letter grades, nothing... how do you rate books?
  • July 23rd: Book cons: are you attending? Would you like to attend? Which ones?
  • July 30th: Where is your favourite place to read?

🩺 EVERYTHING'S FINE, I SWEAR. The health department in this house is still a hot mess. My husband's ulcer is stagnant at the moment, despite the doctor who's following him changing his medications now and then. Almost two years, and we're still deep in the woods. We're considering trying the hyperbaric chamber, but we need to wait for the difficult wounds doctor and my husband's GP to agree on it, plus eventually get an appointment to determine if he's eligible...For his foot, an orthopedist suggested an arch support - we'll see how it pans out. In the meantime, my blood count is showing more and more spikes, and I'm slowly nearing the time when I'll have to do something for my CLL. Not to mention the latest ultrasound found a thyroid nodule I'll have to look into...when I manage to book a visit (the NHS here is a disgrace). I've recently gotten the chance to become a member of an integrative healthcare association for people who work/used to work at the local steel factory (like my dad – they opened sign-ups for the members’ offspring)...you pay a reasonable yearly fare and a small contribution for every appointment you make...the problem is, even there, there's a long waiting list. But at least you get said appointments in town, as opposed to being redirected to every hospital under the sun either than the local one 🤬.

💇‍♀️ (I RAN OUT OF HAIR PUNS FOR THESE TITLES). I got my yearly perm (more like bi-yearly this time, because of all the difficulties I've had with the unruly mane in the last 12 months) and it went better than usual...but only after a second try. Basically, the left side and the top came out great, while the right side and the back rear were the usual cross between "nixed bag" and "hot mess of the straight variety". So my hairdresser redid those bits (after two painful weeks - I had to let the hair breathe), and I finally have a decent hairdo (I mean, the right side and part of the rear are still looser than the rest, but you don't really notice it, so I'll call it a win. If all the curls looked like the ones on the left side and top, I'd be SPECTACULAR). Good grief, what's a girl to do - try to regenerate Doctor-style and manifest wild curls in the process? 😂 😭


None this month.


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

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


  1. I had perms back in the 80s, and I do not remember having any drama. Glad to hear they eventually got it right. The medical situation must be so frustrating. Two years is a long time to be treated with not much progress. I hope your name gets moved up that list for the insurance.

    1. I've permed my hair for 41 years now, and until I had to part with my old hairdresser 8 years ago, I haven't had any drama either...the one I go to now is patient and does a thorough job, but in the meantime, the chemicals have become blander, and I guess my hair is as stubborn as I am, so it's never going to get the same as it used to...

      Not an insurance - just an integrative healthcare where I get more appointment options...but it looks like it's hard to get space for everyone as well.

      Thank you 🙂.

  2. You can't see the back of your head, therefore no one else can either and it's fine ;-) It is funny to be denied a book on one site and then approved on another, I've had that happen too. Lots of creepy looking books in this post! I'm sorry about the health stuff :-( It'll be nice if the healthcare association thing at least makes things a bit easier.

    1. "You can't see the back of your head, therefore no one else can either and it's fine ;-)"
      Haha, actually, I do...I use a second mirror for that purpose. Masochist and all that 😅.

      Yep, I noticed a pattern...I'm all for creepy books...😂

      I hope to receive a call from the association soon, but it's not as easy as I hoped it would be...

  3. I think you used 'hot mess' a couple of times and it seems to the right term for what you're going through.

    I have no clue about hair. I've never been to a salon in my entire life but I can understand having uneven hair or bad hair, it can ruin your day sometimes.

    I'm sorry to hear about your health and your husband's. As I said before, I don't understand all those medical terms but it didn't good. I hope things work out. At least, you got books.

    Thanks for featuring two of my posts.

    Have a lovely day

    1. Yep...books have been my saving grace for a while now. As for health issues, I have Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). I've been suffering from it for years (it was discovered during a routine bloodwork in 2005), and I've been asymptomatic so far, which means no treatments, only regular blood check-ups and ultrasounds. Therapy start only if the white cells start to take over/multiply beyond a certain point, or infiltrate organs...

  4. Thanks for sharing my post, Roberta! My curls are wild. I have never really been able to tame them, I get really bad flyaways. My mom's cousin cuts my hair and decided it's best to keep it short now to avoid frizziness.

    1. Natural curls can have their share of issues, I get it - but I'd kill to have them! 😅 They need care, but then again, so do artificial ones...

  5. We've had an eventful month on the weather front here, lots of storms with flooding and tornados. Thankfully the damage from April was the worst of it, though many neighbors got hit again in May. Thankfully our insurance has approved a new roof for us, so now we just wait for the contractors to do their thing.

    1. I remember you talking about coming back from your vacation and finding the roof damage. Glad the insurance didn't throw a wrench into the works...that has to be an expensive job.

    2. We're going to make lemonade out of lemons as it were and get some of the other projects we've been wanting to do handled at the same time.

  6. I loved reading your perm story, although I can feel the agony!! Sorry Roberta. At least you have some good books to read. I'll be reading The Drowning House as well, I hope we both love it:-)

    1. I should probably write a book about my perm issues 😂. Glad to hear someone didn't find them annoying...

      I still have a couple of books to read before I tackle The Drowning House. Lots of ARCs lately (at least for my standards). As usual, I'm looking forward to comparing notes...

  7. I recently cut about 6 inches off my hair because I was sitting on it and pulling my head back when I sat down. lol About 25 years ago I permed my hair when it was down past my waist. The curls were so nice but if I didn't put some curl gel in my hair boy it got frizzy. It took 6 hours to perm my hair...that was the only time for me.

    I hope they can figure out something about your husbands foot.

    1. Sitting on it? Yikes, that's something 😂.

      6 hours for a perm sounds like a nightmare. Even if you had very long hair, they must have done it very slowly LOL. I never used to have frizzy hair after a perm (then again, it may depend from the humidity level) when my old hairdressers did it with the old chemicals. Now I use conditioner in lieu of gel or foam because the hair would have low definition without it...


  8. Got a lot of spooky books. I like the idea of a haunted theme park.
    Have a great June reading month.
    My wrap up

  9. Oh, I'm sorry to hear about all of the health issues. I keep sending positive vibes your way... hopefully you will get the new health options sooner than later.

    The perm - at least it only took two tries this time! That's better than the last couple times, right?

    1. Thank you...at this point, like they say, something's got to give...

      Eh...two tries, and it's not "bad", but it's not like it looks as good as it used to either. I still have lots of strands that are wavy (or even barely wavy) instead of curly. If you look at the whole thing, it looks more than decent, but the details are all wrong. I've never had a satisfying hairdo ever since I had to part with my old hairdresser, and though the current ones tries hard, the chemicals aren't powerful enough anymore...

  10. Thanks for the kind comments on my blog! I'm glad to be back and hoenstly it's people like you that are why. I'm sorry to hear about the health issues. Sending lots of positive thoughts in your direction. I'm hoping the CLL stays under control for a while yet. Hang in there my friend! It's been crazy around here too, we just have to take a day at a time :)

    The Drowning House sounds promising.

    1. "honestly it's people like you that are why"

      Thank you for the positive thoughts, and back at you! Always ready if you want to talk.

    2. Thank you! I hope you are well...

  11. I can see why I haven't been able to read or blog lately - you've been doing it. lol

    I haven't permed my hair since the early 80's but I always had trouble because the back got SUPER curly and lasted for well over a year, while the top fell out in 2-4 weeks lol

    I now have the best hairdresser I've had in whole life. My hair has always been difficult to manage. She owns the salon, so I got cocky thinking - she's young, I'll never lose her, and now she is selling the salon! Thankfully, she's moving to a shared workspace but working only 2 days a week so getting appointments might be tougher.

    We've already discusses health issues so...gobblybumblegoop to all that!

    1. "I can see why I haven't been able to read or blog lately - you've been doing it. lol"
      I'm planning a July hiatus...line your ducks up 😂.

      That's a wild perm story. Not to mention, it's the opposite of what happens to me, more or less. I'm surprised, because the chemicals were much stronger back then, and I've never had a perm problem until 8 years ago (I started perming my hair in 1983 and have never stopped since...)...Also, sorry about your current hd...I hope you manage to keep her (I guess you don't go often now that you've stopped dyeing, do you? so maybe it won't be a problem).

      I live for your made-up words 🤣.

    2. I go about every 8 weeks now. Sometime sit gets dragged out a little longer because her dying appointments are booked solid. I was just checking out her new online appointment system and she's not even taking new clients for "just" hair cuts. SO, whew...I'm in lol I have cowlicks and thick, wavy hair - but only in the back and sides - the top is straight and thinner. It's taken me years to find someone who knows how to thin it out/layer properly and evenly lol

      *cracks knuckles* for impending blogfest lol

  12. Here's a hair story for you, which... well it won't help but maybe will give you some answers? Okay so I have done the Brazillian chemical smoothing things on my hair, and the first time, it was brilliant, my hair looked legit like movie star hair, no lie. It wears off after about 4-6 months, and after about a year I wanted to do it again because we were going away. Long story shortish, it would. Not. Work. Like half my head was okay, the other half was like "nah fam you thought it was cute but no". The girl did it several times for longer and longer, made no difference. Sure, it was a *little* smoother, but not the $300 I paid smoother. And after a wash or two, even that was gone. I have decided that my hair is simply resistant to modern chemistry. I think your hair and my hair are the same in that way. I have no solution, I don't think there is one, except to understand that we have been defeated by follicles until some better chemicals come along. I am sorry.

    I am also really sorry about your and your husband's health struggles. I feel like heath "care" is a mess everywhere, frankly. It is garbage in the US too, and we generally pay a ton for it which is infuriating, though you certainly pay in taxes and such so you get the anger. I am sending tons of good juju to you guys!

    Also, I am deep into an arcpocalypse of my own. I try to be a month ahead in review books and I am VERY not. I am still on June books, and June is almost over and I think I have 16 July books? Honestly I might just give up and cry. I also got Malica, but like, on the pub date, so that is on them- I cannot drop everything because they decided to wait til the last minute. I will try to get to it but... no promises. Very curious to hear your thoughts on Mal Caldera, which I LOVED, and Malica of course, and Last Hour Between Worlds which I have too and am quite looking forward to!

    1. That's another wild hair story! Especially since the first time the treatment worked perfectly. Better chemicals...let's not hold our breath LOL. I've had spectacular perms from 1983 to 2016...then I had to find a new hairdresser, and hell started to break loose. The one I have now is patient and does her best, but the chemicals have gotten blander and blander lately, so it doesn't matter much if you have a competent hd. I will NEVER give up because the real me has got curly hair 😂 - but I'll never have a perfect do like I used to either, and I'll forever have to repeat the treatment at least once on the rebel strands in order to get a little closer to my goal...

      Healthcare is a global shame...and I know that having insurance is no guarantee of getting what you need when you need it either. Thank you for the juju...

      Haha, what, 16 July books?!? At least you're a fast reviewer (unlike yours truly), or so it seems to me...how you manage to produce such a number of thoughtful and enjoyable reviews in so little time is beyond me. Good luck with the ARCapocalypse! 😅


Welcome to Offbeat YA! I love hearing from you and always - I mean always - acknowledge your comments. This used to be a full democracy place, because anyone could comment, regardless of being a registered member of any community. Unfortunately, I had to turn off the Anonymous comment option, because I was getting too much spam that didn't get filtered. So, you’ll need to have a Google account (Gmail will suffice) in order to comment. Sorry about that. Anyway, jump right in! Come on, you know you want to...😉 And be sure to leave a link!
BTW...I don't care if a post is a million months old - you comment, I respond. And you make my day 😃.
Note: this is an award/tag free blog. Sorry I can't accept nominations due to lack of time.

As per the GDPR guidelines, here's the link to my Privacy Policy.