October 14, 2014

Two-Years-of-Blogging Survey...and Drawing a Balance

...So, my little niche on the Internet turns 2 today :).

...and starts growing a third branch :)
[Image source]

Last year, on this very day, I felt pretty alone on here. I had very little followers, and very little contact with authors or publishers either. But I was committed. For the very first time in my web-adventure history, I didn't want to let go. So I clenched my teeth and stuck with it.
It's not like I've become what you may call a successful blogger since then, but I have indeed grown, if not esponentially. I've become more involved in the community (despite my staying away from social media, if you don't count Goodreads). I've been asked to review some books (not all of which I accepted, because I only read what I want), even a couple of ARCs.
And BTW...look mama! I'm on a book cover!

Back cover of Nature's Confession - read my whole review here

I'm well aware that most bloggers have reached far more important goals in two years...but you know what? It's OK. Because they spend a lot more time and pour much more sweat on/into their blogs. Because they have the chance to buy many more books than me (and most of those are shining new). Because they post so much more than me, and have a social media presence, and probably more friends to begin with. Because they participate in lots of memes, while I don't have the time and energy to get involved in all those. Because they host giveaways, while I don't have the resources to do that.
So, like I said, it's OK - it really is. More will come for me...or maybe not. Or maybe just a little more. Which is great anyway, because I love my little niche on the Internet regardless of that :).

Now, I'm going to highlight the very best books/series I have encountered in two years of blogging. I hope you can get interested in some of these, if you haven't already...
Note: clicking on the titles will redirect you to my reviews if present.

Best Book Award

I actually have 10 favourite novels so far - meaning, they are 5 and 4.5 star books.

5 Stars to...

Christopher Pike: Remember Me (Remember Me #1)

2003 paperback cover

The book that started not only my obsession for afterlife stories, but for YA in general. While the 2nd and 3rd installment in the series are problematic (see my reviews here and here), the 1st is, and will always be, one of my favourite books.

Sara Zarr: Sweethearts


Don't let the title and cover fool you: this is not a romance. This is the story of a friendship between two outcast kids who meet again as teens. This is a coming-of-age story. This is a story about being true to ourselves. This is a bittersweet story that will stay with you.

Sandra Scoppettone: Trying Hard to Hear You


Set in the early seventies, this book explores the hardship of being gay, and the path to acceptance of a girl who discovers that her best (male) friend and the boy she likes are attracted to each other. Both painful and filled with humour.

Christopher Pike: The Blind Mirror (Adult)


Blend of horror, sci-fi - wait, or is it supernatural? - and thriller. A heck of a ride. I haven't reviewed this one yet, so the link above will redirect you to its Goodreads page. Lots of extreme ratings on both sides LOL.

Christopher Pike: The Season of Passage (Adult)


Actually, this was one of the very first books Pike wrote - but it only got published in the '90s, and I suppose he reworked it quite a bit. Anyway, it contains lots of future favourite themes. And it's a riveting mix of sci-fi and horror. Some of the technology and science may be outdated by now, or it ultimately turned out different than Pike speculated at the time (there's a warning about that at the beginning of the book), but I don't think it affects the story on the whole...also, we'd have to burn a lot of classics if it were so. Again, no review of mine yet - the link above will redirect you to Goodreads.

4.5 Stars to...

B.C. Johnson: Deadgirl (Deadgirl #1)

The two faces of Lucy: original cover vs. new cover

[Edit 2015: I promoted this book to 5-star status. What are small inconsistencies or a few typos? I LOVE THIS STORY!!!]
Unusual mix of afterlife (or is it?), contemporary and paranormal. A fantastic story about what it means to be young and hungry - literally - for life. Reissue scheduled for Nov. 6. In the meantime, you can read my old review (just click on the title above) and see the new cover in all its full glory.

Jutta Goetze: Luna-C


Coming of age + friendship + a band trying to make a mark + evocative prose + Australian setting + the '80s = something at the opposite end of the X Factor spectrum.

Arlaina Tibensky: And Then Things Fall Apart


A 15 y.o. girl confined into her grandmother's old-fashioned house while recovering from chicken pox. No internet, an apparently dead cell phone, a series of humorous, heartfelt journal entries and lots of Bell Jar references.

Mary E. Pearson: The Adoration of Jenna Fox - The Fox Inheritance (Jenna Fox Chronicles #1 & 2)


What does it mean to be human? What if you had been "living" in a box for 260 years? Sci-fi and ethical speculations coupled with teen self-analysis and musings on the meaning of friendship. The 3rd installment doesn't live up to the first ones though (my thoughts on it here).

Best Series Award

I have 2 favourite series so far - 5 and 4 star material.

 5 Stars to...

Robin Wasserman: Cold Awakening
Frozen (or Skinned) | Shattered or (Crashed) | Torn (or Wired)


OK, the premise is nothing new: an advanced procedure is able to download your mind into a mechanical body, if your human one is damaged beyond repair. What Wasserman did, though, was explore and expand the idea at the core of this series in a masterful way, and couple the ethical dilemmas with action and intrigue.

4.5 Stars to...

Christopher Pike: Thirst (formerly known as The Last Vampire)
Thirst No. 1 | Thirst No. 2 | Thirst No. 3 | Thirst No. 4 | Thirst No. 5 
and (very likely) more to come...


I'm not what you would call a vampire fan. It may have something to do with their sovrabundance in modern literature (especially YA) and their often clich├ęd demeanor. But. For starters, the first book in this series was out in 1994 - way before nowadays vampire craze began. Secondly, the main character is a female vampire - and a kick-ass one at that. Last but not least, the mythology behind this series is different and intriguing. There may be a faux pas now and then, but I can't get enough of Sita :).
(Oh, I haven't reviewed the series yet - the links above will redirect you to Goodreads).

Here's to many more years together...


...happy reading my lovelies!

12 comments:

  1. Happy blogaversary! How exciting to be on a book cover!

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  2. Happy blogoversary!

    As a new blogger (started in June this year), it is definitely refreshing to see others admit that sometimes it can be lonely starting out. I sometimes feel like I am blogging to a vacuum. Thank you for being candid about it!

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    Replies
    1. It's a sad truth and a common feeling. There are so many blogs around, so many active people...and standing out is not easy, especially for those of us who don't do what the majority does (memes, reviews of books who are deemed popular before they even come out, etc.). But I still think it's worth it. Hang on! And thank you for reaching out!

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  3. Happy day for your blog, isn't it?!? So I'm guessing you like Christopher Pike a lot. You should check out his book Chain Letter! I read it and it was terrific and horrifying at the same time! :D

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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    Replies
    1. Hehe, I read it (its two installments, that is). It's not my favourite Pike though, I have to say. But horrifying is a good way to describe it, especially the 2nd book!

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  4. CONGRATULATIONS I am so happy for you. You are one of the most amazing bloggers out there . It has been a pleasure to be able to read your blog every day!!! Lots of love :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darn - where's a big blushing smiley when you need one? BLOGSPOT, PLEASE IMPLEMENT SMILEYS IN COMMENTS!!!!!

      Also, a very big hugging one would turn out handy right now... :-*

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  5. HAPPY (belated) BLOGOVERSARY Roberta!!

    Love that you shared all your favorites!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for friending me during all this time!

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Welcome to Offbeat YA! I love hearing from you and always - I mean always - acknowledge your comments. Also, this is a full democracy place, because anyone can comment - you don't need to be a registered member of any community. (On the other hand, trying to spam me won't work, because I moderate each and every comment...). So 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. :D
Note: this is an award/tag free blog. Sorry I can't accept nominations due to lack of time.