Thoughts on Readerly – 2 Weeks In

Readerly swept through book Twitter like a storm two weeks ago and like any good bandwagoner, I too signed up to snag a free premium account. Two weeks later, well, I haven’t heard a single mention of the new app.

Readerly, according to their own website, is marketed as a for the people, fuck Amazon Goodreads alternative. In fact, there’s very little on their website that isn’t about challenging Amazon’s influence over the book community, which for me is a massive red flag. For me, if a morally-preferable option also performs significantly worse. I’m still unlikely to use it (don’t ask me about StoryGraph, didn’t jump that bandwagon). Additionally, the one change they do highlight, removing the 5 star rating system for a percentage, doesn’t imbue me with confidence.

As someone who’s dabbled in UI design for internal company tools, some of these complaints will simply be, this button should be moved or this button should exist. This post was not written to bash Readerly, especially since the app has only existed for a couple weeks and their poor devs must be scrambling to put out fires. These are just personal observations that I’ve noted and wanted to share.

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Blog Chat with RF Kuang

I started A Cup of Cyanide in Summer 2018, only a couple months after The Poppy War was published and I was so excited to have gotten my hands ona copy after BookCon 2018. And yeah, I was blown away. It’s easy to say that reading that book completely changed my view on Western-published Fantasy. For me, this was the first time seeing Chinese diaspora voices finally being heard and celebrated. It’s success, to me, signaled a shift where I no longer had to rely only on translated Chinese novels for Chinese representation.

Within the past several years, I’ve been delighted to see a huge influx of Chinese voices within Western SFF publishing. Now, more than two years later, I’m so excited to get to take part in The Burning God Blog Tour. Here, we talk Chinese-Diaspora identities, opening up to hearing the stories of our families, balancing our identities against current politics, and grad school applications. Thank you so much to Rebecca for this opportunity!


After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. 

Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation. 

Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it? 

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July Wrap-Up | 2020

Writing and posting this wrap-up on time this month! I had a pretty solid reading month, including my binge of the House of the Dominion series. Man those books are powerful. It’s been a long time since I’ve stayed up til 3AM reading to finish a book in one sitting, let alone three. Review wise… not so great. I still blame my sudden move, new job, and very insistent boss. But I am back on track and with pleeeenty of books to review, as well as some super exciting book tours in the upcoming months!Read More »

June Wrap-Up | 2020

This is several weeks overdue and I sincerely sorry for that. In the past four weeks, I have a) been hired for a full-time position b) convinced my boss to let me stay at home for a week to dodge SoCal 4th of July tourists c) moved to SoCal the following week and d) am currently trying to get the hell out of SoCal since my job got moved to fully WFH anyways. It’s been a time. In the meantime, I’ve been reading like crazy, but kind of neglecting this blog, but since I’ve settled in (for the moment), it’s time I catch-up.Read More »

Pride Month Book Recs

Happy Pride everyone! For this month, I wanted to give a list of some of my favorite books featuring LGBTQ+ characters and/or written by LGBTQ+ authors. For this list, I wanted to focus on representation, so books that happen to have a minor LGBTQ+ character or two or a background LGBTQ+ couple won’t make the cut! Not all books listed will treat their characters nicely, but I’ve made sure to mark warnings as I remember them where necessary.

As a member of the asexual community myself, I’ve struggled to find books with ace leads, so if anyone has recs, please fire away in the comments!

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The Stuck at Home Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Silvia @ Silvia Reads Books. It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag post and this one seems quite fun and topical.


The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer all the questions down below
  • Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag

The Questions

  1. What are you currently reading?36216359. sy475 As of Sunday, I’m 300 pages into The Pheonix Empress by K Arsenault Rivera. I read The Tiger’s Daughter back in 2018 and I really enjoyed it. Currently, I’m loving the deep dive into Hokkaran culture and the angst between Shefali and Shizuka. I love that even though the two have their secrets and Shefali has a lot of (justifiable) beef with Shizuka, they talk through their issues!
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“Balancing” Blogging and School

Finals week is over for the last time in my undergraduate career, so this seems to be a good time to discuss how I balanced (or did not) blogging with school. This post is by no means a guide to how someone should do it, and some of the actions I did are probably outright unhealthy for both reading and schoolwork, but it seems better to be honest than to just spout advice that has no backing.

A quick overview

For blogging, I run this blog, A Cup of Cyanide, where I post 2-3 times a week. Friday posts are always reviews, while posts on other days can be reviews from a backlog or other topics I find myself wanting to talk about. In my sophomore and junior years of undergrad, I also ran a booktube account under the same name, where I would post videos on Mondays weekly. My general reading speed is about a book/week, so in a month where I am reading, I’d read about 5-6 books a month.

On the school side, I am a mechanical engineering student. My university runs on a semesters system, so I usually take 15-18 credit hours a semester. I’m also part of a fencing club that meets for ~7 hours/week, a robotics team that takes about 6 hours/week, and I work as a research assistant for ~10 hours/week. Senior year I quit the robotics team, but I was also spending a lot of time applying for grad school, studying for the GREs, and in the second semester, working on my senior design project. So overall, busy busy.Read More »

April 2020 Wrap-Up

I’d say April wasn’t the best reading month for me (despite the 700K WC very long Chinese webnovel), but in my defense, all of the projects I’d put off for the entirety of March reared back up and I had to take responsibility. And also I had to at least attempt at studying for finals, open book/notes or not.

Bookwise, I had a fairly large range of ratings. A 5, two 4s and two 3s. I suppose not my best month in terms of picking good reads.

In May news, I’ll be participating in the Asian Readathon, so expect all books read next month to be written by Asian authors, predominantly feature Asian settings, or both!Read More »

March 2020 Wrap-Up

March started out a crappy year for reading. Spring Break happens mid-March, which means EVERY class decides the week prior to Spring Break it’s time for another exam. Which is not conducive to reading. And then the quarantine announcements came and suddenly studying looked much less appealing and books and alcohol much more.

The end of March also means the end of the r/Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge, which, until the beginning of the month, I had completed about half of. And so came the creative shuffling of squares (read:  ‘yeah I think the book I read almost a year ago had a vampire character probably?’ and the like) and the speed-reading of a shit-ton of novellas. With 23 hours to go, I did manage to finish it and you can read about my full bingo card here!

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