Folklore Book Tag

I admit I’m not the biggest Taylor Swift fan but I have absolutely been in love with her new album Folklore. I saw this booktag on Twitter through @PeiReads and I just had to do it. I’m guessing the original graphic was made for bookstagram, but I’ll be blogging it instead.


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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 »

The Slow Descent of Falling Behind

I have a confession to make.

I’ve fallen behind on my book blogging, fallen behind in the book community in general. My Goodreads has been left all but abandoned. The last four posts on this blog were queued from May. I didn’t even know SDCC was occurring, let alone filled with so many publishers and authors, until I checked Twitter for the first time in ages, and I live in the damn city.

I’ve fallen behind and I didn’t even notice.

It starts with noticing the reading pace slowing down, until you find yourself barely getting through ten pages a day. It’s the gradual slip of book-related websites and communities like NetGalley and /r/Fantasy, sliding further and further down the recommended websites list in Chrome. It’s the creeping feeling of guilt that comes every time you open up Twitter, berating you for not staying caught up on the latest news in publishing, not picking up references to new drama and events, not recognizing new names and authors and debuts and what the upcoming catalog of every publisher in your sphere is. It’s the indifference, yet shame felt every time you check your blogging email and see the number of unopened emails, notifying you of author updates, new blog posts, publisher newsletters, grow and grow and grow.

It ends when even looking at the Twitter icon showers you in a wall of shame and guilt, when the simple act of picking up a book to read during a lunch break trips you up with guilt over Netgalley requests left unfinished. It ends with the knowledge that you’ve probably been blacklisted from every publisher and author you love and follow because of requests left untouched and ignored for months.

To me as a reader, it’s saddening. To me as a blogger, it’s crushing.

Because I like to read. Because I enjoy blogging. Because I enjoy this community and the people I’ve met and the conversations I’ve had. I enjoy getting to share my love for books I’ve been enthralled by, and encouraging others to read something they otherwise would not have.

But sometimes it becomes overwhelming.

I don’t plan to stop reading, or posting (hopefully), but I don’t think I’ll be able to maintain that book-a-day pace that I used to be able to manage. I won’t use this as a formal announcement for anything, but this simply has been something I needed to get off my chest.

How to (cleanly) convert PDF files to eBook files

For anyone’s who’s gotten an ARC in PDF format (looking at you NetGalley) and tried to read it on an e-Reader, you’ll know how frustrating the experience can be. The font isn’t adjustable so you’re stuck reading size 4 text, alignment can get screwed up, etc etc. Overall, not a great experience. For any Calibre users out there who’s tried a direct conversion from PDF to .mobi or .epub, the conversion isn’t much better. The line spacing and text alignment are all wonky, words get cut off in strange places, etc.

While I’m aware that there are plenty of online services that offer PDF to eBook conversion, there’s a small concern in the back of my head about uploading files (especially unpublished ARCS) to the Internet and not knowing where that file may end up.

Through trial and error and many a frustration, I’ve figured out a way to successfully convert PDFs to eBook files that leave the text (mostly) readable. This method isn’t perfect, but I’ve found it works for about 90% of the PDFs I’ve received and hopefully it’ll help some other bloggers out too.

For this guide, I’ll be converting a copy of Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells, which I received as a .pdf  from NetGalley without an option to send to my Kindle. If there are any issues, please let me know and I’ll take down the post and replace the images with something in the public domain.

What you’ll need:

  • Calibre (a eBook management/databasing software and one of my person favorites, also completely FREE!)
  • MS Word (or a free equivalent: OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc)
    • I’ve only ever done this with Word, so if someone uses another program, let me know the results!
  • the .pdf file

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2018 in Review: Excel Edition

Now that 2018 has passed, I have a full year’s worth of fanfiction novel data to blab about. Let’s start with the basics.



  • In 2018, I read a total of 46 books (I know the number on  my Goodreads account disagrees, I’ll get to that later) for a total of 5,051,121 words, with an average WC of 109,807 words/book
  • The longest book I read was Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson at 213,348 words. The shortest was All Systems Red, a novella by Martha Wells at 34,398 words. I’m excluding Extra Curricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee (14,255) because it’s really more of a long short story.
  • Author-wise, 26 books were written by female authors and 20 were written by male authors, for a 56/44 split. As a reader of almost exclusively SciFi/Fantasy, I’d say that’s a pretty good split considering the genre’s author demographics
  • Amusingly, the only contemporary romance book I read, Crazy Rich Asians, was written by a male author, Kevin Kwan

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SBPT | Week 7 | Waiting on Sunday

This week’s Summer Blogger Promo Tour post is a bookish meme, except on Sunday! Katie & Ashley from Lost In Pages and I have decided to do Waiting on Wednesday but on Sunday, where we talk about a book we’re waiting on!

K: Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch


Locke Lamora, thief, con-man, pirate, political deceiver is back, and now he must become a soldier.

A new chapter for Locke and Jean and finally the war that has been brewing in the Kingdom of the Marrows flares up and threatens to capture all in its flames.

And all the while Locke must try to deal with the disturbing rumours about his past revealed in The Republic of Thieves. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of right and wrong is one thing. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of yourself is quite another. Particularly when you’ve never been that good with a sword anyway…

The mystical book four of the Gentleman Bastards Trilogy, The Thorn of Emberlain, is a book I’m sure fans have been waiting on for forever. While the book doesn’t have a release date just yet, I think there were rumors for 2019? I’m particularly hyped for this book because supposedly, this was the original book Lynch wanted to write. However, he ended up writing the first three as necessary prequels to build up the world for this book.

Katie (Lost In Pages): Vengeful by VE Schwab

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

I read Vicious back in August of last year, and I fell instantly in love with Schwab’s writing and these characters. I cannot wait to see what will happen next, and I’m sure it’ll kill me in the best way possible. I’ll for sure be buying the US and UK editions, and I have the Illumicrate box preordered that has a special exclusive edition in it as well! You can never have too many Victoria Schwab books in my opinion.

Summer Blogging Promo Tour | Week 1 | Introduction

Hi everyone!

This summer, I’ll be participating in the Summer Blogging Promo Tour hosted by The Book Bratz. My friend encouraged me to sign up for this tour to meet new people in the book blogging community. This tour was created to bring together book bloggers during the summer to collab on fun posts throughout the summer. For the next nine weeks, I’ll be working with my partners, Katie and Ashley from Lost in Pages, to bring fun bookish-themed posts every Sunday. Be sure to check out their blog and look out for future posts!

BookCon 2018 Experience

This year, a friend convinced me to attend BookCon in NYC with her. For weeks leading up to the event, I was frantically combing Twitter, YouTube, Goodreads, and any other website with a large bookish community, trying to research what to expect for BookCon and for any drops/publisher events going on. After all, I was sold on attending with the promise of free books and I wanted to make the best of both my time and money. Yet, even with three weeks worth of research, spreadsheeting, and planning under my belt, nothing could have prepared me for my first BookCon experience.

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