Life updates and (another) hiatus

Hello friends!

Sorry for the lack of post last week. I was in reading slump and did not have any idea on what else to post. As a matter of fact, I’ve been struggling to keep my one post a week promise lately. It was going great when I just started on implementing the idea of shorter reviews. However, as the months passed I have come to another realization. I just could not read fast enough to post one book review every week. And in the near future, I will have even less time to read. The reasons for this are both bad and good. On the good side, I just got a new job – with better benefits and (hopefully) career path. On the downside, as I begin to start the new job next month, I fully expect longer working hours and even less time to read and blog.

Then there was a problem of me being a moody reader and haven’t been in the mood to read lately. The best way to illustrate this is by showing you my currently-reading shelf on goodreads.currently reading

As you can see, I’ve been reading Timekeeper for nearly a year and Genie Lo (my most anticipated read this month) for nearly 3 weeks. And both of them are books I actually enjoy reading.

So, those are the reasons why I’m taking another hiatus. I will be back once I’m settled in my new workplace, hopefully by October or November. In the mean time, I might be slow to response to comments and emails, but if you need me I’ll be on twitter. Take care!

Changes are coming!

Hello all!
Yes, it’s me, Windie, back after a 6 month of unannounced hiatus. I’d love to tell you why I left this site collecting dust for months, but that’s a long story for another time.
Anyway, even though I have not been blogging, I spent the last few weeks brainstorming ideas for the site. After dozens cups of coffee and power naps, I arrived at these conclusion:

  1. As much as I love writing a long winded review, I no longer have the time to write a fully-fleshed reviews for every book. As you might have noticed, English is not my native language and I spent more time editing and revising rather than reading and writing. Counter-productive as one might say.
  2. I need more ORGANIZATION.
  3. I have mostly reviewed popular or best-selling books, most of them are from cis-het white authors. I did this because it’s just so convenient and let’s admit it, those books have tons of followers. On the other hand, it’s not easy to know about or get my hand on books from authors from smaller publishing company, and many of own voices still fall into this last category.

Clearly, I need to make some changes to the site in order to motivate me to go back and post regularly. So, here’s what I decided.

  • From now on, my reviews will be in a short (well, short-ish) bulleted format. As a new bujo addict, I found bullet format that much easier to write. No promise that I won’t digress though.
  • Calendar! As you can see from the menu, I have now added a calendar to the site. In here, you can find schedule of new book releases that I prepared for the site and my plan for upcoming blog posts. The calendar will not include all books release since I don’t have the resources to do so. However, I’ll add books I intend to read and review here so in a way you’ll get a teaser on what’s to come. As for how I select books to add to this calendar, I’ll explain in #3 below.
  • I’ll be dedicating more space for authors of color, authors from LGBTQIA+ spectrum, other own voices (including but not limited to physical disability and mental illness), and diverse books. This also means I will have to focus on a more specific genre since I cannot possibly keep up with everything. After a long deliberation, I decided to focus on speculative fiction – for now – from my reviews. This is a difficult decision to make, but I do have my reasons: 1) SFF was my first love 2) SFF was one of the more problematic genre in term of diversity representation (compare let’s say to contemporary young adult fiction).

So, what does this means for the site and me in general?

  1. (See me trying to keep up with bullets and numbered list?) I will post REGULARLY. At least once a week.
  2. There’ll be less Brandon Sanderson mentions in my site and there’ll be fewer recs of contemporary books too. I’ll still be reading them, obviously, and I’ll be reviewing them on GOODREADS and quite possibly still fangirl and goes into hysterics on twitter whenever I get my hand on Oathbringer. Please still love me talk to me, my contemporary lover/cosmeranauts friends.
  3. Hopefully, more time to interact with my fellow bloggers. I haven’t been blog-hopping for almost a year now and I do miss leaving long nonsensical comments on people’s posts. ^^

These changes will not happen overnight as I still have a couple of book reviews in other genre I need to post, and I need time to adapt the site, but rest assured that I’m committed to them.

That’s all for now! If you have any feedback, suggestions, virtual hugs, and coffee, please send them to me. Love you!

Blogwarming Party

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the new home of Geek Apprentice, henceforth will be known as Dip into Books.
I’ve been working on this site in the last 1-2 months, but I’m still working on cleaning/fixing some posts format, but otherwise please feel free to browse around.

Continue reading “Blogwarming Party”

March Wrap-up and April TBR

March, the month where I failed at blogging and reading. Basically.

March wrap-up

Reading recap

My March TBR:

  1. The Alloy of Law (Brandon Sanderson)
  2. Legion (Brandon Sanderson)
  3. More Happy than Not (Adam Silvera)
  4. Me Before You (Jojo Moyes)
  5. Lady Midnight (Cassandra Clare)
  6. Mitosis (Brandon Sanderson)
  7. It (Stephen King)

What I Actually Read:

Legion (Brandon Sanderson)

This novella was really fun to read, and it managed to tackle a lot of important issues.
4 star

Kindred Spirits (Rainbow Rowell)

Kindred Spirits is good, but not great. This short story reads like a pilot to a potentially interesting TV series, and that’s all you got, the pilot. If she ever decided to continue the story, I would definitely read that book. Nevertheless, the title is APPROPRIATE because this book is all about SPIRITS. It’s about being in a fandom and that feeling was captured perfectly by Rowell. Review here.
3.5 star

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell (Susanna Clarke)

I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it because at first I didn’t find it that funny and I read a review that said, if the sample didn’t make you chuckle it’s probably not for you. However, as the story progresses the book got more and more interesting and I started to get the quirks and the humor. In the end, I enjoyed it so much I might have cried a little when I finished it.
 4 star

In the Woods (Tana French)

In the woods is the first book in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. At first, I was reluctant to pick it up because I was worried it will be like all those interchangeable detective stories out there. I picked it up because this was the book that turned even the harshest reviewers into rabid fan. I’m happy to report that In the Woods is indeed a great psychological mystery. However, it puts more focus on the main characters than the mystery itself, that is probably why some readers were left disappointed.
4 star

More Happy than Not (Adam Silvera)

I didn’t cry – that’s new – but it doesn’t mean this book didn’t do its job. I’ll be posting a review of this book soon so stay tuned. For now, all I can say is that I am now a member of waiting-for-Adam-Silvera’s-next-book club.
4 star

The Alloy of Law (Brandon Sanderson)

I wanted to love it so much, but by the time I finished this book, I was still unsure if I love the book or not. I like it, for sure, but I am not yet feel attached to these new characters. The action sequences, however, are simply perfect. Full review coming soon.
4 star

Currently Reading:
It (Stephen King)

Blogging recap

Reviews
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – LINK
Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell – LINK

Recap and New Releases
April Most Anticipated New Releases – LINK

Top Ten Tuesday
Fantasy Books Exploring Siblings/Friends Relationship – LINK
Characters that Need A Hug – LINK
Books on My Spring TBR – LINK
Last 5 Star-ish Reads – LINK

Book Tags and Awards
More Happy than Not Tag – LINK

Book Club & Miscellaneous
Diverse Books Recommendation #FBCYA – LINK

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April TBR

Here we go again.

  1. The Wrath and the Dawn (Renee Ahdieh)
    I already owned the book and the sequel comes out this month. Seems like the perfect time to jump in the hype train.
  2. Front Lines (Michael Grant)
    Please be good, please be good, please be good.
  3. The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater)
    It’s Fanboy Book Club book for April!
  4. Me Before You (Jojo Moyes)
    Carry-over from my March TBR
  5. Lady Midnight (Cassandra Clare)
    Because it’s currently sitting on the shelf feeling unloved and I need to get to it asap.
  6. The Likeness (Tana French)
    The second book in the Dublin Murder Squad series. Heard that this one is even better. Excited!
  7. The Winner’s Curse (Marie Rutkoski)
    Another book I already owned (it was 2.99 on Kindle and I’m a sucker for bargain price). Hopefully I enjoyed it as much as other people did.

Thank you for reading my blabbering. Until next time!


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HTML Tips for Bloggers: Working with Boxes and Images

Hello everyone!
I’m back with the last part of my three-parts HTML Tips for Bloggers feature. Today’s topic is a little more advanced so if you need a refresher, check out my first two posts:
HTML Tips for Bloggers: The Basics
HTML Tips for Bloggers: Intro to Styling

In today’s post, I will mainly talk about working with box and image, but I will also add some hopefully useful tips about creating TOC and using table.

Okay, let’s start.

Continue reading “HTML Tips for Bloggers: Working with Boxes and Images”

HTML Tips for Bloggers: Intro to Styling

In the previous post, we’ve talked about HTML basics. Today, I’d like to expand on this topic by introducing the basic of using CSS for styling. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets and is used to apply certain style to specific HTML elements. For example, you could make only the second paragraph turned green by adding some codes to the second paragraph only. But first, we’ll continue our discussion from the first post by talking about formatting text.

If you need refresher on the previous topic, click here to go to the first post.

Continue reading “HTML Tips for Bloggers: Intro to Styling”

HTML Tips for Bloggers: The Basics

Helloo, it’s finally time for me to make a non-bookish post.
I knew this was coming. After all, prior to book blogging, all I blogged about was coding and programming (more accurately, learning how to code and program).

As bloggers, I’m sure we all have been exposed to some HTML codes and other web languages, whether it was accidental when you click on HTML editor on wordpress (wth is that gibberish), someone gave you a code to copy paste on your blog (where am I supposed to put this), or you’re just curious. This post will cover the basics of using HTML and it’s intended for novice and people who never learned HTML before. I have to do this to cover the basics before we move on to more advanced tips in upcoming weeks.

Basically, this topic will be divided into three posts. The first, the one you’re currently reading, will cover HTML basics such as headings, inserting images, links, using line breaks, and other stuff you could actually do on visual editor. The second post will introduce CSS, which is a styling method for your blog (and yes it can be done on free wordpress blog albeit with limitation). The third is the more advanced one, where I will talk about how to create a mini table of contents, creating boxes with rounded corners, and some other cool stuff. I am by no means an expert, though, so feel free to correct me or give me suggestion. There’s bound to be a missing quote or semicolon in this post (oh, well).

Before we proceed, please note that I’m using wordpress. I didn’t actually test these codes on any other blogging platform, but if your blogging platform gives you access to HTML editor, these tips should work all the same. Enough with the intro, let’s get to it!

Continue reading “HTML Tips for Bloggers: The Basics”

December wrap-up and January TBR

It’s time to do my wrap-up and TBR post.
I had 5 books on my December TBR and guess how many of them I read? The answer is two *hides in the corner*

I am such a mood reader so unless there’s a new release that I’ve been waiting to read for months, I usually fail to complete my TBR. :p Didn’t stop to create another TBR though.

Here’s how I did.

December wrap-up

Reading recap

My December TBR:

  1. The Emperor’s Soul (Brandon Sanderson)
  2. Red Rising (Pierce Brown)
  3. These Shallow Graves (Jennifer Donnelly)
  4. Cress (Marissa Meyer)
  5. UnDivided (Neal Shusterman)

What I Actually Read:

Warbreaker (Brandon Sanderson)

How does one resist a book about a talking sword and a sarcastic god?
5 star

The Emperor’s Soul (Brandon Sanderson)

Another innovative magic system with rich world building and a great MC. All in less than 200 pages. Probably my favorite novella ever.
4 star

Red Rising (Pierce Brown)

Great dystopian representation with action-packed story. Review posted here
3.5 star

The Rithmatist (Brandon Sanderson)

Really fun combination of whodunnit plot, steampunk setting, and killer magic system that plays out like a strategy game. Review coming soon.
4 star

Steelheart (Brandon Sanderson)

Brandon’s attempt at urban fantasy is enjoyable albeit not that original. I quite possibly underrated this one due to a very high expectation (it’s his own fault for writing such great books really).
3.5 star

Dangerous Girls (Abigail Haas)

The only thriller I got to read in December turned out to be quite fantastic indeed. I will certainly read another Abigail Haas’ books.
4 star

Illuminae (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)

The hype delivers!
4 star

You can probably see what happened there…

Blogging recap

Reviews
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson – LINK
Sneak Peek of Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – LINK
Red Rising by Pierce Brown – LINK

Recap and New Releases
December New Releases – LINK
2015 Reading Recap: An Infographic – LINK
January Most Anticipated New Releases – LINK

Book Tags and Awards
Real Neat Blog Award – LINK
Fall Time Cozy Book Tag – LINK
2016 Resolutions Book Tag – LINK

A Darker Shade of Magic Reread
Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX

Miscellaneous
News Round-up #5 – LINK
Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Authors I Discovered This Year – LINK
Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Books of The Year – LINK

January TBR

  1. Truthwitch (Susan Dennard)
  2. The Grownup (Gillian Flynn)
  3. Firefight (Brandon Sanderson)
  4. Uprooted (Naomi Novik)
  5. Sanctuary Bay (Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz)

I also want to read a contemporary and a non-fiction, but I haven’t decided what. Please let me know if you have any recommendation because I really need help on this one. You can leave me a comment or talk to me on twitter (link below).

Until next time!


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November Wrap-up and December TBR

wrp

Hello! Today, I’m doing my first ever wrap-up post. I had 7 books in my November TBR, so let’s see how I did.

November Reading and Review Wrap-up

I read 10 books this month, which was more than my expectation so I’m quite happy with it. Just two more books until I reach my 2015 reading goals.

Here are the books I read throughout the month of November with link to its review if it’s been posted.

Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon)

A promising debut from Nicola Yoon. This contemporary novel about a girl with Severe Combined Immune Deficiency is filled with cute illustrations, swooning, and heart break. However, there are some parts of the story that doesn’t really do it for me. You can find my review here.


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

Another contemporary debut! Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a book that will make you feel warm and fuzzy. It’s definitely one I’m going to reread in the future. I reviewed it here.


Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)

I was still on the second book in the Lunar Chronicles. I still prefer the first book (Cinder) over Scarlet, but this one is still a solid blend of sci-fi, fantasy and fairytale.


Angelfall (Susan Ee) | World After (Susan Ee) | End of Days (Susan Ee)

Originally, I only planned to read Angelfall in the month of November. Alas, it set up a chain reaction that was catalysed by me purchasing all three as an e-book bundle. I ABSOLUTELY adore this trilogy. Granted, the first book was my favorite, but I think Susan wrapped it up rather nicely in End of Days after a (little) shaky middle book that is World After.


The Summer I Turned Pretty (Jenny Han)

I got my first taste of Jenny Han’s writing with her Summer trilogy. This month, I managed to read the first book, The Summer I Turned Pretty, which was the perfect reading for my lazy days. Belly could be obnoxious at times (which reminded me of myself?) but she grew on me and halfway through, I was totally rooting for her. Shoutout to Trisha @ The Bookgasm for the rec.


Angels Twice Descending (Cassandra Clare, Robin Wasserman)

This is the last e-book in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. I am not going to review it here because it’s filled with SPOILER GALORE if you haven’t finished The Mortal Instruments AND The Infernal Devices. I am going to say, however, that it made me CRY.


Falling Kingdoms (Morgan Rhodes)

I’ve been meaning to read this series for a while and after seeing it featured regularly in posts made my Jesse @ Books at Dawn, I finally decided to move it up in my TBR. Falling Kingdoms is the first book in the Falling Kingdoms series. It was action-packed and full of twists. I have problems with some of the characters and plot, but I was able to roll with it because EXPLOSION! BETRAYAL! MAGIC! MURDER! I am not 100% on board with this series yet, but I think I need to give the second book, Rebel Spring, a try.


Elantris (Brandon Sanderson)

OH HEY, BRANDON SANDERSON’S DEBUT NOVEL. I am not going to say much about it because my review is coming soon!

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What’s left on my November TBR

Chasing Forgiveness (Neal Shusterman)

I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO READ THIS, JUST NOT YET. Chasing Forgiveness was actually a re-release of Neal Shusterman’s book, What Daddy Did. It was a story about a boy trying to make peace after his father killed his mom. Talking about heavy theme!

Career of Evil (Robert Galbraith)

It’s so EXPENSIVE you guys. Even the ebook is priced at $20 or something ridiculous like that. I am going to save my money and wait until it gets cheaper. And by “saving my money”, I mean I am going to use it to buy another two or three books.

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Currently Reading

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Because I’m in the mood for high fantasy (also I bought it as a bundle with Elantris)

Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

I REFUSE to DNF this book. I might have to re-read it because between starting it and now, I have read approximately 10 books (mentioned above). I am quite sure I will actually enjoy it once I get into it, but I just cannot bring myself to read it. I shouldn’t have put it down on the first place. *le sigh*

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (re-read)

I’m still continuing my re-read of A Darker Shade of Magic in anticipation of A Gathering of Shadows.

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Miscellaneous Posts

A Darker Shade of Magic Re-read Part I – IV – Index can be found here.

My Weekly News Round-up Post – #2 | #3 | #4

Book Tags and Awards:

10 Phases of My Reading Life – LINK

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DECEMBER TBR

Normally, I would do a next month new releases post at the end of the month, but this month I didn’t have time to check Fict Fact and search the internet because disorganized me forgot that it’s the end of November. So I’m just going to post my December TBR now and the most anticipated December new releases tomorrow.

Red Rising (Pierce Brown)

I saw this book in so many lists and I am intrigued with the comparison with Red Queen (I AM HOPING I WILL LIKE IT BETTER THAN I LIKE RED QUEEN, OKAY).

The Emperor’s Soul (Brandon Sanderson)
Part of the Brandon Sanderson bundle mentioned above. It’s only economical if I read all three before I buy more. Plus, I’m on a mission to read all Sanderson published works.

These Shallow Graves (Jennifer Donnelly)
I read a sample of this book some times ago and it seems interesting. I haven’t read a historical novel since The Lair of Dreams (Libba Bray) so it’s time to change that.

UnDivided (Neal Shusterman)
Me: It’s about time, Windie, you need to get over your FEELS and just finish this dystology already.
Me: But I don’t want it to end… That’s why I waited for 2 years before deciding to read it.

Cress (Marissa Meyer)
So far, I really enjoy The Lunar Chronicles, so I have nothing but high expectation on Cress. Don’t let me down, Cress and Cinder and Scarlet.


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