The Weekly Update: 1/3/16 (aka New Year, New Name, New Bloggy Goodness!)

 
 
That was such an eloquent title, I know. But I couldn't think of one word to encompass EVERYTHING that I have to tell you guys!

Ugh, where do I even start?!

This is what I get for taking a week and a half off. But I was busy redesigning-ish my blog!

(That's not even true. I did all this in the past three days. And I didn't even change that much.)

But now you all get a whole rambly post about all the various different ways in which I made css my bitch, upcoming stuff on the blog, books I've read, and who even knows what else at this point. So let's get on with it!
 

 

Design Changes

I might as well start with the most obvious—I finally gave my blog a name! It’s fitting since metaphors and moonlight is basically what my mind is filled with, but I don’t know that I love it. Maybe it’ll grow on me?

I also redesigned! Kind of. I constantly look at other blogs with designs and colors and photos and graphics, and they have amazing color schemes and are JUST SO BEAUTIFUL. So I wanted to make my blog full of color and pretty pictures in the sidebar and header and whatnot. But then I realized, I chose to design my blog the way I did in the first place because it’s very me. I like minimalism, and I have a major thing about matching. So, with the all the book covers and pictures and font colors I use in my graphics, having too many colors would drive me nuts. Keeping things basic and letting the images pop is what works for me.

So I kept the black, white, red, pink, and dark brown color scheme. I know you’re thinking, but Kristen, I’ve never seen any brown on your blog. And you’re right. Do you know how hard it is to use dark brown on a website? If you use it in text or lines, it just looks like black. But the dark brown is there in my mind. And it’s on my blog in spirit.

I also kept the swirls. I didn’t create the ones on my site (I have no idea how to draw on a computer), but I doodle designs with swirls and little flourishes just like that all over everything else.

Hand Swirls
This was the only photo I could find, and it’s from like 2007, and yes that is my hand, not a piece of paper, but you get the point.

I changed the the homepage/archive images to make less work for myself. It only took me 30-60 seconds to crop the full sized one, scale the white layer into a rectangle instead of a square, and save the new one, but those seconds add up. I’m still deciding exactly how to display things though.

I prettied up the sidebar. I even went through SO MUCH WORK to code a social media section that had tabs to switch from my Twitter feed to my Pinterest feed to my Tumblr feed, etc., but the Pinterest widget is the bane of my existence, and I think the whole thing might slow down my page and be distracting, so I’m undecided about whether I’ll be using it or not.

More importantly though, I cleaned up a lot of code. My blog finally doesn’t look like crap on mobile devices! But I could have missed something, so do let me know if anything looks wonky.

Non-Code-y Stuffs for You to Enjoy

I standardized ALL the tags, so now, for example, if you see a book and are like, wow, I wonder what other posts Kristen has mentioned this book in, you can click the tag and find out!

I added a reviews page in the menu so you can now find all my reviews organized by author or rating.

I also finally have the book search running. It use my “book tags” which function separately from the regular wordpress tags. I don’t have a lot of books to search from yet (about 50), but a blog is always a work in progress.

I’m also trying out a free ebooks page to see if that works better than the sidebar section.

Aaaaand I added a bit to my about section, but that’s not really as exciting as free books.

What’s in Store for 2016

I have some fun new stuff planned, like discussions. I’ll be participating in the 2016 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight and Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction!

Discussion Challenge

I’m going for the “Chatty Kathy” level (25-36 posts) because I aim to do 2-3 discussion post each month. And I’m excited because I am a person with lots of thoughts, and one thing I love almost as much as books is great conversation with people who have different opinions and bring new thoughts for me to ponder!

I would also like to do some other types of posts. I’m thinking maybe something like cover artists spotlights (I do seem to have a new obsession with book cover art), maybe even some slightly less-bookish things. But I’m still working out a viable schedule since I’m probably going to be busier with non-blog/book things this year (though if I could just read and blog, I totally would).

As for my reading goals, I’ll be posting those on Tuesday, so that about sums it up for the new stuff :-)

Anyone Interested in a Book Swap?

I have a brand new hardcover of How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras, but YA contemporary just isn’t my thing. If anyone in the US has either hardcover or paperback in excellent/good condition that I might like and wants to swap in the mail, let me know.

Books I Finished (the Week of the 20th):

Court of Nightfall by Karpov Kinrade | books, reading, book covers
A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick | books, reading, book covers
Cold Feet by Jay Northcote | books, reading, book covers
 

Court of Nightfall wasn’t really for me since I don’t usually care for books about angel wars (I read it because it was free). A Frozen Heart was literally the book version of Disney’s Frozen without all the singing, but I plan to review it soon because Hans is my favorite Disney villain and the book disappointed me in that regard. Cold Feet was pretty cute though for a quick-read contemporary.

Books I Finished (the Past Week):

Ringmaster by Trudi Jaye | books, reading, book covers
The Gift by Trudi Jaye | books, reading, book covers
 

I decided to start my bookish year off with some circus! THIS IS THE YEAR OF CIRCUS BOOKS, PEOPLE. GET EXCITED. I enjoyed them, but they had some circus-related inaccuracies that irked me.

Song of the Week:

The Best of Times by Sage Francis – This isn’t my usual type of music, but someone showed me this song years ago, and it’s always been a song that inspires me and helps me through, well, the best of times and the worst of times. It seemed like a good song for the first week of a new year.

The Sunday Post Link-Up

Last but Not Least, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post over at Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

 
 
 

Talk to me!

Question time for you lovely people who are still actually reading this!
What do you think of the new blog name and mild makeover?
Do you mostly like reading review posts, or do you like other types of posts on blogs?
What things are you planning for your blog this year?

 

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Your Thoughts

 

22 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 1/3/16 (aka New Year, New Name, New Bloggy Goodness!)

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  1. Maureen's Books (@MaureenHinten)

    Happy New Year! It’s my first time joining the Sunday Post and I’ve never seen how you blog looked like before.. But I really like the way it looks. I especially like the letter type your using. It looks really classy.
    Your blog name really works for me to.. It’s different and really sets you apart from the rest. But that’s just my opinion. ;)
    I love to read reviews and at times I really like to read these fun posts with tips about blogging or reviewing etc.etc. But I also enjoy spotlights and learning about new authors.
    I plan to have a lot of reviews on my blog this year and also some discussion posts and spotlights. :D

    1. Kristen Burns

      Happy New Year! I always do a weekly update, but this is my first time actually (finally) joining the Sunday Post, so I’m new to it too.

      Thank you! It makes me happy to know you like the blog name. I figure it’ll probably grow on me. Names tend to stick once you give them, you know?

      Sounds like we both like a variety of posts and have similar plans for our blogs :-)

  2. Lola

    I stopped by a few times in the past week and noticed the redesign in progress. I really like your new design and how it’s stil recognizeable as your blog, but a bit different too. I like the swirls, I used to doodle swirls like that during uni while listening to lectures.
    I use a bit of dark brown in my desing as well, but not a lot. It’s a difficult colour to implement indeed.

    Good luck with the discussion challenge. I’ve seen it around a lot last year and it’s fun to see people their discussion posts :). I like most types of posts actually, but reviews, discussion and wrap-up/ top ten type of posts are usually my favourite on book blogs. I also like posts about the bloggers their other hobbies. So I am usually not too picky about the actual content of the post as long as I like the blog itself or they way the blogger writes. I hope you’ll have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I figured anyone who stopped by was probably going to be confused, haha, but I tried to at least save the name change for last. And swirls are just such a fun thing to doodle, right? Glad you like the design though, even if it doesn’t have any dark brown like I wanted it to lol. I see now that you have it in your header which looks nice because you can actually see it clearly.

      Thanks! It’s a little daunting, doing discussions, since there’s always that chance no one will participate. The types of posts you mentioned are all my favorites as well, but I agree that I’ll enjoy anything if it’s interesting and I like the way that blogger writers. You have a great week too!

  3. Greg

    I like the name. It has a nice ring to it. Your changes look good too, I like that your site is clean and uncluttered. As for content- I like reviews and discussion posts (isn’t that helpful)? A nice mix is good. Discussions are nice because you get so many different viewpoints. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. :)

    I think circuses (and carnivals) would be a great setting for YA/ UF fantasy, but you don’t see much of it- or maybe it’s out there and I just haven’t seen it. It just seems like a natural fit.

    Happy New Year. :)

    Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #123

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks :-) And yeah, it’s nice to have at least one organized, uncluttered thing in my life, haha. You’d never know what the rest of my computer looks like judging from my blog. I also like a nice mix of reviews and discussions, so I agree.

      There are NOT a lot of circus books out there. I’m pretty sure I have every single one in existence on my TBR or kindle at this point lol, and it’s still not a lot. And they’re not even all YA. Circus and fantasy are a perfect mix, but there’s a major shortage. I plan to write one myself, but that project is on the backburner for now.

      Happy New Year!

      1. Greg

        Well when you get around to it I hope the writing goes well. :) We need more of those kind of books. I was over at Amazon looking at the Ruby Airshop books after this mornings CC post and saw that the MC is a trapeze performer… not sure if you saw that. Might be interesting although they look like they skew younger, not sure.

        Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #123

        1. Kristen Burns

          I did see it and got all excited, haha. But thanks for letting me know in case I hadn’t :-) I have a feeling there won’t be much actual circus stuff in the books and they do look kind of younger, but I’d still like to read them. And thanks for your encouragement with the writing!

  4. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    AHH! Your new name is absolutely gorgeous, and it fits you and your posts perfectly. And I love your new color scheme too! It’s simple, yet it packs a powerful punch. Thanks for sharing Kristen, and here’s to a great 2016!

    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted: Vicious

  5. Daniela Ark

    OMG!!! I’m giggling! Kristen, I’m so happy you visited my blog and I got to yours! :) for a few reasons…
    1) You like fantasy and Sci-fi [I see lots of covers with wings which are my weakness. Anything that has wings I want to read. I can’t believe you don’t like angel wars though lol]
    2) and besides reading and blogging (obvious!) you like to write!!! :):):) I hope you post on writing :)
    3) No! you DID NOT!!! you did not create a page for free eBooks!… yes you did! :) and that is reason number 3 I love your blog :) I have a weakness [more than a weakness I think it is becoming an intervention kind of issue] with free eBooks. I can’t resist them. Thanks for sharing yours!
    4) It seem you like to play around with your blog design and CSS “I constantly look at other blogs with designs and colors and photos and graphics” yup that’s me :) I agree about the colors (or lack of) but I cannot make up my mind. So, I’m constantly changing my blog design from soft and pale, to dark/stark or from busy to minimalistic. Oh well.. nut case. As far as CSS never again! [nah who am I kidding? I’ll be crashing my blog really soon again]. Love your design! especially the way you manage the images and fonts pairing. [but please free to change it again, and again and post about the CSS] :)
    5) You didn’t have a blog name until now! that makes me feel less a weirdo :) Love the name you got now :) [I still don’t have one]
    I just used all those “so much work” to code social media icons to follow you. Have a great year!
    and don’t worry I usually don’t leave these long crazy comments :)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ahhh I love your crazy long comment, totally making my day! So now you get a crazy long reply lol.

      1) I do like fantasy and sci-fi! I also checked your about section, and I think we do have similar taste (and vampires was on your list of favorite creatures!) :-D Oddly enough, I read a book yesterday about an angel/demon war that I really liked. A lot of them just tend to be too broad and plot focused for me, and I’m a character person.

      2) I AM SO FAILING AT WRITING lol. I am really going to try and get a first draft written this year and maybe post more of my other writing and tips I learn, so we’ll see. But yay a fellow writer!

      3) I think my free ebook downloading has reached intervention levels too. I won’t even admit anymore how many I have on my kindle, haha. But my logic is, I’m not sure if I want to read that… but what if one day I do and then the price has gone up?!

      4) Thank you for the compliment about my design! I totally understood your warning to people not to play around with css since it can cause MAJOR problems, and I break my site all the time with my trial-and-error methods (the key is testing each little thing as you go so you immediately know what caused the problem), but I love working with css and even the php files. I guess I love how there’s always so much potential for what you can do. And I just get these ideas in my head and then can’t stop until I make them happen. I’m not exactly an expert, but feel free to email me or whatever if you ever do get stuck on some css thing and maybe I can help!

      5) My blog was just my name too so it’s all good. The great thing about blog names though is that you can always change them if you want to!

      Anyway, those weren’t the social media buttons that took so much work to code lol, but I’m still glad you used them and totally followed you back :-D

      1. Daniela Ark

        haha! I knew it! I suspected those were regular social icons but since I have been blogging for less than a year I have ZERO blogger confidence LOL
        I thought… “hum I’m sure Kristen knows something I don’t and there is tons of complex CCS coding doing who-knows-what-wonders behind those seemingly ordinary social icons” :):):)

        1. Kristen Burns

          See, I’ve coded them so that when you click them just right and the moon is full, they sprout legs and dance around the webpage (just kidding lol). I might put up the so-much-work-to-code buttons next week and see what people think if I can work out some kinks :-)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha you made me laugh out loud. I do remember that you said you liked this name when I mentioned it before, so thanks! I’m just afraid no one will comment on the discussion posts, but I don’t feel stressed about actually coming up with ideas and making the posts because I think it’ll be fun :-)

  6. Anissa @ She Reads Too Much

    Happy New Year, Kristen! I’m LOVING the new layout and name! I like it minimalistic like this! I tend to make my layouts a lot more girly than I am, which is so weird haha – photoshop apparently brings the girly out in me! xD I have a terrible habit of getting bored with things too easily, so I change my layout every month, but I think I should limit it a bit more haha.

    Just read your about me, and “handstands are my spirit animal” made me LOL. Amazing post, looking forward to the next year and I’m so glad that I came across your blog! :)

    Anissa @ She Reads Too Much recently posted: Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I think the name is already growing on me :-) That’s so random that Photoshop brings out the girly in you, haha, but I love it. Your designs are always gorgeous though, so I doubt anyone minds if you change them!

      I’m glad someone likes my weirdness lol. I used to do gymnastics, and handstands were just kinda my specialty :-P I’m so glad I found your blog too and look forward to more posts!