The Reading Quest | Sign Up Post

This may be the most exciting readathon I’ve ever contemplated participation in. Based on videogames, it rewards finishing TBR books with EXP and HP points. It sounds so ridiculously fun that there was no way to resist.

This reading quest was created by the brilliant Aentee from Read at Midnight, and all the glorious artwork was done by CW of Read, Think, Ponder.

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Action Plan (a.k.a. TBR)

You pick one character (to start with) and follow its path on the board, earning EXP and gaining HP along the way. I will post the instructions regarding EXP & HP after my ambitious TBR for the main character and side quests. For the full info, check out Aentee’s post at Read at Midnight.

My TBR will be ambitious to say the least. I intend to start with the Mage pathway and then progress through the other main character quests, picking up side quests here and there. Also it may change but I’m pretty excited about this TBR so here goes.

Character Challenges:

  • (Mage/Rogue) One Word Title
    • Lexicon by Max Barry
  • (Mage) Contains Magic
    • Fire Boy by Sami Shah
  • (Mage) Based on Mythology
    • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • (Mage) Set in a Different World
    • Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
  • (Mage/Knight) First in a Series
    • Air Awakens by Elise Kova
  • (Knight) Verb in the Title
    • Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  • (Knight) Weapon on its Cover
    • Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
  • (Knight) Red Cover
    • The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
  • (Knight/Bard) Has a TV/Movie Adaptation
    • Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
  • (Bard) Fairy Tale Retelling
    • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • (Bard) Striking Typography
    • The Collector by John Fowles
  • (Bard) Translated from Another Language
    • The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • (Bard/Rogue) A Banned Book
    • Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • (Rogue) Cover with a Partially Obscured Face
    • Ache by Eliza Henry Jones
  • (Rogue) <500 Ratings on Goodreads
    • Please Do Not Disturb by Robert Glancy
  • (Rogue) Published by a Small Press
    • Lightspeed Magazine Issue 82 by John Joseph Adams

Side Quests

  • Potions: Concocted by 2+ Authors
    • We Are All Stardust edited by Stefan Klein
  • Multiplayer: Buddy Read a Book
    • N/A (not sure I’ll get to this side quest)
  • Grind: A Book with 500+ Pages
    • 1Q48 by Haruki Murakami
  • Time Warp: Set in Either the Part or the Future
    • The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley
  • Open World: Free Choice
    • Will choose during Quest
  • Respawn: Previously DNF’d
    • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath
  • Expansion: Companion (Sequel?) Novel/Short Story
    • Grass for His Pillow by Lian Hearn
  • Mini-Game: Graphic Novel
    • Fables Vol. 3 by Bill Willingham
  • Animal Companion: Referencing an Animal in the Title
    • H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald

Experience Points

This is copied from Aentee’s sign up post.

  • All characters will start off with 10 Experience Points (EXP), and each book (in any format: physical, eBook, or audiobook) they complete for the Quest Board will add another +10 EXP. The exception are graphic novels/manga, which will give +5 EXP.
  • The exception is for books written by marginalised authors. These books will earn your characters bonus EXP.  For each book completed for the Quest, you will gain +20 EXP.
  • Adventurers who complete their character’s quest before the challenge period will earn a +50 EXP. You will earn an additional +30 EXP for any additional character quest you complete after that.
  • Because I am not interested in employing polynomials or convoluted equations for a reading challenge, I’m going to go ahead and say your character will level up with every +50 EXP. They all start at Level 1.

Health Points

This is also copied from Aentee’s sign up post.

  • All characters begin with 10 Health Points (HP). Every 10 pages you read during the Quest will give you +1HP. The exception are graphic novels/manga, which will give you +1HP every 20 pages.
  • Tweeting on #TheReadingQuest hashtag (with meaningful tweets about your current reads, roleplay with your current character, book recommendations) will earn you +1HP each. You can have a maximum of +20HP from Social Media interactions
  • Photos of your #TheReadingQuest books or TBR pile will earn you 1HPeach. This contributes towards the maximum of +20HP from Social Media interactions mentioned above.
  • We will catalogue the points at the end via a masterpost, and find out who The Quest Champion is! This requires all participants interested in the prizes to link up in the Masterpost at the conclusion of the Quest!

Other Info

This quest is a decently long one, running from Sunday 13th August through till Sunday 10th September. I will be updating on here weekly, and more often on Twitter (@foliomusings).

So initiate training, pack your daggers, we’re going on a quest.

Love Shouldn’t be Creepy | A Book Review

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Title: I’m Still Here

Author: Clélie Avit

Pages: 240

Catchwords: Coma, French, Non-consensual romance


I’m going to admit right off the bat, I borrowed this purely because of its pretty cover. I guess after reading the blurb, I was intrigued to see if this story could be pulled off in a non-creepy way. Yeah, I don’t think that was ever gonna happen.

At first I thought it might be due to the translation. Then I realised it’s just overall poor writing. I get that it’s drawn it’s inspiration from Sleeping Beauty, but it was nigh impossible to get over the creep factor. Since the plot is predictable, the focus was largely on the characters, yet they both felt inconsistent and very underdeveloped. It was filled with irritating cliches with little to no explanation of how it fit in with their identity.

Essentially Thibault is on the fifth floor with his Mum who is visiting his brother who he doesn’t want to see. He wanders around and accidentally goes into Elsa’s room where she is in a coma. He then proceeds to talk to her and falls asleep in the chair next to her bed. She hears him despite her coma and isn’t creeped out by this stranger who thinks he is entitled to be her friend and even KISS her. He is confronted with her ACTUAL friends, and isn’t even slightly embarrassed by his total lack of etiquette. And neither are the friends! They indulge his budding infatuation even though it is very creepy to be “drawn” to this unconscious girl.

He continues to visit her and fall in love, despite having nothing to go off about her except that she’s in a COMA. Apparently she is also inspired by him and sees him as her rainbow willpower to finally wakeup. People have been visiting her pretty consistently during the past 5 months and yet the novel sort of focuses on how he is an unwitting hero, which is kind of ridiculous. His automatic infatuation with this unconscious girl that he doesn’t even know is due to his longing for the perfect family. There is a reoccurring metaphor where he visualises his life as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book called ‘The Book in Which I am The Hero.’ Blurgh. The complete lack of consent and the total creepiness of his “love” is super unnerving. It’s also inconsistent at times which would make sense because she is really only an object to which he can project his ideals of a perfect family. There is literally one part in the book where he forgets about her for a whole week even though he is totally in love with her right?!

This book was absolutely cringe worthy with a major creep factor. Had to skim read to the end cause it was just that bad. There were other problems, such as the poor writing (it was quite bad, and this may or may not be the fault of the translation) and the unbelievable relationships between Thibault and everyone in his life. It almost felt like the author only understood communication through the lens of daily television soaps. Thibault’s habitual pineapple juice and Elsa’s glacial mountaineering characteristics felt so overtly forced into the story that they just felt like paper dolls of characters instead of people that I actually could believe in.

Suffice it to say, I did not like this book.

1 out of 5 stars

The Catcher in the Rye | Review

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My highschool required reading was minimal compared to the classics that seem to be universally read throughout other schools. I’ve never picked up nineteen eighty-four, never glanced at Catch-22, or even considered The Catcher in the Rye. I’d picked up some things about the book before going into, such as Holden being a bit of a whiny character who dislikes phonies. My expectations were founded by I didn’t find Holden to be as annoying as so many people seem to think he is.

Holden is a unique character, who is desperately and destructively trying to linger in the innocence of his youth. Whilst he is interested in learning at school, he can’t bring himself to invest his mind because that would be pushing himself further into the adult world that is full of people that are true to themselves like children are. He finds these people that are grown up and enshrined in dull rituals of etiquette repulsive because they are the catalyst of lost innocence.

The plot is largely non-existent as it focuses on Holden experiencing New York at this transitory time in his life. He isn’t quite a child or an adult, so his place in this city is undefined and shaky. There is a strong contrast between scenes where he is violent unfit for the adult scenery (such as the scene where he has a conflict with a prostitute) and scenes where is acknowledged as belonging. He may be a compulsive liar but he is not a bad person. I see this clear as day when he was talking with the nuns who are a model of virtue and charity. He can’t help but proffer himself to them and provide charity and company because this is a form of company that is more aligned with his being.

This book is interesting because of how Holden is this physical representation of philosophical difficulties of adolescence. Definitely a fascinating character study and I can see its merit in a classroom.

4 out of 5 stars

Trio of Reviews | Necrotech, Where Am I Now?, Gone with the Wind

Maybe one day I will be able to keep up with reviews on my blog, but I have not yet reached that time in my life. I’ve decided to lump together three recent reads for me that have taken up most of the second half of December. I’ve enjoyed all of these books, which makes them wonderful to end the year on.

Necrotech by K.C. Alexander31128541

Action packed and super fast paced. Set in a post-apocalyptic city that is run by mega corporations that keep track of everyone through SIN (Security Identification Number). Though some get off the grid by becoming saints who are SINless.

Riko is one unsaintlike saint who wakes up with without her memories and a lot of people to hurt to find why. She is a kickass mercenary with metaphorical balls of steel.

In this world, there is incorporated tech – tech which is incorporated into flesh. At birth, when SIN is incorporated, so is nanotech and they help with healing. If they get overloaded by either exertion or too much incorporated tech, then the tech will take over and control the body. This is called necrotech because essentially the body is dead but the tech fuels the body to kill. Therefore we get electronic powered zombies. This concept is so flipping cool and was so much fun.

This book does diversity right. Main character is bisexual and disabled (missing arm), plus the side characters are Indian, and these characters are incorporated without their traits being plot points. Really enjoyed that.

Overall, this book was epic. Cyberpunk adventure time with zombies and intrigue. I’m hooked.

4 out of 5 stars

Where Am I Now? – Mara Wilson29429875

Mara Wilson is an interesting person who has been off my radar since Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire. This memoirs describes the times in-between and I have to say that she has become a truly inspiring person. Some parts of her book really resonated with me. In particular the part about her realising she has OCD as well as the part about high school choir. I loved the chapter about the Matilda-Whore Complex where she discusses trying to become her own person outside of her “cute” reputation as Matilda and how this point of her life was a turning point for her own individuality. I think that I could connect with this transition in her life despite the child acting career. I think we all go through transitory periods where we go through who we think we should be in the eyes of others, and Mara discussing working up the courage to embrace herself was really beautiful. I listened to this as an audiobook and hearing her tell her stories was a wonderful experience.

4 out of 5 stars

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell237241

After years of being nagged by my mum to read this hefty tome so that she watch the movie with me, I finally picked it up, and surprisingly, I couldn’t put it down. I was utterly captivated by Scarlett. I can’t remember the last time I admired a character so much. She was so interesting and masterfully crafted. She was so stubbornly and unfailingly herself that it was wonderful to witness time and time again through the plot. She was such a strong character and I adored her.

Not only was Scarlett amazing, but every character was fully fleshed out and made real for me. Melanie felt like a close friend, Ashley an abandoned teddy that you wanted to hug and never let go. And Rhett. He was a treasured character. The right amount of perfect for this spanning tale of love, loss and war.

I hadn’t realised going in that it was going to have such a heavy focus on the war and the politics of the time, and really it was ridiculously interesting since I know nothing of the American Civil War. It was thrilling to read. After Scarlett and Melanie’s retreat back to Tara, the book almost had a post-apocalyptic feel to it, because their entire lives had been irreversibly changed. I love seeing well-developed characters react and adapt to completely new lifestyles. It was such a fun ride to watch them all grow.

4 out of 5 stars

This Savage Song | Review

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Catchwords – Created Monsters, Mob-Controlled Dystopian, No Forced Romance, Powerful Music, Unlikely Friends, On the Run


A Romeo and Juliet plotline WITHOUT romance?!?!

I have to say that it was actually quite pleasant that the two main characters weren’t forced together in that way. It made the story way more cohesive and fit the character development.

Both Kate and August were well formed characters that had clear motivations and goals. I really enjoyed Kate, who is struggling to raise a torch to her father’s monstrous image but is plagued by anxiety. She feels compelled to be this type of stone-faced leader and has problems processing that maybe that’s not who she truly is.

August, on the other hand, just wants to enjoy his fleeting existence, as a human of course. He too struggles with who he is supposed to be and who he wants to be. He must take souls to survive but he only can retain sustenance from the souls of sinners, so in this way he is not a monster but the hand of justice. Despite this requirement, he still feels controlled by this monstrous nature and wishes for an existence outside the one that has been thrust upon him.

See in this world, monsters are not born. They are created by violent sins. I thought this foundation of the world was super interesting and well thought out. The monsters (human or not) in this world were so real and it’s rare that a book can make make-believe jump off the page.

The only problem I had with this book was that it was too short. As in I would have appreciated more background and character development (especially interaction between Kate and August) before everything got super intense. I guess because this is a first book in a series I will get more but still.

Rating – 4/5 stars