A Quest, to Reach the Bottom of my TBR Pile

I’m going on a Bookish Adventure!

*I am tracking my current progress here*

Aentee over at Read at Midnight has, through magical skullduggery and swashbuckling songsmithery, concocted the most amazingly in-depth reading challenge I have ever taken part in. Read on, intrepid Adventurers, and find out more….

The Reading Quest takes it’s inspiration from Adventure Games and Aentee’s well-thought-out system of characters, paths, points and levels is wonderfully illustrated by the more than able skills of CW at Read Think Ponder .

The Reading Quest runs from Sunday 13th August to 10th September, giving all us Adventurers 4 weeks to complete the challenge.

The challenge prompts are laid out, bingo board style, on The Quest Board.

Character choice is important, as it determines your path across the board.

Are you a Knight, a Bard, a Rogue, or a Mage?

EXP is earned by completing quests, whilst HP by pages read and activity on social media; and, to keep it all straightforward, levelling up occurs every 50 EXP.

Aentee lays out all the info here and, honestly, you’re far better reading it firsthand!

So, if you fancy joining in with the fun, why not head on over and sign up for The Quest?

I have chosen to start my quest on the MAGE path (mostly because I have a few books in my TBR pile that both fit those prompts and have to read in a short timeframe) and at the moment my Adventuring knapsack contains:

A BOOK WITH A ONE WORD TITLE

LORETICUS by J.B.Lucas is a cleverly woven tale of political intrigue that draws parallels between ancient Rome and modern diplomacy.

Purported to be similar in writing style to Robert Harris’ , I was eager to read this when the chance to receive an ARC came up.

One man’s secret is another man’s weapon; and Loreticus, spymaster to an emperor, considers himself well armed. Secrets are Loreticus’ business; spies and sources his colleagues. But when the new emperor goes missing, he suddenly finds himself isolated and uncertain who to trust. His search for the young emperor reveals an underworld of coups, assassinations, ambition and infidelity that make him doubt how much he ever really knew about the power behind the throne. As he struggles to deliver the young emperor safely and reunite the country, he finds himself torn between his old-fashioned principles and a new political reality.

250 Pages = +25 Health Points

Completion = +10 EXP

A BOOK THAT CONTAINS MAGIC

THE DIABOLIC by S. J. Kincaid was originally written as a stand-alone YA Sci-Fi / Fantasy novel, the storyline has since been expanded to form two sequels.

I received a copy of this from Bex a few months back, and have been meaning to read it ever since.

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

416 Pages = +41 Health Points
Completion = +10 EXP

A BOOK BASED ON MYTHOLOGY

BOHERMORE, is book one of The Pirate Queen series, by Jennifer Rose McMahon is a YA novel with a liberal sprinkling of history, fantasy & romance.

When American teenager Maeve travels to Ireland to try to unravel the secrets of her family ancestry and discover the truth about her visions, she finds herself becoming more deeply embroiled in mystery as she explores her new surroundings.

I’ve had this sitting on my NetGalley shelf for a while, so I’m glad that #TheReadingQuest has given me the kick up the backside impetus I needed to read it.

When your dreams become reality, being cursed can be a real nightmare. Like a punch in the face, eighteen-year-old Maeve O’Malley’s visions knock her off her path. The Pirate Queen stalking Maeve in her dreams killed her mother years ago, and now, the villian is coming for her. Maeve’s decision to ditch Boston College takes everyone by surprise as she packs her bags, leaves America, and heads to the west coast of Ireland to chase her dreams—and end them. Maeve uncovers an ancient family curse that refuses to remain silent until she accepts her predestined role in what many thought was only a legend. Her Irish history professor—a man she shouldn’t be falling for—is the only person who understands the origins of her torment. Maeve’s journey becomes a medieval treasure hunt through Ireland’s castles and ruins as she tracks the wrathful Pirate Queen who has her marked for vengeance.

293 Pages = +29 Health Points
Completion = +10 EXP

*I am hoping there is some mythological aspects, I assume there will be as Maeve explores the medieval sites of Ireland. If not, I guess I’ll have to rethink!

A BOOK SET IN A DIFFERENT WORLD

THE CHALK ARTIST by Allegra Goodman is a contemporary fiction tale, full of love, obsession, and alternate realities.

Twins Aidan & Diane live in a small American town, next door to Collin; artist, actor, misfit. Collin becomes involved with Aidan’s teacher, Nina and this is where the web woven by Arkadia; the large gaming company which dominates the town; tightens around it. Nina, is the daughter of Arkadia’s owner. Both Aidan & Collin become increasingly immersed in Arkadia’s online gameworld, Everwhen. When Aidan receives a mysterious black boX which allows him to physically enter the gameworld, he finds both the reality and his perceptions of the two worlds become skewed. As Collin also finds himself pulled deeper into the game, Nina begins to suspect there is something far wrong but doesn’t know how to help. When the two world collide, everyone involved find their lives changed, and their loyalties torn. In exquisite detail, Allegra Goodman explores what happens when an alternate reality takes over one boy’s life, and the forces at work behind his obsession: the all-encompassing gaming realm that becomes more authentic than his real world.

This gritty and thought-provoking read seems to me to be reminiscent of the storylines of Tron, or the Spy Kids 3D movie; or Superpowerless, by Chris Priestley.

335 Pages = +33 Health Points
Completion = +10 EXP

THE FIRST BOOK OF A SERIES

THE CHANGE: LONDON ORBITAL by Guy Adams is the 1st in a 6 novella YA Horror series, currently 1-3 have been published, and you may well see the other two as my quest continues…

Where were you when the world changed?

One minute everything was fine and the next…they arrived. Those that saw them died instantly. The unlucky ones survived. Now unimaginable things straight out of nightmares roam the streets of our towns and cities. Nothing is impossible. Nowhere is safe. And no one can escape The Change… Howard doesn’t know where he is or how he got there. He’s not even sure his name is Howard. But he knows his in trouble. Alone on a stretch of motorway jammed with broken down cars full of corpses and strange creatures, Howard falls in with a motorbike gang living in a nearby service station. But even The Kingdom of the Welcome Break can’t keep him safe. Something is moving between the rows of cars, something that used to be human but now clanks with metal, hisses with hydraulics, and is always on the lookout for new parts… The first book in a 6 book novella series, aimed at the Young Adult market, and featuring protagonists trapped in a world irrevocably changed.

160 Pages = +16 Health Points
Completion = +10 EXP

Side Quests

Alongside the prompts on the character paths, the game board also has side quest prompts worth bonus points. By utilising one of the additional side quests on the board (TIME WARP) I have included THE DEVIL’S PORRIDGE by Chris Longmuir.

Opening in 1917 London, most of the action happens at the ammunitions plant near Gretna.

I was delighted to receive a copy of this from the lady herself at a recent bookish event.

288 Pages = +28 Health Points
Completion = +10 EXP

Side Quest (RESPAWN) TROLL by D. B. Thorne

368 pages = +36 HP

Completion = +10 EXP

Quest Updates.

I’ll be posting regular updates with my progress on here, Twitter and Instagram; why not follow me to keep track of how I’m doing?

Are you participating in The Reading Quest Challenge?? Please make sure you leave your link in the comments so I can be nosy follow your progress too!

As always, thanks for stopping by

Hugs,

Crafty xxx

#TheReadingQuest is the product of the bookish brain of Aentee @ Read At Midnight; you can find out more about it, her, and her reviews via her Blog / Instagram / Twitter

All illustrations are courtesy of the Talented CW @ Read Think Ponder; and you can find out more about her art, and book reviews via her Blog / Instagram / Twitter

Advertisements

Happy Pokémon Day!!

Pokémon celebrates its 20th birthday today.

I think the first time I was aware of the whole Pokémon phenomenon was in the 80s, when my younger sister had a poster featuring all 150 (yes, there were only 150 to start with!)

Teen1 dabbled a little in her early years, late 90s; then Teen2 discovered a liking in the early 00s.

image

This was his favourite dress-up costume for quite a while!
He donated it to one of the Postpals kids a few years back, which was cute, but I must admit to feeling a little sad when I sent it off!

Turns out, a decade later, he’s still a fan…

image

I got this Pikachu hat in my Loot Crate a few months back and the scoundrel pinched it before I had had a chance to wear it!

image

Which Pokémon is your favourite?

It’s….International Taco Day!!

Yep, you read right, it’s International Taco Day! So in celebration of this delicious offering of deliciousness, here are 5 taco-inspired treats…

1. Taco Stationery

image

image

A set of 12 die-cut notecards; featuring a choice of beef, carnitas, veggie, or shrimp tacos; envelopes and a sticker sheet of garnishes make it easy to send tasty tidings to friends, family and fellow taco lovers.
Qué bueno!

Available from various stationery suppliers for between £10-£14

2. Taco Tees

image

How cute is that?
Cats & Tacos, the perfect pairing!

3. Taco Jewellery

Sites like Etsy are full of Taco jewellery, some of my personal favourites are:

These taco earrings by UK-based Sour Cherry

image

And this cute bracelet from Canadian BiteSize Minatures

image

4. Taco Handbag

image

For those of you who thought that Tacos were a cheap & cheerful snack, think again! This Charlotte Olympia clutch was on offer during the summer, bearing a rather hefty $1,295 price tag.
5. TACOS!!
image

image

They include a pack of soft tacos, sachet of pork seasoning and sachet of pineapple seasoning.
All you add is some pork fillets, fresh or canned pineapple, onion & coriander.

Kits can be purchased from most major supermarkets for around £2.50-£3.50, although we recently stumbled upon some offered at £1.50 as a limited time special offer.

So, did YOU celebrate International Taco Day? If so, please share below!

5 Fandom Friday : Crossovers That Would Make My Heart Explode

The 5 Fandom Friday prompt this week is so perfect, That It Could Make My Heart Explode!

Crossovers are something that (I believe) happen a lot in fanfiction but not as often as we might hope in actuality.
(Unless you count Grissom stopping by to help Horatio Kane on a particularly tricky case…)

So, I set to thinking which crossovers might make my heart explode.

image

1. Alice in Neverland

I imagine Alice would get on well with the Lost Boys. I also imagine the Queen of Hearts would be as worthy an adversary to Peter as Hook!

2. StarTrekGate

I really enjoyed SGU, the latest offering in the StarGate franchise, possibly in part because it reminded me of Star Trek. It was a pity it wasn’t renewed for another series.

3. Indiana Croft

We all love Indiana Jones, even with his somewhat misogynistic tendancies but imagine the sparks if he had to buddy up with the very capable Lara in Tomb Raiders of the Lost Ark.

4. Wholock

I’m both a Whovian and a Sherlockian, and have been since before the current incarnations. That being said, I haven’t watched a huge amount of the ‘new’ Sherlock but from what I have seen, I think a crossover could work pretty well.
Given that they are both BBC funded/produced and some of the crew go between the two already, logistically at least, it looks like it could/should work.

Indeed, there have been hints and rumours circulating for a while of such a thing so you never know!

5. Hitchhikers Guide to Middle Earth

I adore the writings of both Adams and Tolkien, and although they are vastly different, I also see a lot of similarities in their storytelling.

What about you? Which crossovers would you like to see? Please share in the comments below.

Exploding heart graphic by Kahlia Knox

Camp isn’t camp, without a care package!

In the UK, Summer Camp isn’t as big a thing as it is in other places. Sure, as a kid, I attended camps with Girl Guides or with school; but it was only ever for a few days, a week at most. My own kids have had a similar experience; school, Brownies & Guides or BB, and the odd family camping expedition.

The idea of spending weeks off away from the rest of the family? I’m not too sure about that! Sure I’d have enjoyed all the activities & camaraderie but I think I’d have missed sharing those experiences WITH my family.

My own two are 16 & (almost) 20 and we still all enjoy family adventures.

I guess that’s why the idea of IGGPPCAMP appealed to me! A weeklong adventure; building blanket forts, telling ghost stories, making new friends, toasting marshmallows, trying new things.. plus I get to share it with my equally geeky household! (Teen 2 is also registered but he’s in a different Troop, so I am envisioning ALL sorts of shenanigans!)

wpid-wp-1439505648684.jpeg

Now, according to those in the know, these extended summer camps that we haven’t experienced, involve one very important thing: CARE PACKAGES!
I do actually have some experience of sending these as when Teen1 spent 1st year living on campus at University, I would post her a little goody bag every Thursday. She’d go to collect her mail after class on Friday morning and look for a bag or box all covered in stickers and full of little things like stationery, sweets, recipes, vouchers, postage stamps etc She did get flustered one time when the young guy who worked in the accommodation office asked her what was in these packages – I don’t think she wanted to mention there was usually a new pair of unmentionables, so she could stave off the dreaded laundry run for another day!!

Anyway, back to IGGLE Camp; one of the activities in preparation of camp was a Camp Care Package Swap. We all filled out a detailed form about what we were looking forward to ‘at’ camp and information about our likes; favourite snacks/activities/ colours etc.

We were then assigned someone who we would make up and secretly send a care package too.

It was a HUGE amount of fun! (So much so, I did it twice … more about that later)

Sending Out

My assigned camper was KamalaGeek, A.K.A. Nadine from Germany.

She actually shares quite a few similar likes with myself, so her package was quite straightforward to put together.

I tried to make the parcel kinda exciting on the outside too...

I tried to make the parcel kinda exciting on the outside too…

One of the first things I decided to put in was a personal piece of campsite. After I received these samples, I discovered they were a perfect postcard size and thought they would be fun to send to some of my Postpals kids, THEN I realized they would be perfect for camp swaps 😀

wpid-img_20150801_241903934.jpg

I also thought everyone needed a camp notebook. Ya know, for lists and things... 😂😂

I also thought everyone needed a camp notebook.
Ya know, for lists and things… 😂😂

A personalised notebook to write down those all-important camp details.

A personalised notebook to write down those all-important camp details.

A mini sharpie is useful for marking your name on your belongings. I've packed enough camp bags to know : you label EVERYTHING!

A mini sharpie is useful for marking your name on your belongings. I’ve packed enough camp bags to know : you label EVERYTHING!

A tunnock’s teacake poncho seemed like a useful addition for showery campfire sessions, and a post-camp clean-up kit allows for a little pampering.

I tried to include a variety of fun stuff

I tried to include a variety of fun stuff

To keep my camper busy, I included:

  • Camp themed stickers
  • Whoopee cushion
  • Loom band kit
  • Yoyo
  • Dr Who model kit
  • Camp themed rub-on embellishments
  • Some cute jewellery
Camp Snack Pack

Camp Snack Pack

I included some tea, biscuits, chip flavour shaker, sweets and some BBQ recipe cards.

This was a really fun package to put together and I’m glad to report that Nadine was pleased with it.

Incoming!!

I received MY care package from UK Iggle, Jo. She chose such perfect things for me!

IMG_20150813_205912

I love the camp notebook, it’s so cute! The sweet little decorated gel pens and lucky cat erasers are fab, and I can’t wait to settle down, in our blanket fort, with my colouring supplies.

Isn't this little foxy keyring adorable? Plus, after all the rest of camp has been packed away until next year, I can still use this every day and remember how awesome camp was!

Isn’t this little foxy keyring adorable?
Plus, after all the rest of camp has been packed away until next year, I can still use this every day and remember how awesome camp was!

Tasty (& posh!) Camp Snacks!

Tasty (& posh!) Camp Snacks!

I later learned that this was Jo’s first swap package. She did an amazing job, don’t you think?

Sending Again

Oh, yeah. I mentioned doing it twice, didn’t I? It turned out someone was going to be let down after their sender dropped out, so after a bit of juggling, the swap organiser assigned me an extra camper to send a package to.

BlueLulu also stays in the UK, so it was pretty straightforward for me to make up a box of goodies & get it in the mail to her before camp.

image

The first things I put in BlueLulu’s care package were; her own personal bit of campsite, a personalised camp notebook with pen and a snuggly camp blanket.

image

Next was a Camp Snacks bag

Fun stuff to do came next. I found a cute origami insects kit that I thought was suitably camp-y. Some beads, stickers, a loom band kit, colouring sheets & pens, a yoyo & chalks for playing hopscotch or marking arrows for tracking made up the rest of her 'keeping busy' kit.

Fun stuff to do came next.
I found a cute origami insects kit that I thought was suitably camp-y. Some beads, stickers, a loom band kit, colouring sheets & pens, a yoyo & chalks for playing hopscotch or marking arrows for tracking made up the rest of her ‘keeping busy’ kit.

image

I also sneaked a sock cake into the box.

Finally, I included some clean-up items. Afterall, no-one wants to be the pongy bunk mate ;-)

Finally, I included some clean-up items.
Afterall, no-one wants to be the pongy bunk mate 😉

Oh, I almost forgot! There was one last thing:

IMG_20150812_121840114

I couldn’t resist prepping one of these and rolling it up in BlueLulu’s soft cosy snuggly camp blanket. I hope she can forgive me…

Have you ever sent a Camp Care Package? What did you include? What would you like to receive in one? Please share in the comments…

I’ve arrived at Camp, and I never want to leave…

So today was the first day of IGGPPCamp (or IggleCamp to those in the know) and it has been an absolute blast!

wpid-wp-1439505720264.jpeg

I have participated in so many fun activities and there’s still another 5 days to go!

The activities are split into different sections, and everyone has the option to joins in as many or as few as they wish. Some are open to the whole camp, where you participate individually; others are only open to members of the same troop, whist yet more are to be completed b working together within each individual troop.

My first activity of the day was The Great Closet Cosplay Challenge , an Everyday Cosplay challenge with a different daily prompt. The idea is that you create a wearable nod to your chosen character, using only items from your wardrobe. The Day 1prompt was Disney Prince OR Princess, I grabbed a soft brown skirt, matching vest top & turquoise pendant before brushing my hair out straight(ish)…and….Voila!…emerged as Pocahontas (if you were standing 100 feet away and were squinting).

TroopLumosKitchen

Next was a spot of Troop Lumos cookery with Camp Counselor Dittany .   She has put together a fabulous collection of daily dishes for as all to cook together, and very kindly supplied us all with grocery lists so we could be prepared. She is really committed and repeats the live cook-together THREE times a day, so as many Iggles as possible can take part whenever suits them best.

wpid-wp-1439505282288.jpeg

Today’s recipe was Pizza Pockets, and they were DELICIOUS!

IGGPPCamp Craft ChallengeAnother popular activity is the Daily Craft Challenges, hosted by Counselor Gillyweed.

wpid-wp-1439505261912.jpeg

Today, we were making the cutest little painted wooden Hakuna Matata pendants.

Crafts Troop Lumos

There are also Troop craft activities, and Dittany had put together a neat tutorial on making adorable little paper lanterns. I fondly remember making these at school so couldn’t wait to give it a go!

I also finally got to open my awesome Camp Care Package Swap. I have waited patiently for camp to arrive and the lovely goodies my care-giver chose for me were so worth the wait!

I’ve actually got a blog post all about the Care Package Swap, I’m just waiting to publish it once I get confirmation that the extra Angel package i sent has been received. I don’t want to risk ruining any surprises!

In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at the contents of the box I received from Jo:

wpid-wp-1439505226067.jpeg

And can you believe? There was still more!!

There are a number of different photo scavenger hunt challenges held over the course of the week.

The big one is The Troop Hunt, each troop gets the same 30 prompts and the first troop to submit their completed (& verified!) list, wins.

The catch is, each person can only submit ONE photo, so you have to think cleverly.

I chose No. 16 and submitted a photo of my Hakuna Matata pendant.

A similar solo hunt has also proved entertaining, and I’ve ticked off quite a few on the list already.

There is also a Troop specific hunt.

I’ve been having a lot of fun snapping pictures for it too!

And the best bit is… we get to do it all again tomorrow!!

I’m heading off to toast some marshmallows now, but please share you favourite things about camp in the comments. 

Back to Nerd School

Today, Teen2 and I did a spot of back to school shopping.

I had a dental check-up first, so I left him in the waiting room with the task of writing a list of what he needed. I'm not sure whether the doodle was just that, or whether that's what I've to show the barber when we go for a tidy-up later in the week...

I had a dental check-up first, so I left him in the waiting room with the task of writing a list of what he needed.
I’m not sure whether the doodle was just that, or whether that’s what I’ve to show the barber when we go for a tidy-up later in the week…

It was all perfectly straightforward, almost too easy in fact! I find myself wondering what we missed….

He quickly picked out some smart shirts & trousers, in the regulation black and white, and a rather dapper pair of shoes; before getting down to the business of getting the ‘fun’ stuff…

First things first, you need a school bag:

IMG_20150812_220808537

MARVEL COMICS Messenger Bag Primark £8

This Marvel messenger bag is nice & roomy, has a few handy zipped pockets; inside and out; and a useful variable length strap. It’s pretty sturdily constructed and definitely belies it’s very inexpensive price point!

Continuing on with the MARVEL theme, we also picked up this great notebook:

IMG_20150812_221247

MARVEL COMICS Hardcover A4 Notebook Home Bargains £1.29

Again, I was really impressed with the cost of this; it’s unusual to get ANY hardcover notebook this size at such a price, so getting a branded one was quite cool!

 

Swapping Fandoms, it was time to buy some pens:

LIGHT SABER Pens Tesco £1.50, twin-pack

LIGHT SABER Pens
Tesco £1.50, twin-pack

We also picked up a gift for Teen1’s Back To Uni supplies:

TASH TOPPER Pencil Hawkin's Bazaar Was £2.50, reduced to 20p!

TASH TOPPER Pencil
Hawkin’s Bazaar Was £2.50, reduced to 20p!

I couldn’t resist this fab Moustache-topped pencil. It’s ridiculous and I don’t know if she’ll even use it, but it was too funny not to.

Have you done any cool Back To School shopping? (whether you’re going or not!!) I love browsing all the Back To School stationery aisles!! 😁 Any geeky purchases? Please share in the comments below.