The Reading Quest: A Sort of Wrap Up

I think if we limited this to the amount of times I’ve Instagrammed #thereadingquest I probably would have done well. As is…I got kind of overwhelmed with work and reading other things off my TBR that my quest pretty much failed to launch. As a Mage, anyway. When I changed my character to a Bard (because heck, if I’m still in the character customization zone I can totally change my character class without penalty, right?), I at least felt a little bit accomplished, lol!

Last month, I’d signed up for The Reading Quest challenge hosted by Aentee @ Read at Midnight. It was such a cool challenge that I was so enthused about it that I made myself a huge list that accounted for all of the quests and side quests on the board, knowing that I probably wouldn’t hit many in a month but hell, might as well fill up the board with possibilities!

In the end, I took some bookstagram pics, I read a bit, I crossed a few things off my TBR, and I realized I practically meandered into sidequest land. Which, if you know me, shouldn’t be surprising. I’m the type of girl who plays games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim and starts deviating from the main quest the minute I’m given freedom to roam. (“Alright, let’s head down to the settlement to meet the–OH THERE’S SOMETHING SHINY DOWN IN THE WATER LET’S JUMP IN!”)

So I changed my class. Beep boop. And the rest is history?

In summary, I read:

Book with TV/Movie AdaptationThe Killing Joke by Alan Moore
Mini-GameMonstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu
GrindDreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

I started reading Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie as a Buddy Read but my friend and I realized we were not getting into the novel so decided just to DNF it, so I suppose it doesn’t count. I also started Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch but it wasn’t likely that I’d get it finished anytime soon. Well, maybe by next week, who knows.

So okay, I went up 20 experience points? All the same, it was pretty fun to play, and it definitely gave me excuse to take pretty pics of my books!

What do I do with the rest of the list, you ask? Well, I suppose I can try to keep track of it as a TBR for the foreseeable future. I mean, I’m pretty behind on most of my reading challenges minus the Goodreads one, so…who knows.

In any case, how did you guys do?

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Food and Fiction: Central Kitchen Parsnip Cakes

Yes a Food and Fiction/Fandom post!

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made vegetables seem so delicious until I read The List by Patricia Forde. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a love for my fair share of vegetables, like brussel sprouts and artichokes and green beans and asparagus and eggplants, but surprisingly, I’m actually more picky with veggies than I am with fruits (I effing love fruits in general). So when I read The List, I couldn’t help but want to know what parsnip cakes looked like. Hell, at this point, I don’t even know if I like parsnip. I sure as heck am not a fan of radish (Daikon radish being an exception), and they’re essentially both root vegetables.

She would walk as far as the first potato fields, she told herself, and then turn back. She would still have time to pick up their evening meal from Central Kitchen. A Monday meal. Vegetable soup, parsnip cakes, and green beans. She hated parsnips.

Letta isn’t a big fan of parsnips either, though in her case, she can’t exactly complain. The world of The List is harsh enough that turning down a meal tips the scale of survival to “not bloody likely.” Food is scarce in Ark, and what they have is grown with what limited water they manage to purify. From what I read, it makes sense that most of the food is limited to plants. There’s barely any mention of meat, and even in the forest, most Desecrators and Tintown inhabitants make do with what they can scavenge in the forest (nuts, berries, plants, mushrooms, etc.).

Anyway, parsnip cakes.

I honestly had no idea what these things looked like, for one. So when I looked them up, I realized they were added to potatoes and then fried. I figured anything fried would be great, right? And fried potatoes? Yum yum.

The recipe I found called for mashed potatoes, leeks, and parsnips. Now, I don’t know about you, but I never cooked with leeks and parsnips before. I mean, I knew what leeks looked like (ginormous scallions) and parsnips are often mentioned to be sweeter forms of radish, but again, never used these ingredients before.

I did, however, decide that I like parsnips. They have a sweeter flavor than regular radishes and I could totally eat these pickled or in a raw, stringy form. Leeks on the other hand? Not so much. They’re supposed to be a milder, sweeter, more bake-able version of their smaller relatives, but honestly, I just found the plant boring. And the farmer’s market nearby sells so much of it in a bunch! No idea what to do with the rest of this nonsense. I’ll stick to scallions and spring onions, thank you very much.

Add a bit of salt (okay, a lot of, considering potatoes need quite a bit of seasoning) and pepper, and mix into the mashed potatoes and you’ve pretty much got your concoction ready for frying!

Note: Not a big fan of the mashed potato consistency for these things. I should have just grated the potatoes much like I grated the radish. That would have given a better crunch and texture to the whole thing.

Extra note: Hah, as if the only thing I’d put is salt and pepper. I also added a bit o’ chili powder in there to add some kick to it. Yum yum.

Extra extra note: Oh, and I made a cheese dip with the rest of the leeks I’d cut out. Wasn’t bad, though probably needed a citrus flavor to top it off (lemon or lime preferably). Yum yum.

Verdict: Not too bad. With a couple of changes, it would probably be a delicious snack or mealtime side. I don’t think I was won over, though, but it was a fun experiment. Also, at least now I know I like parsnips!

This counts as #6 of my Food and Fiction Reading Challenge.

We Have a Quest!

To find the grail!

The quail!

No, the grail.

For some reason every time the use of the word “quest” makes me start singing to Spamalot. There’s too much Monty Pythoning around here…

But that’s me digressing.

Kudos to CW at Read, Think, Ponder for the awesome graphics!

Aentee at Read at Midnight put forth an amazing reading challenge called The Reading Quest and just so I can force myself to read and catch up to my TBR, I decided I’d join in on the quest. That said, I doubt I’m going to get through all of the ones I’ve put on this list, but I’ll try to at least get my lovely Mage through her hero’s journey!

Now, normally I go straight for either the Rogue or Mage during my fantasy playthroughs (almost always a Rogue during my first playthroughs in Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age franchises), but occasionally being a mage has its perks. Like being able to heal yourself without waiting for your slow-ass party members. Or setting people on fire at whim. Erm. Not morbid at all or anything…

I do plan to do either Bard or Mage next, depending on whether or not I get out of the realm of side quests on top of the Mage quests… (and goodness knows I love my side quests!).

Just so I don’t lose track of which books I plan to read for each quest, I’m putting my master list down here:

The Quest Board Book List

Mage:

The First Book of a SeriesSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
A Book Set in a Different WorldOur Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
A Book Based on MythologyThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
A Book that Contains MagicGoldenhand by Garth Nix
A Book With a One Word TitleCaraval by Stephanie Garber

Bard:

A Book that has a TV/Movie Adaptation – Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
A Fairy Tale RetellingHeartless by Marissa Meyer
A Book Cover with Striking TypographyVassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
A Book Translated from Another LanguageW.I.T.C.H. vol. 1 by Elisabetta Gnone (translated by Parke Godwin)
A Banned BookDrama by Raina Telgemeier

Knight:

A Book with a Verb in its TitleGod Save the Queen by Kate Locke
A Book with a Weapon on its CoverEon by Alison Goodman
A Book with a Red CoverThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Rogue:

A Book Published by a Small PressHollow City by Ransom Riggs
A Book with <500 Ratings On GoodReadsThe Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
A Book Cover with a Partially Obscured FaceAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Side Quests:

Potions – A Book Concocted by 2 Authors – The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Time Warp – A Book Set in Either the Past or the Future – Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
Expansion – Read a Companion Novel or Short Story – Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Multiplayer – Buddy Read a Book – Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
Mini-Game – Read a Graphic Novel, Novella, or Poem Collection – Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu
Grind – A Book with 500 Pages – Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Respawn – Read a Book You Previously DNF – Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
Animal Companion – Book Referencing an Animal in the Title – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I will be updating this list with links to reviews at some point!

Are you taking part in The Reading Quest? Let me know!

Food and Fiction 2017: A Reading Challenge

I’m trying to tell myself not to be silly-nervous about starting up and hosting a reading challenge this year, but I can’t help it, considering I’ve seen so many stellar reading challenges floating around already and I mean…another one? Cue groaning, am I right? (RIGHT?)

But all the same, I have been playing with the idea for a while now, and thought, well, why not? It seemed like something fun to do, and if all else fails, it’ll motivate me to at least continue to update my Food and Fandom section–which I hadn’t updated in a while…

(In hindsight, sorry about starting this a bit late, I should have started this earlier in the month, but what’s done is done…it’s not like I’m going to be closing off the signing up list or anything, though!)

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Food and Fiction Reading Challenge 2017

Intro

Plenty of fiction books talk about food. As a spec-fic reader, I am always in awe of the worldbuilding that goes about in the story, and one particular detail I pay attention to is how authors describe scenes where characters interact over a meal. These scenes are not groundbreaking or anything, and most of the time they don’t really move the plot along (unless you’re drinking wine at the Purple Wedding, hem hem…). But come on. It’s FOOD. What’s not to be inspired about it?

Challenge Guidelines

  • The challenge will run from January 1st, 2017 to December 31st, 2017.
  • Read a book of fiction with some mention of food. It could be as simple as a mention of a rare cup of aromatic Colombian coffee or a grand Mediterranean feast in some faraway kingdom.
  • Share your review of the book (short, long, a teeny status update) on your blog, Goodreads account or, heck, YouTube channel and other similar bloggy places.
  • Include a blurb about what food craving you ended up having after finishing the book! Blurbs can be: pictures of what you think the food looked like through the author’s description, accounts of you attempting to make the food or an interpretation of it, a recipe blog post of the food from the fictional book, or even pictures of where you went afterwards to satisfy a particular craving.
    • Examples (and reading challenge inspiration, really) can be found at my Food and Fandom page.
  •  You can set your own number of books you’d like to use for this challenge!

To Participate

  • Challenge yourself to read, review, and foodify a certain number of books. Again, it can be as little or as much as you want. Comment below to let me know you plan to participate and how many book-food-thingies you may be doing for the year. Also, you could tell me what food cravings you’ve had so far when you’ve read books.
  • Make sure to link me! I will be setting up a linky each month for you to show me what you guys have read and done. I love looking at pictures of food, obviously.
  • Spread the word! I will be using #foodandfiction for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, so feel free to use it so I can see what you guys have up. And share the love, because the more the merrier!

For 2017, I plan to do at least 12 food and fiction-related posts (once a month). This means I need to step it up! So with that all said, good luck and have fun with it!

And of course, feel free to comment below with questions, etc. Again, this being my first attempt at a challenge, I could be missing a few things and it won’t hurt to point me to the right direction. 😀

Review: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

I seem to like starting my years with assassin books. Actually, you know what, I usually can’t pass up assassin books. ‘Cause there’s nothing like bringing in the new year with a bit of death and destruction.

Yeah.

But seriously, it’s only taken me forever to get to this series, and I’m not even sure why.


ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE

by Robin Hobb
Bantam Books, 1995
High fantasy
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookiehalfrating / 5 cookies

assassinapprenticeIn a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals–the old art known as the Wit–gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

Gifly Thoughts

I’m not sure the summary does the book much justice, to be honest. A lot goes on in this first book, and while it does come off as the coming-of-age, introductory phase of what will certainly be the most badass assassin in the Six Duchies, we do get much more of the overall big picture, one which completely gets no mention in the summary. That said, Assassin’s Apprentice is essentially the beginning of something big.

The way the storytelling went–a first person narrative of an older man looking back through his life–reminded me of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, which also goes through a similar narrative style, only his character is the eidetic Kvothe. That said, Fitz and Kvothe have different paths, different backgrounds, and their stories shouldn’t be compared with each other, considering not much is the same past their catalystic natures.

I wasn’t super in love with this book at the start, to be honest. I don’t think I warmed up to most of the people that were in the pages, Fitz included. It wasn’t really until past halfway that I was even worried for Burrich, or fond of Chade. I did love Verity from the beginning, though my initial bias was probably because I loved how nicely his name rolled off the tongue. I did take immediately to the Fool, Rurisk and Kettricken, so imagine my indignation when bodies started to fall at the end of the book. Ugh, rude.

But as with most high fantasy I read, I think I came to terms with the slow character development, and Burrich, Fitz, and Chade were definitely some of my favorite characters by the end of it. It helped that the dogs in the story were adorable. It also helped that there was an epic showdown of the Skill, and a lovely–though depressing–use of the Wit at the end. I would have so been disappointed if nothing of the sort happened.

That all said, I adored the world. I’m curious over how Forging works, I want to know how Kettricken will fare in the future. I also truly want to see FitzChivalry Farseer kick ass, not just because he’s a trained assassin, but one with both Skill and Wit. That, to me, spells badassery to the max.

Say what you will, but Rain makes a pretty sexy assassin…um. What was my point again? Oh right. Assassins are badass. Yeah.

On a different note: I totally thought my Apple Strudel post tied well into Assassin’s Apprentice. There’s a scene near the end of the book where Fitz is suspicious over a plate of pastries, and his hosts eat them to ease his worries. The pastry, after being described, sounded oddly like an apple danish, or a strudel. Food and fandom, I say! (Even though I did think about apple strudels before I’d read the book. It was seriously just a mad coincidence, haha).

4.5 out of 5 cookies! Definitely a trilogy to finish reading about.


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