Hold on to your hats, folks.

Well, in case anyone’s curious how long it takes for free WordPress hosting to become more trouble than it’s worth, the answer is almost exactly one month.

I had come to terms with my limited widget functionality in my sidebar. But my inability to use Rafflecopter was just too much.

So long, free WordPress! You and your lack of Javascript aren’t welcome here anymore!

Hopefully I’ll be up and running on my new higher-functioning site by tomorrow, but there’s a possibility I won’t be able to celebrate my 1-month-iversary exactly on time.

There’s also the possibility that this could screw with any of you who are following me via WP or RSS (hopefully if you are following via Linky Followers or Networked Blogs, those will be unaffected). So if you look for me tomorrow and it seems I’ve disappeared, I haven’t. Just moved.

I’ll also update my Facebook Page and Twitter Feed with updates. If you can’t find me, check for me there. Those aren’t going anywhere. And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or FB yet, what are you waiting for? Carpe Diem!

Right now I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. My husband and his friend are handling this. I’m mostly just here to watch them nervously and complain that it’s taking too long.

See you on the other side!

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Top Ten Tuesday (April 24)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fine folk over at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they are particularly fond of lists, and I’m participating because I am particularly fond of lists. Fancy that!

So the topic for this week’s list is:

Top Ten All-Time Favorite Characters In Books

There will be some minor spoilers in here, because some of the reasons I love these characters are kind of spoiler-y.

10. Cinna (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) – Cinna is cool, composed, and suave. He’s a stylist, so you wouldn’t think of him as being a fighter. But he proves himself to be brave and devoted to a cause greater than himself. He fights intelligently, not with swords and fists, but with well-placed images that turn the tides of feeling in the Capitol and the Districts. He was the secret but powerful force behind the Girl on Fire.

 9. Molly Weasley (First introduced in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling) – I would be remiss if I didn’t mention such a wonderful example of a mother. Molly Weasley is often in the background of the story, knitting horrible sweaters and fussing over her brood of red-headed children. But her fierce love and devotion for her family is never in doubt, and ultimately, she demonstrates the kind of power that comes from a mother’s love for her children. It’s nothing to be trifled with.

8. Robert Muldoon (Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton) – This is going to be short and sweet. Muldoon is freakin’ awesome, and if they’d all have listened to him from the beginning, dinosaurs wouldn’t have wound up eating most of them. And, unlike in the movie version, Muldoon is smart enough to not get eaten himself .

7. Valentine Wiggin (Ender’s Game and its sequels by Orson Scott Card) – In a world where children are turned into weapons by the military, Ender’s sister Valentine was rejected from the program for being too sympathetic and compassionate. But her intelligence was never the issue. Valentine’s game against her brother Peter is on a much smaller scale than Ender’s against the Formics, but she plays it well, proving what a shrewd strategist she really is. She also is Ender’s emotional center, the one member of his family who is always supportive and loving of him, no matter what he has done. She later proves her devotion to Ender when she accompanies him on his travels after the completion of the Game.

6. Jamie Fraser (The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon) – If you like your romantic leading men big, burly, and Scottish, look no further than James Fraser. From the moment Claire Randall finds herself inexplicably transported from 1945 to 18th-century Scotland, Jamie is her savior, her protector, and her friend. He is innocent, funny and friendly while also being a strong warrior and leader. He’s not without his flaws, chief among them his fiery temper and fierce stubbornness. But ultimately, it’s his enduring love for Claire — a love that literally spans centuries — that makes him utterly endearing.

5. Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins) – I never really bought into the whole “Team Peeta”/”Team Gale” thing (in my opinion, Peeta’s biggest rival for Katniss’ affections was Katniss.) So my admiration for Peeta is not based on the fact that he’s just sooooooo dreamy. Peeta takes more mental and physical abuse than any other character in THG series (barring, of course, the ones who die). But his strength of character and his will to be true to himself ultimately prevail. He is gentle, kind, and full of hope in a world where all of those are in short supply; but he also demonstrates strength and power when the situation demands it. Katniss may be the focal point of THG, but in my mind, Peeta is the true victor.

4. Professor Remus Lupin (First introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling) – As Harry’s only Defense Against the Dark Arts professor who is both qualified and competent, Professor Lupin’s teachings are instrumental in Harry’s fight against Voldemort. Additionally, in spite of Lupin’s internal struggles, he continues to be one of the main leaders of the Order of the Pheonix. He serves as mentor and protector of the Dynamic Trio, and ultimately helps Harry understand the power of sacrificial love.

3. Westley (The Princess Bride by William Goldman) – If you haven’t read The Princess Bride, go get yourself a copy and read it. Right now. The movie is great; the book is better. And however much movie Westley is the ultimate in swashbuckling romantic heroes, book Westley is even better. If you thought his survival in the Pit of Despair was impressive, wait until you see him in the Zoo of Death. “To the pain” indeed.

2. Nighteyes (Farseer Trilogy/Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb) – Nighteyes is protagonist FitzChivalry’s wolf companion for most of his journeys. Nighteyes is as you would expect a wolf to be: vicious, cunning, and fiercely loyal. But he is also surprisingly witty, refreshingly honest, and endearingly playful. Through all of Fitz’s misadventures, Nighteyes is there to ground him, support him, and be the voice of reason. In a series I loved full of characters I loved, Nighteyes was among the best. I’ve never felt so emotionally attached to an animal character, before or since.

1. The Fool (Farseer Trilogy/Liveship Traders Trilogy/Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb) – In Robin Hobb’s spectacular trilogy of trilogies, The Fool is the thread that ties them all together. He is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in a cleverly worded and slightly biting riddle. And somehow, even though you never truly understand everything about him — even after 9 books — you come to know him. Introduced as a comical background character, The Fool ultimately evolves into one of the most complex and fascinating characters I’ve ever read. But despite the vast mystery that surrounds him, it’s hard to doubt or deny his friendship and devotion with Fitz, even in the face of unimaginable hardship.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

Neville Longbottom, Hermione Granger, Professor McGonagall (Harry Potter)

Burrich (Farseer Trilogy/Tawny Man Trilogy)

 Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

Kent McFuller (Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver)

Jo March (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

 I may add more to this later. It’s too painful not to mention some of these great characters.

Teaser Tuesdays (April 24)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

How it Works:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

“The glitches were sudden, random, and more intense than anything I’d felt before. I had no idea why, which made it all the more terrifying.”

“I wanted to close my eyes and stop up my ears. I needed to escape, to hide. But there was nowhere I could go. Nowhere I was truly safe.”

– 38% of the way through digital galley of Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading, and to see what others are reading and enjoying. My TBR (to-be-read) list is growing by leaps and bounds, and I couldn’t be happier  about it.

So today I’m actually in the middle of two books. The first is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

The Wise Man’s Fear is Book 2 in The Kingkiller Chronicle, and sequel to The Name of the Wind (read my review for NOTW here). We’re still following Kvothe in his tale of how he became the most legendary hero of all time. I was enjoying how things were actually happening in this book (my main complaint with the last one was that while it was entertaining and enjoyable, there wasn’t a lot of forward motion in the plot).

Kvothe got moving (finally). He uncovered a plot. He was sent on a mission. New, interesting characters were introduced. Huzzah!

But then Kvothe went on his foray into the Fae with Felurian for 100 pages, and all that lovely forward momentum came to an abrupt halt. Now, I still have a good amount left in this book (I’m about 2/3 of the way through), so I have faith that surely it will redeem itself for Kvothe’s seemingly completely irrelevant escapades with Felurian.

But I needed a break for a little bit from Kvothe. He was frustrating me again, and I find I enjoy the books more when Kvothe and I have spent some time apart. It’s just the way our relationship works.

Which brings me to…..

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu. I received an advance digital galley of Glitch from the publisher for review (Glitch will be released on August 7). It’s another YA dystopian, which is just what the doctor ordered to alleviate my Kvothe frustrations. What better to distract me from a book where not much is happening than a book in a genre known for its breakneck pacing?

Glitch follows Zoel/Zoe (she goes by two different names depending on her location and company. I’ll call her Zoe for simplicity’s sake), a teenage girl raised in The Community. In The Community, people have technology implanted at a young age that will wipe them of all emotion and enhanced sensory function. They see the world in shades of gray (literally), feel nothing, and go through life driven by logic and duty, nothing more.

But Zoe has been “glitching.” Her implants aren’t doing their job, and emotions are slipping through. Zoe is terrified (an anomalous emotion itself) of being discovered. Discovery could mean deactivation (death). Or it could mean that she will be repaired, and lose her emotions — and she’s not sure she wants that to happen.

So far, Glitch is a fun “popcorn book.” The premise is definitely interesting, and while I was kind of expecting the “shocking revelation” that Zoe receives early on (I may have read too many books in this genre to ever be truly surprised again), it’s still been enjoyable so far.

A love interest has already been introduced (in kind of heavy-handed fashion, I might add). Some of the dialogue is simply oozing cheese. I’m hoping it kind of dials back a bit in the rest of the book, because I’m not sure how much mooning teenage angst I can deal with. Right now the romance has backed off a bit, and for that I’m grateful.

I like a good love story as much as the next person, but kind of wish that the romances in YA lit nowadays were a little more Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, and a little less Bella and Edward.

Anyway, it’s still a fun read so far, and the pacing is definitely helping me fill the “I just need something to happen, dangit!” quota in my brain. I’m about 1/3 of the way through, and have no doubts I’ll be finishing it this week.

Not sure what I’ll be reading next. I downloaded a ton of new books to my Kindle last week, so we’ll just have to see what I’m in the mood for after these two.

Happy reading!

Feature & Follow #93

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read. Each week, they’ll pick one blogger to feature, and it’s also a great way to discover new blogs and gain new followers. I’m excited to be participating this week, and can’t wait to discover some new blogs!

If you’re participating in the hop, I’d love it if you could follow me via the Linky Connect link in my sidebar, or you can sign up to follow me via email. I’d also really appreciate it if you’d leave a comment to let me know you were here. I’m still new to all this, so I want to know who’s out there in the blogosphere!

EDIT: Due to the weirdness of this WP layout, which I can’t seem to fix unless I stop being cheap, if you came to this post via a direct link, the sidebar won’t be visible. You have to go to the home page, and then the sidebar and all of its follow-y goodness will be available. Sorry about that.

Thanks everyone! I look forward to “meeting” all of you!

So, moving on to this week’s question:

Q: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

Okay. This may be because one of my kids woke up crying for no reason, then I remembered I forgot to load the dishwasher last night, and then there was a bug on my coffee maker.

Needless to say, I woke up snarky this morning.

Anyway, I would like to have Bella Swan (Twilight) battle Hermione Granger (Harry Potter). And no, Edward is not allowed to save Bella.

Hermione would win. Duh. She would trounce her. Even if 11-year-old Sorcerer’s Stone Hermione was fighting 18-year-old vampire Bella, Hermione would win. Why? Because Hermione is resourceful, intelligent, and downright scrappy if need be. Oh, and also she knows magic. Lots of magic.

So yeah. I think what would make me happy this morning is a good smackdown of someone who needs a good smackdown, and Bella definitely could use one.

But Hermione is kind and fair, and she’d want to adhere to the rules of proper deuling (especially 11-year-old Hermione), so she wouldn’t leave Bella bruised and bleeding (well….maybe bruised). She’d just teach her a lesson about standing up for herself, even if you don’t have the boy you want, and how whining and moping isn’t the answer.

Then she’d probably help her up. Because Hermione is cool like that.

Giveaways Galore!

No, I’m not doing a giveaway. I’m still a blogging baby. I have few fans and no money.

BUT!

There are lots of established and extremely generous bloggers who ARE hosting giveaways right now, and I have been gleefully bouncing around from blog to blog, entering tons of giveaways and twitterbombing my followers.

Sorry about that (but not if you win something. In that case, YOU’RE WELCOME).

Here’s some of the ones I’ve entered lately:

Lots of ARCs Giveaway from ImLovingBooks.com!

i’m loving books ARC Madness Giveaway

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

There are a TON of giveaways listed in that one!

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop

This includes links to dozens more no-strings-attached giveaways, from many other generous bloggers, that don’t involve “liking” on FB, posting on Twitter, or anything other than clicking the “enter” button.

Gotta Have YA Kindle Fire + $$ for books Giveaway

May the odds be ever in your favor! (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

The last few weeks

Well, I’m 3.5 weeks into this book blogging thing. [Side note: what is the etymology of the word “blog?” Because it looks and sounds weird.] And already I’ve done a few things right, a bunch of things wrong, and learned a whole lot.

I’ve had a personal blog for a bunch of years, but this book blogging thing is a whole new beast. The personal blog is, let’s face it, mainly for my mom. It’s about my kids and how they’re weird, and is really only entertaining to people who know me.

But this one is for…well…anyone! Or at least anyone with a similar taste in books and a tolerance for my long-windedness.

[I had a dream the other night that people were commenting/complaining about my long-windedness. I woke up relieved (that it was just a dream) and somewhat abashed (since I am long-winded).]

Anyway. In the last few weeks, I’ve had my eyes cracked open to the world of book bloggers, and it’s pretty neat. Book bloggers are cool. They’re a whole tightly-knit community that I never was really aware of. I’ve had a lot of fun reading their posts, drinking in their wisdom (The Broke and the Bookish just had a Top Ten Tuesday on Tips for New Book Bloggers, and I lost several hours of my life skipping from blog to blog, soaking up knowledge), and “meeting” several of them via comments, email and Twitter. It’s strangely exciting to start to slooooowly crack my way into this new society of awesomeness.

I’ve also emailed a few publishers/publicists with a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” mentality. And guess what? They also turned out to be actual, friendly human beings. No, they’re not tripping over themselves to send me review copies yet, but they made me feel a lot more comfortable about asking in the future.

I’ve tried to keep an active presence on Facebook and Twitter to gain readers and followers, and also just to be social to the world at large. It’s trickier than it sounds, since I can only hit up my personal social circle so many times before they’re going to start blocking me (who knows, maybe they already have). No wonder companies hire social media specialists.

My biggest error: posting multiple reviews the day I launched the site. I should have kept some in reserve while I got my feet under me. Now I either have to:

A) dig way back in my memory and my library to find new (old) stuff to review,

B) take time off to read new stuff, or

C) neglect my “real” life so that I can read fast and review immediately.

Since my family would frown on option C, and since taking a hiatus immediately after launching a new blog doesn’t seem wise, I’ve been going for option A. I figure even if a book’s been out for a few years (or decades), it’s probably new to someone, right?

So anyway. That’s the update on my little 3-week-old blog. If you like it, great! Follow the blog, leave comments, tell your friends, etc. It would make me do a little happy dance.

And if you’re an established book blogger and have some words of wisdom for me: I’m all ears!

Or eyes. Since technically I would be reading your wisdom, not hearing it.

I’m having fun. Here’s to THE FUTURE.