Mary's Minute: When to say goodbye

Way back in 2008, I was addicted to vampire novels. I finally succumbed to pressure to read Twilight so I burned through Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse and then sought out other books like it so I could stay in my little vampire bubble, only branching out to The Host because at least it was a Stephenie Meyer book. My addiction found me combing through the YA section at Borders (RIP!) for readalikes, which led me to Vampire Academy, EvernightVampire Kisses, Bloodline by Kate Cary, and House of Night (weirdly, I never got to Blue Bloods or the Morganville Vampires in this vampmania). I was totally obsessed and eagerly anticipated each new installment. I realized Vampire Academy was going to have SIX books, which was amazing. Evernight got a spinoff. Vampire Kisses and I broke up quite quickly because I hated Raven and only barely managed to hate read through book 3. House of Night, it turned out, was going to have TWELVE books PLUS novellas for other characters PLUS graphic novels, and I was so happy! House of Night for years and years and years!

I had quickly burned through books 1-4 and waited forever, it seemed, for Hunted. But I realized I was kind of getting tired of Zoey Redbird and her friends. I started noticing some frustrating things pertaining to both character development and plot. I kind of.... stopped liking them? I kind of realized... they weren't great? I kind of... started resenting these books I'd invested a ton of time and emotional energy researching and theorizing about? I'm not one to DNF, and I don't like to leave series unread (but I'm actually really good at not finishing series, oops), but I found myself not caring each time a new HoN night book released. "I'll catch up when the next one comes out," I'd tell myself. "I'll like it this time." But I never caught back up. Even now, all twelve books are out. All four novellas. All the graphic novels. And I have no desire to pick up another book in that series or attempt to finish it.

Sort of related to the vampires, I also fell in love with The Mortal Instruments around this time (because I was hooked on paranormal, as we all were), and I remember how excited I was when I discovered TID, when TMI was extended (WILL IT BE ABOUT SIMON??? we all wondered. WILL WE STILL GET CLARY AND JACE???), when Cassie kept posting tidbits and extra scenes on her many websites, when Magnus got to be front and center. But... I put down City of Heavenly Fire in September 2014 and haven't picked it back up. I stopped reading The Bane Chronicles because I didn't want to pay for serialized novellas when I could buy the book, yet I still haven't read the entire bindup yet. I haven't read The Shadowhunter Codex or Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and I can't pick up Lady Midnight or Lord of Shadows or The Eldest Curses until I get back to CoHF, but now I feel daunted by the prospect of getting back into it. It's a hugely intimidating world, and there are soooo many books in it! And what if I never like it as much as I did five years ago?

Fast forward to 2016-2018. There are two authors who perennially publish 1-2 books per year. I've loved them both a long time. One of them has two books in a genre that she's not as well known for that I've never read, but I always read the books in the genre in which she's touted as a queen. Like, when people talk about this genre, her name is almost always listed as a recommendation and for a book to be compared to her work is a glowing compliment. The other writes in a similar genre, and she is also constantly recommended as a go-to for readers looking in this particular genre. But I've discovered that each book they release, I enjoy them less. The first author, I started reading a new release last year, put it down to prioritize something else, and haven't picked it back up. Nor have I picked up the other two books published recently(ish). The second author, I've dutifully read everything except the last book in her most well-known series (because I'm terrified I'll hate it when I actually was one of the first people to beg for that book to be written).

I've read these two authors for coming up on five years, and each book I like a little less, I become annoyed a little more. I resent the time I spend reading them when I KNOW there are books I'll enjoy more. But I'm having a really hard time saying goodbye. I add each new title on Goodreads. If I find an arc at a conference, I always excitedly add it to my haul, hoping THIS will be the book that brings me back into the fandom. And yet... I keep sliding. I recently decided the most recent book by author #2 will be my last, at least for a while, and although I haven't officially said I won't read other releases by author #1, I haven't picked up any of her books in months.

So I have two questions for you, readers: 1. Have you ever experienced this? 2. How do you know when it's time to say goodbye?

For me, when I stop associating the story or author with good feelings, when I start feeling angry or resentful, that's when I know it's time to move on. Also, I find it easier to not officially acknowledge the breakup. I prefer to "set things aside" rather than formally DNF and place things on hold with the option to give it a try later than cut the series off permanently, even if I don't have plans to go back (like with HoN). 

Blog Tour: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Today is my 30th birthday, and I couldn't be happier than to share a book I LOVE with all of you. Check out my review of the final installment of the masterfully told Illuminae Files and then scroll down to the giveaway!

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult science fiction
Format/Source: finished copy, from the publisher
Status: Book 3 of the Illuminae Files series
Links: Illuminae review (5 stars)
Gemina gif review (5 stars)
Illuminae audio review (5 stars)
Illuminae pb blog tour (All the Illuminae merch!)

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book because I am moderating the Dallas stop of the Obsidio publicity tour (and after I received my copy, I was offered a spot on this tour). This does not affect the content of my review.

Image result for add to goodreads button

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

I was lucky to be able to attend the Dallas stop of Susan's Sightwitch tour so today I've got a recap of the Q&A session during the event and a giveaway for a signed copy!

Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: young adult fantasy
Status: Book 2.5 of the Witchlands series

Image result for add to goodreads button

From New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard, Sightwitch is an illustrated novella set in the Witchlands and told through Ryber’s journal entries and sketches.

Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch...

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.

Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch is a companion novella that also serves as a set up to Bloodwitch, as well as an expansion of the Witchlands world.

Blog Tour: Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: young adult science fiction
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: standalone

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. The full tour schedule can be found HERE. Please go give my fellow tour hosts some love!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.

Image result for add to goodreads button

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.

Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.

Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.

Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.

In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.

Waiting on Wednesday: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Dread Nation
by Justina Ireland
Coming April 3, 2018
Balzer & Bray

Image result for add to goodreads button

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

Why I Want It:

Why I think you should want it:
See above! Seriously, that summary is killer, if you'll excuse the pun.

Waiting on Wednesday: Puddin' by Julie Murphy

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Dumplin' #2
by Julie Murphy
Coming May 8, 2018
Balzer & Bray

Image result for add to goodreads button

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

Filled with heart-stirring romance, friendship, and serious Texas-size girl power—this is another winner from Julie Murphy.

Why I Want It:
Julie is another of my auto-read, auto-buy authors so I'll always read everything she publishes, but I'm specifically looking forward to Puddin' because Dumplin' was one of the most meaningful books I've ever read. 

Why I think you should want it:
Julie is a powerhouse, and she writes powerhouse girls, but she writes them in different ways. I love that Julie is writing about so many different experiences. Everyone talks about Dumplin' being a great representation of a fat girl, and it absolutely is. But there's more than one fat girl in the world so there should be more than one story featuring fat girls, and from what we can see of Millie in Dumplin', her experience is vastly different than Willowdean's. So I'm excited to discover Millie's story. And Callie, who was pretty bratty in Dumplin', kind of reminds me of Alice from Julie's first novel Side Effects May Vary. Julie gives a voice to so many different girls, and I know Puddin' will keep that glorious tradition going. Also, Dumplin' movie is releasing this year so who wouldn't be super excited to have another story in that world??

Listmania Monday: Books with Maps

One of my favorite design features in any book is a map of the world those characters live in. I think it's really cool to have that extra visual aspect to help me really immerse in a fictional world. I don't know about you, but when I discover a book has a map, I absolutely scour that bad boy until I know all the features. Even then, I like to flip back and forth between the story and the map so I can see where the characters are and where they're going. It's gotten to the point that reading with one finger marking the map has become naturally comfortable for my hands, and I even emulate that position when I'm reading a book that doesn't have a map. Also, it's one reason I still prefer physical books to ebooks (because I don't like flipping pages in an ebook; it's so awkward. And the graphics don't look great digitally).

Thanks to the popularity and power of bookstagram, bookish maps are having their very best day ever. #mapmonday is one of the biggest features bookstagrammers take part in, and it's not an uncommon sight for one's IG feed to be completely consumed by posts about book maps on Monday and some of Tuesday. So to help out all you current or aspiring bookstagrammers, I have compiled a list of all the books I can think of with maps. Because it can be hard to find inspiration, I'm including non-YA books as well.

Abhorsen series - Garth Nix
Across the Universe - Beth Revis (dust jacket of ACU only)
Alias Hook - Lisa Jensen

The Belgariad series - David Eddings
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton (it's PINK!!!)
The Bettencourt Affair - Tom Sancton
The Bone Season series - Samantha Shannon
The Books of Bayern - Shannon Hale
Brighid's Quest - P.C. Cast
Boomtown - Nowen N. Particular
Burning Glass - Kathryn Purdie

Caraval - Stephanie Garber
Carry On - Rainbow Rowell
Carve the Mark - Veronica Roth
Chaos Walking series - Patrick Ness
The Chronicles of Ixia (Poison Study series) - Maria V. Snyder
The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
City of a Thousand Dolls - Miriam Forster
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare (10 year anniversary)
--more maps of the series locations can be found in various editions
The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty
A Court of Thorns & Roses series - Sarah J. Maas
Crossed - Ally Condie
A Crown for Cold Silver - Alex Marshall
The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

A Dance of Cloaks - David Dalglish
The Dark Tower - Stephen King
Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller
Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy - Laini Taylor (not in book one)
Demon Cycle series - Peter V. Brett
Discworld series - Terry Pratchett
Dune - Frank Herbert

Earthsea Cycle - Ursula K. Le Guin
The Elementals series - Jennifer Kelly
An Ember in the Ashes series - Sabaa Tahir
Empress of a Thousand Skies - Rhoda Belleza
The Eternal Sky series - Elizabeth Bear
Ever the Hunted - Erin Summerill
Exquisite Captive - Heather Demetrios

Falling Kingdoms series - Morgan Rhodes
The Farseer Trilogy - Robin Hobb
Four Legendary Kingdoms - Matthew Reilly
Frostblood - Elly Blake (UK version)
Furyborn - Claire Legrand

The Gentleman Bastard series - Scott Lynch
The Girl From Everywhere - Heidi Heilig
Girls Made of Snow and Glass - Melissa Barshadoust
Gold Seer trilogy - Rae Carson
Graceling series - Kristin Cashore
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling (UK versions)
Healer tilogy - Maria V. Snyder
The Heroes of Olympus - Rick Riordan
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco
Huntress - Malinda Lo

Ice Wolves - Amie Kaufman
The Illuminae Files - Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Inheritance Cycle - Christopher Paolini
Inkworld - Cornelia Funke
It - Stephen King

Jane Unlimited - Kristin Cashore
The Jewel - Amy Ewing
Jurassic Park: The Lost World - Michael Crichton

The Kingkiller Chronicles - Patrick Rothfuss

The Last Magician - Lisa Maxwell
The Last True Love Story - Brendan Kieley (NOT SFF!)
Legend trilogy - Marie Lu
The Licanius trilogy - James Islington
Liveship Traders - Robin Hobb
The Looking Glass Wars - Frank Beddor
The Lord of the Rings trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien (basically any Tolkien will have a map)
The Lumatere Chronicles - Melina Marchetta

The Magicians series - Lev Grossman
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy - Tad Williams
Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson
Monument 14 series - Emmy Laybourne

The Nethergrim series - Matthew Jobin
The Nevernight Chronicles - Jay Kristoff
The Night Diary - Veera Hiranandani

Of Fire and Stars - Audrey Coulthurst
Orphan Queen duology - Jodi Meadows

The Passage series - Justin Cronin
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
The Princess Bride - William Goldman

The Queens of Renthia series - Sarah Beth Durst
The Queen's Rising - Rebecca Ross

The Ravenspire series (The Shadow Queen) - C.J. Redwine
The Red Queen series - Victoria Aveyard
Red Rising series - Pierce Brown
Reign the Earth - A.C. Gaughen
The Remnant Chronicles trilogy - Mary E. Pearson
The Rithmatist series - Brandon Sanderson
Roar - Cora Carmack
Rosemarked - Livia Blackburne
Royal Bastards - Andrew Shvarts
Royal Wedding Disaster - Meg Cabot (also not sff!)

Sanctum - Sarah Fine
The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani
The Seven Realms - Cinda Williams Chima
Shades of Magic - V.E. Schwab
Shadow and Bone trilogy - Leigh Bardugo
--different maps in the books
--The Language of Thorns - Leigh Bardugo
The Silk Map - Chris Willrich
Six of Crows duology - Leigh Bardugo
--different maps in both books
Skin - Ilke Tampke
Smiler's Fair - Rebecca Levene
Snow Like Ashes series - Sara Raasch
A Song of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin
Song of the Current - Sarah Tolcser
Song of the Lioness series - Tamora Pierce
Spellbound - Blake Charlton
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Storm Siren series - Mary Weber
Strange Fire - Tommy Wallach

Tales from Ivy Hill - Julia Klassen
Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas
--Tower of Dawn - Sarah J. Maas
These Shallow Graves - Jennifer Donnelly
Three Dark Crowns series - Kendare Blake
Timekeeper - Tara Sim
Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton
Traitor's Kiss - Erin Beaty
Tyme series - Megan Morrison
--different maps in each book

Under the Dome - Stephen King

Wake of Vultures - Lila Bowen
Warriors - Erin Hunter
We Were Liars - E. Lockhart (a THIRD non-sff?? madness!)
The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Wildwood Chronicles - Colin Meloy
The Wicked Years series - Gregory Maguire
The Winner's Trilogy - Marie Rutkoski
Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
The Witch Hunter duology - Virginia Boecker
--two different maps
The Witchlands series - Susan Dennard
The Wrath and the Dawn duology - Renee Ahdieh

The Young Elites trilogy - Marie Lu

What's your favorite book map? Did I leave any off the list? Let me know in the comments!