Blog Tour: Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly


Yesterday, the third and final installment of Stephanie Tromly's hilarious and captivating Trouble trilogy released. I loved this series from page one of Trouble is a Friend of Mine, and I'm so excited to have the opportunity to interview Stephanie about the series and her characters!

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: young adult mystery
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 3 of the Trouble is a Friend of Mine trilogy
Links: Trouble is a Friend of Mine review (also 4 stars)



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Summary:
Happily Ever After gets a serious makeover in this swoony, non-stop, thrill-ride of a conclusion to the Trouble Is a Friend of Mine trilogy.

Digby and Zoe have been skirting around each other for so long that you might think they'd lose their magic if they ever actually hooked up. But never fear--there's all the acerbic wit, steamy chemistry, and sarcastic banter you could possibly hope for.

Now that Digby's back in town he's plunged Zoe (and their Scooby Gang of wealthy frenemy Sloane, nerd-tastic genius Felix, and aw-shucks-handsome Henry) back into the deep end on the hunt for his kidnapped sister. He's got a lead, but it involves breaking into a secret government research facility, paying a drug dealer off with a Bentley, and possibly committing treason. The schemes might be over-the-top but this Breakfast Club cast is irresistibly real as they cope with regular high school stuff from social media shaming to dating your best friend, all with a twist no one will see coming.

With acerbic banter, steamy chemistry, and no small amount of sarcasm, Zoe and Digby are the will-they-or-won't-they, charismatic crime solving couple you've been waiting for.

Book Blitz: Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy

As soon as I heard about Now a Major Motion Picture, I knew I had to have this book in my life. Fandom, book nerds, movie sets... this book might as well be a box trap set up with a sign that says "for Mary". I can't wait to read it, and today, I'm sharing an excerpt and a giveaway so you can win your own copy!

Author: Cori McCarthy
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: young adult contemporary
Status: standalone

Summary: Their fantasy is her reality in this bright and uplifting contemporary coming-of-age novel by the acclaimed author of Breaking Sky and You Were Here.

Iris Thorne wants to blaze her own path. That’s easier said than done when you’re the granddaughter of M. E. Thorne, famous author of the Elementia series, hailed as the feminist response to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. And with a major motion picture adaptation of her grandmother’s books in the works, Iris can say goodbye to her dream of making her own way in the music industry.

So when Iris and her brother get invited to the film set in Ireland, she’s pretty sure the trip will be a nightmare. Except Iris can’t deny the rugged beauty of the Irish countryside. And brushing shoulders with the hot, young cast isn’t awful, especially the infuriatingly charming lead, Eamon O’Brien. Iris even finds the impassioned female director inspiring. But when the filming falls into jeopardy, everything Iris thought she knew about Elementia—and herself—is in question. Will making a film for the big screen help Iris to see the big picture?


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Praise for Now a Major Motion Picture:
“A war cry and a love letter all at once.”– Kirkus

“This is simultaneously a whimsical teen romance and an emotionally compelling story about family, creativity, and courage.”– School Library Journal


“Joyful and authentic. With a vivid cast of unique characters, the story is engrossing, right down to the sometimes wryly self-referential, on-point chapter titles.” – Booklist

Excerpt:
I DON’T WANT TO ALARM ANYONE, BUT THERE’S AN ELF AT BAGGAGE CLAIM

The guy was probably a painter. Possibly a drummer.

College age and wearing all black, he’d been the unique focus of my thousand-hour red-eye. My inflight boyfriend. It was a torrid, imaginary romance. We’d gone on at least a dozen dates and told adorable anecdotes to our future children about how their parents met a few miles in the air.

Now we were no longer separated by two Aer Lingus seats. We were shoulder to shoulder, dazedly watching the baggage belt spin. Just say hi. Ask him something.

I hugged the neck of my guitar case. “Do you know the time?”

He checked a large, silver watch. “Half twelve.”

“What?” I blurted. The bags began to emerge, and I was suddenly under new pressure to break the ice before we parted ways. After all, an entire transatlantic daydream depended on it. “Is that six? Eleven thirty? I’m so jet-lagged it could be either.”

“Twelve thirty.” His Irish accent made his words feel like lyrics to a decent song.

“Yeah, that doesn’t make sense. Half of twelve is six.” I smiled.

“Americans,” he muttered with a snicker.

And he continued snickering as he reached for a suitcase, leaving me with the unparalleled awkwardness of being embarrassed by and disappointed in a complete stranger. I’d mentally dumped him four exotic ways—my favorite involving a baseball stadium video screen—by the time my little brother came running back from the bathroom.

“Iris!” Ryder yelled. “I peed for like two whole minutes. I should’ve timed it!”

The baggage claim crowd parted for him—people tend to do that when someone’s yelling about their urine. Now I really felt like a gross American. Thanks, Ireland. We’re off to a great start.

“Eleven days,” I murmured. “Only eleven days.”

Ryder showed no sign of jet lag. He wrestled a foam fantasy axe out of his backpack, spilling weapons everywhere. He then engaged imaginary opponents in fierce battle while the people from our flight continued to back away. My ex-in-flight boyfriend even gave him a dirty look—before giving me a dirtier look.

“I’m not his mom, you know,” I said as I collected Ryder’s weapons off the floor.

A well-meaning Irish granny stepped up. “Is this your first time in Ireland?” she asked Ryder, placing a steadying hand on his shoulder. My brother nodded and squirmed. I checked my desire to tell her that, in America, we don’t touch kids we don’t know, but I didn’t want to call more attention to our swiftly amassing cultural differences. “Are you going to see the Giant’s Causeway? Or the Cliffs of Moher?”

“No,” Ryder said, breaking free from her hold. “We get to meet famous people and help out on set and probably even get bit roles.”

“No bit roles, Ry. You know that,” I said.

McGranny looked to me for an explanation. I zipped up Ryder’s backpack and said it fast. “He means the adaptation for Elementia. They’re filming here for the next two weeks. We’ve been invited to…” What were we supposed to do? “Watch, I guess.”

“Our grandma wrote that book!” Ryder said so loud we now had an even larger audience. Everyone who’d been groggily waiting to claim their luggage had tuned in.

“Excuse me?” My ex-love was back in the picture, not snickering this time. “Did you say your grandmother was the author M. E. Thorne?” The spark in his eyes seemed desperate to rekindle our imaginary flame.

Get out of your own head, Iris.

“Yeah,” I managed.

“Have I got something to show you.” He started to take off his shirt.

“Oh, for the love of…” I whispered, staring down at my red Chucks.

“Look!” Ryder proclaimed. “Iris, look! He’s got the map of Elementia on his ribs!”

I had to peek. It was an awfully big map. Alas, my curiosity was rewarded by a rich paleness smattered in black chest hair.

He put his shirt back down and smiled, but I kept hearing the way he’d grumbled Americans. “So are you excited about the film adaptation?” he asked. “Are you having a hand in its development? How do you feel about them changing the ages of the characters?”

I braided my hair back and said nothing, reminded once again of my life’s golden rule. People usually treated me one of two ways. One: like I was M. E. Thorne’s granddaughter, gifted with an otherworldly glow. Two: no one. I’d give anything for a third option.

“This is all you talk about, isn’t it?” he continued. “You’ve probably been reading your grandma’s books since you were a kid. I discovered them a few years back. Then again, I bet you can’t say anything because of the movies. Top-secret insider information, right?”

I chewed on my response. The gristle of this fantasy talk would not go down. Everyone assumed I’d be over the moon about the adaptation, but it meant the story’s fandom would triple. Quadruple. Soon everyone would revise their interest in me, just like this guy.

“Ryder, see if that’s our bag,” I said, moving us to the other side of the carousel. When I had my back to everyone from our flight, I squeezed my eyes, a little scream coming up from deep inside.

“You okay, Iris?” Ryder put a hand on my shoulder. I opened my eyes. Not his hand—it was his foam dwarf axe. At least his little-kid expression was earnest.

“I’m fine.” I rested my forehead on the top of my guitar case. I knew better than to check out when I was on Ryder duty, but I couldn’t help it. One moment later, my brother was lunging for his luggage, and the next, he was on the carousel, disappearing through the plastic hanging strips and into the bowels of Shannon Airport. “Hey!” I yelled. “Ryder!” Fear slapped me awake, and I almost crawled through the plastic strips after him. “Hey!”

“Need some help, then?”

I turned toward a new Irish voice and almost fell over. “Oh no.”

The boy had elf ears. Honest to God, pointy and flexed into his hairline elf ears.

“Oh no?” he returned, his eyebrows sky-high.

“What’re you… What are you?”

“I’m an elf,” he said as casually as if he were telling me he was an art major. “I’m here to give you a lift.” He held up a printed sign that read Thorne.

“Put that down. These people are already too curious.” I grabbed the paper and balled it. “And if you’re here to help, solve that equation.” I pointed to the baggage exit. “One brother went in. No brothers are coming back out. He’s probably on the runway by now.”

“Ye of little faith,” Elf Ears said, crossing his arms. “He’ll pop back through in a moment.” He leaned over conspiratorially. “It’s a circle, you know.”

I couldn’t believe that a stranger with artificial ears was “ye of little faith”-ing me. “What if security catches him? In the United States, the TSA confiscates firstborns for this kind of thing.”

On cue, Ryder came back through the plastic strips, sitting on my duffel and wearing my sunglasses he’d pillaged from the outer pocket. He knew he was in trouble, and yet he grinned. Then he saw the guy beside me, and his mouth dropped open. Ryder jumped down and ran over, leaving me to fetch both of our bags from the carousel.

By the time I’d returned, Ryder’s face was a full moon of excitement. “Iris. This is Nolan. Nolan.”

Nolan held out his hand as though we hadn’t previously met, i.e., argued. “It’s Eamon. Eamon O’Brien.”

I dropped Ryder’s bag to shake Eamon’s hand. “What a name. Did you spring from the roots of Ireland itself?”

I had to hand it to him—he didn’t flinch.

“And you’re Iris Thorne. Nothing to slag there, right?”

Ryder pulled on my shirt, revealing way too much of my bra, while hissing, “It’s Nolan.”

I grabbed his hand and yanked up my neckline. “Stop it or I’ll snap your dwarf axe over my knee.” I plucked my sunglasses off Ryder’s face and put them on in time to catch quite possibly the dirtiest look an elf has ever given a human. “Oh, come on. I don’t really break his toys. And how come there are three of us, but I’m carrying all the bags?”

“It’s not a toy,” Ryder snipped. “It’s a costume replica.”

Eamon continued to glare, proving his eyes weren’t blue but a crystal color that felt digitally enhanced. No wonder he’d been cast as the famous elf in Grandma Mae’s books. Nolan—Eamon—whatever his name was threw the strap of my huge duffel over his shoulder and tried to take my guitar.

“Don’t even think about it,” Ryder said for me. “She’s married to that thing.”

“Is that legal in America these days? Do you share health care?”

I stuck out my tongue, and Eamon grinned wildly, which encouraged me to put my tongue away and wonder how he’d reduced me to Ryder’s maturity level in a matter of minutes.

We passed under the green banner of Nothing to Declare, and I tried some light conversation. “So, if you’re one of the actors, why are you doing airport pickups?”

“I volunteered. I’m a huge fan.”

Good Lord.

“Hey, I read about you,” Ryder said. “This is your very first movie!”

I couldn’t help myself. “Then how’d you get the role?”

“That’s a fine story. I love Elementia. It’s in my blood. I first read it with my mam when I was, oh, about this high.” He held his hand to Ryder’s head, making my brother beam. “When they announced the movie and open casting, Mam and I decided to dream big. We made an audition video in a wooded bit on Saint Stephen’s Green.”

“Elijah Wood did that to become Frodo,” Ryder said.

“Right, right.” He knocked Ryder’s shoulder, best friends already. “I thought, if it worked for Elijah, why can’t it work with me?”

“Because Elijah Wood had an established film career before he did that,” I muttered.

“What was that?” Eamon asked.

“Nothing.” I knew where this story was going. Without a doubt, it would conclude with “then I met the grandchildren of M. E. Thorne and it was the most magical thing to ever happen to me.”

Eamon continued. “Lo and behold, I’m cast as Nolan. And today I’m getting fit for my ears when Cate Collins, wonder director, needs someone to pick up M. E. Thorne’s grandchildren. I volunteered, quick as light.” Eamon shifted the bag on his shoulder and glanced at me. “This is when I meet a tiny, axe-wielding hero and his mountain troll of a guardian.”

My guitar case slipped out of my hand, banging hollowly on the ground. “What the…”

Ryder’s smile was wider than both of the hands he used to cover it.

“Pardon that.” Eamon winked at me—the sassiest thing I’d ever seen a guy manage. “I’m prone to descriptive exaggeration, me springing outta the roots of Ireland and all.”

I blushed, an odd mixture of offended and ashamed.

“Iris Thorne!” an unfamiliar voice yelled from behind.

I turned, my pulse turning into a drum. Just like there were two ways people treated me, there were two kinds of Elementia fans: the ones who loved the trilogy—and the ones who’d reconstructed their lives for it. The latter group called themselves Thornians. They wrote letters to my family. They knew my birthday.

And one of them tried to abduct Ryder when he was six.

I was sort of relieved to see it was my ex-in-flight boyfriend, the newly redubbed Mr. Nerdy Torso Tattoo, jogging over. “How do you know my name?” I asked, my voice breaking a little as I put out an arm to keep him from getting too close to Ryder.

“Your brother was yelling it. I didn’t even know M. E. Thorne had young grandkids.”

I relaxed slightly. “I’m not that young.”

“I’m crossing my fingers you’re eighteen.” The guy leaned close with flirtatious wickedness, reminding me of what had drawn my attention to him during the flight. Lanky gorgeousness. The glasses. Blue eyes. Dark, tight swirls of hair. He rested a long-fingered hand on the top of my guitar case. Definitely musician’s fingers. Also, it was suddenly quite obvious that I’d been wrong; he was well beyond college age.

Earth to Iris. Walk away, Iris.

“I’m…seventeen.” I stepped back, oddly relieved to bump into Eamon. “Have to go.”

The guy pulled out his wallet and handed me a business card. “Shoot me a message around your birthday. I’ll take you out, and we can talk about the movie, or the books, if you prefer.”

Neither, thank you. “I live in LA.”

“I’ll make the trip.” He smiled at the person he thought was me. He walked away. And I hated M. E. Thorne more than usual, which, to be honest, was already a lot.

We walked toward the parking lot, and I kept my head down.

“You work fast, Lady Iris,” Eamon said, low enough that Ryder couldn’t hear.


“No way,” I muttered back. “That guy has the hots for my dead grandma.” He glanced at me, concerned. “I’m fine,” I added, hoping I looked annoyed—bold and unflappable—but from the way his expression fell, I think maybe my sad was showing.

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About the Author:
Cori McCarthy studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for teens at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From a military family, Cori was born on Guam and lived a little bit of everywhere before they landed in Michigan. Learn more about their books at CoriMcCarthy.com.

Author Links:
    

Giveaway:
Enter to win one of two finished copies of Now a Major Motion Picture! Ends April 30. US/Canada only.

This giveaway is hosted by Sourcebooks Fire. Mary Had a Little Book Blog is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes.

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Blog Tour: The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, & Michelle Schusterman

 


Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Point
Genre: young adult contemporary
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.

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Summary:
Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.

Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she'll finally meet Soleil, her internet girlfriend, for the first time.

Taxidermy assistant Callie Buchannan might be good at scooping brains out of deer skulls, but that doesn't mean it's her passion. Since her parents' divorce, her taxidermist father only cares about his work, and assisting him at the World Taxidermy and Fish-Carving Championships is the only way Callie knows to connect with him.

When a crazy mix-up in the hotel lobby brings the three girls together, they form an unlikely friendship against a chaotic background of cosplay, competition, and carcasses!

Blog Tour: The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton




Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Tor
Genre: adult fantasy, Shakespeare retelling
Format/Source: hardcover, 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 Jean Book Nerd 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.

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Summary:
A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king's three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm's only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided. 

Mary's Minute: Book Recommendations


This subject started when I saw one bookish friend ask another bookish friend when she was going to read a book I LOVE, and I was actually reallllly concerned for friend #2's answer. Why? Because I have previously had the thought that friend #2 will not like that book. So I subtweeted the discussion because I have Feelings about book recommendations. I figured it would be a tweet. Then I realized I needed two tweets and then a third, and then I was like, well, this is going to end up a very long Twitter thread so I might as well turn this into a blog post.

I recommend books to a lot of people. I've always been the person who told my friends what to read (to be perfectly hipster about this, I read HP before anyone I know except my mom so I was the person telling everyone else to read it). Books that I share here on the blog are my recommendations to you, my readers (which is one reason I don't do negative reviews). I recommend books through my social media. And now I work in a library where it's literally my job to help people find books. Buuuut sometimes I don't always share my absolute favorites. For example, I don't talk about HP much because 1. it's something special to me; 2. it's super popular and my recommendation is no longer needed; 3. it's also kiiiind of a mess right now with all its problem areas, and I just don't want to deal with it; and 4. I'm kind of Harry Potter-ed out. But sometimes a book only falls into category #1, and that's enough. I'm sure authors don't want to hear this, but if I love a book and it's incredibly special to me, I sometimes won't push it on people a lot because I'm worried they'll hate it and that would hurt ME.

For me, recommending a book can go something like "OMG I LOVE SONG OF THE CURRENT YOU GUYS NEED TO READ IT ASAP" and then I make five people buy it on Prime Day. This is pretty standard to my fellow book pushers. But sometimes I know a book might be less accessible to every reader, and I want to make sure I recommend that book to specific readers that I think will really connect with it. Or sometimes it's a mix: I might shout about a certain book on my blog and on social media to give it as much exposure as I can but when giving specific recs to specific people, I don't share it.

As I stated on Twitter, reccing a book I LOVE feels like I'm holding my heart in my hands, and I'm offering it to a person. What if they DON'T like it? How could they not, but what if? That book feels like it's ME, and they hate it oh gosh they hate me now we can't be friends ever again *anxiety train reaches maximum velocity* This is actually why I'm super careful about which books I read from those books that others recommend. It's why there's like 5 people in the world whose recommendations are gold and turn a book into a MUST READ, but books from other people just go into the general TBR. I don't want to hurt someone who recommends something THEY love and then I don't. It might just be a case of they love this book and they don't know me well enough to know it's not for me. (Related: Check out my Mary's Minute on Book Buzzwords that includes a list of buzzwords that make me push a book to the top of my TBR or to the bottom)

The anxiety is totally mine to deal with, but people who take a rec and read it: be thoughtful about how you treat that book. Pay attention to how the book pusher pushes it. Consider your relationship. Are they a close friend? Have they talked about it being personally meaningful? If you love it, let them know! If you don't, maybe stay quiet. If they ask your opinion, be gentle with them. When I started at the library, one of the first things my boss taught me was that we don't trash another's treasure. You always have the right to not like a book (even if it breaks someone's heart). You don't have the right to be mean to them about it and insult their taste.

Likewise, fellow book pushers, try not to take it personally if someone doesn't LOVE a book you LOVE and told them to read. It's not personal TO YOU if someone doesn't LOVE or even like that book. Take a breath, and just be grateful you connected to that book so powerfully. Also, if someone doesn't take your recommendation or waits to read it, try to be patient and understanding. Don't put more pressure on them to love it! Reading is an inherently personal hobby, and every book is going to mean different things to someone else.

Story time: A couple years ago, my good friend Maura (of The Whimsical Mama) traded our beloved vampire series. I read Blue Bloods, the start of her MdlC addiction, and she read Vampire Academy, the start of my Richelle Mead obsession. Possibly because we read them so long after the vampire craze and possibly just because of style/story preference, we both did not care for one another's book and opted to leave each series unfinished. Part of me is sad she'll never read about Rose, Dimitri, Lissa, Adrian, and Sydney's, but part of me is relieved because I was so worried she wouldn't like it. She didn't, and you know what? The world kept spinning.

Do you have any books so precious you save them when you're recommending to others? Share your recommendation success stories and favorite book recs in the comments!

Book Blitz: The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco


Author: Rin Chupeco
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: young adult fantasy
Status: book 2 of the Bone Witch trilogy

Summary: In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection―now she's after revenge...

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life...and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea's dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can't kill someone who can never die...

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

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Praise for The Heart Forger:
“A dark, engaging fantasy series.”–School Library Journal

“In this spectacular follow-up to the rich The Bone Witch, Tea’s quest draws the reader further in, setting them on a more dangerous yet intriguing adventure.”— Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

“Rin’s beautifully crafted world from The Bone Witch (2017) expands in this sequel, which joins dark asha Tea on her crusade of revenge...Dark and entrancing with a third volume to come.” –Booklist, STARRED review

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Start with The Bone Witch, book 1 of the series:
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: young adult fantasy
Status: book 1 of the Bone Witch trilogy

Summary: The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

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Purchase Links:
   

About the Author:
Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She's been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. Connect with Rin at rinchupeco.com.

Author Links:
   

Giveaway:
2 winners will receive a finished copy of The Heart  Forger. Open to the US & Canada. Ends March 31.

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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).