Sunday, October 11, 2015

Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Release date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 384 (eGalley)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon Author

Grace Mae knows madness. 

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum. 

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

The only thing that Grace has done wrong is trust the wrong people.  Coming from a very wealthy, important family, our main character has been locked away to keep certain secrets from leaking out.  She chooses not to use her voice, as if it was taken from her, along with the rest of her rights when she was put in the insane asylum.  When she gets herself into deep trouble, she makes connections that help save her from the life her family meant for her to live, but she does everything she can to make sure that her younger sister never suffers the same way she did.

I enjoyed so many aspects of this story, from the gothic theme to the fact that the line between sane and inside can be quite thin.  Grace meets a doctor who routinely performs lobotomies on the most difficult patients, but he disagrees when she proposes that he should "fix" her.  He sees that she has a brilliant mind and devises a plan to get her out of the asylum so she can become his assistant in the search for a murderer.  While out of the confining walls of the hospital, away from those who abuse her, Grace becomes a whole new person.  She finds her voice again and begins to take control of her life.

Grace is a strong character.  She isn't like many that I've come across in my usual reads.  She goes from looking forward to death to finding another escape, dealing with her monsters in her own way, and helping others, even if only by being their friend.  In a way, she even helps Dr. Thornhollow in more ways than solving the mystery behind each new death.  While there isn't any direct romance within the pages of this book, I definitely felt something between Grace and Thornhollow, which only added to the thrill of reading the story.

A Madness So Discreet is a dark, fast-paced read that will leave you hanging on until the very end.  Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre, but I can't imagine this story taking place in any better period.  Mindy McGinnis has a very unique touch when it comes to writing, and although this is my first of her books, it certainly won't be my last.
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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Review: Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Title: Juniors
Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: September 22nd, 2015
Pages: 320 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

Lea Lane has lived in between all her life. 

Part Hawaiian, part Mainlander. Perpetual new girl at school. Hanging in the shadow of her actress mother’s spotlight. And now: new resident of the prominent West family’s guest cottage. 

Bracing herself for the embarrassment of being her classmates’ latest charity case, Lea is surprised when she starts becoming friends with Will and Whitney West instead—or in the case of gorgeous, unattainable Will, possibly even more than friends. And despite their differences, Whitney and Lea have a lot in common: both are navigating a tangled web of relationships, past disappointments and future hopes. As things heat up with Will, and her friendship with Whitney deepens, Lea has to decide how much she's willing to change in order to fit into their world. 

Lea Lane has lived in between all her life. But it isn’t until her junior year that she learns how to do it on her own terms.

Lea Lane doesn't quite fit in.  She followed her actress mother to Hawaii during her junior year of high school, where everyone already knows everyone else.  The only attention she seems to get is from the West family, who invite Lea and her mother to stay in their guest house during her latest project, a popular upcoming drama that the entire island seems to be buzzing about.  Once she steps into this new territory, there's no going back.  Over the next few months, secrets begin to unravel and surprising bonds are made.  Not everyone is what they seem, but some definitely are.

The setting for Juniors is beautiful. I believe this may be the first book I've read which is set in Hawaii, but I thought that the author did a great job bringing readers into the tropical climate, relaxing space and ultimate vacation destination.  Though I've never been to Hawaii, I could imagine every part of the island that Lea wandered.  This book gives you just the right summer feelings.

Friendship is the most important part of the story and it's done well, because each character had their flaws, although some weren't as obvious as others.  As Lea got to know Will and Whitney as friends, she realizes that they're more alike than anyone could have guessed.  The Wests come from a wealthy family, and it's no secret that Lea and her mother have significantly less.  While they've never struggled or gone without anything they need, they don't exactly own a beach side mansion, either.

Throughout the book, we see Lea blossom.  Although she was a little hesitant to get close to Whitney, they end up with a true friendship that could last a lifetime.  There are a lot of feelings in this book, from self doubt, judgement, and the value of others to love, excitement, and true happiness.  Juniors is a great beachy read for summer or just for when you want to get away from the chill of those colder months.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Release Day: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

It's no secret that Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors.  I first fell in love with Eleanor & Park, then I got wrapped up in her second young adult novel, Fangirl.  This is where readers are introduced to Simon Snow, a fictional character within another fictional book.  He's almost like Harry Potter to Rowell's main character, Cath.  In Carry On, we get to dive deeper into Simon Snow's world and see why Cath became so obsessed.


Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything. 

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.


RAINBOW ROWELL writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they're screwing up. And people who fall in love. When she's not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

I'm so excited for this release that I'm giving away a copy of the book.  This giveaway is open internationally!  Good luck, everyone!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September Wrap-Up and October TBR

The books I managed to read in September:
-The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
-Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
-Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt
-Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings
-The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner
-This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

My favorite book of the month was The Distance from Me to You!  It's about one brave teenage girl's solo journey along the Appalachian Trail.  I suppose I enjoyed it so much because I read it while I was traveling alone for the first time.

The books I plan to read in October:

Since it's October, I couldn't resist adding a few potentially creepy reads.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blog Tour: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (Excerpt & Giveaway)

The Weight of Feathers is an imaginative new book that will open your mind to a magical world.  It hit the shelves on September 15th, so today I'm here to share an excerpt from the story and give away one signed copy!


The Night Circus meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning young adult novel about two teens who fall in love despite the almost impossible odds against them.

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it's a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace's life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.