Book Review: A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

madness so discreet

A Madness So Discreet

Release date: October 6th 2015

4 stars

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.

I really liked Not A Drop to Drink so I was really excited for this one. It sounded gritty and dark and interesting and it was a historical setting. As a huge fan of Criminal Minds, the criminal psychology aspect really appealed to me as well.

Right from the beginning, I felt for Grace. She found herself in such a horrible situation through no fault of her own. She was smart, compassionate, and loyal but she had a dark side to her. She was very resourceful and I loved how much she wanted to learn about criminal psychology because she seemed genuinely interested, not just to keep up the appearance of being the doctor’s assistant. She had to learn just how capable she was now that she was away from her family.

The relationships and interactions Grace had with the other characters in the book were interesting. There was a different dynamic to them, depending on what the other person believed Grace to be. The relationship between her and the doctor, Thornhollow, was the most explored and it was really interesting. They had a great dynamic between them that I really liked. I also really liked the developing friendship between Grace and Lizzie. It gave Grace a female friend and also added some lighter moments to all the darkness.

The psychology aspect of the book was really interesting. The observations Thornhollow would make about the killer reminded me a lot of Criminal Minds and it was interesting to see it written in a way where a lot of people weren’t believers because it was so new. It was a little slow to start but once the doctor came into the story and Grace got out of the asylum, things really picked up. The darker the story got and the more that was revealed, the more I wanted to read and know what was going to happen.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Exposing My-Shelf: Shelf Eighteen

I am notorious for being very, very particular about where my books go on my shelves. I have reasons why they’re placed where they are. They might not make sense to anyone else but they make sense to me, so that’s all that matters. Every now and then my reasons will change or there will be an influx of new books(looking at you April/May/September) that will make it necessary for the system to be tweaked. Every Friday(hopefully) I’ll be posting a picture of one shelf and explaining the reasoning behind it. By the time I’ve posted every shelf section, it’ll be time to re-arrange and start all over again.


Shelf contains:

The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan

The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan

The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero – Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan

The Mark of Athena – Rick Riordan

The House of Hades – Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus – Rick Riordan

So this isn’t actually a shelf, it’s the very top of my media cabinet but we’re renovating right now and I can’t get a picture of the bookcase I was exposing. Originally, I wasn’t going to do this one because these two sets will be moved very soon, once The Sword of Summer comes out on Tuesday but there is still enough room for at least one more book so they might end up staying there for now.

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September Wrap-Up/October TBR

Another month down. Where is the time going? Lots of great books came out last month and even more are coming out this month. Craziness!!!  This month I got to finish a lot of series I’ve always meant to read. I’m feeling very caught up right now.

September Wrap-Up:

redeemed Redeemed – PC and Kristin Cast. 3/5 stars. Not my favourite series but there were some great moments and characters I really enjoyed.

what we saw What We Saw – Aaron Hartzler. 4.5/5 stars. Review. I couldn’t put this one down!

pillars of ponderay The Pillars of Ponderay – Lindsay Cummings. 4/5 stars. Review. This is such a fun and adventurous middle grade series!

bloody valentine Bloody Valentine – Melissa De La Cruz. 3/5 stars. I’m getting through this series. With this one and other ones from this month, I think I binged out a little too much on vampire books.

wrath and dawn The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh. 4/5 stars. Review. A really interesting premise and world but wasn’t completely sold on the romance.

lost in time Lost in Time – Melissa De La Cruz. 3/5 stars. More vampires.

rebel mechanics Rebel Mechanics – Shanna Swendson. 4/5 stars.Review coming. This was the Uppercase box book of the month and it was really interesting.

gates of paradise Gates of Paradise – Melissa De La Cruz. 3/5 stars. This month will not be so vampire jammed.

blackwood Blackwood – Michelle Krys. 3.5/5 stars. A prequel to the Hexed series. Short, easy read.

charmed Charmed – Michelle Krys. 3.5/5 stars. I really like the humour of the main character and all the magic present in our world.

evermore Evermore – Alyson Noel. 2.5/5 stars. The main character was a little annoying so it was a bit hard to get through.

everything everything Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon. 4/5 stars. Review. Really interesting concept and cute romance.

blue moon Blue Moon – Alyson Noel. 3/5 stars. She’s still annoying me.

beastly Beastly – Alex Flinn. 3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed the book a lot more than the movie.

madness so discreet A Madness so Discreet – Mindy McGinnis. 4/5 stars. Review coming. Really interesting historical book. It was like criminal minds without technology in some ways.

blackthorn The Blackthorn Key – Kevin Sands. 4/5 stars. Had to read this one for work but it was entertaining. A good series for middle grade.

shadowland Shadowland – Alyson Noel. 3/5 stars. She’s getting less annoying. Or I’m getting used to her.

legacy of kings Legacy of Kings – Eleanor Herman. 3.5/5 stars. Review coming. I really liked the world and a lot of the characters and the history but it felt long in some places.

dark flame Dark Flame – Alyson Noel. 3/5 stars. About the same level of annoying as the previous book.

jellicoe road Jellicoe Road – Melinda Marchetta. 4/5 stars. Review. It bit hard to get into at first but I liked it once I did get into it.

future perfect Future Perfect – Jen Larsen. 3/5 stars. Review. Good concept but it felt like the main character’s story got overwhelmed by all the other characters, especially in the middle.

night star Night Star – Alyson Noel. 3/5 stars. Almost done another series.

evernight Evernight – Claudia Gray. 3.5/5 stars. Not my favourite Claudia Gray series but I like the main character in this one.

step toward falling A Step Toward Falling – Cammie McGovern. 3/5 stars. Review coming. I had a hard time with this one. It was a great concept but I just couldn’t get sucked into the storytelling.

romeo redeemed Romeo Redeemed – Stacey Jay. 3/5 stars. I am always up for character redemption and I think this book pulled it off well.

sweet temptation Sweet Temptation – Wendy Higgins. 4/5 stars. I loved the Sweet trilogy and this one is the whole series from Kaidan’s POV. A whole new way of looking at the character and some great bromance scenes between him and Blake.

everlasting Everlasting – Alyson Noel. 3/5 stars. Another series down.

stargazer Stargazer – Claudia Gray. 3.5/5 stars. This one’s my favourite, both for the way the plot moved and the cover. I love this purple.

hourglass vampires Hourglass – Claudia Gray. 3.5/5 stars. I really need a vampire break.

white rose The White Rose – Amy Ewing. 3.5/5 stars. Review coming. A lot more action than the first book and we get more world-building, which is great.

October TBR:

ice like firecatacomblies about the truthtrial by firenightmare dilemma


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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

reign of shadows

Reign of Shadows

Release date: February 9th 2016

Goodreads: Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.
But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

Why I’m excited: So far, it seems like 2016 will be a huge year for fantasy books and that makes me excited. I really liked the Uninvited duology and this sounds like another really interesting world to get lost in while reading. It sounds tense and as long as I like the characters and their chemistry together, I’m sure I’ll end up loving this book.


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Weekly Reading Recap


The weather has officially changed to fall weather. It’s starting to look very pretty outside with all the colours.

Currently reading: white rose

Finished reading: hourglass vampiresstargazereverlastingsweet temptationromeo redeemedstep toward fallingevernight

Reviewed: jellicoe roadfuture perfect

What I’m hoping to get to next week: ice like firecatacomb to read

madness so discreetstep toward falling to review

What this means for my challenges:

  • Added 7 books overall: currently at 273 books read
  • Added 1 contemporary YA: currently at 94 books read
  • Added 6 paranormal/fantasy: currently standing at 152 books read

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Book Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

jellicoe road

Jellicoe Road

4 stars

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs—the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.
And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother—who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

So many people have been telling me that I have to read this book and now I finally have. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in since I’ve seen such praise for it and I didn’t want to be let down. It ended up being an entertaining read and I really liked the characters, but I wasn’t as absorbed into the territory wars as I would have liked to have been.

Taylor, newly appointed leader of the kids who attend Jellicoe school, was the main character and one that was both intriguing and frustrating. She was going through a lot and trying to deal with it on her own, which led her to passing her responsibilities as leader off on other people. It left a lot of room for growth and she did obviously care about the school and the kids under her care.

At first, the plot was a little confusing. It took a few chapters to fully understand who was who and what was going on. Once that was dealt with, it made reading a lot easier. There was a lot of discussion about the territory wars, which was Taylor’s boarders vs the townies vs the cadets and each group ‘owned’ part of the land. There were ways to get more land, to lose land, etc but it never felt like a huge plot detail to me, even though there was a lot about it in the book.

What I was more excited about was to find out what had happened to Taylor’s guardian, Hannah, who’d disappeared and why the story of five kids from eighteen years old was so important. It did take a few chapters to get used to the switching between the story of those kids and Taylor’s group but once I did, it worked really well. The more that was revealed in the story, the more it connected to the present.

The writing was absolutely beautiful. There were so many quotable passages. The interactions between characters were all over the place, in a good way. There was fighting and laughter and misery and support and love. It was great and they were my favourite part of the book.


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Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s Top Ten if you liked X book/author then try Y book/author recs.

10. If you liked:  harry potter then try: fires. It was a secret magical world, a chosen one, friendships, traitors, and someone trying to destroy like as the characters know it.

9. If you liked: sisterhoos then try: proof of forever. There’s a time traveling photo booth instead of magically fitting pants but the main themes of growing up and friendship are still present and important.

8. If you liked: steelheart big then try: zeroes. Both books involve people with abilities and are action packed.

7. If you liked: pretty little liars then try: get even. Both books involve a group of girls being taunted by someone mysterious and them having to try to figure out who it is before their lives are ruined.

6. If you liked: maze runner big then try: the cage. Wake up in a mysterious place with people you don’t know and have to try to lean to survive. These books have that in common.

5. If you liked: on the fence big then try: boy next door. Both are cute romances involving character crushing on a friend.

4. If you liked: faking normal then try: not after everything. These two books deal with different topics but the friendship that develops between the two main characters and how important it is to recovery is a similar theme.

3. If you liked: pushing the limits big then try: meet you there. Two books dealing with characters finding their way together despite their issues.

2. If you liked: glass houses big then try: some girls bite big. Both are vampire based series with a girl discovering just how capable she is in this world.

1. If you liked: life next door big then try: boys most likely to. It’s the companion to My Life Next Door and is just as amazing.


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Book Review: Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

future perfect

Future Perfect

Release date: October 6th 2015

3 stars

Every birthday Ashley Perkins gets a present from her grandmother that she doesn’t want. It’s a card that always contains a the promise of something good – new clothes, a car, shopping in Paris – under the condition that she loses weight. Ashley’s never really had a problem with the way she looks and has never believed, unlike her grandmother, that her weight will hold her back in life. But this time, this birthday, just might end up being the one time Ashley can’t say no. Four years of tuition at Harvard for weight loss surgery.

I was both excited and nervous going into this book. I knew my enjoyment of it would depend on how much I could connect with the main character and how the issue of body image was handled. The premise had me on Ashley’s side before I even opened the book because her grandmother sounded horrible.

Most of the time I liked Ashley. She had her moments where she would say or do something that would make me cringe but overall, she seemed like a nice, smart young woman who cared about her friends and knew what she wanted from life. She seemed to know the type of person she wanted to be and was confident in the way she looked so it made sense that her grandmother’s so-called presents were never tempting until the tuition. It wasn’t just weight loss surgery for tuition. It was surgery for the life she’d been working so hard for and dreamed of for years.

I really liked the the main focus of relationships was on the friendship between Ashley and her two best friends. There was some romance and flirting happening but it was more in the background as the three girls dealt with issues like Ashley’s grandmother, Jolene’s parents, what to do after graduation. It was nice to see so much focus on their friendship.

I really enjoyed the first third of the book. It was a great way to introduce Ashley’s issues with her grandmother, explain her drive to succeed at school, get into Harvard, set up her home life. The middle of the book I found lost focus a bit and maybe tried to do too much. Instead of it being Ashley’s story, it felt like the book was trying to cram in stories for all the characters. While I appreciate and like growth in other characters besides the main, it felt like too much was going on. The last third of the book was better, it got back to being more about Ashley’s story, but it also felt a little crammed, trying to solve a lot of problems in too few pages.

Overall, the book tried to have a good, positive message but it got weighed down by trying to do too much and really only scratching the surface on the main issue.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Exposing My-Shelf: Shelf Seventeen

I am notorious for being very, very particular about where my books go on my shelves. I have reasons why they’re placed where they are. They might not make sense to anyone else but they make sense to me, so that’s all that matters. Every now and then my reasons will change or there will be an influx of new books(looking at you April/May/September) that will make it necessary for the system to be tweaked. Every Friday(hopefully) I’ll be posting a picture of one shelf and explaining the reasoning behind it. By the time I’ve posted every shelf section, it’ll be time to re-arrange and start all over again.


Shelf contains:

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True – Huntley Fitzpatrick

Not After Everything – Michelle Levy

Rites of Passage – Joy N Hensley

All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

Love and Other Unknown Variables – Shannon Lee Alexander

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah Ockler

No Place to Fall – Jay Robin Brown

This is another character interactions shelf. Each book has characters that I loved interacting with other characters, either with friendship, family, relationship, or sometimes all three. At least, all the books except What I Thought Was True, which I haven’t read yet but I’m assuming it’ll fit the shelf. It just needed to be with the other Huntley Fitzpatrick books because those spines go together. This is also going back to the first bookcase I started with since I ended up filling another shelf on it and we’re doing some renovating and it’s the only shelf I could get to to take a picture.


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Comparing Before and After: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

what we saw

This was my WoW choice(hosted by Breaking the Spine) back on April 22nd 215. Back then, I’d said:

“This sounds like the type of book that stays with you long after you read it. It’s about important issues that will be hard to read about but also need to be said. I predict a hard and emotional read.”

After reading and posting a review, I think I underestimated just how much this book would affect me. It’s still in my head even after reading so many other books since this one. It was a hard read and it really made me think about the reality of what would I really do vs what do I wish I would do in that situation.

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