Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review- A Madness So Discreet (Mindy McGinnis)


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.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.



By God, Mindy McGinnis has managed to do it again.  As if her ‘Not a Drop to Drink’ duology wasn’t great enough, ‘A Madness So Discreet’ delivered everything I wanted from a slightly creepy and dark novel.

Mindy has an amazing ability to write a great novel without ever really resorting to any kind of romance as a plot device. As someone who enjoys mainly young adult novels where such conventional things occur on the regular it’s refreshing to read something without an ounce of romance in it. There was definitely an opportunity to write a romance into the plot and I’m not going to lie, a part of me kind of wanted it to happen. However, I’m so glad it didn’t. The whole character relationship dynamic would have been destroyed by blurring the lines between patient and physician and I most definitely would have frowned upon the abuse of power.

A Madness So Discreet follows Grace, a girl placed in an insane asylum with questionable standards, by her father while she is with child. Such an occurrence during this time (the setting is historical; I believe the late 1800’s) would be a ‘blackmark’ on the family name. So, she is dealt with until she can return home sans child. The poor standards and severe treatment of the patients causes a defiant outburst from Grace and she is sent to spend her remaining time in an isolated area of the asylum.  But a chance encounter with a visiting Doctor, who performs lobotomies on untreatable patients, allows her to be freed from her physical prison and taken into his care where she is moved to a much more humane facility. Her talents in noticing small detail with her brilliant mind assist the Doctor in his new fascination of solving criminology cases.

The grey areas surrounding the morality of the characters intrigued me. I love it when characters aren’t just black and white. Grace’s past experiences and the way she deals with the fallout from these, are precursors to some of her later actions. Even while she is our hero of the book and we are rooting for her, at the same time she does some questionable things.

The picture painted of mental illness and how it was ‘dealt’ with at the time is vividly accurate. I find it astonishing the things people were put away for, promiscuity, alcoholism and in Grace’s case being pregnant. The fact that a single word to a judge from a (male) family member could get you sent away is harrowing.

There are some dark moments in this book, but the satisfaction felt at the ending was…. well satisfying. The mystery behind the murders the doctor and Grace are solving have a Sherlock type vibe to them, which satisfies the detective in me.  If you’re after something a little dark and different, also dealing with a minority group this would be a good one to pick up. 

My Rating 5/5

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mini Review- Tales of the Peculiar


Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales. 

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar. 



Tales of the peculiar are short stories from the wonderful world created by Ransom Riggs. While I have been slack regarding reading Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, I had no trouble diving into this. His previous books are not enforced pre-requisites for these spooky and sometimes haunting tales of peculiar myth and morals.

There are 10 stories all up and for me there were a few standouts. By far though the first story of the book, ‘The Splendid Cannibals’ was my favorite, with a good dose of creepiness and a great lesson to be considered about greed.

This is a great addition to the world created by Ransom Riggs, but you could easily get into this book with no prior knowledge of his series. The entire book reads like a compilation of fairytales, similar to something like the Grimm tales, but with a ‘peculiar’ twist to it. 

My Rating 4/5

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Fashion Report

So after recently finishing 'The Selection' series, I was inspired by their beautiful covers and decided to do a random one off feature. The feature itself is called the 'Fashion Report', after Illeas own televised show 'The Report' but with more fashion and less politics :P 

Each of the covers for 'The Selection' series have been given a contemporary make-over, with dresses and accessories from a more modern time. This was all just a bit of fun and games while I was feeling particularly artistic one evening, and I had a lot of fun mucking around and putting each of the outfits together. Hope you guys enjoy and let me know which one is your favorite!

Let me know down below in the comments, which one you like best :)

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