Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Madness So Discreet (Review)

Hey there!

Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author:  Mindy McGinnis
Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books
Published Date: 6th October 2015
Rating: 4 stars

*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*

Synopsis: 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.


Review: I have seen so many brilliant reviews about the other two books by this author called Not a Drop to Drink and its sequel. But I didn’t really have any interest in reading those books so I was pretty happy when McGinnis revealed she was going to be releasing a new book. I wanted to try that one! And before I dig into this review, let’s all take a moment to admire that cover. So much cover love here. :D

This had so many things to live up to. It promised to be a historical young adult thriller. And it did manage to be all those things, but maybe because it was cramming so many into one novel it did fall short on some points.

I have to say that this book had a good realistic view of asylums. It was a bit horrid to read about but in history, the people who were assumed mad or sent there really were treated that way. Reading this book I learned they did something pretty horrific to the patients who were the most mentally ill, and I was shocked to do my research and find it to be true. I suppose I have to thank this author for being so realistic and teaching me something new about history as well.

This book also made me question sanity in general, and what should be deemed as insanity. I liked how it kept on referring to that in little notions throughout the whole book. As it should do because Grace has been labelled as insane, and it refers to the title as well. As soon as you understand the title properly you have a huge OH moment. You think you understand it all the way at the beginning, but it actually happens at the end. And title love as well!

As for the characters, it was hard for me to relate to them. Especially Grace the main character. And I think that is because her character changes too soon and too quickly. At the beginning of the novel she is a desperate and loss woman who is begging for her life to end while she is the asylum. But then suddenly she becomes a clever and very intellectual person who could even be snarky sometimes. That sudden change without there being a particular reason for it made it hard to understand her.

Thornfellow was the other main character, but he was mostly weird and hard to pin down because of that.

There were a few bumps in the story as well. It seemed like the author jumped through the book and I could really cut it into stages. One moment Grace is meeting this lady every week, and then said lady is forgotten and she focuses on letters. After that there is no mention of letters for a long time, and then they are suddenly in the focus again. The story doesn’t run smoothly and it was like she remembered that there were supposed to be letters a while later and then includes them again.

I liked this book, but it did just need that little bit more to make it wonderful!
But this was still generally a good book! There’s the mention of abuse in here, and there is a murder mystery which isn’t the main focus of the novel but it was interesting to follow the clues and see it become solved. Oh, and it is one of the few books which is romance free! A good read overall, despite a few hitches.

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

New Video! A book review of Revised Orders by Irene Helenowski!



Olivia’s Question: What book title do you really love?

Olivia-Savannah x 

38 comments:

  1. Asylums were the worst. Jeez, I kinda had to learn about a few when I was studying Psychology and some of the stuff they did to people was horrifying. Worst of all, it wasn't so long ago.... some techniques were done 50 years ago or less and I'm pretty sure there are places around the world where these kinds of things are still done today. Human beings can be horrible when not understanding what they have in front of them and mental illness is sadly, one of those uncomprehensible things sometimes. Good to know you liked it but not so sure about the bumpy jumps. I don't mind a book that goes from one point to another just because but I prefer when it's done smoothly you know?
    And I don't know what book title to include in here. I love a lot, especially those with alliterations such as The Lies of Locke Lamora or the likes hahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have definitely learned that they really were and I agree with you - I am sure some dodgy things still do go on in some asylums around the world somewhere. It can be shocking how recent this all was, and I think it is good tat McGinnis included this in her book as well.

      Delete
  2. OK. I think I need to add this book to my TBR. The cover blows me away! :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cover is gorgeous! And I think you would like the historical aspect as well as the mystery one too!

      Delete
  3. I think that Grace's intelligent side was overshadowed by her experience in the asylum. Remember, she tried to shut her brain down because she remembers everything with perfect clarity. And then, she has the opportunity to get away, so she had to show her worth to the person she was trying to get her safely away from Boston. I enjoyed it, but the ending didn't sit well with me. I hate injustice, no matter if the person receiving it deserves to be behind bars. Just do it the right way. In this case, it couldn't be done the right way because of Grace's situation. Still, enjoyable book. Great review!

    To answer your question: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is one of my favorite titles. The cover is simple, but colorful also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm... I guess that could have been right? She did mention her shutting down all the time. I do think the injustice was not fair, but he did deserve to be behind bars. It was just for the wrong crime.

      Delete
  4. This one sounds a bit rough around the edges but I've always been interested in learning about asylums and the women committed there.

    I really recommend Not a Drop to Drink. It wasn't something I would normally read either, but the character development was lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a bit rough, but still worth the read in my opinion! It did give some good information grounded on fact, so you can learn from it. I now have Not a Drop to Drink on my TBR so I will let you know whenever I get around to it x

      Delete
  5. I am wary of YA thrillers (I have been disappointed too many times) but this one sounds good :) Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read too many that I have seen classifying themselves as thrillers in the YA department, but this one was good!

      Delete
  6. Great review. I loved this author’s other books, so I’m excited to read this one. Hopefully I’ll be picking it up later today.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I look forward to hearing what you will think of this one! I need to try some more of her books.

      Delete
  7. Good to hear it was overall enjoyable even if hard to connect with the characters

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Usually that wouldn't work for me because I am a character driven reader, but it did in this case.

      Delete
  8. [ Smiles ] You always present me with the most interesting reading material.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This book was great! I had a hard time to rate it. I kept going back and forth between 3 and 4 and ended up settling on 4 because it was pretty unique. Also, I tried reading Not a Drop to Drink once and ended up not finishing because it wasn't my thing at that moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was actually struggling with rating it as well, but decided it was good enough for 4. I am glad you could enjoy this book more than her first one of hers that you read :)

      Delete
  10. I feel so atracted for this kind of stories about asylums and mental illness, so this will be in my list for books to read :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I actually saw this book online not too long ago and fell in love with that cover, it's beautiful!! But I didn't know what the book was about, this sounds amazing! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even though it didn't run smoothly, as you mentioned.

    In one of my favorite video games you actually get to be an asylum patient for a little while. I think I got a lobotomy done, if I remember correctly. So this book does sound really interesting to me!

    Lipstick and Mocha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That cover though <3 I am glad you like the sound of it and that game does sound like nothing I have heard of before DD:

      Delete
  12. Such a good review Olivia! I am sooooo ready to read this! I'm addicted to thrillers, anything set in creepy boarding schools or asylums, so I knew that I would pick this up as soon as it was released. I haven't read her other two novels either, mainly because they didn't jump out to me, so I'm hoping A Madness So Discreet lives up to it's hype! Oh to answer your question, I really like the book titles The Girl From Everywhere, Sleeping Giants, and Reawakened!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you will like it just as much as I did! It really did live up to that hype to me, but it can be scary to jump in and start. Ooj, and if all that creepiness is up your street then this is perfect for you. All those titles you mentioned? I love them too <3

      Delete
  13. I'm another person who loved McGinnis' other reads! It's a shame that you couldn't fully connect to the characters in this one, that's a big thing for me so I'm worried I will have the same problem. The main character changing like that suddenly would definitely take me out of the story too. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually don't like a book when I am not feeling the main characters, but for some reason this one was still enjoyable despite that. I think you could still like it!

      Delete
    2. I just finished this one and now I know EXACTLY what you mean. So weird about Grace's personality doing a 180, and what she did to that guy wasn't even really questioned by anyone. So unexpected.

      Delete
    3. Shannon did give a suggested reason as to why up above, but it seemed a bit weird to me...

      Delete
  14. Cool review Olivia :) Asylums really were horrid places. This book sounds very interesting but I'm not sure if I would really enjoy a book with a MC who's personality doesn't seem very consistent. Also, the Anne Rice geek in me totally approves that Claudia gif XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They definitely were. And I hope not too many of them today are still like this at all. Ahaha I am glad you like it ^^

      Delete
  15. I absolutely agree with you! I LOVED that it made us question what "sane" even is! And of course, back then, any old person could be thrown in an asylum for the most ridiculous of reasons (like Grace!), and I thought that the historical and mental health parts were done SO well. But like you said, I did feel a bit of a disconnect with Grace at times. It was a 4 star for me as well! (Incidentally, I LOVED Mindy's other two books too!) Great review!!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Books that make me question things almost always go on my favourites list because it is making me rethink my outlook on the way I perceive things. It's crazy how asylums were DD: I am going to have to check out those other books as well!

      Delete
  16. This sounds really fairly neat, but... way too creepy for me, I think. I love/am terrified by the idea of stories told in asylums. I mean, often the history of those places, like you say, are abominable, and it's horrifying enough to read the true elements of what went on, but a lot of the time the stories are just of scary intentionally, in addition to that, and I don't go so well with scary! I mean, when I saw the hands at the bottem of the cover, the first time, I was sorta terrified.
    It sounds super interesting, though, and I'm glad it was a fairly good experience, overall! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It actually took me forever to notice there was hands at the bottom of the cover until another reviewer pointed it out xd But yes, sometimes scary reads are a bit too creepy even for me. And the more elements of truth they have in it, the scarier it is...

      Delete
  17. Another great review Olivia! The cover art is indeed eye candy. I noticed reviews for this book have been floating around quite a bit and am glad to get your perspective on the story. I enjoy dark and haunting stories of the fantasy kind. Do you think this one borderlines close to psychological horror?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they are coming because the release date just passed! I wouldn't quite label it is a horror. Horrific things happen but it doesn't follow that theme all through the book. more so a psychological book though.

      Delete
  18. I really enjoyed this, Olivia, but I can see exactly what you mean anyway. I got so engrossed in Grace and what she went through I could hardly put the book down at all :)
    Great review!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see that we gave it the same rating on Goodreads! I am glad you could enjoy this one and that it kept you glued to the pages!

      Delete