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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review of A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA - Historical Fiction - Thriller - Horror

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.
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Kobo 

"I think we're all quite mad. Some of us are just more discreet about it"

When I received my OwlCrate and saw A Madness So Discreet, I was very disappointed (although I liked the cover so much, I didn't care if the book was awful)!  The blurb didn't wow me, and, although I don't mind gory details and bloody descriptions, I can't abide books without a little bit of hope shining through the darkness of the story. After reading the synopsis, I thought nothing else than pain and desperation could come from this story. I'm happy to say I was wrong! This book was definitely dark, but it had its lighter moments and, most important, it managed to convey a sense of hope for the future of the characters.

"Nothing you say will be believed. You're insane"

Grace was a fantastic main character, haunted by the demons of her past, and she kept them at bay retreating in herself so much that she couldn't feel anything. This ability was rather intriguing but also frightening, because clearly if you retreat in yourself too much, you risk losing your way out. Grace couldn't speak for most of her day, and it was interesting how this created a chasm between the person she was in the asylum, who had to keep everything bottled up inside, and the person she was when she was free to be herself. They almost seemed like two different people. 

"So are we really that different, the healthy and the ill?" (...) "I would argue there is no difference at all"

Grace walked thin line between madness and sanity, like all the characters of this book: Thornhollow, who looked into the abyss of the criminal mind too much, Grace's father, all the patients in the asylums. Reading the book was like becoming mad yourself, until you were at a point when you couldn't say which character was sane and which was not. You could almost say that the patients were saner than the people outside the asylum. The only really sane character was Grace's sister, but one could argue that she was sane because she kept to the surface and didn't venture down to the depth of the human mind. Along with the exploration of what makes a person mad and if everybody's actually mad but some madness are more discreet than others, the author tackled the idea of morals and whether it's right to follow one's moral system when it clashes with the law. I liked that the book didn't shy away from certain ideas of "eye for an eye" and "the end justifies the means".

The historical fiction aspect of asylums and how patients were treated was deeply fascinating and well-researched. As you may well imagine, the treatments were brutal and lobotomy was largely practiced to tame the most difficult patients. However, I enjoyed the book much more when it delved into the homicide and the study of criminal profiling. Also, the ending was perfect and gave me so much satisfaction!

Overall, this book was riveting and compelling, and I recommend it to anyone who's not afraid of some gory details. I've already read a review comparing this book to Criminal Minds, so I can say that I was not the only one who thought so while reading the book! If you are a fan of this telefilm, this book it's for you!

 Totally Awesome! I loved it, would read again.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson

Hello, everyone! Today I will be reviewing Placebo Junkies for the book tour hosted by Random House! Enjoy!

Title: Placebo Junkies
Author: J.C. Carleson
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published: October 27th 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA - Realistic Fiction
Source: via publisher (hardcover)

Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!

But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide….

Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N |  Kobo | Indiebound

I have one word for this book: Mind Trip
Okay, so that's two words but you get the point. I guess I could have said, "whatintheheckdidijustreadomgwasthatconfusing". Hmm...that sounds about right. *nods*

I just finished the book last night and I am still trying to process what I just read. Placebo Junkies is one of those books where 50% of the book seems normal enough and then BAM right in the middle you're thrown a twist that makes you question everything you have read thus far. Part of me liked that I was thrown into a loop and another part was left confused more than anything. 

The story is about a girl named, Audie. Audie makes a living as "Guinea pig" for big medical companies. She takes pills, gives blood, tries new medical products and even allows some majorly scary stuff to happen to her body. Why? Because of the cold hard cash; compensation for being a human medical experiment. Audie is saving up for something very special, a trip for dying boyfriend. Dylan has cancer and Audie wants to give him something he will never forget, a vacation to a place he has only dreamt of. This means doing more volunteering than ever. Which also mean more side effects, more pain, and much more stress. At least she has a friend or two who knows what she's going through. Charlotte is her roommate and friend. She also is a Guinea pig for all the same companies that Audie works at. Both girls know what it's like to be a human pin cushion. Audie will do whatever it takes to make more money and fast. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? 

This is when things go downhill. Something happens to Audie that changes everything and forces her to pick up more medical studies than ever. She is also forced to deal with some horribly bad news, in which she begins to question the motives of the doctors behind these trials. Something is definitely off... or maybe something is not quite right with Audie herself? 

The final twist will leave readers confused, floored or like me mind tripped!

While Placebo Junkies was unlike anything I have ever read before I have a love-hate relationship with the book. On one hand, the story was unique and interesting but clearly lacked focus on the main plot. It was all over the place at times, giving me details that felt unnecessary and boring. I was 40% into reading and questioning where the story was going. To be honest, I did not like any of the characters besides Dylan. They feel flat for me and just too bazaar. As for Audie, I felt genuinely sorry for her. Her life has been so difficult and you really get see the real Audie at the end of the book. I actually really enjoyed the premise of the book, but I feel it the delivery could have been better. 

Don't get me wrong, even though I did find some things I didn't so much like in the book there are some parts I did really enjoy.  I love how dedicated Audie was to buy Dylan this amazing gift. I could plainly feel how much she loves Dylan and worries about his health. All that she went through to make him happy was so heartfelt. Even when the final twist comes and the reader finds out the truth about many things you still can't help but feel at awe. The ending was one I did not see coming. It's one of those, "Wait, What?" moments that will leave you questioning everything you've read thus far. I also think the author did some great research when it came to all the medical parts. Kudos, J.C. Carleson. It really helped with the "real" factor during the trials/experiments.

I give Placebo Junkies a solid 3 STARS! While confusing at times and a bit lackluster throughout it still really ended up being a unique and thrilling read. I recommend the book to anyone who likes a good head-trip wants a story that makes you think. 

I liked it a lot. Would recommend.

Click the link below find out more about author J.C. Carlson and to learn about her other books.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review: The Way to Never by O.E. Boroni

 The Way to Never (The Never Trilogy #2)
Author: O.E. Boroni
Kindle, 360 pages
Published:  July 25th 2015
Publisher: Waves Corporation
Genre: A - Contemporary Romance

When falling out of love, refuses to become an option…

Nathan Roque first met Lenora Baker, a beautiful, exasperating, and bitter girl when she was just fifteen years old. He fell so deeply in love with her that he suspected that in his lifetime, nothing else could ever mirror the kind of commitment that she drew out of him. But she is left heartbroken when an unfortunate incident drives them apart.

Thirteen years later, he sets out to reach out to her when he can no longer resist the consuming thoughts of her that have haunted him for so long. However, the same demons that caused him to let go of her in the first place are still holding him back. But when he is thrust into a situation where he has no choice but to become professionally involved with her, a Pandora’s Box of angst, resentment, and passion is unleashed.

Now they are forced to make the decision on how to proceed. But will it justify the one that they made in the past, or will it mock it? 
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Kobo

  I received a copy from the author through a Goodreads group in exchange for an honest review.

NOOO!!! That cliffhanger! Why the heck would you do that to me?! I need the next book right this second!

The Way to Never is way better than the first book, although the first book contained more story. It was really nice seeing how Nathan and Lenora's lives turned out to be. From being a loner who didn't let anyone in, Lenora now has a pack of friends that seem like her family. From being indecisive about what she wanted for her career, she now has two. Nathan, on the other hand, is now a successful reporter in CNN, just like he wanted!

The Way to Never is a book that really surprised me. Normally, I hate books wherein the main character strings a guy along, when she clearly likes another, but for some unknown reason I didn't mind it that much in this book. Probably because Nathan was there first and I was already rooting for them since the first book. Also, the feels when both of them are in the same room didn't hurt either.

My favorite character from this book has to be Nathan's dad. He's a charming old man, and I really hope to see him more in the third book. I'd love to hear his stories regarding Nathan's childhood and other embarrassing tales that he can share.

This ended in a crazy cliffhanger, and I just need to get my hands on the next book or I might go crazy with anticipation. I'm already pulling my hair and screaming after reading that last sentence. I don't know how I'll handle waiting for the next book for so long! 

 Totally Awesome! I loved it, would read again.


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