Waiting on Wednesday – Week 140

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I can’t wait to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
A Madness So Discreet by 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.

October 6, 2015 ● Goodreads

THAT. COVER. Holy shizzlesticks. Obviously, I will stop at nothing to read this book. I really loved Not a Drop to Drink–Mindy McGinnis’s writing is fantastic–so this one should be as good. And it’s also set in Boston (for some part of it at least)! Woot woot. So much to look forward to with this one. Can’t wait!

What are you waiting on?

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository B&N iTunes Kobo
Goodreads Website

Read my review of Prisoner of Night and Fog HERE.

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of the best books I’d read last year. That being said, there was no doubt that I was ecstatic when this beauty of an eGalley popped up on Edelweiss for download. I was a little bit afraid though going into this book, because at this point, I had really high expectations. Glad to say, I wasn’t disappointed! While I did miss the thrill of finding out everything in the first book–the tension between Gretchen and Daniel as our main character decides which side to pick, learning about Hitler’s ‘condition', and escaping Munich–this was a brilliant follow-up. New players enter this deadly game and there are a lot of twists and thrills that make this a gripping novel from start to finish.

The publication of this book seriously could not have been better well-timed for me personally. It just so happens that currently we’re learning about Fascism and Naziism in a social science course, and many of the events and people mentioned in this book–or even characters part of this book–have come up. The burning of the Reichstag, for instance. I would have had no idea what that was if I wasn’t learning about it at this point in time, so I felt that knowing a bit about Hitler’s rule as chancellor and his transition to dictator really helps with reading this book. There is a lot of history packed in this novel, and while you could get by without really knowing the roles that many of these characters played in real life, knowing about them makes this a more impacting read.

Then he kissed her. His lips on hers were as light as a breath. And she couldn't stop the horrible thought that his touch felt like a farewell.

My thoughts about Gretchen and Daniel’s characters haven’t really changed since the first book. Both are such great characters, determined to find out what happened at the Reichstag. Definitely a lot of fantastic tense moments between them too (and I don’t mean just romantically!). I also really enjoyed the addition of Gennat’s character–I love detective fiction and detectives in general and his addition into the book made my day. I hadn’t really heard about his previously and reading about him totally made me want to find out more about his time with the Berlin criminal police. Tons of other new faces as well, especially a certain underground crime ring that takes an interesting turn.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is an action-packed sequel that had me on the edge of my seat. Blankman’s blend of fact and fiction is absolutely mesmerising and the writing really makes you feel as though you’re really there during this terrible time in history. I hope there’s a third book coming soon, even though the ending seemed to be perfect and sounded like there wouldn’t be another book, but nonetheless if there is I’m ecstatic to read more about what happens after. If not, I’m glad to have been on this journey navigating one of the biggest turning points in European and World history through the eyes of an amazing and relatable protagonist.

If you like this, try...

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ABOUT THIS SCENE: After Daniel finds out he's been framed for a murder in Berlin, he and Gretchen journey to the capital to clear his name. Once they find the boarding house where the victim used to live, they decide to snoop around the office of Frau Fleischer, the landlady. But they're about to discover that the victim was mixed up in something far more dangerous than anything they could have imagined...

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"We must get out of here immediately," Daniel interrupted, seizing Gretchen's hand. He pulled her out of the office. Somewhere she heard the creaking sound again, but close enough this time that she recognized it--a floorboard whining under someone's weight.

They raced into the parlor just as the unmistakable pop and fizzle of gas lights flaring into life sounded from the front hall. As a yellow glow flickered and grew, a black shape dashed through the entryway straight toward them.

Gretchen stumbled backward, her heart surging into her hart. Nearby, she heard Daniel cursing and wrenching the pick free from the lock.

The shape flew at them, sharpening into the bone-thin, black-dressed figure of Frau Fleischer. She carried an ancient-looking shotgun. Gretchen let out a harsh cry as the landlady swung the weapon up and jammed it against her forehead.

"Don't move," Frau Fleischer snapped. "The men will deal with you as soon as they arrive. Now if you so much as breathe, I'll blast your head off."

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Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Website Goodreads Twitter

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Thank you so much to FFBC tours for having me along!

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