Mini-Review! I’m not normally one for thrillers, but…

I received this book for free from Doubleday. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini-Review! I’m not normally one for thrillers, but…
The Masked Truth

Written by: Kelley Armstrong
Published by: Doubleday
Release date: October 13th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: BookExpo America 2015
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.


I don’t normally read thrillers, but something about the synopsis of this one had me really curious, so I picked it up at BEA. And then Danielle’s love of this book got me really excited to read it — and it was totally worth it.

When I think of “thrillers,” I mostly think of books that are half mystery, half fast-paced action — AKA, books that leave little room for more emotional “character stuff.” This usually turns me off of thrillers, to be honest. But The Masked Truth did not have that problem. It was all fast-paced thrills and amazing characters, and it kept me glued to its pages. Kelley Armstrong was somehow able to keep up the tension of a fast-paced plot, while also dealing with serious subjects like PTSD, suicide, and depression with sensitivity and realness. I did not expect that, and that balance was probably my favorite thing about this book.

The Masked Truth also has a really great ship (yes, I am all about the ships), and there are many romantic-type feels to be had, but those elements don’t overtake the plot to an unbelievable degree. This book is about survival, about finding strength to persevere and overcome even when the odds seem insurmountable — and that was the clear focus.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a change-of-pace to normal contemporaries. Even if you’re not big on thrillers, like me, if you’re a character-driven reader, you need to check this book out. It may surprise you.

Book Review: THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book Review: THE NATURALS by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals
The Naturals #1

Written by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Release date: November 5th 2013
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 308
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.


Wow. It’s really amazing to jump out of your comfort zone every once in a while, is it? I mean, I guess this book isn’t strictly outside my “comfort zone” … maybe just outside my norm. But still, it’s good to mix things up. I have to be in a very specific mood to pick up a modern thriller, and luckily, that mood finally struck, because I’ve been wanting to pick up this book for a long time. And it didn’t disappoint.

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DNF Q&A: THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin

I received this book for free from Little, Brown. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

DNF Q&A: THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin
The Walled City

Written by: Ryan Graudin
Published by: Little, Brown
Release date: November 4th 2014
Genres: Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Source: BookExpo America 2014
Buy: B&N, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: All That Glows, Wolf by Wolf

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.
18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.


The DNF Q&A is an infrequent feature here at TWBI — instead of reviewing DNF’d books, I will post answers to a few pertinent questions in order to explain what made me ultimately set the book aside. Feel free to comment and suggest additional questions for future Q&A posts (may they be few and far between!), or just ask some questions specifically about this book!


Did you really give The Walled City a chance?

Yes. I made it about 37% of the way through.

Have you enjoyed other books of the same genre?

Well, I’m not 100% sure what genre The Walled City fits into – it’s set in near-modern times. It’s not dystopian, fantasy, or sci-fi. Maybe just a thriller? A survival story? Whatever it was, it sounded like something that would be gripping, and gritty, and right up my alley.

[It was pointed out to me that maybe this is more “historical fiction” – it’s possibly set in the 80’s, and is definitely based on a real place and on people who may have lived there. (See the answer to my next question, below.) If it is historical fiction… hah. I laugh, because Historical Fiction and I don’t normally get along anyway, sooo make of that what you will!]

Had you been looking forward to this book in particular? Why?

Yes. This book was one of my most exciting acquisitions from BEA, and I was really looking forward to reading it. The titular “Walled City” (called the Hak Nam Walled City in the book) was actually based on the Kowloon Walled City, a real city — or more like ungoverned cluster of buildings — that existed in Hong Kong, until it was demolished in 1994. The Kowloon Walled City housed 33,000 people within 0.01 square miles. (I’ll give you a sec to think about that. …Yeah.) It was a truly horrifying place, with extremely high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug use. So a YA book set in this city? WOW OKAY count me in. It sounds dark and gritty and I really wanted it to be awesome.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Blackbird

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!


Waiting on Wednesday – Blackbird
Blackbird Duology #1

Written by: Anna Carey
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: September 16th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 256
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.


Two things. 1) I rarely read straight-up thrillers/mysteries; and 2) I was initially really really really skeptical about the whole… book-written-in-second-person thing. O_O However, having recently read (and loved) Half Bad, I’ve rather changed my mind about second person. There are a few sections in that book which are written in second person; and, to my surprise, I really, really liked those sections. (What?!) So honestly, the second person alone is enough to make me super excited and curious about an entire book written in that voice. And the whole thriller/mystery thing… well, I love fast-paced books… okay honestly I’m really just curious about the second person. XD

What book are YOU anxiously awaiting today?

Link me to your WoW post and I’ll be sure to stop by! :)

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Book Review: THE UNBOUND by Victoria Schwab

Exactly one year ago today, I started reading The Archived for the first time. It was one of my very first reviews on TWBI, and it has remained one of my all-time favorites since then. And today, one year after reading The Archived, I am so excited to be a part of Victoria Schwab’s blog tour for its sequel, The Unbound♥ I could not be more excited, and not just because of that lovely coincidence, but also because this book delivered on so many levels.

If you haven’t read The Archived, don’t worry — there are no major spoilers in this review! And there’s an extra-special giveaway at the end! So check it out…

Book Review: THE UNBOUND by Victoria Schwab
The Unbound
The Archived #2

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Release date: January 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 368
Source: Author
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.


There is something about Victoria Schwab’s Archived series that moves me on so many levels. The Archived and The Unbound are both incredibly, beautifully written, and they effortlessly pull on your emotions. They’re exciting, heart-wrenching, intense, and completely un-put-down-able, and they will give you feels like crazy. They’re just… utterly wonderful.

In this latest installment, Our Heroine, Mackenzie Bishop, is desperately trying to recover from the events that took place at the end of The Archived, but she’s suffering from horrible nightmares about the History she faced. This leads to long periods of time without sleep, which lead to blackouts… and worse. Mackenzie feels like her reality is starting to unravel. Add to that, the fact that people around her are disappearing, and Mac isn’t sure if she’s making connections where there are none, if she’s somehow the causes of these disappearances, of if there’s actually something sinister going on… and that people at the Archive may be responsible.

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ARC Review: UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan

I received this book for free from HarperTeen. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan
Uninvited #1

Written by: Sophie Jordan
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: January 28th 2014
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.


Uninvited was a really interesting read. I went into it expecting to be blown away, and I wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t absolutely devour this book, either.

Uninvited is addictively readable, and really really hard to put down once you start it. It begins with a sort of contemporary realistic feel, kind of a thriller, with people being diagnosed with HTS (the “kill gene” that means you’re more likely to murder someone) and being thrown out of their original groups of friends/jobs/etc. The whole book, really, reads like the very beginning to a dystopian society where people with this DNA are pariahs, feared by the community… and it gets increasingly worse for them as the book progresses.

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