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.

Novella Review: LEGION: SKIN DEEP by Brandon Sanderson

Novella Review: LEGION: SKIN DEEP by Brandon Sanderson
Legion: Skin Deep
Legion #2

Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Published by: Subterranean Press
Release date: November 24th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Pages: 208
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, Stephen Leeds is back in a new, double-length novella that Library Journal says has "the pulse of a thriller and the hook of a fascinating hero balancing on the edge of psychosis."

It's not his own genius that Stephen Leeds gets hired for. Clients want to tap into the imaginary experts that populate his mind—and it's getting a bit crowded in there.

Now Stephen and his internal team of "aspects" have been hired to track down a stolen corpse—but it's not the corpse that's important, it's what the corpse knows. The biotechnology company he worked for believes he encoded top-secret information in his DNA before he died, and if it falls into the wrong hands, that will mean disaster.

Meanwhile, Stephen's uneasy peace with his own hallucinations is beginning to fray at the edges, as he strives to understand how one of them could possibly have used Stephen's hand to shoot a real gun during the previous case. And some of those hallucinations think they know better than Stephen just how many aspects his mind should make room for. How long will he be able to hold himself together?


If there’s one thing I can say after finishing this novella, it’s that novellas aren’t nearly enough to satisfy my hunger for more of this story. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be complaining — this novella is twice as long as the first in the series, but… but… but… I want mooooooore. (I feel like Ariel from The Little Mermaid — Dear Brandon Sanderson, Would singing pleading renditions of Disney songs get you to write more of these, faster? Because I will sing if necessary — as long as it doesn’t interfere with the writing of Stormlight #3.)

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Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish,
and features weekly top-ten lists! This week it’s…

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

I love these Top-Ten-TBR lists. They’re always the easiest for me to put together. :P Here are the top ten books I’m looking forward to reading this winter, along with their release dates. (I know I squeezed a couple of spring titles in there, but in those cases I’m just being realistic — I know I’m gonna cave and read my ARC’s of those earlier than I probably should. :P )


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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 – Duplicity

Waiting on Wednesday

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


Waiting on Wednesday – Duplicity

Written by: N.K. Traver
Published by: Thomas Dunne Books
Release date: March 17th 2015
Pages: 256
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts for thousands of dollars just for the hell of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move cities every couple of years, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep on living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things come along to shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, preppy girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something – washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Changes he can’t explain to his classmates, who think he’s having an identity crisis, and certainly not to nosy Emma, who thinks this is his backward apology for telling her to get lost. Then Brandon’s reflection tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’s going to be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and Emma and his parents won't even know he's gone.


I’m sorry but… did you read that blurb? I know it’s long, but seriously. A computer hacker whose reflection starts moving by itself, “improving” his appearance, AND THEN SUCKS HIM INTO THE MIRROR-WORLD WHERE HE HAS TO HACK HIS WAY OUT.

Okay, that devolved into capslock pretty fast, I’m sorry, but can you blame me?! This is like a hacker thriller twist on Through the Looking-Glass, of course I want it.

What book are YOU anxiously awaiting today?

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