The Family Journal [Review]

Book Name: The Family Journal
Series: [Standalone] Book N/A
Author: Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle
Obtained: Purchased
Pages: 296
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary
Start Date: 07.02.2020
End Date: 07.08.2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is Carolyn Brown’s 100th book! Whopping 100! That’s amazing! Congratulations to Carolyn 🥳

Goodreads Summary

Link to Book’s Goodreads Page: >HERE<

At the end of her rope, single mom Lily Anderson is determined to move her rebellious children in the right direction. That means taking away their cell phones, tablets, and computers—at least temporarily—and moving to the house where Lily grew up in the rural town of Comfort, Texas. But Lily has a bigger challenge than two sulking teens.

The house comes with Mack Cooper, high school teacher and handsome longtime renter. The arrangement: just housemates. But Mack’s devoted attention to the kids starts to warm Lily’s resistant heart. Then Lily finds an old leather-bound book in which five generations of her female ancestors shared their struggles and dreams. To Lily, it’s a bracing reminder about the importance of family…and love.

Now it’s time for Lily to add an adventurous new chapter to the cherished family journal—by embracing a fresh start and taking a chance on a man who could make her house a home.


I usually don’t go for romance books, but I only realized it was romance after I’d purchased the book; a big oops on my part…There was implied sexual content of course, but nothing more than a good kiss on the cheeks or lips was actually written out for the readers to read. For that, I was so very glad. However, it was my fault for not reading properly about the genre and so I just stuck with it. How bad could it be? (Turned out to be a pretty good book that I semi-flew through).

Lily is a mother who has been divorced for a good few years now; her husband having admitted to cheating on her and leaving for a much richer woman, leaving her with her two kids, Holly and Braden. When she discovers fourteen year old Holly with weed and twelve year old Braden with alcohol, she’s decided that enough was enough and decided to move the three of them back to her childhood home in Comfort, Texas, a small community with a population of a little more than three thousand. Along with the move, she confiscates her kids’ electronics…all of them; computers, tablets, phones…

Holding steadfast to her resolve in making a change in her family, she continues with the move as her kids try to negotiate anything to keep them in the city. Nothing was going to make her budge on her decision, not this time. In the years after her divorce, she had began to drown herself in her work and left no time to her children. The combined effects of both the lack of proper family time and the divorce resulted in causing her children to drift apart and become rebellious. This time, she knew that she needed to make a change, and her decision better be solid; no puppy eyes would be changing her mind.

The house that she grew up in comes with Mack Cooper, someone she knew back in her own school days, now her tenant; a school teacher himself with forty goats living in the yard. The arrangement was to remain as friendly associates, a roommate relationship. He gets to keep living in a home that allows him to raise his goats, and she gets to use her house again. They will share the living room and kitchen only when they needed the use of them. With the agreement solid, Lily moves the family back home to get away from the influences of the city.


If I had to describe the book in one word it would be fluffy (heartwarming too). There were ups and downs and the book writes out to be incredibly predictable, but I enjoyed it. There were parts that made me tear up and once the water-work starts going, there’s no turning back. Mack and Lily just fits each other like the perfect puzzle piece. They’re compatible, there’s chemistry between them, each have personal trust issues that stem from the trauma of having to deal with specific people in their lives, and each have baggage they carry.

Lily doesn’t trust herself in another relationship because what if another man like her cheating ex-husband comes by and ruins the little trust and hope she had left? Someone close to Mack had stolen his previous girlfriends not once, but twice! He’s adamant in not getting himself into another relationship, just like Lily, because what’s the point if that someone is going to just stroll back in and steal his girlfriend with his charms and good looks…again!

But as they begin to live under and share the same roof, Lily and Mack begin to gravitate towards each other. Mack, being a vo-ag (vocational agriculture) teacher, is fantastic with Lily’s kids and bonds with her son, who has grown quite attached to the herd of goats outside. While her daughter is a bit more to handle, even Holly begins to settle in to the new rural lifestyle with new friends of her own and even gets along well with Lily’s childhood friends.

The house that Lily resides in now is her childhood home that once belonged to her mother, now deceased. When she finally has the courage to start going through her mother’s things, she finds an old journal that, to her surprise, belongs to the women in her family…spanning across many many years with the first entry starting in June 1862!

With the journal, Lily begins a journey of love and the importance of family. Through the ancient book, she begins to find parallels to her current life as she shares the struggles, hardships, happiness, and even dreams of her ancestors. As she discovers more about herself, she begins to share the journal with her daughter, whom she would love to pass the journal onto one day, and the two’s relationship begins to heal.

It’s a heartwarming story that makes you cry a little. Her kids are at a rebellious stage in their lives and the divorce only catapulted them further away from her; their words constantly laced with anger or I should’ve tried harder to convince dad to move in with him and the likes of such. But with the introduction of the journal, she begins to bond closer to her children, and with Mack, both their hearts begin to thaw as they learn to work through their past problems and learn to love again.

The book is very Christian centric, as well, with many of the scenes taking place at church or mentions of choir practice and Sunday schools. Macks’ old friend is the preacher of this tiny town’s church and it’s these weekends, Sundays especially, whose scenes are the primary focus with most of the weekdays somewhat zipping by (could be me though).

It’s a very sweet book with lots of sparks flying at every touch they make, accident or not. The “good” characters are all like-able and the “villains” are all very detestable. I enjoyed how everybody seems to have their own comfort groups that mingle well with each other, small town style. Mack knows of the old aloof woman at church, as does Lily and her friends. Holly occasionally gets to hang out with her mother’s friends and gets to hang out with that old woman as well. Everyone knows everyone (and everyone knows secrets in half a heart beat). There’s a sense of eye-rolling small town rumors that is always flying around, though most are generally harmless.

All in all, it’s a very sweet and heartwarming book. I loved the parts where Lily and Mack helped each other through their pasts, even before their relationship began to kindle (did you see what I did there 👀?). Mack is the fantastic father figure that Holly and Braden just needed in their lives. Even from the start, you get a feeling that they were all just meant to be together.

I didn’t expect to power through the book as fast as I did. It flows well and reads well; an exceptional page-turning book. I had read pieces of the first few chapters during work breaks and after work, but then managed to just blow through a good 200 pages in one go as the middle began to pick up.

Lovely read with a beautiful ending: 4⭐️


Mad River [Book Review]

Content warning: Rape, implied sexual content, death, violence and graphic content

Book Name: Mad River
Series: Virgil Flowers Book # 6
Author: John Sandford
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle
Obtained: Amazon
Pages: 418
Genre: Fiction > Mystery > Crime, Thriller
Start Date: 06.03.2020, Restarted reading on 06.26.2020
End Date: 06.28.2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

Link to Book’s Goodreads Page: >HERE<

Bonnie and Clyde, they thought. And what’s-his-name, the sidekick. Three teenagers with dead-end lives, chips on their shoulders, and guns. The first person they killed was a woman during a robbery. The second was incidental. Simply in the way. Then, hell, why not keep on going?

It’s not until Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers steps onto the Shinder murder scene that the clues begin to come together. As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, it’s a growing army of cops who join Virgil in trying to run them down. But even Virgil doesn’t realize what’s about to happen next.

Thoughts and Review:

Virgil isn’t even a few hours out of vacation and Davenport is already calling in about a bad one; two deaths, a man and his wife, along with two more on Friday night over in Bigham for a total of 4 deaths and he needs to get over there and investigate them immediately. A few hours later, mostly sober from his night out at the bar, discussing musicians, he finally heads out.

Another thrilling book, though not much of a mystery this time around. Sandford has a signature of sorts to reveal the bad guys to us readers early on via their own POV chapters. Sometimes we, the readers, already know who the criminal is (though the cops do not) but this time, Virgil is able to quickly confirm the murderer’s identities and instead of a “who’s the bad guy” it’s a mad chase. In this book, Virgil and the local sheriff spend their time trying to track down the trio rather than spend a good chunk guessing who might be behind all of this.

In Mad River, we have ourselves a fictional Bonnie and Clyde (and another character) going on a killing spree through the Minnesota countryside. It starts off with a single murder, a bank robbery gone wrong. The killing of Agatha was a little strange as Agatha had been hit and was already down on the ground and the trio couldn’t be identified as they had their flashlights pointed at the two women’s faces. Thus, Agatha’s death seemed pretty unnecessary, but as the story expands, we get to see a larger role involved in her murder. On their way to their getaway car, they gun down another victim, Emmett Williams and steals his car (seeing as their own junk car didn’t ignite). It had started off as a burglary but ended up in two deaths resulting in the trio going on the run.

Virgil arrives to investigate the 4 deaths, starting with the husband and wife, Mr. Welsh and Mrs. Welsh, and eventually moving to Agatha and Emmett. In a small town where everyone knows everyone the fingers quickly point to the Jimmy and Becky; infamous troublemakers back in high school. Everybody in town knew Becky for her good looks, Jimmy for being the biggest bully in school, and both for not being the brightest kids around, while who Tom was was a mystery to most folks.

With no solid reason or evidence to convict the three, Virgil turns to try and find them as leads…but nobody can find them. Not much blind guessing is needed, however as everywhere they stop to steal money or supplies leaves behind a new body. With every body comes one or two missing vehicles, each of which is broadcasted to the world, hoping someone would spot them and report them in. When one of the trio calls Virgil and confessing themselves to be the one of the three responsible for all the shootings, they finally have solid confirmation that the three kids are behind the killings and it turns into a chase and duck hunt to get to the Jimmy Sharp, Becky Welsh, and Tom McCall before they get to someone else. As the search drags on, more and more people are killed as the three search for food, money, weapons, and whatever tools they can get on hand to aid their escape. It’s after a bank robbery gone wrong, where an officer is shot and killed, that the three realize how deeply in trouble they are and how bleak their future now looks. Now wanted fugitives, their chances at escaping alive becomes slimmer and slimmer.

All the while, Virgil digs deeper into Agatha’s death and starts to suspect more to behind her death than just a robbery gone wrong. Towards the middle, the book splits off between chasing Beck and Jimmy and Virgil investigating the circumstances behind Agatha’s murder with both cases being a thrill to follow.

The deaths in this book are pretty gritty, especially the ending scene (what horrifying imagery). Shaking away their first murder, they start to get used to all the killing. Raising a gun at another person becomes almost easy. They were already wanted by everyone everywhere, what was one more body for a pack of pills right? They aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, as noted multiple times throughout the book. They make dumb decisions and leave trails of easy evidence behind them. These were aimless kids with unfortunate backgrounds growing up to be young adults who dreamed big but didn’t have the necessary tools to push them in the right direction. Instead, they make one bad decision after another only to fall deeper and deeper into the crime. Of course, it’s no excuse for what they did.

He remembered a bumper sticker he’d seen in St. Paul that said: “Remember: Half the People Are Below Average.” That, he thought, was probably the key to Jimmy Sharp and Becky Welsh. They were below average, and God had made them that way. There was no way that they were ever going to be anything but that; they could watch all the above-average people they wanted, on television, driving around in big cars and making enormous amounts of money out of nothing . . . or just working at the post office, or going to trade school to be plumbers or carpenters. They’d never be able to do that. They were condemned from birth to a life of hard times and trouble. If people were to tell the truth about Becky, her only route to a condition even resembling prosperity would be to sell herself for sex. That was all she had. The problem with that, morality aside, was that she probably wasn’t bright enough to make the most of selling herself. As for Jimmy—Jimmy had no chance at all. Abused as a child, neglected in school, he probably couldn’t drive a nail. Or generate the ambition to do it.

– Sandford, John. Mad River (A Virgil Flowers Novel, Book 6) (pp. 352-353). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[[On Virgil Flowers pondering about God, life, and unfair circumstances that might have been one of the causes on why Becky and Jimmy turned out to be the way they are.]]

Virgil, being the son of a Presbyterian minister, has a moral code far stronger than Sheriff Duke (who I started to hate more and more, and who I honestly loathed by the end) and, though he had a few other reasons for doing so, he did his very best to try and bring Becky, Jimmy, and Tom in alive. He’s constantly pondering about God, often thinking about him before he drifts off to sleep at night. Throughout this book, he thinks a lot about God and why people like Jimmy and Becky exist/turn out the way they are now, why they kill people at random, and why people are killed at random. He ponders about if God is a universal computer who is subject to bugs and glitches. He wonders about how, no matter how hard they try, Becky and Jimmy simply weren’t meant to be anything more than below average.

“What part could they have in God’s plan? Were they simply put here to kill people at random, because, for some people, people needed to be killed at random?”

– Sandford, John. Mad River (A Virgil Flowers Novel, Book 6) (p. 352). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

It took me about 3 days to gobble up this book…like I do with all of John’s books. A fantastic thriller where you get to see Virgil chasing the slippery trio only to find their victims instead (as it turns out there are plenty of places to hide in the vast Minnesota countryside). The cops are getting frustrated, Virgil is getting frustrated and very desperate to reach them before the others, civilians are worried and locking up, guarding doors with their guns, the media is in a piranha frenzy (when are they not), and the Governor and BCA staff are getting frustrated and are starting to take heat for not putting an end to this in a timely matter.

It was a great read and I can’t wait to grab book 7. So far, Virgil and Sandford has yet to disappoint me. I loved reading this and easily finished the book. This time though, the ending left a bit of bitterness in my mouth that I can’t fully describe. I felt both unsatisfied and very satisfied at the same time. Happy but also very upset (for how both cases ended). ​It’s the wallowing sad and empty feeling that stems from knowing that, because of the circumstances (and a certain a**hat) this was the best ending you could have possibly gotten.

Favorite Series (Including Trilogies)

First and foremost…I still have yet to finish a whole series of anything. This includes books, tv shows & movies, and video games. I have not even finished the bare minimum of a series; trilogies or even books with a single sequel! But for those I’ve read multiple books to a series of, here are a few that are amongst my favorites! Especially useful after extinguishing the last of books I have on hand. Whenever I’m stuck on my next read, I simply pick up the next book in a series and roll with it. Sometimes, these books are the rewards to myself for finishing a book I almost DNF’ed.

Dark of the Moon (A Virgil Flowers Novel, Book 1) by [John Sandford]

The Virgil Flowers Series
By: John Sandford
Latest Book in Series: Book # 12 [Bloody Genius]

My favorite series is the Virgil Flowers Series.

This series follows the protagonist, Virgil Flowers, otherwise known as “That Fucking Flowers.” He is an agent for the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) of Minnesota. Thrice divorced and not willing to make himself a fool a fourth time, Virgil has a penchant for sleeping around with the ladies while on cases; sometimes with the local female deputies, sometimes even with key witnesses or potential suspects! Described as a medium-tall man with gray eyes and blond hair too long for a cop’s, he could pass as a surfer and is often seen with his t-shirts featuring indie rock bands, rather than a suit. He never carries his arms with him unless he finds it absolutely necessary. He’s an outdoors man who likes to tow his boat with him, even when on duty. Virgil has a side gig writing and photographing for outdoor magazines. He works under Lucas Davenport, who is the protagonist of John Sandford’s main series.

Theft of Swords, Vol. 1(Riyria Revelations) (Riyria Revelations (1 ...

The Riyria Chronicles and The Riyria Revelations Series
By: Michael J. Sullivan
(The Riyria Chronicles consists of 5 books, 5th not yet published and Revelations consisting of 6 books published in 3 volumes).

My first high fantasy series! I can’t even recall exactly where I got my first book, only that I fell in love with the book’s two protagonists: the warrior turned mercenary, Hadrian, and his partner in action, Royce. It didn’t occur to me that there were two related series (I always just referred to them as the Riyria series) and ended up all over the place reading a book from Chronicles, then moving to a random book in Revelations, and then back to a Chronicles book, etc. My first book was Volume 1, “Theft of Swords”, which contained both “The Crown Conspiracy” and “Avempartha” where we have Hadrian and Royce pair up to steal a sword owned by Count Pickering, only to find the dead body of the King and subsequently framed for his murder. The dynamic between Hadrian and Royce fit so well together, despite their opposing personalities; Hadrian, who has a strong moral sense and Royce, a professional thief and the orphan who grew up in poverty. Truthfully, I need to return to this series that I keep throwing out to people (I’ve successfully reeled in 1 new reader so far), because I, myself, have forgotten a lot of the content.

The Whitefire Crossing: The Shattered Sigil, Book One: Courtney ...

The Shattered Sigil Series
By: Courtney Schafer

Ah, my first triology and the closest I have ever gotten to finishing a series. Having read books 1 and 2, I just need that one last spark of motivation so I can finish this one off and officially say that I have finished something, yeah?

This trilogy follows the adventures of main characters Kiran and Dev, as well Cara, who becomes more and more important later into the triology. Dev is a charms smuggler with the perfect cover job as an outrider, a guide who helps scout out better and safer routes through the treacherous Whitefire Mountains for merchants and their caravans. An expert climber, Dev’s new smuggling assignment, this time around, is quite different than his previous simple smuggling of charms. This time, he needs to smuggle a person, Kiran. Kiran is on the run from his master, one of the most powerful mages out there, a bloodmage. He will do whatever it takes to get away and take refuge in Alathia, where his master’s magic can’t reach him. However, the way there…is long, hard, and full of dangers.

Curiously enough, Dev’s chapters are always written in first person, while Kiran’s are written in third person. The first two books were fantastic and fast paced. I got through book 1 in a few days, though book two dragged a little bit more (for me). There isn’t much traditional “fantasy” in this other than the lore and laws of the world. There is Ninavel, the country where magic is quite common and then Alathia, the country where magic is mostly prohibited and outlawed. No orcs and elves here…but expect a lot of climbing techniques, terminology, and imagery. The author knows her stuff when it comes to climbing!

Prince of Fools (The Red Queen's War): Lawrence, Mark ...

The Red Queen’s War Series
By : Mark Lawrence

Another exciting trilogy, this one follows the adventures of Prince Jalan and the Norse Warrior, Snorri. I’ve only read the first book and the first few chapters almost had me DNF this book only for it to pick up pace towards the middle. I ended up absolutely loving this book and the characters, especially Jalan. A drinker, gambler, and seducer of women with extraordinary…luck? (I wouldn’t quite call it luck honestly).

Prince Jalan is one of the sparse few people who can see the Silent Sister. When he manages to just barely make it out alive from a death trap created by the Silent Sister, his life is, very literally, intertwined with the warrior, Snorri. Snorri fights for revenge, for vengeance, and he travels so that he can rescue his wife, taken from their home after their village is pillaged and Snorri (and the other warriors) left for dead. Jalan is the biggest coward on the face of [that] earth with such surprising luck in which each time he runs away from a situation, it always somehow makes it look like he’s a hero. I don’t understand it. It’s just hilarious. He’s known to go berserk and blank out when he desperately needs it. For others, these bursts of power indeed makes him look like he’s the almighty warrior and not Snorri. But Jalen doesn’t know that, he just remembers blanking out and thinking Snorri did all the work :’)

One last remark, Mark’s writing is fantastic. The pace is smooth and written in an easily digestible way. Jalen is a smart-ass and the words are crafted perfectly. It’s humorous, fun to read, and flows very nicely.

And that’s four! There were a few other series that I loved based off a few books, but I just don’t know enough about them or their characters to fully judge. I mentioned how Sandford is my favorite author and his other series, the Prey series (Otherwise known as the Davenport series) is also one I like, but I’ve only read the first book and currently reading a second book and haven’t made a proper judgement yet. So here below are my honorable mentions: Rules of Prey (The Prey Series Book 1) eBook: Sandford ...

The Prey Series
By: John Sandford
Lucas Davenport is an agent of the BCA. He’s pretty up there in ranks and is Virgil Flower’s boss.

Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy (1)): McClellan, Brian ...

The Powder Mage Triology
By: Brian Mcclellan
When steampunk meets fantasy!

29588376. sy475

The Gentleman Bastard Series
By: Scott Lynch
Elite con artists of a tight-knit group. I cried during the first book.


The Legends of the First Empire Series
By: Michael J. Sullivan
A separate series by Michael Sullivan following the adventures of Raith.

Postmortem (1) (Kay Scarpetta): Patricia Cornwell: 9781439148129 ...

The Kay Scarpetta Series
By: Patricia Cornwell
The series starts off with Dr. Kay Scarpetta being the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia.

34419392. sy475

The Montague & Strong Case Files Series
By: Orlando A. Sanchez
When the detective world meets the paranormal. Killing Floor (Jack Reacher) (9780515153651): Child ...

The Jack Reacher Series
By: Lee Child
A crime thriller series following Jack Reacher who roams the US taking on odd jobs and investigating suspicious incidents. Carries nothing on his person besides what can fit in his pockets. He hates suitcases.

Photo Disclaimer: None of these pictures are mine! I got them all off Google which usually shows me a cover of the book either based off of Goodreads or Amazon. I am not associated or affiliated with either of them.

Awakened [Book Review]

I received this book from a Goodreads Giveaway set up by Harper Voyager. The opinions of this review are of my own and are my fair and honest opinion.

Book Name: Awakened (A Novel)
Series: Awakened Book: #1 (has a sequel)
Author: James S. Murray with Darren Wearmouth
Book Type: Physical > Hardcover
Pages: 283
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fiction, Thriller, Horror

I actually read this book sometime last year (around June) where I wrote a smaller and much more condensed review on Goodreads for this book. But I felt like I just didn’t do the book enough justice, so here we are! A revamp of my review so I can relive this awesome book.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Phenomenal, fast paced and kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time. Cliffhanger after cliffhanger with rotating characters and settings.

Book Summary

Grady McGowan is working overtime. In the middle of winter, he is sitting in the 90 degrees cabin of a tunnel-boring machine. The eleven hours of his shift has drained him, but it’s all worth it. It’s not just the money that drives him. Grady looks forward to a future where he could tell his grandchildren that he helped build the most advanced subway system in the world, the line for the upcoming Z Train of New York City! Everything is going well and besides, there’s only one more hour left of his shift before he can finally clock out and head back to his wife and daughter. That is until his cabin lurches, a giant hole opens up underneath him, nothing but a huge void of empty darkness.

The setting skips a few years later, remaining in the same tunnel of NYC, as Mayor Tom Cafferty stands at the grand opening ceremony and inaugural run of the completed Z Train. Press cameras, sixty handpicked guests, made up of New York’s elites, and even US President Reynolds, surround him, all eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Z train. They have all been waiting for this moment for a long long time. Besides the guests in the Pavilion, there are other guests, the lucky ones chosen to be the train’s first passengers. Amongst them, is Cafferty’s wife, Ellen.

The train was due to arrive at 12:04. It is late. When it finally does arrives, 4 minutes overdue, everyone knows there’s something wrong as the train comes to a halt at the station. When Cafferty takes it upon himself to approach the late train, he looks inside only to see all of the car’s interior covered in blood and devoid of passengers. Panicked chaos erupts around Cafferty as the guests attempt to rush away and the President’s security immediately gather around him, dragging him into the safety of a blast shelter where the train’s operations management team are. Methane levels are rising in the Jersey City tunnel with an unknown source or cause and dangerously nearing the LEL or lower explosive levels. The Manhattan tunnel is the closest exit…but with the attack being a possible terrorist attack of an unknown enemy, Reynolds refuses to evacuate the people through it. They are trapped and they don’t even know what the enemy looks like!

Thoughts and Review

This book starts off exciting right away. Merely a few chapters in, you are already hit with your first scene of blood and gore, followed by another one, and then followed by several more throughout the book. Not a book for the faint of heart. Though they talk about a potential terrorist attack, it only takes a few seconds with the summary on the book to know that whatever we are looking at here is definitely not a terrorist, not even human.

This book has a good fair share of disgusting gore. Off the bat, one of the agents protecting President Reynolds tries to dive towards the doors of the blast shelter that is protecting Reynolds only for him to get caught, mercy killed by Samuel, Reynold’s head of Secret Services, and lifeless corpse bisected in front of everyone’s eyes, his upper body falling to the ground with a wet thud.

When the NYC police goes to investigate the tunnels, we quickly learn that whatever attacked the first passengers are not terrorists. These are intelligent creatures of an unknown origin, though their full and actual appearances comes a bit further into the book.

They were near human in size, but were definitely not human. Each had an extra set of arms, scaly skin, sharp claws, and thrashing tails. As she moved her focus to the outer circle, past twisted pieces of wreckage, their shapes gradually grew larger to nearly double the size of your average man.

– James S. Murray with Darren Wearmouth, Awakened, Page 114

This book is very fast paced (you’d be too if you were trying to survive with creatures that treated guns like little tickles from a toothpick). This book is a sci-fi book with elements of horror embedded into it. The blurb lets us know that “There’s something living beneath New York City, and it’s not happy we’ve woken it up.”

With at different point of views from at least three different groups, we are constantly spinning between one party or another, each playing their own vital roles, all trying to rescue the others and/or survive. Almost every chapter finishes off with a cliffhanger and with a rotating cast between chapters, you’d have to endure the other parties’ point of views each time until you can reunite with the characters to see how they fair when you last left off with them.

Personal Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and there wasn’t much I actually disliked. I love when books keep my heart pounding, clinging to the edge of my seat, mouth wide open. In some of the mystery books I read, I really only get a “Holy Shit!” moment, late into the book, when they finally catch the perpetrators and some fire fight or car chase happens. It’s a brief moment of adrenaline, but here, you get the rush from start to finish! And then it doesn’t stop even there! There’s a sequel to this book! (I didn’t even realize until I finished and sat there going, “Wait….wait it’s unfinished…What’s going on??”)

I am NOT a sci-fi fan. If you’ve read my Review Policy, I mentioned that I used to have a thing with Sci-Fi books until one book changed my mind (Well here you go. It was this book). Sci-fi was in my small pile of “genres I don’t touch ever.” Futuristic themes, time travel, space, and spaceships were just not my thing and when it came down to “sci-fi” that was all I could think of.

After this book, I gained a new view towards this genre. Though I still don’t actively reach out and search for books in this genre, I don’t mind taking a look to see if they might be a good read, whenever I come across them. So if there is anything I want to say about this book, it’s that it was the turning point book for me to look at a genre that I previously didn’t care for. (Funny enough, I entered the giveaway and didn’t even look at the genre. I just thought the summary sounded pretty neat).

Would I Recommend?

Heck yes! Here is a few quick key points: Horror, human vs the unknown, humans rendered to nothing but rag dolls, guns are useless, these creatures are creepy, these creatures are very intelligent and adapt insanely fast to new situations, swearing, plenty of gore to go around, and fast paced. People are trying to survive and others are depending on other people to survive.

Definitely a fantastic read if the above points sounded great to you. And as someone who doesn’t really reread books, this is such a fun book that I’d love to reread.