Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Omens & Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Book Description:
Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancĂ©, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.
My Thoughts:
I LOVE Kelley Armstrong. I going to say that right off the bat. I think she is a GREAT writer. There are many aspects about her writing that I just love. I love the mystery. She is so good at writing a story with the right amount of mystery that keeps you hooked to her books. I love the romance. I have read a YA series by her called Darkest Powers Trilogy and like this one, there was a very nice undertone of romance that kept you dying to know who the main female character would/could end up with, there was no "insta-love" no "forbidden romance" it was just a drawn out perfect amount of undertone romance that, again, kept you hooked to the overall story. The paranormal parts of her stories aren't overwhelmingly weird and (especially in these 2 books) I felt like it could be possible! hahaha it was just perfect! Okay, lets discuss these books.

Omens: I was so hooked by paige 5. I couldn't wait to find out more about Olivia and everything behind her parents. There was a great deal of mystery. Here you've got the story of this young adult who has the perfect life; wealth, beauty, career, she's intelligent, engaged to a man who has political career goals. She had everything ahead of her. And then her world/life is turned upside-down with the knowledge that she was adopted. And her parents? Two of the most notorious serial killers. Convicted of killing 8 people. Olivia is a very likable character.  She's strong, determined, capable, confident with the right about to wit and sarcasm that you can't help liking her. Developing wise, it was great to read her character SLOWLY change within these 2 books that it was done very well. 

The violence and greed of the media sends Olivia running from her life in the big city of Chicago to a quaint and small town named Cainsville. She didn't try to end up there but due to weird and creepy circumstances that is where she ends up.

The town of Cainsville is not what it appears to be and as Olivia
stays she starts to feel that and feel that she was meant to come here. As soon as she arrives past superstitions that she was taught as a child start to come back. Whenever she saw "omens" such as red poppies, ravens, gargoyles, a cat. Things would come to her mind and then watch as it came true. Kelley Armstrong does a fabulous job dropping the right about of pieces and hints of paranormal that keep you on the edge of your seat.

When Olivia's birth mother asks Olivia to send her case over to some non-profit organizations in hopes of finding the inaccuracy in one of the murders to prove that they didn't do it. Olivia an her mother's ex-lawyer, Gabriel, work together to dig and find if Olivia's parents really are innocent.

Gabriel was a fascinating character. He was handsome, rich, mysterious, driven, and completely interesting. Again I really liked his character development and we see some MAJOR development in book 2. But I really liked him and the chemistry between him and Olivia. He was just...cool. I don't know how to explain him! There was a nice undertone of a POSSIBLE romance where Armstrong dropped very subtle hints that something could happen but doesn't which makes you yearn for book 2 just to see what happens between them!

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and it made me quickly reach for book 2.

Language: moderate (in the almost 500 paige book there were only about 5 F words)
Violence: moderate (some graphic descriptions of decaying bodies)
Sexual Content: moderate (a scene that gets a little steamy with an understanding that 2 characters had sex, there is some talk of sex-no descriptive)
Drugs/Alcohol: mild (social drinking)

Visions: With book 2 I couldn't wait to dive back into the story of Gabriel and Olivia. However I was actually a bit disappointed in aspects of this book, not the overall story just certain things that I felt took away from the overall story plot.

The paranormal parts pick up as Olivia starts to see visions and "hallucinations" along with omens, then backstories, and old tales come to life, and mysteries about Cainsville itself revealed. The mystery really picks up with the disappearance of a girl from Cainsville and the body appears in the most creepy way that had me falling asleep with the light on. The again the body would disappear again. Dark and creepy things happen and appear that had my skin crawling with goosebumps. The relationship between Gabriel and Olivia had such ups and downs that had me gripping the book wondering what would happen.

The reader gets to know Gabriel more as his past unfolds and his current actions understood. We get to see questions answered and twists and turns in the story happen in regards to Gabriel and his life. It was awesome and unexpected.

Olivia was still a great character to follow along with. I hated reading about the intense sexual relations between her and another character you meet. It was gross and annoying. I don't want to see
 my neighbors have sex so I don't want to read about my characters having sex. GAH! THAT is what I felt took away from the story. The sex that happened often and in, sometimes, the WEIRDEST places and circumstances. I am grateful it wasn't too graphic but it was enough that I was like, "eww!"

Overall the mystery and paranomalcy of the book was great, the twists and turns that Armstrong took in the book was awesome. The disappointment for me was the sexual relations between Olivia and her boyfriend, it was often enough that I felt it took away from the subtle romance that I so enjoyed in Armstongs books.

Sexual Content: heavy
Language: heavy (more F words)
Drugs/Alcohol: mild (social drinking)
Violence: moderate (descriptions of decaying bodies, heads rolling around, bodies found-not too graphic)

*A HUGE thank you to Dutton & Penguin for the book Visions, which I got in exchange for an honest review*

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