I discovered Kelley Armstrong while reading and reviewing Thirteen, the final book in her Otherworld series, earlier this year. Yep, you read it right. I STARTED with the final book in the series. Not my usual style, but it worked for me. I liked Thirteen a lot and quickly added the rest of the series to my TBR list.
Fast-forward 5 months later…
I was given the chance to review Visions, the second book in Armstrong’s new Cainsville series. Not going to lie – I haven’t yet gotten to the rest of the Otherworld series (my TBR list is MASSIVE). But did that stop me from jumping on the opportunity to review Visions? Not a chance. Read on for my thoughts…
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Series: Cainsville, Book 2 Publisher: Dutton Adult (Penguin)
Source & Format: Review copy provided by the publisher; hardcover Official Summary Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes. Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most. Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder? Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.
I have to first talk up the fact that I got an actual hardcover book to review this time around, and it did change up my normal book-reading experience. I forgot what it was like to have to use BOTH hands to read (sometimes), how delicious an actual book smells, and that I’d need a bedside lamp to read at night (no backlighting, duh!). I got pretty into reading this book and found myself laying on my bedroom floor, reading Visions from the small crack of light coming out the closet door. Bad back in the morning, but totally worth it. I loved it!
Visions picks up where Omens, the first book in the Cainsville series, leaves off. I had not read Omens, but I was able to quickly pick up the necessary parts of the story line. I don’t think you have to read them in order, but I did buy Omens right after finishing Visions and read that in another late-night reading marathon (but on my Kindle, so I could at least be in my bed ).
I don’t want to repeat too much of the book’s official summary, but I do want to call out that it didn’t really ring true to how this book actually read for me. The blurb sounds suspenseful and dramatic, and it is all that, but it is also thoughtful and subtle and provoking. It is not all action and gore. There are romantic parts too. More than one relationship develops between Olivia and the men in her life, some more overt and sexy, others more strained and confusing, though all were full of chemistry and bode well for future books in this series. I found myself rooting for one guy and then chastising myself because I really wanted another one in the picture all along. GAH! Love it!!
In addition to the subtle romance I mentioned, there are totally fantastic paranormal aspects in this book. And the best part? You don’t really know what is going on, even after finishing the book! Gah! Deliciously frustrating, but super fun to have the book end well and still make you want more.
There are some things you think you understand – Olivia can see omens and her neighbor Rose can read Tarot cards. That makes sense, right? Or at least it kind of makes sense. But the small town of Cainsville seems to be hiding something more…much more. There are men who don’t age, stone gargoyles decorating the town that come and go as they please, and a group of elders who seem to informally run the town and know everything that goes on in it. The town is deliberately secluded from the large neighboring city, and the people who live in Cainsville want to remain aloof and apart from the larger surrounding population. Oh, and then there is much talk about the “wild hunt,” which I have read in other Fae-based paranormal books, so I started guessing (hoping) that we would soon see the Fae folks in Cainsville too. Personally, I kept imagining all sorts of different scenarios and possibilities as to what made the town tick as the book went on, and the wondering itself was AWESOME! I loved having unanswered questions, especially because I trust that there will be an amazing conclusion. But hopefully that is many, many books down the road. I mean, Thirteen was the thirteenth book in Armstrong’s last series. This girl is rooting for at least as many in the Cainsville one!Bottom Line
I loved Visions! Loved the writing, loved the characters, and loved the story! Within 30 minutes of completing it, I had “one-clicked” Omens (Book 1) and devoured it in a 24-hour period. I’m looking forward to many more books in Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville series.
Rating: A (5 stars)
Wine/Beverage Pairing: Visions starts out with Olivia seeing some poppies, which she knows are an omen of death. In honor of these flowers, I’m choosing to pair this book with the Monterey County Pinot Noir from Poppy Wines out of Napa Valley, California.Buy Digital: Kindle | Nook Buy Print: Amazon | B&N
Other Titles by Kelley Armstrong
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Emily’s Review | Goodreads Buy: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook
To enter for your chance to win, you must:
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- In Visions, Olivia sees omens. You’ve probably all heard about watching out for black cats and not opening umbrellas inside. Hit the comments and tell me the craziest, funniest, or scariest omens you’ve ever heard of and/or a story of an omen preceding a truly creepy happening.
Please note: All entrants must review and adhere to our official giveaway policy. This contest will close on Monday, September 1, 2014 at 11:59 PM (CDT) and the winner will be notified via email on Tuesday, September 2.