Friday, February 16, 2018

With Love for Horror Books: Omens & Visions by Kelley Armstrong - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

Reviews by Suze

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Olivia Taylor-Jones is the daughter of wealthy parents. She's educated, well liked and she's about to marry a handsome business man. Her whole life changes when she finds out she's adopted. Olivia's real parents, the Larsens, are serial killers serving a life sentence in prison for the murders they've been accused of. Olivia leaves everything she knows behind, including her fiancé, to find out more about her past. She's being haunted by the press, so she needs to find shelter somewhere. When someone gives her an address in Cainsville, a small town in Illinois, Olivia doesn't have much choice but to check it out.

Olivia's mother hired a lawyer for her appeal, Gabriel Walsh. She fired him after he let her down, but Gabriel thinks Olivia is the perfect chance to make more money and contacts her. He has information about the murder cases and their focus should be on the last one. There's a chance they can prove the Larsens didn't commit those murders. Even though she doesn't trust Gabriel, Olivia agrees to research the case, they're stronger together than alone. While gathering information Olivia discovers that she sees omens, she has a gift she doesn't know anything about. In Cainsville these things aren't uncommon, but as Olivia doesn't have any knowledge about them her gifts are making her an easy target. Will she be able to stay ahead of her enemies and will she find out the truth behind the murders she and Gabriel are looking into?

Omens is a fantastic story about mysterious gifts, strange ritual killings, hidden connections and secrets. I was immediately intrigued by Olivia. She's strong, incredibly smart and capable. She's able to see through people and can handle them well. I was impressed by her skills and her determination to survive on her own. I loved how she handles Gabriel. Gabriel's number one concern is his own wellbeing and an extension of that is his bank account. I often had to smile when I read about his flaws. He's a man nobody should mess with and he isn't afraid to let people know. They're a fabulous team and they uncover a lot of interesting facts. I was fascinated by all of them and read this book in one sitting, I didn't want to put it down.

Kelley Armstrong skillfully divides tension throughout her story. That makes it a real treat to read, because every single page is compelling. I was anxious to uncover secrets together with Olivia and Gabriel and absolutely loved every detail. I liked the mix of a realistic mystery and supernatural gifts. Olivia's abilities are making her character extra spectacular and I loved the way Kelley Armstrong uses them to give her story some fabulous layers of depth. Omens is a brilliant start of the Cainsville series, it's another mesmerizing book by Kelley Armstrong that I highly recommend. 

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Olivia and Gabriel have successfully solved a murder case together. They're a good team and Olivia slowly starts to trust Gabriel, but he isn't off the hook yet. Gabriel makes mistakes and they aren't always easy to forgive. Olivia needs to decide if she can handle the way his past formed his character. If she wants to keep working with Gabriel they have to find a way to deal with his issues. They don't have much time to form an agreement though, as Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, someone who recently disappeared. There's no initial connection between Olivia and the woman, why was the body left for her to find?

Olivia isn't safe, even not in Cainsville. There's something going on in the town she doesn't know the details of. She needs the information to discover the truth before it's too late. Someone is after her and again she doesn't get her questions answered. Will she and Gabriel be able to find out enough before it's too late? Will Olivia's romantic life be a benefit or a burden in this case, how can she keep herself away from harm when she doesn't know her enemy?

Visions is a great gripping story filled with action, omens and mystery. I loved reading about Olivia's adventures again. She and Gabriel are slowly forming a friendship, but their bond isn't an uncomplicated one. Gabriel doesn't always consult Olivia when he makes decisions that concern her and that isn't a good plan. She can stand her ground and their communication, or lack thereof, kept fascinating me and it made such good reading that I couldn't put their story down. Kelley Armstrong kept me on the edge of my seat once more and I was impressed by the skillful way she makes her main characters interact with one another.

Cainsville is a fantastic creepy series filled with surprising twists and turns and plenty of dark and evil plotting. I love Kelley Armstrong's descriptions of Cainsville and its strange inhabitants and I enjoyed finding out more about them. Her stories are a true experience, there's so much to see, feel and suspect. The Cainsville books are true gems, they are captivating, entertaining, spellbinding and thrilling. I'm addicted to this series and can't praise it enough.


If you love creepy mysteries combined with complex relationships, intriguing secrets and fantastic action-packed scenes the Cainsville series would be the perfect choice. Be warned, if you start reading the first book you want to read them all as quickly as you can.

About Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.


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1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m the author of the Cainsville modern gothic series and the Casey Butler crime thrillers. Past works include Otherworld urban fantasy series, the Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising teen paranormal trilogies, the Age of Legends fantasy YA series and the Nadia Stafford crime trilogy. I live in Ontario, Canada with my family. I’m a former computer programmer, but I’ve escaped my corporate cubicle and hope never to return.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

Chocolate chip cookies :)

3. Which horror monster do you fear the most?

I find human ones much scarier, but for the usual “monsters” I’ll go with zombie. In the Romero version of the folklore, you can’t reason with them, which makes them terrifying.

4. If the zombie apocalypse would happen today, what would you do?

Head for the wilderness. It’s easier for zombies to sneak up in a forest, but there are far fewer people there to begin with, so there would be both fewer zombies and fewer reasons for those zombies to stick around (they’d migrate to settled areas to find food)

5. What's your favorite horror movie?

There are so many that it’s hard to choose. An American Werewolf in London is high on the list. It was frightening and funny and very different from anything else I’d seen at the time.

6. What's your worst nightmare?

One recurring anxiety dream I get is that, for some reason, I’m forced to give up my house in the country and move into the city. I guess that must be a nightmare scenario for me!

7. If your book was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters and why?

I’m horrible at the casting game! I always leave that up to readers, who have plenty of ideas for who they’d like to see in the roles, and often volunteer to play the parts themselves.

8. What inspired you to write horror stories?

I started with horror...or some form of it, with very early stories of ghosts and haunted houses, then more "pure" horror in my teens. In my twenties I moved into action and fantasy, then melded the three for my first published novel, Bitten.

9. What do you like the most about the horror genre?

Well-done horror hits all the emotional markers. It includes humour and pathos. It invokes fear, both for the situation and for safety of the characters. There’s joy and a sense of victory too, when the characters escape and the monster is defeated (even if that’s temporary.) It’s a cathartic experience.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ve been writing mystery/thrillers in both YA and adult, but I’ve been doing a lot of horror short stories to balance that. My latest novel is This Fallen Prey, book 3 in my Rockton series. It’s a mystery, but it takes place in an off-the-grid isolated town in the Yukon, with plenty of horrors both inside the town limits and out (it’d also be a great place to be in a zombie apocalypse!)


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed hardcover copy of Omens by Kelley Armstrong.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. I enjoyed the intrview. Thanks so much. And this book gives me some great shivery vibes!

  2. Just been re-reading a few of her series for 2018!!! I mostly read YA but I have this on my wish list as well.

  3. The Cainsville series sounds like fantastic creepy stories filled with surprising twists and turns.

  4. I love the look of this, an interview always makes a book come alive x

  5. This sounds like a brilliant series, just my kind of read. Looking forward to reading it.

  6. I wish you all the best for your future endeavors, it certainly sounds like you have a wonderful future as a superb writer.

  7. Fab giveaway. I have everything crossed. I love your books and most always have at least one on my reading list.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  8. I'd like to start this series for several reasons. Horror is one of my favorite genres to read and I live in Illinois so I was hooked when I read that tidbit, LOL :)

  9. I love this kind of book, it sounds awesome!

  10. I love Kelley's writing and have read and enjoyed her Otherworld series. So I am looking forward to reading this series as well.

  11. I love Ms Armstrong's books! The Rockton series is especially creepy. It's all that isolation.

  12. Thank you for the wonderful interview :)

  13. Sounds really intruiqing! Adding to my TBR list.

  14. This series is on my TBR for a while. Love Kelley Armstrong! Her writing is amazing.

    Raffle name: Artemis Giote

  15. How differently do you approach writing horror for YA, as opposed to adults?

  16. Thank you for this interview and this giveaway ! ♥

  17. great giveaway - sounds like a lovely read

  18. Haha, I love the idea of a writing dungeon!

  19. This sounds like a fantastic series. It's my favourite genre so I'm adding to my 2018 reading list.

  20. Wow, they sound amazing. Do love the idea of trying to prove that people did, or didn't, do the crimes they were accused of. Really enjoy books (sorry if this is a bit weird) that have ritual killings in them, only because I find them really interesting. Especially when I know it's fiction although very entertaining fiction.

  21. I've been looking for great books to read and yours are definitely ones I would love to read