Sorry that this review is a bit late. Last week was Easter and I was very busy! This weekend I was busy as well, so instead of a Sunday night review it’s a Tuesday afternoon review 😉
Without further ado, check out my review of Omens by Kelley Armstrong below!
Omens by Kelley Armstrong
Mystery, Suspense, Supernatural, Paranormal
Hardcover, 496 page
Published August 20th 2013 by Random House Canada
Olivia Taylor-Jones is a 24 year-old Chicago socialite. She’s engaged to a handsome CEO, has a Ivy League education used for volunteer work, and is the heiress to a large fortune. She, in all intents and purposes, has a picture perfect life.
However, in one moment, everything can change. Her mother sits her down to have a tough conversation she should have had with her years ago. It is only necessity that drives her to do it now. The press has hold of some information about Olivia. Life changing information. The Taylor-Joneses are not her biological parents. They adopted her when she was a toddler. That in and of itself is enough to dismay Olivia. However, that is not all. New information has come to light that even her mother had been ignorant to. Her biological parents are none other than the infamous serial killers Todd and Pamela Larsen.
Now, everywhere she turns a camera is shoved in her face. “Eden Larsen!” the reporters shout at her. To get away, she sneaks off to the small, strange town of Cainsville. Who would think to find her there? This close-knit community takes an interest in Olivia and her new-found quest to find out more about her biological parents.
Pamela Larsen’s former lawyer comes knocking on Olivia’s door and together they investigate her parent’s supposed crimes. Pamela still swears their innocence and Olivia wants to believe it’s true. As she and lawyer Gabriel Walsh look into her parent’s past, Olivia finds herself in possession of a mysterious power that had lain dormant since her childhood. This makes her a valuable asset to the elders of Cainsville… and their enemies.
This was the first book I have read by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong. I had never really found myself drawn to her Otherworld series but this one, however, drew me in with the mention of serial killers. The mysterious powers aspect was just an afterthought for me (but it was really cool!). What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good mystery! And Armstrong certainly delivered. I read this book in just a few days, unable to put it down. The intrigue of the Larsen’s murderous past coupled with the supernatural mystery of Cainsville made this book irresistible. It reminded me, in a sense, of the recipe for a good Stephen King novel: a pinch of murder, a cup of creepy, a dash of the supernatural, and voilà! a good read. I also appreciated that this book is considerably less sexy than many of her other novels and said to be—the focus was completely on the story itself. Loved it.
I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery!
Outlander (#1) by Diana Gabaldon
Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Paperback, 850 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Dell (first published 1991)
It’s 1945. Claire Randall and her husband are reuniting after years apart during the Second World War. To rekindle their romance and to get to know each other once again, they return to Scotland for a second honeymoon. While exploring the moors of Inverness for plants and herbs, Claire comes across a circle of standing stones she previously visited with her husband. She lays a hand on one of the stones, and her world changes forever.
At first, everything seems much the same. Forest, moor, standing stones. However, shouts and flashes of red coats startle Claire out of her revery. Either some particularly energetic war re-enactors suddenly making use of the area, or something is seriously amiss. It soon becomes clear that it is the latter. Claire is thrust into life in war-torn Scotland… in the year 1743.
It is immediately clear that Claire’s position in a precarious one. She is now a “Sassenach,” or “outlander,” in a country far from peace. Her life becomes riddled with danger, intrigue, politics and desire. Not only is her safety at risk, but so is her marriage—and her heart. For it is here that Jamie Fraser enters her life, threatening to change everything she thought she knew about herself, her life, and her marriage. How can she love two men so different from two times so far apart? Fidelity changes from a question that once was straightforward, to one that is more convoluted that she cares to imagine. Can she be both Claire Randall the combat nurse, and Claire Fraser the Sassenach and healer? If not, how can she choose?
I first heard about this book when I worked at a small book store. It was the middle-aged and elderly women that would gush over Jamie Fraser and excitedly recommend the series. However, this more or less gave me no desire to read the books at all. To me, they made it sound like a ridiculous time-travelling romance, that basically just an excuse to read about sex with dreamy men in convenient kilts. It was one day when I was alone at good old Value Village that I picked up a worn copy of Outlander. I read the back and, intrigued, thought, what the heck? It sounds kind of okay—I’ll give it a try. Boy am I glad that I did! When I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. The rich history, the beautifully articulated descriptions, and the vivid characters made this book at once wholly encapsulating. Once I entered Claire’s world, I didn’t want to leave it. Although there was more sex in this book than I may have liked, the story was definitely more than a vehicle for Scottish fantasies. It was a beautiful and well written work of fiction. I highly recommend it. However, there are graphic scenes of a sexual nature. I just skipped over these. But, if you don’t like that sort of thing and can’t just skip past it, I’d give this book a pass.
I said that I would post reviews each Sunday and this is the first time I’ve made the deadline! I hope you enjoy this week’s review of the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s famed Outlander series!
Hope you had a great week and that another is to come!
It’s me again! It’s my day off so I have been fooling around with my blog a lot today. I decided to change the template as you might have noticed. I wanted to go for a more simple, sleek look. I prefer it that way, I think. That, and I get bored of things quickly! Hope you like the makeover 🙂
I don’t know about where you are, but here, the sun is out and shining! What a beautiful day. I, of course, am sitting on the couch in my living room, a good book in hand. I’m still working on my review routine. I failed again this week, but I still think that Sunday might work for me. It’s always my day off! I’ve also decided that I am going to stop posting my reviews on Goodreads before I post them here. I don’t want my Goodreads followers to get them before you! I hope that even through my craziness, you stick with me and follow my reviews. I know my posting is a bit haphazard right now, but I will get into a routine, you’ll see! I want to be reliable for those of you out there that actually follow my posts, so that you continue to do so <3
Reviews coming soon:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Omens by Kelley Armstrong, and Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.
The Dark Half by Stephen King
Mystery, Horror, Supernatural
From the Publisher:
Creating George Stark was easy. Getting rid of him won’t be…
The sparrows are flying again. The idea – unbidden, inexplicable – haunts the edge of Thad Beaumont’s mind. Thad should be happy. For years now it is his secret persona ‘George Stark’, author of super-violent pulp thrillers, who has paid the family bills. But now, Thad is writing seriously again under his own name, and his menacing pseudonym has been buried forever. And yet… the sparrows are flying again, and something is terribly wrong in Thad Beaumont’s world.
This novel is another chiller from the expert mystery/horror writer Stephen King. In this novel inspired by King’s personal pen-name experience, novelist Thad Beaumont “kills” off his sick-minded alter-ego. Said alter-ego George Stark always brought out the worst in Thad. His works may have been more famous than those under Thad’s own name, but Thad and his wife were growing increasingly worried over his bizarre and, at times dangerous, behaviour. However, instead of George Stark ceasing to exist he becomes even more of a reality…
One day not long after Thad’s banishment of Stark, cops show up at the Beaumont’s home. A gruesome crime has been committed, and Thad’s fingerprints are everywhere. However, it was hundreds of miles away and Thad has a solid alibi. To Thad, there seems to be only one possible explanation. George Stark.
Stark seems to be resisting Thad’s insistence on his demise. Instead of ceasing to exist, he exerts his right to be by making it impossible for Thad to ignore him. One by one Stark seems to be picking off those who helped Thad orchestrate his “death.” With his friend’s and family’s lives at stake, Thad is the only one who can stop Stark before it’s too late.
I really enjoyed this book. It was spine-tingly creepy in King’s signature style. Not only is this book at once a mystery and a horror story, it also explores the existential questions of the writer: what does it mean to create, and who am I when I create? In King’s story, The Dark Half, when the protagonist creates, he becomes someone else entirely—to the extent that his other half, his writing half—his “dark half”—comes to life. Literally.
In this book, King once again establishes himself as a master of contemporary horror. His vivid and disturbing description paired with his expert characterization, make this a great, and spooky, read. Although not usually listed with King’s top novels, I think this one is underrated, and is up there with his best works. I think Stark is one of King’s best and most chilling villains… Not only is he one exceptionally evil bastard, he is part and parcel of Thad’s very self. He is very much Thad’s Dark Half—and Thad has to come to terms with that. Although he knows he has to get rid of him, he also knows that, although indefensible and cruel, George Stark is part of him and deep down he doesn’t want to let him go.
If you’re a fan of Stephen King, you’ll love this one. If you’re a fan of horror/mystery/thriller in general, you should definitely check this one out.
This whole Friday Review thing has not been working out well for me so far. I think I’m going to switch it to Sunday. Sunday is usually a pretty chill day when I have time to remember fun things like book reviews!
However, how about a mid-week treat? Here’s a surprise review!