OMENS: A Cainsville Novel by Kelley Armstrong

16101040

If you wish to live and thrive, Let the spider stay alive.

Published: August 20th 2013 by Dutton Adult

Series: Cainsville Series #1

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

First I would like to thank Kelley’s publisher for sending me a copy of her book!  This book is not thin, yet I read this book so fast the pages were hot!  I wasn’t sure what to expect for Kelley Armstrong.  I have not read any of her other popular books.  What first drew me to the book was the cover, very mysterious.  Then I read the synopsis and was bound to read this book as soon as I could get my hands on it.

Olivia Taylor-Jones has the prefect life.  She is an only child who has been brought up by  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.   Perfect right?  Until one day her whole life becomes nothing but a tail-spin into the unimaginable.  Olivia finds out she is adopted.  Not only that, but her real parents are Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence.  Now let’s stop right here for a moment.  I can relate to this story somewhat.  I too am adopted, but fortunately my birth parents are NOT serial killers.  The news gets out that Olivia is the daughter of Todd and Pamela, causing an uproar of unwanted media and attention she doesn’t want.  What does Olivia do with this new information about her self?  She decides she is going to find out the truth about the Larsen’s.  But first she needs to get away from it all so she can concentrate on her mission and she ends up in a small town called Cainsville, Illinois, an old  community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.  This is where the story takes an unexpected turn.

Olivia teams up with her birth 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.   I am so ready to continue on to the next book (which isn’t out yet) to find out if her parents are really innocent and what in the world is going on in the town of Cainsville and what Olivia Taylor-Jones has to do with it.

A highly recommended read!  I loved all of the omen rhymes as well!  You will NOT be disappointed!!

We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: A Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter By Rachael Hanel

16128891

 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

I would like to thank the author, Rachael Hanel for sending me her book.  Keep an eye out as she will be a featured author of the month!

This book had my life written all over it.  My parents own a monument company and growing up, I spent a lot of time in cemeteries since I was too young to stay at home.  Rachael’s story is a bit different from mine though.  Her dad actually dug the graves where as my dad places the memorial in the cemeteries.  Needless to say, I felt well connected to this book.  You don’t meet a lot of people who can share the “I grew up running around cemeteries playing” story.  Like her, I would pose for pictures in the cemetery, maybe even on an interesting monument, just for fun.  Even when my parents would take me camping, where would we pull over to have lunch?  A cemetery.  In her book Rachael tells about her life and how her dad, being a gravedigger, affects their lives and others.  As a result, Rachael grew up surrounded by death; playing in cemeteries and attending wakes in her small Minnesota town of Waseca. She thought she knew what death was and knew there was nothing to be afraid of. But personal tragedy leads her to realize that death and grief are not the same things at all. This book is her personal journey to understanding death and grief through the stories of the residents of Waseca, both living and dead, and her own family’s journey through grief.

For those of you who do not live strange lives like Rachael and I,  you must check out this book.  There is something for everyone to take away from her story and will leave you to pondering.  A very enjoyable ‘real-life’ read!!

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent written by Marie Brennan

12974372

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . 

 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I would first like to give a huge thank you to the author, Marie Brennan for sending me her book!

Isabella is obsessed with dragons. Her tomboyish antics and unwavering determination lead to a life full of them.  At the age of seven, when most good little girls stuff rose petals into a jar, Isabella collects little miniature dragons called Sparklings and preserves them in vinegar. She loves books about avian anatomy and when she discovers a book called “A Natural History of Dragons” her life changes forever.  Her mother is completely disgusted with her daughter, she is supposed to be ‘proper’.

Isabella lives in a world where dragons are real but are not a suitable interest for fine young ladies. Her stubbornness and obsessive interest lead her to break the mold and to pursue her dream regardless of what might be thought proper and regardless of her well-being along with survival.

Todd Lockwood’s beautiful illustrations are peppered throughout the book and are a real treat to dragon enthusiasts.  As Isabella’s journey takes her to Vystrana in the role of an illustrator, they support the story beautifully, as well.

A Natural History of Dragons treats the common fantasy trope of dragons in a unique way – and that’s quite an achievement in itself. You find yourself wishing that it would be possible to attend Lady Trent’s lectures and listen to her stories in person.  You will also wish that dragons were real and that us too could go on such wonderful expeditions like hers.

I really enjoyed this book!  The cover is just as brilliant as the drawings within.  I would recommend this book to anyone, dragon lover or not.  Wonderful story line that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next!  A very easy read as well.

dragons-by-todd-lockwood

Featured Author of the Month… Paula Brackston

IMG_0167

I would like to introduce to you my featured author of the month, Paula Brackston.  Author of “The Winter Witch“, which I have reviewed here: “The Winter Witch“!

Paula Brackston lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, as a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly.

When not hunched over her keyboard in her tiny office under the stairs, Paula is dragged outside by her children to play Swedish tennis on the vertiginous slopes which surround them. She also enjoys being walked by the dog, hacking through weeds in the vegetable patch, or sitting by the pond with a glass of wine. Most of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards.

In 2007 Paula was short listed in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book ‘Nutters’ (writing as PJ Davy) was short listed for the Mind Book Award, and she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.