Customer Reviews for

The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Darn this book! It made me change my mind about reading Fantasy Thrillers!

Darn this book! I downloaded it to the Nook because there was a deal where I could get it free. I was thinking, by the brief description, that it was a mystery/thriller with maybe a little "magical" component thrown in. As I started reading, I started thinking "this ...
Darn this book! I downloaded it to the Nook because there was a deal where I could get it free. I was thinking, by the brief description, that it was a mystery/thriller with maybe a little "magical" component thrown in. As I started reading, I started thinking "this is some WEIRD stuff" and "this is WAY over the top", and even "way too out there for my style". As I'm saying those things, I still can't put it down!! I'm normally your realistic suspense lover, somewhere between John Grisham and Dean Koontz. I like to read about situations that are a little "out of the norm", but NEVER EVER EVER would I read anything that remotely resembles fantasy or science fiction (I don't even like Star Wars). It's just that once I started reading it I couldn't put it down, so I went against my norm and found a new type of fiction that I absolutely love! It was full of twists, turns, and interesting developments. The characters were well-developed and kept me thinking all the time. I'm about to download the 2nd book so I can continue this journey into a new world for me!

posted by DanaMJ on June 22, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Gives hope to all aspiring authors.

If you always wanted to write a book, but were afraid you couldn't get it published, "The Scent of Shadows" by Vicki Petersson is just the inspiration you need. If someone will publish this book, they'll publish about anything.
I picked up the first three books in the ...
If you always wanted to write a book, but were afraid you couldn't get it published, "The Scent of Shadows" by Vicki Petersson is just the inspiration you need. If someone will publish this book, they'll publish about anything.
I picked up the first three books in the series based on the recommendation of Kim Harrison (author of the Hollows series, which I kind of enjoy) "Vicki Petersson is a new voice that needs to be heard," and was extremely disappointed. I got through Chapter 14 before my brain finally shut down, utterly refusing to go any further. Perhaps she needs to be heard, but not read.
The impression I got reading this book is that it was written by a chubby and shy twelve-year old girl with acne and braces, who wanted to be pretty and popular, but she wasn't, so she made up a character who was who she couldn't be: pretty, intelligent, tough, rich, and a super hero to boot.
The plot twist to hide Joanna from the demons was blatantly obvious. Ms. Petersson could have just said so right at the beginning and save herself a lot of writing.
The characters are not good: Warren, the leader of the superhero group, is supposed to be crazy. But the attempts to write him as crazy are so overdone as to be ridiculous. Joanna/Olivia is not a believable character, as are most of the others. Ben (Joanna's boyfriend) and Xavier (her father) are the only two that really stand out from the crowd.
Bear in mind, I only got through chapter 14 of the first book. So it might get better, but I'm not going to find out.

Below are a few of the lines (some combined) that caused my brain to shut down. Bear in mind that the Cher and Lily characters are (I think) in the mid twenties:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
*SPOILERS*
--------------------------------------------------------------------------



Warren (taunting Ajax, a demon): "She should have swallowed that load, dawg. Don't worry, she'll make up for it tonight." And he began to make a repetitively lewd motion with his private parts.

Lily: "I want G-Man to rescue me. To help me find my G-Spot."
Joanna: "I meant what kind of superhero would you be?"
Cher: "A cute one, definitely!"
Lily: "With a fur trimmed cape!"

Joanna: "What kind of powers would you have?"
Lily: "The power to make any man fall in love with me!"
Cher: "I already have that. How about the power to have spontaneous orgasms!"

While getting spray-on tans at a tanning salon:
Cher: "Come on, Livvy. Bend over and show Lily your talent."

Each superhero has a glyph, and Joanna/Olivia's is a stileeto heel on her breast:
Joanna: "Well, at least it's cute."


***shudders***

posted by Amon_101 on June 20, 2009

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

    Darn this book! It made me change my mind about reading Fantasy Thrillers!

    Darn this book! I downloaded it to the Nook because there was a deal where I could get it free. I was thinking, by the brief description, that it was a mystery/thriller with maybe a little "magical" component thrown in. As I started reading, I started thinking "this is some WEIRD stuff" and "this is WAY over the top", and even "way too out there for my style". As I'm saying those things, I still can't put it down!! I'm normally your realistic suspense lover, somewhere between John Grisham and Dean Koontz. I like to read about situations that are a little "out of the norm", but NEVER EVER EVER would I read anything that remotely resembles fantasy or science fiction (I don't even like Star Wars). It's just that once I started reading it I couldn't put it down, so I went against my norm and found a new type of fiction that I absolutely love! It was full of twists, turns, and interesting developments. The characters were well-developed and kept me thinking all the time. I'm about to download the 2nd book so I can continue this journey into a new world for me!

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Kick-butt heroine with fresh new plot. A winner!

    When she starts being stalked by the creepy-crawlies, Joanna Archer discovers she has inherited superpowers (for lack of a better term) from her mother, whom she hasn't seen in years.
    This leads to her joining the troop of Agents of Light, who battle the Shadows for control of Las Vegas. We mortals are cluless.
    Readers are introduced to her new world as she is, a smooth transition that doesn't feel preachy.
    This book is at times funny, especially if you like a sharp tongue and dry sense of humor. But it's always full of action and plot twists.
    Expect some horror aspects, as Pettersson pulls no punches.
    You'll feel for the characters immediately. She's got a way of plucking at reader's emotions expertly.
    It's a creative new idea, a fresh new voice in the Dark Urban Fantasy genre that must be read! Pick up the whole series because you'll want to keep going. These books are addictive cliffhangers!
    Enjoy!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Scent of Shadows {The First Sign of the Zodiac} by Vicki Pettersson

    THE SCENT OF SHADOWS is the first book in the Signs of the Zodiac Series by Vicki Pettersson. I picked this book up because the cover art interested me, and one of my favorite authors reviewed this novel: Charlaine Harris. Charlaine Harris wrote the Sookie Stackhouse Novels, the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, the Harper Connelly mysteries, some anthologies, short stories, and many others, and I love her work, so I picked it up and read her review. Here is her review on THE SCENT OF SHADOWS "The forces of Light and Dark battle over Las Vegas in this very exciting series debut. A missing mother, an evil father, and a butt-kicking e figure, to say nothing of assorted superheroes, power this bullet train of a book. Read at your own risk -- it'll keep you up past your bedtime." And I stood there, smiling, read the back of it, and I gave it a chance. 455 pages later, the book is done, and I'm satysfied with my buy! It had a GREAT plot, a GREAT e figure, and a GREAT adventure to live through (whether you are having a rough time, or you're too hyped up for bedtime, or you're just wanting a good novel to escape into for a while). Joanna Archer is a great female figure who will definitely pull you into the evil Sin City she lives in of Las Vegas, and take you on a THRILL RIDE of a life time! I HIGHLY reccomend this book to everyone who loves action, supernatural elements, (especially those who love BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL by JOSS WHEDON) The Sookie Books, and any other good series that is by a well-known author.
    If you don't want to buy the book and read an excerpt, you can go to www.VickiPettersson.com and click on BOOKS, then click on THE SCENT OF SHADOWS, click on READ AN EXCERPT, or go straight to www.FinallyFallen.wordpress.com and look at the SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC post by me, and follow the link that tells you what to do.
    I love this series, and I cant wait to move on to the rest of the series!
    :)

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    roller coaster supernatural fantasy

    A blind date almost leads to socialite Joanna Archer¿s death as her companion explains they have been hunting her for years. She is able to escape him but tragedy strikes when someone breaks into her sex kitten looking sister Olivia¿s apartment to kill Joanna. However it is Olivia who winds up dead while Joanna is rescued by Warren, a man who masquerades as a homeless but is really the leader of Zodiac Troop 175. --- Each troop consists of twelve members representing a sign of the zodiac and is the next step up in human evolution. Since Joanna survived she is now a member of the troop as the Archer and these super being, warriors of the light, protect Las Vegas from their shadowy counterparts led by a Tulpa, a created man who happens to be Joanna¿s father. The zodiac troop makes it look like Joanne was the one who died and she now looks like her sister Olivia. She needs training in her new powers, but when they arrive at their destination in another dimension Joanna finds that members of the troop don¿t trust her because she is the mixture of shadow and light. When Warren¿s life is in danger, she risks everything including her life to save him. --- In only a few months Joanna runs the gamut of wonders from discovering the man see thought was her father was really a mortal her biological father used to work his evil on Earth in this roller coaster supernatural fantasy ride of unexpected twists and turns. Good people die, evil sometimes triumphs and the heroine has become a superhero protecting her world from the shadow zodiac. Vicki Petterson can hold her own with the greats in this genre including Kim Harrison and Kelly Armstrong as she makes the villains as interesting as the heroes. --- Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging

    I have a difficult time reading about excruciatingly lonely people and about love stories with very little hope of a happy ending, and so on the surface of things, this book should have had two strikes against it. And indeed, there were moments I wasn't sure I wanted to follow the story to an uncertain end, but the difficulties Joanna faced were so interesting that I couldn't help wanting to see how she dealt with them. Add a vivid sense of Las Vegas, a cast of characters who felt real despite how little I truly knew about them, and an intriguing twist on zodiac personalities, and by the end of the book I knew this wouldn't be the last Sign of the Zodiac novel I'd be reading.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Solid opening, needs more Krav Maga

    This is a series that has been on my radar for a while, but I finally forced up towards the top of my "To Be Read" pile (more like mountain) once I came back from Romantic Times. The idea of superheroes and supervillains duking it out in Vegas in a zodiac inspired Heroes-like mashup grabbed my interest a bit. It spoke not only to the urban fantasy reader in me, but the comic book reader as well. Of course that places me firmly in the camp of the "shifty eyed adults," but I get ahead of myself.

    The first of a series (book five released just recently), is what I would expect from a first book. A few chapters of getting used to the characters and introducing the world and setting they will be playing in. For me, that is the hardest part of a book. At the same time, by the point I was sitting around page 60 or so, I was seeing an evolution to the character that was drawing me into her story.

    As we follow Joanna Archer in her adventures I am drawn more and more in by her duality - a damn near self-destructive personality that fights at odds with the good natured person she wants to be. In short, she is broken. Much like the characters I love in Mark Henry's books or on the show True Blood, Joanna is broken in some of the most interesting ways.

    What I would like to see more of is the description of Krav Maga and how it pertains to Joanna. Krav Maga is a brutal, unforgiving martial art, but as The Archer it seems that the conduit that she inherits from her mother is at odds with her fighting style. In some ways it shows the duality of the character, but I would honestly like to see a bit more bone-popping from her.

    Overall, it was a solid read and a good opening book for the series. It took me all of 30 minutes to download the second book in the series to my Nook. Book 4 and 5 are still sitting on my too be read mountain. For a beginning novel in a series I will give it a B+ for sure. Well worth the investment and also available in audiobook form.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Arrrrrgg....Story of a Super Zer

    I have read all four of the books so far and it just get worse and worse. Here we have a potentially great super heroine only to be disappointed over and over again.

    When we first start off with this character she is a tough, no-crap taken, butt-kicking, human. As the books progress she becomes a super heroine. You would think that would only make her tougher.....Not quite!

    As the books move one she does nothing but mess up over and over again, LOOSE power, whine, and try to do anything she can to fit into the Zodiac troop. I found myself several times hollering at the book for her to get her act together and grow some manly danglers. I expected at this point in the series we would have a super heroine that is a shadow of her former human self.

    I don't think I can take this series anymore.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great new series I stumbled across.

    Very good reading, nice twist on the supernatural, and heroes and demons etc. very creative change form the norm.... I can recommend this book to people that want a change in their reading material....

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gives hope to all aspiring authors.

    If you always wanted to write a book, but were afraid you couldn't get it published, "The Scent of Shadows" by Vicki Petersson is just the inspiration you need. If someone will publish this book, they'll publish about anything.
    I picked up the first three books in the series based on the recommendation of Kim Harrison (author of the Hollows series, which I kind of enjoy) "Vicki Petersson is a new voice that needs to be heard," and was extremely disappointed. I got through Chapter 14 before my brain finally shut down, utterly refusing to go any further. Perhaps she needs to be heard, but not read.
    The impression I got reading this book is that it was written by a chubby and shy twelve-year old girl with acne and braces, who wanted to be pretty and popular, but she wasn't, so she made up a character who was who she couldn't be: pretty, intelligent, tough, rich, and a super hero to boot.
    The plot twist to hide Joanna from the demons was blatantly obvious. Ms. Petersson could have just said so right at the beginning and save herself a lot of writing.
    The characters are not good: Warren, the leader of the superhero group, is supposed to be crazy. But the attempts to write him as crazy are so overdone as to be ridiculous. Joanna/Olivia is not a believable character, as are most of the others. Ben (Joanna's boyfriend) and Xavier (her father) are the only two that really stand out from the crowd.
    Bear in mind, I only got through chapter 14 of the first book. So it might get better, but I'm not going to find out.

    Below are a few of the lines (some combined) that caused my brain to shut down. Bear in mind that the Cher and Lily characters are (I think) in the mid twenties:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *SPOILERS*
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Warren (taunting Ajax, a demon): "She should have swallowed that load, dawg. Don't worry, she'll make up for it tonight." And he began to make a repetitively lewd motion with his private parts.

    Lily: "I want G-Man to rescue me. To help me find my G-Spot."
    Joanna: "I meant what kind of superhero would you be?"
    Cher: "A cute one, definitely!"
    Lily: "With a fur trimmed cape!"

    Joanna: "What kind of powers would you have?"
    Lily: "The power to make any man fall in love with me!"
    Cher: "I already have that. How about the power to have spontaneous orgasms!"

    While getting spray-on tans at a tanning salon:
    Cher: "Come on, Livvy. Bend over and show Lily your talent."

    Each superhero has a glyph, and Joanna/Olivia's is a stileeto heel on her breast:
    Joanna: "Well, at least it's cute."


    ***shudders***

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

    Awful - couldn't even finish it

    Main character is not particularly sympathetic and seems derivative of characters you've seen already. I stopped reading about a third of the way through.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

    Snooze

    I picked up this book intrigued by the plot summary on the back cover and encouraged buy the author blurbs. I started to read it and sruggled to become involved in the story, after a bit over a hundred pages in, I gave up, put it on a shelf where it sits collecting dust. :(

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    great book

    i loved this book and i would recommend it to anyone

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    Don't Hesitate

    Roaming the book store's sci/fan section, happened across this title, read the back plus harrison's review and thought if its good enough for her then it's good enough for me. Best decision I ever made book wise. Man oh man! Not one disappointing moment except for the fact it ended!!!!Books like these are the reason I read. Right now I want you to go pick this book up, if you believe in superheroes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2008

    A reviewer

    I have to admit this is my first time learning of this author. Yeah, I know, where have I been? I love her attention to detail, twisting plot, good and evil, fantastic characters. What a fantastic read. Now hungry for more Patterson. Good job!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2012

    If you want sex scenes...

    I bought this thinking the title sounded great and with gargoyles. The sample is deceiving. Once you get beyond the sample, it is all sex and no storyline. Buyer at least beware.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Must read!

    This beginning to the Zodiac series has it all: a little action, a little mystery, a little romance, some sarcastic comedy. I own the paperback, which is now quite worn and couldn't resist purchasing the slightly more resilient Nook version so I can read again and again without worrying about a book binding or pages falling out. Joanna is a heroine you can love, sympathize with and beg for more of her story. And the other Zodiac troop members bring such variety to the world they live in. It's definitely an adventure!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2011

    Very good

    I read the entire series. If you are looking for a new series where all the books are out and you can find out the ending i recommend. This is a dark series where bad things happen to the main character. She has to transform herself into a tougher person each time. This is a very different story line from the usual. I enjoyed that a lot. I couldnt predict her outcomes. I also recommend the mortal coils series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Did not care for it

    I had high hopes for this series, with the rave reviews and excellent first chapter. But there are too many points in the book that I hate. First is the Ben issue. To have loved and lost, then to rejoin again...then yanked out from under you several hours later blows. I mean, if I want heart ache just look at real life for most people. This is a fantasy novel, so there should be SOME hope for true love. Also on that note, when Jo 'dies', she fails to even think about Ben until she sees him at her funeral. Jo does not even think about how her actions have affected his life..his heart, his safety, his moral fiber. Secondly, thru the whole book, I could not get over her failure to think about the kid she gave up. Hello! Earth to the self absorbed Jo- there is an innocent 10 year old out there who needs protection and guidance. Jo did not even think about the kid until Hunter brings it up. Needless to say, not going to be buying the rest of the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2010

    This series is Great!

    I am already on the fifth series and I'm sad it's almost over! The book has a great story line, great characters, mystery and an offbeat topic of "super-heroism"! The fifth novel is by far has the most plot twist thus far... You will not believe where Zoe has been!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This story affected me and I connected deeply with the characters, especially Joanna as she struggles to decrease the impacts of her past and the need to understand and embrace her future. In the end, I wanted to experience more of Joanna's life and

    Came across this interesting series by Vicki Pettersson, which is about a woman named Joanna Archer whose life was never the same after she was attached and left for dead when she was 16. Now a photographer, she uses the camera as a way of keeping everyone at arms length. In addition, she made it her policy to never say, 'no', when asked for a date; a way of empowering herself and proving her past has no influence on her future.

    She believes her mother to have 'abandoned' her, as well as her father and sister. Her father, Zoe Archer, owns and runs several Las Vegas businesses, (read power and wealth here) which has left their family under constant scrutiny of the public eye. Needless to say Joanna is not a large advocate of this and attempts to spite her father whenever she gets a chance. Although Olivia complies with their fathers expectations and keeping up appearances, (read 'daddy's favorite.) she also adores her sister Joanna and is constantly pushing herself into Joanna's life to maintain their connection.

    Meanwhile, Joanna's 25th birthday is around the corner..and her life is about to change.

    She runs into her ex-boyfriend Ben, when one of her dates turns out to be a bad guy. (aka shadow agent) Joanna and Ben were high school sweethearts that grew apart after the assault but their 'spark' never really died. After questioning her about what occurred on her 'date,' he asked her out for dinner the next night. Flames ignite between them and he asks her to come home with him; she declines indicating a previous engagement with her sister. Not wanting to loose this chance to rekindle, he leaves an open invitation to swing by afterwards.

    Olivia is elated about Ben and Joanna reconnecting and assures Joanna that Ben never stopped loving her. Before long, their celebration is interrupted by an ex-lover who stops by to pick his remaining things. Joanna notices something isn't right but finds out too late just how wrong things can be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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