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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-28 21:07
The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson (2016 Review)
The Scent of Shadows - Vicki Pettersson

The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At sixteen, Joanna Archer experienced an extreme act of violence, something that stole her innocence and destroyed her youth. As an adult, she seeks solace in her photographs whilst stalking the streets of Las Vegas, using the darkness to hunt for the monsters that cause pain. Nothing will prepare her for what is about to happen however, as nothing can prepare anyone for their death.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

I was at first very unsure whether or not I wanted to grant this a higher rating - yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it in some instances, but was it enough to justify a four star review and therefore dismiss the obvious issues? After much consideration, I finally made the difficult decision; I couldn't completely disregard the things that irked me. They ranged from little annoyances to what I believed to be more obvious faults, but I'll get to those in a moment. I just feel the need to state how much I love urban fantasy and starting a new series; it'll always remain one of my all time favourite pastimes. There's something about the genre that I adore, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Joanna Archer was a decent protagonist yet not overly likeable. Indeed, she experienced a horrific ordeal as a teenager, but at times it appeared she held an air of superiority because of it; continuously mentioning her own personal strength and her sister's "innocent" weakness, it got a little repetitive. The fact she also turned to violence as an answer was in itself questionable and no doubt self destructive; definitely not the ideal role model, yet whilst these obvious flaws bothered me, I also appreciated their presence. No character, in any book, should be perfect, as no person in the real world is perfect.

I found the plot largely improved in the second half (the first half being somewhat dull), when Joanna's identity was altered and she joined the Zodiac team. Yes, she turned out to be some all-powerful figure of prophecy, but that didn't bother me. There was a lot of focus on the "superhero" aspect and the battle between Light and Dark, which interested me even though some of the dialogue forced me to cringe. The group dynamics really sucked me in however; I liked that she was looked upon with suspicion and that she struggled to gain their trust. I suppose I just favour conflict amongst relationships, it serves as entertainment. It can get a bit too much when the heroines of the genre are instantly liked way too much by everyone, and desired by every male.

Saying that, I didn't particularly like the implied love triangle that's obviously going to play a role in further instalments. Hunter seemed like an interesting character, but I hope it won't turn out to be a Hunter/Ben dilemma - I find triangles infuriating more often that not, as the females usually spend most of their time dwelling over both men rather than focusing on the vital matters. Another thing that got to me greatly, was the comic book store scene. I just really do hate the stereotypical portrayal of such stores, and those who read comics. The other characters however were written well - even Chandra - as they all displayed individual traits and differing demeanours. Warren was probably my favourite overall; who doesn't like a bit of insanity?

In conclusion: The very obvious possibility of a love triangle didn't appeal, and the main heroine seemed to be selfish - though that certainly gives room for growth. Regardless of what I favoured and those aspects I didn't care for, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Notable Scene:

He was bereft of all his senses now, as helpless before me as Olivia had been in his arms, but instead of killing him, I lowered myself to the edge of the bed and watched. I wanted to observe the last seconds of his life, as death marched across his features. I wanted to see if he would heal.

Then I could kill him all over again.


© Red Lace 2016

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/04/28/the-scent-of-shadows-by-vicki-pettersson-2016-review
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-08 13:00
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
The Taste of Night - Vicki Pettersson
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Joanna Archer, representing the Light-side Sagittarius sign in the Zodiac troupe of Las Vegas, continues to juggle her new-found life in her sister's body. Not only does she have to keep up appearances of being the sole progeny to the richest man in the city, she also has to protect society from the Shadow organisation hellbent on terrorising the innocent. Finding herself in a rather peculiar predicament, Joanna reluctantly makes a deal with a Shadow initiate; one that she might come to regret.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I've always been fond of the good ol' fight between good and evil, so the aspect of superheroes was definitely refreshing to return to. Whilst finding The Scent of Shadows to be rather average as a whole, I believed this instalment (Signs of the Zodiac series is six instalments long) to be a large decline - primarily because of the heroine herself, Joanna Archer. I personally love the first-person perspectives that dominate the genre; it gives an in-depth and intimate picture of the character, however it can be especially unforgiving if that character happens to be someone you dislike.

And boy, did I dislike her.

I'm a firm believer that characters should be flawed, because people are flawed, however there's only so much I can take when I can find very little redeeming qualities. Joanna repeatedly made the exact same error and refused to learn from it, instead putting herself and her troupe at risk over and over. I'm legitimately shocked how anyone could find her actions reasonable, and how anyone could consider her a good protagonist. Being vengeful is one thing, but being stupidly selfish is another thing entirely.

Let me give a rundown of her transgressions; the ones that bothered me the most. 1: She kept going off alone after the bad guy, with the knowledge that her enemy was stronger. Thus, he would obviously get the better of her and she would need rescuing by her team. This happened three times, if I remember correctly. 2: The gateway to the Light side's secret hideout, she compromised it twice (the second time she was well aware of her actions), and so put the safety of her group, not to mention children, at risk. 3: Due to jealously, she couldn't allow her ex-boyfriend to move on, so she forced herself back into his life, when he was just beginning to be happy again. And she spent a night with him, then disappeared again.

The third one bothered me the most, I think. This is a woman whose identity needs to be kept a secret, yet as soon as she caught a whiff of a new woman in Ben's life, she didn't waste any time to metaphorically urinate all over him. The fact is, she can't have any sort of relationship with him, she can't even allow him to see her physical appearance unless she uses a prepubescent's shield-mould-thing. Am I the only one that found it creepy, that she had sex with Ben whilst using that little girls essence or whatever it was?

I'm going to end the rant about our dear Joanna there, if I can bring myself to it.

I can't say I favoured any of the other characters either, except maybe Regan. She really did play her role expertly, and I daresay she'll be one hell of a villain for the team to battle in the future. I'm looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the Light side. Sometimes you just have to root for evil, because in this case, the Light doesn't exactly offer anything substantial. I mean, what do we have? Hunter? Well, he took a page from Joanna's book; his selfishness actually resulting in someones death. I'm not a fan of love triangles anyway; I'd much rather he or Ben be removed from the equation altogether. Warren and Tekla's frustration throughout was understandable - they were definitely the adults of the situation.

The plot itself could've been better. I honestly expected the plague to have more of an impact, but it didn't even occur until a hundred plus pages. The focal point seemed to be Joaquin, and because of such the tone of the book was needlessly dark. Joaquin was portrayed badly; his entire thought process being about rape, despite him apparently being an avid collector of the comics. It was basically telling us he had depth, yet every time he was on-page he was constantly sexually abusing and / or harassing women. At one point he even yelled: "I will rape you, Joanna!", which in itself summed up his character perfectly.

I like the premise of this series, I do, but I got pretty sick and tired of Joanna's mess. I dearly hope she'll develop into something better.

The Touch of Twilight is the third book in this series, and was first published in 2008.

Notable Scene:

"Uh... good doggie?" I said, taking in the sight of an animal with the muscle of a bear and the angular ferocity of a wolf. He let a warning rumble loose in his throat, and the deep reverberation jarred through my immobile bones like a jackhammer through concrete.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

 

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/08/the-taste-of-night-by-vicki-pettersson
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-30 08:07
March 2017 — Wrap-Up

 

 

 
 
 

Old Favorites

 

DU

 

Dune (Re-Read)

I’ve covered this book in too much detail to add anything here. Well okay, I’ll just leave this joke here:
 
Check out the final review instalment here.

 

New Delights

 

 

CO.jpg

 

Coraline

Coraline is a book that I would have loved to read as a kid. It is full of Dahl-esque quirkiness…okay, who am I kidding? I loved it even as an adult! Two of my favorite quotes:
 
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Binti

Read my detailed review here.
 

 
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I dunno what to say about this book, except that it had nothing and everything in it! I wanted to pick it up as soon as I got off work and I didn’t want to put it down. The plot is simple and straightforward. The author hasn’t weighed it down with complicated science. You can see where the events are leading up to and yet… I am still ambivalent about the ending but I guess, I’ll just let it sink in for a bit before I come to a decision. This was my first Simak book and I can’t wait to gobble everything else by him!
 
 
P.S. The cover has NOTHING to do with what goes on in the book. 
 
 

Holocaust Horrors

 

TCM

 

The Complete Maus

This comic will just mess you up and yet, you’d be unable to put it down. Just look at how beautifully it portrays the impact of the dreadful event on not just the parents who experienced it but also on their kids who had to live with it:
 
 
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New Additions to Old Favorites

 

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Saga Vol.5.

 
Saga continues to be its beautiful, painful self. I’ve stopped thinking that the story is going anywhere. I just read it because I can’t not read it! Some of the artwork:
 

 

 

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More Weird Customers Say in Bookshops

 
The first one was wayyyyy funnier.
 
 
 
 

New but Okayish

 

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The Lady Killer

Beautifully drawn but lacks anything that’d make it stand out!  I don’t think I will be continuing.
 
 
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Bag Lady

According to GRRM, this book is the first ever short story written in the Wild Cards series. However, it wast published as a part of the series, which had already changed and evolved.
 
I loved this nod towards Asimov:
“What are your orders?”
“To obey my creator, Dr. Maxim Travineck. To guard his identity and well-being. To test myself and my equipment under combat conditions, by fighting enemies of society. To gain maximum publicity for the future Modular Men Enterprises in so doing. To preserve my existence and well-being.”
“Take that, Asimov”, Travineck said.
 
He uncorked the bottle of vodka and raised the bottle on high in a toast.
“New Prometheus,” he said, “my ass.”
 
and this witty repartee:
“I am beginning to realize, said the android, raising a hot buttered rum to his lips, that creator is a hopeless sociopath.”
Black Shadow cnsidered this, “I suspect, if you don’t mind a touch of theology, this just puts you in the boat with the rest of us,” he said.

 

 

Unbound

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Read my review here.
 
 
A good month that was full of reading, I’d say. How was was your March reading-wise?
 
 
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review 2016-10-12 15:25
Swerve
Swerve - Vicki Pettersson

Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, are on their way from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California for the Fourth of July. Kristine isn't looking forward to spending time with Daniel's mother, but that's the least of her worries when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop. Now Kristine must choose: return home safe and sound without Daniel or take orders from a killer that will send her on a trip through hell to find him.

This book was intense! The stellar writing and the amount of suspense made this book grip me from page one and didn't let me go until the very last page. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the author would surprise me. Kristine's situation was palpable (and definitely not enjoyable) I loved the setting. I loved Kristine's relationship with her daughter. And I loved this book!

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review 2016-01-10 20:05
Review: Swerve by Vicki Pettersson
Swerve - Vicki Pettersson

Published by: Gallery Books (July 7th 2015)

 

ISBN: 9781476798578

 

Source: Netgalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert, and Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancé again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait.

One road. One woman. One killer.

Sprinting against the clock, and uncertain if danger lies ahead or behind, Kristine must blaze an epic path through the gaudy flash of roadside casinos, abandoned highway stops, and a landscape rife with horrors never before imagined. Desperate to save her doomed husband-to-be, Kristine must summon long forgotten resources if she’s to go head-to-head against this unpredictable killer. And she’d better hurry. Because she only has twenty-four hours…to make one hell of a trip.

 

Review:

This book was recommended to me by a fellow reviewer, and I'm so glad as I'd have hated to miss this fantastic read. It is tense and thrilling, with Pettersson's brilliantly descriptive prose making for such vivid imagery that I felt I was the one frantically looking for Daniel.

 

The plot is compulsive, drawing you in from the outset and leaving you helpless to fight the momentum. It is meticulously thought out with plenty of surprises and 'Noooo!' moments.

Swerve is compelling psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat - it's one hell of a ride!

 

 

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