Upon Review: Phoenix Feather by Angela Wallace

November 12th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

Phoenix Feather by Angela Wallace

Four Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

Aidan Quinn is not entirely human. Every hundred years, she bursts into flame and is reborn from the ashes. Now she’s a grad student in Seattle, weary of these repetitious life cycles and grieving a lost love.

An obsession is born. Detective Bryan McCain is trying to solve the serial murders of young women with red hair. When his brother, Trent, starts dating a potential victim, Bryan has to pour everything he has into catching the killer, without losing himself in the process.

Aidan’s heart has been broken many times, but she just might have a little left for dashing fireman Trent McCain. Little does she know, the killer is on the hunt for a phoenix, and he’s getting closer.

The Good…

This was quite possibly Angela Wallace’s best book yet. I loved the murder mystery parts. Her use of details concerning how an investigation proceeds, as well as what happens in a fire department, showed a mastery of balance between the amount of research done and what actually gets used in the story.

I also enjoyed the way she treated the characters’ feelings regarding Chris’s illness. It was an honest view of different people’s reaction to a loved one living with stage four cancer. Many scenes brought me to tears, and, as I’ve said in other reviews, that is difficult to do.

Not only did she treat each character with dignity and fashion them into believable people, she gave us an ending full of surprises and unexpected twists that is very satisfying.

The Not-so-good…

While the characters and situations were as believable as any writer can create, I was a bit disappointed that the mystery almost completely disappears near the middle of the book. I would have liked more tension brought out with reminders that there is a serial killer on the loose throughout the entire story, instead of just at the beginning and near the end.

The book meandered into romance genre territory more than I prefer about one-third of the way into the story. However, by the two-thirds mark, the mystery was back in full swing and continued to rivet me through the rest of the pages.

The Overall…

I think Phoenix Feather would appeal to mystery lovers and romance readers alike and I would highly recommend it. You can find it on Amazone, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Upon Review: Hera, Queen of Gods (Goddess Unbound) by T.D. Thomas

July 24th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Hera, Queen of Gods (Goddess Unbound) by T.D. Thomas

Five Cup Must Read

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

The Fates are missing. Hera has no choice but to lead a handful of gods to the human world to search for the missing goddesses, even though it means giving up her powers and temporarily becoming mortal. But mortality begins to change Hera in unexpected ways, and it gets much worse after she meets Justin, a boy who defies every prejudice she once had about mortals. Torn between who she’s becoming and who she needs to be in order to fulfill her duty, Hera must survive a horde of murderous creatures sent to exploit her new weakness. In the end, only she can stop a traitorous plot conceived by a secret alliance of ancient and new enemies, a plot that threatens to destroy not only the order Hera is sworn to protect, but all of existence itself.

The Good…

I could not put this book down. I loved the fast-paced action and the constant wondering about what would happen next. I started out believing the main characters would all make it to the end, but Thomas took that safety away early on, making it clear that death could snatch any of them at any moment. Talk about adding tension.

Perhaps the best part was the mystery behind who took the Fates. Like my favorites, this book kept me guessing. In fact, I never figured out who was responsible for capturing the Fates until it was revealed and that rarely happens.

I also loved the epilogue. Like prologues, I often skip epilogues because they rarely add anything to the story. Not so for this book. The epilogue gives a nice conclusion while still leaving you on the cliff.

The Not-so-good…

There were a couple places during their rituals that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief. For instance, it’s difficult for me to believe that pricking the finger of four people would create enough blood to create a circle if you poured it on the ground. Thankfully those details are not integral to the plot, so they weren’t make-it-or-break-it for enjoying the story as a whole.

The Overall…

Hera, Queen of Gods (Goddess Unbound) by T.D. Thomas is a roller-coaster ride that mystery and fantasy fans alike will enjoy. Make sure you clear your schedule when you pick up this book, because you won’t be able to put it down.