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 Crash, Book 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
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.
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.
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.