Review: Masked Hearts

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Masked Hearts is a collection of Fantasy Romance short stories released by Roane Publishing. It features short stories by authors Dana Wright, Claire Davon, Sharon Hughson, Sheryl Winters, and Nemma Wollenfang.  I was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review, so here it is.

Each story is only a few chapters long.  They’re fairly clean reads, with no overt sexual activity, graphic sexual scenes, or foul language. I would personally say it would be okay for ages 14 and up although the main characters are adults and not teens or young adults.  There is some naughty talk, but nothing I’m sure they haven’t heard in movies or television. The stories feel like fairy tales and as an avid fairy tale geek, I was more than pleased at this.  All of the stories fall into the Fantasy category; each one featuring an aspect common to the genre.

Affinity by Dana Wright

This Gothic Fantasy features all the goodies. Set in a haunted mansion, Kristen is raised by her eccentric Aunt Florence and can see ghosts. She’s also haunted by a boy in a mirror.  One night she finds herself in a secret garden party  looking for the mystery boy.  What she finds instead is a monster in the guise of a Fairy Queen.  She ultimately is traumatized and leaves her childhood home as soon as possible. Years later Fate sends her back to the place of her nightmares and once again looking for the boy, now a man, trapped in the mirror.

This story was so good. It put me in mind of a retelling of The Secret Garden.  The writing was well done and the world building was phenomenal. I couldn’t believe the author could put that much detail into a short story and still  have it flow so smoothly.  I’m hoping this is a prequel and leads to a lot more stories or full fledged novels with these characters or within this world.

Water Woman by Claire Davon

This Fantasy combines lore that I’m not familiar with, which ultimately makes me happy because I enjoyed the story and have new folklore to research!  The story is set in Spain and features a feisty Aloja, or Water Woman, named Isadora.  Isadora is approached by another magical creature, an Abada named Kimoni.  I had no clue what either of these shape shifters were, but the author did a great job in describing them.  Apparently an Aloja controls all bodies of water and can turn into a black bird. She also seems to possess healing powers or at least a great affinity for potions (like I said I need to look into that legend some more, it’s fascinating). Kimoni, the Abada, is something like an “African Unicorn”.

The story is quick and action packed. It was also well written and much more detailed than I would expect for a short story.  Isadora is asked to help a member of Kimoni’s family and while trying to do so, finds herself in danger.  She is no damsel in distress though and fights for herself with some assistance from her Abada friend. Once she’s safe and helps her friend, Isadora must decide if her feelings are for Kimoni are love or lust. I loved this story for the fact that the heroine could help herself, in fact it’s a theme throughout all of these stories.

Duty or Desire by Sharon Hughes

Alyona is an elf on a quest to find her missing brother.  She finds herself traipsing modern day Earth and discovers trying to blend in with humans is hard. She unwittingly partners up with Agent Camden Kerr. While she thinks he’s trying to help, he’s trying to figure out if she’s a threat and needs to be taken in to custody. It also turns out her brother wasn’t missing so much as on a vacation.

I found this to be a comedy of errors and a delightful read.  It was probably the “sauciest” of the reads, but still a clean read overall.  Just some naughty thoughts and banter. I liked the author’s take on magic and magical creatures too.  It was different and oddly enough, plausible.  By this point in the book, I thought I would be tired or ready to skim over things, but again, these authors know how to keep a girl hooked and I found myself staying awake well into the night to finish up to this point.

Feather Fall by Sheryl Winters

Brooke is a swan shifter with Autism. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also albino and can’t seem to shift normally like the others.  She is constantly battling herself and trying to be “normal”. While on a job in Homer, Alaska, she begins to have strange dreams about a mystery man. He inevitably shows up in real life and Brooke isn’t sure how to deal. Does she embrace her shifter nature or let her disability define her?

This story is beautifully done.  It features two main characters with disabilities, and how they are trying to overcome them in order to make a “normal” life for themselves. Brooke’s autism is well described and I found myself empathizing with her during her bouts of anxiety. I liked her from the very first sentence and found myself talking out loud, saying things like ,” It’s okay, you can do it!” Luckily there were no adults around to give me weird looks.

Dragon Law by Nemma Wollenfang

Dragon Law is the last story in Masked Hearts and it certainly ends things with a bang.  Draxa is a princess of a kingdom being terrorized by a Dragon.  In an effort to stop the attacks, she is given to the Dragon as a bride.  This is a binding contract and the Dragon must cease his attacks on the kingdom.  Draxa is left alone to live in a cave with this terrifying beast of legend.  One night, after many weeks of despair, she is allowed to visit her people.  Upon venturing into her old village, she discovers the truth behind her sacrifice and finds herself under attack from a stranger.  Her Dragon comes to her aid and she shuns all human contact afterward.  In an act of love, the Dragon gives her an amulet that brings her immortality.  Many Many years later, Draxa is approached by a knight.  This nobleman pleads for her help saying the kingdom is in tatters and she is the only one that can help. Draxa agrees to help and finds herself in the trappings of her old life once again.  Ultimately she sees that mankind is still just as brutal and heartless as it once was and realizes where her heart truly belongs.

This seemed like a retelling of Beauty and the Beast to me, which is by far one of my favorite fairy tales.  The author did a great job in making it her own.  She kept just enough in their to remind me of the original, but it isn’t the same story.  It was fantastic.

I would have to give the entire book  5 stars out of 5 stars.  Story collections are hard to pull off.  I usually only like one or two out of the collection, but this time I loved ALL of them. Since today is release day, Roane Publishing is offering a contest via Rafflecopter! So be sure to check out all the links below!

Roane Publishing: http://www.roanepublishing.com/category-s/203.htm

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FZPTST8

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FZPTST8

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/masked-hearts-dana-wright/1123833081?ean=2940158509322

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/638075

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/masked-hearts-0

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-maskedhearts-2044722-166.html

 

Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29538410-masked-hearts

 

Giveaway Information:              entertowin1

A $10 Roane Publishing Gift Card

$10 Gift Card Prize

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Review: Falling by Tara Benham

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An earthquake is coming, soon. A small town in Kentucky is set to be destroyed. Bayla, Heaven’s Soul Collector, has been given two tasks; make sure the earthquake happens according to plan, and also make certain Gray Ellison, a teenaged human, survives. Bayla has a perfect record for completing missions; so, when another angel is added into the mix, she begins to question the Head Council’s faith in her. Just as she is getting used to working with Hadraniel, her unasked for back-up, she has to face another hurdle. When Declan shows up with the mission to make sure Gray doesn’t survive the earthquake, he starts to challenge all of Bayla’s beliefs and plans. Declan isn’t your typical demon. He’s gorgeous and arrogant, but there’s something about him that Bayla can’t quite put her finger on. Declan’s presence threatens the mission to save Gray, and Bayla herself. Will she be able to complete her assigned mission successfully despite these new obstacles, or will Gray be lost to Hell forever?” Amazon.com

13236163_10208118201645558_698954763_nI literally just finished this book 30 seconds ago and I’m thirsting for more! Bayla is an angel who’s been around.  She collected souls in Pompeii, saw the fall of the Roman Empire, and coasted along the Titanic to usher souls to Heaven.  She’s never lost a soul and she takes her job seriously, maybe too seriously.  In the beginning of the book she’s on auto pilot and seems to be all work and no play.  She gets an assignment that’s different than any of her others.  She won’t be collecting souls this time, but saving one.  That’s not the only difference, she also has a partner to work with.

Hadraniel is Blue Angel in training…a soldier of Heaven, which is something not to be 13231076_10208118201605557_270532962_ntrifled with.  He’s loyal and protective and very good at his job. Together he and Bayla need to work out a plan to successfully rescue Gray, a very special human, from the clutches of Hell. If that wasn’t enough, a charming and handsome Demon named Declan, is muddying up her plans.

I haven’t read a novel with Angels and Demons in a while so when I received this copy for review, I was delighted. I wasn’t disappointed either! It’s a YA adventure/romance and very clean. I would recommend it for the 13 years and up crowd.  The story is a bit slow in the beginning but when things pick up in the middle be ready for nonstop action! Also be aware of unanswered questions as this is a series in progress, you’ll have to wait til Book 2. I loved how Bayla’s character evolves from a no nonsense workaholic Angel, to a full spectrum “person” with feelings.  From the first time she makes a friend to the first time she plays Truth or Dare, it’s a delight to witness. I’m giving Falling a 5 out of 5 stars.  It’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

 

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Author Spotlight!

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*´¨✫) AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT                              1412640_10205910385619100_481612914236019239_o
¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)
✮ (¸.•´✶ (¸.•M.A Phipps                         
‪#‎sassauthor‬

Author Bio
M. A. Phipps was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1987. In 2009, she moved to London to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Communications and Journalism. It was there that she met her husband and they now live in the Southwest where she works fulltime pursuing her true passion: fiction. She enjoys writing any genre, but the majority of her work contains some sort of fantastical element. In 2013, one of her short stories was shortlisted for publication and in the following year, she submitted her first-full length novel to an online writing competition where it was rated second overall out of over two-hundred manuscripts. In 2015, she decided to self-publish her dystopian novel, Ultraxenopia, which was acquired by a publisher five months later. At it’s re-release, it became an international bestseller

 

Author Links
https://www.facebook.com/authormaphipps/?fref=ts
Official website – http://maphipps.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/authormaphipps
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/authormaphipps/
Youtube –https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkOGI201TU2Z1r0ZRW_aFog
Amazon Author Page –http://www.amazon.com/M.-A.-Phipps/e/B00U7ET67M/
Goodreads Page –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682371.M_A_Phipps

Blurb –
Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive. I was wrong. Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality. Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.
Amazon link – http://amzn.com/B01AP1AJYU

Remember that time I reviewed Ultraxenopia?…check it out here

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Growing A Pair and Cleaning House

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Blame it on the lack of carbs, blame it on my need to please and hold things in until I explode.  Either way, there’s some emotion erupting right now.  I am saying this again and then clarifying once more and after that everyone can think of me as rude.

I DON’T DO EROTICA and the number of MA romances that come across my desk are very very few!  I’m not knocking the genres.  Some of the nicest and smartest people I know love reading this genre and even write it.  I don’t.  I don’t enjoy reading it and I don’t enjoy talking about it.  I skim over sex scenes when I come across them and I fast forward or find something else to do when my husband watches Game of Thrones because I’m just not that interested in graphic sex. I watched Deadpool and laughed at the jokes, I’m not a complete prude, but I did get uncomfortable during the naked stuff. I don’t mind dirty jokes or sex, I just don’t need graphic descriptions or images.  I’m a YA, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, Sweet Romance reading kind of nerd.  Give me a Hallmark Mystery anyday.

I’ve been lax on my policy. I know that.  I recently read an erotic thriller and gave it a high rating.  I wasn’t lying, it was good.  I even clarified that it was out of my comfort zone. But that’s it. My main gripe is that, I get added to Erotica groups on Facebook without my permission all the time!  Sometimes I read and review YA stuff, what if a young reader stumbled upon the fact that I belong to one of those groups and pulls up pics of T & A? Furthermore what would my mother think?  I know there are tons of valid arguments and advocates that may possibly make some comments. That’s fine. I’m not railing against anyone, just stating what my feelings are.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a fun place for people with similar interests. I would post funny things from various fandoms I ship, and put up book reviews, and interact with fellow readers.  For the most part that’s what I’ve accomplished and I’m beyond grateful and happy about that.  So once again I’m going to force myself to be firm on the matter.  My review policies are stated on here and on my Facebook Page.  Please read them before inquiring and don’t flubbing add me to groups without asking me first!!

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Thank You

The End

Bibliogal

Review: Wrong Side Of The Grave by Bryna Butler

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Amazon.com Blurb…”Eric Jansen is an alien. Offworlder. Take me to your leader, fall from the sky, space invading, phoning home, UFO jockey. A swipe of the tattoo on his arm will reveal his true form which locals call Mothman, a winged creature formed of ashen gray skin and glowing red eyes.

So when the recently deceased of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, start walking and talking, the Men in Black mark Eric as suspect number one. It will be up to Eric and the girl-next-door book blogger to solve the mystery before the black suits lock him up and throw away the key.

Are you ready for some campy fun? Fans of Doctor Who will love Wrong Side of the Grave, a suspenseful Teen Sci-Fi Mystery with a paranormal twist…”

Let me start by saying I might be a teensy bit biased on this one.  The setting of the book is in my hometown and the Mothman is a local legend we all learn about in grade school.  I don’t find many books on the subject…well actually I’m sure there are many books on the subject but I haven’t read them. Okay let me back track, I’ve read “factual” accounts of the Mothman and the Mothman Prophecies by John Keel.

So now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s begin with the review!  The blurb sums up the book beautifully and it even included the Dr. Who reference, which I caught on to immediately.  As I read through I actually thought that Eric reminded me of the Tenth and 11 Doctor combined 🙂 He’s arrogant, and suffers from a small attention span.  He also leaps headlong into the action and has a love for the human race.  His “companion” is a young girl named Bridget, who blogs about books and follows him around with a fierce loyalty.  The author alludes to Eric having something to do with Bridget’s father in the past, but it’s not addressed.  I’m hoping that means there will be a sequel and it gets explained then.There are tons of back and forth flashbacks which might get confusing, but if you’re a Dr. Who Fan, you’ll be fine 😉

Also let’s talk about Agent Warner of the Men In Black; I’m rooting for this guy. I’m a sucker for a project and he’s certainly it.  I kinda have a crush on him and hope he can prove himself to everyone ❤

The cast of characters is broad and leaves a lot to expect from future books (dare I hope, Bryna Butler?). I LOVED reading about my town and even though names of places were changed within it, I could pick out pretty quickly which actual place the author was referring to. I also have to thank her for making me notice Tu Endu Wei Park.  I’ve lived here for so long that, while I still admire it and respect it, I don’t always think about it or even look in its general direction.  Now I find myself looking at the obelisk monument every time I go to the Piggly Wiggly and  wonder what’s really up there 😉 This book is definitely YA and very light hearted in nature. I could tell the author researched her subject and the history of the area very thoroughly, which makes my heart swell with pride (I am one of those losers that majored in History in college 😉 so details like this are important to me).  I enjoyed reading it and even the intense parts were safe for 12yrs and up 🙂 I’m giving it 5  out of 5 stars and hope everyone checks it out 🙂

For more info on Bryna Butler, The Mothman Mysteries, and her other YA novels (she has a lot and they all look good) check out www.brynabutler.com 

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Also check out The Mothman Museum and The Mothman Festival while I’m having an attack of hometown pride!

mothman-museum

Another Day

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So it’s me again.  I started a new book to review, Wrong Side of the Grave, by Bryna Butler. I should have something for you to devour by Sunday Night 😉 I love how successful my blog is becoming.  It may not have large following, but in terms of community, I’m pretty sure I’ve found my tribe 🙂

In starting this blog I’ve learned a few things about myself.  I’ve found that reading and reviewing is actually a lot harder than it sounds.  Reading for myself is easy and I can get through and average sized novel in about 3 or 4 hours.  Reading and Reviewing with expectations and deadlines actually makes me tense and I find myself procrastinating.  I have also found that I’m hopeless at promotional events. I constantly forget to post on the planned day and scheduling a post seems to never work out for me.  I apologize to all the promotions I’ve been late on :/

I’m also learning to say NO.  When I first started Bibliogal Review, I was accepting everything; even books that I don’t feel comfortable reading or promoting.  I’ve actually learned that it’s okay to politely pass on things I don’t want to do.  I’m the boss, lol. I really enjoy the Indie Book community. It’s filled with lots of fun and creative people who all strive for a common goal….bringing stories to the people.  Thanks Indie World for embracing this Noob and teaching her your ways 🙂 I’m hopelessly lost without you! Also a big shout out to S.A.S.S (Struggling Authour Street-team Service). They primarily help authors, but I’ve picked up a few things pretty quickly on the blogger spectrum as well! If you peruse the interweb and you see their logo, check it out.  12392034_791985710928549_2951425757060371643_n  A SASS sponsored event is always a good time and they have some bright stars in their stable 😉

Well, that’s all for now, hope I’m getting better at these filler posts 😉

Until Next Time!

Happy Reading!

Bibliogal

aka

Rebecca

Review: Second Chance to Live by Roscoe T. Kearns

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Second Chance to Live is an erotic thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat! It’s not normally a book I would pick for myself but I was offered a free copy in exchange for a review so I took a chance. I’m glad I did! It’s dark, edgy, full of steamy love scenes, mysterious, and beautifully written. There are so many underlying themes in this book, so it’s bound to pique the interest of a wide variety of readers. Romance, slight paranormal/metaphysical happenstances, mystery and suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m glad I hopped out of my comfort zone for this one.

The story centers around 2 people in their 40’s who connect via a dating site on the internet.  They hit it off instantly and hanky panky ensues (it is an EROTIC thriller afterall 😉 ), they quickly bare their souls to each other and both find they are seeking something deeper out of life.  Fate and circumstance are a big theme within this novel, which is quite intriguing and a good call on the author’s part. It certainly keeps you guessing what the end game is up until the very last page.  There’s also a big bad dark mystery to be solved in the form of a stalker, so there’s that element as well.

I’ll harp on this again, it’s not normally a genre I would pick for myself; but I have to give the author kudos for asking me to take it on.  It was refreshing to have my mind stretched a bit. Stepping out of my comfort zone on this one made me think about what I was reading a little more and I found myself playing Clue, trying to figure out what Mr. Kearns was up to.

Technically, it’s well written and the characters are very in depth. The typos were few, so whoever did the editing should get a pat on the back (I’ve found more typos in mass media published books 😉 ) I gave it 4 stars out of 5, because I felt it was a little too quick in pacing during some parts of the story, like when they start sharing secrets and dark moments from their pasts. It was also a little slow in other parts like waiting til a little over half the book was read to reveal a major happening…(can’t divulge too much because of spoilers).  I certainly would recommend this book to my mystery loving, metaphysical musing, and racy romantically inclined readers.  Definitely for the 18 and up crowd 😉

Second Chance to Live is available on Amazon and be sure to check out the author on Goodreads!

Happy Reading!,

Bibliogal                                                         12891119_192792804438543_3095335559062847692_o

Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B01CO13PJ0
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CO13PJ0