Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review: BRANDED by @kearytaylor #Amreading

Branded (Fall of Angels #1)
by Keary Taylor      
3.5/5 stars

Jessica's had the nightmares for as long as she can remember.  Nightmares of being judged for people who have died, of being branded by the angels.  Her friends and family think she's a crazy because of it all.  Yet she carries the mark of the condemned, seared into the back of her neck, and hides it and herself away from the world.

But when two men she can't ignore enter her life everything changes, including the nightmares.  The two of them couldn't be more different.  She will do anything to be with one of them.  Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck.  But one of the two has set events into motion what will pull her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear.
(Amazon product description)

Reviewer: Aprilelayne
Length: 347 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Quality of editing:  85% - misuse of words, repeated adjectives.  Not blaringly annoying, but noticeable.

I have to admit this book got to me, well first of all, that cover!!  That’s what drew me in! I didn’t realize until this past month or so how checking the cover out again after reading the book, makes the covers even more remarkable.  This works both ways though, I have another book that I am about to give 5 stars to, but the cover is ‘eh.’  Branded though, is a solid cover….did you notice the reflective image in the bottom? Wonderfully executed!

Now onto the story itself.  The story and world Keary Taylor creates in this paranormal novel is fascinating, new, and original.  Angels, who would think you could change the conception and idea of what they truly are and their intents?  Taylor pulls it off in creating this angelic world with great detail and development.  She vividly describes and develops her ‘angels,’ I must say I was intrigued and thought ‘What would old-school Anne Rice think?’ of Taylor’s concept of angels and the role religion plays into this story.

The story starts off solid and really developed with its original concept and plotline, but then Taylor veered into the ‘romance’ content and for me it went downhill.  I do give her credit to trying to toe the line with romance without sexuality, but it felt dry and immature.  While the main character, Jessica, is 20yrs old and a socially timid person, she suddenly turned into Bella Swan in her sudden high school classic infatuation with not one but two men who randomly both met and instantly found her irresistible? Two opposing men? Again, is her name Jessica or Bella?  Slipperly slope into Twilight-like flattery.

In fairness, the imagery and originality of the ‘angels’ story deserves five stars! I still want to learn more about the angels, Cole (the antagonist), and the whole system of their trials she witnesses.

As a whole though, the book deserves 3.5 stars.  The flip into romance and its style just brought the overall book down several notches.  I would suggest a stronger focus on emotional development of the characters and the romantic dialogue to bring this book back to a solid 4-5 stars.

The angels and trials and Jessica’s role could have developed into something really solid in the paranormal category.  And these subjects may have been expanded in the following novels (two more novels plus a novella are in the arc) but for the moment I have decided to leave well enough alone at Branded. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: IMMUNE by @TheShannonMayer 5 stars!!!! #AmReading #UrbanFantasy

Immune (Rylee Adamson #2)

**Warning** I'm so sorry Mom, this one will be no good for you to read either. There is a full on sex scene (nipples and everything), violence and well, lots of bad words. You know-- the ones you used to wash my mouth out with soap for? Consider yourself warned.

Underestimating demons is a bad idea, and it's a mistake Rylee may pay for with not only her life, but the life of a child who has gone missing.

That is, unless she allows O'Shea to help her; trusting the man who once sought for a way to bring her down.

If only life were that simple. And in Rylee's world, it rarely is.
(Amazon product description)

This series is so freaking amazing!  

Immune is the perfect follow up to Priceless.  It was funny, sexy and action-packed.  I actually laughed out loud so much my cat got up and left the bed. 

Finally, a heroine who doesn’t annoy me.  Rylee is the perfect combination of loyal, intelligent, compassionate and kick-ass. Many times, the heroines in urban fantasy novels tend to be so tough or snarky that they come off as unlikable.  Rylee is a smart-ass for sure, but she isn’t insulting.  Well, I guess the she gets a little sassy with the bad guys, but then it’s just hilarious.  (The seven dwarves comment was the best!)  The other cool thing about Rylee is she is not afraid of a little gore.  Blood , guts, troll crap...nothing fazes her.  Good thing too, because that girl can’t stay clean.    

Priceless fans will be glad that we get a lot more of O’Shea’s character in this book.  From the beginning of Priceless to the end of Immune, he goes through the most character growth and change.  It makes me excited to see what Mayer has in store for him in the third book.  I sort of wish his scenes would’ve been written in first person like Rylee’s.  I felt a little bit distant from him even when we were in his head.  It wasn’t a bad thing, just noticeable.  I’m sure there is a reason for it.  Readers will love the way the relationship between him and Rylee develops in throughout this book.

Alex the submissive werewolf also has an expanded role in this book.  I don’t like dogs, but I want an Alex so bad!!!!  He is sweet and unintentionally hilarious.  I would love to know more about him.  Perhaps if enough readers pressure the author, maybe she will give us a short story of Alex’s transition someday.  (Hint, hint.) 

As with Priceless, the only character I didn’t like was Milly.  Thankfully, her role in Immune is pretty small.  I have my fingers crossed that Eve, the thousand pound harpy, sits on her in book three.

Much of this review focuses on character because that is the most important thing to me in most books I read, but I wouldn’t be doing the book justice if I didn’t mention the non-stop action.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster from the first chapter until the end of the book.  Rylee finds herself battling vampires, demons, werewolves and trolls.  To help her in her quest is her posse made up of O’Shea, Alex, and the orphaned harpy, Eve.  Then there are those characters who are not totally #TeamRylee, but who aid her for their own reasons.  The combination adds depth to the story. 

Overall, I give Immune...

Plot - 5 bookmarks
Character development - 12 bookmarks (It’s my review. If I want to give 12 out of 5, I will!)
Love story - 5 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Gemma Arterton (Rylee), David Boreanaz (O'Shea), Blake Lively (Milly), Frances McDormand (Giselle), James Marsters (Doran), “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Dox), Selma Hayek (Louisa)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

REVIEW: Only In Time by @Kelli_McCracken. #AmReading

Only In Time (A Mystique Antiques Novella) 
by Kelli McCracken

Time doesn't always mend a broken heart.

Jonah McCabe made a horrible mistake six years ago that cost him his chance at happiness. Then fate interceded.

A last minute favor has him coming face to face with his past. Every beautiful inch of it. Her laughter still echoed in his mind. As did the pain in her voice the day she left.

Can he make things right in a race against the clock, or will time continue to work against him?
(Amazon product description)

Most of us have that person in our past that could have been The One if only X had happened.  In our introspective moments we might even find ourselves daydreaming about the possibility of a second chance.  Most of the time though, when we meet our What-If person we find they have gained 50 lbs., developed an alcohol problem and have been living in their mother’s basement since their last divorce.  Not pretty. 

I think this is why Only In Time appealed to me so much.  It’s the fantasy-made-true of two people who botched their first attempt to come together and are given a second chance six years later.  Time has changed both Jonah and Ally, but in this case, change is a good thing.  As young adults with their future opportunities spread out before them, they both felt a relationship with each other would hold the other one back.  But when they meet again, the both have had the opportunity to grow into the adults they are meant to be.  It really is a beautiful idea. 

I also love the concept of this Mystique Antiques series. The books are based on the idea that the objects sold in this one antique shop in Savannah, GA are enchanted to find their owners.  In this case, Ally is gifted a watch which helps her to see the truth of her past with Jonah.  The magical elements are light--not an elaborate paranormal world--which is just right for a novella length story. 

Overall, I give Only In Time...

Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 5 bookmarks
Writing & Formatting - 4 1/2 bookmarks (The writing was well edited. There were a few odd space breaks in the formatting. Not annoying really, just several of them.  I had no problem reading right through them.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Kit Harrington (Jonah- mostly because I would love to see him rock a guitar), Diana Argon (Ally)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another great GIVEAWAY over at #BestSellingReads. 1st prize is a Kindle Fire! #AmReading

This month’s giveaway

The best authors in New Fiction at are celebrating the arrival of Spring with a March promotion:

BestSelling Reads Kindle Fire Giveaway

Prize for winning reader entry: Kindle Fire 7”, LCD Display, Wi-Fi, 8GB

2nd & 3rd place winners: $25 Amazon gift card

Enter at

Winners will be chosen March 26th by Rafflecopter. No purchase necessary but always welcome.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

REVIEW: Sweet Serendipity by @Elena_Gray. Super cute romance! #Amreading #Kindle

Silence is golden. Honesty...not so much.

Gwen Palmer's saucy mouth gets in the way of her heart's desire...again. Just when she is about to trade her baker's hat for a nun's habit, she comes face to face with her idol, Ethan Reynolds.

Ethan isn't immune to Gwen's loose lips. Nor her quirkiness. And something about her smile tugs at his heart. Will he look beyond her outrageous remarks and see the truth inside? Or will Gwen lose her one chance at true love?
(Amazon product description)

Oh, I sooooo identify with this main character!  I have a tendency to blurt out things that sound fine in my head, but somehow the words completely change when they fall out of my mouth.  Gwen is a normal, intelligent woman, but somehow, when she is in the presence of a single man her brain malfunctions and her mouth operates like it has a mind of its own.  In the scenes where Gwen and Ethan meet, her humiliation just builds and builds with every word.   It is so funny! 

While most men are turned off by Gwen’s running mouth and biting honesty, Ethan finds it refreshing.  As a famous celebrity chef, Ethan is fed up with disingenuous people who want to ride his coat tails.  At least with Gwen, he knows where he stands.  The romance that builds between the two felt realistic.  It was quick, but no insta-love.  The pacing was perfect for a novella length story. 

I really liked the elements of magic in this story.  In a novella, it is hard to build an elaborate paranormal world.  The hints of magic reminded me a little of an Alice Hoffman novel.  Just perfect.

The writing quality in this book was strong.  (There is nothing worse than downloading an e-book that is riddled with errors.)  Ms. Gray’s use of dialog was brilliant, and the book was well edited.  This was a fun, short read.

Overall, I give Sweet Serendipity...

Plot - 5 bookmarks
Character development - 4 bookmarks (Probably would have been 5 if it had been a full length novel and the characters had more time to grow.)
Paranormal elements - 5 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Curtis Stone (Ethan - I know his coloring doesn’t match the character, but when I think of hot celebrity chef, my mind goes straight to Curtis), Carey Mulligan (Gwen), Carol Kane (Eliza)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Get your Kindles ready on 3/6/13! IMMUNE the sequel to PRICELESS by @TheShannonMayer releases!

Mark March 6th on your calendars, folks!  

I am so excited this week for the release of IMMUNE, the sequel to Shannon Mayer's best selling urban fantasy novel PRICELESS.  Shannon Mayer was one of my new favorite authors in 2012.  PRICELESS had strong characters, an exciting plot, a healthy dose of comic relief and the coolest take on werewolves I've ever read. (If you would like to check out my review of PRICELESS, here is the link.)

About Immune

*Warning* I’m so sorry Mom, this one will be no good for you to read either. There is a full on sex scene (nipples and everything), violence and well, lots of bad words. You know— the ones you used to wash my mouth out with soap for? Consider yourself warned.

Underestimating demons is a bad idea, and it’s a mistake Rylee may pay for with not only her life, but the life of a child who has gone missing.

That is, unless she allows O’Shea to help her; trusting the man who once sought for a way to bring her down.

If only life were that simple. And in Rylee’s world, it rarely is.


To help celebrate her new release, the author is running two giveaways on her blog with incredible prizes.  

Shannon, why don't you tell my readers about the giveaway? 

*turns blog over to Shannon Mayer*

Reader & Fan Appreciation Giveaway

Because my readers and fans are so incredibly loyal, I want to show you JUST how much I appreciate all of you!  What do you say to a GIVEAWAY?

  • THREE winners will receive a $5 Amazon Gift Card AND a SIGNED copy of Priceless 

All you have to do is enter the Reader & Fan Appreciation Giveaway on my WEBSITE HERE.  I'll just ask you to like my Facebook page, share on Facebook & Twitter etc.  Easy stuff for some GREAT prizes!

Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway

Okay, so you didn't think I would forget about my AMAZING reviewers, did you??  Do you think you all deserve a special giveaway for the extra work you put in for me?  Well I here's what I've got for you!  You could win:

  • ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER: iPAD Mini or $250 Amazon Gift Card, a SIGNED copy of Priceless & the winner's name will appear in the THIRD book

In Addition to the Grand Prize Winner, the following prizes will also be up for grabs:

  • TWO winners will receive a SIGNED copy of Priceless AND their name will appear in the THIRD book
  • TWO SIGNED copies of Priceless
  • ONE SKYPE Chat with Shannon Mayer 

All you have to do is enter the Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway on my WEBSITE HERE by writing your review, posting to your blog, Amazon etc. and entering it's link in the giveaway.  A valid link to your review is REQUIRED to be eligible for the Reviewer Appreciation Giveaway.  All in day's work for you all for some INCREDIBLE prizes!

About the Author

Shannon Mayer lives in the southwestern tip of Canada with her husband, dog, cats, horse, and cows. When not writing she spends her time staring at immense amounts of rain, herding old people (similar to herding cats) and attempting to stay out of trouble. Especially that last is difficult for her.

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