Read Branded by Keary Taylor Online

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Alternate editions for this ISBN can be found here (ebook), here (pbk) and here (ebook)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, anAlternate editions for this ISBN can be found here (ebook), here (pbk) and here (ebook)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....

Title : Branded
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781450572378
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 374 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Branded Reviews

  • Shelly Crane
    2018-11-23 23:49

    First off, let me say I finished...no- devoured the first two books in two days time. I was wary to start it. I mean bad angels didn't sound awesome to me but I gave it a shot and was not dissapointed. The characters were not annoying as I find they are in alot of fantasy novels. They were relateable and caring towards one another. Their relationship was sweet and believable, no patronizing. I'm not turned on by female roles who are whiny and selfish. And the male roles are usually so arrogant but they're hot so it makes up for it or he's broken and she has to fix him. Jessica was extrememly likeable and Alex was divine and they progressed together nicely. The bad guy was well written and the situations were easy to understand and believe. Jessica and Alex didn't have sex in the book and I was ecstatic about that. It's almost impossible anymore to read paranomal romance novels without it being littered with sex scenes. All in all a good series. The end will leave you buying the next book immeidately. Can't wait for book three and book 2 ending was even more sqeal inducing. I frigging love it! Can't wait!

  • Keary Taylor
    2018-11-26 20:03

    Well, I had to give my own work 5 stars right?... Keep an eye out for Forsaken, the second book in the Fall of Angels, coming this fall!

  • Annie
    2018-12-02 04:07

    The Good:Branded has a very interesting premise: angels are not the glorified beings they're hyped as. Instead, they are the cause for the main character's torment. Neat.The story line is decent as well. It kept me guessing until the end. It's not all that predictable (except for the romance bit) and the author keeps some semblance of suspense up until the very end.The Bad:For one thing, the ending seems very rushed. Taylor manages to cram the entire resolution of the story into pretty much a paragraph. Wow. That's amazingly bad.The other thing is that Keary Taylor is in dire need of an editor. The writing is unsophisticated at best, with awkwardly stilted sentences and cheesy dialogue. There are some typos as well, such as "tough" instead of "though" and so on. Speaking of which, the mindless repetition of certain words (sometimes, though, etc) made the writing style even clumsier.The kindle edition is also formatted badly. I don't know how much of this reflects on Taylor as I've never published anything for the kindle. However, it's rather distracting to have random line breaks and indentations in the middle of sentences. There were a few indescrepencies as well. Not huge ones, but noticeable: after one nightmare, Jessica notes that her skin is almost as flawless as an angel's. Then Alex walks in and says that she looks awful, and she agrees. What? I thought her skin was flawless! Her father also sends her a letter in the mail asking where she was, as he apparently has no clue where she is. If he has no idea what part of the country she's in, how did he send the letter?The romance was not fleshed out well at all. Paramour "Alex Wright" is blatantly Keary Taylor's wet dream Mr. Right. He's gentle and understanding to a fault, gorgeous, has a good sense of humor, filthy rich but doesn't have to work, tolerant of Jessica spending time with other gorgeous men, adaptable, an excellent kisser, enamored with her, single, and an excellent cook. And is so infatuated that he's willing to lay down his life for Jessica after only knowing her for a few months. Wait, haven't I read this romance before? Oh, it's Bella and Edward without the stalking. Speaking of which, there's no reason given for why Cole and Alex (both beautiful wet-dream men) are so infatuated with Jessica. Her awful appearance brought on by a lack of sleep is mentioned multiple times per chapter, she's unbelievably socially awkward, and is essentially a hermit. Oh, and she acts very distant with both of them. Hm. Jessica Bailey, thy name is Mary Sue.Overall, a good idea, poorly executed.

  • Ellis
    2018-12-11 22:41

    First of all: negative stars, a shelf created especially for this book, because it left such a bad taste in my mouth that the only stars I can possibly give are those below zero. As you might have guessed, Branded made me angry, and therefore it will be impossible to review this without spoilers. However, many of the plot is so obvious and unoriginal that the spoilers aren't that substantial. Also, some explicit language will be used, because sometimes there is just no better way to express your opinion. Note as well that this is a rant disguised as a review, so it's long. You have been warned.I considered several times to just DNF this one, but a part of me hoped it would get better. It did not.I originally had this one classified as "high hopes", but after re-reading the blurb, I honestly have no idea what gave me that impression. I blame the cover because angst, love triangle, and insta-love were already pretty much announced. It's probably my soft spot for (fallen) angels retellings, although the only decent ones I have read this far are Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Angelfall. Edit: I can't believe I forgot Unearthly. How did that happen? I blame you, Branded.The basic set-upJessica is a 20-year-old runaway who is a housekeeper for an elderly couple. She lives next door to Sally Thomas, a woman who has been the victim of spousal abuse, and spends her days shopping groceries for the two of them. When she's not playing the good Samaritan, she's a general recluse who only sleeps one night every four days or so. In her dreams, she's a proxy for a recently deceased person who is now being judged by angels and almost always branded, the sign that s/he's condemned to an afterlife in hell. She has the scars to prove it. They include the branded X in her neck, which always throbs after her nightly adventures and then there is something with her having protruding shoulder wings. Some random flashbacks break up the narrative even more and then one night, yes middle of the night, a guy bursts in and takes up residence in the house she's a caretaker for. Turns out he's the owners' out-of-this-world hotgorgeousdelicious grandson and the owners have died. He's completely random, travelling the world to seem interesting and stuff. When he conveniently needs to go meet with his lawyer for a week, because something is wrong with the will - let me think, maybe the fact that the grandparents left loads of money to a girl that doesn't even work for them now, but can still live in the house because logic, convenience and vicinity - we're introduced to the second love interest who has dark features and, of course, a British accent. Legitimately evil that one is. It's practically a given with him being European and all.On to the part that gave me so much rage that I almost started kindle-throwing. It's quite sad really, because my kindle was a Christmas present and I wanted to inaugurate it with an angel story, hoping it would be decent and enjoyable but lol no, the universe doesn't allow some reading relaxation when you're in the middle of exams because obviously you just need more stress and exasperation in those times. Anyway, the rage-inducing factor.As I already said in my very objective synopsis, Jessica's neighbour used to be married to an abusive piece of shit. Jessica tells us so repeatedly, but the causality within these passages is just off. At times, it is used as a ploy to illustrate how good of a person Jessica is for helping out Sally, who is, by the way, so traumatised that she can't leave the house and lives in perpetual fear of human contact. I'm sorry, being nice to a victim of abuse shouldn't be used as character development, it's fucking basic human decency. Worse, however is the passage that introduces Sally's abuse and its conclusion. The conclusion is that the husband was reported - good -, had to pay - even better - and that's why Sally Thomas is so disgustingly rich that she can afford to just throw one hundred bills at Jessica. WHUT? It gets better. Before we know how Jessica earns an income, this is given as the explanation why she can go shopping for groceries every single chapter before da boyz show up.And this is where I drop dead because I choked on my disgust.EXCUSE ME? You know what, I'm willing to chalk this fucking disturbing plotline up to a case of bad causality, in the sense of "Milton wrote Paradise Lost. His wife died. He wrote Paradise Regained." or my personal version "I used to believe in God. My sister was born. I lost my faith.", but let me just add that it is things like these that prove why self-publishing doesn't work for everyone. I'm not saying self-publishing should be banned, because I'm actually very much in favour of new ways for people getting out the stories they feel the need to tell, but this wasn't the only reason Branded could have benefited from editing. More on that later. The bottom line here is that you don't exploit a trauma such as domestic abuse to justify why a character has money, and in extension, how the MC can provide without a decent income. (Again it wasn't yet stated that Jessica made her money by housesitting). The only thing such a connection makes me think is "how convenient" and that is the absolute last opinion I want to have when it comes to abuse. The rest of it was just plain annoying. I have never read Twilight, but seen and read enough to more or less come to the conclusion that Jessica is a Bella Swan rewrite. Also, absolutely nothing happens, except for pretty creepy and disturbing stuff that I'm sure was not meant to be read that way. It had potential with the "living on borrowed time" arc, but the only thing that was used for was to say who was to blame for Jessica's nightmares. Surprisingly, it was everyone but her. I'm not saying this needed a thorough philosophical examination of what time means to the human being to have merit, but this was just ridiculous.So Jessica. This girl is one big chunk of interior monologue and it never ends. She has no sympathy whatsoever. Take Emily for example. She considers Jessica to be her friend and confides in her. So guess what Jessica's reaction is when Emily tells her that her stepfather used to abuse her and that that is why she has run away from home? Jessica actually gets angry because Emily doesn't want to tell her how she "made the dreams stop". It's also so fucking annoying that Emily's "condemnation" was supposed to be a suspenseful revelation, while it was so very obvious what the one thing that guarantees you a front row seat to eternal condemnation is. I don't even know my Bible that well and it was still easy to guess. Hint: it's not blasphemy, because apparently angels are free agents in this world, which is something I can get behind, but it's used to such ridiculous ends that it all feels so derivative.There's not even an instinct that tells Jessica to for one moment think of someone besides herself. This also shows in her dealing with Sally. So Alex creepily shows up and follows Jessica around, because apparently the twenty-something gorgeous guy doesn't have a social life. Jessica has a movie night with Sally, which she conveniently forgot because damn Alex and his delicious exterior. He then tags along and both of them think it will be no problem for an unfamiliar man to show up on the doorstep of a person who is so traumatised she can't even do her own shopping. No probs, because blonde-and-blue-eyed Alex is such a good guy that Sally instantly trusts him and her status as the local guy-o-meter will be used when the second love interest shows up. Indeed, it's fucking genius to put an abused woman in that role.The love interests are not all that great either. It's obvious Alex is supposed to be every good girl's wet dream, but I'm sorry, the moment a boy I barely know bursts into the bathroom when I'm showering, only to ask if I'd like to have dinner with him that evening, I'd pack up my stuff after said shower and run. Not so Jessica, who already knows she will have BIG FEELS for Alex after literally five minutes. Cole is even worse, and his relevance to the story is so nonsensical that the only things you need to know is that he admits that he's been in love with Jessica since the first moment he saw her. Besides the general *yawn* it has been done to death factor, the first time this despicable specimen saw our highly desirable MC was WHEN SHE WAS FIVE (or around that age. I'm a bit fuzzy on the details, but it was young enough to earn you a one-way prison ticket). So yes, in addition to being physically too perfect for this world and constantly having to remind everyone he "speaks in a British accent" and always staring at Jessica, he is a legitimate pedophile. Not gonna lie, that's kind of a turn-on for me.Moving on. There is absolutely no reason for Jessica to be living in that house after the owners have died. I also find it strange that no one bothered to inform her they are dead, and that Alex thought it was okay to burst in there in the middle of the night and be like "lol yeah, they're dead, but they left me a shitload of money and I'll pay you and we can both live here because I'm the prettiest boy you've ever seen so my plan can't possibly be creepy and I can't be a psychopath." Of course, it's too far-fetched to call ahead with that information but who cares about such details when we need to get the love story going. And that element is - shocking - problematic. When Alex and Jessica lock lips, it's all very orgasmic and pornographic, but they don't go further because they don't know each other that long/well and it's still a bit too serious. I can genuinely respect that. However, when Alex gives her an expensive bracelet or buys her a fucking wedding ring, this is seen as normal behaviour for a new couple. Hey, I know my brain works in weird and mysterious ways, but I've always thought marriage to be a pretty serious ordeal and frankly, if you don't feel you're ready for sex, I don't know how much diamonds will help your personal comfort with the issue. Finally, I don't like Jessica's relationships with women. First of all, the girl barely gets out and the only time she uses the internet is to look up the people she had to play proxy for the past night. Nevertheless, she regularly mentions that she hears from "women" that boys like this, or don't do that or want you to whatever. I have a hard time identifying who exactly these women are, because Sally Thomas will definitely tell her to just stay the hell away from men. Also, Jessica ran away from home because of her mother, she has no friends and I find it hard to believe she'd just speak to random women she encounters in the grocery store. Somewhere in the story she decides to take a yoga class and she feels it is necessary to repeatedly tell the reader that it's her big outing to society and why that is so. It's annoying. Then she gets mad at Emily for allegedly not wanting to help her, when the girl obviously has a hard time telling Jessica what she "needs" to know in the first place and I completely understand Emily for wanting to suppress such a trauma, certainly when you know you have eternity to pay for it. Jessica hates her mother because she thought her daughter was crazy and hysterical, which, in a realistic setting, doesn't seem that weird. I don't know Jessica, but if you so desperately wanted to prove to your mother that something is going on, why not show her your scars? You can't use the excuse that you don't want people to think that you're "in some kind of extreme body art", because I think that as a minor you still need parental permission for that, and let me just tell you, with your outlook on life, you need all the help you can get. Anyway, who needs that when you have a father who is so awesome that he contacts you five years after you've run away from home, telling you that he's always been on your side, while he conveniently dismisses the fact that he never stood up for you or tried to reason with that dictator of a mother of yours. The fact that he tells you just to ignore your mother is even better, because there's nothing more I want from my father than such a show of respect for the women in my family. Oh, he wants you to write him letters and keep in touch? Do it, he obviously deserved it after years of doing nothing and taking the cheap route in blaming your mother for it. Such a nice guy. He would make a perfect family picture with that admiring pedophile you've got living a few doors down. ZOMG I wish I had your life.I read reviews of the next books and it seems that it gets even worse. And apparently Cole will be redeemed, because if there's one thing we need it's that the creepy and psychotic bad guy will be shown to be inherently good. Obvies ftw. Plus that we get more angst and melodrama and from what I assume, the language will still be riddled with factual errors, typos and unfinished sentences and generally make no sense whatsoever. I mean, when you have a first-person narrator, you can't just go around writing that she "didn't notice the opened window" or something, because the fact that she didn't notice it when it happened, and doesn't have her attention drawn to it at a later moment, means that she can't possibly have any recollection of it. So how is she still able to talk about it? Because Jessica just fails at life big time, that's why.Oh and I wish I had enjoyed the privilege of buying this for free, but because I'm an evil European (Branded-standards), this was not the case, and that makes one more reason why I feel justified writing this angry rant. Needless to say, I can't recommend this to anyone, but luckily, most of it is so mind-numbing that I won't be scarred for life by this.

  • Thea
    2018-11-22 22:02

    Jessica Bailey is tormented. Every time she falls asleep, her nightmare begins. The first chapter got me into reading the book. It was different. It started where most books end… on judgment. However, after a couple of chapters, the story goes downhill. FAST. The author tends to overelaborate on everything, leaving nothing to the imagination. There are a few pages full of just descriptions of surroundings, and feelings. I gets boring fast when every detail is explained and explored. The book feels like a very long prologue. That everything could have been explained in 3000 words or less. The events are uneventful, the villain is easily defeated and love conquers all yet again. But the struggle wasn’t clear. The message wasn’t clear. If it’s love, and the sacrifice of someone, the story did not warrant such devotions. Alex and Jessica’s feelings for each other resemble that of teenagers and puppy love. There’s no basis for the love, no foundation, aside from mutual attraction. But attraction is where it starts, not where it should end. SPOILERS!The main character, Jessica, doesn’t have character. For someone who is too cautious and too shy, she admits to falling in love with a guy she barely knew. Trusting him with her secrets as when he did not do anything to warrant the confidence. This goes to Alex as well. The characters fall in love, in a snap of a finger. I really don’t get that, and how people like the idea of love as an immediate thing. It isn’t. There are characters that doesn’t need to be there, adding very little or nothing at all to the story. Jessica’s flashbacks offer very little add-on to the story or her character.

  • Jaye
    2018-11-28 21:40

    >>>WARNING SPOILERS (SLIGHT)<<<Initially I was really into this book. I loved Jessica's character. The premise intrigued me. The writing was decent. Then Alex happened.I did not like Alex, at all. He was too chipper. Too eager. At least, he is in the beginning. He and Jessica fall in together way too quickly for my piece of mind. I mean, Jessica hasn't known him a day and already she's okay with him walking in on her in the shower. Not only that, but he thinks its okay to invade her privacy this way. Ummm, hello? She barely knows him. For all she knows, he could be a crazy rapist. Not to mention, a stalker. He can't seem to leave Jessica alone. Within 24 hours of meeting her, Alex wants Jessica to come into town with him; he barges into the bathroom while she's taking a shower; he cooks dinner for her; and he follows her to Sal's. I mean, what gives? All of this was done with a puppy-dog manner that was completely unappealing. This is the point where I stopped reading.Alex is what ruined this for me. Whenever he was present I couldn't constrain my eye-roll. This severely hindered my reading experience. Also, I sort of cheated and read the descriptions for the next books in the series without finishing this one. Alex turns out to be the major love interest; the proverbial one. He didn't make a good impression on me, and I'm not willing to commit the time and money to see if he grows on me. No, thanks.

  • Myvampfiction
    2018-11-19 04:04

    review by Megsly*Warning: possible spoilers ahead.*Branded follows 20-year old Jessica Bailey, who is a teenage run away who never sleeps. She can usually reach almost 100 hours with no sleep before her body starts caving in on her. The reason she doesn't sleep is because she has night terrors, extreme night terrors. In her dreams, she finds herself locked in a room, awaiting trial. An angel she calls Adam, with gray eyes (which is apparently indicative of whether or not they are fallen or not? Gray means he's neutral territory), retrieves her from her cell and takes her to face a jury of ten; five condemned angels, and five exalted angels decide her fate. If she passes, she is thrown upwards into the heavens, and if she fails a hot bar of metal shaped like an X is pressed into the nape of her neck, branding her before she is hurled down to the pits of hell by the condemned. She's never tried as Jessica Bailey though, it's always someone else's name that is called out.Sometimes she's tried as a man, sometimes as a woman. Sometimes she's young and sometimes she's old. Every once in a while the good list far outweighs the list of bad things the person has done and sometimes she is lifted to the heavens, but most of the times she's thrown down. Every time, however, she feels the excruciating agony of wings bursting forth from her back, no matter if she's being sent to heaven or hell. Funny thing is, the nightmares aren't just nightmares. Every time she wakes up, Jessica finds a fresh brand on the back of her neck and an outline of wings tracing her shoulder blades and down her side, raised ever so slightly from the rest of her skin. Not surprisingly, because of these nightmares, Jessica has an intense fear of angels. She hates them, despises them with a passion that most people reserve for murderers and child abusers (at one point she has a melt down over someone making snow angels. I did kind of laugh there. I love snow angels. #randomobservations)After finally giving up on a strained relationship with her mother, Jessica runs away from home at 16 and makes her way north, where she quickly finds a job caring for a house in a small, wealthy community in a town in north western Washington state. At 20, Jessica savors her alone time. She's awkward around others and doesn't want anyone living near her, for fear that they'll hear her screaming at night. She socializes with only one person: Sal, her reclusive neighbor who is barely able to live on her own after suffering extensive injuries from an abusive husband years prior. So when the owner of the house she cares for randomly shows up in the middle of the night, she is less than pleased (not but unhappy enough to overlook the fact that her "boss" is a hottie.)One thing leads to another, and Jessica is forced to deal with the company of Alex, her young employer who enjoys having her around. She stays in her apartment, but as time progresses the two begin to spend more and more time together. It's a rather cute relationship development, especially considering it's near impossible for her to hide her nightmares from him with only thin walls separating her basement apartment from the rest of the house. Once he knows the truth, she lets it all come tumbling out and surprisingly, Alex never questions her claims of the trails. In the meantime, a new neighbor has moved into the house next to Sal, which has disrupted the woman's way of living. At the same time, in an attempt to find some form of normalcy to balance her relationship with Alex, Jessica has begun attending yoga classes in town which leads her to become friends with Emily, and introduces her to Cole, who is Sal's new neighbor.Strangely enough, everything seems to tie together very neatly. There are literally only 5 characters. Jessica, Sal, Cole, Alex and Emily. The way these 5 characters wrap up into one another is a little too neat of a package for my liking. It seems a little too ideal, however, I still enjoyed each of the characters. Cole is seemingly obsessed with Jessica, and shows up at all the right times to help her in times of need when Alex is not around. Emily and Jessica find a common connection that I was never anticipating, and Emily holds the answer to ending Jessica's nightmares but will she tell her? And then there is Cole, who both Jessica and Emily find vaguely familiar but neither can figure out why. And then Sal, who's so disrupted by Cole's presence that she attempts suicide, is a dark shadow of worry in Jessica's mind. In the meantime, while Jessica's previously quiet life is becoming more fulfilled with the presence of others, her nightmares are growing worse, her scars burning longer, and strange, perfect feathers are appearing in unexplained places, such as Sal's hospital bed and the edge of Jessica's windowsill. The way this story unfolds is very enjoyable. The author writes very well, there are minor errors in the print, mainly having to do with tense changes (which really annoy me, so perhaps that's why I always zone in on tense errors) but for the post part, the plot carried me past that. I enjoyed the resolution to the story, I thoroughly enjoyed the twist on angelic lore and the way Taylor depicts angels as nothing purely innocent or purely evil. I also found it fascinating the way she handles the judgment of sins against humans. It's a war between good and evil until the very last second before an individual is casts up to heaven or down to hell. The character development is believable, and it's easy to understand why Jessica ran away from home and why she chooses to live in solitude. The changes she makes in herself after meeting Alex are also believable, because of the way the author presents them to the reader. Over all, though I probably won't be going out to add this book to my physical bookshelf, I'll enjoy it on my Kindle and will be looking to add the second book in the series to my Kindle soon as well.Below is my rating of Branded (Fall of Angels) by Keary Taylor. These are reflective strictly of my opinion of the novels I've read and reviewed, and are not necessarily reflective of the other staff members of MVF.-Story Elements (plot) – 7-Character Development - 7-Grammar & Punctuation - 8-Prose – 7-Paranormal Element - 8 Total Score: 7.4/10 (total score is derived from the average of the 5 individuals scores)

  • Elle Beauregard
    2018-12-16 02:48

    The story and the characters definitely kept me reading. I purchased this book on a whim--I love to read the work of local authors and jumped at the chance to help support a local up-and-coming when I saw this book at a bookstore near my office, in Seattle. I read every day on my way to and from work on public transit, and sometimes, while reading this book, I'd almost forget where I was! Once, I almost missed my stop! The story is compelling, the scenery and set-building very full without dragging down the pace of the story. Jessica often notices the weather and its effects on her surroundings, but then, living in this part of the country, it’s hard not to notice, and the weather plays as big a role in this story as it does in the real lives of those of us living in the Pacific Northwest. There were a few issues with word choice and repetition of descriptions that lent itself to the writing feeling just a little bit amateur, but the fact that those issues didn't detract from the story on the whole is testament to great world building and wonderful character development. I wanted to know more about Alex (Why is he so quick to fall in love with Jessica? Why did he spend so much time traveling/what was he running from? Why was he so willing to offer up his own salvation?) but I have a feeling that more of him and his background may be coming in the next book. I am also hoping that the next book helps make the ending of Branded feel less clipped short.

  • Etough
    2018-12-20 00:51

    So I did enjoy the story in this book, but I am not sure I liked how it was executed. The idea was fantastic and very original. I am not sure if this was the writer's first book, but the flow of the book was off. There was so much build up and not enough character development to fill the pages. While I liked there characters in the book okay...I didn't feel like I knew enough about them to love them. There was so much room to get you emotionally involved with the characters but since you didn't really know much about them it kept them as strangers. With the character development being a little lacking in this book the love story also fell slightly flat. It just wasn't believeable enough for me. I also had a big problem with the fact that the characters said "ya" all the time. For some reason this bothered me to no end. I would actually start to cringe when I read it. If you read the book, I am 100% positive you will know what I mean by that. That being said, the last 40 or so pages of the book actually almost completely make up for the fact that alot of the book was lacking. The villian in the book really begins to blossum more as does the main character. The emotions that are written towards the end of the book are portrayed so much better than in the beginning. Your connection to the characters begins to develop much more. So because of this I am hopeful that in the next book that strong connection continues and the writer continues to improve and have acutally found myself excited to see where the story goes.

  • Katerina
    2018-12-05 22:05

    Piccola premessa: questo e-book era gratuito su amazon (preso in coppia con Cornerstone, idea vincente), e credo sia un autopubblicato. Lo specifico perchè ho visto che, adesso, c'è anche una versione a pagamento, con una copertina diversa e una casa editrice: la possibilità che sia stato 'scoperto' e tirato a lucido in vista di una vera pubblicazione esiste. Però non ho nessuna intenzione di andare perdere tempo cercando informazioni: ne ho già sprecato abbastanza leggendolo.È difficile parlare di Branded, per un semplice motivo: inizia a succedere qualcosa quando si è sorpassato alla grande l'80% del libro. Come si fa a dire qualcosa di una trama che, semplicemente, non c'è? Non lo so, ma ci proverò lo stesso.Jessica Nonricordoilcognome è la protagonista. È sui vent'anni, è scappata di casa a sedici e non ha mai potuto vivere come una persona normale. Come mai, vi chiederete voi. È perchè ogni notte fa incubi terribili, da cui si risveglia urlando, motivo per cui cerca di dormire il meno possibile.Il libro si prende la briga di battere e ribattere quanto questi sogni siano terribili e sia impossibile ignorarli, motivo per cui quando scopriamo cosa sono l'unica reazione possibile è alzare gli occhi al cielo: la nostra intrepida protagonista sogna di essere qualcuno che non è, di essere portata di fronte agli angeli (che sono figoni e figone), e di vedere la propria vita semplificata in due liste: azioni buone e azioni cattive. A seconda di quale sia la più lunga l'imputato viene spedito all'Inferno o in Paradiso (anche se la narrazione è così confusa che non si capisce se invece diventano angeli), e la nostra eroina si sveglia appena prima che la sentenza venga eseguita.Tutto qui. Questo incrocio tra la lista di Babbo Natale e il giudizio dell'anima egizio è ciò che le impedisce di avere una vita normale e la fa sentire come una pazza. Personalmente capisco che sia inquietante, soprattutto dopo essersi accorta che sogna il giudizio divino di persone vere, ma è veramente una delusione: la sua reazione isterica, la madre che l'ha trattata come un abominio e il rischio di finire in manicomio... ma anche no. Non c'è nulla che giustifichi tutto questo.Però le protagoniste fuori di testa evidentemente tirano, perchè la Taylor insiste di brutto sull'anormalità percepita di Jessica: lei ha delle cicatrici (l'unica cosa oggettivamente strana) che non si è fatta ferendosi. Sulla schiena ha delle ali, e dietro al collo una X, e tenerle nascoste è l'obbiettivo primario della sua esistenza, al punto che non va neanche dal medico per paura di essere presa per una che si droga, per un'autolesionista o una fissata con la decorazione del corpo (?).La cosa bizzarra è che tramite insensati flashback scopriamo che questa missione ce l'ha da sempre: a sei anni la madre le chiede se vuole andare in piscina, e lei rifiuta perchè deve tenere nascoste le ali.Il punto è semplice: non esiste che una bambina di sei anni faccia un ragionamento simile, soprattutto per qualcosa che non vede. A quell'età stai malapena iniziando a renderti conto che Il Mondo è diverso da Casa, e un bambino che viene da un'ambiente familiare sano (come lei) non ci pensa.La cosa è ancora più idiota perchè sono i genitori di Jessica quelli che dovrebbero voler tenere nascosti i segni, giusto per non far la figura di quelli che incidono delle ali nella schiena della figlioletta, ma invece se ne fregano, quindi dove Jessica abbia assimilato l'idea di essere un mostro (o abbia scoperto che è l'unica con segni simili) non si capisce.Complimenti, Keary Taylor: hai scritto un libro senza sapere come funzionano gli esseri umani.Ma c'è spazio per ulteriore follia: in fin dei conti basta tenere addosso una maglietta e i capelli lunghi, e il problema è risolto... come possiamo fare in modo che Jessica sia davvero impossibilitata a vivere come una persona normale? Facciamo che è traumatizzata completamente a caso dai suoi sogni: noi sappiamo che gli angeli che vede sono più o meno così, e che a parte leggerle delle liste non le fanno assolutamente nulla, quindi - logicamente - Jessica sta malissimo durante le feste comandate e/o religiose perchè le immagini di qualsiasi tipo di angelo le causano crisi isteriche e di panico. Natale e San Valentino sono i momenti peggiori, perchè nel suo mondo invece di Babbo Natale, renne, Gesù Bambino e cuori, ogni negozio mette stricioni rappresentanti angeli.Che, ad ogni modo, nel caso di Natale sarebbero così, e a San Valentino direttamente Cupido... che non è un angelo ma una figura mitologica latina. E ha l'aspetto di un bambino.E adesso ditemi come si può prendere sul serio Jessica.La vita di Jessica è bizzarra: tiene casa ad un'anziana coppia di ricconi che, a quanto pare, ha costruito una mega villa per poter assumere uno che la tenesse casa, e si occupa di una vicina fuori di testa, tale Sal.Sal è una donna strana: picchiata quasi a morte dall'ex marito, non si capisce se sia così traumatizzata da non riuscire più a relazionarsi in modo normale, o se abbia riportato danni cerebrali. Non si capisce nemmeno come lei e Jessica siano legate, perchè all'inizio dicono che Jess le fa la spesa per aiutarla, ma quando Sal finisce in ospedale è Jessica a prendere le decisioni e poi - dal niente - dicono che è il tutore legale. A parte la continuità narrativa pari a zero, la situazione sarebbe molto improbabile.E poi che succede? Nulla. Arriva Alex, nipote dei datori di lavoro di Jessica, e si innamora di lei. È un personaggio assolutamente ridicolo: bellissimo, intelligente, generoso, ricco sfondato, comprensivo, abile nel cucinare, avventuroso, e pronto a lasciare tutto per stare con Jessica, perchè lei è speciale.Jessica (logicamente) si innamora di lui, e tutti gli ostacoli al loro amore... sono nominati e accantonati in due righe?Poi arriva Cole, che è il bellissimo cattivo, e il momento in cui rendi conto che questa roba - al massimo - sarebbe un romanzetto rosa su una tizia innmorata di un tizio con uno stalker, e tutta la fuffa paranormale non serve a niente se non a vedere il romanzo alle lettrici di paranormal romance, ma è veramente una cosa così squallida, nel suo tentativo di agganciare un target senza la minima ispirazione, da essere triste e patetica.In più sospetto che la Taylor non abbia mai riletto cosa ha scritto, perchè il libro è pieno di incongruenze: Jessica è scappata di casa e i suoi non sanno dov'è, ma il padre le spedisce delle lettere. Come ho detto prima, Sal è prima la vicina e poi una donna di cui Jessica ha la tutela. Jessica in casa abbassa la temperatura così da poter stare in canotta e shorts, in autunno-quasi-inverno. Alex è ricco sfondato perchè i nonni sono morti, e spende i soldi prima di aver terminato le pratiche della successione. Jessica è nata con le cicatrici, ah, no, le sono venute a cinque anni ma i suoi non gliel'hanno mai detto.Jessica non si è accorta che Alex sapeva suonare finchè... non si è messo a suonare. Imperdonabile mancanza di tatto, non trovate?Jessica si accorge che Cole è il capo degli angeli cattivi con questa frase rivelatoria:I knew that face wel. It was the same face that had branded me hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. Peccato che siano mesi che ci interagisce su base regolare perchè lui è letteralmente il suo vicino di casa stalker!E poi la prova che Keary Taylor non solo non ha mai riletto quello che ha scritto, ma che non ha mai neanche provato ad immaginarlo. I couldn't help but stare at the way Cole walked. I had never seen anyone move so gracefully, almost as if he were walking on a sheet of glass and was being very gentle to not crack it.Traduzione per i non anglofoni, perchè questa chicca merita. "Non potei fare a meno di fissare il modo in cui Cole camminava. Non avevo mai visto nessuno muoversi con così tanta grazia, come se stesse camminando su una lastra di vetro facendo molta attenzione a non romperlo."Il delirio.Quella similitune esprime l'esatto opposto di quello che vorrebbe esprimere, e non esiste politically correct che possa farmi dire che un autore che non se ne accorge merita di scrivere. O di essere chiamato autore.Keary Taylor non dovrebbe pubblicare, nemmeno gratis.Questa non è libertà d'espressione, questa è la minima decenza dovuta al lettore e a sé stessi.

  • Sarah Marie
    2018-12-13 20:57

    Branded by Keary Taylor2 stars DNF @ page 48I have nothing against Branded or the story within, but this book was boring and irrelevant. There was a lot of random exposition and transitions that made the story feel stilted and caused a hindrance in my reading experience. Due to Taylor's writing choices, I was completely put off by the concept and uninterested in continuing with my reading experience. I'm currently trying to continue clean out my Kindle and the premise for this is promising, but the execution lacked greatly. I recently came across this philosophical concept that if you are under 50, give a book 50 pages to grab and if it doesn't put it down and that's what I'm doing with Branded. Also the "love interest" (I'm not sure if he is a love interest, but she can't breathe and finds herself smiling when he's around, so he most likely is) walks in on her while she's in the shower without her permission. That is not okay and it will never be okay. It's a complete invasion of privacy and it was the nail in the coffin for me deciding not to continue with this book.Cover Thoughts: I love the cover. It's so pretty. It's one thing this book does right.

  • ~Mindy Lynn~
    2018-12-13 21:44

    FREE ON AMAZON TODAY! 7/29/17

  • Imy♥♥
    2018-11-24 20:45

    Jessica has been tortured with horrifying nightmares ever since she was a little girl. Nightmares of being judged and standing trial for those that have died, in front of a council of Angels. 5 Condemned angels with black eyes, and 5 exalted angels with blue eyes.Up meant exaltation and never ending bliss, while Down meant a branding and never ending torment. On the back of her neck she wears the branding of the condemned reminding her that not all nightmares stay hidden in the shadows of a dream.Two men enter her life and everything changes. One of them has set in motion the events that will soon pull her toward her own judgement and turn her into the sole thing she fears the most This was really an impulse buy when I was looking through the books on Amazon, it was free so I snatched it.I enjoyed it! The story line was great and refreshing to read a unique twist on the normalAngelread. Apart fromJessicaI felt the characters weren't really detailed a whole lot, though seeing as this book continues onto another I didn't dwell too much on that fact.I liked how detailed her dreams were. So much so I could picture the scenes in my head as I was reading along.For a 20 year old girl suffering through horrific nightmares, and having unexplainable markings over her body- Without having anyone to explain what was happening to her, really showed how strong of a character she was. Pulling through and suffering in silence for so many years.At times I just wanted to shake the living hell out of her and say"Yes you're scared, but you've done this before. GO.TO.SLEEP. I'm falling asleep reading about you not wanting to fall asleep!!"Alex was a charmer from the second he walked into her life.He was so caring, gentle and overall just a really nice guy. Did i mention that the hunk of a man can also cook??? Now who doesn't love a man who's skilled in the kitchen and will cook you a buffet breakfast? Man No.2Cole seems perfect.Though just throw in a little stalker vibe/crazy over-the-top insta love feelings.He had me confused. At times he would seem gentle and caring and then other times off his rocker. Still nice to look at though.Alex's final moments in the book threw me. I had Cole pegged from the start, but I wasn't expecting things to go down the way that they did in the end. Truthfully I was a little disappointed in the lack of drama or action that I assumed would be in here, however I'll still happily continue to the next book.

  • Katinki
    2018-11-20 02:44

    I'd like to give this more than 2 stars, but I can't see it when I compare this book to some of the other "angel" books I've read. Basic premise is that Jessica has been haunted by terrible nightmares since a young age. Her nightmares are really more than that, however. In them she stands trial before a panel of angels on the behalf of others, and upon their decision, she suffers the pain of these souls' ascension or worse, damnation. Oh, and she wakes up with proof of it. Enter Alex, the perfect guy, and Cole, the perfect yet creepy guy, and voila, life begins to change for Jessica, in both wonderful ways and terrifying ones. What I liked: - Overall premise isn't bad at all. It's fairly original in a genre inundated with copy cats. I was very curious what the author would do with it. More below.- I liked Alex from the start. From the descriptions of him and his behavior, I speculated that he was one of the "good" angels. More below.- Cole is a pretty good bad guy. Don't judge but for some reason, I kept picturing him as Ian Somerhalder - hot, a little too perfect, dark, and a little creepy.- There was a scene between Alex and Jessica where I actually teared up a little because I felt her fear of telling him the truth. I really liked that scene. I put this as a positive because it was really well done. And it stands out because of well... read below. :/What I felt needed work / didn't like: - The plot needs a lot of tightening up. To be frank, not much appened in this book. It's a little too simple. There's just not enough complexity here. This book could have probably been told as a novella.- I just didn't buy Alex's and Jessica's initial attraction. It happened too fast, which were he an angel, I could toss off as some supernatural effect of that. And I didn't understand / believe that he could so easily accept Jessica's "issues". And I just didn't get why he was so drawn to Jessica to begin with. She didn't exhibit any characteristics that would make me think she's this overly desirable creature that both Alex and Cole want so much.- More on Alex. While I liked him, he was *too* good. It was almost as if the author had drawn up a character "perfect boyfriend".- More on Jessica. Where I don't think she's a "terrible" lead, it's mostly because I couldn't figure out her personality at all. She's a blank slate, almost devoid of personality. She's awkward, ugly/rough looking (her own admission due to lack of sleep), distant, and just... not very cheerful. Why do these men love her????- Need a lot more background. Questions were left too open. I get building mystery in series, but some things needed to be answered. Like WHY someone has to stand trial on behalf of these souls. That makes no sesne to me. To me that's a huge question that should have been addressed. I get that that's the way it is in this universe, but WHY?- The ending. Yeah, again, more background was needed. I didn't understand why/how Alex could just volunteer in her place to save her. I don't know the rules in this world and it makes for a puzzling reading experience.- Needs an editor badly. I'll probably give the second book a shot just to see if some of the issues I had are rectified later on in the story. This was a quick read for me. I think I knocked it back in around 2 hours or so.

  • EroticaAfterDark (Lilith)
    2018-12-01 21:46

    I have never read a book that has bored me so much. I don't know why I did even finish it? Maybe because I was still hoping that the appearance of the 'villain' (sorry for insulting real villains here) would give this story the kick that would make me understand why everyone has rated this book so well...The only really interesting thing is what the 'heroine' is experiencing... in her dreams. The twist is a new view on things, and that I did like. But that's about it, unfortunately.What made this book suck - sorry - was the detailed and absolutely unessential description of everyday activities. I mean... who cares?And the so-called love story was neither believable nor emotional enough to tag this book as a romance.They just happen to be in love, not even fall in love, just *not inserting a boom-noise here* well yeah, be in love. There are no real butterflies, no jolting currents. It's not that I always need that, but wasn't this supposed to be a paranormal/ supernatural romance? No? okay.The whole thing is wooden, as if Ms. Taylor was following the ten steps of writing a dramatic, paranormal triangle loves tory. But there wasn't even a real triangle.The plot itself is predictable and the 'villain' who is quite intriguing as long as he is in our MCs dreams, becomes quite boring too.And don't let me even start with the ending.... dear god....You should save yourselves from this one.

  • Ciara1973
    2018-12-17 23:44

    I'm not sure what to think of this book. The writing was slow paced and the ending was too fast. Somehow, I had no feelings or sympathy for Jessica. The romance was way too rushed and totally umrealistic.Alex was perfect, too perfect. He's loving, caring, rich amd a fantastic cook. I mean please! He knows Jessica for about four days and gives her his dead grandmother's diamond bracelet. There was absulutly no flaw about Alex. He was so unreal, I actually thought I was reading a fairy tell about Prince Charming. So let's talk about Sal. A grown woman abused by her husband. Now he physically abused her so bad, he end up in jail and Sal is a mental mess (rich, but clearly not able to take care of herself, let alone handle financial issues). Wouldn't a court order her a offical caretaker? Wouldn't her doctor or the hospital she was in, organize a caretaker, since she has no family to look after her? No! A housekeeper comes by and organizes her mess in her huge house. Jessica goes shopping for her and Sal gives her twice the amount of money she spent. And since Jessica doesn't spend much money on herself, shouldn't she be loaded with cash (instead of worring about spending too much)? While Sal is in the hospital, her doctor announces Jessica as her caretaker and needs her signature to move her to a mental faculty; just because she goes shopping and even takes too much money from her! Uh, doesn't a court decide who is a caretaker?I don't think I'm going to read the rest of this series.

  • Willow Brooks
    2018-12-12 19:55

    The plot started off great but plummeted so much so it became tedious to finish the story; It dragged on and on. I hated the heroine after chapter 18. The ending was basically a lot of work for nothing. All that training for what?? I'm glad it's over. I will add how I believe that if I had read this book three years ago, I probably would have loved it. I recommend this book for people who are fine with reading stories based around an annoying heroine. I really liked her at first but as the story progressed, she lost my respect and interest. I would still like to read more from this author.

  • Lindsey
    2018-12-13 19:45

    Amazon Freebie 10/17/13

  • Kiersten
    2018-11-30 20:39

    See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksRating: 3.5 starsThere was a time a few months ago when I was binge-one-clicking free eBooks on Amazon – Branded was one of those. In my dilemma to choose a new book, I was scrolling through the ridiculous amount of eBooks I own and I chose Branded, to be completely honest, because it had a really pretty cover. I mean, the cover is just stunning (I see a Cover Cosmetics in your future, Branded). Anyway, I basically devoured this book on Christmas Eve, and while it was far from perfect, I found Branded to be very enjoyable. When I started reading the book, I didn’t even remember what it was about – not even a little – but the premise of the story comes into play right away. We find out in the beginning of Branded that Jessica tries to sleep as little as possible because when she does she has terrible nightmares. These nightmares are not your average nightmares though – in these nightmares, Jessica stands trial for the dead in front of a panel of angels. During the trials, the good and bad deeds of the person are made known. If the person has lived a life of good, he is exalted and sent to heaven. If not, he is condemned, branded with a hot iron, and sent to hell. But here’s the crazy part – when the person on trial is branded, so is Jessica. After every nightmare, Jessica wakes up screaming and often in pain from a new branding. Even though this is the main idea behind the story, I found that there wasn’t really much of it throughout the book. Rather than a paranormal dominated by her nightmares and why she has them, most of the story is dedicated to Jessica coming out of her shell and beginning to trust people. Of course the nightmares have a deeply psychological affect on her, it is certainly not the center of this story until the end. Another somewhat misleading aspect of the blurb for this book is that it sounds like there is a love triangle. Let me tell you, there is no love triangle. Like, not at all. Sure, there are two guys, but there is no competition between them. Not even a little. Nope. So if you hate love triangles, you certainly don’t have to worry about that in this one. For the romance, however, it was a bit insta-love-y. I am by no means opposed to insta-love but usually I like it in young adult rather than a story like this. Jessica is 20 and her love interest, Alex, is 23. Alex is super charming and perfect and rich and kind and understanding to Jessica. He literally does no wrong throughout the whole book – he has no flaw. The only thing he sort of does is get upset out of jealousy, but not to worry – he goes and apologizes about it right away! He was just too perfect. I enjoyed his charm, but if he had moments of flaw I think he would have been that much more enjoyable. Someone that perfect just isn’t believable. Jessica, on the other hand, is nowhere near perfect, which is fine. She is broken by her memories of the nightmares and how they have ruined every relationship she’s ever had – family, friends, and basically everyone. Jessica’s past was sad – her mother thought she was crazy and wanted her to be institutionalized, so Jessica had to run away and start a new life on her own at 16-years-old. Is the fact that a 16-year-old can just run away, get a job, find someplace to live, and not have anyone looking for her believable? Not really, but that’s Jessica’s story. At the start of the book, all she has is the somewhat odd next-door neighbor, Sal, who she takes care of. I felt bad for Jessica and how the nightmares that have plagued her for her entire life have left her alone and afraid to make connections. I mean, yes, you do sound crazy when you tell people you have to face angels in your sleep and then you often get branded and the branding remains on your neck after you wake up. That’s because it is crazy. Thinking back on it, I don’t even understand how Alex just took this information when Jessica told him. He doesn’t even question it. Not at all. Nope. He just perfectly wrapped his arms around her for comfort. If only we all had our own perfect Alex. Anyway, after meeting Alex Jessica decides she needs to act like a real person and do things. She decides to take a yoga class and befriends her yoga instructor, Emily. It was nice to see Jessica face her problem, realizing that she had been locking herself away from the world and that she needed to get out and interact with people. Now you’re probably wondering about the other boy I mentioned earlier. No? Well, I’ll tell you a little about him anyway. Where Alex is the most perfect person of perfection that ever was perfect, Cole is even more beautiful and obsessed with Jessica and sort of creepy. When Cole moves in two doors down from Jessica, he immediately turns the charm on to her. Cole wants nothing more than Jessica, as it turns out, and he’ll do anything to have her. Cole has a very little role in the story until the end. I suppose his strong “I want you so bad” vibe was too much for Jessica and she tried to stay away as much as possible. Good for you, Jessica. You go, Jessica. The thing that has me most conflicted about this story is the ending. While there were times in the book that seemed to drag, having too much unnecessary detail, the ending was almost too quick. Lots of things happen in the end without much chance to fully comprehend what will happen as a result. I FELT SO MANY FEELS. The ending isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but we have almost no idea what will happen as a result of the ending. I’m not entirely sure if I’m happy with the end of Branded, but I am anxious to start the next book, Forsaken. Overall, I did enjoy Branded. I think this book could use a bit more editing – there were a lot of typos, grammatical errors, and general wordiness – but it has a lot of potential. Keary Taylor was able to tell a story with such a different concept. I was able to predict some of the twists early on in the book, but I still think she was rather successful in her execution. I look forward to reading more of her work in the near future, starting with Forsaken!

  • -RadioActiveBookWorm-
    2018-12-13 19:52

    Goodreads Synopsis: 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.My Review: This is an amazing book, and I'm glad I downloaded it. I thought it was going to be just like all the other angel vs demons thing, but it wasn't. it was angels vs angels and also vs humans. Branded is unique to the other stories I've read, because she's different. Every night, while she's sleeping, she's pulled up into a trial to be sentenced for someone else. She's branded, and then pulled back down. She wakes up screaming. This is why she hasn't let anyone in her life for four years, this is why she disconnected from everyone else, this is why she doesn't sleep at night. And then everything changes when she meets Alex, and Cole. Alex is a sweet boy who can't seem to get away from her, and Cole is a cold, hard type of person that her new friend Emily, who also was branded by the angels' trials, thinks looks familiar. Little do they know that something awful is going to happen. I really liked this book, it was amazing and I couldn't stop reading it. It has a storyline that I haven't read anywhere else before, which is always good. The characters were fully formed and rounded, making them easy to get attached to. Especially when they're their own person. It feels like they could've been my friends. I need to read the next book. I was hoping there was another book the whole time I was reading this, and then bam! two more. Day made. I love when that happens. This book was exciting from the moment I started reading it until the end. And I'm sure the next books will also be awesome, once I get my hands on them. I definitely recommend it, and think that more people should check it out! I'll put a link to the Amazon.ca version, where I got mine. (Though I did get mine on one of those free days that amazon has for their kindle books every now and then.. whatever those really are..) It's an amazing book and I'm glad I got the chance to read it. Definitely won't regret it! (':Thanks for reading! Here's another link you can click. (though it is to my blog where this review and many others are posted.)radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com

  • ★Moonrise Books
    2018-12-02 03:39

    Branded (Fall of Angels, #1) is the story of Jessica, a young woman estranged from her parents, who suffers from excruciating night terrors that have all but taken over her life. Jessica doesn’t sleep. Well, she tries her best not to, but after several days she does succumb to sleep, only to be met with the same nightmares she has had her entire life—nightmares of the trials of souls. In the nightmares, Jessica waits in a cell for the angel who never speaks. Hooded, she is led to walk the gauntlet, with angels on both sides of the walk, waiting to hear whether or not the souls for which she stands trial will go up to the heavens, or down to the abysmal dark pit below her feet. Either way, it is a grueling process, and one that takes its toll on Jessica each and every day in the conscious world. She is branded on the back of the neck, and when she awakens the brand is still there, along with other markings and signs that there may be more to these nightmares that just night terrors. Especially now that the patterns are changing, and the fragile veil that has protected her in the past appears to be thinning. Feathers outside her bedroom window, and a stranger with otherworldly good looks lead us to believe that something is amiss.We meet Cole, tall, dark, and handsome, and instantly obsessed with Jessica. He is trouble from the start, with a suspicious nature and a mysterious history. We also meet Alex, a handsome and attentive young man with no family, as his parents are deceased and he has just lost his grandmother. Cole and Alex compete for Jessica’s attention. But beyond this little bubble surrounding Jessica, few characters pop up, and the only one that has some real depth meets a tragic demise. I really wanted to like this book! I wanted to know more about why Jessica was going to trial for the souls of others—the true meaning, on a deeper level. So, although this story had potential, it missed the mark. With the underdeveloped characters and the weak arc, I found myself skimming through pages. Three stars is a generous rating for this book that, despite the feathers and wings, never got liftoff.

  • Amelia
    2018-12-15 21:43

    I started Branded with high hopes - it seemed like an interesting premise and I was happy at the prospect of reading some YA with slightly older characters. I get a few pages in and already it is setting itself up for a stereotype, complete with pretty-but-kind-of-weird female character plus wealthy-male-model-with-not-much-personality and a healthy dose of insta-love. I was ready to forgive Keary Taylor for this because there was still this mystery over Jessica's dreams and I was intrigued.And then we meet wealthy-male-model-with-not-much-personality-number-two and the story is sucked into that YA staple - the love triangle. One time, just once I would like it to at least be a love square. Or involve somebody who looks like a normal person. Or something at least vaguely original. Anyway, I digress... unfortunately Keary Taylor does not seem to have any concept of subtlety. From the moment we meet love-interest-number-two the entire rest of the plot is obvious. And then, about 3/4 of the way through we have this beautiful moment when Jessica realises "OMG the plot is so obvious, how could I have been so stupid?" like - no shit, really?It doesn't help that the writing - which, while not great, was ok in the beginning - completely disintegrates as if Ms Taylor just couldn't be bothered anymore. My favourite example is "It was so strange, the effect Alex had upon me. Like he was the sun and I was a solar panel" but "Finally letting go of his hand felt like leaving a part of me behind. Like a hand or a leg." is quite good too.And when the author can't be bothered, why would the reader be? Towards the end, there's supposed to be some huge drama and conflict and all this eternal love and death malarkey and all I could think was how I wished they would just all hurry up and die so the book would be over.

  • Dava Stewart
    2018-12-06 01:58

    This book is based on a really interesting idea, and after the first chapter or two I was set to like it a lot. Alas, it foundered. The main character is a tortured individual whose life is steeped in the supernatural - not exactly the kind of character you would imagine would be interested in shopping at the mall or painting her toenails. The idea gave the author a great opportunity to explore some deep, philosophical questions about religion and humanity, but she shied away from it. There was entirely too much focus on chiseled abs and perfect skin for my comfort. The other thing that really bothered me about the story was that it seems to suggest pretty much everyone goes to hell. The main character knows this, but makes almost no effort to do good with her life. She checks in on a neighbor, but that's about it. Seems like someone so well acquainted with what it takes to get to heaven would be doing everything possible to avoid an eternal brand.Also, there is vague reference to various "trades" that don't really make sense. For instance, the main character has the experiences she does because of something her dad "traded." I use quotes because what he really did was pray - but the author really avoided using that word or any other word other than angels that connotes religion. Who-or-what-ever is administering these trades is never mentioned or even really alluded to. Good idea, poor execution.

  • Penelope Fletcher
    2018-12-11 21:45

    It was nice to slow down after reading so much fast fantasy. I’ve not read many angel themed books, but if they’re as good as this I may get into them a fair bit!The idea of the trials (up into Heaven or down into Hell) and branding with the X before the wings burst forth was pretty awesome. There were one too many dreams at one point, making it a little repetitive. And I was a tad confused why Alex fell so madly in love with her. Cole made sense, a little, but not Alex. He was sweet though, as was their slow burn romance. Sal felt a tiny bit like a spare part. She was just ... there. You could have carved her out and it would have made no difference to the story line, but she was a fun character. I admit I took long breaks between reading this book. I could put it down, but always after I delved into another, would I pick it up again needing to finish the story. Keary has a wonderful gift with description, and I will be reading the second.

  • Crystal Starr Light
    2018-11-26 01:54

    Bullet Review:DNF at 18% and Chapter 6.This one is truly a shame that I must quit it because it REALLY has a fascinating premise. Jessica goes to sleep, but in her "dreams", she's a soul on judgment in front of a tribunal of 5 evil angels and 5 good angels.Fascinating, right? Well, it would be without all the boring day-to-day activities and the mooning over Alex's FANTASTIC ABS. Gorrammit, I get it, women are fully entitled to be sexually attracted to a guy purely based on his physical qualities. But this is a STORY. Let's keep moving forward, OK? Not get stuck chilling with neighbors, buying books, watching "Touched by an Angel", and drooling over the shirtless Alex?At 18%, I really didn't see any sign of a story. I have no doubt that Jessica and Alex will hook up, Jason will reappear, and maybe the angel subplot will get squeezed in between laundry and dinner.Of course, if you want a bit more "normal" in your paranormal, this might just be what the doctor ordered.

  • Shraddha
    2018-12-16 21:59

    Alex is just perfect, and so very selfless. He is sunshine and all things that make one happy. I think it was beautiful when Jessica said that she would never be worthy of him but she's going to try.I freaking love this book! The concept was so different, and Jessica and Alex went through too much. There's just so much love in this book, especially from dear Alex, you can't help but adore the book and the characters!Here are some things I learned from Branded:1) You must look past a person's messed up life and see them for who they really are2) You never give up on the ones you love, no matter what3) Alex is the perfect partner4) I will never find a guy like Alex5) Which is why I'm probably going to be single all my life

  • Sam :)
    2018-11-19 01:54

    Rating: 4.25 starsSuch a fantastic and unique plot! Jessica herself was so strong, and I didn't expect half of what happened. My only criticism was that it seemed just a bit too long.I must admit that I'm not planning on continuing the series, as I just feel like it's better as a stand alone.I definitely recommend this fallen-angels novel!

  • Meg (booksandwinewithmeg.blog)
    2018-12-10 01:53

    DNF... I trudged on until about 60% couldn't finish

  • Zeek
    2018-12-17 00:05

    dnf. too twilighty juvenile for me...

  • Kate Givans
    2018-12-02 23:38

    Summary:In Branded by Keary Taylor, Jessica is forced to stand trial for those that have died while she sleeps. In most cases, their fate is eternal damnation and Jessica is branded with the sign of the condemned. Her family and friends believe she is crazy, and eventually, she leaves everyone she knows and loves for a life of solitude. She avoids her dreams at all costs. She avoids people at all costs. But fate has something different in mind; love.Alex is the grandson of the home she caretakes and he and Jessica quickly fall in love. Jessica trusts and loves him even more after she divulges the truth about her nightmares and the scars on her body and he accepts and believes her. But just as it seems that Jessica has found her perfect match, a new guy moves into town. He's suave, unearthly handsome and very persuasive. What's more, Jessica feels very strange around him - a sense of trust encases her when he's near, but there's something else that she doesn't quite seem to understand. She believes that she loves Alex, but she can't seem to understand her feelings for the new neighbor. To make matters more confusing, her dreams are changing. She still faces condemnation, but a shift has occurred and it has Jessica frightened and uncertain about what it all means. Will Jessica sort out her feelings before it's too late? What will come of the changes in her dreams? Her own judgment is coming and she has to solve the mystery before it's too late.My Review:To be honest, I think I really flubbed this review the first time around. I really did like this book and I think I must have been having a really bad day or maybe was focusing too much on the negative or something along those lines and it really wasn’t fair to the author or the book. I extend my sincerest apologies and am humbling myself to the author in hopes that there aren’t any hard feelings. Now, back to the review….Branded is highly original. I loved the premise of the book and have never read anything quite like it. It was definitely unique. I absolutely adored Alex…who couldn’t? He has got to be just the sweetest character in existence! I could also really empathize with Jessica and the struggles she goes through in the book. Parts of her character really resounded with me, particularly the lack of connection with her family. Highly likable characters (well, those that you’re supposed to like anyway, lol.) The pace of the book, overall, was very pleasant. Not too fast and not too slow. There were a few distractions in the book, but most of them were rather minor. The biggest for me, I think, was the fact that I struggled with Jessica’s lack of insight in who the bad guy was. I kept wondering why she let him in her life, but then again, it may have been something that only the reader was supposed to see and not the character.I really loved other parts of the book, like the meeting towards the end of the book…I won’t say anything more though because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else. The ending made me cry too. And honestly, I’m really excited to see where the author takes the next book. I’ve already ordered it but haven’t had a chance to read it.