Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.
Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
Branded was just…
I always hesitate before I read a dystopian novel. They rarely turn up good, but Branded completely exceeded my expectations. There was a forbidden romance that had my stomach in knots (and I mean forbidden, like Eve eating the apple forbidden) and a wonderful storyline.
Where do I even begin with this one? I guess Lexi is a good place to start since she’s the MC in Branded.
Lexi is amazing! Despite her devastatingly traumatic past, and her horrific present, she doesn’t give up. She carries on with her life, trying to survive in the worst of circumstances, and her strength despite all that she endures makes you want to stand up and cheer for her. There are rarly people who can cope with the situation so good without loosing their mind. I’m going to go ahead and say that if I ever got branded and sent to the Hole I would loose my mind immediatly. I’m pretty sure the “Hole” is just another word for Hell. There’s evil in every corner, you’re never safe and can’t ever fully trust someone, everyone is just looking out for themselves and even the guards who are supposed to guard you and keep you safe, either rape or they beat you.
Cole was a tough guy. Strong, fearless, focused, well-trained and loyal. Brought up as a guard, he did not have much choice how to live his life but he always tried to make the best out of it. When I got to know him better through out the book, I was completely enraptured by his character. I would, though, liked to know more about him. His background story, how/where he was before he met Lexi.
The connection between them is beautiful, and while the romance is an important part of the story, it doesn’t overwhelm everything else that is going on. And there is SO much going on – not only the daily battle to survive, but also the ongoing threat of danger, an evil dictator, and a looming rebellion.
Now lets get down to the important character in this book…Zeus! Zeus is Cole’s dog. Hear me when I say I do NOT like animals, but the loving protective awesome dog makes me want one as well! I loved this dog, he is always there for Lexi no matter what when she needs him!
Branded has such an unique story to tell. I’ve read books for as long as I can remember and I’ve never read a book similar to Branded. No book where people get branded by what sin they’ve committed. Branded even has a message to the readers, I don’t know if that was what the authors were going for but I like to believe that Branded is trying to tell you that even if you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s always something worth fighting fot. It’s amazing.
Oh my God the plot twists! I don’t know how i do it, but somehow I always know what’s going to happen in a book. I really hate that because I want a book to surprise me. And branded did. I never saw the twists and turns coming! The book is fast paced enough that you were always reading about something new and yet took it’s time enough that you were able to develop a close connection to the characters. Don’t forget though that this IS a dystopian. There’s fighting, battles, rebellions, and a whole story outside of the romance but for those of you who are hard-core romance fans, Cole and Lexi’s relationship will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens to them
It was just a tiny little thing that bothered me and that was that sometimes the sentences were a bit repetitive. There were several sentences in a row that started with “I”.
Over all, I really loved Branded and I feel like EVERYONE should read it. It’s released on June 3rd (one day before my birthday yay) but you can go ahead and preorder it on amazon, which I strongly suggest you do. I give this book 4.5 planets!
Now to the interview with the authors!
Please welcome Abi Ketner and Missy Kalickici!
- It is no secret how much I adored your book, but for some people who may not have heard about it, can you describe your story in a couple of sentences?
It’s a story of survival for a young girl, Lexi. She lives in a society ruled by the Commander. He has it set up so anyone accused of a sin, is branded with the color of their sin, and sent to the Hole to live out the rest of their days. It starts with Lexi being accused, branded Blue for LUST, and being transported into the Hole. It’s cruel and horrific at times, but Lexi manages to find some hope in the relationships she develops along the way.
- How did the idea for “Branded” come to you?
Abi came up with the concept of branding sinners with the colors of the Seven Sins. After that, we just started writing, and the whole concept came to life.
- Since you’re two authors writing Branded, how would you say that affected your book? Were there any scenes or anything that one wanted but not the other? How was it?
Yes, definitely there were times when we each had scenes we wanted to write. We write well together, but we do have separate and defined strengths that allow us to pass off scenes to each other. At the same time, rarely is there a scene that we haven’t both touched in one way or the other. It just works. J
- Imagine that we get to see BRANDED on the big screen *crossing fingers*. Who would you pick to play your characters?
Missy- Oh man, I don’t even know. I guess I don’t think that far ahead because right now we’re just pushing the book to be as successful as possible. However, when I think of Cole, I think of someone like Joshua Hartnett. When it comes to Lexi, I’m not specific on the actress… I’d just want her to be athletic and healthy- not Hollywood skinny. And Zeus, well, I’d love to meet a dog that would embody all that we’ve created him to be! Haha
Abi- I agree with Missy Love JOSH
- What’s the best and worst thing about being an author?
The best thing? Definitely writing!!! Creating a world and developing characters that others can relate to and get to know. Also, getting to know a lot of other people in the industry… from bloggers, to other writers, and our fans… that’s awesome!
- Do you have a favorite quote from Branded? If so, then why is it your favorite?
Missy- I think my favorite quote is, “At what point do they believe what’s been branded on their skin instead of just knowing who they are inside?” I like this quote because I think it’s relevant to everyday life. At what point along the way in life do you believe all that other people say about you as a person? Or are you confident enough in the person you are to be who you were created to be? I guess my point is, be yourself!!! Don’t worry about what others say or how they judge you.
Abi- “You can overcome anything short of death.” My father always said this to me during tough times. And obviously was a huge inspiration for Branded.
- Do you read your reviews? If so, how have bloggers/reviewers impacted you as authors?
Missy- Yes, actually I do. I love the positive ones, obviously, but I don’t let the negative ones bother me. Honestly, when we decided to revamp Branded, we went through a lot of reviews and picked out common themes… there were parts of the book we felt needed to be clarified & given more depth. That’s why constructive reviews are so IMPORTANT! You never know what authors will take away from what you say.
Aside from that, we’ve definitely had some fabulous bloggers believe in us from day one such as Michelle from Novelsontherun, Angela Pratt from Ifeeltheneedtoread, and Aestas Blook Blogger has also helped us out.
Abi- The ones that rip you apart are really unnecessary and I always skip those. They tend to be on Goodreads. I don’t go on goodreads unless a reviewer sends us the link and we know them on a personal basis.
- Did you do any specific research to write Branded?
Some, yes. Mostly on tactics and weaponry. For the world building, we definitely did some reading.
- Do you have any advice for young writers?
Abi- Write what you love! Not what you think others would love. If the story isn’t flowing and if you’re not in love with it, it will never work.
10. Which character in Branded do you relate most to and why?
Missy- I’d say Lexi, if anyone. I think there are parts of her that I infused myself, and I’m sure Abi would say the same thing. She’s got curly hair like us, and light eyes like we do. She also has a very tight relationship with her Dad, which Abi & I both do as well. As far as her personality, I’d say she’s an overcomer. I think that’s true for Abi & I in different ways. We’ve both had difficulties in life, but chose to work through them and mature.
Abi-I agree with Missy. We have to relate to your main character somehow.
- Are you apart of any “Fandom”?
Missy- haha… umm yes, kinda. I loved Twilight and reread those books a few times. I also love the Game of Thrones books by George RR Martin.
Abi- Twilight and The Hunger Games
- As readers – what authors are a must read for you two?
Missy- I’m not sure, really. I read a lot of everything from fiction, YA fiction & dystopian, to non-fiction historical books. Basically, if it sounds good… I’ll read it. Two authors that really got me started were Bodie Thoene and Ann Rinaldi. I’ve read the majority of both their works and love them!
Abi- I also read a lot of YA. I tend to steer away from the novels full of sex. It’s just not for me. So I will read some NA if it’s not sex after sex. But I truly enjoy YA. I LOVE, John Green, Nicholas Sparks, Susan Collins and Stefanie Meyer. But I will always grab a great Dystopian. I love action and a love story. You can’t beat that.
13. What’s next for you?
We’ll just keep on writing and finishing up the Sinners Series for now. We have a few ideas for the future though as well. 😉
14. I have to ask: who is your fictional hero?
Missy- My fictional hero? I’m not sure I can pick just one… I have a lot of real life heroes though and they are the BEST! J
Abi- Zeus J
15. Is there anything you want to say to your readers?
Missy- Follow your dreams, work hard, and stay humble. J
Abi- Dream big. Never give up. And most important… ignore the ones who say you can’t do it. Because you can do anything you want.
You can buy Branded on June 3rd but make sure to pre-order it on amazon!