Monday, June 1, 2015

#BRANDEDVERSARY – Branded Review & Author Interview

Branded is turning 2!
And I can not believe it's been that long since I first read it! I don't think I ever stopped thinking about it... until I reread it again last year which left me looking forward to it's sequel Hunted. It's probably going to be awhile before I don't spend my summer with Lexi.
Two years ago when I first read it, I might have mentioned being distracted and said I owed it a better review, which I wrote last year, which is the one I'm sharing now along with an author interview I did with Abi Ketner & Missy Kaliciki.

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.
To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.
Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.
Constant darkness.
Brutal and savage violence.
Excruciating pain.
Every day is a fight for survival.
But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  book depository | iBooks

Although this review is for the second edition of Branded but that really doesn't make a difference because I loved it just the same.
Other than one thing I didn't really note any differences.
In my defense though, it has been a year (exactly) since I first read it.

Having already read it you'd think I would have avoided making the mistake I made when I picked it up to start reading.
That mistake being; me deciding to start reading before bed knowing full well that once I started I was not going to want to stop. After reading the first sentence my first thought was: "Oh no, this is gonna be a long night."
How I managed to ever put it down I'll never know. I would dive in and not want to come back.

And then the battery on my Nook (fondly known as Linky) would die.

It's such an amazing non-stop story.
I found myself falling all over again for the characters, if possible even harder this time around. The writing has a distinct style and personality that I couldn't not fall back into that world and get caught up in it's action even if I did know what was coming.

Ever since I read it last year I hadn't stopped thing about it, so clearly I jumped at the idea of rereading it.
Now it just left me looking forward to the next one.

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

1. Will there be more stories following Lexi?

There will be two more books in The Sinners Series. Both are coming out in 2015.

2. Do you have a favorite character either in other books or one you've written?

Zeus. We loved writing him and we are both huge dog lovers, so we adore him.

3. What was the first thing you ever wrote about? And how old were you?

Abi- I never wrote anything fiction related that I can remember.

Missy- When I was twelve I just wrote a short story for school.

4. Do you have anything specific that inspires you, or makes you think something would make a good story?

Abi- For me it was my father, he always said to me during hard times. “Aber, you can overcome anything short of death. Also, I listen to music while I run and let my brain wonder… and my imagination kicks in.

5. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Abi- Being with my family. I have 4 year oldtriplet girls and two boxers. I used to play soccer until I had my kids, so now I enjoy reading, working out and being a stay at home mom. Cheering on my Philadelphia Phillies.
Missy- Spending time with my husband and my two boys, reading, and anything our doors.

6. If you could travel back to the past or into the future where would you go?

Abi- I would go back to the day I first held my girls in the NICU. Time goes so fast, I would love to just hold my little miracles one more time.

7. Night owl, or early bird?

Abi & Missy- have to be night owls now because it’s our only time to write.

8. What is one book everyone should read?

That’s hard. Have to go with three. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and The Fault In Our Stars.

9. Do you make a playlist while you write or have a certain song that you feel represents the story?

Abi- I had two songs that were my inspiration. Kelly Clarkson’s Dark Side and Honestly.

Missy- The three songs that come to mind for me are 1) Linkin Park’s Castle of Glass, Third Eye Blind’s Wounded, and Need to breathe’s Something Beautiful

10. Any advice for aspiring writers?

Stick with it. Believe in it. Find a good editor. Find reputable bloggers that will give you an honest opinion & believe in your book! Ask other authors for advice when you need it. The indie community is very supportive if you just ASK. It won’t be easy, and it’s definitely a long process, but it’s worth the effort when you can say you wrote a book!!!

11. Finish the sentence: I do my best writing when...

Abi- Listening to music that sets the mood for the scene I am writing.

Missy- I need complete silence.

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