BRANDED (revamped!) Blog Tour Review + Teaser!

1 Jun





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.

“Shhh…” He grips me closer to his body and then softly whispers in my ear, “I’m about to kiss you, and once I start I won’t be able to stop. Just thought I should warn you.”

Holy bad boy! Is it hot in here or is it just me?

This is probably one of the most gripping books I have read in a long time. The storyline was fresh and interesting, the characters were strong and unique, the writing was smart and sizzling! It was the perfect combination of YA apocalypse and forbidden romance.

To recap, about 50 years ago the Commander came into power and changed the entire legal system. Now, it’s absolutely illegal to sin, and if you are a suspected sinner and are reported as one by any of your friends or neighbors, you get taken to The Hole. The Hole is a half-jail, half-community of sinners gone wild. There, the color of the brand around your neck defines who you are. The most dangerous brand to have would arguably be Lust – the brand our heroin has, even though she isn’t guilty of the crime she was accused of committing. If you are Lust, you are a slut meant to be… *ahem*. Those who ARE Lust don’t tend to survive very long in The Hole.

Enter Mr. Sexy Bodyguard (Cole) who dotes on all the Commander’s orders.

Now, when I say forbidden romance, I don’t mean the Romeo & Juliet gasp-cry-run-into-my-arms romance.  I mean that it is legit forbidden. Like, don’t even THINK about it. Don’t look at his muscles, don’t think about his muscles, don’t even breathe in the same room as his muscles. This is the kind of romance that is punishable – and in The Hole, the punishments are brutal. You’d wish you were dead.

“He takes my face into his hand, and reassures me. “So outside of these walls, we can’t stand each other.”

Yeah…. *sigh* Okay, okay, I’ll give you another one. This book is full of so many good quotes:

“I never planned on falling for you. You were just an assignment. But it just sort of happened and now… There’s not a single thing I would change about you. When you smile, my entire world stops. All I see is you. I need you.”

I, like, swooned every time Cole spoke. It was just perfect – forbidden romance, him fighting his feelings for her but having to risk his life to protect her; him seeing her beyond her sin as the person she really is, and just the hopelessness of the whole situation. There are also choices he has to make between the Commander and her. Obviously, you want him to choose her, but in this world, choosing her would be signing her death warrant, and then his own. So what should he do when she doesn’t care if she dies, as long as she’s with him? What should he do if it has become ingrained in him to protect her, no matter the cost?

What I absolutely loved about this story was that it wasn’t all centered around the romance. It was centered around the protagonist and her survival. This is an apocalyptic world full of rapes and gun fights and cruelty and anger. The Hole is full of people who are mad at the system and need to take control, whether it be taking it out at the guards, at the Commander, or on each other.

“To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.”

There is no way out of The Hole. The brand around her neck ensures that there’s no way she could ever escape the judgement or the cruelty associated with her sin. Everyone’s fear of the Commander and of sinning would keep her in line. Friends turn on friends. Family would throw you under the bus to save their own skin. Nobody is safe.

There is just a whole world outside of the romance that will have you flipping pages and pages as fast as you can – even if you are a total romance-junky like I am. And I think that that is one of the best things about this book – that it doesn’t need a romance to keep you entertained. You honestly want to know what happens next, and the bonus is the steamy romance.

I absolutely recommend this book to EVERYONE. It’s action packed and awesome and gritty and dark and steamy and everything you want in a good YA dystopian. Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent will love the uniqueness of it!

5 stars!



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