Blog Tour and Giveaway: Branded by Tara Sivec

Have you discovered Tara Sivec's new series?  In this post, you will get a double whammy from me!  Not only am I going to share my thoughts on the second book in this series, Branded, but also I will be giving you my thoughts on the first book, Burned.

Ignite Trilogy, Volume 1: Collin & Finnley 

Seventeen years old when he broke my heart.
Seventeen days later when another picked up the pieces.
Seventeen years together.
Seventeen thousand problems.
Seventeen days of reliving my past and finding a new future.
Seventeen minutes until it all went up in flames.
Seventeen breaths until I took my last.
This is my story...and it’s going to burn.

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First let me state, I went into this book scared.  Scared that I wasn't going to like it.  And it's Tara, so I didn't want to not like this book.  I was scared of not liking it because it was advertised as a steamy erotica, and I am not a fan of erotica.  However, everyone's definition of erotica is different.  So, I gave it a go...

This isn't a story about sex.  So, that threw the idea of erotica right out the window.  There were a small handful of erotic scenes, but that is about it.  So, I will say if you don't like erotic scenes, meaning hot descriptive sex, then maybe this book isn't for you.  I am not saying the book is full of it.  These scenes are not all through the book, but they do exist.  

Let me get right to the point.  The one thing that bothered be, that stopped this from being a 5 star read for me is the character development.  What do I mean by that?  Collin's character was conflicting to me.  Usually, when there is a "nice guy" such as Collin, he can go two ways.  The first being he is sweet in both public and private situations.  The second being he can be a freak in private situations.  When the "sweet guy" turns naughty in private, you usually see it coming.  There are usually clues to show that he has a bad boy side lurking in there somewhere.  I didn't get that with Collin.  His outward persona and his bedroom persona did not fit at all.  It was like they were two separate characters.  I felt a huge disconnect with his character because of this.

With that aside, this book is one of those books that you want to cherish.  You have the old-flame scenario.  They never fully got over one another.  They come back together years later and pick up where they once were.... but it's not that simple.  Is it ever that simple?

Take the love story of Collin and Finnley, throw in an obsessive nut-job ex-husband, and you have an explosive plot.  There is stalking.  There is violence.  But at the same time, there is love and adoration.  Your mind, heart and emotions will be all over the place throughout this book.  

I will be honest with you, the sadistic side of me didn't want any form of HEA with this one.  I don't know why.  Maybe I am sicker in the head than I think I am.  For me, this is one of those books where I wanted to be left cussing and yelling.... Yeah, I think I am too much of a masochist.

While this book isn't for everyone, but no book is.  This book is for many.  If you are looking for an emotional rollercaster, it's for you.  If you are looking for a love story that may gut you but leave you satisfied and sated, then it's for you.  If you are looking a little bit of a twisted plot than the usual, then this book is for you.  If you are looking for some hot and steamy sex, this may be the book for you.

Ignite Trilogy, Volume 2: DJ & Phina 

I wear my scars like a scarlet letter, reminding myself that I’m not worth the trouble.
I’ve spent seventeen years pushing men away, never allowing myself to believe in the fairytale…then, he walked back in.
Just like before, we explode when we’re together. I hate him for what he did to me, but I can’t stay away.
Eighteen days filled with passion and promises.
Nineteen letters filled with threats and foreboding. 
It only takes twenty minutes for the numbers to all add up.
One thousand, two hundred seconds until everything changes and there’s no going back.
This is my story, and it’s going to leave a scar.

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Usually, the first book in a series is the best one.  This is not the case.  This book surpassed the first one by a long shot.  Why not a 5 star rating?  I, truthfully, can't put that into words.  The only thing I can come up with is that while this is a GREAT book, it just didn't sit and simmer in my head for too long after I read it.  My 5 star ratings are usually books that I just can't let go of.  Although I loved this book, for whatever reason, it didn't linger with me.  

This book is equally disturbing and heart breaking and soul warming.... In more ways than one!  Phina has suffered some serious events in her life.  Her self-destruction is understandable and heart breaking.  As much as she wants to move forward, her past will always haunt her, literally.

This is the story of a woman who refuses to allow someone to love her because she can't come to terms with her past.  Yet, the object of her affection will do anything to show her that she is worthy of being happy.  This story is full of twists and turns you never saw coming.  And the stalker?  I somewhat figured it out a little early, but not too early.  But Tara was really good at making me second guess my thoughts.

This is one of those stories I couldn't put down.  I wanted the conclusion so bad, I could taste it.  The conclusion I got wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was a bit git-wrenching.  It was bittersweet, and unlike the first book, I was pleased with the ending.  Maybe there is a reason for that, which you will see when you read this book!