Author: Tara Sivec
First published January 7, 2015
263 pages, Kindle Edition
Welcome to the thrilling world of Branded by Tara Sivec. In this second installment of the Ignite Series, meet DJ and Phina, two people whose explosive relationship has been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Phina wears her scars like a badge of dishonor, convinced that she’s not worth anyone’s time or love. But when DJ walks back into her life, all her doubts and fears are erased – at least for a little while.
Eighteen days of passion and promises follow, but they’re quickly followed by nineteen letters filled with threats and foreboding. Just twenty minutes later, everything changes, and there’s no going back.
With one thousand, two hundred seconds to make a decision, will Phina be able to find the strength to overcome her past and build a future with DJ? This is her story, and it’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
About the Author
Meet Tara Sivec, a multitasking wonder. She’s a USA Today best-selling author, a wife, a mother, a chauffeur, a maid, a short-order cook, a babysitter, and an expert in sarcasm.
She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children, and can’t wait for the day when all three of them are grown up and out of the house.
After spending fourteen years in the brokerage business, Tara decided to trade in her pen-pushing for pen-wielding and started writing instead. She writes across a variety of genres, including Romantic Comedy, Romantic Comedy/Mystery, Romantic Suspense, New Adult Drama, Contemporary Romance, and Psychological Thriller.
Her novel Seduction and Snacks even won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book. Tara was also voted Best Indie Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader’s Choice Awards 2014.
When Tara isn’t busy writing or taking care of her family, she enjoys fantasizing about all the baking and napping she’ll do once she finally has some free time.
In her novel Branded, Tara Sivec successfully weaves together a story of love, loss, and redemption. Published in 2015, Branded occupies a space in the contemporary romance genre, with its steamy scenes and focus on the romantic relationship between the two main characters.
The novel centers around Emma, a recent college graduate who finds herself at a crossroads in life. After being betrayed by her boyfriend and flat broke, she takes a job as a bartender in a small town in Colorado.
There, she meets Jake, a rugged local who is dealing with his own demons. Despite their initial animosity towards each other, they are drawn together by a mutual attraction and a shared experience of loss.
Sivec’s writing style is direct and accessible, making Branded an easy and engaging read. One of the strengths of the novel is the depth of character development.
Both Emma and Jake are complex, flawed, and compelling, with their individual struggles and insecurities. Sivec does a masterful job of creating a sense of tension between the two characters, as they navigate their growing relationship in the face of external pressures and emotional baggage.
Another notable aspect of Branded is the setting. Sivec portrays the small town of Bell Buckle, Colorado, in vivid detail, creating a sense of place that is both charming and suffocating.
The town serves as a backdrop for the characters’ personal dramas, highlighting the tensions between the pull of home and the desire for something different. However, Branded is not without its flaws.
At times, the plot feels predictable, and the romantic conflicts between Emma and Jake can feel contrived. The novel also relies heavily on some of the cliches and tropes of the romance genre, such as the “bad boy” with a heart of gold and the “broken” heroine.
Despite these limitations, Branded is a compelling read that will appeal to fans of contemporary romance. Sivec’s writing elevates the genre, with its nuanced characterizations and descriptive prose.
While it may not break new ground in terms of plot or themes, Branded offers a satisfying and emotionally resonant story. Overall, I would recommend Branded to readers who enjoy romance novels with complex characters and an evocative setting.
While it may not be for everyone, those who are willing to overlook the occasional cliches and flaws will find a satisfying and enjoyable read. I would give Branded a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, due to its strong characterizations and engaging writing style.