Blog Tour: Tortured Souls (#1) by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Torturedsoulstourbanner

Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Published on/by:
 June 29th 2014 by Sea Dragon Press (first published June 28th 2014)
Format: eBook
Page Count: 227 pages
Blurb: 

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn’t an option.

Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it’s ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.

When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie’s longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.

But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he’s never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.

Kacie can’t ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.

Amazon * Goodreads

NON-SPOILERY MINI REVIEW:

What do you get when you have a sweet, relatable main protagonist with insane spirit powers, a kind and swoon-worthy love interest and a weirdo serial killer? You get oodles of fun, that’s what. This book was extremely enjoyable with comical secondary characters and plenty of spooky spirit encounters to keep you on your toes. I really loved the interactions and the fact that the characters were not perfect and had flaws too. The pacing of this book was great and I found myself speeding through the pages which I feel is essential in a good book. While I enjoyed the banter and the pacing, I do have to say that I wasn’t too keen on the development of the romance, mainly because it was a pre-existing crush and so we didn’t get a lot of build-up and explanation about their attraction with each other in the beginning. Overall, it was really fun and I’ll definitely pick up Book 2 of ‘The Orion Circle’ series!

GET THE TORTURED SOUL EXPERIENCE IN A PLAYLIST!

I’ve been listening to this playlist while reading the book and I can say with certainty that I’m pretty impressed that each of these songs fit SO WELL with the story.

  1. Iridescent by Linkin Park
  2. Without You from Rent
  3. When I See You Smile by Bad English
  4. Whisper by Evanescence
  5. Criticize by Adelita’s Way
  6. Through Glass by Stone Sour
  7. Silent Lucidity by Queensryche
  8. Home by Daughtry
  9. Heaven nor Hell by Volbeat
  10. Die Trying by Art of Dying
  11. I’ll Follow You by Shinedown
  12. Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold
  13. Enter Sandman by Metallica
  14. Hero by Skillet

Check out the playlist on spotify!

GIVEAWAY!
$25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Signed Print Copy – US Only
5 sets of signed bookmarks – US only
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A copy of Tortured Souls was given to me by the author for an honest review!

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW: Hallowed (#2) by Cynthia Hand

Book review image

photo (2)

Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Even better than the first! Team Christian! 
Published on/by: 26th December 2012 by HarperTeen (First published on 17th January 2012)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 403 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW (MINOR SPOILERS FROM BOOK 1):

This book did NOT suffer from second book syndrome, and in fact, it was even BETTER than the first! This book challenged everything I knew and felt about the first. There are plenty of twists and curveballs and the pacing was just so easy and it pained me to put it down to do my Philosophy homework. Snooze.

One of the greatest things about this series (so far) is the mother daughter dynamic and it was such a great thing to see their relationship develop and overcome some pretty shocking and saddening revelations. I also really enjoyed the expansion of this whole Angel ordeal and the introduction of the Congregation as well as new angel-blood characters (a particular newbie character was INCREDIBLY shocking)! I really enjoyed these new developments and the growth of Clara’s character as she learnt more about herself and her abilities.

Sure, there were some pretty frustrating parts, especially scenes with her brother. I thought Jeffrey was incredibly petulant and I just wanted to slap some good sense into him as it was particularly frustrating to be guessing what his deal was. However, when Clara confronted him and everything made sense again, my anger shifted from Jeffrey to Clara. Boy, this was a roller coaster.

As for the romance, I have decided to take the side of Christian Porter. I like Tucker, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about someone who can understand exactly what you are and what you’re going through, right? I feel Clara’s frustration in that she wants to fight the future and she doesn’t want to have to follow what is laid out for her…but I’m just hoping she’ll get over it because, unf, Christian Porter.

Yeah, I just unf-ed.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed this book even more than the first but it’s still not quite a 5 star book for me. I’ve never been one to be particular about my rating but I’m trying to do this thing now where I’ll be awarding 5 stars to books that a) challenged me, b) moved me, c) made me think about it for a long period of time after completion or d) all of the above. It was well-written, yes. It had great angel mythology and a sweet romance, check and check. But I just wasn’t that attached to the entire world and the characters, prompting me to give it less than 5 stars.

I totally recommend this sequel if you have read the first book (which you should totally do!)

Anticipatin’ & Waitin’: June 2014 Releases!

Hello, hello!

It is that time of month again where I talk about the books that I absolutely must have, that are coming out in the month of June! I’ve had a great month of reading since I had a semester break, so you can bet I gobbled some books up. Granted, I didn’t follow my original May TBR, I’m glad I actually picked up some of the books that have been laying on my shelf for a million years! So, in the month of May, I’ve read a total of 5 1/2 books, all of which I’ve done a review on. Come to think of it, typing that out…I feel kind of pathetic, HAHA. I could’ve done so much better than 5,  I think, but I really took my time with ‘Last Sacrifice’, which could’ve been the reason why my number was so low. So basically when I say I had a “great month” of reading, I didn’t mean by the numbers, but instead on how much I loved all the books I managed to read!

Moving on…I finally have a wide range of YA books in this list…okay, maybe not perfect but at least it’s not heavily centred around contemporaries like the last two ‘Anticipatin’ & Waitin’! I think I’ve had a huge dose of them this month, and when I read ‘Unearthly’, I just remembered how much I loved the urban fantasy/paranormal genre…so here I am, BRANCHING OUT on my long lost loves!

5. #scandal by Sarah Ockler (June 17th 2014, Simon Pulse)

#Scandal Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. Andespecially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…

 

I have read all of Sarah Ockler’s previous books and needless to say, this lady has a knack for contemporary writing. I love, love, love all the stories she’s written, especially her debut, ‘Twenty Boy Summer’ which made me bawl like a baby, 20 pages in. If an author can do that to you, you know she’s a keeper. However, I’ve decided to approach this book warily…and not because I don’t think I’ll like it, but because it deals centrally with infidelity. I hate infidelity, and almost never read about it, because of all the books I’ve read dealing with it, the execution just never sat well with me. But I have faith that Sarah Ockler will kick her new contemporary right out of the park, because DUH! She’s Sarah Ockler!

 

4. The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset (June 1st 2014, Sourcebooks Fire)

The Girl Who Never Was Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

 

Doesn’t the synopsis sound fantastic? I love, love, love fae mythology and especially in a urban fantasy setting?! Sign me up. This book sounds like a lot of fun what with the magical parents, a mother who wants to *GASP* kill her and of course, a cute fae boy! 😉 This totally reminds me of Puck’s affection for Meg in the Iron Fey series which I absolutely already ADORE (even when I’m only on Book 3!). Also, can we please just take a seat and think about how a fairy and an ogre did a deed? LOL.  This sounds like a really promising new fantasy series and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

 

3. Inland by Kat Rosenfield (June 12th 2014, Dutton Juvenile)

Inland Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Callie Morgan has long lived choked by the failure of her own lungs, the result of an elusive pulmonary illness that has plagued her since childhood. A childhood marked early by the drowning death of her mother—a death to which Callie was the sole witness. Her father has moved them inland, away from the memories of the California coast her mother loved so much and toward promises of recovery—and the escape of denial—in arid, landlocked air.

 
But after years of running away, the promise of a life-changing job for her father brings Callie and him back to the coast, to Florida, where Callie’s symptoms miraculously disappear. For once, life seems delightfully normal. But the ocean’s edge offers more than healing air … it holds a magnetic pull, drawing Callie closer and closer to the chilly, watery embrace that claimed her mother. Returned to the ocean, Callie comes of age and comes into a family destiny that holds generations of secrets and very few happy endings.

 

I don’t know about you, but this synopsis just enchanted me. I’m still confused about what the entire book is truly about, but the suspense…Good lord, I want it NOW. I really don’t know how to categorise this book, seeing as it sounds a little like a contemporary and then all of a sudden: paranormal/psychological thriller. Could this book touch a little on the possibility of mermaids? Although the premise is not the same, this book gives me a ‘Please Ignore Vera Dietz’ vibe, which I’m so happy for, because I like it 20% more already. Can we also appreciate the beautiful, eerie cover? I’m so hoping my local bookstore will stock this in the month of June (they’re usually two months late!)!

 

2. The Merciless by Danielle Vega (June 12th 2014, Razorbill)

The Merciless Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
 
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
 
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
 
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

 

Oh my god. If you didn’t get goosebumps from that description…are you human? This, I can tell, is not for the weak of heart. And I know this because a few book-tubers received review copies and the emblazoned on the first page: NOT FOR THE WEAK OF HEART. This is like The Exorcism plus Mean Girls and I want it SO BAD. I admit, I hate horror movies and gore. I have a weak stomach and I suffer from this weird thing where the skin connecting my ankle to the heel of my foot as well as my wrist are incredibly vulnerable at times where I’m sick to my stomach. And from that, you can probably tell I diagnosed myself. Even after all that, I still want to read this because not only is the book cover amazingly designed (hats off to the irony), but I’m so intrigued to find out how it’ll all end. Also, I hear that Marlene King of ‘Pretty Little Liars’ is already adapting this to go on the big screen! That was quick!

 

1. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (June 3rd 2014, Roaring Brook Press)

The Truth About Alice Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

 

Do you notice a trend? Yes? Yeah, me too. I know this book is going to wreck me (maybe less so) than ‘The Merciless’, because let’s be real… Any story to do with bullying in highschool? It gets me, EVERY TIME. I especially love darker contemporaries touching base and I know this is right up my alley as it sounds like it will touch base on slut-shaming and public perception and I’ve yet to read one told in this particular way. The book will be in the perspective of four people which always intrigues me because I feel that this is an amazing way to provide so many dimensions to characters–whether it be Alice or one of the four. Not only is the cover so beautiful (cover lust to the max!), but I really love that it gives a little bit of insight on what the book is about–with the girl’s silhouette looking down, ashamed, maybe? I’m so eager to get my hands on this book and I already have a feeling that I will absolutely love it, with all the early glowing reviews!

 

So these are all the books I’m anticipating in the month of June! What are the books you’re looking forward to?! 🙂

BOOK REVIEW: Unearthly (#1) by Cynthia Hand

photo

Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Oh dear, I want the second book ASAP.
Published on/by: November 11th, 2011, HarperCollins Publisher
Page Count: 435 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is. Her visions of a raging forest fire and a mysterious boy lead her to a new high school in a new town but provide no clear instruction. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between the boy in her vision and the boy in her life, between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. . . . When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

 

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW:

I really, really loved this book. I recently finished ‘The Last Sacrifice’ less than 48 hours ago and was convinced I could never love again, but boy…was I wrong. I was so anxious of falling into a book slump after reading the last instalment of the ‘Vampire Academy’ series, that I immediately grabbed this book off my TBR shelf and started reading. Usually, to prevent/get myself out of a book slump, I would read a contemporary. A quick, slightly fluffy one as a palate cleanser from all the magic and vampire and sigh…Adrian Ivashkov… Instead, I picked up this paranormal romance/urban fantasy and boy, was I hooked. My first thought when I was thumbing page from page was how surprised I was quickly burning through the pages. It saved me from a book slump, with excellent writing and an intriguing blend of angels and humans.

Clara Gardner is a Quartarius– a quarter angel, having a human father and a mother who is Dimidius (half angel). She has special powers in the sense that she can do what everyone can, but even better and with some Godly grace (trying to be punny, but failing!). 😉 She also possesses unique Angel abilities like ‘Glory’ where she connects with her core self and is able to emanate pure blinding light. How freaking cool does that sound? Clara is a main character I adored. She was smart, beautiful, self-assured and she had a sense of humour! All her quips and comebacks were very enjoyable to read which made her a very fun voice to follow. I thought her relationship with her family was especially interesting and as the book progressed I really felt for Clara and her mother both as their relationship took a shift, with new revelations. The entire Angel premise was very interesting to me, especially the norm that Angels within the ages of 13-20 will receive a purpose, one they must fulfil with the help of visions. Honestly, I’m still a little fuzzy on this whole ‘world’ but I really appreciated that there was no info-dump at all. The information came when relevant and I want to give medals to Cynthia Hand for being able to do this because it created just the right amount of suspense.

The romance…oh my gosh, the romance. This series is heavily entwined with a love triangle. If you are allergic to that, I won’t tell you not to read this book but instead to take caution, because despite of what you think about love triangles, I actually really liked this one (although it frustrated me at times). This is largely because I prefer love triangles with a clear winner and this book HAD NONE. I am TORN between Christian Prescott–who was the boy in Clara’s vision and Tucker Avery, the boy who makes her angelic heart go all buttery. I did more flip-flopping than a fish, alright. I seriously couldn’t decide between the two which made me love Clara even more when she actually already made her choice. I know it’s not a definitive choice, as it is only Book 1, but it made me admire Clara even more as she actually knew what she wanted, even though she was confused (and rightfully so, under the circumstances).

Overall, I thought this was a beautiful Angel book and I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on Book 2! I didn’t give this a full 5 stars because I still felt like there were some missing parts that could make this story more rich, and also I felt that there were TOO MANY unanswered questions. I understand the author’s intentions, but questions I had even at the start of the book were not answered which then only accumulated as the plot deepened. Book 2, I’m coming for you.

FILM REVIEW: Vampire Academy

vampire-academy-movie-poster

I’ve been waiting for this movie for a while. My group of friends had read the series a couple years back and they’ve been pushing me to read it countless of times. But I was strong. I simply didn’t want to, not because I had a problem with vampire fiction or anything but because I knew if I went down that road, I’d drive myself over the cliff and crack my head open on a sharp boulder, all six books in my arms. Yes, I am that kind of fan. My devotion is like nail to skin, teeth to gum, sun to sky. I will go down with a “ship” if I have to. It was on my birthday that I finally requested the Vampire Academy book set of 6 from my mother to which she responded with “dream on” and bought me the Naked 2 Eyeshadow palette instead. Before I go on I should disclose that my parents do encourage reading, just not the pleasure kind. And so, begrudgingly, I bought the first Vampire Academy book with my own money. And only 4 months later, did I begin reading.

Fast forward to February 15th 2014.

Dressed in a faux motorcycle zip-up jacket and black pants adorned with fake zippers (zippers make everything look hardcore), feeling like the dhampir I pretended to be, I was ready. Tickets were bought and my best friend and I were off to see the movie. Backtracking for a moment, I should impart you with the knowledge that my best friend– who had read every book at least a dozen times, loathed the trailer, the TV spots and about any other marketing clips that were released prior to the premiere. She furiously told me that the Waters Brothers had warped the entire theme of the book and made it look stupid and frivolous. I previously didn’t really have any feelings toward the clips or TV spots as I had watched all of them before I read the first book, so I just baited my time. After reading the first book and going back to the clips and the trailer, I honestly still didn’t share the same views. I just thought that they used the humour in the book and amplified it so that people who’ve never read the books would want to watch it. There hadn’t been a movie with supernatural creatures and dark humour out there yet (I’m assuming here), so naturally I thought the marketing team was trying to distinguish itself from the preconceived comments like “omg ew it’s like twilight!!!!”. Boy, was I in over myself.

Now, on to the movie.

Overall, I’ll give it a C-, bordering on a D. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t goddamn horrible. I enjoyed it better than this other book to movie adaptation cough City cough of cough Bones cough but still…it was bad.

It opened with a really famous M.I.A. song, “Bad Girls”, blaring in the background as the audience was taken into Lissa’s nightmare, where she relived the car crash that killed her family. It was choppy and almost comical. As soon as that scene wrapped, I just wanted more! And not “more” in the good sense of “I couldn’t get enough!”. I wanted more emotion, more drama, more pain on Lissa’s front. It is, afterall, Lissa’s pivotal change in character. From Princess living a charmed life to Princess who had the whole weight of her family’s name, Dragomir, on her shoulders, since there was no one else in her family left to carry it. I felt like the car crash scene should have been stressed in the movie because it plays a heavy part in Lissa’s character development. It was just a bad montage of bloody bodies and broken glass that was ultimately way too short.

Now, I don’t particularly think Lissa was badly casted. It wasn’t the Lissa I imagined, but she did have some redeemable scenes. I especially enjoyed all the scenes where she was walking with Oscar, her cat, in her arms. So queer and yet Princessy, don’t you think? It was that subtle, comical move that people could appreciate. No need to overdo the jokes, Waters Brothers. A problem I had with movie Lissa was that she was a little saucy. Is that the right word? She had a bite that was slightly more Rose than Lissa should be. Also, her accent was so thick at times that I couldn’t catch on to what she was saying. Case in point, when she walked into her dorm room and saw the bloody words “BE WHERE”. She mutters, “they couldn’t even spell beware”. The timing and the circumstance would have made that a very funny moment BUT I COULDN’T EVEN HEAR HER SAY HER LINES PROPERLY. It was just a gurgle of words incorporated in a fake British accent. I only understood her quip after replaying that scene a couple of times on YouTube. And that speech at the end of the movie? I cringed so much that my eye contacts were wrinkled. NO, THIS WASN’T IN THE BOOK, THIS IS NOT WHAT LISSA WOULD DO. It was bad, you guys. The speech was so cheesy, so overly dramatic. And when Rose started crying? *Stabs eyes*

Now, Zoey Deutch as Rose? I kind of actually loved. I really really enjoyed her. She wasn’t perfect or spot on or anything but she was so fun to watch! She delivered snarky lines with pizzaz and I enjoyed her fight scenes. The only sad thing was that I felt no chemistry between her and Dimitri. It was all too quick; their “romance” all telling but no showing. Yeah, you can tell us that they dig each other, but you failed to show us the supposed chemistry. There were some really cringe-worthy scenes between them– actually, you know what? ALL OF THEM. Like in the book, I understood their attraction even though they were not supposed to even consider each other romantically. Richelle Mead wrote their relationship in a way that we can understand why they fell for each other. But in the movie??? Uhm, that chemistry was non-existent.

Honestly, Dimitri could’ve lost the hair. It made him look 40. If he had short, cropped hair, he would’ve looked mid-20s, like the age he was supposed to portray. I know, I know, Dimitri had long hair in the book, but it just looked awkward on the actor, Danila Kozlovsky. I felt weird watching their quick whirlwind romance. Their training sessions were also almost non-existent. In the books they were fun and interesting, the time they spent with each other that led to their bond, but in the movie it seemed so rigid and weird and short. I was so iffed at that point, thinking that I couldn’t cringe any harder…until he called her “Roza”. My best friend and I hid our faces and stuffed our fists in our mouths to suppress our vomit. It was waaaaaaay too early in their relationship to be calling each other cute pet names, AND ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LOOK LIKE A FORTY YEAR OLD. It was just weird, weird, weird. Couldn’t they have waited till waaaay later or something? When we could actually believe they were in love or at least when they’ve started to show some sign of emotional affection? I only saw school-girl crush and creepy Lolita googly eyes at that point. It was way too instalove for me.

Sarah Hyland and Dominic Sherwood played Natalie Dashkov and Christian Ozera respectively and I honestly loved them. The character, Natalie, was a slightly altered version of the Natalie we know in the book. She was nerdy and goofy in addition to the bubbly, talkative book Natalie. She delivered some great awkward lines like, “Nobody has ever seen me, like, naked before?”. But the end. Oh, the end. When she turned Strigoi, I was in hysterics. “Maybe you could join me [in the afterlife as a Strigoi] so we can be BFF’S. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.” It was over the top, sure, but I felt like the film was so off the “acceptable” charts that I just lost myself and started laughing anyway.

Dominic Sherwood was divine, as he was good looking. He is easy on the eyes, I tell ya. And shamefully, that was the first thing I noticed. He played the dark, twisted Christian well, and I enjoyed watching Christian come to life on screen. The weird thing was I didn’t feel that much chemistry between him and Lissa, as when he was with Rose. I really enjoyed the banter between Christian and Rose and every scene he had with Lissa seemed all too instalove and rigid too watch. But you guys. Dominic Sherwood. Swoon.

The notorious Mia Rinaldi, played by Sami Gayle, impressed me less than almost all the other characters, save for Dimitri. She was half the Mia I wanted her to be, half the Mia we all know and hate in the books. She was a watered down, diluted, petty version of the real b*tch we’ve all come to despise. High school has its mean girls, I get it. But the Mean Girl in the movie we were all expecting? Pathetic. I remember meeting her in the first book and was so disgusted with her character. That was a mean girl. Movie Mia? Petty. She didn’t deliver with the gusto required, and therefore the movie had missed another mark. I actually find it kind of unacceptable. You are telling me that the director of Mean Girls couldn’t even pull off a proper mean girl in this movie? Are you joking? Wasted opportunity.

Mason was so-so. He seemed way too pale for a dhampir however, and I was shocked they didn’t cast him as a Moroi or something. He portrayed Playful Mason okay, until that scene where Rose tells him to stop bothering her about Jesse because of his crush on her and he simply said, “OK” and walked away. It just seemed so weird and unnatural. Did anyone else notice this weird cut?! Sloppy, sloppy.

Now, the most anticipated scene: the lust scene. It was…not as bad as I’d imagined, actually. This scene, among a few others, was directed differently than in the book. It was actually kind of…funny, whereas in the book, it was intoxicating and sensual, and oh so very serious; the movie played the scene as a caricature of what it was supposed to be. Every move was exaggerated and it was really weird but sort of funny at the same time. I get that they were trying to make it comical though, so I guess they succeeded in that. It just simply was not the lust scene I was expecting at all.

Another underwhelming scene was the make out session with Jesse. Boy, wasn’t that a letdown? I almost screamed, “That’s it?!” at the screen, with a fist full of popcorn waving in the air. That scene in the book was like the start of Rose’s character development. This was where Dimitri told her she was more than what she thought of herself. The making out was so underwhelming (I sound like a pervert, but c’mon, you thought it too!) and Dimitri’s bust in was even less so. Where’s the dramatic entrance? The deep, concerned talk that eventually evokes Rose’s senses into becoming a better version of herself? I’m sad to say but it seemed almost unnecessary in the movie, as the scene was shamefully unexplored. It was just downright embarrassing on Rose’s part.

Altogether, this movie could have been infinitely better. One of the greatest problems it had was the editing. It was choppy and sloppy and made the entire movie look cheap. Another was the overuse of humour. One of the greatest things about the books is the humour, but the movie overplayed it to the extreme, hoping to distinguish itself from all the other vampire movies out there, but all it did was make the movie seem silly almost to the point where the true nature of the story was lost. It had too much of the faux Mean Girls essence going on (which they also failed at), when really, they could have focussed more on the plot and the character development. I’m not sure if I should hope for a Frostbite movie, as I don’t want the world to sit through another not-so-good adaptation, but I really want to see Adrian Ivashkov come to life. But who knows? Maybe if Vampire Academy pulls through in the box office internationally, they’ll learn from their mistakes and make Frostbite, the sequel, a movie that us book lovers and new audience alike, will love. (Doubt it. Just trying to end on a positive note.)