Movie Review: Divergent

untitledWhere’s the dauntless cake? Because that’s the only thing missing from Divergent the movie. (Hey, I think it’s important!) Sure there were a million other little things that can only be captured in the words of Ms. Veronica Roth herself, but I’m trying not to have a book-reader-holier-than-movie-watchers moment.

First, I’m still in full-on grieving mode from the conclusion of the Divergent series, Allegiant. So from the moment the movie started, I was on the verge of tears. (I know this makes me look like a psycho but it’s true.) Plus, it was so beautiful to see Divergent on the big screen because the book was so good. The world of Divergent was so vivid between the pages of Roth’s book, that it felt like I was seeing the movie for the second or third time because it looked/felt like the world I once delved into.

Overall, the movie followed very closely with the book with the exception of the dauntless cake and the subsequent “parent visit,” which is where Tris originally figures out her mother was once of a different faction. Everything else was pretty much by the book and each character was as sexy/scary/intimidating/funny as they were supposed to be. The action was awesome and the threat of becoming factionless was a tangible fear that I felt the audience really understood and could connect to.

I felt the character of Tris was wonderfully cast and I freakin’ loved her hair, like the entire time. Plus, who could forget Four who was absolutely perfect (which the actor is British in real life so his accent makes him even more swoon-worthy). I really enjoyed the tattoos and how they were important to who the dauntless were. Plus, getting to finally see Four’s tattoos was one of my favorite scenes.

Fans of the Divergent series will enjoy this movie. It’s true to Roth’s intentions and is filled with the same amount of danger and wonder from the books. The book will always be better but this movie was a beautifully-done adaptation that I hope will only draw more and more people to pick up the book and lose themselves in the “real” world of Divergent.

 STARS: 5 out of 5

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

My favorite Disney princess is Belle from Beauty and the Beast, as is every fellow book nerd, so I was super pumped to get my hands on this fairy tale re-telling, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

15839984Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Okay, I have to be really honest. I didn’t like Cruel Beauty…at all. I tried to think about it from a non-bias, objective perspective but I can’t think of anything I liked about it. I’m usually not a fan of fairy tale re-tellings but I was willing to give this one a chance and it was a total disappointment.

First, Nyx, the female protagonist of this tale, has some serious issues. Now I understand she grew up in a dysfunctional home and she was destined to marry this beast of a man, but being in her head was like listening to the ramblings of a crazy woman. And the plot wasn’t much better. By the end of the novel, I was trying to connect the story to Beauty and the Beast but there is really nothing other than her falling in love with a beastly man, which is where the story went wrong for me.

So I knew from the beginning that she would fall in love with the “beast,” but while I was watching it unfold, I didn’t fall in love with her. There was really nothing to love about him or her (and maybe that’s the point the author is trying to make based on the ending) and the romance was seriously lacking. There was no tale-as-old-as-time moment at all. Now I knew it wouldn’t be like the actual fairy tale, but I was hoping for a little love to be passed around.

The story itself was so confusing by the end. There is a house within a house and this strange time travel element and crazy sparrows and voices. It was just too much. Ultimately, I didn’t connect with the characters. I didn’t enjoy the bizarre plot and the book left me with a serious sense of disappointment. I know there were a lot of five star reviews going around in the blogosphere so it really sucked that I didn’t like it. However, it was well-written and creative so I gave it two stars.

STARS: 2 out of 5

Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A. Thompson

I was lucky enough to be part of the cover reveal for Seconds Before Sunrise and I was super lucky to get an advanced copy from the lovely Shannon A. Thompson. After reading Minutes Before Sunset, I was ready to devour book two.

Seconds Before Sunrise

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

After finishing Seconds Before Sunrise, my mind was reeling. I had so many questions. Who is Darthon? Why are Robb and Zac psychos? And what’s up with Crystal? There is so much mystery shadowing the end of this sequel, especially surrounding the secondary characters, that I couldn’t help but try to solve this puzzle. It was nice being back in the world of shades, but in this world anyone can be anyone. Since a shade looks different in their human form, Eric is able to hide he is Shoman (for the most part), but I can’t help but try to figure out who Darthon is. It’s even difficult to determine who’s light, who’s dark and who’s just plain ol’ human. This mystery is what makes this story so compelling and original.

This book picks up shortly after Jessica loses her memory. This concept was so intriguing to me and I loved how Eric tried to deal and Jessica seemed to have a magnetic pull to Eric despite her memory loss. It really made it seem like they were meant to be together. However, the best thing about it was the consequences associated with her lack of memories. She not only forgot what happened, but she lost a part of herself, making mistakes and taking chances she normally wouldn’t. Now normally, a typical teenage girl would really open up with this kind of risk taking, but Jessica has lost her confidence and the spirit of who she is. I so wanted her to remember the entire time.

Eric is by far my favorite character. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders and I loved being a part of the whirlwind of his emotions, especially towards the end. I loved why he needed to visit the grave of Jessica’s parents. I loved that his love for Jessica was there for all to see, and he just couldn’t help himself. I also have a huge soft spot for Jonathan. I can’t really explain why but he’s just awesome and I love him.

There was a lot of action in this book. The big battle takes place on Eric’s birthday (poor guy) and there are real consequences. Eric has to make a decision and it was so unexpected but seemed right. With all the anticipation and build up, it was not what I thought would happen at all. One of the main characters dies and even though I was sad, I didn’t cry. When I don’t cry, I always psychoanalyze everything about why I didn’t feel it enough to cry. I think it was simply because it happened so quickly and we jump right back into the heat of the battle. The battle was pretty epic but there seems to be more battles ahead.

There are some really exciting things that happen at the end but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself. I really enjoyed this second book. I got lost in the writing and the characters and the plot was exciting. Overall, the book gave me everything I expected to see. However, I felt like there was something missing in book two that was in book one. I suspect it has to do with the lack of romance between Jessica and Eric. Obviously, if Jessica can’t remember anything I can’t expect them to be all lovey-dovey, but towards the end there was plenty of opportunity for declarations of love. I missed that romantic element and I enjoy watching those two together so I’m hoping for a lot more romance in the next book. If anything, I think the first book was just so good that it was hard to live up to.

Seconds Before Sunrise will be out on March 27, 2014, but I’m already anticipating the final installment of the Timely Death Trilogy.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Thanks Shannon A. Thompson for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

My Official #UTOPYA2014 Reading List

Earlier this year, I wrote a list of bookish resolutions. One of which was to attend some kind of book event, so this year I’ll be attending UtopYA Con 2014 in Nashville, Tenn.!!takeme2014This is my first time at this event or any book event really, so I am ecstatic and excited to finally meet authors and go to a book signing. It really will be a dream come true! Not only does it help me meet one of my goals, but Sylvia Day, who wrote the Crossfire series and is one of my favorite authors, will be there as a speaker!! It’ll be in June and if you’re interested in going you can find info at Utopyacon.com. In preparation for all the author meeting and book signing, I have created an official reading list of the authors I haven’t read yet to get me acquainted with their work. There are a lot of authors coming so I looked through all the books and selected the ones I liked the most based on the synopsis. I also tried to narrow it down to ten so I have time to read them in three short months.

1.Anew by Chelsea Fine

12875436Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery…until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet’s determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he’s kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet’s world becomes even more muddled. While she’s instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she’s impossibly drawn to Tristan–and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past…might just be the death of her.

I have had my eye on this author for a looong time but I’ve never gotten around to reading her stuff. All I know is that this series is amazing and I need to read it.

2.Inescapable by Amy Bartol

12925063My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I’d been hoping that once I’d arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.
I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. I look for rational explanations to even the strangest circumstances. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he’s near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would be…if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that has ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.
What is the secret that he’s keeping from me? I’m hoping that it’s anything but what I suspect: that he’s not exactly normal…and neither am I. So, maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I’ve been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable.

This New Adult title sounds awesome with a love/hate connection. I’m sold!

3.Prince of Wolves by Quinn Loftis

11947156Jacque Pierce was just an ordinary 17-year-old girl getting ready to start her senior year in high school in Coldspring, Texas. When a mysterious foreign exchange student from Romania moves in across the street, Jacque and her two best friends, Sally and Jen, don’t realize the last two weeks of their summer are going to get a lot more interesting.

From the moment Jacque sets eyes on Fane she feels an instant connection, a pull like a moth to a flame. Little does she know that the flame she is drawn to is actually a Canis lupis, werewolf, and she just happens to be his mate; the other half of his soul.

The problem is Fane is not the only wolf in Coldspring, Texas.

Just as Fane and Jacque are getting to know each other, another wolf steps out to try and claim Jacque as his mate. Fane will now have to fight for the right to complete the mating bond, something that is his right by birth but is being denied him by a crazed Alpha. Will the love Fane has for Jacque be enough to give him the strength to defeat his enemy, will Jacque accept that she is Fane’s mate and complete the bond between them?

I love werewolves and this story sounds like it includes this love triangle/bonded mate thing, which is totally my kind of thing!

4.Shattered Promises by Jessica Sorenson

17166774For twenty-one year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. She knows nothing about her past and has been haunted by the same monsters in her nightmares for the last few months.  Unemotional and numb to life, she feels disconnected from everyone. Until the very first day she cries. After that, nothing in her life is the same.
Her emotions slowly surface and she starts experiencing love, happiness, and anger, feelings she never knew existed. But they leave her confused and she doesn’t know whether to embrace them or run away from them.
Her life only gets more complicated when she meets Alex. Sexy, arrogant, and secretive, Alex can get under Gemma’s skin like no one can. Yet she’s drawn to him by an invisible connection she has no control over. She’s also seen him before. In her nightmares.
Every part of Gemma’s mind is screaming at her to stay away from Alex, but every other part of her is begging to get close to him. But the closer she gets, the more she realizes Alex knows more about her than he originally let on.
As secrets about her past unravel, Gemma’s life becomes threatened. She needs to figure out what’s going on, before she winds up dead. But the only person she can turn to for answers is the one person she isn’t sure she can trust.

This sexy title includes monsters and nightmares. Another New Adult title I can’t wait to try.

5. The One by Heather Self

13564744Stranded on Earth two thousand years they’ve waited for the arrival of the One: some to save her, others to kill her. With her birth, the ancient prophecy could at last be fulfilled and the doorway between the worlds would open. Those who know the prophecy believe this event occurred almost eighteen years ago, and now, they’ll stop at nothing to find her.

Seventeen-year-old Eveline has lived her entire life on the move and she hates it. She knows her parents believe she’s the One, and they’ve done whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. But Eveline isn’t fully convinced that her parents’ beliefs match her own. What she does believe is that Leadville, Colorado may be the chance she’s been waiting for. The chance to be somewhere safe. The chance for her to make friends and have fun. The chance to finally date a guy. The chance to be a normal girl, at least as normal as possible for someone not human.

With a combination of fantasy and science fiction, this book sounds exciting. Plus, Heather Self is like my homophone last name twin. I had to give her a try.

6. Jordyn by Tiffany King

17225270Hand to hand combat training: Check
Cardio and strength training: Check
Daemon hunting: Check
Anomaly: Check

Check, check, check, check…That’s all my life is. There’s nothing ordinary about me. I’m “special.” I know this because I’m reminded of it every stinking day. I can kick a Daemon’s ass with both hands tied behind my back. I can run up a mountain without breaking a sweat. Know what I can’t do? Get guys to notice me, or hang out with friends like normal people do. I can’t just be ordinary because I have an Arch Angel for a mentor who is always breathing down my neck, and a family of angelic Guides and Protectors who scrutinize every little thing I do. Just for a day I want a life where I’m no longer some anomaly, where I don’t have to feel like a lab rat.

And then I met Emrys. Okay, so my mentor and family hate him, but probably for good reason. After-all, he is a Soul Trader, and they aren’t the most trust worthy beings. But, he is sooo hot with his green eyes, leather jacket and the sexiest tattoo you’ve ever seen running down his back. And-he doesn’t treat me like a project.

I’ve got myself in quite a little quandary here. Choosing between my responsibilities and the Trader that holds my heart is something I didn’t sign up for. Torn between two different worlds, I must now decide who to trust and who to walk away from. What’s a girl to do? See what I mean? I am an anomaly. I am Jordyn.

This book is right up my alley, with soul traders and combat training. I’m all over this love/hate relationship. Plus, I hope there is lots of action.

7.The Modified by C.A. Kunz

15986049What would you sacrifice to save the one’s you love? To save the one who holds your heart? To save the world?

Kenley Grayson is all too familiar with these questions.

After Earth is thrust into its first intergalactic war with an unknown race called the Bringers, our military forces begin to suffer heavy losses. Desperate for a solution, the Allied Federation issues a worldwide draft for every able seventeen year old to enlist. As Kenley turns seventeen, she finds herself thrown into the very war that took her older brother’s life.

This year’s draft is a little different than in the past though. A new program, known as the Magnus Project, has been introduced, and only the best and brightest qualify. Kenley is amongst a select few whom are chosen to join this elite group of soldiers, and as a part of this project, undergoes a modification procedure that leaves her and her peers endowed with powers beyond their wildest dreams.

As Earth continues in its struggle against the Bringers, Kenley is transported to a high-tech training facility, the Magnus Academy, to prepare for the major battle that lies ahead. It’s here that she meets the California heartthrob, and son of a legendary war hero, Landon Shaw. As unexpected feelings toward Landon begin to develop, Kenley wonders if this is the right time or place for romance to bloom, especially when those feelings start to interfere with her training.

With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Kenley is constantly reminded of how important she and the rest of the Magnus cadets are to the fate of humanity. She is one of the Modified, Earth’s last line of defense against utter destruction.

Alien Invasion? Draft of teenagers to save the world? Hells yeah!

8.Madly by M. Leighton

12039404Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in the small town of Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, the magically-protected home of Madly’s race.   A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

In order to save her home, the lives of her family, and all of humanity, Madly must learn to wield her exceptional powers and recapture the Lore before it’s too late and all is lost.  But Madly’s only help are her two best friends and the Sentinel, Jackson Hamilton, that threatens both her heart and her destiny.  Madly has loved Jackson as long as she can remember, but he is the one thing even a princess can’t have.  Can she resist love to become the queen she was fated to be?  Or can she find a way to have both?

This novelette introduces you to Madly and prepares you for the quest of a lifetime.

This book has a princess and a traitor, a prison break and magic powers. Yes, please.

9. Shooting Stars by H.D. Gordon

18349596Surah Stormsong is one of the most powerful Sorceresses in the world. She is a princess who is next in line for the throne. As someone who has lost almost everything to this world, she only wants to pull away from it and live a normal life, but when Highborn ladies start being murdered and the Black Stone-a weapon that is capable of great destruction-goes missing, she is called upon to solve the issues and return her people to a state of safety. But danger lurks inside the castle walls as well, and when she runs into Charlie Redmine, a common Sorcerer Surah met once as a child, things grow complicated very quickly. He is the main suspect of the murders, but Surah is powerless against the connection she feels to him. Time is ticking, and if she doesn’t figure out what’s going on things will go from bad to worse, and an entire kingdom will suffer for it. From the author of the bestselling series, The Alexa Montgomery Saga, comes a tale of star-crossed lovers and magic, of hope and love and loss. The greatest question is, can love overcome all?

This book has a freakin’ tiger on the front. I don’t have to read the synopsis to know I want to read it.

10. Ephemeral by Addison Moore

13745675The last thing Laken Stewart remembers is the oncoming car, then bursting through the windshield.

Two months dissolve without her knowledge and she finds herself in unfamiliar surroundings with strangers who not only profess to know her but insist she’s someone else entirely.

Laken discovers her long dead boyfriend, Wesley, has been thrown into this alternate world as well. He is quick to inform her she suffered a horrible fall and that her memory hasn’t fully returned. According to Wesley the other life she had—her name, her family, they were simply a side effect of her brain trauma.

In her quest for answers she meets Cooper Flanders, the son of her psychiatrist who readily believes every word she says.

Laken Stewart knows she died on that hot July afternoon, but now she’s alive—or is she?

This book has an alternate world where people think she is someone else. I’m definitely intrigued!

11. Crewel by Gennifer Albin

11556960Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

This book has time weaving, plus the author will be a speaker so I’m super pumped to read her stuff.

There are my top 11. Hopefully, I can read them all on top of all the other books I want to read. Now don’t forget about Sylvia Day (I’m so excited she’ll be there!), Tammy Blackwell, and C.J. Redwine among others that I’ve already read. Basically, I am just so flippin’ excited! June can’t come soon enough!

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Where has this book been all my life? Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker literally took my breath away causing me to need to take ten HUGE breaths. I had to do some slow breathing exercises many times throughout the novel to stop hyperventilating and prevent myself from passing out.

15990969Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

Wow. I don’t know what to say other than this book is not what I expected it to be. It was real, gritty, raw. I felt every emotion: fear, anger, hate, love, loss. You name it; I felt it. I was immediately swept into Kacey’s story. I’m not entirely sure why but I was expecting this book to be suited for a younger audience, so when she started working at a strip club and almost had her way with a guy in a gym locker room, my eyes bugged out but my ears perked up and I was totally into it. K.A. Tucker had me hook, line and sinker. As the mystery of Kacey’s past slowly unveiled itself, I became more and more invested in her life. This book also had amazing secondary characters, which is a good thing since the rest of the books in the series follows a different character.

I really enjoyed the writing, especially Kacey’s witty tone and her inner anger rants. It was always hilarious once Trent Emerson was in the picture. I was so in love with Trent even towards the end when the mystery of his past is revealed. Even though he was broken, I couldn’t help but fall for him and I loved how these two broken pieces came together to make one whole piece. The sexual chemistry was off the charts and every scene between them left me practically panting. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, guys. If you like comtemporary romance with a side of snark and sass and a big ol’ piece of the reality that can only come out of tragedy, then this is the book for you.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5) by Richelle Mead

*Don’t read any further if you haven’t read the rest of the series. Inevitable spoilers ahead.

I had no idea what to expect with Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead, the fifth book in the Vampire Academy series, but I was completely blown away.

D6479259imitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him… forever.

I don’t even know where to begin with this review. A LOT happens in this book, game-changers that affect so many futures. I have to start with an issue I had with this book — Rose’s relationship with Adrian. Don’t get me wrong. I liked the idea of them together, especially after what happened between Rose and Dimitri in Russia. I wanted Rose to move on with her life and be happy and Adrian has real feelings for her. However, the transition from Rose in love with Dimitri to Rose dating Adrian was way too quick. Even throughout the book, their dialogue and scenes together don’t really mesh, and I LOVE Adrian as a character regardless who he’s dating. I wanted more development in their relationship, which slowly came through towards the end. But with the giant twist near the end, all the character growth gets overshadowed. And just when you think there can’t possibly be another twist, there’s another and another AND another. I was blown away with the unfortunate downturn, but intrigued with the new set of challenges. I have no idea how Rose is going to get herself out of this one.

I honestly don’t think I can share anything else because it would be a spoiler. If you’ve gotten this far in the series, then you’re probably a fan. If there are any doubters out there, this series is so much fun and so unexpected, it’s worth the read.

STARS: 5 out of 5

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4) by Richelle Mead

**If you haven’t read the first three books in the Vampire Academy series, please do not proceed. This review will contain inevitable spoilers and this is one series you do NOT want to spoil.

I’ve been on a Vampire Academy reading binge for a week or so now and I am still obsessed with this series. In the last book, a big change happened which made me question the future of this series — the death of the beloved Dimitri, but not just his death his transformation into a Strigoi. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement, but I’m happy to say that my concern were unfounded, and this series has a heart-wrenching and somewhat controversial future, but a future nonetheless.

5996153Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck, a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters … Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

I love this series because it explores the realities of life in a supernatural setting. Rose is suffering from the loss of Dimitri and her love for him fuels her fire to free him from damnation. She is brave. She is stupid. Her adventure to Russia to find and kill Dimitri is amazingly complex. I wanted her to find him and set him free but I also feared his return, knowing that Dimitri is Rose’s biggest weakness. She finds herself in a situation that is both horrid and blissful. Her conflicting emotions and vulnerabilities combined with her spirit makes Rose one of my all-time favorite characters. There is so much depth to her; she possesses such hope for the future despite her circumstance, yet accepts the harsh realities. She is a walking talking contradiction and I LOVE her for it.

This book stands apart in the series because Rose is no longer in her comfort zone. She makes new friends and a whole lot of new enemies. Plus, this book doesn’t have as much of the witty banter to fall back on as comic relief. Don’t get me wrong, Rose is still Rose but there is a serious undertone combined with pain that dominates the pages. There isn’t as much romance either but there is a whole lot of Dimitri and what ifs. It’s so heartbreaking but it’s mesmerizing and I couldn’t look away. Rose really grows in this installment, truly marking her depth and complexity.

I loved this one. This story is unique and addictive. Blood Promise is another great example of Richelle Mead’s amazing writing skills.

STARS: 5 out of 5