Mini Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Mini Reviews

Because of the amount of books I read most months, I don’t get to review everything for the blog.  The Mini Review Catch Up is my place to give you a little information about some of my other reads and whether or not I would recommend them without going into tons of detail.  This time I have four very different reads to spotlight and I’ll let you know whether they were good, bad, or just plain ugly!

The Good


18 Delilah - The Making of RedDelilah: The Making of Red by Jessica Sorensen
Book #2.5 in Nova
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance
Publication Date: March 18th 2014
E-Book Purchased from Amazon and Forever Yours

Synopsis from Goodreads: Delilah Peirce: the Invisible Girl. Men crane their necks around Delilah just to catch a glimpse of her bombshell mother. Delilah knows looks of indifference, of friendship-but never of desire.

Then she meets Dylan Sanderson, the impossibly gorgeous guy who thinks she’s beautiful. When he looks at her, she feels needed. When he kisses her, her troubles disappear. And when he tells her he will never hurt her, she believes him . . .

Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-

If you’ve read my reviews of the previous books in the Nova series, you’ll know that I am not totally a fan.  I also really hated Delilah in the first two books.  Well, Delilah: The Making of Red packed a huge emotional punch for such a short read and made me care about a character I previously disliked.  Delilah’s story was so sad but was incredibly believable; it made me want to hug her.  It does help you to understand where she was coming from in the other Nova books and why she acted the way she did.  The only bad thing about this novella was how short it was.  I hope that we find out the resolution to Delilah’s story in the next book.  Highly recommended to fans of this series.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Series Reading Order:
2.1. Breaking Nova
2.2. Saving Quinton
2.5. Delilah: The Making of Red
2.3. Nova and Quinton: No Regrets
3.5. Tristan: Finding Hope
2.4. Wreck Me


Charm & StrangeCharm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: June 11th 2013
Book Borrowed from Local Library and St. Martin’s Griffin

Synopsis from Goodreads: When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.

Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – A

Wow, Charm & Strange was a complete mind fuck.  There is just no other way to explain it.  The less you know about this book going in, the better off you will be so I’m not going to say too much about it.  It’s a complex and difficult read because of the subject matter, but Stephanie Kuehn has some serious skills when it comes to mixing the paranormal with the mundane.  She made everything in this book feel like it belonged there, no matter how strange it might seem.  The final reveal was heartbreaking but truthful and I just can’t… oh, the feels!  I definitely recommend this one to people looking for something different in the YA genre.  Though, if you don’t like books where everything isn’t answered, this may not be the read for you.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 




The Bad


(7) Cemetery GirlThe Pretenders by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden
Book #1 in Cemetery Girl
Genre: Paranormal Graphic Novel
Publication Date: January 7th 2014
Book Borrowed from Local Library and InkLit

Synopsis from Goodreads: She calls herself Calexa Rose Dunhill—names taken from the grim surroundings where she awoke, bruised and bloody, with no memory of who she is, how she got there, or who left her for dead.

She has made the cemetery her home, living in a crypt and avoiding human contact. But Calexa can’t hide from the dead—and because she can see spirits, they can’t hide from her.

Then one night, Calexa spies a group of teenagers vandalizing a grave—and watches in horror as they commit murder. As the victim’s spirit rises from her body, it flows into Calexa, overwhelming her mind with visions and memories not her own.

Now Calexa must make a decision: continue to hide to protect herself—or come forward to bring justice to the sad spirit who has reached out to her for help…

Christal’s Review – 3 Skulls – C+

Okay, okay, so The Pretenders wasn’t terrible, but it definitely didn’t seem like a story that it would have taken two writers to come up with… especially two pretty good writers.  I love Christopher Golden and think he has some of the most beautiful prose you can find in genre fiction these days, but the short-form graphic format did not seem to be his friend.  Charlaine Harris took a lot of flack for the later books in her Sookie Stackhouse series, but even this story felt simple for her.  There are some amazing graphic novels out tackling complex and controversial subject matter, but this isn’t one of them.  The story is very straightforward and we don’t get a lot of development or background about Calexa… she’s kind of just there.  I would say give this one a pass for now, but maybe check it out once the entire run is finished.  Hopefully there will be some kind of story buried in one of the installments.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 




The Ugly


4 AboveAbove by Isla Morley
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Publication Date: March 4th 2014
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Gallery Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: I am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

Christal’s Review – 2 Skulls – C-

Above was one of my most anticipated releases for 2014 but the execution just fell flat for me.  I thought a story that combined abduction and the apocalypse would be different and exciting, but I ended up pretty bored throughout.  The main character, Blythe, was sympathetic, but she didn’t ring true as a modern teenager.  The two parts of the book, the abduction and then the escape back to a post-apocalyptic world, felt like two completely different stories.  Overall, this book was just not for me.  I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, the first half began to drag after a while, and the twist ending was boring.  The writing was also very jumpy and the tone changed too drastically from one half to the other.  I also didn’t like the way the end of the book tried to make Dobbs, the kidnapper, seem like not such a bad guy just because his predictions about the apocalypse were correct.  I haven’t read Room, but it seems like a lot of other reviewers compare Above favorably to that book.  So, if you liked Room, you might like this book.  I can’t recommend it myself, but a lot of other reviewers seemed to like it.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

© 2014, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

Comments 2

  • I LOVE the way you do the mini reviews! The first two especially look right up my alley. I’m a charlaine harris fan too, though, so I might also check out the third. 🙂

    • Thanks Rebecca! The Charlaine Harris graphic novel wasn’t too bad and I will probably read the rest of the series as well. It will probably just be a library check out until the story pikcs up a little more. I hope you enjoy it though!