Unconditional: Always 1 by Cherie M Hudson Review

Unconditional: Always 1

By Cherie M Hudson

Publisher: Momentum Books

Synopsis:

She has a future she can’t escape. He refuses to let her face it alone.

Twenty-one. The age when adult life begins. In my case, it’s the age I learned my future sucked, big time, and there was nothing I could do about it. Every minute of every day I face the fact my life is only going to get worse. Why? Because I have early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. I’m not going to let it get me down, but I also can’t let anyone close. That’s not fair to them, or to me. Trust me. So that means my heart and my soul is off-limits.

But then I traveled to Australia on a college scholarship program and life royally screwed me over. Again.

Raphael Jones is an arrogant Australian celebrity, the hottest guy on campus and a pain in my ass. Worst of all, he makes me ache for a life I’ll never be able to have. Especially when he takes me in his arms and does wicked things to my body.

How do I have a hope of surviving ten weeks in Australia when it’s not just the paparazzi who have me in their sights, but Raph as well? Because Raphael Jones is a man who always gets what he wants. And no matter what I say or do, he refuses to accept what I so painfully know: a life and future with me is no life at all.

Unconditional: Always 1 by Cherie M Hudson

Review by Manda Kay

4 Squees/ 5 Squees

First and foremost, Cherie M Hudson can create some characters! I completely and utterly adored EVERY character in this book, main and secondary. Maci was strong and stubborn, with a emotional vulnerability that sucked me in from the beginning. Raphael was tough and rugged, with his demons and troubles that made him lovable too. Then you have Brendon, oh sweet, adorable Brendon. Sigh.

This was a pretty great book and I will happily admit it kept me up until the wee hours of morning so I could finish it. Can I ask something? Why don’t we have more Australian based angsty romance out there? After reading Unconditional: Always 1, I realized this is definitely a genre we’re missing in the literary world. Along with being a great romantic roller coaster ride, Cherie M Hudson also gave us an emotional drama that deals with Parkinson’s Disease, something I didn’t know much about until reading this book.

I feel like Maci’s character really brought to attention a very real and very scary disease that isn’t talked about enough. Though a fictional story, I feel like I really got to see inside the mind of someone suffering from PD and really felt for Maci. The only reason I don’t give this 5 Squees is because there were some moments that felt rushed and a couple of the lemon scenes didn’t really go with the rest of the story and felt like they were just thrown in there for added “fluff”.

All in all, this was an emotional, heartfelt, romantic ride that I truly enjoyed from page 1 all the way to the end. I am excited to see more from this author and can’t wait to read the second book which is going to give the reader more Brendon! Oh how I love Brendon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

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First, Last, and Always by Kim Lehman Review

cover61700-medium First, Last and Always

By Kim Lehman

Publisher: Lucky Stars Publishing

Synopsis:

CHARLOTTE Hubbard dreams about falling in love on a daily basis, but she’s long rejected the idea that someone would ever be interested in an overweight, unappealing girl like her; an opinion that is shared by her way more popular and attractive sister who seems to enjoy pointing out Charlotte’s flaws as much as possible.

AND . . .

Then there’s MILES Fiester, who thinks that making the basketball team is as impossible as getting the girl he’s liked since grade school to notice him. He’d have more luck getting his deadbeat dad to visit him for a day. But, in the first few weeks of high school, Charlotte and Miles come to discover that life is unpredictable, love happens when you least expect it, and there’s always a first for everything.

First, Last, and Always is the story of two best friends dealing with the complexities of being a teenager–it’s about FIRST loves, LASTing friendships, and remembering that family will ALWAYS be there, whether you realize it or not.

First, Last, and Always by Kim Lehman

Review by Manda Kay

4.5 Squees/ 5 Squees

This story was so cute. Kim Lehman’s writing and the plot line reminds me of something Sarah Dessen would write. It was a typical angsty teen girl story with a cute romance tossed in. It is just one of those books you can’t help loving. Charlotte was a great lead character and her internal voice reminded me so much of myself in high school. I really enjoyed reading this book and got through it pretty quickly.

I also liked that this book is written in two voices. One of Charlotte and the other of her best guy friend Miles. While Charlotte is a socially awkward funny girl, Miles is much more quiet and reserved. Their two personalities blended nicely and gave me a look into more storyline. I really liked their other friend Lani too. I would totally read a spinoff of Lani and here life as a sister of quadruplets.

All in all, this was a pretty cute high school story that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of the genre. I subtracted half a squee since I feel like there could have been a little more depth in the story, but it was still a decent read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie Review

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

by Paige McKenzie

Publisher: Weinstein Books

Synopsis:

Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has been described as Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity for the new media age.” YA fans new and old will learn the secrets behind Sunshine the adorkable girl living in a haunted house a story that is much bigger, and runs much deeper, than even the most devoted viewer can imagine.

 

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

Review by Manda Kay

5 Squees/ 5 Squees

When I read the short synopsis of this one, I was intrigued by the fact that it was based off a YouTube channel. Since I am very involved in the YouTube community, I was very quick interested in checking this one out. A quick internet search did in fact bring up a YouTube channel, but I didn’t look into it to much since I wanted to read this book without too much prior knowledge.

I don’t usually read books with spooky plot lines since I am a pretty big wuss and get freaked out really easily. However, I am glad I picked this one up because I LOVED it. I was immediately pulled in by Sunshine’s voice and I was able to relate to her right away. The book was basically about a girl who moved into a new house in a new town and started being “haunted” be weird sounds and creepy feelings. This novel gave me way more than just a ghost story though. It went deeper into a complicated plot then I was expecting and I am so glad that I gave it a chance. I don’t want to give anything away and since the synopsis is so vague I’ll go ahead and hold out too. Sorry to anyone who is looking for some spoilers. I just can’t do it. I feel like this is a book you have to read for yourself to really get the most out of it.

The main characters, Sunshine and Nolan, were really well written and I loved them from the start. The author really made them relatable and realistic even in a not so relatable and believable plot line. Even though the plot of this story is somewhat unrealistic never once did I feel that way while reading and I even found myself creeped out and scared while reading. Paige McKenzie gave us just enough creep factor while making it still a readable Young Adult novel. I would recommend this book to everyone and I can’t wait to read more from this author and with these characters. I feel like she could take this series really far and do great things with it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I just finished reading Cress, the third book in The Lunar Chronicles series, and I need more! I wasn’t going to do a review for these and I even thought about filming a quick video, but my thoughts are in such a jumble that I felt a blog post was the best way to put it all out there.

First off, YOU NEED TO READ THIS SERIES! However, the 4th installment isn’t out till November and unless you want to feel like I do right now, maybe you should wait till then. Having just finished the 3rd book, I just need more. I closed the cover and actually yelled out loud, “WHAT?! That is where you are leaving it??? Are you kidding me Marissa?! NOOOOOO!” I know, I’m insane. Seriously though, this series is amazing.

After finishing Cinder, I was kind of not completely impressed, but I am glad that I gave the rest of the series a chance. The first book was very predictable and a little bland, but the other two books made everything better and I am now officially hooked on not only the plot, but the characters as well. Imagine Disney princesses meet futuristic robot fiction and you’ve got The Lunar Chronicles. Marissa Meyer took characters that we are all familiar with and gave them so much depth, excitement and adventure. Pure Brilliance.

If you can’t tell already, I love this series and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves YA and Sci-Fi. The Lunar Chronicles fits in perfectly with the current post-apocalyptic and futuristic fiction that is popular as of late. Check this one out, and be back in November for my freak out after reading the next book.

~Happy Reading

Manda Kay

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BookTubeAThon Day 2 Recap and Challenges Video

Look! I made a video! Awww Yassss.

See you around here tomorrow for a Day 3 update!

~Happy Reading

Manda Kay

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2014 BookTubeAThon TBR and Day 1 Recap

It’s here again! The annual BookTubeAThon. Hop on over to the official Youtube page if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Now I know this is a BookTube read-a-thon and I am totally writing a blog post right now, but hear me out. I have had the migraine to end all migraines for the past three days. Which for me, means, lots of bed time and cold showers and Frankenstein’s Monster like hair. I feel that any video I would have filmed in the last couple of days would have been disastrous and downright frightening. You’ll thank me later. So, my TBR and my Day 1 Recap are going to be in blog post form. I am hoping to film a video tomorrow and hopefully Friday, but I’m hoping that ya’ll will take it easy on me this time around.

ON TO THE CHALLENGES aka my TBR list. 😛

This time around Ariel made a lovely video with challenges to help create our TBR piles. I think this is a fantastic idea and it helped me choose what I plan on reading.

Challenge 1: A Book With Pictures

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge 2: Start and Finish a Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge 3 and 5: A Book With Red on the Cover and A Book From a Genre You’ve Read the Least This Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge 4: A Book Someone Else Picks Out for You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge 6: A Book to Movie Adaptation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final challenge is to read 7 books and/0r an average of 300 pages a day. I have 8 in my TBR…so hopefully I get through 7 of them. There is also some video challenges, but since I won’t be doing daily videos, I am going to probably split them between Wednesday and Fridays videos.

Yesterday was Day 1 of the Read-a-thon and I only successfully read 56 pages. 😦 Between a migraine all morning and work that evening I just failed horribly. Definitely didn’t get 300 pages done, which just means I need to make up for it on the other days. Yikes! I started with The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This was recommended to me by JesseTheReader and I am really enjoying it so far.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’m off to read now! 😀

~Happy Reading!

Manda Kay

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Bout of Books Read-a-thon 10 TBR

20140512_155621Like I said in my last post, I don’t know how much I’ll get done during this read-a-thon, but here is my TBR pile. I gave myself 4 books for the week and if I get through these I have a ton more that I can read.

First on the list is 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma. I am already partway through this one and should have no problem finishing it tonight or tomorrow morning. I’m already enjoying it and am excited to finish it up.

Book 2 will be Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards (pssst I took a picture of the wrong book). I got this one at the library and need to read it so I can return it before it is overdue. I read the book I took a picture of from this “series” and it was pretty good.

Book 3 will be Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger. I bought this book a while ago and it is autographed. It was purchased around the beginning of my book funk and therefore I never got around to reading it. I’m really hoping to get to it this week.

The last book on my TBR is If Jack’s In Love by Stephen Wetta. I got this one on sale at one of my favorite bookstores. I loved the cover and the story line seems like something I’ll enjoy.

So, yeah 4 books is my goal. I hope to at least read these and hopefully a couple more if I find the time. My plan is to read whenever I’m not at work this week and to try to read during the weekend whenever I’m not with the teens at camp. I have to try to rock out as much reading before Friday since this weekend will be pretty crazy.

I’ll do each days wrap-up the following morning and hopefully will do a midweek wrap up video on Wednesday and then next Wednesday will have a Read-a-thon wrap up video up for the whole event.

You can follow me on twitter for random updates and pictures. I had a lot of fun in 9.0 participating in some of the twitter fun.

Happy Reading,

Manda Kay

 

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