Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan

Hello There Friends! I recently finished my second ever series, The From Manhattan With Love series by Sarah Morgan. I am proud of myself for making it through another series, but I am so sad to see this one end.

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Book 6 in the From Manhattan With Love series

Published May 2017 by HQN Books

5/5 Stars

Narrated on audiobook by Jennifer Woodward

 

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Plot Summary:

She’ll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle…

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list–dealing with Madi’s temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi–how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple–he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there’s nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan’s kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all–letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

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My Thoughts:

I love the way Sarah Morgan crafts a story. You can tell she has been writing, and perfecting her craft for a while now. This series has six books in it, and next to Miracle on 5th Avenue, I’d have to say Moonlight Over Manhattan has to be my second favorite.

Harriet, the main character in Moonlight Over Manhattan, felt like such a real 20 something young woman living in Manhattan. She is easily one of those characters you wish you could be friends with. In the story, Harriet is challenging herself to do something that scares her everyday which I found added fun twists to the story.

I really liked reading Harriet’s relationship with her sister and brother. Their bond is so strong which was refreshing to read, but Fliss and Daniel are always trying to protect Harriet, which is part of the reason she has her personal challenge going on.

I loved how compassionate and friendly Harriet was as a person. No matter the age or circumstance, she is able to make friends with anyone. A good reminder for real life, you never know who could become your next best friend.

I really enjoyed the romance between Harriet and Ethan. It is funny how they meet and then end up in each other’s lives again. As you’re reading this book, you know you are reading the story of two people who are perfect for each other, but they haven’t figured that out yet.

I think my absolute favorite thing about this story is that Harriet believes in love, despite what she has been through, but there is a moment towards the end where she stands up for herself. She knows the kind of person she is and how she will react and handle certain situations. She is smart enough to recognize that and basically pass, to not put herself through that and even though I loved the story so much up to that point, that particular scene made me love it even more.

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32 Things.

Well Hello 32 Years! Once upon a time I was terrified of hitting my 30s. Turning 30 meant I was no longer 20 (duh, obviously!) but 20 symbolized still being young to me, and I was afraid to leave it behind. You know though, I’ve now been in my 30s for two years and although it’s been a rollercoaster, I am loving every moment of it.

So here are 32 random things, lessons, forget-me-nots, whatever’s:

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  1. Mom was right! Keep a good credit score.
  2. Social media first thing in the morning can set the tone for the rest of your day.
  3. It’s okay to use the dishwasher.
  4. You’re not a bad Mom if you find yourself hiding in the bathroom closet from time to time for just a moment of quiet.
  5. If you aren’t using it, stop paying for it.
  6. There is plenty of time to become an extreme couponer. Cut yourself some slack.
  7. It’s alright if the recipe didn’t turn out how you anticipated.
  8. Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
  9. Drink more water. It is great for your hair, skin and nails.
  10. Don’t hold grudges.
  11. Tell the people you love, that you love them..more.
  12. Karma is real. Try your hardest to put positive energy out there.
  13. Be kind. You never know what someone is going through.
  14. Never underestimate the power of a night in watching Hallmark movies
  15. Listening to an audiobook, is reading a book, and I’ll never believe it not to be.
  16. Time flies.
  17. Get pictures developed from your phone. Future you will be grateful you did.
  18. With a really good playlist, you can kick your morning run’s ass.
  19. Get to the coffee shop when it first opens. The chill music and delicious latte as the sun rises is a great way to start the day.
  20. Do better at finishing things you’ve started.
  21. Write more in your journal.
  22. Once upon a time it was cool to be “one of the guys,” but you 100% need a crew of girlfriends.
  23. It can feel as though you give and give so much of yourself. Treat yourself. Restore yourself.
  24. Going to the DMV will never not suck. Bring a good book with you.
  25. Strolling through the book store at night can be very therapeutic.
  26. Never underestimate the power of a well spoken Ted Talk. Sometimes some motivational speaking is the kick in the butt you need.
  27. There are still amazing people in the world. Appreciate them.
  28. Random acts of Kindness are the best. Pay it forward.
  29. It is never too late to start over.
  30. A friend once told me, “Never waste your time on anyone who isn’t absolutely crazy about you.” I’ll never forget that.
  31. Your happiness is up to you.
  32. You’ll never know when you’ll need to break out the emergency flash light. Keep a stash of batteries.

 

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October in Review

Hello Friends! I hope your November is off to a wonderful start. I love this month. It is my daughter and I’s birthday month and also the month that I get really excited with Thanksgiving on it’s way followed by Christmas. Love this time of year.

October more than any other month of the year feels like my to be read stack is supposed to look a certain way, give off a certain feel. I had so many plans, so many books that I started off the month wanting to read, but per usual, my mood had different plans for me.

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The first book I completed in October was A Potion To Die For by Heather Blake which is book one in the A Magic Potion Mystery series. This was good. I didn’t love it like I did some of the other cozy mysteries I have been reading but I felt it was a good book one. It interested me enough in the main character, with her lineage of witch craft, a possible rekindling romance and making things right possibly with a cousin of hers, to want to continue on with the series. One thing I really liked about this cozy is that it takes place in the south. A lot of cozies I have read take place either in the Pacific Northwest or somewhere in new England, which is great, but the change of location was a nice surprise.

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Next, I finished my first ever Devney Perry, The Coppersmith Farmhouse. This is book one in Perry’s Jamison Valley series. I loved this. It gave me all the small town vibes I love in a small town romance, then got super hot and sexy which I wasn’t expecting. Then, just when I thought things couldn’t get shaken up any more than they already were, things got super intense! I loved it.

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I went ahead and read book two in the Jamison Valley series by Devney PerryThe Clover Chapel was another really good read although I didn’t love it as much as I loved The Copper Smith Farmhouse. I like a good second chance romance and this one especially because it has it’s own twist; the character’s are already married. I am a little weary about finishing this series, although I know I will being that I hauled all the books to it. I just am assuming that I can expect each story to take some drastic turn towards the end, which is fine, but when reading The Clover Chapel, by the time all of the craziness started to take place, I just didn’t care anymore. By the time the twists and turns come along, I was kind of over it. The way Perry wrote the first two books, the romance happens fast! So when reading it for the romance, you’re getting that pretty early on. So you’re basically reading the rest of the book to see what is going to happen that may possibly break the romance up. Fingers are crossed I enjoy book three more.

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I (finally) finished my arc that I am super grateful Netgalley approved me for, and that was Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This book was fantastic. It releases March of 2019 and I cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy. Hands down a five star read for me. I loved the format in which the story was told. I loved the time period it takes place in. Taylor Jenkins Reid is such a wonderful story teller.

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Another five star read in October was Heron’s Landing by Joann Ross. This is book one in her Honeymoon Harbor series, and one that I literally bought on a whim when I saw it in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. When Littlebird Publicity sent book two in the series my way, it gave me the push I needed to finally read it and oh, I am so glad I did. I love a well written character in a romance grappling with grief and the love interest in this one is grieving the loss of his wife. I loved this book so much. In this one, there is the romance between the two main characters and also an old love on the brink of being over. Such a beautifully written story.

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I reread one of the first romances I picked up after deciding that I wanted to give reading romance a try, Debbie Macomber’s Merry and Bright, and I loved it just as much this go around as I did the first time. I really think that reading this book as one of my first romances played a big part in holiday romances being my favorite. Debbie Macomber has such a way of creating these main characters who feel like people you want to be friends with. I love how believable, the importance of family feels while reading this one.  It is wonderful, and I think it may be a new tradition to reread it around this time every year in anticipation of the holidays.

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I finally read my first ever Nora Roberts novel. Yes, finally! I read Dark Witch, which is the only somewhat October vibe’ish book I read. This is book one in her The Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy. It was okay. I enjoyed the family aspects and the Irish folklore and history. I loved the magic. The main character is what bothered me. She was so annoying at times. Like, the kid getting to hang out with her older cousins and ruins it by being overly excited. I wanted to yell shut up, so many times. I am looking forward though, in seeing where the rest of the trilogy goes.

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I also finished two books in the From Manhattan With Love series by Sarah Morgan.  First,  I finished New York, Actually which wasn’t bad, but not a favorite. A lot like with Dark Witch, I just wasn’t a fan of the main character. Molly, the main character in this one, isn’t annoying or anything, but there was just something about her I didn’t like and didn’t connect with. I actually preferred the scenes from Daniel, the love interest’s perspective. I then jumped immediately into Holiday in the Hamptons. Reading this one reminded me of reading the character Frankie’s romance which was book two. This is Fliss’s romance, and Fliss has always been the tough girl and is avoiding love. She has her issues she needs to process and work through before she can realize the good thing she has in front of her and oh man was he good! Seth is so patient, and might just be my favorite love interest in the series.

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I really hope you had a wonderful October and that your November is starting off well. Let me know what you’re reading this month.

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Review: Heron’s Landing

Heron’s Landing by Joann Ross

Book 1 in the Honeymoon Harbor series

Published June 1, 2018

HQN Books

5/5 Stars

 

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Plot Summary:

There’s no place to fall in love like the place you left your heart

Welcome to Honeymoon Harbor, the brand-new, long-awaited series by beloved New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross, where unforgettable characters come face-to-face with the kind of love that grabs your heart and never lets go.

Working as a Las Vegas concierge, Brianna Mannion is an expert at making other people’s wishes come true. It’s satisfying work, but a visit home to scenic Honeymoon Harbor turns into a permanent stay when she’s reminded of everything she’s missing: the idyllic small-town charm; the old Victorian house she’d always coveted; and Seth Harper, her best friend’s widower and the neighborhood boy she once crushed on—hard. After years spent serving others, maybe Brianna’s finally ready to chase dreams of her own.

Since losing his wife, Seth has kept busy running the Harper family’s renovation business and flying way under the social radar. But when Brianna hires him to convert her aging dream home into a romantic B and B, working together presents a heart-stopping temptation Seth never saw coming. With guilt and grief his only companions for so long, he’ll have to step out of the past long enough to recognize the beautiful life Brianna and he could build together.

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My Thoughts:

I loved this book so much. I’ve been reading some really good stuff over the past few months, yet at the same time, it started to feel like although I’m reading some good stuff, there wasn’t anything special. Then I read Heron’s Landing by Joann Ross which I literally bought on a whim after seeing it out of the corner of my eye in the grocery store check out aisle.

Dammit, what is my deal with people grieving? I don’t know why, but I love a character who is grieving the loss of someone. I think it just makes them so relatable and if written well you find yourself truly rooting for them. In Heron’s Landing, that character is Seth.

Seth’s wife was killed while serving in Afghanistan. First, I have to give Joann Ross props for this: usually if there is a military love interest or spouse, it’s always the guy, as if women don’t serve. I was very happy to see in this case, although she has passed away, the service member was the wife.

Growing up, Brianna always had a crush on Seth. He was a friend of her older brothers so he was always around. Everyone had an idea that the two were perfect for each other and then one day, a new girl shows up at school, Zoe, and Seth is in love with her from the moment he sees her.

I am a sucker for stories involving Bed and Breakfasts. I loved that Brianna moves home to open one, and damn I love a good returning home story. A good breaking out, leaving home story is wonderful, but there is something cozy and realistic about having to go back to where it all started.

I loved the romance not only between Seth and Bri, but also Seth’s parents. His Mom has served his Dad with divorce papers and he’s so stubborn there for a while until he realizes how serious she is. He realizes he could truly lose her if he doesn’t get his crap in gear.

What I loved about Seth and Brianna’s romance is that it is so apparent the two have feelings for each other, but there is always this “ghost,” in the room. Seth really feels guilty at even just the thought of moving on from his wife. He really has to come to the understanding that his love for Zoe will never go away and never be replaced but that it’s okay to love someone else. He isn’t the one who died. He still has a life to live.

I liked that Brianna didn’t pressure him. She loved Zoe too. I also thought it was very big of her as a woman to have this love for Seth, and the moment she realized his heart was in Zoe’ hands when they were younger, she was totally okay with it because she saw how happy he was.

The setting was a definite plus too. I am completely falling in love with a place I have never been, with a lot  of my favorite romances thus far, taking place in the Pacific Northwest. The small towns in this region of the United States created by these authors really add the perfect icing to the cake in my opinion. Falling in love in a wonderful setting, I love it.

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New York Actually and Holiday in the Hamptons

Hey there Friends! I hope all is well with you and that you are in full fall mode at this point. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of finishing my second ever book series! What is even LIFE!? I never would’ve thought I’d ever say that, but here I am, closing in on yet another series coming to a close, and that series is the From Manhattan With Love series by Sarah Morgan.

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New York, Actually is book four in the series and follows Molly, New York City’s most famous advice columnist. Molly is an expert at relationships as long as they are other people’s. Molly has this belief that she is bad at relationships. She really believes that she doesn’t have feelings in a way. Molly meets Daniel, a divorce lawyer who is hardwired to think relationships are a bad idea, in Central Park.

Both Molly and Daniel believe they have everything about love and relationships figured out. The two try and fail to resist their chemistry and soon discover they both may have a lot left to learn.

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I thought New York, Actually was really cute and a fun story but it wasn’t a favorite of mine from this series. It is hard to pinpoint what it was exactly, but there was something about Molly I just didn’t like.

I actually found myself preferring the scenes from Daniel’s perspective. I thought him borrowing a dog to have an excuse to chat with her in the beginning was really cute.

I loved how on the exterior, Molly and Daniel are very much different but when you get down to it, are so much alike. I felt Sarah Morgan wrote them very well. Both were very flushed out and super complex. Molly is this relationship advice columnist everyone turns to, yet she stays away from the exact thing that she helps people with everyday. While Daniel is this divorce lawyer whose job is to help relationships come to an end. I liked Daniel. He saw how hard his Dad made it for his Mom to get out of their relationship, so although a divorce lawyer, I felt he had really good intentions.

I am finding that I do enjoy the plot line of two people trying to deny and resist their feelings for each other. I enjoyed the push and pull, back and forth we experience between Molly and Daniel and I loved when they finally got their crap together and just went for it. My only downfall with this story was Molly. There was something about her I wasn’t a big fan of.

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I immediately jumped into Holiday in the Hamptons which follows one of Daniel’s from New York, Actually sisters, Felicity.

Felicity is a professional dog walker who loves New York City. That is, until her ex-husband starts working at her local vet clinic. Felicity and Seth haven’t seen each other in ten years, but one glimpse at him and her heart hurts as though their whirlwind marriage only recently ended. So when her grandmother in the Hamptons needs help for the summer, Felicity feels this is the perfect excuse to escape her past.

Seth knows Felicity. He knows that when she flees New York City it’s because she still feels their connection and that it frightens her. Seth let her go once before, but he’s determined to not let it happen again. He wants her to see that he never stopped loving her.

Reading Holiday in the Hamptons, reminded me a lot of Sunset in Central Park, mostly because Felicity reminded me so much of Frankie from that book. She is tough, stubborn, content with the way she has built her life and guards her heart and doesn’t want to let that guard down.

I felt like Sarah Morgan really stepped it up a bit in the way she crafted the back story to Felicity and Seth. They fell in love fast, got married and it was all over in the blink of an eye. All the while, Felicity, because of the way she was raised, never felt she was good enough for Seth.

I adored the relationship between these two. I loved that Seth really knew Felicity yet at the same time, there was so much he didn’t. Especially Felicity, she had so much baggage from the past that she needed to get over. There was quite a bit she was holding onto that prevented her from truly moving on with her life. I found it absolutely romantic that Seth never stopped loving her and even though she could be an absolute mess, he was this constant, solid person in her life that would let her be her mess, and loved her anyway. I really liked this one.

So, Friends, those are my thoughts on these two reads. I am currently making my way through the last book in the series and am loving it, while also being sad that it is indeed the last one.

Chat with you soon. xoxo

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Sunday Coffee

Hello Friends. It has been a minute since we sat down over a cup of coffee to catch up. Feel like there is quite a bit to catch up on, so let’s chat.

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Well, I started a new job within my unit. It has been bittersweet. Twelve hour shifts on the weekends absolutely sucks, but you can’t beat having days off during the week. I do love my Sunday’s being at home though so I am taking it with grace and appreciating that although I have such a hectic work week, I have weekends at home with my kids.

Taking over a job when the person who is leaving has mentally said screw it, is tough. The guy I am taking over the position for is retiring next year and has basically wiped his hands way before I even got the job, with the job. It is frustrating, but I tell myself, part of figuring it out for myself is going out there, sitting down with people, having face to face contact and building those connections. So far, I haven’t completely messed anything up, which is good. My main challenge, is staying on top of so many things at once, and supervising so many people. I have about 40 people under me; who all have their own stuff going on. There have been days where I literally sit and stare at my computer screen because I have no idea out of all the priorities, which is the most important and what direction I need to head first. I come home some days drained. I physically and mentally feel that I have given all I have to give.

This is where I want to send a huge middle finger to those who think audiobooks aren’t considered reading. One day when I was extremely stressed out, I got in my car at the end of the day and the audiobook I had been listening to picked up where I left off. The power of storytelling. Within a matter of minutes, I felt all the stress on my shoulders begin to lift. I was so absorbed in the book I was listening to, I began to forget all about my crappy day. It almost bought me to tears. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that something as simple as a story coming through my car speakers was even possible, and that everything was working as it should at that moment for me to listen, because it completely changed the course for the rest of my day.

Although my physical book reading has slowed down a bit, I have been listening to audiobooks as much as I can. They are so convenient and really come through for me, when I want to read but just don’t have the time or energy to read a physical book.

After almost five years of being glasses free, I have become a glasses wearer again. I had eye surgery back in the summer of 2014. I knew eventually, I would need reading glasses. That is something we were actually briefed before getting the surgery, but I don’t remember being told that the surgery wears off. I have felt myself squinting but for some reason never took it serious. I kept going back to, “I’ve had eye surgery.” Well, it is time for me to get a new driver’s license and after two exhausting trips to the DMV, I finally go with everything I need and make it to the end of the process. I have swiped my card, get my receipt, and am told it is time for the vision test. I’m not worried. “I’ve had eye surgery,” right? I am told to read the fifth line and let me tell you, it looked like a bunch of scribbles and upside down shapes. I had no idea what the letters were. So, $50 for an exam and $100 for glasses later and I am back to wearing glasses. I can already tell the difference. I have been taking the glasses off and putting them back on as I look at certain things, completely amazed at the difference they are making. I wish I wouldn’t have been so naïve and went months ago to get my eyes checked. I haven’t went back to the DMV but I am at ease knowing that this time, for real this time, when I go back, I have everything I need for my drivers license. Lesson learned: read read read the websites these places have to be better prepared.

I have been trying to disconnect more.  I think I spend too much time on my phone. I want to get to a point where I don’t wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is scroll on Instagram and Twitter first thing in the morning because let me tell you this Friends, if you haven’t already figured it out for yourself: social media can be way too depressing first thing in the morning. I remember about a week ago, there was a discussion on twitter that I just so happened to login before bed and catch some of the back end of. Well,  I wake up the next day, get on Twitter, and see more comments. It was on my mind all day. I am all for discussion and growth but sometimes, the subject matter, the how it came about and all that, is just not the way I want to start my day. So I removed the Twitter App from my phone. I understand having the app. The app makes it quicker to access the site. I think taking away the convenience of it, is helping with my limiting how much I am on there. Now, I have to get on the internet explorer to get on. Just a few more seconds of work, but still, not as convenient as having the app.  I have also been limiting how much time I watch Youtube. I fall down rabbit holes where I spend hours watching videos. That is time I could be reading, watching movies I’ve recorded or might have missed something amazing one of my kid’s did. There are just not enough hours in the day and I want to be mindful of where I am dedicating my time.

So, here we are, it is November. I will be 32 in 7 days. I am so excited. I am loving my 30s so far. There is something so chill about them. It feels like okay, I survived the hot mess and chaos that was my 20s and now I look at things truly through the lens of “it is what it is.” The Queen, Michelle Obama has a memoir coming out in a few days that I am counting down the hours for. My daughter turns 10 this month, and I am planning a cozy, yet wonderful Thanksgiving. I really wanted to go home to be surrounded by family, but I also want to make memories for my kids where they remember it just being us, doing out best and things turning out just fine. So I really want to make a wonderful dinner at home.

So share with me, what is new with you?

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Rereading One of my First Romances

Hello Friends! I hope all is well with you. I recently reread one of the first romances I read since deciding I wanted to give the romance genre a try. Once I decided I wanted try reading romance, I googled something along the lines of, “romance author who writes the best Christmas romances,” and my results were flooded with titles by Debbie Macomber. Through a bit of searching, I saw that in just a few short weeks, she would be releasing a new Christmas title called “Merry and Bright.” So, I pre-ordered it (as you do) to download to my Kindle as soon as it released. I read it, and loved it.

I am not much of a rereader. As much as I wish that I was, when I think of dedicating time to reading something that I’ve already read when I have so many unread books, I get a bit anxious. ‘Merry and Bright’, however has been heavy on my mind for experiencing again.

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This go around I listened to the audio version of Merry and Bright which was narrated by Em Eldridge, who did a fantastic job.

This is the romance of Merry Knight and Jayson Bright. Merry is a temporary worker for Jayson’s company and Jayson is the quintessential Scrooge! He refuses any signs of Christmas cheer, doesn’t allow employees to eat at their desk and has one woman come into work, knowing her child is home sick the flu. Jayson is super unlikeable..at first.

Jayson gets a call from his cousin asking him to be the best man in his upcoming wedding, which completely takes Jayson by surprise. Apparently his cousin reconnected with a childhood friend of theirs via a dating website. So on one lonely night, Jayson creates an account.

Merry’s mother and brother create her a dating site account for her birthday because she hasn’t been on a date in a very long time, and they want her to get out and enjoy herself for a change. They put her profile picture as the family dog, that way suitors will have to get to know the real her without knowing what she looks like. Jayson sees this photo of a dog and starts reminiscing about his childhood dog, and clicks to begin a chat.

First things first, yes Merry works for Jayson, but the company has been spelling her name Mary so he totally has no idea that it is the same person.

I loved this book just as much this go around as I did the first time. I am really considering making this a yearly fall/winter read.

Merry’s family is great. I loved her Mom and Dad, and her relationship with her brother Patrick. The scenes with Merry’s family were filled with so much warmth and it is so easy to see why they are so important to her. So much of what Merry does is because of them.

Merry and Jayson agree to meet for coffee to see who each other are. When Merry arrives though and sees that Jay she’s been chatting with is actually Jayson she works with, she stands him up. I thought this was a good twist to the story. You as the reader know that both people are who they are and you’re anxious for that meet up to see how it is going to go! I thought it added a nice spin for Merry to see that she’s actually been chatting with her boss and high tailing it out of there because now we see that inner conflict she goes through with trying to separate her super scrooge boss from super sweet Jay. Eventually it comes out that the two know each other but Merry doesn’t elaborate on how, so Jayson begins really humbling himself. He knows that somewhere along the way he met Merry and was mean to her but he still has no idea when and where, but knows he’s paying for it now because she stood him up.

Just liked I cried last year, I cried this year reading this book at the end. Everything just wrapped up perfectly. Debbie Macomber’s romances make me so happy. Yes, this is a romance but it is full of the joys of the holidays and the importance of family.

I am so glad I gave it a reread.

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