#Blogmas A Wedding In December by Sarah Morgan

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“Do you ever read a feature praising a woman whose life is to care for her disabled child or parent with Alzheimer’s? No, you don’t. When someone talks about ‘achievement’ they’re talking about Salary and Status, not the fact that you actually managed to take a shower and change your clothes after being in the hospital with your child for two nights straight even though, believe me, that’s an achievement. You read about Hedge Fun Managers who get up at three in the morning so they can get their workout done, use the gym, clear their emails and make a healthy breakfast for the whole family before putting in a full day of work in the city and returning home in time to read bedtime stories and then do another few hours of work before having perfect sex, three hours undisturbed REM sleep and waking up and starting again. You read about women who were at home with children and suddenly realized that if they started charging for all the cupcakes they made for their children’s friends and school events, they could turn their baking skills into a profitable business. And, by the way, the woman I read about didn’t look as if she’d ever baked a cupcake in her life and she certainly  hadn’t eaten one. What you never read about is the millions of normal women who are struggling to hold it all together and don’t own a planner because we don’t exactly know what we’d write in one.”

A Wedding In December was a five star read from me. I like that the holiday romances we are getting from Sarah Morgan are more women’s fiction yet still have a love story at it’s core. A Wedding In December all centers around Rosie getting married and her parents and sister traveling to America from Europe for her December wedding. The family doesn’t just show up however, they come with secrets tucked away. Sister Katie who is a doctor back in Europe is hiding a work place situation from her family which really has her on the fence as to if she wants to continue with her current career. Rosie’s parents are faking a happy marriage when in reality they have been separated for months. Katie arrives with every intention of digging up skeletons from Rosie’s fiancé’s closet because being the big protective older sister she is..she doesn’t want to see her sister get hurt.

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I think Sarah Morgan did a fantastic job of keeping the central story line in the forefront, while also weaving in the emotional journeys and issues that each woman was dealing with and not leaving any loose ends in the end. Also at times when reading a book following different main characters, I find that certain characters can be overshadowed but I didn’t get that with A Wedding In December. Each character was well fleshed out and very well developed.

This book delves deep into the relationship between sisters. What it’s like to be the oldest and have a younger sibling who is sick a lot. We see Katie have to learn to lean on her younger sister for a change. Now that they’re grown women Katie has to learn that their relationship can change, can be different.

I think for most of the book we put Rosie into this needs protection box because that’s how her family views her and treats her, but she has this moment of defiance towards the end of this book where she sticks up for herself and has to remind her sister that her decisions, are her decisions!

The Mother, Maggie, was kind of my favorite character. I adored the fake marriage, but really married trope. It was interesting to see how long Maggie and her husband could pull it off but in the course of being a fake couple, things are set up for them to do as a couple which I really enjoyed seeing. It puts them in this predicament where you either continue to try and fake the funk or..you know, maybe work things out.

I could go on and on but what it boils down to is, treat yourself to Sarah Morgan’s writing. This was a wonderful, wonderful read that I absolutely adored. This is what women’s fiction should read like. This one is part of my Holiday Romance 5 Star Predictions list and I am so thrilled to say it lived up to my expectations.

xx.

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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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Book Review: Sunset in Central Park

Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan

Book 2 in the From Manhattan With Love series

Published by HQN Books, July 2016

4/5 Stars

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Plot Summary:

In the chaos of New York, true love can be hard to find, even when it’s been right under your nose all along…

Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents’ divorce, she’s seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?

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My Thoughts:

Sunset in Central Park is Frankie’s story.  Out of the trio, (Paige, Frankie and Eva) Frankie is the tough one. Her Father left her Mother for a younger woman, so her Mother began sleeping with younger men and really not giving two shits about what people thought about her, or how it impacted Frankie.

Because of what happened with her parents, Frankie is completely against love. She despises anything to do with romance but even in book one, you get the sense that Matt, who is Paige’s older brother, has feelings for her.  This is their romance.

The only con for this book, which really isn’t a con but an ode to Sarah Morgan’s amazing writing, is how frustrating it can be reading from Frankie’s perspective. You know and understand why she is the way she is. It is a very logical reason. Her parents made their choices, did what made them happy, not really thinking about how it would possibly long term affect Frankie. On one hand, Frankie is content being by herself and has no issues with working, going home and reading her books. That is her life and she is comfortable with it. There is Matt though, and he is crazy about her.

There were a few instances where I got so frustrated because all I could think about is, how Frankie has this wonderful, patient guy who is crazy about her but she’s so stuck in her ways she can’t see it, refuses to see it.  I have to give major props to Sarah Morgan because she wrote Frankie so well. She also wrote Matt so well. He knew and understood the why, but he kept trying anyway.

It was fun seeing these two and their blossoming romance. They have known each other their entire lives, so seeing them take their friendship to the next step was a fun ride to go on. Matt is able to inadvertently help Frankie see that a lot of the ways she assumed people saw her after her parents break up, was honestly just in her head. I enjoyed seeing her character growth and development.

This overall  was a fun read. It takes you on a bit of a roller coaster ride emotion wise. Frankie really has to get over the past to move on and be happy with the man who has been patiently standing solid for her all these years. I loved it.

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Realizations I’ve had since finishing Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Sleepless In Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

HQN Books; May 31, 2016

My Rating: 5/5

 

What was the last book you read Friends, that after finishing it, all you kept thinking to yourself was, “What took me so long to read this book?” I have been asking myself this question since about 8 pm last night when I finished reading Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan. I buddy read this one with my friend Ashley from Ashheartbooks on Youtube and I think we both finished it, sad that it was over but excited because it’s book one in the From Manhattan With Love series so there is so much more in store!

Plot Summary:

What if the person who broke your heart, is the only one who can help you find your future?
Great friends. Amazing Apartment. An incredible job. Paige has ticked off every box on perfect New York life checklist. Until disaster strikes and instead of shimming further up the career ladder, Paige is packing up her desk.

Her brother’s best friend Jake might be the only person who can help her put her life back together. He also happens to be the boy she spent her teen years pining after, and Paige is determined not repeat her past mistakes. But the more time she spends with Jake, the more Paige realises the one thing that was missing from her world all along. The perfect New York love story…

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This was the perfect book to kick off my summer reading. Once upon a time I would’ve never considered myself a “mood” reader or “seasonal” reader but as times goes on, there’s a certain book I want at specific times. For summer in particular, I want fun reads. I want books that take place in cities I’ve never been to so I can imagine myself there. I want stories centered around friendship. These are just bits and pieces of what make up Sleepless in Manhattan.

Sarah Morgan has been writing for a while now. I’ve found one early series of hers with book one having come out in 2004! Over fourteen years ago and she still wrote this amazing contemporary novel with very realistic characters. I like when I read a book that makes me want to change things in my own life or makes me reflect on things I do or don’t like–So let me share a few realizations I’ve had since finishing Sleepless in Manhattan:

  1. I need more girl time: This book follows Paige who lives with two of her life long best friends Frankie and Eva. Paige is the organizer. She was very sick as a kid and now that she’s an adult, organization is something she has control over. This comes in super handy after her, Frankie and Eva lose their jobs and decide to start their own business. Frankie is the tough one who doesn’t believe in love and would rather watch horror films over romantic comedies. And Eva is the hopeless romantic who loves to cook and has her own blog. Reading about the friendship between these girls, how Eva cooks their breakfast in the morning, their movie nights and dinner at Romano’s Italian Restaurant made me realize how much I need more quality time with friends. We are all so busy! A weekend with no plans always sounds wonderful but in the grand scheme of things, dinner out or in with friends could do me good!
  2. I should visit NYC at least Once before I die: Every book I’ve read that takes place in New York City always makes me question why I haven’t visited there yet–especially with my husband being from Brooklyn. Reading Sleepless in Manhattan reminded me why I need to bump this up on my “make it happen sooner rather than later” list of things to do. Sarah Morgan writes these beautifully descriptive passages where the girls are having movie nights on the roof top of their apartment and I could just imagine myself there gazing out at the NYC skyline, listening to the traffic down below and smelling the different foods being prepared in nearby restaurants.
  3. Take more risks: I don’t stray too far from my comfort zone and I’m realizing how BORING that is. A big theme in this book is risk taking. Paige has been in love with Jake, her brother’s best friend since she was a kid. She spilled her heart to him once upon a time but he shut her down due to a promise he secretly made to her brother. In the book she takes the risk and spills her heart yet again. We also get to see her take the risk of starting her own business after being let go from her job. She instantly thinks, “I have to search for a job.” It’s not until Jake throws out the idea, that the thought crosses her mind that she could totally run her own business with Frankie and Eva. This one was big for me. I have been doing my job since I was 18 and am honestly over it at the moment. With only a year left, I am weighing the pros and cons and considering the “risks,” of trying something new!
  4. I’m a sucker for love in all it’s forms: In a way I can understand how hard it would’ve been for Paige to move on from crushing so hard on Jake after all these years being that they see each other everyday but I absolutely love that after all these years he’s still the man she wants! I love how her love for him has really stood the test of time and seeing him flaunt countless women around. I love Jake’s friendship with Matt (Paige’s brother.) He respected his wishes for so long and turned Paige down when he really didn’t want to. I loved seeing how awesome of a big brother Matt was to Paige. He was very overprotective but after his family witnessed her being sick for so long, protecting her became a natural everyday thing for him. I adored Jake’s relationship with his adopted Mother, Maria. Although she wasn’t his biological Mother, she became the Mother he needed and you could just feel their love for each other coming off the pages. It was a conversation between them towards the end of the book that made my eyes swell with tears..ahh it was so good! And of course, you can’t help but love the friendship between Paige, Frankie and Eva. When Paige gets her heart broken in the book, she immediately knows her friends are going to be there for her.

 

I will be thinking of this book for a long time! If you are looking for a good, fun, sexy book to start your summer reading off, I can’t recommend this one enough. And I didn’t even touch on the sex scenes in this book! My God, Sarah Morgan can write a sex scene!! So share with me Friends what you are currently reading and what some of your summer reading recommendations are! I hope all is well with you and I’ll chat with you in my next post–xoxo, Bree!