Author: Sarah Morgan

Guest Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

Posted July 9, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah MorganReviewer: Tracy
How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surpriseLauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite...Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

In this story we have two sisters, Lauren and Jenna, who are incredibly close.  Lauren is married and has a 16-year-old daughter by the name of Mack.  They are wealthy and live in London.  Jenna is a school teacher, is married, and lives in Martha’s Vineyard where she and her sister grew up.  She longs to be a mother but even as much as her and her husband have tried, they’ve not gotten pregnant.  Neither girl was ever close with their mother, Nancy, but always had a great time with their now deceased father.

Tragedy strikes Lauren and her husband Ed dies.  Due to unforeseen and shocking circumstances Lauren and Mack end up moving back to Martha’s Vineyard to live with Nancy.  Lauren is devastated by everything going on in her life – especially the fact that Mack has discovered that the man she thought was her dad…wasn’t.  The man who actually is her father is still living in Martha’s Vineyard and wants to be part of Mack’s life.  Lauren’s not sure how to handle this as Scott, the dad, was never one for sticking to one place very long.  Lauren doesn’t want Mack to get attached to Scott and then have him leave.

Lauren, despite her grief, finds that she’s still incredibly attracted to Scott. She was so in love with him back when she was 18 years old.  When she got pregnant she understood the reasons he couldn’t step up and that’s why she married Ed.  Ed had his own emotional roller coaster to deal with and that’s what brought them together.  They weren’t actually in love but they definitely loved each other.

With Lauren back on the island and living with her mother there are a lot of information that get brought out in the open.  Secrets every character kept get outed and the characters in the book have to learn how to live with the new normal.

While this book was definitely stronger in the Women’s Fiction arena, it did have a small romance in it as well.  Even if it hadn’t would have liked this book.  Morgan brought to life some interesting characters that I couldn’t get enough of.  I felt their pain, loneliness, grief, happiness – you name it, I felt it.  I got so into the lives of these women and what they were individually going through.  I loved that they were there for each other and worked through their many issues.

I can’t tell you too much about what goes on the book because that’s part of the beauty of it, watching it all unfold page by page. What I can tell you is that I definitely recommend this book as I thought it was pretty darned great.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

Posted July 8, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 9 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Today’s Sunday Spotlight features Sarah Morgan’s How to Keep a Secret. A family of women coming together after a crisis to learn how to be a family again? Yeah, this sounds like all kinds of drama with the promise of more. I’m looking forward to this release and it’s a good thing that the book comes out on Tuesday. Yay!

Sunday Spotlight: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah MorganHow to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise

Lauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.

Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.

Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?

Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite...

Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

We hope that you enjoy the excerpt. Check it out below!

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“You seem really distracted today. Does it bother you being forty?”

“What?” He glanced up from his emails.

“Forty.” Maybe she’d treated the whole thing too lightly. She needed to make sure he knew he was still handsome and desirable. More sex wouldn’t hurt. Sometimes the days slipped past and she’d realize it had been a week. Sometimes longer. The truth was sex between them had always been comfortable rather than urgent.

Was that normal? She had no idea because it wasn’t a topic she’d dream of discussing with friends.

Maybe he was having an affair?

Even though she’d stopped the treadmill, her heart rate continued to accelerate. No. Ed wasn’t like that. They didn’t lie to each other. That was what they’d agreed that first night they’d met. Lauren trusted Ed implicitly.

And they were happy. Happy couples didn’t have affairs.

“Are you worrying about Mack? I know she’s been difficult lately.”

She decided not to mention the pink hair. Let him notice it for himself later.

“All teenagers are difficult. I remember your mother saying your sister was a nightmare.”

Lauren realized she’d forgotten to call her sister the day before. Preparations for Ed’s birthday had eclipsed everything.

“All my mother wanted to do was paint, and she was irritated by anything that disturbed that.” Still, when Lauren thought back to some of the things she’d done with Jenna, it terrified her.

They were lucky to have come through childhood unscathed. Or mostly unscathed.

“She’s growing up.” Ed was calm. “She doesn’t have to tell us every little thing. She’s pushing for independence, and we’ve always encouraged that. And as for being difficult, it’s nature’s way of making sure teenagers want to leave home and that parents are ready to push them out of the door.”

“She’s sixteen, Ed. It’s years until she leaves home. And you know what the school told us. Mack is skipping homework and failing English. She’s always been a straight-A student. English is her best subject.”

Ed frowned. “Physics is her best subject. Last year she wanted to do aeronautical engineering.”

“That was before those girls started teasing her for being like a boy. Remember that horrible Facebook page they set up? Mack-the-man.” She’d been so upset she’d wanted to charge into school and chop off their damn princess hair with rusty scissors. It had taken a lot of maneuvering to have the page taken down and Mack had been left wounded. “She is smart. She could do what she likes, providing she works hard, but that’s the point. She isn’t. If she carries on like this, she’s going to fail her exams.” Unless there was an exam in sarcasm. Mack would ace that.

“There’s more to life than being a straight-A student, Lauren.”

“I know. But I also know how competitive the world is now. If you mess up your exams then you don’t get into a good college, and without a good college you don’t stand a chance of getting a good internship because there are literally thousands of people applying for every position. Sue Miller’s eldest graduated last summer and since then she has put in one hundred and fifty applications and hasn’t had a single interview. One hundred and fifty.

“Calm down. Mack is going to be fine, Lauren.”

She was irritated that he didn’t even glance up from his phone.

“But what if she isn’t? The school told us she’s not speaking up in class.” And since when had her daughter not spoken up in class? Mack had been speaking up ever since she’d learned how to put two words together. “And then there was that incident a month ago—”

He glanced up. “That was a one-off.”

“She was drunk, Ed! Our daughter was drunk and Tanya’s mother had to drive her home.” And Mack had refused to offer any explanation. She’d shut them out. That had disturbed Lauren more than anything. Was that when Mack had changed?

“Teenagers experiment. Tanya’s mother should have kept a closer eye on the vodka bottle.”

“It wasn’t a one-off. What about the time she took money from my purse? Our child stole, Ed.” What if Mack was experimenting with drugs? The more she thought about the list of possible horrors, the more surprising it seemed that today’s teenagers ever made it to adulthood. “I think she’s keeping something from us.” She recognized the signs, and it made her uneasy. A secret, she knew, could eat away at you slowly. It created a barrier between you and the people you loved.

“Since when do teenagers tell their parents everything? You need to chill. Mack is doing okay. She’s not the problem.”

Lauren stared at him, wrong-footed.

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing.”

“You said, ‘She’s not the problem,’ which means something else is.”

“Forget it.” His attention was back on his phone. “I might be late tonight.”

“You’re kidding. Tonight is the party.”

“The—what?” He looked confused and then closed his eyes briefly and muttered something under his breath.

“Your party. Had you forgotten?”

The pause was infinitesimal, but it was there.

“No.”

He was lying, and he never lied.

Who forgot their own fortieth birthday party?

What was on his mind?

“We have thirty people coming, Ed. Friends, colleagues, your mother—” She managed not to wince and Ed nodded.

“I’ll be there. See you later.” He grabbed a bottle of chilled water from the fridge they kept in the gym, and Lauren studied him from the back and wondered if tight Lycra cycling shorts on a man of forty was still a good look.

He slammed the fridge door shut and straightened.

“Thanks for the rainforest. It’s was a sweet thought and I’m sorry I overreacted.” He kissed her cheek. It was a dry, asexual gesture. “I love you. You’re a good woman, Lauren.”

A good woman? What did that mean?

“Maybe you should take time off. Mackenzie has three weeks at Easter. We could go away.”

“Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”

Lauren watched him leave.

She’s not the problem.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: July 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Sarah Morgan

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women’s fiction and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She is a 3 time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and has been nominated five times. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

Look out for HOW TO KEEP A SECRET, Sarah’s first standalone women’s fiction novel, coming June to the UK and July to the US!


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Guest Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue

Posted December 21, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Miracle on 5th AvenueReviewer: Jen
Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #3
Also in this series: Sleepless in Manhattan, Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love, #2), Miracle on 5th Avenue
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: November 29th 2016
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!
Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she's given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn't expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife's death looming, he's isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn't appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

It’s the final book in Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan with Love series! I really enjoyed the first two books in the series, and this book was a sweet, Christmas-y conclusion.

This time, the story focuses on hopeless romantic Eva. She’s always been the bubbly, loving, and idealistic one in her trio of friends, with whom she co-owns an event planning business in Manhattan. Her beloved grandmother (her only family) died a year ago, though, and while she has the love of her best friends, the experience has left her lost and reeling. Throughout the books, Eva has befriended an elderly woman who sometimes hires them for small jobs, and when the woman hires her to decorate her grandson Lucas’s penthouse for Christmas while he’s out of town, Eva jumps at the chance. Of course, he’s not actually out of town, and a snowstorm (and stubbornness on both their parts) forces them to spend some quality holiday time together. To say Lucas is different than Eva would be a serious understatement. He writes gritty best selling crime novels, and he’s a widower. He’s dark, distrustful, angry, and completely unhappy, until Eva starts chipping away at his armor. Seeing the two come together was lovely.

In Book 1, I was afraid Eva was just going to be the flighty, silly best friend, but that’s not what she turned out to be at all. She is optimistic and romantic, but she’s not naive. She didn’t exactly have an easy life, but she chooses to look at the positive. I admired her spirit and perceptiveness. She is excellent at reading people and reaching out in a warm and genuine way, a talent she certainly uses on Lucas. For instance, while the snow storm and the job from Grandma serve to get the two in the same place, the REAL reason Eva stays is because she senses Lucas’s alarming despair and pain, and as a caring person Eva can’t ignore that. She quietly starts propping him up before he even realizes it. Lucas, on the other hand, is a miserable SOB. Again, I thought I knew what to expect–sad widower can never love again–but things turned out to be a bit more complicated that they first appeared. While Eva learns some things about herself and life, Lucas is really the one who goes through a major transformation in this book.

I really loved Eva and felt good about her romance, but it’s hard to avoid the fact that she serves as a bit of a manic pixie dream girl here. Lucas is the one wallowing in despair, but Eva swoops in to feed him, bring holiday cheer to his apartment, and challenge him to see the beauty in the world. In some ways that all makes perfect sense, because Eva is so filled with love and caring everyone around her can’t help but be swept into her circle. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have minded a little more focus on Eva and her own challenges. Her history wasn’t one-note–I would have liked to see that explored a bit more. I also wanted more time with her friends. Unlike the previous books, we don’t spend nearly as much time with Paige, Frankie, and the guys, and I missed that.

Still, if you like sweet contemporaries with funny dialogue and some good sexytimes, I don’t think you can go wrong with this series or this book. It’s not overly Christmas-y, but it has a nice little sprinkling of holiday magic if you’re in the mood for that, too. It certainly hit the spot for me.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Posted December 15, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah MorganReviewer: Tracy
Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #3
Also in this series: Sleepless in Manhattan, Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love, #2), Miracle on 5th Avenue
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: November 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

It will take a Christmas miracle for two very different souls to find each other in this perfectly festive fairy tale of New York!

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. She might be spending the holidays alone this year, but when she's given an opportunity to house-sit a spectacular penthouse on Fifth Avenue, she leaps at the chance. What better place to celebrate than in snow-kissed Manhattan? What she didn't expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous—and mysterious—owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife's death looming, he's isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. He wants no interruptions, no decorations and he certainly doesn't appreciate being distracted by his beautiful, bubbly new housekeeper. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?

Eva and her friends own a concierge service and she takes a job decorating a penthouse for Christmas (along with making and freezing meals) for a reclusive crime writer.  The write, Lucas Blade, is supposedly in Vermont writing his latest novel but when Eva gets to the penthouse she’s attacked by Lucas himself thinking she’s broken in.  They quickly figure out what’s going on but Lucas doesn’t want her there.  He’s supposed to be handing in a draft of his latest book in just a few weeks and he hasn’t written one word of it.  Eva has been hired for a job and she’s not quitting just because he feels she’s an inconvenience.

He finally agrees to let her stay but she’s not quiet as a church mouse and keeps interrupting him.  At first he’s not happy about it but he finds that she’s providing inspiration for one of his characters and he’s finally writing.  They spend quite a bit of time together over the next week.  While they have a lot in common they also disagree on one concept – she thinks love is a happy, wonderful thing and can’t wait to fall in love; he believes that love isn’t a happy event at all and once was definitely enough for him.  Eva thinks these two very different people can fall in love but Lucas may just be too scarred to let that happen.

This was such a cute book!  I really loved Eva and her happy go lucky attitude.  Yes, she was lonely by herself now that her grandmother had died and she had no family, but she didn’t let that rule her life of her thoughts that a happy future was impossible.  Lucas couldn’t have been more opposite.  He saw the darkness in people and wanted nothing to do with a happy future.  His wife had died and that was it for love for him.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching Eva change Lucas’s mind.  She was just herself and he couldn’t help but see the good in her.  Sparks just flew as their chemistry was a tangible thing.  I loved watching these two come together!

There was humor in this one a plenty.  Between that and Eva’s almost incurable case of verbal diarrhea I found myself laughing quite a bit.  Lucas said she lived in a fairy-tale land but she called it Planet Eva and really liked it there. Lol.  Overall this was a fun, sweet Christmas romance that I really enjoyed and definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan

Posted August 31, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Sunset in Central Park by Sarah MorganReviewer: Jen
Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love, #2) by Sarah Morgan
Also in this series: Sleepless in Manhattan, Sleepless in Manhattan, Miracle on 5th Avenue, Miracle on 5th Avenue
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

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?

We finally get Frankie’s story! I admit I was really looking forward to her book because she seemed like a great character, and she definitely was.

To briefly recap the series, it centers around 3 childhood friends, Paige, Eva, and Frankie, who form an events company in New York City after losing their jobs. Paige, the heroine from Book 1, is kind of the take-charge manager of the group. Eva is the bubbly and soft hearted chef. And then there’s Frankie, the florist, who is prickly and introverted. She’d much rather stay home with a book and her plants than do just about anything else, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her friends fiercely. Her circle of friends also includes Paige’s brother, Matt, though Frankie does her best to ignore her low-key attraction to him. When he needs her help with a job, they have to spend more time together, and Matt finally decides to make his own long-time interest in Frankie known. Frankie definitely has an unfavorable view of sex and relationships, though, so Matt sets about convincing her that she’s mistaken.

I really enjoyed Frankie. To be frank (harhar), she’s pretty messed up. She is completely terrified of relationships and believes they can’t last, so she goes to extraordinary lengths to push men away. Her parents had an ugly divorce, after which her mom completely fell apart before spending the rest of her life hopping around from younger man to younger man. At first I was thinking Frankie’s genuine phobia of relationships was kind of overdone. Lots of kids of divorced parents go on to be perfectly well adjusted so I felt like her issues were a bit extreme. But after learning more about her dad’s despicable behavior and seeing how selfish her mom was, it made more sense. It’s still over-the-top, but I could at least see where she was coming from. She certainly had a lot of self-esteem issues as a result of her childhood, too. It was a little hard to read sometimes, because when you boil it down, I think she was actually not sure she was even capable of love. Of course, we know that’s not true because we can see how much she loves her friends.

I could talk about the very steamy sex, the amazing use of the NYC setting, or a dozen other things I like about these books, but by a wide margin, the thing I am loving most about this series is the friendships. Paige, Eva, and Frankie are totally devoted to each other and it is a damn pleasure to read about. They share their feelings, they console, they lift each other up when necessary, and they always have each other’s backs. I know more page time is technically spent on the romantic relationships in these books, but for me the friendships are really the heart of the whole series and obviously the foundation for these women’s lives. I also love that, while not the core, others are also included in the circle of friends. For instance, there’s a really touching scene where Eva gives Matt someone to lean on when he’s hurting near the end of the book. It’s so lovely to see a bunch of grown ups who support each other like family. The dialog between everyone is snappy and funny and just makes me want to get to know these people in real life.

And yet…this book also frustrated me a bit, mostly near the ending. My frustrations started when Matt kept pushing Frankie. Yes, I know you’re in love with her and yes I know she’s almost impossibly skittish, but if she’s not ready to get more serious back the hell off! I kept thinking how none of her behavior should be a surprise to him so why was he trying to change the rules on her, especially when it really hadn’t been THAT long? Ease up and give her some more time instead of making it all about your poor manly heartbreak. And I won’t explain the ending, but I just wasn’t completely sold on the speed of the resolution. Frankie had some genuine, deep-rooted fears that are suddenly just resolved…poof! I would have liked to see a slightly more realistic (for Frankie) ride off into that Central Park sunset.

Despite these issues, I am so, so ready to read Eva’s story now. I wasn’t quite as interested in her in Book 1 but after learning more, I badly want her to get her own happy ending. Now that I know who her hero is going to be I’m extra excited, too. Hoo boy, he ain’t gonna know what hit him!

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars


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