Series: From Manhattan with Love

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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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 MorganSunset 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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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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Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Posted June 21, 2016 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah MorganReviewer: Ames
Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #1
Also in this series: Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love, #2), Miracle on 5th Avenue, Miracle on 5th Avenue
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2016
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan introduces From Manhattan with Love, a sparkling new trilogy about three best friends embracing life—and love—in New York 
Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she's now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than Manhattan? But when Paige loses the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone. 
Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother's best friend, New York's most in-demand date and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige's fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

I enjoy Sarah Morgan‘s writing and I cannot resist a sibling’s best friend plot. Picking up Sleepless in Manhattan was a win-win on both fronts.

Paige Walker heads into work one morning 100% sure she’s in for a promotion. The last event she organized was a big hit and she knows she’s a hard worker. Except, things don’t quite work out that way. Her dragon-lady of a boss lets her go, citing financial reasons. And things get worse when her two best friends, Eva and Frankie, are also let go. This was Paige’s dream job and she’s despondent. Her older, over-protective brother wants to cheer her up (and check on her) so he ropes his best friend, Jake, into stopping over that evening so they can deal with all 3 ladies. Jake and Paige have an antagonistic relationship. They used to be friends when Paige was a teenager, but when she declared her love for him, he shot her down. He’s been annoying her on purpose ever since. Despite their feelings about each other, Jake is the one who ends up helping Paige get over her loss. He knows Paige’s ultimate dream is to one day be her own boss and he talks her into stepping up the timeline a bit. He offers to help her get her on her feet, financially and with business advice, but Paige is really independent and says no, she wants to do it on her own. But after a few weeks with her new company, Paige still isn’t seeing any big business so she swallows her pride and goes to Jake for help. This has them working close together and brings some of their past issues to the forefront. For example, Jake is such a jerk because he is attracted to Paige, but her brother made him promise to stay away from her. Paige has no clue and even though she denies having feelings for Jake, she still cares about him. Working in close proximity (Jake’s form of help is hiring her new company to throw a party for his company), it isn’t long before they cross that line and get physical. But Jake’s past rears its ugly head when he feels Paige is getting too far under his skin.

I enjoyed Sleepless in Manhattan. I liked the feisty back and forth between Jake and Paige. I liked the circle of friends, Eva, Frankie and Matt. And Paige and Jake. I liked their characters. Paige was so independent and stubborn because of health problems as a child. She was sick of being protected and coddled so her wanting to stick up for herself was understandable and commendable. Jake’s backstory is a bit different. His mother abandoned him when he was young, so he definitely has some issues with love and women. But he was adopted by a great woman named Maria, and I liked her character too. Together? Paige and Jake are awesome. When they first meet, Paige is in the hospital, and Jake was the only one who didn’t treat her like she was fragile. So they had a past as friends. But like I said, things changed when Jake turned Paige down. As adults, Jake has a bit of a player reputation, never dating anyone long term. He’s afraid after he and Paige start hooking up when he’s disregarding his personal rules to make exceptions for her. Of course this leads him to acting like an ass. But I liked how everything was wrapped up and look forward to Sunset in Central Park, book 2 in this series, From Manhattan with Love.

Sleepless in Manhattan was enjoyable with a well rounded cast of characters and a satisfying romance. 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Posted June 14, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah MorganReviewer: Jen
Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #1
Also in this series: Sleepless in Manhattan, Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love, #2), Miracle on 5th Avenue, Miracle on 5th Avenue
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Pages: 464
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan introduces a sizzling new trilogy about three best friends embracing life—and love—in Manhattan.

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she's now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother's best friend, New York's most in-demand date, and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige's fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

Yay, a new series from Sarah Morgan! This series is set in New York City and follows three childhood friends starting an event planning/concierge business. The first friend is Paige Walker. When the book opens, Paige and her two friends get laid off from their jobs (they all worked at the same event planning company). Feeling guilty because she’s the one who convinced her friends to join the company, Paige is sulking until her brother’s friend, Jake Romano, suggests she start her own business. With some help from Jake, Paige is determined to make the business a success, but working with Jake is tough because he broke her heart when they were younger. Jake too has been half in love with Paige forever, but he’s determined to remember that she’s his best friend’s sister. Obviously, that doesn’t work so well.

This was a sweet book. Paige was smart and driven, and she would do anything for those she loves. She had some serious, life threatening health issues as a child, and she spent her life having everyone around her coddle and shelter her. What few of them realized, though, was how she was the one doing the protecting, trying to hide her problems so no one would worry. She did the same thing when her friends lost their jobs–she wanted so badly to succeed in her new business not because she wanted it for herself but because she wanted it for her friends. I loved her determination and her fierce devotion to those she loved. Plus her friends and family are devoted right back, especially her brother, and seeing her and her friends together was lovely.

Jake was less interesting to me. He’s a hot shot bachelor millionaire…whatever. I’m also getting tired of “I can’t get involved because she’s my little sister.” Grow up, dude. (Though I liked her brother, he could have stood a good slap upside the head too for being so overprotective.) I didn’t really get why Jake was dragging his feet so much, except that he was kind of a dick. I felt like he jerked Paige around more than he should have, and while I didn’t hate him, I didn’t love him either.

I loved the strong family and friend relationships, and I loved the New York setting, which Morgan uses to great effect. I did feel like there was a little something missing, some spark to make the book feel fresh that I’ve come to expect from Morgan’s books, but that may have been mostly because of my ambivalence towards Jake. Regardless, this book is a perfectly pleasant read.

Grade: 4 out of 5

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

four-stars


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