One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan- a 5/5 Star Review!

As the old saying goes: “Secrets, secrets, are no fun. Secrets, secrets, hurt everyone”. But everyone has secrets, don’t they? Some secrets hurt more than others. Like Grace, whose husband decides to tell her his secret. That he’s cheating with a friend. Their daughter’s friend who is more than half their age. And he decides to tell her this at dinner for their 25th Anniversary.

Other secrets we keep so we don’t get hurt or judged by others. Like young Audrey, who is dyslexic and just trying to get through high school. But it is hard to do when she has an erratic and constantly drunk mother.

Both Grace and Audrey meet by chance while each are escaping from their respective chaos in Paris. Both had more in common than they could have possibly expected and develop a strong friendship where they teach each other what it means to be completely honest and to bring out the best in each other. I loved that this book explored friendship love, parental love, love lost, and romantic love all in one story based in the city of love.

This is yet another wonderful book by Sarah Morgan! It is an emotional roller coaster full of secrets: heartwarming yet tense, funny yet serious, hopeful yet grieving. The amount of character development among multiple characters was astounding. There was one character in particular that I absolutely had feelings of rage whenever they were involved in the plot but towards the end I found myself (begrudgingly) rooting for. It also is a great book that highlights the important benefits of traveling, particularly internationally, as well as the importance of a strong relationship with grandparents.

As someone who simply adores my grandmother, Mimi is my favorite character of the book. She is one of the main character’s grandmother who is sassy, independent, unconventional, and just plain fun! She also has a secret that she has been hiding for decades that is later revealed.

I have read many other books by Sarah Morgan:

but, out of all of them, this was the hardest. This was simply not a book that I could finish in one sitting. Hear me out, it does get easier to read as the plot develops but, for me it was hard because, both main characters also had complicated relationships with their respective mothers. In particular, they both had difficult and unstable childhoods due to their mothers’ addictions. I could relate to each of the main characters as this was something I had also experienced. This made reading the book difficult as it brought up a lot of things that I had spent a lot of time repressing. Which also made this book cathartic in that it helped me work through some of it rather than repressing it. (Ms. Morgan, you can bill me later for the therapy ūüėČ ).

Therefore, if you are one who has also had to deal with a difficult childhood with a parent battling addiction, this book may be heavier than expected. However, I do still recommend it as it can also be healing.

I would also recommend this book for readers who enjoy stories about friendship, traveling, and romance. I would recommend this book for adult readers as it does have foul language, heavy topics, and sexually suggestive scenarios.

Please note: an electronic ARC of this book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!).

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The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan-a 5/5 Star Review!

I know what you might be thinking, dear reader. It’s far too early to be reading a Christmas book. And I would be inclined to agree with you-it’s not even Halloween yet! However, the temptation to read another Sarah Morgan romance novel outweighed the holiday timing principles. Make no mistake: I will be reading this again during the holiday season. It was <i>that</i> charming and magical.

This is a story mostly about three sisters: Posy, Hannah, and Beth. These three sisters each have very tricky relationships with each other, with their adopted parents, and with their respective significant others. Each one is also trying to overcome their own significant hurdle in their lives but all things come back to the one fateful night that their parents died in an avalanche years ago just a days before Christmas. That night has not only impacted their lives, but also the lives of those who would come to know and love them afterwards. How can they move forward 25 years later when that night comes back to haunt them every Christmas?

Sarah Morgan is easily my favorite author (see reviews: #1,¬†#2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, & #8,). Every book she writes has characters that are authentic, complex, and hard-working. In this book, each sister handled the traumatic experience of their parents’ death differently. Yet each sister needed to rely on the other in order to overcome it many years later. Each sister had their own mountain to climb but learning to work together rather than only relying on their own self made it easier to face.

I seem to have a problem choosing my favorite character in each book Sarah Morgan writes. In this book, I choose Stewart. Stewart and Suzanne took in the three orphaned sisters and raised them as their own. Stewart is the calm yet adventurous, quiet yet funny, father figure that we honestly could all use. I found him to be incredibly endearing and entertaining.

I would recommend this book for all adult readers, regardless of the time of year, as it pulls you into the Scottish Highlands and takes you to new heights. I would also note that there is a big surprise about 70% into the book that changes everything.

On the other hand, I would not recommend this book for readers who do not enjoy or may be triggered by parental death, grief, mild foul language, or sexually suggestive scenarios.

Please note: an Advanced Reader Copy of this book was generously provided for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

How To Keep A Secret by Sarah Morgan-a 5/5 Star Review!

Lauren has her home and her life in England in perfect order, until one afternoon-everything becomes a disaster.

Her sister, Jenna, across the pond comes to the rescue but has struggles of her own.

Little do they know, their own mother also has secrets of her own that may tear the family apart.

Can these three find a way to work together and work though these issues?

‚ÄčThis book was heavy! I cried with the characters, I laughed with the characters, I felt second-hand embarrassment. Basically, this book has all of the feels and I absolutely loved it. Just when you think it can’t get worse, it often does. The images we portray are a mask for the secrets we keep. Thankfully, there is some scandal, humor, and hope thrown in to lighten the mood at times when it gets almost too dark.

‚Äč‚ÄčHow To Keep A Secret‚Äč is different from the previous books that I have read from ‚ÄčSarah Morgan‚Äč, the From Manhattan With Love series (see reviews:¬†#1 , #2, #3,¬†#4 , #5, #6,¬†#7 ) in ‚Äčthe sense that the perspectives alternate from more than just the two main characters. On the other hand, this book was compares in the way that it dealt with more than one crisis at a time. But this one had four surprising crises! However, Sarah Morgan wrote this novel so fluidly that it all blended together well in a realistic “when it rains, it pours” sense. For me, it also helped with the pace. The emotions were so raw at times that I had to put the book down as the pain that each of these characters are going through is very evident. Most prominent were: grief, frustration, regret, and panic.

‚ÄčMy favorite character was Lauren’s teenage daughter, Mack, because she is brutally honest yet terribly insecure. I think out of all of the characters, she developed the most. She also was the source of a very pivotal surprise in the plot of which I laughed out loud in surprise then immediately felt guilty. I really appreciated that some of the perspective was told in her point-of-view as it added depth to the overall mood of the novel.

For those who may be triggered or offended: there are themes of ‚Äčgrief, struggles with infertility, infidelity, mild foul language, and one graphically sexual scenario.

Please note: an electronic advanced reader copy of this book was generously provided for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan With Love #6) by Sarah Morgan- a 5/5 Star Review!

Yet another great book in Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series! This is the 6th book in the series but all books can be read as a standalone, in my opinion.¬† See reviews:¬†#1,¬†#2,¬†#3,¬†#4,¬†#5, &¬†BONUS!

Harriet has lived a sheltered life, protected by her older brother Daniel and twin sister Fliss. But when Daniel finds true love and Fliss is reconnected with the love of her life, Harriet is left to figure out life on her own. She comes up with a plan: Challenge Harriet. Every day until Christmas she is going to do one thing outside of her comfort zone whether it is to go on blind dates or wear stilettos, she is going to do it.

Dr. Ethan Black is an ER doctor and married to his job with no time for anything else. That is, until his sister calls in a favor-to dogsit. Fortunately, his sister has been a long-standing customer with The Bark Rangers and her dogwalker, Harriet, will help out. After an incident with the dog, Dr. Ethan Black loses his temper and Harriet’s stammer from childhood returns. Can Harriet overcome this Challenge working with Dr. Ethan Black?

As I said earlier, this love story is another great one by Sarah Morgan. I think I say this with each new book that she releases in this series, but this one is my new favorite! It has the magic of Christmas mixed with unexpected romance and overcoming complicated pasts. A beautiful combination of the three made me giddy while reading this book. I kept forcing myself to stop every couple of chapters because I wanted to savor the book rather than speed through-which was a Challenge!

I would absolutely recommend this book (and the other books in this series) to any adult reader who enjoys romance with comical moments. Also for readers who enjoy reading character development and overcoming the past to find themselves. This fast-paced book showed strong character development not only with Harriet, but with Ethan as well.

I would not recommend this book for readers who may be sensitive to or offended by mild foul language, violence, and sexual scenarios.

Please note: an electronic copy of this book was generously provided for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (thank you!).

Quick Lit: What I Have Been Reading Lately (Inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Blog)

 

One of my favorite blogs that I follow is Anne Bogel’s Modern Mrs. Darcy.¬† She has a book out that I am currently reading and will include in this list,¬†Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything.¬† She also has a podcast¬†What Should I Read Next?.¬† I highly recommend all 3!¬† Enough fangirling, her blog post Quick Lit for November 2017¬†(¬†https://modernmrsdarcy.com/quick-lit-november-2017/) has inspired this post about what I am currently reading (thanks Anne!)

Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan With Love #6) by Sarah Morgan: I am a big fan of Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series.¬† I have read the whole series up until this point, admittedly out of order, and each book can be read as a standalone.¬† Which makes it fun when characters from the previous books are mentioned and thank goodness I am reading it on my Kindle as the highlighting is borderline out of control.¬† Along with my somewhat obnoxious notes of “:)” or “!!!!” or “AWWW”.¬† ¬†Back to the point:¬† Moonlight Over Manhattan focuses on Harriet Knight, twin sister of Fliss and younger sister of Daniel (both of whom have already had their own stories in this series).¬† Fliss has been Harriet’s protector their whole lives and now Fliss has expanded their dog walking business, The Bark Rangers, to the Hamptons, leaving Harriet in Manhattan alone.¬† Now Harriet has to figure out how to fend for herself, and find herself, in the big city during one of the biggest holidays of the year: Christmas.¬† It is off to a charming start, as per usual with Sarah Morgan’s books, with humor and identity discovery.¬† ¬†See below for links to my reviews of the other books in the series:

  1. Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan With Love #1) by Sarah Morgan-5/5 Star Review!
  2. Sunset In Central Park (From Manhattan With Love #2) by Sarah Morgan- A 5/5 Star Review!
  3. Miracle On 5th Avenue (From Manhattan With Love #3) by Sarah Morgan Review: 5/5 Stars!
  4. New York, Actually (From Manhattan With Love #4) by Sarah Morgan- a 4/5 Star Review!
  5. Holiday in the Hamptons (From Manhattan with Love #5) by Sarah Morgan- A 5/5 Star Review!
  6. BONUS! A New York Christmas Story by Sarah Morgan-5/5 Star Review!

 

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Dash & Lily #1) by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan: Another book that has to do with the holiday season but this one was selected as this month’s Book Club pick in the Young Adult Book Club that I am involved in locally.¬† It revolves around two teenagers in New York City who could not be more different when it comes to the holidays.¬† Dash hates it, Lily loves it.¬† However, Lily and her brother create a Book of Dares and hide it on a bookshelf in the famous Strand Bookstore, and Dash stumbles across it, plays her game as instructed in the book, then comes up with a game of his own for her. I really like it so far because of it’s unique concept and it’s setting in NYC during the holidays.

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel: As stated in the beginning of this post, I am a big fan of Anne Bogel.  Reading People  is a deep look into personality and how different traits factor in to making a person who they are.  She cites many reputable sources and breaks down complicated subjects into concepts that are easily relatable.  I am only halfway through but have learned so much! Especially about Highly Sensitive People and it has helped me understand people in my own life better.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Read by Wil Wheaton):¬†I wanted to read this before the movie comes out next March.¬† Wade Watts is a teenager in the year 2044 with an obsession for video games and virtual reality.¬† His home life isn’t great, so he escapes to the OASIS where he can virtually go to school, hang out with friends, and play video games.¬† The creator of OASIS was a multi-billionaire who will give his estate to whomever finds five clues hidden throughout the game.¬† It has been years since and no one has found any clue.¬† The attention has faded, until Wade finds the first clue.¬† Now, the stakes are even higher as there is not only money on the line, but fame and even his life.¬† Wil Wheaton is a brilliant choice for the audiobook verison as he makes it very engaging.¬† So far it kind of seems like a Willy Wonka meets World of Warcraft but it is entertaining and full of ’80’s references.

Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner:¬† I also wanted to read this before the movie comes out in January.¬† I have read the other two books in this series and it is a YA dystopian adventure revolving around Thomas and his friends (not the children’s series about trains).¬† Sun flares have scorched the earth and now The Flare is a virus that attacks the brain and turns the host into a “crank” (a.k.a. zombie).¬† In this book, the group is still trying to escape WICKED (World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department), the group of scientists that put this group of teens through excruciating experiments in order to design a cure for the Flare virus.¬† Fast-paced just like the other books and it is fun to be back in the group dynamic! Although I am ambivalent on how I feel about this book series, Minho is still my favorite :).

 

 

 

 

Holiday in the Hamptons (From Manhattan with Love #5) by Sarah Morgan- A 5/5 Star Review!

Fliss Knight is moving onwards and upwards.  She and her twin sister, Harriet, have followed their passions for animals and are the Bark Rangers; a dog-walking service in New York City.  Their business has taken off since working with Urban Genie (shout out to Eva, Frankie, and Paige from the previous books in the series).  Fliss is looking to expand the business, hire more people, looking forward.  She was so determined to move forward that she is thrown off course when her past comes back for her.

Seth Carlyle has followed his passion of animal welfare and has become a veterinarian.  He has tried to move on in the last ten years since he let the love of his life, his ex-wife Fliss, walk out of his life.  He has dated other women but no one has held a candle to her.  When tragedy strikes, he realizes life is too short to not follow your passions.  He followed his passion in his career, now he is determined to follow the biggest passion of his life: Fliss.

I was so excited to have received the next book in the From Manhattan With Love Series for review!  I have read the previous 4 books (See reviews: #1, #2, #3, & #4 ) and I am pleased to state that this book was just as great! It has the grit of miscommunication, insecurity, and surviving rough childhoods mixed with humor, wisdom from supporting characters, and the cleansing purity of true love.  It has the character development that is gripping and showcases that just because love is not about only the highs but how you go through the lows together.

This is the fifth book in the series, however, all of these books can read as standalones.¬† I started this series with the third book, loved it so much that I immediately dug into the first two books, and am now caught up and can’t wait for the next book!¬† The stories in the series zero in on each couple and how they develop their relationship rather than other series where the books must be read in succession in order to make any sense.¬† In fact, Eva has a strong presence in the first few books, especially in the book all about her love story in Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan With Love #3), and I was delighted that she is mentioned a time or two in this book.¬† Furthermore, Chase and Matilda were supporting characters in this book and I loved their romance.¬† After finishing this book, I was hoping a book later in the series would be about how they came together.¬† But GUESS WHAT? It turns out their love story started off this great romance series in the prequel book Midnight at Tiffany‚Äôs (From Manhattan With Love #0.5)!¬† I was not aware of this but I am so excited to dive into that book! ¬†I am also excited to read the next book in the series which I hope will be about Harriet, Fliss‚Äô twin sister. The readers get to know Fliss and Harriet as supporting characters in the last book as they are the twin sisters of Daniel, one of the two main characters, in the book New York, Actually (From Manhattan With Love #4). ¬†Although their rough childhood with an emotionally and verbally abusive father was described in New York, Actually, it is described in Fliss‚Äô perspective in this book and is therefore able to be read as a standalone.

My favorite character is Fliss and Harriet’s grandmother. My sister and I used to go to my grandmother’s cabin every summer and spent a lot of time together perfecting her perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  We also spent a lot of time in the water, although my grandmother’s cabin was on a lake and not by the ocean.  I felt that I could relate a lot to Fliss and her childhood memories in that sense.

I would highly recommend this book for all romance lovers as well as for readers who enjoy reading about overcoming the pain of the past.

I would not recommend this book for those who may be offended by mild foul language, divorce, mental abuse, miscarriage, and sexual scenarios.

 

Please note: an electronic copy of the book was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

New York, Actually (From Manhattan With Love #4) by Sarah Morgan- a 4/5 Star Review!

Molly has been settling into New York City over the last couple of years since fleeing public humiliation in London. She has lost her friends and her pride. Since moving to New York, she only trusts her dalmatian, Valentine, and her friends and neighbors, Mark and Gabe. She stays busy by taking various classes such as salsa and spinning, and has a successful online blog as a relationship expert offering advice for those who ask.

This advice is usually the opposite of the advice that Daniel Knight gives his clients. As a successful divorce attorney, and as a witness to his parents’ tumultuous marriage, he has sworn off marriage and relationships in general. He does not have time for dogs, or women for that matter, but on his morning runs he has been crossing paths with a beautiful woman and her dalmatian. His sisters, twins Fliss and Harry, are the Bark Rangers who offer pet services. His decision to borrow a stubborn Brutus to help him talk to the woman in the park gets him far deeper than he could have ever expected.

My favorite characters in this book were the dogs. I loved how their interactions contributed to the story as well as how well they got along. I am not normally into book series, however, each book in this series reads as a standalone. I enjoyed that Eva and Lucas were characters in this one as they were the main characters in the previous book. Furthermore, I enjoyed that Daniel is the bridge from the Urban Genie trio of friends to the Bark Ranger sisters. I found it easy to figure out that the next few books will (hopefully) be about twins Fliss and Harry, Daniel’s sisters.

There are four reasons why I only gave this book 4 stars:
1. Molly being originally from England was not very apparent unless it was briefly mentioned in conversation that she had an “accent”. This “accent” did not come through to me, especially not in the chapters that were in her perspective.
2. Molly was supposed to be a psychologist yet she clearly had not moved on from a situation in her past that caused her to flee to New York. Furthermore, she was unable to figure out her feelings as well as was quick to become irrational in certain situations. For example: she finds out that Daniel borrowed a dog to try to find a way to talk to her and she is very angry and seeks revenge.
3. I am used to Sarah Morgan’s characters fighting their feelings for each other before they reach the point that they are in love. But in this story, once they had moved past that point, it seemed extremely rushed to reach the next steps in their relationship.
4. I may be biased, however, I could not help but compare Molly and Daniel to the main characters in the previous books ( See reviews: Here¬†, here¬†,¬†here, ¬†and¬†this bonus one¬†). Despite being able to relate to parts of their backstories, I just could not feel strongly for either of them. I was more interested in both Fliss’ potential story as well as Mark and Gabe’s history.

Despite these minor setbacks, I did still really enjoy this book. As can be expected when I read a book by Sarah Morgan, I did look forward to reading it as well as mini-squealed whenever a character from a previous book was mentioned. Sarah Morgan is extremely talented and her books take me to a happy place. It truly feels as if one is part of this growing group of friends and family and I find myself missing the characters when the book is over. These books are the kind that stay with you after each conclusion. I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy romance and, most especially, dogs.

For readers who may be triggered or offended: there were mentions of divorce, animal abandonment, scenarios sexual in nature, and brief foul language.

Please note: An electronic copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.