Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review: Sunset in Central Park

I told you I'd have the review of Sunset in Central Park done in a more timely fashion! This is the second book in Sarah Morgan's From Manhattan with Love series (the first is Sleepless in Manhattan and you can read my review here) and it was just as delightful as the first. (So, pretty delightful!)

Here's the synopsis:
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? 
As with most series like this - where each book follows a different couple - I was worried that I wouldn't like it as much as the first. Happily, I really enjoyed Frankie and Matt's story. It's been interesting that both couples have been very similar - in personality, work ethic, and so on. I have a hunch that Eva, the third friend who will get her Happily Ever After, will be matched with someone very different. Perhaps a certain favourite author of Frankie's? (PS I just read the synopsis of the third book...score one for me.)

As I mentioned in my review of Sleepless in Manhattan, I like that I get to see how the couple in the previous book was doing after their story wrapped up (ie once they realized they wanted to be together forever and got engaged). What I especially like about this series is it kind of ties into Morgan's Puffin Island series (I've only read and reviewed one story of the three but really liked it because, hello, small town romances are my favourite). I didn't notice it as much with book 1 but in this book, Matt and Frankie actually head back to Puffin Island, where they grew up, for a wedding. Whose wedding? The couple from First Time in Forever, the first book in the Puffin Island series. How fun is that?

Just like in Sleepless in Manhattan, there is a lot of history between the main characters, with one, Frankie, carrying a heck of a lot more baggage. I liked getting to know Frankie more as Matt did. I, like Matt, knew she had her issues but had no idea they ran so deep or affected her so much. I appreciated that Matt wasn't trying to "fix" her, he just wanted her to be her best self and to acknowledge and deal with her problems.

Even though I have the follow up to Sunset in Central Park, and the final book in the From Manhattan with Love series, I'm trying to hold off reading it. I want to have some time to really enjoy Frankie and Matt's story and also because Miracle on 5th Avenue takes place around the holidays. Must exercise great willpower! It's hard though because I really enjoy the characters Sarah Morgan has created and the big city world they live in. The romances are so sweet and real that I just cannot wait to read Eva's story. Romance lovers, take note of this series!

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Sleepless in Manhattan

Sleepless in Manhattan is the first book in a new series from Sarah Morgan. This one actually published back on May 31 and even though I read it before the pub date, I just never wrote a review. Which was silly because I totally adored it! Since the second book in the From Manhattan with Love series is now out (Sunset in Central Park, released August 30 and also lovely - stay tuned for a slightly more prompt review), I figured I should get my book reviewing butt in gear!

Here's what the first book is all about:
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? 
I've read a lot of series that focus on a group of friends and has each book follow a different male or female as they get paired up. Some may say it's an overdone trope but I quite enjoy it. It makes me feel like I'm a part of their group, like I'm one of their friends. I also like it because it allows me a new couple to learn about in each book but I also get the chance to see how the other couple(s) are doing after their story has sort of concluded.

I also really enjoy books about event planners. I actually took an event management post-grad course and have worked a few events at various jobs I've held over the years. So, it's something I understand and enjoy. I liked that Morgan had the girls make lemonade out of lemons and launch their own planning company after the company they worked for had cutbacks. Their niche was an interesting one. They called their business Urban Genie and essentially want to make their client's every wish come true, whether that's arranging for doggie daycare or throwing a bridal shower. Neat, eh?

But we have to get back to the romance! It wasn't hard to see who Paige was going to end up with but I wasn't sure how Morgan was going to get Paige and Jake together because there seemed to be so much in the way - family, history, their stubbornness. Their relationship is steamy, it's sweet, it's so perfectly them. I loved reading about Paige and Jake!

Sarah Morgan has come up with fun, smart, wonderful women who deserve their own Happily Ever Afters. Sleepless in Manhattan had me hooked on their stories and diving into the rest of the From Manhattan with Love series will be such a delight. If you're a fan of sweet and easy romances, you definitely want to check out this series!

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*