Author: Sarah Morgan

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan | Book Review (+The Christmas Sisters Giveaway)

Posted December 12, 2018 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review, Giveaway / 10 Comments

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan | Book Review (+The Christmas Sisters Giveaway)Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
Series: O'Neil Brothers #1
Also in this series: Suddenly Last Summer, Maybe This Christmas
Published by Harlequin on October 29, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?

I love Christmas romances, especially if they are set in a picturesque place and have wonderful characters. As soon as I read that Sleigh Bells in the Snow takes place in Vermont, I was very excited! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The Snow Crystal is a cozy ski resort nestled in the mountains of Vermont. The O’Neil family has run it for years, and it is a bit of a hidden gem with lots to offer. It has cabins with hot tubs on the porch, amazing views, and a homey lodge with a sitting room and kitchen that just screams holidays. I would LOVE to pack up and move there right now. If any guest wants a Christmas tree for their cabin, one of the O’Neil brothers goes out and chops one and delivers it at their front step. How fun is that?! I really want to visit. The setting was definitely my favorite part of the book.

2. I liked Kayla, but I felt she was a bit too cynical and cold at times. I just wanted to shake her! She has a sad past of abandonment, and does not like Christmas at all. Honestly, though, I’m pretty sure she does not like any kind of family holiday. She arrives at the resort in her designer pumps and pencil skirt, bent on being a complete stick in the mud as she hides in her cabin in the hopes of letting Christmas painlessly pass her by. The longer she stay there, though, the more comfortable she gets. I liked the transformation she went through as she got to know the O’Neil family. She bought some snow boots, let her hair down, and allowed herself to get close to them even though it scared her. I liked this side of her much more than the hardened, emotionless side we see at the beginning of the book.

3. I adore the O’Neil family, and how close they are. Jackson has come back to Snow Crystal after making it big in Europe. He wants to help get the resort on the map and show the world what it has to offer, before it goes under and the family loses it. That’s why he hires Kayla to come out. As he updates and elevates the resort, he is met with a lot of resistance from his family. They are not keen on change, and are scared that a snooty New Yorker will ruin their image. As they soften Kayla, though, she softens them. I loved the conversations between family members, as they all open up and grow closer together. This family ends up being extremely loving despite their high maintenance demands.

4. I really liked the non-family staff members at the Snow Crystal. I particularly liked the spitfire of a French chef and the ski instructor. Each character in this story is unique and loveable.

5. Jackson is so wonderful. He is tender and persistent, and boy can he chop wood. I love his devotion to his family, even though they are fighting him the whole way. I love that he gave up his big life to come home and save his family lodge. I love how sweet he is to Kayla.

6. The romance is slow burning. It begins as a simple professional relationship, with that initial attraction on both sides. It then slides into this love-hate friendship kind of thing before turning into something really special. I really liked that it was not just lust, which seems to happen a lot in the Christmas romances I’ve read before. There are real feelings at play.

Sleigh Bells in the Snow is a fun, cheery Christmas romance with a wonderful family dynamic, a cozy setting, and a swoonworthy male lead. I definitely recommend you read it it you’re in the mood for some Christmas cheer! I can’t wait to read about the other O’Neil brothers, which will happen as the series continues.

(This review was originally posted on 12/6/13 and was re-posted for some extra love.)

Sarah is sponsoring a giveaway for my readers this Christmas, with a signed copy of her newest Christmas release, The Christmas Sisters!

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
Published by HQN Books on September 25, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Holiday, Women’s Fiction
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In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…

Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…

As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas?

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Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan | Book Review & Giveaway

Posted December 8, 2017 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review, Giveaway / 13 Comments

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan | Book Review & GiveawayMiracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan with Love #3
Published by HQN Books on November 29, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 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?

Sarah Morgan is one of my very favorite authors, and I can definitely always count on her to get me into the Christmas spirit. I’ve read and loved many of her Christmas romances, so I was very eager to read Miracle on 5th Avenue as well. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Miracle on 5th Avenue is the first book in the From Manhattan with Love series that I’ve read, but I did not feel like I was missing out on any information. It reads perfectly fine as a standalone, but will make you want to grab the other books in the series as well. 

2. I love that one of the main character, Lucas, is an author. He’s on deadline and he’s writing a book that millions of people are eagerly anticipating. Any book that includes other books is always a double win for me. I enjoyed reading about his writing process and the writer’s block and how he comes up with his stories. He writes crime novels, and he’s inspired to model a character after Eva, our heroine.

3. Speaking of Lucas, I loved him even though he’s not super lovable. Readers only see his bad side for a little while. He’s grumpy and stressed and pretty irritating. But then he becomes inspired by Eva, his creative juices start flowing, and when she becomes more to him than a character in his book he becomes caring and sweet. I loved seeing him open up about his past. As he did, so did Eva.

4. Eva is a Christmas fanatic just like me, so we got along very well. While grumpy Lucas worked upstairs in his fortress of solitude, she decorated a tree in his living room and cooked up a storm of so many yummy sounding foods all while singing her heart out. She’s so much like me. And she drove him nuts in an endearing kind of way. Her cheery disposition melted the ice man, and things got cute, if not a little bumpy along the way.

5. This book is so festive, which I’m finding is rare among this year’s “Christmas” book releases. I’ve read quite a few recent releases from this year and last year, and I finally found one that was Christmasy enough for me. Thanks for doing it again, Sarah! FINALLY.

6. I love Sarah’s writing and her ability to create characters that make their way into your heart, her ability to write emotions that you can feel, and her ability to always put a smile on your face. 

All in all, Miracle On 5th Avenue was another win for me! I really loved it and am excited to continue the series. I love New York City, so it’s kind of like Sarah wrote me my own series! Definitely pick this up if you’re looking for a little Christmas cheer and some really fun characters.

In honor of A Bookish Little Christmas, Sarah has offered up a signed copy of Miracle On 5th Avenue to one of my readers! I am so unbelievably jealous of whoever wins! I’d love a signed Sarah Morgan book! Enter to win below!

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First Time In Forever by Sarah Morgan | Mini Book Review

Posted March 30, 2015 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review / 1 Comment

First Time In Forever by Sarah Morgan | Mini Book ReviewFirst Time In Forever by Sarah Morgan
Series: Puffin Island #1
Published by HQN Books on February 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Windswept, isolated and ruggedly beautiful, Puffin Island is a haven for day-trippers and daydreamers alike. But this charming community has a way of bringing people together in the most unexpected ways…

It's been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece Lizzie to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzie and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of "just breathe" pep talks she's given herself. And that's before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…

Ryan knows all about secrets. And it's clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won't let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he's going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else's hands?

I have loved every Sarah Morgan book I’ve read (her O’Neil Brothers trilogy is wonderful), so I was excited when I found out about this new series, Puffin Island, set in a new place, with new people, and new issues. I came away having book enjoyed this book a lot as well!

Sarah Morgan is so great at writing settings you love! I loved the Snow Crystal resort from her O’Neil Brothers books, and Puffin Island is no disappointment. It sounds like the perfect place to escape to if you’re in search of beautiful views and a sweet community of people. Speaking of the people, this book has a lot of fun characters who all know each other and look out for one another. I love small town communities where everyone feels like family, and that’s exactly what Puffin Island is like. It’ll be interesting to see the roles these characters play in the future books of the series.

I really felt for Emily. She’s been thrust into the role of mother after the death of her movie star half-sister, and feels very ill-equipped. She flees to Puffin Island to hide from the press, who are after her story. Ryan understands what hardship is like, as he has been through the ringer himself. They both are content on their own, not wanting to settle down or open themselves up to love. But… these things happen. Their romance is really a story of learning to trust again and healing from their pasts. Things were a little lusty (can Ryan think of anything but sex?) for a while, but I enjoyed their story in the end. Ryan is such a nice guy, and is so great with Emily. He pushes her when she needs to be pushed, but knows when to back off and give her space. One thing’s for sure: he’s not giving up on her no matter how closed off she is. I really liked Ryan.

All in all, this was a great, but a bit of a slow start to Sarah’s new series. I love her writing and the way she brings the reader right in to her stories. I’m excited to read the other books in the series, even though I did not love it as much as her O’Neil Brothers trilogy. Puffin Island is such a wonderful setting, though, and the third book is a Christmas book! So sign me up!

 


Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan | Book Review

Posted December 10, 2014 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan | Book ReviewMaybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan
Series: O'Neil Brothers #3
Also in this series: Suddenly Last Summer, Sleigh Bells in the Snow
Published by Harlequin on October 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4.5 Stars
This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O'Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he's simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he's never ruined, and he's not about to start now.

Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she's been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture…how can she concentrate on being his friend when he's sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she's always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?

I have really enjoyed the O’Neil Brothers trilogy, so I was excited to read the final installment about the final brother. I love the Snow Crystal resort in Vermont, especially during Christmastime! It was so nice to go back and visit. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Things started out a little slowly for me. I felt like everyone kept saying the same things over and over again. Brenna kept talking about how she and Tyler could never be because he treats her like one of the guys and thinks of her only as a friend. Tyler kept talking to himself and his brothers about how he and Brenna are such good friends and he does not want to ruin it. Everyone else kept discussing Tyler and Brenna with one another. Even Jess, Tyler’s daughter, can’t stop talking about those two. The main idea for a huge portion of the book was: Brenna and Tyler are friends but wish it were more. I actually skimmed a few passages because I felt like I’d already read it before.

2. Things definitely picked up about halfway through. Brenna goes on a date with the local police chief, and it was hilarious to read about Tyler’s jealousy (apparently his jealousy surprised him!) and his efforts to get Brenna to wear more clothes and snow boots instead of stilettos. I also enjoyed Tyler’s banter with Jess. They have a sweet father/daughter relationship, yet Jess seems to be raising him instead of the other way around. The fact that I love these characters so much helped me swim through the more redundant parts of the book.

3. Like I said, I love Snow Crystal. I love Sarah Morgan’s descriptions of the resort, the snow, the scenery. Everything felt so magical to me!

4. I have always loved reading about friends who fall in love with one another. I just wish the romance took up more of the book. We spend so much time reading about their friendship and how it can be nothing more, that by the time the romance blooms everything escalates too quickly and is resolved too quickly. While I usually believe stories like this, I had a hard time believing it this time. It almost felt like insta-love, even though they have known each other for 20+ years.

5. When the romance did happen, it was super swoony and sweet.

6. I loved catching up with old friends. Kayla, Jackson, Sean, Elise, Elizabeth, Jess, etc. are there and we get to see how their lives have progressed (although we never really saw any interaction between Sean and Elise.).

All in all, I did really enjoy this story despite my few complaints. Christmas books make me so happy, and I love them. Sarah writes very pretty descriptions, and she writes characters you love. I will miss the O’Neil family and the Snow Crystal. I’d love it if Sarah wrote a follow-up in a few years so we can visit again and see what everyone’s up to! Babies? Jess’s wedding? There’s so many possibilities. Definitely read this if you love the O’Neil family. Kayla and Jackson’s story is still my favorite, but I’m glad Tyler and Brenna finally got their happily ever after.


Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan | Book Review + Giveaway

Posted June 23, 2014 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway / 3 Comments

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan | Book Review + Giveaway

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan | Book Review + GiveawaySuddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan
Series: O'Neil Brothers #2
Also in this series: Maybe This Christmas, Sleigh Bells in the Snow
Published by Harlequin on June 24, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O'Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.

Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O'Neil's worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family's rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…

Words can not begin to express how excited I was when I finished book #1 in this series, Sleigh Bells in the Snow (see my review), last Christmas and found out that each of the fine O’Neil brothers was going to to get their own book and their own love story! Just so you know, this book can totally stand on its own. But why would you want it to? You’ll be sad you missed Jackson and Kayla’s love story. Anywho, I loved reading about Sean (the sexy surgeon) and his relationship with his brothers in this first book, and I was very eager to get my hands on his story! While I did not love it as much as I loved Sleigh Bells in the Snow (because this book had no Christmas in it, and I’m kind of a crazy Christmas person), I did enjoy this sweet romance. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. As was with the first book, I LOVE the setting of this series! The Snow Crystal, a quaint ski resort in Vermont, is just as charming in the middle of summer as it is the week before Christmas. And since the weather is warmer now, our beloved characters spend more time outside doing things like kayaking, hiking, camping, and repairing the lodge. I think the best thing about summer here, though, is watching a shirtless, glistening Sean build a deck in the sun. Oh, and kissing in the rain happens. Up against trees. Summer is good in Vermont.

2. Yay for familiar faces! I loved seeing Kayla and Jackson (cute couple from Sleigh Bells in the Snow) again. It was fun to see how their relationship has developed, and listen in on some of their future plans. The entire family at the resort is back, and they are just as sweet and welcoming as ever. I said this book can stand alone, but readers who already know these characters will be delighted to catch up with them.

3. Élise was not really my kind of girl, which was disappointing. She’s a French chef, and is very fiery and dramatic. She jumps to a lot of conclusions, forms opinions without having all the facts, talks before she thinks, and uses her painful past as a crutch way too often. This girl is high maintenance to say the least. But that’s ok! She was definitely a unique character to read about, and did not fit the usual mold. I did wish she would loosen up a little, though. As readers learn more about her, though, and discover her story, they will understand why she is the way she is. I did end up liking her more at the end of the book than I did at the beginning.

4. I really, really liked Sean. He’s devoted to his work, yet he’s got a pretty big soft spot for his family. He is constantly thinking about the people he has the opportunity to save through his talents as a surgeon. He has a pretty heroic moment in this book, and I just love how he is so passionate about helping people. If only everyone felt about their jobs the way Sean feels about his. This characteristic makes him extremely likeable, and that passion makes him, well, passionate.

5. I felt like a lot of the same conversations kept happening. Élise thinks about her past, and how Jackson (Sean’s brother) basically saved her from a pretty sucky life. Then Jackson thinks about this same thing. Then Élise talks to Jackson about it. Then Jackson talks to Sean about it a little. Then Élise tells Sean about it. And all the while, grandpa has known about Élise‘s past, and hopes someone will be able to help her. There’s just a lot of repetition in conversation topics, and I got a bit bored with the hashing and rehashing.

6. The romance in this story is more lust-based and passion-driven than I felt Kayla and Jackson’s was, which was an interesting change of pace. Élise and Sean have this boiling chemistry that is very hard for them to put a lid on, much as they would like. I’ve always been a fan of the more traditional love stories filled with stolen glances and a slow burn. There was no slow burn here at all. While it’s not my favorite kind of romance, some of the kissing scenes… holy moly. Phew! Swoony. And, don’t get me wrong… sweet moments happen too. We’ve just got two very passionate people here.

7. Probably my favorite thing about these books is the family dynamic. I love this family so much, and I love how they stick together and protect one another.

8. LOVE Sarah Morgan’s writing style. I still adore her descriptions of the scenery, and she sure knows how to write scenes that leave you weak in the knees!

All in all, Suddenly Last Summer is a fun read that I would definitely recommend to lovers of Sleigh Bells in the Snow, as well as lovers of summer romances. The O’Neil family is too wonderful for words, and I think everyone should take a trip to the Snow Crystal. Even though I did not love this book as much as the first, I can’t WAIT to get my hands on Maybe This Christmas (CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!) so that I can finally see Tyler O’Neil (sweet single dad of a teenage girl) fall in love.


About Sarah Morgan

USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. RT Book Reviews has called her ‘a magician with words’ and she has made numerous appearances in their ‘Top Pick’ slot. Sarah lives near London, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. She loves chatting with readers by email and on Facebook and Twitter. More information can be found on her website.

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