Series: Kowalski Family

Review: All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey

Posted February 25, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Holly
All He Ever Dreamed (Kowalski Family, #6) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family #6
Also in this series: Undeniably Yours (Kowalski Family, #2)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 21st 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 194
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

Josh Kowalski is tired of holding down the fort—better known as the Northern Star Lodge—while his siblings are off living their dreams. Now that his oldest brother has returned to Whitford, Maine for good, Josh is free to chase some dreams of his own.

As the daughter of the lodge's longtime housekeeper, Katie Davis grew up alongside the Kowalski kids. Though she's always been "one of the guys", her feelings for Josh are anything but sisterly. And after a hot late-night encounter in the kitchen, it's clear Josh finally sees her as the woman she is.

Katie's been waiting years for Josh to notice her, but now that he has, she's afraid it's too late. Giving her heart to a man who can't wait to leave town is one sure way to have it broken. But Josh keeps coming up with excuses not to leave—could it be that everything he's ever wanted is closer than he could have imagined?

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this story. Josh and Katie have been best friends for years. If Katie feels a little more than friendship toward Josh, well, that’s her secret to keep. Except the entire town seems to have noticed. Everyone, that is, but Josh. Until she’s forced to move in with him to help care for her mom – the housekeeper of Josh’s B&B – who has been really sick. Then he comes upon her in her pajamas and realizes she’s not just one of the guys. She’s all woman.

He struggles with how to react now that he’s seeing his best friend in a new light. As much as he wants to act on his attraction to her, he knows he shouldn’t. Because for the first time in his life he has the opportunity to leave home and discover himself. Katie is happy staying where she is. She feels no need to roam. So despite her feelings for Josh, she knows nothing can develop between them. Too bad their hearts don’t understand that…

Josh is understandably resentful that his family left him to run the lodge without asking if that was what he wanted to do. As a young man he had dreams of traveling, having a family, building a house, etc. All of those went out the window when his dad died and his siblings left him in charge of the lodge. In the previous book, he finally fessed up to his family that he was unhappy stuck at the lodge and they agreed to work it out with him. They agreed to consider either selling, or getting back on their feet financially so they could hire a manager.Josh is glad to finally have gotten it off his chest, but he can’t help but feel like nothing has changed. He’s still stuck at the lodge taking care of things while his siblings aren’t around. He knows that isn’t really fair, since there isn’t a lot anyone can do at that moment since their financial situation isn’t the best. That doesn’t change how he feels, though.

It was good that Josh’s feelings didn’t automatically change once he had the talk with his family. He tried not to feel sorry for himself or be angry all the time,  but it was hard. I felt that was very realistic. His anger was justified and so was his resentment. I also understood his conflicted feelings about the lodge. He loved it at the same time he hated it. It stood for his family and was home, but it was also an albatross hanging around his neck.

I really loved Katie in this story. She’s a girl-next-door type. She loves sports and rarely puts on anything besides jeans and t-shirts, but she’s still a woman. When Josh finds her in her boxers in the kitchen, I totally cracked up. That was the first time he noticed she was a woman and not just his best friend. Her feelings for Josh were just as conflicted as his were for the lodge. She loved him and wanted to be with him, but more, she wanted him to be happy. She understood he was going to leave town as soon as he was able and she didn’t want to hold him back. Sure, part of her wanted him to stick around, but she knew that wasn’t going to happen. I liked her independence and practicality.

I didn’t love their romance as much as I expected to. The bulk of the book centered more around Josh’s feelings for the lodge and his conflicted feelings about his situation than their romance. At the end, I wasn’t as invested in them as I expected to me. I also felt Josh’s actions at the end were…not as well put together as they should have been. I don’t want to spoil the story, but I will say I wanted more from him to explain the way it ended.

Still and all, this was a solid read. I’ve come to expect light, witty stories from Stacey and she delivered again.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Review: Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Posted September 6, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Undeniably Yours by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Rowena
Undeniably Yours (Kowalski Family, #2) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family #2
Also in this series: All He Ever Dreamed (Kowalski Family, #6)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: November 1st 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 381
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?

Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he’s more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn’t gone so badly...

Beth’s tending bar at a wedding when she comes face-to-face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she’d see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can’t say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.

Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he’s not the player she thinks he is. But she’s not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it’s going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child...

Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him. Even if lately he’s been more interested in finding Mrs. Right than Miss Right Now. Enter Beth Hansen.

Kevin and Beth may have started out all wrong, with an impromptu passionate encounter at a wedding, followed by a walk of shame. Yet Kevin knows there’s more to their relationship than a one-night stand. Especially when Beth turns up pregnant.

Kevin may be ready for the “next step,” but Beth doesn’t want a relationship with a former playboy, however irresistible he might be. And it’s going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child….

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a very long time now because I read and enjoyed the first book, Exclusively Yours. I remember being happy that the next book in the series was going to be Kevin’s story because I loved him and his flirty spice self in Joe and Keri’s book.

So this book follows Kevin toward his happy ending. The Kowalksi’s remind me of my family. Our family gatherings are always huge and chaotic. There are kids running like crazy people all over the place and the adults are always laughing. Quiet evenings at home with family is never in the cards for our family and that’s kind of the same way things are with the Kowalski’s. I love them.

In this book, Kevin hooks up with Beth, a bartender that he had a run in with at his bar on the night of Joe and Keri’s wedding. He went to great lengths to try to hook up with her, involving his family and almost getting Joe and Beth in trouble with Beth’s boss but it all worked out at the end of the day because Beth ended up in bed with Kevin and he rocked her socks. When morning comes, Kevin says things that bring Beth up short and she bolts. She never expected to see him ever again but when she ends up pregnant from their night of naughtiness, Kevin comes storming back into her life and isn’t going anywhere. Along with Kevin comes his family. The whole Kowalski bunch and Beth is overwhelmed.

As much as I enjoyed the Kowalskis and Kevin, Beth got on my nerves. Her reasons for holding Kevin at arms length made sense in the beginning but when you’re 95% done with the book and she’s STILL not sure of Kevin’s feelings for her after EVERYTHING that he’s done for her, something’s wrong. I was starting to think that it was Beth that didn’t deserve Kevin. I get that seeing all of those women falling all over themselves in his bar and kissing napkins for him isn’t much fun to see but Kevin had done nothing in all the months that they were in their whatever that was they were in to deserve her non-trust in him. When Kevin is talking to Joe toward the end of the book and he’s telling Joe that Beth is always going to find something to hold against him and he was getting tired of it, I couldn’t help but think, “Finally!” It took him much too long to do something about the distance between him and Beth. The book was damn near over by the time he finally decides that it’s time to move the hell on. And the other thing that made me mad was how easy he caved to Beth at the end too. I wanted more groveling from her, after all of the crap that she put him through, I wanted her to suffer a little longer than she did.

But aside from my issues with the main couple, it was still nice to see the other Kowalski’s again and Kevin’s parents are the bomb. I just love them both to pieces. I was happy to see that things between Evan and Terry are getting better, the same thing with Mike and Lisa and Joe and Keri. I will definitely check out the next book because I want more Kowalski goodness (even though I hear it’s a different branch of the Kowalski’s) because, how can you not?

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

This book is available from HQN. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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