Category Archives: Kowalski Family

Review: All He Ever Desired by Shannon Stacey

Title: All He Ever Desired by Shannon Stacey
Kowalski Family, Book Five
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 70,000 words
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


A second shot at first love

After college, Ryan Kowalski decided to leave Whitford, Maine, rather than watch Lauren Carpenter marry another man. Now his siblings need his help to refurbish the family-owned Northern Star Lodge and he’s forced to face the past sooner rather than later when he collars a vandal–and learns the boy is Lauren’s son…

The last person Lauren needs back in her life is Ryan Kowalski. With a bitter ex-husband and a moody teenage son, she has enough man trouble already. But her son needs to learn a few lessons about right and wrong, even if Lauren has to escort him to Ryan’s door every day to work off his crime.

With all this close contact, Ryan and Lauren can’t deny the chemistry between them is as powerful as ever. But can a few searing kisses erase their past and pave the way for a second chance at true love?

The Review:

All He Ever Desired is another delightfully heartwarming yet super sexy installment in Shannon Stacey’s fabulous Kowalski Family series. It is Ryan Kowalski’s turn to find love when he returns to Whitford to help with renovations on the family’s lodge.

As a teenager, Ryan had a secret crush on Lauren but she was in love with Ryan’s best friend, Dean. Lauren and Dean married young, had a baby, and have been divorced for several years now. With an uncomfortable secret between them, Ryan has successfully avoided Lauren on his rare visits home over the years. But on this latest extended visit, Ryan and Lauren find their paths crossing on a regular basis. Unable to resist their simmering passion, they are soon burning up the sheets together. While their relationship manages to survive interfering relatives, Lauren’s belligerent ex, and her sometimes sullen son Nick it is Ryan’s return to Massachusetts that threatens their future.

I really like both Ryan and Lauren, as individuals and as a couple. Long since married and divorced, Ryan is a hardworking man who has built a successful construction business in Ridgeline. Although his siblings sometimes drive him crazy, Ryan is fiercely loyal to them and they are a close knit family.

Lauren is a strong woman who definitely knows her own mind. She is a wonderful mother who is actively involved in Nick’s life. She is tough but fair with him and she holds him accountable for his actions. Lauren’s relationship with ex-husband Dean is sometimes contentious as she tries to keep the peace between them for Nick’s sake. But she is no pushover where Dean is concerned and I love that she speaks her mind when she needs to.

In the beginning, the relationship between Lauren and Ryan is based on a mutual attraction. The sex scenes between them are playful yet sensual. Love gradually sneaks up on them and while Lauren is ready to figure out the next step, Ryan is at first reluctant to take her concerns seriously. This leads to a minor conflict late in the story, but mercifully, the angst is kept to a minimum. Their problems are realistic and I like how they work together to find viable solutions for their issues.

Mitch and Paige’s wedding brings the whole Kowalski clan together and it is so much fun to revisit past characters from previous novels. There is an interesting pairing between sister Liz and one of her brother’s friends and I am VERY curious to see what direction their relationship is going to go. Younger brother Josh is still chomping at the bit to get out of the family business and stretch his wings, but will he discover that his future is waiting for him in Whitford? Equally fascinating is the evolution of the relationship between mother/housekeeper Rose Davis and Andy Miller.

As always, I absolutely love the time spent with the Kowalskis. They are a fun loving yet devoted family and they are always quick to step in and lend emotional support when needed. Their interactions are often quite funny yet also incredibly touching.

Shannon Stacey does a wonderful job keeping the series fresh with unique storylines and charming characters that readers can easily relate to. And as always, she leaves her readers eagerly awaiting the next book in the Kowalski Family series.

Read my reviews of other books in the series HERE.


Filed under All He Ever Desired, Carina Press, Contemporary, Kowalski Family, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Shannon Stacey

All He Ever Needed by Shannon Stacey

Title: All He Ever Needed by Shannon Stacey
Kowalski Family Book Four
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 70,000 words
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


He won’t stay put for a woman, and she won’t chase after any man…

Mitch Kowalski lives out of a suitcase–and he likes it that way. Traveling for work has the added bonus of scaring off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. But when he’s called home to help with the family lodge, he’s intrigued by the new girl in town and her insistence that she doesn’t need a man. If there’s one thing Mitch can’t resist, it’s a challenge.

After a nomadic childhood, Paige Sullivan is finally putting down roots. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she lives by the motto “Men are a luxury, not a necessity.” But when Mr. Tall, Dark and Hot pulls up a stool in her diner and offers her six weeks of naughty fun with a built-in expiration date, she’s tempted to indulge.

They’re the perfect match for a no-strings fling. Until they realize their sexy affair has become anything but casual…

70,000 words

The Review:

Another wonderful installment in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski Family series, All He Ever Needed is a delightfully light-hearted romance between two people who become involved in a no strings attached short term fling. Paige Sullivan loves her small town life in Whitford while Mitch Kowalski is counting down the days until he can leave again.

Mitch and Paige are total opposites when it comes to small town living. Close friendships and a sense of community give Paige the connection she has been looking for. For Mitch, that translates into all of his past indiscretions coming back to haunt him every time he steps foot in town. He is defined by his youthful mistakes and no one quite sees the man he has become.

The relationship between Mitch and Paige is fun, flirty and sexy. There is genuine warmth and caring between them, and they share an easy friendship. They both work hard to keep their relationship casual but before long, they find themselves walking a very fine line between friends with benefits and a real relationship. With Mitch giving off mixed signals, Paige finds herself falling back into old patterns, but fortunately she realizes what she is doing and stops herself from acting on her impulses.

In addition to Paige and Mitch’s romance, there are also a few secondary story arcs in All He Ever Needed. Several of the characters’ lives intersect with both Paige and Mitch and it will be interesting to see how some of the various plotlines are resolved in future books of the series. The dynamics between the Kowalski brothers are quite fascinating and while they are close, there are definitely things they do not know about one another.

All He Ever Needed is a fantastic addition to the Kowalski Family series. The characters are appealing and well-developed. The conflict between Mitch and Paige is realistic and they solve their problems with very little angst or drama. Shannon Stacey skillfully leaves her readers anticipating the next installment of this fabulous series.


Filed under All He Ever Needed, Carina Press, Contemporary, Kowalski Family, Rated B+, Romance, Shannon Stacey

Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey

Title: Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
The Kowalskis Book Three
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 70,000 words
Book Rating: A+ and a Recommended Read

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancé. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.

Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are.

The Review:

There is nothing I love more than a family based series and Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series is at the top of my favorites list. Fun loving, teasing, and fiercely loyal, the members of this family have always got one another’s backs, no matter what. Yours to Keep will have you grinning from ear to ear and laughing out loud as the Kowalski family good naturedly lends their assistance convincing Emma’s grandmother that Sean and Emma’s engagement is on the up and up.

Emma Shaw and Sean Kowalski are well –drawn, vibrant characters. Emma is a successful, hardworking woman who is self confident and despite Sean’s first impression of her, quite sane. Sean is just like the other Kowalski family males. He is a sports loving, beer drinking guy who does not like to think, let alone talk, about feelings and other mushy stuff. His best quality is that he appreciates the different facets of Emma’s personality, and he is willing to tell her that.

As with Ms. Stacey’s other books in this fabulous series, the Kowalski family is right in the thick of things giving unsolicited advice and laughing over Sean’s predicament. But they always have his best interests at heart, and he does not hesitate to seek their counsel when he most needs it.

Emma’s grandmother, Cat, is absolutely divine. The secondary storyline with her old friend Russell Walker is quite touching and a little bittersweet. Cat is one sharp lady who knows her granddaughter well, and she is willing to give Emma and Sean a push when the occasion calls for it.

Brimming with humor and sparkling dialogue, Shannon Stacey engages her readers with a unique storyline and delightful characters. Yours to Keep is refreshingly light and drama free, and it is the perfect book to curl up with and escape from normal everyday life.

This review is also posted at The Readers Roundtable


Filed under Carina Press, Contemporary, Kowalski Family, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Romance, Shannon Stacey, Yours to Keep