Category Archives: Shannon Stacey

Review: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey

Title: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey
Boys of Fall Series Book Three
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 303 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The New York Times bestselling author of Defending Hearts returns to small-town New Hampshire where a substitute football coach and a guidance counselor tackle love.

They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again . . .

Sam Leavitt has returned home to Stewart Mills with one goal: to fill in for Coach McDonnell and lead the high school football team to the championship. He doesn’t have time for distractions or commitments—but he’s unable to resist falling for the sexy guidance counselor he shared a hot night with months ago.

Jen Cooper knows what she’s looking for long-term, and it’s not Sam—even though the night they shared was explosive. Now, with Sam back in town and working by her side, picking up where they left off is too great a temptation to resist. But before long their fun fling is looking like a future together. And as the championship approaches, Sam is faced with a big decision that will either break them apart—or help them find their way home.


Homecoming by Shannon Stacey is a heartwarming novel of redemption, forgiveness and love.  Although this latest release is the third installment in the Boys of Fall series, it can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the previous two books as well.

After beloved high school football Coach McDonnell suffers a heart attack, Sam Leavitt returns to Stewart Falls take over coaching duties until Coach gets the green light from his doctor to return to work.  With a host of bad memories and unresolved issues stemming from his dysfunctional childhood, Sam does not mind helping out temporarily but he has no intention of moving back to town permanently. So he knows he has to maintain a healthy distance from the woman he had a very hot and unforgettable one night stand with the previous summer, guidance counselor Jen Cooper. His good intentions quickly fall by the wayside as their lives become entangled through their jobs and friends but their simmering attraction becomes too powerful to resist. Deciding there is no harm in indulging in a casual affair, Jen and Sam are both somewhat surprised when their no strings fling begins to look an awful lot like a real relationship. Will their deepening emotions have any effect on Sam’s plan to Stewart Falls when Coach returns to work?

Sam is a caring, compassionate man whose abusive childhood left an indelible mark on him.  While he may have put his horrible memories out of his mind, he has never really dealt with his painful past. His strained relationship with his mom is a work in progress and he is trying very hard to forgive her for not doing more to protect him while he was growing up.  Sam has mixed emotions about being back in Stewart Falls and while he really comes to enjoy coaching the football team and mentoring the players, he still has a difficult time letting go of the hurt and anger he still carries with him. After receiving an unexpected job opportunity, he begins rethinking his plans to return to Texas but he cannot see himself moving back to Stewart Falls. Sam comes up with a viable solution to this problem, but will Jen agree to his plan?

Jen cares deeply for the students she works with and she works tirelessly on their behalf to give them the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Although her family no longer lives in Stewart Falls, she has strong ties to the community.  Still nursing a little hurt and anger over the way Sam left town the previous summer, Jen resolves to stay away from him. When this plan quickly falls through, she refuses to entertain the possibility of giving in to her desire for him. Slowly but surely, she convinces herself she can handle a no strings fling and they soon embroiled in a heated affair. Although she readily admits she is in love with Sam, is Jen ready to do whatever it takes for them to be together?

With a sweet and steamy romance, a wonderful small town atmosphere and laugh out loud humor (the pumpkin babies and Gretchen’s emojis are hilarious), Homecoming is an endearing and heartfelt addition the Boys of Fall series. Jen and Sam are wonderful protagonists whose romance is believable but with some very real obstacles to overcome, their future is far from certain.  This finely crafted novel of love and healing is sure to be a hit with old and new fans of Shannon Stacey.

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Filed under Boys of Fall Series, Contemporary, Homecoming, Jove, Rated B, Review, Romance, Shannon Stacey

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

Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection by Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton, HelenKay Dimon and Alison Kent

Title: Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection by Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton, HelenKay Dimon and Alison Kent
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Anthology, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 103,000 words/313 pages
Book Rating:

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…Love!

A man gives the gift of trust and receives a second chance at love in return. A woman helps to heal the wounded heart of a soldier. A couple finds that true love knows no distance. And a young widow learns that there can be two great loves in a lifetime. Love, romance and passion come together in this collection of four seasonal shorts.

Anthology includes:

This Time Next Year by Alison Kent
A Rare Gift by Jaci Burton
It’s Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon
Mistletoe and Margaritas by Shannon Stacey

Stories also available for purchase separately.

103,000 words

The Review:

The Holiday Kisses anthology from Carina Press is a fabulous collection of holiday stories from four extraordinarily talented authors. These touching novellas will tug on your heartstrings as all of the couples find their way to happily ever after during the most magical season of the year.

Alison Kent’s This Time Next Year is a poignant yet heartwarming love story. Dillon Craig’s war memories continue to haunt him as he questions the decisions he made while trying to save the wounded soldiers in his care in Afghanistan. Brenna Keating questions the decision she has made to leave her beloved grandmother and work abroad for a year. Together, these two forge an emotional and physical bond while stranded at Dillon’s cabin. This Time Next Year has a strong plot, endearing characters, and a surprisingly realistic yet delightful ending.

Fans of Jaci Burton are going to love A Rare Gift, the second installment of her Kent Brothers series. Heartbroken, brooding and grumpy Wyatt Kent has met his match with his ex-wife’s sister Calliope Andrews. Calliope is outgoing, friendly and down-to-earth. In short, the complete and total opposite of her sister. She knows what she wants and she does not hesitate to go after it. She challenges Wyatt and calls him on his bad behavior. Wyatt and Calliope’s relationship develops naturally over time and they resolve their conflicts quickly and maturely. A Rare Gift is an absolutely charming and deliciously steamy romance.

HelenKay Dimon’s It’s Not Christmas Without You is a fun and sexy novella with a wonderful cast of characters. There is no doubt that Carrie Anders and Austin Thomas love one another. Complicated family dynamics and baggage from each other’s childhood play a huge role in keeping this star-crossed couple apart. It’s Not Christmas Without You is a refreshingly light-hearted romance that is laugh out loud funny and achingly sweet.

Shannon Stacey’s Mistletoe and Margaritas is an emotionally charged and captivating romance. A complex history between Claire Rutledge and Justin McComick complicates their transition from friends to lovers. Mistletoe and Margaritas is a sexy and bittersweet love story with a great deal of depth. Be prepared to laugh and cry as you join this charming couple on their moving journey to happiness.

If you are looking for a temporary escape from the madness of the holidays, then you should pick up a copy of Holiday Kisses. It is a great little pick me up that is full of warm and fuzzy romances that will melt your heart and put a smile on your face.


Filed under A Rare Gift, Alison Kent, Carina Press, Contemporary, HelenKay Dimon, Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection, It's Not Christmas Without You, Jaci Burton, Mistletoe and Margaritas, Rated B+, Romance, Shannon Stacey, This Time Next Year

Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey

Title: Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 20,000 words
Book Rating: B+


House-sitting for her parents seemed like a good idea, until the microwave blew up and the lights went out.

Now Chloe Burke thinks upgrading the electrical system of her childhood home while they are away would make the perfect Christmas gift. Fortunately, there’s an electrician in town who can get the job done by the holidays.

Scott Quinn has wanted to get his hands on the Burkes’ wiring for almost as long as he’s wanted to get his hands on their daughter. Chloe didn’t notice Scott back in high school, but she’s noticing him now, and soon they’re indulging in a little festive fun: no strings, no expectations. After all, Chloe plans to get out of this goldfish bowl of a town and back to her real life in Boston by New Year’s.

But Chloe and Scott discover they enjoy each other’s company just as much out of bed. Could their holiday fling turn out to be the real thing?

20,000 words

The Review:

Delightfully realistic characters and humorous prose quickly engage the reader in Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey. It is a sweet, light-hearted sexy read that will put a smile on your face and get you in a holiday frame of mind.

In high school, Chloe Burke was a popular, beautiful cheerleader type while Scott Quinn was the sort of unattractive and easy to overlook type. Fast forward ten years. Chloe is still beautiful, wildly sexy and super nice and loves life in the big city. On the other hand, Scott has turned into a complete and total hottie that embraces small town living. Unable to resist their attraction for each other, Scott and Chloe agree to a short holiday fling.

Chloe and Scott have a lot of chemistry that results in some steamy but understated love scenes. They take the time to get to know one another outside the bedroom. They talk, they laugh, and they have fun together which makes it very easy to believe they have fallen in love in a relatively short period of time.

Holiday Sparks is a heartwarming and angst free romance. Mostly a feel good read, Shannon Stacey provides Scott and Chloe a bit of conflict to overcome before they find their happily ever after. It is a fast- paced charming novella that I highly recommend.


Filed under Carina Press, Contemporary, Holiday Sparks, 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