Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Kowalski Series by Shannon Stacey

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The Kowalski Family Series 
Boxed Set of Book 1-3
Book 1: Exclusively Yours 
Keri Daniels had left her hometown on the East Coast when she was eighteen. Leaving her heart behind and heading to L.A. She did not want to be known as someones mom, girl or daughter but as Keri Daniels. Eighteen years later she has almost achieved her ladder climbing goal. She just needed her promotion at Spotlight Magazine and she was being handed the golden wrapper to get there. Her boss, Tina Deschanel, had found out she had been caught getting busy in the 1978 Ford Granada of the most exclusive author around, Joseph Kowalski. Of course that was when she was eighteen but it mattered not to Tina. It was a connection and she wanted this interview. A trip back East, an interview of what happened with him and the gorgeous Lauren Huckins who had sued him for emotional distress and she would have her promotion. No problem, right?

Joseph Kowalski preferred to be just Joe. He loved his hometown and his family. He did not want the public eye focused on him either. He wondered how long before the tenacious Tina Deschanel would find out her star reporter knew him. The time had come. While in the local store he was told that Keri was in town and she was trying to find a way to contact him. She had been home before but had never tried to find him before. Keri the girl who had walked away from their love eighteen years ago and never looked back. Keri the girl he almost destroyed his life and family over and had left him more cynical then he used to be.

Joe agreed to meet Keri in a plain old hamburger joint. She hoped maybe he did not age well but he did. Keri was surprised when Joe ordered for her remembering every detail of what and how she liked her food. She just needed to get the interview and head back to LA get her promotion only Joe was not going to make it that easy.

Joe decided on the way to the restaurant what he wanted, revenge perhaps. His family was heading for their yearly two week camping trip. He told Keri if she came on the trip and followed his rules she would get her interview. No electronics such as laptop or cell phone, she must participate in family activities, for each day she survived with the Kowalski's she could ask one question but he would get to ask her one as well.

Joe had her stay in his cabin while the rest of the family were in their campers and tents. His twin sister Terry was upset as she never got over losing Keri as a best friend in high school and seeing Joe destroyed when she left. Terry is a bit of a mother hen, hence her husband walking out on her three months ago. She is not kind to Keri.

Between Terry's hate, Joe's four nephews with more energy then any boys should have, a hopeful mother calling them a couple, sexual tension among other tensions between Joe and Keri, Joe's brother Mike and his wife Lisa fighting and Keri's fear of the racoons and anything in nature it ends up a good read.

Will Keri betray Joe and his family for her promotion? And can Joe survive her leaving a second time.
**Language & sexual situations
*Book Received through NetGalley for review.
Book 2: Undeniably Yours 
Kevin Kowalski had been a Boston cop until he found his wife in their bed with his boss. After beating his boss up and divorcing his wife he bought a bar. The night Beth Hansen came in his bar changed everything. Three weeks after he first seen Beth, and caused her to lose her job by having her boss arrested in his bar, she was at Joe & Keri's wedding. She was serving at the open bar. When the night was over he found her outside in the gardens. And before they knew it they were spending the night together.

Beth Hansen was a nomad of sorts. She was the only surviving child because her mother miscarried. They were a bit overprotective so Beth started traveling. She would work awhile and when she had enough money she moved to the next town. She had a great night with Kevin Kowalski and as she went to leave to get some breakfast he mumbled about locking the door behind her. Forget her fairy tale night, she was just some bimbo to him. So she left.

Three weeks later Beth found that the 2% chance of a bad condom had happened and she was pregnant by a man who did not want to see her again. She went to the bar to tell him and he went into Mr. Take Charge mode, just what she ran away from. Before she knew she was moved into an apartment above the bar and across the hall from him. It had ended up her crappy apartment had lead in the paint.

The book is mostly about the dance between them. They both cared about each other but Beth could only believe he was thinking of the baby. They hardly knew each other. She was thrown into the Kowalski family head first with Thanksgiving dinner. His sister-in-law Lisa had married Mike because she was pregnant and she agreed with Beth about being cautious.

Paulie Reed was Kevin's assistant manager at Jasper's Bar. No one knew she had been hiding the last five years from a aristocratic type lifestyle. Until Samuel Logan the Fourth came into the bar. She had left him at the altar. She loved him but felt he was marrying her because their society lifestyle put them together. There is a secondary story of Sam pursuing Paulie.

It is a great story and not really centered around sex. Kevin and all the Kowalski's are loveable characters that become real in the stories. I would suggest reading Exclusively Yours first. The first book introduces all the Kowalski's and you get to know Kevin as well.
**Language & sexual situations
*Book received through NetGalley for Review
Book 3: Yours to Keep
Shannon Stacey brings the Kowalski family characters alive in this series. They are a boisterous loving family that you are not going to escape from too quickly. Especially if Mary, the mom, has you in site for marrying one of her sons. Everything they do ends with doom such as if they play sports it will be the volleyball game of doom. In this third book we find that Mary had a hand in raising her nephews and niece after her sister-in-law died so Mary needed to have a hand in his love life as well.

Sean Kowalski is home from the army after twelve years. He don't know where is life will lead but instead of going to the family lodge he comes to see his Uncle and Aunt and cousins. He never liked having strangers staying at the lodge, it felt like his own was always invaded. He took the empty apartment above his cousin Kevin's place, Jasper's Bar & Grille. No sooner does he settle in that a woman comes to his door and informs him he is her fake fiance. He sees her as tall, hot and crazy. And after a day he agrees to be such a fiance to help her.

Emma Shaw has a landscaping business and she wants to buy her grandparents farm house that she grew up in. Her folks died when she was four and her grandparents stopped their life to raise her. After gramps died her grandma, Cat, finally went to Florida by friends and was loving it. She worried about Emma though. She wanted Cat to enjoy her life so she invented a boyfriend. Her best friend Lisa Kowalski had been sending packages overseas for her husbands cousin so when Cat asked for a name Sean Kowalski's came to mind. And now here he was.

Cat sees something is amiss the minute she gets off the plane. Emma and Sean do not act like a couple who have lived together for over a year. And when she does see through the facade she don't let on because she thinks they would be good for each other.

Sean and Emma were staying in the same room. He had her bed and she was on the couch. They worked together in her landscaping business. As time goes on the pretend becomes to blur between what is real or not.

A secondary story is that Cat Shaw meets an old schoolmate. Russell Walker had the hardware store in town but it's going out of business after 130 years. The bigger stores were taking over and his daughter was not interested in running it either. Cat and Russell start spending time together as well. Both lost their lifelong partners some years ago and it was nice to have companionship again.

The stories made me both laugh and at times cry.
**Language & sexual situations
*Book received through NetGalley for review
Book 4: All He Ever Needed
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...
Book 5: All He Ever Desired
Ryan Kowalski has come back to Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine to help his brothers get it fixed up to sell. He’s been home over the past few years and each time he tries to ignore the beautiful Lauren. This time is different. Not only does he run into her in town, he catches her son vandalizing their property and makes Nick work it off. Leaving Lauren to come by the lodge to pick her son up and maybe giving Ryan a second chance.

Lauren Carpenter had been in love with Dean. Little did she realize before it was too late that Dean didn’t exactly return her feelings. She did not regret having her son, Nick. Even when he fell into the criminal category and had to work off his crimes with Ryan, a man she had an unusual past with. A man too handsome for any women to resist. Even her. Too bad he lives almost five hours away and will be returning there after repairing the lodge.

Once again Shannon takes us into the world of the lovable Kowalski family. Two of the brothers have found their forever loves, Sean and Emma’s story is in book 3: Yours To Keep and Mitch and Paige’s story is in Book 4: All He Ever Needed. As always we see hints of other love interests within the story as well to keep the reader looking forward to the next book. Which will be Josh’s story in All He Ever Dreamed. A really enjoyable series from the beginning. Book 1 is Exclusively Yours and book 2 is Undeniably Yours.
**Sexual situations and language
**Received through NetGalley for review
Book 6: All He Ever Dreamed
Josh Kowalski was stuck. His three brothers and sister had escaped the tiny town of Whitford, Maine and the running of the families Northern Star Lodge. When his dad passed, everyone just assumed Josh was fine staying and taking care of things, he wasn’t. Torn between considering selling a home that has been in the family for four generations and leaving Rosie Davis, their housekeeper who was more like a mother, homeless weighed too heavy on him. He never had the choice in his life and it looked as if he never would.

Katie Davis had a secret, well not really. She had been in love with Josh for as long as she could remember. It seems most of the whole town knew as well, everyone but Josh. When thrown together to help out while her mom was sick, Katie saw her one chance at trying to get Josh to notice her as woman instead of his best buddy, one of the guys. But would she be willing to just have Josh settle for her because he was stuck in Whitford the rest of his life?

The Kowalski series starts with the first two books about one Kowalski family, two brothers, and the last four books have been their cousins. Josh has seen his brother Sean come home from the army and marry a girl plenty far away from the lodge. His brother Ryan found his true love in the last book but he has moved away as well. His brother Mitch has found his true love as well and still lives in Whitford, but travels out of town with his demolition company. The author has done a fantastic job of bringing out the emotions the characters are going through. Josh being torn between family and tradition versus his own dreams. Katie loving him but not wanting to hang onto him if he’ll be unhappy and Rosie who wants to see her daughter and Josh married and giving her grand-babies in the family lodge. Excellent story.
**Sexual content and language
**Received through NetGalley for review
Book 7: Love a Little Sideways
Liz Kowalski is heading home to Whitford, Maine--this time for good. Eager for her family, a fresh start and some fun, she doesn't count on being rescued by the chief of police her very first night back in town. Drew is everything she's not looking why is she still so attracted to him?

After a brief, forbidden rendezvous at her brother's wedding, Drew Miller expects Liz to return to New Mexico and stay there. He's searching for someone to settle down with, not a casual fling with his best friend's sister. But when they're stuck together on the annual Kowalski camping trip, things start going a little sideways. Keeping their hands off each other proves just as impossible as keeping their secret from becoming public knowledge.

Amid family, mud and melted marshmallow, Liz and Drew try to fight what's growing between them. But a little time alone, a lot of chemistry and too many opinions might be just what it takes to bring together two people so determined not to fall in love.
Book 8: Taken with You
Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.

Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.

Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door….
Book 9: Falling for Max
Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he's starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he's always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn't help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material. 

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she's intrigued. When she finds out he's in the market for a wife, she's fascinated…and determined to help. 

Molding Max into every woman's dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori's plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she'll have to find a way to show just how she's fallen for him…the real him.
Holiday Kisses: Mistletoe and Margaritas - Shannon Stacey
Justin McCormick and Brendan Rutledge had been best friends since fourth grade. They had both met Claire the same night and it was Brendan who married her. Now he was gone and Justin and Claire were best friends. Only Justin had a secret he could not share with his best friend. A secret that could tear them apart. A guilt he could not shake off.
It was two years now that Claire has been a widow. Her body seemed to be waking up from the mourning period. Maybe it was time to start dating again. Between erotic dreams and other peoples suggestions, she started seeing Justin in a different light but she did not want to jeopardize their friendship in any way. Can two people find love when the person standing between them is no longer alive?
**Sexual situations.
**Book Received through NetGalley for review
**Complete book review at this link:
Slow Summer Kisses
Anna Frazier is used to living life at 100 mph, but being downsized out of a job in the financial industry has her permanently stalled. With nowhere to go, go, go, Anna hails a cab to her grandparents' neglected New Hampshire camp to plan her next move. It seems like a good idea—until she realizes there's no takeout to be had and the boy next door has grown into a sexy but surly recluse.

Cameron Mayfield knows he can kiss his peace and quiet goodbye when Hurricane Anna blows in. She was loud and bossy as a ten-year-old—and besides developing some attractive curves, she hasn't changed. Cam's not looking for a relationship, especially not with a woman like Anna. He nearly broke down on that road once before. So why can't he stop thinking about her?

It's not long before their sizzling attraction leads to smoking-hot kisses. But as the days get shorter, Anna must decide if she's found a new road to happiness, or just taken a detour.
Snow Day Anthology
HEART OF THE STORM by Shannon Stacey 
Brody Rollins is back in tiny Tucker's Point, Maine, for the first time in five years, and now he can't escape...from former neighbours, old regrets or maddening glimpses of his ex-fiancée. 

SEEING RED by Jennifer Greene 
Stranded at her grandfather's seaside cottage, Whitney Carr prepares to face the blizzard alone. But unexpected help soon arrives-in the form of her secret high-school crush. 

LAND'S END by Barbara Dunlop 
Tessa Ambroise is desperate to ditch the charming, infuriating hotelier circling her late aunt's century home like a vulture. But the snow piling up outside the mansion puts both their plans on hold. 

When a child goes missing, this perfect storm of cramped quarters and freezing temperatures brings old flames and new acquaintances closer together...but will they go separate ways once the sky clears?

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