Review: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Exclusively YoursExclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

Kowalski Family #1 // 282 pp. // Contemp. Romance // Carina Press // May 2010

GOODREADS SUMMARY: When Keri Daniels’ editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.

Joe’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he’s intrigued to hear Keri’s back in town–and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he’ll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school.

He proposes an outrageous plan–for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she’s worked too hard to walk away from her career.

But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn’t ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever.

After months of hearing about the notorious Kowalski men, I figured it was high time I found out what all the hoopla was about. Enter Exclusively Yours, book one of the Kowalski Family series. Wow. I finished this book in a matter of HOURS!

To be honest, I was expecting a typical light contemporary romance — which I have no problem with; in fact, it’s one of my favorite genres — but what I got instead was so much more than “fluff.” Exclusively Yours is wrought with complicated family relationships, as well as two people whose love for each other is both long-lasting and complex.

I was taken by Joe Kowalski from the very beginning. Not only is he an incorrigible flirt, but he’s also up front and honest — with both his family and Keri. Also, despite not having any kids of his own, he comes across as a man who truly loves his family.

Keri is also likable, but I have to say that I rolled by eyes at her a few times. I admire the fact that she takes her career seriously, but there are a few instances where she’s way too prissy (i.e. cliché bitching over a broken nail and harping about needing a facial). I get that she’s spent the last 20 years in LA, but her high-maintenance attitude doesn’t really fit with her character, who seems fairly down-to-earth. On the other hand, it’s refreshing to see a woman portrayed as career-driven instead of one so quick to drop everything in her life for the hero. I actually appreciated the fact that she follows through with her assignment after their time together. Let the hero do the chasing!

The rest of Kowalski family plays an important role as well, especially Terry, Joe’s twin and Kerry’s ex-best friend. Her marriage troubles add another layer to the story, which made me sympathize for her… at times. However, I’d have to say that about, oh, 85% of the time she is a major bitch. Yeah, I said it. I get that she’s going through a tough time, but more often than not she’s just a spiteful shrew. Ugh! I know that Ms. Stacey did an excellent job with this story if she could make me love this book despite an unlikeable character. Though it’s Terry’s issues that play a role in setting the story apart from other stock contemporary romances.

Overall, I have to to say that Exclusively Yours is a great introduction to the Kowalski family. At the moment there are five more books in the series, which means I have five more opportunities to delve deeper into the Kowalski family tree!

Roaming Around the Web (3)

Time for another R.A.W. roundup!

  • My post on Meet Cutes was featured on the RT Blog! Give it a glance and feel free to share your favorite romance novel “meet cute.”
  • Shannon Stacey’s All He Ever Dreamed (Kowalski Family #6) was released this week and she stopped by the Harlequin blog to tell readers how to fall in love with a Kowalski. Because really, who wouldn’t want a man who looked like this?
  • Attention authors: do you have a book that’s polished & ready to be published? RT mag has a list of publishers currently seeking unsolicited manuscripts. Just make sure to give your story one more pass through Spell Check before sending off your submission!
  • GIF-filled Tumblr sites have been popping up in the blogosphere in what seems like every other day. Most of the time they get swept under the rug with the rest of ’em, but the Life in Publishing blog is one that I truly find hee-larious! If you’re a reader, writer, or publishing professional, I guarantee one (if not all) of these posts will speak to you. Why, just the other day I found myself LOLing at this one because it’s SO me.
  • Speaking of Tumblr, they have partnered with Chronicle Books to host a “Great Tumblr Book Search” contest. If you have a Tumblr blog that you think is perfect for publishing, submit your entry for a chance to share your creation with the rest of the world.
  • You already know I’m a sucker for cute animals doing squee-worthy things. Well, this one takes the cake: Scotland has released a series of photos featuring — wait for it — ponies in sweaters (Yes. Ponies! In sweaters!) in hopes of boosting tourism. According to Mashable, “The ponies, Fivla (red sweater) and Cinnamon (brown sweater), were photographed as part of VistScotland‘s “Year of Natural Scotland” campaign, which aims to celebrate the country’s natural beauty through landscape, art and wildlife.”Fivla & Cinnamon are achingly adorable in their knit sweaters. Amirite??

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you come across anything interesting (romance/book-related or not) in the World Wide Web? If so, please share! I’m especially keen to links that feature cute animals doing even cuter — and quirkier — things.



Roaming Around the Web (2)

It’s been a while since my last R.A.W. post, but with a new year, there’s all sorts of new and interesting bookish news and happenings.

  • Exclusively Yours, the first book in Shannon Stacey’s famous Kowalski Family series is currently *free* on Kindle and Nook. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series so when I found out book one was free I downloaded it ASAP! I definitely can’t wait to read this one.
  • Harlequin is releasing a new imprint called KISS. The stories will feature “edgy, modern day characters” and is set to release next month in North America. The first batch of titles are already available for pre-order and to kick off the new line, Harlequin is currently offering Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly for free (Kindle/Nook) to give readers a taste of the KISS line.

    With my personal Harlequin challenge in the works, I’m adding the KISS line to books that count toward the challenge. Also, two words about the covers: bright and cheery. As someone who judges books by their covers, I’m already in love!

  • Reports of the USA’s first book-less library have been floating around the interwebs this week, making waves in the book world. Reactions have varied between embracing the technological advancement and outrage at the paperless blasphemy. According to reports, the 5,000 square-foot space will resemble an Apple store and patrons will be able to check out ereaders and ebooks, as well as use the library’s computers and tablets.

    A library without books? I dunno… What do you think about it?

  • As per my 2013 bookish resolutions, I’ve been on the prowl for books to read that are outside my usual romance genre. As if on cue, I came across this list of 13 most anticipated YA books on the RT blog. Cha-ching!

ROAMING QUESTION: Have you come across anything interesting (romance/book-related or not) in the World Wide Web? If so, please share! I’m especially keen to links that feature cute animals doing even cuter — and quirkier — things.