Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What it Takes by Shannon Stacey

Title: What it Takes
Author: Shannon Stacey
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Series: Kowalski #10
Main Characters:  Laney and Ben
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher:  Carina
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Revisit all of your Kowalski favorites while falling in love with a brand-new romance in this reunion novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey

Laney Caswell is looking for a change. A decade's worth of less-than-happy matrimony behind her, she wants peace—movies, books and, best of all, a new job at the Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine. Spending the summer living in a camper is her chance to rediscover what makes her happy, and a perfect transition to her new life.

Being a paramedic in Whitford is nothing like Ben Rivers's city life, but when Josh Kowalski offers him the job, the lure of his hometown is too much to resist. Also too much to resist: Laney Caswell. Ben always thought he'd have a wife and kids, a happy family like the Kowalskis have all built, but he never made time in his life. Now he's found a woman who draws him like no other and helps him dream again—and the last thing she wants is a husband.



When the annual Kowalski family camping trip is moved to the Northern Star, both Ben and Laney are surrounded by the kind of happiness they've always wanted but never had. It just might be theirs—if they can put aside the past and reach for it together. 
My Review:
The Kowalski's are back with another two week camping trip of doom...LOL. But this time, they're dragging two civilians into the fray...Laney (who's the newest hire at the Kowalski Lodge) and Ben (who's the emergency paramedic who's just begun working for the town). Because of both their jobs and their circle of friends, they quickly find themselves constantly being thrown together in different circumstances. Normally this would be great, because they have fantastic chemistry, but right now they want different things. Ben is looking for forever. Laney is looking for right now. She just escaped a stifling 10 year marriage...she has no desire to enter into another relationship like that. 

This book had all the things that I've loved about all the Kowalski stories...sweeping scenes with all the family...lots of group dynamics where everyone is giving everyone else a hard time. There's the four-wheeling, dirty scrabble, lots of family meals, and s'mores. There is also a side story happening between one of the former couples (who just happened to have one of my favorite stories of the series, so I loved that)...Sean and Emma.

But despite all that there's a slightly different feel to this one just because of who Ben and Laney are. They aren't Kowalski's...they're just really close. But because they are support personnel (so to speak) for the Kowalski event, they provide a new interesting perspective. I loved both of their viewpoints. Ben is a paramedic who is constantly being called out to take care of injured 4-wheeler riders. I found those scenes fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed them. Then there's Laney in her little camper. I'll admit to having a certain level of envy over her circumstance. For the first time in 10 years, she has her own tiny little space with the pure freedom of all that entailed. That was a fun thing for me to imagine. I also really got where she was coming from in not wanting to get involved with Ben. She made a horrific choice for her first marriage. She would have issues trusting herself and her judgment after that. I couldn't judge her for that, although I really, really wanted her to give Ben a chance. He's such a good guy.

It's been a while since I got to enjoy a visit with the Kowalski clan. This book was awesome to provide that and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will always be happy to revisit them, so hopefully, Shannon Stacey keeps finding ways for us to revisit them. And don't worry...you can read any of the books in the series as a stand alone without feeling lost or confused. Each book focuses on a separate couple.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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