Monday, January 21, 2013

All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey

Title: All He Ever Dreamed
Author: Shannon Stacey
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Kowalski's #6
Main Characters: Josh and Katie
Release Date: January 2013
ISBN: ebook
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: Spicy

Story Overview:
Josh Kowalski is tired of holding down the fort—better known as the Northern Star Lodge—while his siblings are off living their dreams. Now that his oldest brother has returned to Whitford, Maine for good, Josh is free to chase some dreams of his own.

As the daughter of the lodge's longtime housekeeper, Katie Davis grew up alongside the Kowalski kids. Though she's always been "one of the guys", her feelings for Josh are anything but sisterly. And after a hot late-night encounter in the kitchen, it's clear Josh finally sees her as the woman she is.

Katie's been waiting years for Josh to notice her, but now that he has, she's afraid it's too late. Giving her heart to a man who can't wait to leave town is one sure way to have it broken. But Josh keeps coming up with excuses not to leave—could it be that everything he's ever wanted is closer than he could have imagined?

My Review:

I've been dying for Josh's story ever since we met him in book #4. Wow, it did not disappoint. Out of the five Kowalski kids, Josh has been the one who never got to chase his dreams. The family owned a snowmobiling lodge and when his father died, it automatically fell to Josh to take it over. At that point in time, there were no other choices. But that was the problem, Josh was never given the choice. His life has always been the lodge, nothing but the lodge and that's left him feeling that there may have been something else out there that he's missed out on. He hates and resents the fact that he's never had any other options.

As a reader, you can't help but feel for this guy. He loves his family, but he doesn't love his job any longer. It's gotten to the point where he actually really resents it, but he's trapped. There aren't any other options. The family knows he's at the end of his rope and they are working other options. A couple of different ones fall into their laps and then suddenly, Josh doesn't know what to do. He knows that he's always dreamed of leaving the lodge and pursuing something else, but that also means leaving Katie. 

Josh and Katie grew up as best friends. She's always been in love with him, but he's never seen her as anything more than one of the guys....until the day when his eyes are suddenly opened. I adored this aspect of the story. Josh is so clueless...and so just can't help but love him for his idiocy. To make it worse, his brothers are more than willing to point it out to him on a regular basis. As a reader, I felt sorry for him, but the whole time I was giggling too. Seriously, these scenes are some of the funniest in the book. Shannon Stacey knows how to write contemporary humor and she does it best between the brothers. Between them and just all of Josh's internal dialogue...seriously, so freaking funny! That was the first half of the book.

Then the second half was the heartbreak for Josh and Katie. FINALLY, they find their way to each other, but FINALLY Josh has the opportunity to also pursue his dream. The two things don't work together. He can either have Katie or his dream because she's not leaving this little town, her business, or her mother. Seriously, it broke my heart and literally brought me to tears a couple of times. 

This book had all the highs and the lows that make it just a fantastic read. The characters are amazing and Shannon Stacey remains high in the running for best contemporary romance author. I just love her books and am so happy that this one lived up to my expectations. Now I just have to decide whether to give it an A or an A+. I cried, a couple of times, and I think that just pushed it over to the A+side of things.

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

1 comment:

Julie said...

LOVED this book. And your review is perfect. :)