Jan 3, 2012

Posted by in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey (The Kowalskis #1)

Contemporary Romance
December 20 2011
Mass Market Paperback
352 pages
HQN Books
Received from NetGalley

Yummy Man – Joe Kowalski
Kick Ass Chick – Keri Daniels

From Goodreads –
When Keri Daniels’s boss 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. He proposes an outrageous plan—for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping trip, Keri can ask one question.

The chemistry between Joe and Keri is as potent as the bug spray, but 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?


Exclusively Yours in the first book in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series.  A series about the kind of family you would totally want to hang out with.  They are kind and loving but also don’t mind having fun at each other’s expense.  In this book, they all go camping together for two weeks.  All together.  At the same camp ground.  Mom, dad, sister, sister-in-law, three brothers and four kids.  For two weeks.  Wow.

One of the brothers is Joe.  He’s a famous writer of horror novels and leads somewhat of a secluded life.  You see, there was a very public ‘incident’ and now he just doesn’t feel like going out and being scrutinized by the public.  So he stays in his little town and writes his awesome books.

Keri is Joe’s high school girlfriend.  They were pretty hot and heavy back then and Joe always assumed they would end up together in a HEA sort of way.  But Keri left him after high school to pursue the career she really wanted.  She now works for a People sort of magazine as a reporter.  Joe is on the magazine’s ‘most want an interview with’ list so when Keri’s crazy b*tch of a boss discovers that Keri and Joe used to date, she tells Keri to either get an interview or get lost.  So Keri, who is totally in love with her job, goes back to her hometown to search out Joe.

There are so many ways that this plot could have gone.  The most likely one would have been Keri hiding the true reason for her wanting to meet up with Joe and it all blowing up in her face but it didn’t go like that at all.  I loved that Shannon made Keri up front and honest with Joe.  It made their relationship able to bloom without secrets and sneakiness.  In order to get her interview with him, Joe ‘convinces’ Keri to go on the two week camping trip with his family.  Great idea Joe!  Alone in the evenings, interaction with family and old friends…just a great set-up for a romance story.

I enjoyed Keri and Joe immensely.  They had incredible chemistry!  Their moments together as well as their moments with the others were really well written.  In fact, this whole book is really well written.  I also liked how, even though the book is about Keri and Joe and their newly-budding romance, you see what is going on with the rest of the family.  No, none of it is especially good, but it’s interesting to see how these issues were resolved – to see how important communication is in any relationship.

The only character I didn’t like much is Terry, Joe’s twin sister.  I liked her storyline, but she bugged me.  She’s the type of person that has to make everyone around her miserable when she is unhappy.  And she’s a snot.  I just don’t like characters like her, in books or in real life.  I found what she was going through was well written and quite relatable (as in I think it’s a situation many married couples find themselves in) but I just didn’t like her.  Or how she treated Keri.  Did she ruin the book for me?  Not even close.  But I could have done without her scenes.

I loved Loved LOVED the last scene in this book.  Just darling.  The cabin and the confusion and the confessions and of course Joe and Keri…all of it perfect.

Overall, I really liked Exclusively Yours.  I love Shannon’s writing voice.  Her lead characters are always wonderful and her books full of heart.  They make you *sigh* and the make you smile.  And, as I’ve said before, isn’t that what we all want from a contemporary romance read?

4 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

‘’I thought you weren’t going in,’ Joe called.

‘I wasn’t.  But then Joey tried to drag Brian into something called the tandem cannonball of doom, which didn’t sound good.  So I went over to break it up and one of the other demon spawn – no offense, Mike – ran by and bumped into me.  I tripped and ended up in something called the triple cannonball of doom, which is not as fun as it sounds.’”


“’He’s probably going to check his messages or call his agent,’ Danny told her.

‘Oh.  From a pay phone?’

‘His cell.’

‘He told me there isn’t any reception up here.’  Lying rat bastard.

Brian laughed.  ‘If you go behind the pizza place and stand on the picnic table closest to the Dumpster and face east and the weather’s good, you can get two bars.’”

Books in the Kowalskis series –
Exclusively Yours
Undeniably Yours
Yours to Keep

  1. I keep on hearing good things about these books 🙂 I really should read one by her. I do love sweet, it is the be feeling

  2. Great review Julie, I might pick up those books someday.

  3. I loved this series. There’s really more in the mmp? *sigh* that kind of ticks me off b/c I don’t want to buy it twice…

  4. Great review, Julie! gah, I just love this book! smiles…

  5. Great review and YEAH! for honesty. I super hate she our smart female protagonists made such stupid choices and it blows up in their face. It is much more enjoyable to make the right decision and then have THAT blow up in your face. LOL


  6. Is there really more content in the mmp? If so, that ticks me off as well. I adore this series and I’d hate to have to buy the book twice. Don’t want to miss out on anything.

  7. blodeuedd – Sometimes it’s nice to just escape into a sweet love story. 🙂

    aurian – 🙂

    Patti and Nicole – I had heard ‘yes more content’ then ‘no more content’ so I asked the author and Shannon said that it’s the same thing. 🙂

    Christi – I love your enthusiasm for this book. It’s too cute. 🙂

    Michelle – Exactly! lol

  8. I love the Kowalski brothers books. So fun! In fact, reviews of these books were the reason I finally caved and bought an e-reader.
    The second one in the series wasn’t my favourite, but the third is the the best! Like you, I really appreciated that Keri wasn’t stupid or deceptive with Joe, and that she choose to be honest up front. There was enough tension to make the story engaging without the overdone blowup fight over something that could have easily been resolved from the get go.

  9. Sara – I will be reading the second book but I’ve been told it has a different feel than the others. I read the third one already and I agree: It’s just adorable! 🙂

  10. the second one’s not bad, just frustrating at times. I didn’t personally buy into the conflict. I like the hero in it, though, and it had its sweet moments.

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