Dec 5, 2013

Posted by in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Love a Little Sideways by Shannon Stacey (Kowalski Family #7)

lovealittlesideways4 star

Contemporary Romance
November 26 2013
368 pages
Carina Press

Yummy Man – Drew Miller
Kick Ass Chick – Liz Kowalski

From Goodreads –
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 for…so 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.


Love a Little Sideways is the seventh book in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski Family series.  This is a very cute contemporary romance series and yes, you could just pick up any book and read it alone but you definitely get much more out of the books if you read them as a series.  (I started on book three, enjoyed it so much and went back to books one and two and now I read them as soon as they are released :))

This time around we learn Liz’s story, the sole sister in this particular Kowalski group.  She’s been away from home, living in New Mexico, for years now with a deadbeat boyfriend but now, she’s finally broken up with him and is moving back to be closer to her family.

I was always torn over Liz in previous books.  Granted, we never saw her much but she was on the phone and she did show up for her brother’s wedding so we got to know a bit about her.  I liked how she stood by her boyfriend even though he was a loser but then I wondered what sort of weak character she had for staying with someone who took advantage of her for so long.  She was very short and not always very nice to her family but again who would be when your family is always questioning your decisions?  So basically what I am saying is I was 50% like and 50% not and most of that pretty much comes from not knowing her very well.  It turns out she is quite a strong character.  A little lost and feeling she should be doing more with her life, but strong and caring.  I should have seen that from the start but the no-good boyfriend clouded my judgement as much as he clouded hers.

Liz and Drew hooked up at the wedding in a ‘we’re both lonely so why not, it’s not like we’ll ever really see each other again’ thing.  Drew’s marriage ended a short while ago because he was hurt by his wife’s lying to him for years about wanting children.  Drew feels he needs kids to be happy but his wife didn’t.  But she hid this from him for years because she didn’t want to lose him.  Now Drew is divorced and looking for someone he can share his life with, and that includes having babies with.  Liz is just finding herself after years of doing whatever was necessary to survive while her ex-boyfriend did his art thing and is not sure if kids is something she wants any time soon so…yeah, conflict right there.  The thing is their chemistry is so amazing!  They really do sizzle on the page and you feel their struggle.  Add to that the fact that Drew and Liz’s older brother’s best friend and that whole ‘guy code’ thing…lots of internal conflict.

I did find that the ‘baby mention’ was a lot in this book and it bordered on too much but I also know there is reason for that so I let it slide.  Mostly.  I liked how Liz not knowing what she should do with her life was dealt with.  How sometimes happiness is the goal and not owning something or doing something specific to show your worth.  Very cool.

I had a ‘warm my heart’ moment when all of the Kowalski’s went on a family reunion camping trip together.  In the very first book, we witness half of the Kowalski’s camping and RVing and turning everything ‘of doom’.  Really cute and funny!  By doing a camping reunion in this book, it made readers able to revisit all of the characters from past books, checking in on them to see what they have been up to and how they are doing.  It also closes this chapter on the Kowalski series.  No, I don’t mean that Shannon is ending the series but it does look like she is bringing it into a new direction.  There are no more Kowalskis to write about so from now on, she will be following close family friends we have met along the way.  Next up is Taken With You in March 2014.  That one will feature Hailey, the town librarian.  She is spunky and cute so I can’t wait to read all about her.

The ending was very sweet but I found it came awfully quick.  There was a nice lead up then bam, bam, bam done.  Confused me a bit.  But I still managed to smile when it was all said and done.

Overall, Love a Little Sideways was a good read and a perfect continuation to this series.  I always look forward to the next Kowalski book because I know when I pick one up I will be left with a smile on my face and that warm, nice and tingly feeling in my heart.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“‘Mitch said something about leaving about four so you guys could have dinner on the road and still be home early enough to take showers and unpack the truck before bed, right?’

‘Actually, I’m going to ride home with Drew and he has to work tomorrow, so we’re leaving a little earlier.’  That got the attention of all the women sitting around them.  There was some speculative noises dripping with innuendo and Liz felt her cheeks heat up.  ‘Have you guys ever ridden in the backseat of Mitch’s truck?  If you were as tall as me, you’d ride with Drew, too.’

‘I wonder if he’ll walk you to the door,’ Emma said, giving her an exaggerated wink.

‘He’s going to walk to my door several times since I’m going to make him carry stuff in.’”


“’It’s going to be unreal to go back to work tomorrow.  I’ll be adding of doom to everything.’

‘You can give speeding tickets of doom.  Those are way more fun than regular speeding tickets.’”

Books in the Kowalski Family series –
Exclusively Yours
Undeniably Yours
Yours to Keep
All He Ever Needed
All He Ever Desired
All He Ever Dreamed
Love a Little Sideways
Taken With You (March 2014)
Falling for Max (July 2014)


  1. I need to catch up with this series. I think my last book was fourth. 🙁

  2. I’ve read only one of those books, but I do intend to read them all. Some day …

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