Jul 29, 2014

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Review: Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey (Kowalski Family #9)


4 star

Contemporary Romance
July 29 2014
Mass Market Paperback
288 pages
Carina Press
Received from publisher via NetGalley

Yummy Man – Max Crawford
Kick Ass Chick – Tori Burns

From Goodreads –
Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he’s starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he’s always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn’t help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she’s intrigued. When she finds out he’s in the market for a wife, she’s fascinated…and determined to help.

Molding Max into every woman’s dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori’s plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she’ll have to find a way to show just how she’s fallen for him…the real him.


What an adorable story! Falling for Max is the ninth book in Shannon Stacey’s cute Kowalski Family series. These books are filled with a very strong family and friends unit. You feel welcome into their fold every time you crack open a book. We have followed each and every Kowalski fall in love and with the past few books we are witnessing close family friends doing the same. This time around we follow the mysterious Max as he meets his ultimate mate in Tori.

At this point in the series, the mystery of ‘who and what is Max’ is a little less of a mystery since we find out what he does for a living in a previous book. It’s not nearly as malevolent as people of Whitford imagined it to be. Up until that moment, the joke was he was a serial killer since he works in his basement which is equipped with a security system and mostly keeps to himself. But not all of the small town residence know his job by the beginning of this installment so the jokes and speculations are still flying when this books starts off. I loved how, even though he’s shy and awkward, Max is able to go with the flow and even show a strong sense of humor when it comes to the rumors about him and his life.

That is one thing that surprised me about Max – his humor! What a wonderful sense of humor he has. And when he gets together with Tori, their banter is awesome. Tori is funny in her own right so they really do match up well there.

The premise of this book is a simple one: Max is feeling lonely and decides he needs to find a wife. He tries his hardest but he really is a bit gauche. He is so cute! Tori notices Max’s failure at talking to the opposite sex one day while working at the diner. She offers to help Max to feel more at ease talking to women. I have to say, I love this type of story. I love the shy and awkward man seeking the help of a friend. I love when they grow closer and then even closer only to eventually find out that they are perfect for each other and not for anyone else. It’s not a new idea but it’s one I enjoy when done well. And Shannon does it well in this book.

Max and Tori really are well suited and the chemistry is instant. I love how Max was a bit of a geek but not a computer geek like we see more and more in books these days. He was lovable and kind and very smart. If not a little stupid when it came to women. And Tori, watching her ‘get’ Max completely. Loved that.

We see all of your usual suspects from past books in this latest installment which is always nice. The way Shannon writes all of the residents of this small town makes you hope you see them all in each and every book and when you do, it’s like icing on the cake.

This is a book nine but you could get away with jumping right in with this one. Of course you won’t feel any excitement over seeing past characters but the main story is strong enough to stand without the past books. But if you like sweet contemporary romance books with light humor and wonderful happy endings then be sure to read the entire series. Books three, six and nine are my favorites.

All in all, Falling for Max was exactly what I hope a book by Shannon Stacey will be: sweet, light and fun. I really enjoyed watching Max grow more comfortable in his own skin. Tori doesn’t change him but she makes that he feels good and that was a great point for me. No one should have to change too much of themselves in order to find love and that that was the moral-of-sorts of this story made it all the better for me. I will be re-reading this book in the near future, I’m sure as it put a big smile on my face over and over.

4.5 stars

Giggle worthy quotes –

“‘I’m your best friend, remember?’
‘I seem to recall that you came in the diner, bummed out that all your friends were in love and, when I said I had no interest in falling in love, you decided we should be friends.’
‘And now we’re besties.’ Hailey gave her a winning grin.
‘But now you’re in love and you’ll be getting married next summer. So by your own reasoning, shouldn’t I find a new best friend?’
She frowned. ‘No. If you find a new best friend, you can’t be my maid of honor.’
‘Matt said your color scheme is camo.’
‘I’m ninety-five percent sure he wasn’t serious about that.’
“Tori sighed and started putting away the rest of her groceries one-handed. ‘I thought putting some distance between me and my parents would help. It might have if that guy hadn’t invented the telephone.'”
“‘You know, the day I was rummaging through your closet, all I could think about was having sex in that bed.’
‘Really? You shoulc have siad something. I would have been more than happy to oblige.’ He kissed the side of her neck. ‘Assuming you were thinking about having sex in my bed with me.’
She laughed and stood, hauling him to his feet. ‘Yes, with you.’
‘Oh, good. I’m very territorial about my bed.'”

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
Falling for Max


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