Jun 7, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey (Kowalski Family #3)

Contemporary Romance
June 6 2011
201 pages
Carina Press
Received from NetGalley

Yummy Man – Sean Kowalski
Kick Ass Chick – Emma Shaw

From Goodreads
Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancé. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.

Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are…


When I first told my husband about what Yours to Keep was about, he looked at me with an “are you sh*tting me?” expression, shook his head and walked away.  Mind you, that is often his reaction when I tell him about one of my books – that and walking away mumbling “Why did I not just stay in the basement?…”  I must admit that I did feel a little like he did this time around.  The idea that a woman would go up to a total stranger and ask him to be her fake fiancé and live with her for a month while her grandmother visited from Florida…a little farfetched for my liking.  But the romance and the characters totally made it worth reading.  It’s a really is a cute and sweet story.

I first heard of Shannon Stacey when I read the Naughty & Nice anthology last year.  Hers was by far my favorite story in that book.  I loved her style and her writing voice.  On top of that, her characters and story were adorable.  I really wanted to read more by her but never got around to it…until now.

Yours to Keep is the third book in Shannon’s Kowolski Family series and this book just made me smile all kinds of smiles.  There were “Awww” smiles.  There were “He is so dreamy” smiles.  There were “oh for goodness’ sakes” smiles and there were “oh my goodness, who knew he had that in him?” smiles…and most of these smiles occurred while reading scenes that included Sean.  Other than agreeing to a total stranger’s idea of being a fake fiancé for a while, I found Sean to react quite normally to the situations that were thrown at him.  He has recently left the Army and really doesn’t know what he wants to do next.  He knows he does not want to settle down so soon after finding his ‘freedom’ though.  I found his struggle to figure out what to do was very well done.

Emma was good.  I didn’t not like her, I just found she was a little odd at first.  Well, who wouldn’t think that after reading her grand scheme?  Even Sean called her “batshit crazy”.  But I soon warmed up to her and realized that she is simply a smart and capable woman who is only trying to do what is best for her grandmother.  And she too handled what the Kowalski family threw at her very well.

There were quite a few scenes in this book that had me laughing out loud (such as the Newlywed Game scene) and there were quite a few moments that had me grining with little hearts in my eyes (such as when Sean left sticky-notes on the bathroom mirror for Emma to find).  And there was a whole sub-plot involving Emma’s grandmother that I was not expecting in a novella but that made my heart pitter-patter.   It was a very sweet surprise.

Even though I found the idea behind the story a little “uh-huh?..” I never once thought about not continuing the book.  I actually quite enjoy story arcs that follow two people who are thrown into an awkward situation.  It’s always fun to watch them handle that all while they fall in love.  Those are some of my favorite romance plots.  I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in this series and will be looking out for future releases.  Yours to Keep is a quick read filled with adorable characters and a sweet love story.  A wonderful weekend read.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“’Crap, I’ve gotta run,’ Lisa said.  ‘The boys all have dentists appointments in an hour and I just saw my youngest run by with a handful of Skittles.’

‘Have fun with that.’  Emma wasn’t sure how she did it.  If Emma had four boys, she’d spend her days in the bathroom, taking nips off the bottle of NyQuil in the medicine cabinet.’”


“She sat down, far enough away so none of their body parts touched.  ‘I get the whole guy thing.  Morning…you know, and I don’t want this to be weird.’

‘It’s no big deal.’

‘Okay.’  She took a sip of her coffee, then wrapped both hands around the mug.  ‘’We’ll probably have more moments like this if we’re going to live together for a month.  Probably best to just laugh them off.’

He raised an eyebrow at her.  ‘Actually, when a guy’s standing in front of you, fully hard and wearing nothing but a towel, laughing might not be the best way to handle it.’”


“’Your aunt’s got it in her head you and Emma have chemistry.’

Sean snorted and stood to stretch out his legs and reach his beer.  ‘Between deployment and being sucked in by Typhoon Emma, I haven’t had a chance to sow my wild oats in a good, long time.
Trust me, right now I’ve got chemistry with a telephone pole.’”

Books in the Kowalski Family series –
Exclusively Yours
Undeniably Yours
Yours to Keep

  1. I read the first two books in this series last week – loved them! I’m looking forward to reading this one. Ms. Stacey has a great writing style and pulls me right in to her stories.

  2. awww, I LOVED this book. I don’t know if I have ever laughed out loud as much as I did in this one. You absolutely have to go back and read the other 2…#1 is my absolute favorite in this series, but the entire series is awesome…a GREAT family!! Fabulous review. I loved your different smiles!

  3. Lol, yes it is farfetched but it’s also a story premise that I really enjoy 😀 And I love going awwww

  4. Looking forward to this one too. I’ve loved the other books in the series. I’m hoping to get some time to read it later this week. Great review as always!

  5. Patti – Oh that’s great to hear. The contemporaries that you like, I usually end up liking too! 🙂

    Christ – #1 is your favorite?! Good to know! 🙂

    blodeuedd – Can’t ever go ‘awww’ too often in a romance book. 😉

    Judi – I know you’ll like it. It’s really sweet. The sticky notes alone make it worth it!

  6. I have this one on my TBR list, but afther these laugh out loud quotes I bumped it up. Sounds wonderful thanks for the recommendation Julie! 🙂

  7. I’m so happy that overall you really enjoyed this book even after not liking the idea of hiring someone on as a fiance for a month and not liking the heroine at the beginning. I absolutely love the cover for this book, it’s so simple and adorable and now that you’ve placed 4 books on it I’m going to add this to my TBR pile for sure to check out some weekend. 😀 Thanks for the fantastic review Julie.

  8. Stella – It’s really cute. You’ll like it!

    Deanna – I love how they are a little on the short side. A quick pick me up series. 🙂


  1. Review: Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey (The Kowalskis #1) | Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks - [...] Books in the Kowalskis series - Exclusively Yours Undeniably Yours Yours to Keep [...]

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