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26 January 2012

Exclusively Yours - Review

Exclusively Yours (Kowalskis #1) by Shannon Stacey
Publication date: 20 December 2011 by Harlequin
ISBN 10/13:  0373776780 | 9780373776788
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Category: Adult Romance
Keywords: Romance, family
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook (e-ARC received from Netgalley)

From goodreads:

When Keri Daniels' editor 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. Despite his intense need for privacy, he'll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school.

He proposes an outrageous plan--for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she's worked too hard to walk away from her career.

But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, 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.

Thuy's review:

This is my first full length Shannon Stacey novel. I’d previously read her short shorty,  Mistletoe & Margaritas, in the Holiday Kisses Anthology which I really enjoyed. I was excited to see that Stacey was coming out with a new series. Exclusively Yours is the first in the Kowalski family series and is the story of Joe Kowalski and his high school sweetheart Keri Daniels. Once the golden couple of their high school, Keri breaks it off with Joe after graduation and moves to California to pursue a career in journalism. Fast forward twenty years later and Keri’s moving up in the ranks at a gossip-y but popular entertainment magazine and Joe is a world famous fiction author. When Keri’s crazy obsessed boss learns of her former connection with Joe, she sends Keri off to get an exclusive interview with him, on pain of losing her job.

Joe hasn’t seen Carrie since the day she left and is as surprised as everyone is when she shows up back in town looking for him. Joe doesn’t want to make this easy on Keri and convinces her to go on the annual Kowalski camping trip in exchange for the interview. Keri’s not really the outdoors type but will do anything to get the interview. But the attraction and chemistry between Joe and Keri hasn’t gone away after all these years and both Keri and Joe start wondering if they have a future together.

This book was hard to rate for me. On one hand, I really enjoy Stacey’s writing style. The book was well written, funny and had a large cast of interesting and quirky characters. The chemistry between Joe and Keri is hot and their banter is fun and filled with sexual tension. Unfortunately the biggest problem I had with the book was Keri’s character. For most of the book she came off a superficial and ambitious, only trying to get what she wants from Joe before going back to her life in California. She makes light of serious topics and keeps reminding Joe and everyone else that she won’t be sticking around for long. I don’t actually believe she is this callous character but we get very little insight into her feelings. Late in the book we get a little peek into what she’s thinking and why she may have left Joe originally but it goes by quickly and isn’t fully explored. I just didn’t get the feeling for most of the book that she was as invested in the relationship as Joe.

On the other hand, I really liked Joe. Even though he sets out to take her camping as a bit of fun and petty revenge, it soon becomes obvious that his feeling for Keri haven’t gone away since they’ve been separated. He was devastated after she left and it look him a long time to pick up the pieces. He’s caring, sweet, and has a dark sense of humor. I loved how patient he was with Keri when she was freaking out about the camp facilities and riding on an ATV. I wanted to give him a big hug and take him home with me.

Joe and Keri’s romance isn’t the only thing going on in the book though. Since the whole Kowalski gang is there, there’s bound to be some other family drama. Joe’s sister Terry and her husband, Evan, are going through a separation. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Terry/Evan storyline. Terry’s been holding a grudge against Keri since they stopped being friends in high school and then Keri broke Joe’s heart, putting her at the top of Terry’s sh*tlist. Terry is unpleasant to Keri every chance she gets and has a pretty bad attitude most of the time and I just didn’t find myself caring for her marriage all that much. On the flip side, the story with Joe’s brother Mike and his wife Lisa ended up being super sweet. Even though I think both of these stories were meant to show the family dynamic, I found them at times to be a little overly involved, taking time away from Joe and Keri’s developing relationship.

I ended up giving this one 3 stars because I really do think this series has potential. Stacey has an easy to read style and I enjoyed the banter between the two leads. By the end of the book I was really rooting for Joe and Keri to get their happily ever after. The end of this book has a little tidbit into the next book, featuring Joe’s younger brother Kevin, and I am looking forward to reading his story.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Visit the author online at http://shannonstacey.com and follow her on Twitter @ShannonStacey 


  1. I completely agree on this. I loved the author's writing style but I wasn't crazy about Keri.

  2. LOL!
    Terrific review!
    I agree. I loved the writing style but it just wasn't 'deep' enough in the characters for me to feel completely fulfilled.

  3. I totally agree! I liked the writing style, it was fun but the characters didn't get into me that much. But I still enjoyed it!


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