Monday, October 1, 2012

All He Ever Needed (Kowalski Family #4) by Shannon Stacey

Mitch Kowalski lives out of a suitcase—and he likes it that way. Traveling for work has the added bonus of scaring off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. But when he’s called home to help with running the family lodge, he’s intrigued by the new girl in town and her insistence that she doesn’t need a man—for anything. If there’s one thing Mitch can’t resist, it’s a challenge, especially a beautiful one.

After a nomadic childhood, Paige Sullivan is finally putting down roots. Determined to stand on her own two feet, she lives by the motto men are a luxury, not a necessity. But when Mr. Tall, Dark and Hot pulls up a stool in her diner and offers her six weeks of naughty fun with a built-in expiration date, she’s tempted to indulge.

Mitch won’t stay put for a woman, and Paige won’t chase after a man—they’re the perfect match for a no-strings fling. Until they realize the amazing sex has become anything but casual…

Type: Contemporary Romance
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 2 out of 5 (and that's pushing it)

As much as I love the Kowalski's this one really just didn't work for me. It just didn't seem like the same family at all. From the lack of character development to the "romance", depressing secondary storylines, and the glaring absence of the slightly insane family dynamic that defines the Kowalski family. It all lacked Stacey's usual humor and sweetness and what makes reading one of her books such an emotionally wonderful and satisfying experience.

Paige and Mitch were decent characters and their start had a lot of potential. He avoids putting down roots at all costs and is only home to help with an injured brother when he meets Paige who is off men, fiercely independent and firmly planted in the small town he tries to avoid. There are some funny moments and smoldering looks there at the start but it just fizzles into a book that focuses more and more on sex for the sake of sex instead of the characters falling in love and growing as individuals.

One of the things that got to me was that there's a lot of telling in this book and not nearly enough showing. Does that make sense? Like hearing all about Mitch and his many, many conquests and how magnificent the man is in bed. Does that squick anyone else out? Because..EEWWWW. I so don't want a hero that's spent time between nearly every pair of thighs in sight. ::shudder:: Alright, I know a lot of heroes have pasts and have gotten around but it's damn near constant conversation how many of the town's women have been with Mitch and how it's Paige's turn to get her some good loving and then send him on his way. Real romantic, right? And for all that the intimate scenes were pretty lackluster and not all that sexy or emotionally charged.

There's lots of inner dialogue going on about how much they like each other and how sweet, caring and wonderful they are. But you never actually SEE any of it or what makes them special to each other. It's all just talk/thought. I guess forme these two felt just like what they were...friends with benefits and nothing more. 

What broke my heart the most was that after 280ish pages (it's a short one) I really don't feel like I know Mitch or Paige. I never got to the point where I felt invested in them and their future together. It was just a story to read and move on from. A complete opposite of the previous 3 books which are still near and dear to my heart after nearly 10 months. That had me laughing until I cried and had such heart touching romances. For a huge fan of the series this was a very big let down and aside from Stacey's name being scrawled across the cover I would never have guessed it was written by the same author. I've got my fingers crossed the next book will bring us back to the feel and heart of the Kowalski family I love so much.

The best quote?
"It means I don't need a man in my life. And I have that written on a sticky note taped to my fridge so I don't forget it."
"But you want a man, right?"

She pretended to think about it for a few seconds. "Not especially."

"Who opens jars for you?"

"I have a little gadget that does that."

"But..." He grinned. "What about sex?"

"I have a little gadget that does that, too."

He looked stunned for a few seconds, and then a naughty gleam lit up his blue eyes, and she wondered how the hell she'd gotten herself into this conversation. She was supposed to be letting him know she wasn't interested--even if it wasn't precisely true--and somehow she'd ended up talking to him about sex toys?

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If you've read this one what did you think? Did you have a hard time with it or did it work for you?
Ever read a series you love and adore and one of the books just doesn't seem to fit?


  1. Eeek. I love the Kowalski family but off of your review, it doesn't sound like this one was up to par with the other books. :o(
    Book Sniffers Anonymous

    1. Aren't they great, Kristin?! The first 3 books are some of my all time favorites and I'll never stop recommending them :) But this one darn near broke my heart.

      I know it worked for a lot of people but gah I'm so not one of them. Still looking forward to the next one though. She didn't scare me off yet :)

      Thanks for coming by!


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