Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: Exclusively Yours

Title: Exclusively Yours (Kowalski #1)
Author: Shannon Stacey
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

Synopsis: 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.

“People sometimes hurt the ones they love trying to protect themselves from being hurt. Love means second chances sometimes.”

I cannot believe how lucky I am to have this story from Amazon for free. As a sucker for high school sweethearts, I am really rooting for this second chance for Keri and Joe. I expected tension and some bittersweet trip down the memory lane but Stacey just gave a whole lot more. 

If Blair Waldorf were to describe Keri and Joe’s feelings towards each other, it would be, without a doubt, “one great love.” Of course, there were years apart since they last seen each other but I didn’t expect it to be 20 years. What’s amazing was their feelings didn’t change a bit after all those years. 

At the beginning, I had a trouble adjusting with too many characters engaged in the story and not just merely mentioned, not to mention the shifting 3rd person POV. But after a while, putting the Kowalski’s family into the mix just set the story’s mood into something more heart-warming and homey. The slight shift into Terry and Mike’s family issues, as well as Kevin’s. I think it’s a pretty smart move to get acquainted to these characters before starting to delve deeper into their lives (through their own book, in Kevin’s case). All the good stuff didn’t come from Keri and Joe either. Terry and Mike’s personal family lives also contributed a lot to that. 

There were only two things that sort of raised my brow: her interview and the overuse of ‘babe’. As a journalist, I was wondering, since she didn’t brought a tape recorder, how she memorizes Joe’s answer without jotting them down. The first one was even asked after she closed her notebook and decided to focus on asking him the question. Will her article be full of indirect quotes? Isn’t she afraid of misquoting him and cause others to misinterpret it? What if the statement came out on a different angle because of the words she used? Just wondering…

I find it sweet when Joe called her ‘babe’ even in front of his family but it feels like he would call her that endearment in every freakin sentence if possible. Come on, babe. Don’t drown us with ‘babe’. 

The relationship they had as a family was something big and really nice to see in books. From the rambunctious set of boys plus a teenage girl to the really amazing and supportive folks they had, I believe Kowalski is a family worth envying. 

This is the sappiest, cheeseball story that made me re-assess my thoughts about having a family and kids in the future. I’m not big on sharing my personal thoughts about personal matters, so this is something big and it’s saying that much about this story. I’m looking forward to read more about them, especially the happy-go-lucky Kevin.