I was provided with an advance reader copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I received no financial incentives to review this book.
Series: Kowalski Family #8
Published by Carina Press on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.
Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.
Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door….
I thought that maybe I was entering a state of Kowalski fatigue. I have loved this series to date, but I had been wondering how Shannon Stacey would manage to keep the stories fresh and interesting into an eighth instalment.
Why was I worried? Taken With You is probably up there as one of my favourite of the series. While not about a Kowalski, it is about someone near and dear to them – and one thing I love is when a character pops up from the periphery of a previous story and screams “You need to read my story”.
So, here’s what I thought of Taken With You!
Ooh, opposites attract! I really enjoy a good oil vs. water romance, and Shannon Stacey has given me a winner here. Hailey and Matt are surface-wise very different – she is very much Miss Indoors, who wants a man who enjoys dining out and going to the opera, and he is Mr Mountain Man, happier in the outdoors and coated in flannel.
I loved Hailey – I loved that she was older, and that she knew what she wanted from life and love. She just has that really personable character that you can’t help but like. Matt has that hot outdoorsy kind of vibe about him that Shannon Stacey does so very well. He could rescue me any day of the week. Big thanks to Shannon as well for avoiding the whole “oh my god, I’m so much older than you” guff – and turning it into a visit to the cougar enclosure. Yes, Hailey is 40 and Matt is 35. Five years is not that big a deal, and I love that these two didn’t get all freaked out about it.
The chemistry between these two was fantastic. They keep telling themselves and each other that it’s only temporary, that they are not suited for the long term – but boy, were they wrong?!? It’s not just the romantic bits that I loved about these two. The interaction and banter between them was perfect, vintage Stacey. I found myself cheering them through the rocky bits and the conflict they face, as they move towards their happy ending.
If Bear was a real dog, I would so dog-nap him. He’s a peach. Once again, it was fun catching up with my old Kowalski friends and seeing the direction their lives have taken. I have heard a few people say that Taken With You could be read as a standalone – you probably could do this, but I wouldn’t. Go back and read books 1 through 7 – the members of the Kowalski family are such a fun bunch of characters to meet.
Happy, fun, sweet and romantic – perfect afternoon reading!