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WINNER UPDATEThanks to everyone who left a comment. I had so much fun reading about your younger, wayward ways! Random.org picked Michele S‘s comment. Congratulations, Scarlet! Check your email.

As many of you know, I’ve been deep in the editing hole for weeks now, which has meant little to no free time to do anything other than…well…edit. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed to say there is way too much truth in this:

Um, yeah.

So anyway, if I’m going to sacrifice even more sleep than I already have to read a book “just for fun” while on deadline, I basically demand that it be freaking awesome. All I can say is, thank goodness for Shannon Stacey! I got an eARC of All He Ever Desired, prayed it would be great, and friends, I’m happy to report that the book gods smiled on me.

Here are the deets:

Release Date: November 12, 2012
Print Length: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Kowalskis, Book 5
Publisher: Carina Press
Source & Format: Provided by publisher via NetGalley; Digital
Official Blurb
A second shot at first love
After college, Ryan Kowalski decided to leave Whitford, Maine, rather than watch Lauren Carpenter marry another man. Now his siblings need his help to refurbish the family-owned Northern Star Lodge and he’s forced to face the past sooner rather than later when he collars a vandal—and learns the boy is Lauren’s son…
The last person Lauren needs back in her life is Ryan Kowalski. With a bitter ex-husband and a moody teenage son, she has enough man trouble already. But her son needs to learn a few lessons about right and wrong, even if Lauren has to escort him to Ryan’s door every day to work off his crime.
With all this close contact, Ryan and Lauren can’t deny the chemistry between them is as powerful as ever. But can a few searing kisses erase their past and pave the way for a second chance at true love?

Kindle Gal’s Review

YES!!!! This is the book I’ve been waiting for Shannon Stacey to write.

All He Ever Desired is Book 5 in Stacey’s series about the Kowalski family. Truth be told, I’ve been rating the books in this series pretty tough. Don’t get me wrong, I think Shannon Stacey is a fantastic writer; I love her voice and sense of humor, and this big family she’s created is just so awesome and one you can’t help but adore. But there was always something I took issue with in the earlier books that kept me from falling head over heels in love with them.

But this one…I literally could not put this book down. I was maybe a third of the way into the book when our family went to see a movie. I read all the way to the theater, and while Kindle Guy was finding a parking spot, I actually considered for a moment (or two or three) how I could bring my Kindle inside and read during the movie. I mean, that wouldn’t be distracting to anyone at all, right??

All He Ever Desired opens with single mom Lauren Carpenter having a bad feeling that something not so great is going on with her 16-year-old son, Nick, who has just started a new school year and already landed in detention. I immediately connected with Lauren. She’s a working mom, doing the whole day-to-day thing and trying to make ends meet. As soon as Nick gets caught vandalizing the Kowalski property, you can’t help but feel for the woman. Not only is she furious he’s engaged in criminal activity, but now she has to see the one person she has what-if fantasies about and feels the most awkward around several times a week, all thanks to her son’s idiocy. Lovely.

Ryan Kowalski, a successful business owner of a custom building company, is back in his hometown for a month to do remodeling work on the family’s lodge. He has purposefully stayed away from Whitford as much as possible ever since graduating college, mostly because he doesn’t want to run into Lauren. Like, ever. And for good reason, because when he inadvertently runs into her when he first gets into town, they have a painfully awkward “conversation” that makes you wonder how in the world they’ll ever be able to converse normally. Rest assured, it all gets better; yet, I really loved the initial awkwardness between them, because it felt so real.

The way the relationship between Ryan and Lauren develops is so great, and it’s not your typical “second chance at love” kind of story. They have AMAZING chemistry, and I’m just going to come out and say it: Ryan is definitely my favorite Kowalski hero which, if you’ve read any of the other books in this series, you know is quite an endorsement. I think his character is so well developed and complex. I mean, the guy made me laugh, made me swoon, made me cringe, made me cry…all of it. Gah!

Even beyond Ryan and Lauren, there are so many relationships in this book that I loved: Ryan and his brothers, especially Josh, who stole the limelight every single scene he was in (and whose story is coming in early-2013!); Rosie, the matriarch, and pretty much anyone she encountered, particularly the Kowalski brood; Lauren and her girlfriends; Ryan and Nick; Lauren and Nick; etc. I’m sorry, but this caring about every stinking character and relationship in a book just doesn’t happen very often for me.

All He Ever Desired was exactly what I had hoped it would be: sweet, romantic, laugh-out-loud hilarious, sexy, fun, and incredibly satisfying.

Favorite Lines/Quotes

She was, no question, the sexiest woman in the whole world and, by the time he was done with her, she was going to know without a doubt that he thought so.

“I don’t harass you kids. I persistently guide you in the right direction.” ~ Rosie

“Jesus, no wonder Rosie bakes so much. This support shit is hard.” ~ Josh

“I really need a fucking cookie.” ~ Ryan

Bottom Line

I totally LOVED this book!!! I thought it had the perfect balance of family, friendship, romance, real-life-ness, and hilarity that I look for in a contemporary. If you’re looking for a series to fall in love with, give the Kowalskis a chance. They are definitely turning out to be one of my favorites.

Rating: A

Wine/Beverage Pairing: A Gewürztraminer, which is a sweet wine, lush with fragrant flavors and a hint of spice, because this book is both sweet and hot. 😉

Preorder/Buy:*  Kindle  |  Nook 
*Print version will be released in February 2013

All He Ever Desired eARC Giveaway

Can’t wait until next week to get your hands on this book? You might be in luck! The ever-fabulous Shannon Stacey is generously offering a digital advance reading copy (eARC) of All He Ever Desired to ONE Kindles & Wine reader.

To enter for your chance to win, you must:

  1. Be a follower of our blog (click the floating Follow button in the lower-right corner of your browser), AND
  2. Hit the comments and tell us something stupid you did as a teen that resulted in detention, a trip to the principal’s office, and/or being grounded.

Please note: This contest will close on Tuesday, November 6 at 11:59 PM (CST) and the winner will be notified via email on Wednesday, November 7.

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she’s not at her computer. She prefers writing to laundry, however, and considers herself lucky she got to be an author when she grew up.
You can contact Shannon through her website where she maintains an almost daily blog, or visit her on Twitter or Facebook.