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Spotlight New Release Review and Giveaway: Taken With You by Shannon Stacey (The Kowalskis #8)

A new Kowalski series book! Whoo hoo!


Taken with You by Shannon Stacey
(Kowalski Family #8)
Published by: Carina Press
Publication date: March 25th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


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…


LOVE Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski books–you know when you pick one up that fun and quirky characters and a very happy HEA are in your future…and that someone is going to be going ATVing. Her latest, Taken With You, is no exception.

To say Hailey Genest is not a nature girl would be an understatement. Her idea of a fun outdoor activity is taking her book into the backyard to read. She’s only out in the Maine wilderness on a singles adventure tour because her friend Tori–her last single friend, thanks to the recent rash of Kowalski pairings-up, darn them all–thought it sounded like fun. When her brand new hiking boots give her blisters blisters, her homemade mosquito repellent turns her into an insect buffet, and they’re separated from the rest of their group by goodness knows how many miles and a grizzly bear black bear really tough chipmunk, she is not at all attracted to the rough-around-the-edges, just-stepped-out-of-a-serial-killer-documentary guy who leads them back to safety again.


Imagine her surprise when that same guy–nicely cleaned up and in a game warden uniform–shows up in her library to give an all-day ATV safety course…and her further surprise when he moves into the vacant house next door. But she’s still not at all interested.


And Hailey, of course, is not at all Matt’s type. He’s dated women like her before, and it never turns out well. He’s finally learned his lesson, and he can absolutely resist the charms of the sexy librarian next door.

Even if his traitorous dog is totally enamored of her.

You know where this is going, right? Of course you do. But the journey there? It’s soooooo much fun in a Shannon Stacey book! After I called Mini Moe #2 over for the first time because she “just had to hear this part” she laughed so much that every other time didn’t even earn a preliminary eye roll. She just came, already smiling. If you spend much time around fourteen-year-olds, you know that’s high praise indeed!

Here’s just one such scene, as Matt tries to introduce Hailey to the wonderful world of four-wheeling:

Matt leaned against the Kowalski’s barn, arms folded across his chest, and watched Hailey put her helmet on for what had to be the seventh or eighth time. At the rate they were going, he’d be too old to drive a quad by the time she was ready to hit the trail.

“You know what the worst part is?” Andy Miller asked. He was also holding up the barn wall, watching the show. “About the time she gets that helmet just right, she’s going to have to pee again.”

Matt sighed. “I wouldn’t bet against it.”

Apparently, her hair was the problem. She started with it in a high ponytail, but that made a lump that was uncomfortable under her helmet. She tried a lower ponytail, but that had the same problem. She took the elastic out, but her hair plastered around her face when she put the helmet on and she didn’t like that. Then came gathering her hair at the base of her neck with the elastic, but when she pulled on the helmet, it pulled her hair at the crown.

Finally, Rose had come outside, sat her down on the porch and done some kind of fancy braid that held all of her hair while remaining flat. Now it seemed like they might be on the right track. When she had it settled on her head and gave him a thumbs up, he walked over and did the buckle under her chin.

“You finally ready?”

She nodded, then held up a finger. “I’m going to go pee one more time.”

“Do not take that helmet off,” he called after her.

Andy was shaking his head. “What do you think the chances are that girl knows how to pee over a log?”

“My plan is to give her enough water to keep her hydrated, but not enough to make her have to go.” He was mostly kidding.

Hailey really is a heroine after my own heart. I’m not nearly as bad as she is–I did voluntarily (actually, it was even my idea, believe it or not) go tent camping on my honeymoon in Maine’s Acadia National Park–but I am totally with her “I’d rather read a book than bait a hook” mentality (Because, honestly. Ewwww), and reading outside is one of my favorite outdoor activities. It’s like she’s my long-lost literary twin, or something.

Though I know better than to trust a homemade bug repellent, thank you. Give me Deep Woods Off any day. Especially if there’s a hot game warden available to help me with the application…

But I digress.

Taken With You was a start it on Saturday morning, I’m good for nothing until I’m done with it Saturday afternoon kind of book. (I know better than to pick up a Shannon Stacey book on a weekday. I’ve learned that lesson.) If you’ve already read the rest of the series, this one is an excellent addition. If not, it can absolutely stand alone–the Kowalskis, though they wander in and out through the narration, are secondary characters here. A warning, though–you’re going to want to go back and read the others once you’ve finished.

They’re kind of like Lay’s potato chips that way. Only they’re not deep fried, which makes them much more healthy. Win-win!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A rating

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.






AUTHOR BIO:ShannonStacey

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.


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  1. Neena Martin Neena Martin

    I love Shannon Stacey, and the Kowalski’s. They are such great reads.

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