Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey

Title: Yours to Keep
Author: Shannon Stacey
Published: February 2012 (HQN) {Ebook originally published June 2011 by Carina Press}
Summary: Emma Shaw needs a husband, and fast! Not because she's interested in romance—after all, she's too busy with her landscaping company—but because Grandma Shaw is coming to town, and she will have nonstop questions about Emma's (stagnant) love life. Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he's recruited by Emma to be her fake fiance. Sean doesn't like the deception, but he can't help his attraction to the feisty brunette. A little pretend kissing won't hurt anyone—especially when there's no chance he'll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he's not planning to call home. But when fake, innocent kisses lead to very real, explosive sparks, Emma and Sean discover that their big ruse might just lead to happily-ever-after…

My Review: Yours to Keep and I had quite the turbulent relationship. I first heard really good things about it last year, and I got the audiobook for my drive home for break. I made it through almost an hour before I admitted defeat and turned it off. I am picky about my narrators, so perhaps it was just me, but I couldn't stand the narrator of this book. At all. Nothing about the audiobook appealed to me. Thus, Yours to Keep was automatically blacklisted in my head. Then it popped back up again at DABWAHA in March, and I remembered how much I had loved the premise. I was also pretty sure I remembered that the content itself wasn't half bad. In fact, the meeting of the hero and heroine was downright hilarious. So, I put it on hold at my library, and I waited. I'm so glad I did!

I loved this book! Sure, the "pose as my girlfriend/fiancée/wife" trope is old, but it's a good one. And I haven't read many where the tables are turned, and it's actually the man playing the role. Stacey pulled it off brilliantly. I believed Emma's reasoning behind her bargain; nothing ever seemed contrived. Sean's hesitancy and inevitable caving were priceless.

We get to meet a lot of Sean's family in this book, and I loved them! It makes me want to read about the other Kowalskis, which I plan on doing soon. (There are more!) Overall, I simply enjoyed the feeling of the close-knit family on the sides of both Emma and Sean. I love the importance family held to them both. Not to mention, the characters themselves were pretty fantastic!

Emma. She truly loves her career of landscaping, and she is a dedicated business owner. I admired her for this. I loved reading her point of view; her inner commentary is hilarious. She is a quirky character I enjoyed getting to know.

Sean. Freshly back from the army, Sean is a down-to-earth guy with a wonderfully dry sense of humor and a huge heart. He also has an obsession with Sticky Notes, and as a fellow Sticky Note fanatic, I could relate. This definitely made me smile.

A few things I loved about their relationship:

• The Sarcasm. Exhibit A: Oh, yes, Sean Kowalski.  Your amazing kisses have made all rational thought fly out of my besotted brain.  If only you could fill me with your magic penis, I know we’d fall madly in love and live happily ever after. *gigglesnort* I just about fell off the couch after reading this line! Brilliant, I tell you.
• The Steam Factor. Talk about your chemistry. If you think fun, witty books cannot also have some serious sexual tension, think again. Yowza!
• The Sweetness. They just about melted my heart by the end.

This book was an absolute delight to read! It will be going on my wishlist for sure. I will leave you with some great quotes:
All’s fair in sex and Scrabble.

He could do this. He’d survived boot camp. He’d survived combat and the harsh weather of Afghanistan. He could survive broccoli. Probably.

…she was afraid someday soon he was going to touch her and she’d burst into spontaneous orgasm.

Purchase this book at: Amazon || Barnes & Noble icon || The Book Depository

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