Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ARC Review: Falling for Max (Kowalski Family #9) by Shannon Stacey


Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he's starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he's always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn't help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she's intrigued. When she finds out he's in the market for a wife, she's fascinated…and determined to help.

Molding Max into every woman's dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori's plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she'll have to find a way to show just how she's fallen for him…the real him.

Publisher: Carina Press

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What I thought About Falling for Max

I just don't know how Shannon Stacey does it. This is book nine in the Kowalski series, and I'm still loving every single word. Many times long running series start to lose their appeal at this point, but I've found the last few in this series every bit as wonderful as the first books. Falling for Max has been my "go-to" feelgood book this month. You know, the book you go back to reread when you're having a bad day. I loved this story.

Max, the guy with the great TV where the Kowalski series characters watch their sporting events, is a different sort of guy. He's not an alpha by any means. He's quiet, perhaps a bit introverted, with a great sense of humor. He's really just adorable. He decides he needs to get out and meet someone to fulfill his long term goal of finding a wife. He goes about this very precisely and with a little push goes to the diner, where he meets Tori.

He immediately "clicks" with her, and once he explains what he's doing there, Tori decides to help him find a girlfriend.And so begins the reverse "My Fair Lady", with Tori as Professor Higgins and Max in the Eliza Doolittle role. What a surprising and lovely role reversal. It really worked for me.

The growing friendship and love between Tori and Max really grabbed at my heart. Tori is very likeable and Max can't help but fall for her. She's upbeat and encouraging, except for one tiny detail, and that's her hangup about marriage. She's sworn off matrimony after experiencing her parents marriage explosion. She just can't hurt Max the way her parents hurt each other. Even though they are both falling for each other, she doesn't want to start something she wasn't going to be able to finish, and Max is looking for a wife.

It takes a while for Tori and Max to come together, and when they do, they know they aren't playing around anymore, even though they try to convince themselves it's still just "practice". But when it comes down to the "L" word, everything falls apart, leaving both Max and Tori in ruins. Lucky for Tori and Max, they have friends that help them see the light.

I loved everything about this one, but especially the friendships between Tori and Hailey, Max and Josh, Tori and Gavin. These relationships helped keep a Whitford feel to the story, and kept me loving the Kowalski series. Can't wait for whatever is coming next.

Recommended. Loved this for its sweetness, the inclusion of series characters, and mainly because I just felt really good when I got to the end.

This is my honest review. I may have received this book from Netgalley, Edelweiss, a publisher, an author, a promoter or purchased it. How I obtained the book has no bearing on my review rating.

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