All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey

All He Ever Dreamed (Kowalski Family, #6)

Grade – C+
Hotness Level – Blaze
Kink Level – None
Genre – Contemporary
Series – Kowalski Family #6
Reviewed by Anne 

The Kowalski books are some of my all time favorites.  They are a family I love to hang out with.  This book is my least favorite of the series, though.  I’ve been thinking about why that is, and I think it was very realistic (relationships are complicated and messy) and therefore had less escapism than I like.  Let me give you the set up.

Josh is the youngest in the Kowalski family, and he got left running the family lodge when all of his siblings left town and found other careers and adventures.  He’s always wanted to get out and travel and have a chance to do something else, even if he doesn’t have a certain something in mind.

Katie is his best friend and is nearly family, as her mother helped raise the Kowalski kids.  They’ve known each other forever, and she’s loved Josh as long as she can remember.  She doesn’t let him know about this, as she’s afraid she’ll lose him as a friend. 

This story takes place during a period of time where the Kowalski family has finally realized that Josh may not want to run the lodge and needs a chance to get out of town.  At the same time, he’s finally seeing Katie as a woman, not just his best friend.  But getting out of town and being with Katie long term seem unlikely to happen together, because she’s firmly rooted in their small town with no desire to leave.  So what will happen?

I’ll tell you what will happen.  I will come to dislike Josh because getting out of town is his primary concern.  He doesn’t hide this.  Katie always knows it.  So it overshadows their whole relationship.  And it leaves me wishing she would dump him because he’s unable to conceive of a way to be with her and to travel. 

Don’t get me wrong, I was very sympathetic to Josh.  Shannon Stacey did a really good job in writing him.  I understood he wasn’t just being an asshole, that he really needed a chance to spread his wings outside their small town.  He sacrificed his own desires to keep the family business and tradition going for a long time.  He didn’t hate the business, but he hated that he never had a choice about leaving.  However, I think Ms. Stacey did such a good job writing his character that the resolution for the story left me with some doubts about how it would all work out.  I was screaming in my head (and in my reader notes) for compromise while I read, and I felt like I never got it.

The book does have plenty of Kowalski funny moments, and I never wanted to stop reading,  I think it was just a little painfully real to me.
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