Title: All He Ever Dreamed (Kowalski’s, #6)
Author: Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: January 21, 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Josh Kowalski is tired of holding down the fort—better known as the Northern Star Lodge—while his siblings are off living their dreams. Now that his oldest brother has returned to Whitford, Maine for good, Josh is free to chase some dreams of his own.
As the daughter of the lodge’s longtime housekeeper, Katie Davis grew up alongside the Kowalski kids. Though she’s always been “one of the guys”, her feelings for Josh are anything but sisterly. And after a hot late-night encounter in the kitchen, it’s clear Josh finally sees her as the woman she is.
Katie’s been waiting years for Josh to notice her, but now that he has, she’s afraid it’s too late. Giving her heart to a man who can’t wait to leave town is one sure way to have it broken. But Josh keeps coming up with excuses not to leave—could it be that everything he’s ever wanted is closer than he could have imagined?
I have been really excited about Josh’s story. I was giddy with enjoyment as I opened the first page. I was not disappointed. Josh Kowalski, the youngest of the family, has been stuck running the family lodge and has always dreamed of leaving his hometown to explore the world and to find his dream. He never was really given the chance like his brothers and sisters in the past. Since he finally admitted his desires to get away to his brothers and sister, they started working to make it a reality for him. However, he didn’t plan on his best friend Katie turning into more than just a friend.
Katie has been Josh’s best friend since they were little kids. With Katie’s mom as the housekeeper for the family lodge and then more of a maternal influence after Josh’s mom passed away, Katie and Josh were inseparable growing up and are still just as close as adults. Katie has also been in love with Josh for many years, but was too afraid to ruin their relationship to act on that love. Unlike everyone else in the town, Josh doesn’t realize it or the fact that he and Katie are a perfect match.
I really enjoyed watching Katie and Josh go from being best friends to being in love. It happened pretty easily when Josh saw Katie in a tank top and boxer shorts. While I thought there would be bigger fireworks between the two when they finally did try to make it work, I realized that wouldn’t have fit Josh and Katie. They weren’t dramatic people and they already had a history together. They were truly best friends and acted like it. Katie would forgive Josh for being a jerk sometimes and she understood his need to leave his hometown to find his dream, even if it would break her heart when he did leave. I thought it was great that even though people told Katie she should make herself more girly to get Josh’s attention she stood her ground (except for Christmas Eve where she was supposed to dress up anyway, technically) and was authentic around Josh. She didn’t play any games. She was just Katie.
I really, really enjoyed the story with Rose and Andy. We don’t always get to hear about new love between people older than 50 these days, so this was a treat. I have always loved Rose and her meddling ways, so it was great to see her invite Andy into her life. Of course I was excited to see Mitch, Sean, and Ryan make appearances. I hate leaving characters after reading their stories and like to see what they are up to!
I will never get tired of reading books about the Kowalski’s and their friends. Shannon Stacey has made her books auto-reads for me by entertaining me with each and every story she writes. If you are looking for a fun, witty, contemporary romance series about big families in small towns with a whole lot of love, I highly recommend the Kowalski books!
Reviewed by: Amy R.