May 13, 2014

Yours to Keep - Shannon Stacey

Yours to Keep - Shannon Stacey
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Source/Format: Bought || Kindle e-book (recommended by Racquel & Sharon)

Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancĂ©. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.

Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are… (from Goodreads)

Do you guys remember the premise of the movie “The Proposal” starring Sandra Bullock and (hottie!) Ryan Reynolds? Aside from the awesome fact that both their characters work in publishing, “The Proposal” cemented itself as one of my favorite movies because it’s funny, sweet and different from the other films in its genre. 

I remembered “The Proposal” as I was reading Yours to Keep for two reasons. First, the stories are very similar: the girl gets into a situation where she lies about being engaged and must produce a fake fiancĂ© to prove the credibility of her story. But, and this is the second thing, Yours to Keep certainly holds its own by being funny and sweet… in its own unique way.

The Characters

I love Emma. I love Sean. Both of them are stubborn, and have the tendency to pretend that their feelings do not exist. Both are quick with comebacks, and deeply loyal and loving towards their families. Sean racks up points for being a gentleman, for instinctively knowing how to tease and talk with Emma. Emma gets major props for not being afraid of hard labor and dirt, especially with her passion for her landscape business. 

Apart from these two, their family members – the Kowalski clan and Emma’s grandmother – are pretty darn awesome. Even though readers will only get glimpses of them every so often, they still feel involved . I loved their banter, their deep love for each other, and the history that grounds all of their relationships. I’ve always appreciated stories that have a strong family vibe, and this is certainly no different. (It also reminded me of my own family, big, loud, fond of teasing, but always loyal, true and loving.)

The Romance

I love swoons. I love banter. Yours to Keep gives me ample amounts of both! Though they begin on rather shaky circumstances, there are instant sparks between Emma and Sean. Their connection comes quickly, a rapport building with their matching witty retorts. Add to that a deep amount of admiration and respect, some small-town kindness and physical attraction, and what results is a potent mix.

I was so invested in these two, hoping they would realize that they complemented each other well! They made me smile, and sometimes, they made me break into a full-on laughing fit. They made me rage in frustration by being so stubborn. They made me go “aww” more than once. This (my feelings about the romance) is usually what makes or breaks a romance novel for me, so I was pleased Yours to Keep passed my standards with flying colors.

The Story

The romance was certainly the centerpiece of Yours to Keep. But Stacey incorporated a few smaller plots in beautifully, like Emma’s grandmother’s budding romance, Emma’s determination to prove she can manage the house and her business on her own and Sean’s determination to figure out what he wants to do now that he’s done with active military duty. It made the story even more complex, more real, and I clearly enjoyed this aspect a lot.

Basically, all I really want to say is that you should read Yours to Keep! The novel is funny, the romance is sweet and the story will keep you turning the pages. I might have just met the Kowalski clan, but you can be sure I want more of them in my life after reading this – and you will too!


  1. I NEED THIS. So funny, when I was reading the synopsis, I thought of The Proposal too, just a role reversal (mm, Ryan Reynolds:) This looks like the perfect summer read!

  2. This isn't my favorite adult romance, but it is very cute. I think I found it a little too vanilla. I highly recommend Jill Shalvis and Macy Beckett - similar type of stories with a great balance between humor, swoon, and supporting characters. :)


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