Book Review - What it Takes: A Kowalski Novel by Shannon Stacey


Revisit all of your Kowalski favorites while falling in love with a brand-new romance in this reunion novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey 
Laney Caswell is looking for a change. A decade's worth of less-than-happy matrimony behind her, she wants peace—movies, books and, best of all, a new job at the Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine. Spending the summer living in a camper is her chance to rediscover what makes her happy, and a perfect transition to her new life.  
Being a paramedic in Whitford is nothing like Ben Rivers's city life, but when Josh Kowalski offers him the job, the lure of his hometown is too much to resist. Also too much to resist: Laney Caswell. Ben always thought he'd have a wife and kids, a happy family like the Kowalskis have all built, but he never made time in his life. Now he's found a woman who draws him like no other and helps him dream again—and the last thing she wants is a husband.  
When the annual Kowalski family camping trip is moved to the Northern Star, both Ben and Laney are surrounded by the kind of happiness they've always wanted but never had. It just might be theirs—if they can put aside the past and reach for it together.


This story works as a stand-alone, but is meant just as much as a love letter to the fans of the Kowalski books.  Going into the book I honestly had mediocre expectations, expecting it to be 50% catching-up with the old characters and 50% focusing on the central characters.  I was pleasantly surprised at how Shannon Stacey managed to get the reader caught up in the lives of the rest of the family and still keep the focus on Laney and Ben.  The secondary story focusing on a couple from one of the previous books, Sean and Emma, was also done well and added to the overall story and my enjoyment of the book.  As I started this review, this book could be read as a stand-alone, although you (like Laney) might start to get confused by who all the other characters in the book are, but the previous books in this series are well worth reading if you have a spare month or two...

MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she’s not at her computer. She prefers writing to laundry, however, and considers herself lucky she got to be an author when she grew up.

You can contact Shannon through her website,, where she has maintains an almost daily blog, or visit her on Twitter at, her Facebook page,, or email her at


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