Review: Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey


Title: Falling for Max (Kowalski Family #9)
Author: Shannon Stacey
Date of publication: 29 July 2014
Genre: Romance

Author's links:
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My rating: 4 stars


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.


Another great installment in the Kowalski series, though we have already moved away from the Kowalski family to other inhabitants of Whitford, Maine.

I have read almost all the previous books in this series and I really like the style of Ms Stacey - light romances some of which I loved, others didn't really win me over. This one falls in the category of my favourites.

I was intrigued by the blurb since I have a soft spot for awkward, shy, somewhat nerdy characters. And I found Max to be pretty wonderful, his issues made him real and rather endearing. He resented when Tori described him as adorable, but he was exactly that, in every aspect of his behaviour. Still, this didn't take away from his manliness and sex appeal. 

His portrayal was fair and sounded authentic, he didn't appear childish or naive, even simple, as is sometimes the case. He was literal in his understanding of the world but he also had a sense of humour. He liked to follow a plan, but his friendship with Tori helped him become more open, flexible. He was honest and sometimes even blunt in his opinion, but he had learned to be respectful of the feelings of other people, he even managed to flirt and actually woo Tori (without either of them realizing it initially).

What I liked most about Tori was the fact that she liked Max the way he was, she didn't force him to change, to pretend to be someone else. His opening to her and to the world was a gradual process and it felt natural.

The I-am-teaching-you-how-to-be-with-someone-else trope doesn't always work well for me, but I found it fitting here. Max needed to take things slow, to get used to the new people and situations in his life and the trnasition from friendship to love was the natural path for him.

I felt that Tori's anti-marriage stance was a bit too much. The bad divorce of her parents (which happened recently when she was already a grown-up) affected her too much. At the same time I don't know people in similar situations in real life so I don't know how authentic her feelings and fears might be. 

I liked seeing some of the couples from the previous books and their presence created the warm and noisy small-town feel which I really like in this series.

Overall, this is a cute romantic story with no major issues or drama, some awkwardness and nerdiness and a lot of fun. A recommended to read to fans of the series and to all lovers of sweet romances.

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