Review – Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey

Falling for MaxPublisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: out now
How I got this book: NetGalley

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.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I’m a huge fangirl of Stacey and the Kowalski series, so getting the chance to read the *potentially* last book had me drowning in mixed emotions.

Max is a bit of a recluse, but he takes the rumors of him being a serial killer lightly. He’s found that people aren’t that interested in his line of work, or sense of humor. But Max is lonely, and he wants the chance to find someone to spend the rest of his life with. The only problem is that Whitford is pretty small, and the pickings for wife material are thin.

Tori loves living in Whitford, especially since she is miles away from her parents. As she gets to know Max, Tori finds herself determined to help him in his search for a woman. But the closer they get, the more jealous Tori becomes at the idea of Max finding a wife. However, she is so petrified to commit to someone that she might let her fears override the desire she has to tell Max she could be his perfect woman.

I loved the set up for this story. Shy, nerdy hero who is a bit of a recluse wants to find a wife. Enter the vibrant and friendly Tori who isn’t in the market for a happily ever after, but finds Max to be super sexy. Of course the chemistry is there, and although it simmers slowly, I loved it. This book is definitely not as sexy as some of Stacey’s other books in the series. Tori and Max work very hard at building their friendship before either one starts thinking romantically. While I would have liked a little more in the romance department, watching their friendship grow was pretty amazing as well.

Max was so shy and so awkward, I couldn’t help but love him. He was such a fun and sweet hero, and I thought Stacey did an amazing job writing him. He was kind and a little misunderstood, but that all led to his charm. I loved the way that Tori was pretty much his polar opposite, but that she was able to see past all of Max’s walls and bring out his more confident side. Although it took her some time to pull him out of his shell, I adored the way these two danced around each other as they made it happen.

Poor Tori was pretty screwed up, and I have to admit that I was (at times) a bit annoyed with her reasoning for shunning all things relationships. Yes, her parents were horrible people. Not just to each other, but to her. It was painfully obvious. On the other hand, she also had her aunt and uncle in town that she saw on a regular basis who were totally different from her parents. They loved each other, supported each other, and wouldn’t let anything pull their relationship down. I had a hard time understanding why Tori didn’t let that influence her just as much as her parents, since she seemed to get advice and support from her aunt more than her mother.

All in all, I really enjoyed the ninth book in the Kowalski series. I’m really sad that this might be the last in the series, and hope that Stacey has plans to pick it up again in the future. The Kowalski family has become one of my favorite contemporary romance families, and saying goodbye is always hard. I can only hope for more to come!
I give Falling for Max a B

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