Exclusively Yours - Shannon Stacey FTC: Book received for review from the publisher

After hearing the rave reviews of this Carina title, I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. This has one of my favorite romantic tropes: the high school sweetheart hookup. Love, love, love it.

I usually don't like books with multiple 'marriages in trouble' which add to the drama of the main relationship. Too often, it comes off as too women's fiction to me instead of romance. I like the focus to be on our primary couple. But Stacey pulls this one off just fine. The entire family is camping together, so it makes sense to have everyone witnessing problems in marriages up close. Plus, the focus only strays occasionally from the primary relationship.

I was afraid that this book might hit one of my pet peeves: the journalist betrayal, but the author manages to side step that issue, too. Joe is aware at all times that Keri is working on a story. And that she intends to head back home to LA after she's finished. So any hurt feelings from that plan are not the result of betrayal.


I really enjoyed the ATV scenes. I'm not super familiar with them, although they are very popular up here, but I can tell the author knows her way around them. I enjoyed the reactions of Keri, who substitutes for all of us who aren't ATV experts. And she uses the quads in a way that feels completely natural without any tendency to info dump.

My only beef, and it's a nitpicky one, is that one of the characters referred to Californians as "flatlanders." I have two issues with that--even if someone from New Hampshire would use that term that way. First, "flatlander" is not just a New Hampshire term. In fact, we use it here. In CALIFORNIA. Out here, in the mountains, it refers to people in the valley who cannot drive on curvy roads or who are afraid of a little snow. Secondly, while the heroine lives in LA, that city does not encompass all of California. Much of CA is rural. And it has just about every climate available: snow, desert, marine, tropical. So quit lumping all of CA into SoCal! [end rant:]

Other than that one minor annoyance, I thought this was a solid contemporary romance that was very believable, had great characters, and a first rate romance.

My Grade: B+