I am binge listening to this series, and although each book is unique, I have to admit, they are all starting to blend into one big Kowalski-story-of-doom, and it’s hard to distinguish each of the individual pieces to write a comprehensive and distinctive review. With that said, Love a Little Sideways marks a change in the Kowalski Family series, moving from a focus on saving the Northern Star Lodge, which reached its peak in the previous book All He Ever Dreamed.
This time around, the story centers on the return of sister Liz, who ended a long-term relationship and moved back home after a 15 year absence. Back a couple books ago, Liz was home for her eldest brother, Mitch’s wedding, and had a quick hook-up with Mitch’s best friend, Drew Miller. Drew had also recently ended his relationship, a marriage to his high school sweetheart. Telling themselves that it was only a one-time thing, the pair skirt around their mutual attraction for the sake of Mitch and because they wanted different things in life. But when the pair is forced to spend a lot of time together at the Kowalski Family camping trip, they can no longer deny their feelings.
Overall, Love a Little Sideways is a good story, but not nearly my favorite of the Kowalski Family series. As a stand alone, it works, but Drew and Liz’s story really starts way back with Drew’s split in the fourth title of the series. While I liked the pair together, they didn’t seem to have the spark that the previous couples exuded. Possibly because both Drew and Liz have baggage, or because they are convinced it won’t work, but I found myself not as connected to the couple as I would want. And while I loved that the book went back to the campground where the entire series started, I actually missed Whitford and its residents.
I also missed the side stories that have always accompanied each book in the series; Love a Little Sideways only had two POVs - Drew and Liz. Having an additional POV and side story would have helped diffuse the monotony of the constant baby discussion, which grew tiresome after a while. It wasn’t until about the 90% mark of the book that I felt Drew and Liz had a reasonable and real conversation about their lives. But in the end, I still enjoyed the book and will keep coming back for more.
I’ve discussed the narration by Lauren Fortgang in my earlier reviews. Nothing more to add… Great job.