Series: Hudson Valley #1
Author: Alice Clayton
Release Date: October 20, 2015
The New York Times bestselling author of Wallbanger and Rusty Nailed is back with Nuts, the first in a brand new series set in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley.
Roxie Callahan is a private chef to some of Hollywood’s wealthiest, and nastiest, calorie-counting wives. After a dairy disaster implodes her carefully crafted career in one fell ploop, she finds herself back home in upstate New York, bailing out her hippie mother and running the family diner.
When gorgeous local farmer Leo Maxwell delivers her a lovely bunch of organic walnuts, Roxie wonders if a summer back home isn’t such a bad idea after all. Leo is heavily involved in the sustainable slow food movement, and he likes to take his time. In all things. Roxie is determined to head back to the west coast as soon as summer ends, but will the pull of lazy fireflies and her very own Almanzo Wilder be enough to keep her home for good?
Salty. Spicy. Sweet. Nuts. Go on, grab a handful.
When her plans to take the Hollywood private chef scene by storm crumble before her eyes, Roxie Callahan finds herself headed back to upstate New York to help run the family diner. It’s not a move that makes Roxie happy; she spent her whole life trying to leave her small town roots behind and she’s not eager to revisit them. But this is temporary, to help her mother out, and she'll be back to set Hollywood on fire at the end of the summer.
Then she meets gorgeous, friendly, utterly irresistible local farmer, Leo. Leo piques Roxie's interest from her very first encounter with his nuts. The two strike up an easy, fun relationship that leads to Roxie spending the summer getting to know Leo in the “biblical” sense. And in the middle of what she’s determined to keep a physical relationship only, Roxie also finds that the small town life she's been so adamantly against is actually just exactly what she's needed. She discovers unexpected friendships, rewarding career opportunities, and—of course—one incredibly sexy local farmer.
This book is completely adorable. I felt like it moved a little slowly in the beginning and maybe took me a little longer to get invested than I would have liked. However, once I was hooked, I was ALL IN. The way Alice Clayton writes is the way dialogue works in my head—little spikes of humor thrown into otherwise serious or inane conversations.
Roxie wasn't immediately likeable to me, but she grew on me over the course of the book. In fact, about halfway through, I started thinking that I could actually BE Roxie. Like Roxie, I am also awkward, and skittish, and—let's face it—adorable.
Leo is...perfect. He's all laid back, easy charm. He's sexy as sin and profoundly likeable to boot. He has a way with words…and with pet names. Pet names can be tricky in books—the wrong one, or used too often, and it's just weird or cheesy. Ms. Clayton NAILS the pet names in this book. They are adorable, used adorably, and I react to them much the same way that Roxie does to hers—melting, every time. They are super cute, unique, and amusing, which basically mirrors my thoughts on this book as a whole.
Lighthearted, hilarious, sweet and swoony, and peppered with little surprises (oh, and did I mention adorable?), reading this book was like a heaping chocolate and wine serving for my soul.
~ Review by Shelly
NUTS! Seriously, one of the catchiest titles I’ve encountered—and coupled with Alice Clayton’s name and the very cool cover, there was really no way I was going to skip this one. And I am really glad I didn’t. It was sugar sweet, very funny, super sexy and just so…nutty.
After private chef, Roxie Callahan’s careered is derailed by an unfortunate whipped-cream related incident, it seems she has no choice but to heed her mother’s desperate call for assistance with the family diner in her small (read: claustrophobic) hometown of Bailey Falls in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Once there, Roxie encounters Leo, the sexiest farmer she’s ever laid eyes on, and suddenly her return home doesn’t seem so dreary. Roxie’s not planning on staying in the Hudson Valley forever—but she’d be nuts to think about walking away from Leo, right?
Oh, the flirty, bantery dialogue-y goodness that makes up Nuts is a force to be reckoned with. Seriously, Ms. Clayton has such a playful way of writing, and a charming ability to make all conversations—internal or external—seem like the kind of ridiculousness you’d share with your best friend, that falling a little in love with this book was exceptionally easy.
Not easy? Staying away from Leo’s nuts… I’d sample them, for sure—and I guarantee I am not the only one that would like to do so. This guy…whoa, he’s all hipster, organic, local farm boy perfection, and completely addicting. I want a Leo, and all the nuts he’s willing to give me. In all seriousness, he might be my favorite of Ms. Clayton’s men—tied with Wallbanger’s Simon at the very least—because he was just so, I don’t know, awesome. At life. At giving nicknames. At being loveable.
But, as much as I loved Leo (did I mention his nuts yet?), I did have some concerns about this book—or one particular aspect of it, anyway. Now, don’t get me wrong, Nuts is funny and sexy, and very engaging, but there was one part, which I can’t get into because the dreaded SPOILERS, that just fell completely flat for me. It was predictable and hinged on something that was a bit too come on, really?! for me to accept. And after it was introduced, my love for this book dimmed just a little.
Nonetheless, I remain invested in this new series. Because I did love Leo, as I loved Roxie and her mouth-watering creations, her best friends—some of whom seem set to get their own books in the future (YES! Oscar the Grouch!), the silly diner-talk, and most everything else about Nuts…including that awesome title.
~ Review by Beth
Alice Clayton worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop). She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her. Now, about that Bernese Mountain dog....