Release Reviews & Giveaway: Nuts: Alice Clayton

Nuts (Hudson Valley #1)
Alice Clayton 
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Expected October 20, 2015

From New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton, the first in a brand-new romance series telling the humorously sexy tale of Roxie, a private chef who gets a taste of love—but is it to stay, or to go?

After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she's back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?

A summer of produce and passion...

Roxie Callahan is spending the summer back in her own personal Hell....running her Mom's Hudson Valley Diner. She is being forced to take a break from her career as a private chef to the rich and famous in California. One thing that makes the summer prospect a bit more appealing for her is Farmer Leo...a nuts and produce expert running his own organic farm and community co-op. He delivers her nuts, while she admires his.

Thus begins a dance of somewhat awkward encounters, sexual tension and foreplay. Soon she is meeting up with old and new friends, having adventures, and remembering what home can feel like. She begins to find new purpose and inspiration in a community she thought she did not fit into. It's small town life being jazzed up in her own Roxie style. 

Roxie is bold, unfiltered. awkward, and clumsy. She may have outgrown some of her teenage shyness and lack of grace, but some of it still shows. She's a wiz in the kitchen, but a bit confused about personal relationships. But she can't resist a fling with Leo. 

Leo is  kind , funny, charismatic. and  just plain hot. He is a good guy with a dirty mouth. And a wealthy man not afraid to get his hands dirty. A bit mysterious, but he has his reasons.

They have fun flirty banter, lots of sexual tension and foreplay. But their lives have been very different. They both think a summer fling is a great option...but they've got some challenges to deal with and both have to try to keep their pesky emotions in check. 

But it's only supposed to be for the summer...she has her  career in Cali and Leo's got a life in Bailey Falls. Will the self appointed city girl find her way back being a country girl again?

I will Admit I had a hard time getting into this book. I stopped twice before coming back to finish, but on my last go round somewhere around 40 percent I found myself finally getting engaged and more invested. I was beginning to think my Alice Clayton button was broken, but it was a false alarm. And once I got attached, I did like it. Sometimes Roxie was maybe a bit too much for me with her fight or flight, clumsiness, smart ass-ness, quirkiness, and oblivion. It was told in her point of view and I felt initially it was slowed by a lot of descriptions...of food, cooking techniques, the settings, etc. And even though I enjoyed their banter, it took awhile for me to connect with them and get a feel for Leo since we did not get his point of view until the epilogue. 

I enjoyed the side characters Chad, Logan ,Oscar, Natalie, Clara, her mother, and precocious Polly. I can already see a story brewing hopefully for the next book in the brawny, sullen tattooed dairy farmer Oscar. I liked the small town feel and the whole idea of sustainable food and farming but I did not need to know so many details.  Sometimes I got a bit distracted, but Leo and Roxie started pulling me back in. 

Some of it was a bit predictable but there were a couple of surprises too. I was excited to see cameos from a previous favorite book couple. It was quirky, humorous, sweet, and full of sexual tension and chemistry.

ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Nuts runs the gamut from subtle to in your face innuendos and humor, often food and farming related. It was light and cute without being fluff.

Roxie started out a little brash for me. It was almost annoying how much she hated her hometown and trashed everything about where she grew up. But I found several connections to her that had be connecting and understanding her, even as she continued to mildly grate on me.

Leo was a little more mysterious to me, at least at first. As a farmer dedicated to organic, sustainable farming, his choices intrigued me about why he was in this small town rather than the big city.

These two were a match made in farm to table heaven. For all the sexual tension between them, it did take a long time for things to turn physical between them. The funny accidents that pushed them together initially only served to crank up the heat between them.

The food humor throughout the book fit with these characters so perfectly. While I found myself occasionally rolling my eyes at the blatant use of innuendo, and the fact that they never failed to use a pun when the opportunity presented, I knew from the beginning that this was meant to be humorous and was able to let some of my annoyance go.

While I may have started this hesitant with the heroine, by the time things picked up, their summer fling began, and the plot took a few surprise twists, I found myself enjoying the banter. The innuendos lightened and the characters had to do some real hard thinking and what started out as a silly, almost slapstick romance became something more -- about home, family, and the desire to find one's’ own place. 

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Hudson Valley Series:

Expected July 1, 2016 

Untitled (#3)

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

More books by Alice Clayton

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