Nuts by Alice Clayton

Nuts by Alice ClaytonNuts (Hudson Valley, #1) by Alice Clayton
Series: Hudson Valley #1
Published by Gallery Books on October 20th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
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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?
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.

Alice Clayton is best known for her popular Cocktail series and Redhead series, the later of which sits firmly on my “favorites” bookshelf. So when I found out she was writing a new series, I admit I started fangirling just a wee bit. Okay, a lot, but then I gave myself a reality check. Angela, I thought—my little freak out session had temporarily caused me to refer to myself in the third person, you see—calm the heck down and don’t get your hopes up. I’m sure it’s incredibly hard for an author to meet readers’ expectations once the bar of excellence has been set. Well, I’m happy to say Ms. Clayton hasn’t lost her creative mojo. Nuts is funny, sassy, and altogether charming.

Roxie is living her culinary fantasy as a private chef to Los Angeles’s rich, famous, and shallow. Just when a kitchen mishap causes Roxie to be blacklisted by her clients, she receives an S.O.S. call from her mother asking for a favor. Her mom wants Roxie to come home for the summer to run the family diner. Home is a small gossip mill in Upstate New York that she’s been trying to distance herself from for years; however, the timing seems pretty perfect to leave L.A. so home again she goes. Once there, she literally bumps into Leo, the local organic farmer and town’s most eligible bachelor. With weeks of being stuck in Hudson Valley looming before her, a little summer lovin’ could be just what the doctor ordered.
Leo is the perfect swoonworthy book boyfriend, and Roxie fits Clayton’s signature wacky heroine mold like a glove.

“Please keep saying more words like coxswain.”
“You’re besmirching one of the oldest traditions in American prep schools, and I won’t have it.” he scolded.
Besmirch isn’t nearly as good as coxswain,” I teased. “Give me more pretty preppy words, like Izod or Perrier.”

Their chemistry is insane, and although the book isn’t laugh out loud hilarious, the sexual innuendo and humor are definitely major strengths.

I welcomed the interruption, before we were tempted to put on an X-rated movie of Old MacDonald Had an Orgasm. A movie that, based on how good Leo was looking tonight, I’d be proud to star in. 

This is a feel good book as well as a foodie’s wet dream. From black walnut cake to scallops and spaghetti aglio olio, each chapter is guaranteed to make you salivate. And then there are the retro cultural references that as a child of the 80s I really enjoyed: U2 and Little House on the Prairie—hello, Almonzo, Laura, and Nellie, my old friends—and even small nods to Grease and The Breakfast Club.
My one complaint is that Alice Clayton has created a cast of zany supporting characters that, with the exception of Roxie’s hippie mom, are largely underutilized and underdeveloped. Then again, this is book one in the Hudson Valley series so I’m hopeful that we’ll see more of them in the next book. I’m especially excited to learn more about Natalie, Roxie’s best friend. 
If you’re interested in a book with a great mix of romance and humor, as well as a whole lot of heart you ought to give Nuts a try.

** ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes have been taken from the pre-published copy and may differ from the final version. **

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