I know when I pick up an Alice Clayton book that I’m in for a good time. When I was at the RT 15 convention, I saw she had a new series coming up and did a happy dance right there in the lobby. The reality lived up to my hype: Nuts is an excellent debut to the Hudson Falls series and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Roxie Callahan is a professional chef who’s back in her hometown temporarily to run the family diner while her hippie mom participates in The Amazing Race. She’s not thrilled about being home, because even though she graduated from a prestigious culinary school and cooks for the stars (sometimes), when she’s home she feels like the awkward girl she was before she left. Roxie is determined that’s not going to happen this time, and also that this is the last favor she’s going to do for her flighty mom.
Leo Maxwell was a typical rich kid who floated through life on his parents’ money. The Maxwell’s are a famous banking dynasty, and Leo tried a few jobs in the family companies but nothing stuck. Then, he visited the family farm in Hudson Valley and fell in love with the organic farming movement. He decided to stay and turned it into a sustainable farm. He sells things at the local farmer’s market, makes deliveries to local homes and businesses, and has a local co-op for people to participate in to get fresh produce and farm products.
After a very public and embarrassing introduction, Leo and Roxie run into each other a few times before they start dating. Things are going well, too well, but Roxie knows she’s leaving at the end of the summer; there’s nothing to keep her in Hudson Valley, is there? Only if you don’t count new friends, a blossoming slow-food movement, the opportunity to make changes at the diner, and …Leo. But even in a sleepy little town, some secrets are well hidden, and sometimes, they’re game changers.
I am a huge fan of Alice Clayton so it’s not surprising that I loved Nuts. She writes characters that are relatable and her books pull you in and make you feel like you’re part of the cast of characters. In Nuts, Ms. Clayton’s signature humor is in full force, and I had a great time reading it. There were so many opportunities for food/sex-related jokes, and she nailed it every time.
Roxie and Leo were great characters: I liked how Roxie wanted things to change so she made it happen instead of moping about how horrible her life is, and Leo’s love for the organic/slow-food movement was contagious (I’m actually interested in learning more about it). The heat between these two was focused and burned hot; the humor softened the heat and at the same time turned it into something more.
I liked the supporting cast of characters, although it would have been nice to see more of Roxie’s besties (I think one might be the next heroine) . Without giving away spoilers, there was only one character I didn’t like, Polly, but I generally don’t enjoy this kind of character so she might not bother other readers.
I’ve got to add this: Every time I think about this book, I think about those “Farmers Only dot com” commercials…in the best way, of course 🙂 Nuts is going on my keeper shelf – funny, sexy, food-y, fabulous – what’s not to love?
Fans of Alice Clayton’s other books will definitely enjoy Nuts, as will fans of Penny Reid, Emma Chase, and Kristan Higgins. Readers who love romance but want laugh-out-loud moments and a strong story should give this one a try.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Nuts by Alice ClaytonSeries: Hudson Valley #1
Published by Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster on October 20, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Also in this series: Cream of the Crop
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?