Series: Hudson Valley #1
Published by Gallery Books on October 20th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
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.
I don’t read a ton of romantic comedies, but when I’m in the mood for them, Alice Clayton is my go-to. This one wasn’t quite as fun as the Wallbanger books, but it was still undeniably Alice Clayton, and I mean that in the best way.
If I’m not completely sold on romantic comedies, I am absolutely a sucker for a good chef romance. Bring me all the food. Sonali Dev’s Bollywood books are a perfect example of this. I love Indian food, and I could all but smell the food wafting from the screen of my Kindle as I read those. Here, we have Roxie, a private chef in LA who suddenly finds herself blacklisted from her most profitable clients. Coincidentally, her mother needs her to come home and run the family diner while she competes on The Amazing Race. Roxie is initially reluctant; she and her mother don’t get along very well, and Roxie has no desire to leave LA for small-town upstate New York, but eventually she has no choice.
Enter Leo Maxwell. Leo is a local farmer Roxie meets when she trips and falls and spills her sugar snap peas all over him. Leo is dreamy. He’s gorgeous, endlessly sweet, charming, sexy, and so, so hot. Roxie isn’t really interested in a relationship beyond the hot sex (which we know because she mentions it all. the. time.) but she’s definitely interested in hot sex with Leo. And who could blame her?
Together, Roxie and Leo almost set my Kindle on fire. Individually they were a little less enchanting. Well, Roxie was, anyway. We don’t get a lot of Leo on his own because the whole book is from Roxie’s POV. Roxie on her own was a little too… Well, she was just a little too. For example, she has this thing with bees. To be fair, she’s right, bees are assholes. And I’m not going to try to apply logic to someone’s fear. Phobias are, by definition, illogical. (No, she wasn’t allergic) But anytime she so much as sensed a bee was in the area, she freaked out. Seriously running-and-screaming-and-flailing freaked out whether there were any bees at all actually close to her. Leo is a farmer. There are a lot of bees. This happened repeatedly. It would have been fine on its own; I mean, really, who likes bees? Yes, yes, they’re vital to our ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean we have to enjoy hanging out with them. But Roxie was also clumsy. She couldn’t stand up without falling back down. It made me really nervous for her in the kitchen with all the knives. Together it was a lot. She and Leo couldn’t get through a single conversation without her falling on her face or running screaming from his sight. Usually both.
But when Leo and Roxie were together (preferably indoors with no chance of bees) they were just delightful. Funny, sweet, and full of banter. I laughed out loud a lot with this book. If you haven’t read Alice Clayton before, this is a great one to start with. And if you’re already a fan, you won’t be disappointed with Nuts.