Review: Nuts by Alice Clayton

Babs’ review of Nuts by Alice Clayton
Contemporary romance released by Gallery Books on October 20, 2015

NutsRoxie 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.

Nuts is my first Alice Clayton read and the first book in the Hudson Valley series. I have had Alice Clayton’s Wallbanger on my to-read list for awhile now. I started seeing Nuts talked about on Twitter. Other reviewers were saying great things about it. I honed in right away on references to how funny it was. There’s no way I could not try it. Add a bearded farmer and a chef which guaranteed food references? Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Roxie returns to her hometown after leaving to escape small town life and find her own way as a chef in LA. She’s promised to help her flighty mom one last time and run the family diner while her mom goes on an adventure. Roxie hasn’t been in a committed relationship with any guy—she’s strictly interested in no strings “company” when she wants it. And she thinks she’s found “company” when she sees Leo.

Leo escaped New York and his wealthy family years ago. Since then he has turned the family country home into a great local food producer and educational farm. Leo has his own secrets but doesn’t want to trust Roxie since she’s only staying in town for the summer.

As it usually does, things quickly became more than just a summer fling. I liked how Roxie was pretty quick to acknowledge it wasn’t going to be easy to go back to LA and not just because of Leo. She was finding her place in her hometown, making new friends, seeing job opportunities, and then yummy Leo. Leaving wouldn’t be so simple. I think I also like that Leo didn’t try to convince her to stay once it was clear there was more going on than sex (I’m thinking this through as I write this review:)). He would have a good life even if she left but hoped they could try to be together. This is a romance so there is a happily-ever-after. The end was great. I love the epilogue from Leo’s point of view.

So many things in this story worked for me. The instant chemistry between Leo and Roxie. The kind of cutesy clumsiness the first few times they meet in person. There’s also a running quirk of Roxie’s that made me giggle. I’ve been reading a lot of “we won’t get emotionally involved; it’s just sex that always turns into more” books lately and this one is one of the better ones.

I love to laugh so it makes sense I gravitate towards and especially enjoy books with humor. Nuts is a great example of a contemporary romance that really works for me. I’m a mood reader and I’m not into funny all the time but I definitely appreciate a well-placed joke, bit of dry humor, or snappy one liner to break up angst or tension filled stories.

I’ve read this book twice now and enjoyed it just as much the second time. I loved the humor, the romance, the characters, the setup for the next book. All of it!

The next book in the series is Leo’s neighbor and one of Roxie’s best friends. I can’t wait! Cream of the Crop is scheduled for release July 2016. I’ll also be checking out her other series. There’s a brief tie to the Redhead series. And I need to read Wallbanger and the Cocktail series.

Grade: B+

You can read an excerpt here & here or buy a copy here.

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