5++++ REVIEW: Nuts (Hudson Valley #1) by Alice Clayton

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~Synopsis~

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?

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REVIEW

Alice Clayton has been, and will always be a pre-order – anxiously waiting for release – buy without a blurb author for me. Because without a doubt the woman is going to make me laugh until I have tears in my eyes, she’s going to hit me in the gut with the BEST of the BEST humor there is out there – Every.Single.Time.

There’s always a moment in her books where I just clutch my Kindle to my chest and swoon – literally fucking swoon because a paragraph is just absolute perfection, I’ll go back – re-read it and swoon all over again. She has an uncanny ability to know what exactly is going to hit her readers right in the feels.

This time? As Roxie makes her way back home – small town Americana while her never-gonna-grow up mother is off on an amazing adventure (literally) she’s convincing herself the entire cross country drive that this is temporary, just for the summer. But her first day home Leo Maxwell walks into her life with his nuts and things just might be a little more interesting back home.

“After a while I became aware of a tingling on the back of my neck, and I looked over my shoulder to find the source. Then several things happened within mere seconds, though I saw them in super slow-mo:

  1. A man was standing right behind me.
  2. He was holding a basket.
  3. The basket contained some lovely walnuts.
  4. I shrieked, because he was standing right behind me.
  5. I dropped my pan.
  6. Snap peas shot out in all directions.
  7. Some of the peas landed on his work boots.
  8. I looked above the boots. Jeans.
  9. I looked above the jeans. Vintage Fugazi concert tee. Green flannel Shirt.
  10. I looked above the flannel. Two weeks’ worth of shaggy blond beard. Mmm. Country hipster.

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“His hair was the color of tabbouleh.” (Yeah I had to Google that one).

Blonde? Beard? Country Hipster? Did Charlie Hunnam just pop into my fantasy? Uh – yeah.

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OK ENOUGH of sexy farmer Charlie Hunnam (for now).

And this is where Clayton smacks you in the gut with your adolescent crush –

“Had I found my summer company? I’d always had a farmer fantasy, a holdover from watching reruns of Little House. And holy Almanzo Wilder, this farmer was a looker.”

Roxie is a chef, and while her mother is off gallivanting across the world – she’s going to be running the family restaurant, a small dinner in the Hudson Valley – her home town of 2000+ people – a small hole in the wall place outside of “the city” otherwise known as NYC. A town she was more than ready to escape, running off to Santa Barbara for Culinary School. But now, back in her home town, she’s hoping to make the best of it and with the new organic farmer and his nuts – things are looking more and more interesting. But Roxie isn’t a girl who does relationships – she does not like messy – drama – or anything that involves developing feelings. She’s not a love em’ and leave em’ gal, just honest about the approach, and as things between Roxie and Leo heat up? He doesn’t seem to mind the fact that she keeps bring up that she’s only here for the summer

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(had to pop in another one – I mean c’mon!)

That smirk right before a smile? Clayton illustrates it beautifully and this face kept popping up in my head through the entire book – and my forever crush on this guy I’d climb like A.Fucking.Tree.

Leo Maxwell may have jumped to my absolute favorite Clayton Boy – Sorry Simon, Dr. Lucas Campbell, and yes…. Jack  Hamilton (fucking swoon!) Move the hell over because Leo Maxwell just farmed his way into the top spot!

This book is a foodie’s DREAM and I found myself stopping every 15 minutes, going to Pinterest and pinning recipes she’d talk about as Roxie mixes up the menu at the dinner to introduce new cakes, dishes the home town folks might enjoy without scaring them off – because Farm to Table is the new in-thing isn’t it? With GMO and animals chalked full of hormones organic is becoming the new thing – and now with Leo opening up the ancient Maxwell Farm and introducing Home Grown Farm to Table food – it’s a dream. Fresh vegetables, cream, milk, cheese, beef, pork, fruit – and of course, nuts.

It made me feel guilty for throwing away all my black walnuts from our tree in the back yard every year – it made me want to go out and start a compost pile – shuck the husks off the nuts and hang them to dry in our shed. (That didn’t happen by the way – they’re still in the garbage, have you ever tried to crack open a black walnut?)

You can tell Alice Clayton put a lot of love into this book – did her research of the area and really made a beautiful story of two people who aren’t looking for love – but when someone is staring you right in the face that fits you like no one ever has? You can’t ignore it – you might even throw all your caution to the wind and actually feel something for once? Maybe? Roxie is definitely feeling Leo – the innuendo is PURE Alice Clayton – part swoony – part sexy – and a double doses of hilarious.

My toes curled more than once – she took it there – and then some. It made want to get a water barrel for the back yard, that’s for sure.

“He lifted a small bag from the top of the pile, opened the top, and I peered inside. Nestled at the bottom were a handful of plump strawberries, pinky red and speckled with fragrant green leaves. “Mmm.” I breathed in. “That smells like summer.” “Doesn’t it?” he answered, pulling out one of the tiny fruits. “It’s a new variety we’re trying this year – brown sugar strawberries. A low yield so far, but it’s about the sweetest strawberry I’ve ever tasted.” “Yeah?” It looked the same as every other one I’d ever seen. “Go on. Try it,” he said, offering me the strawberry. “I don’t take candy from strangers.” “It’s not candy, and we’re not strangers. We painted together.” “And fell down a few times.” “Exactly,” he nodded, holding it out once more. “Put this in your mouth.” “That’s exactly what a stranger might say,” I said, but opened up.”

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(One more for the road – Flannel!!!)

I can’t gush ENOUGH about this book – I devoured it like all of her books in one sitting. I hate it when I do this to myself – because It’s always over so fast, but then there’s always the audio book – which I’ve just downloaded into my iPhone and I was VERY happy to see a Mr. Sebastian York is narrating for Leo – holy shit, the man’s voice is pure-fucking-sex.

Nuts is Book One in Alice Clayton’s new Hudson Valley Series

Book 2 – Cream  is out July 1st 2016 and may have been nicely set up in Nuts 😉

Book 3 is Untitled at the moment

Be sure to add them to your Goodreads to keep track of release dates!

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Check out my reviews other reviews of her books!

The Redhead Series

The Unidentified Redhead * The Redhead Revealed * The Redhead Plays Her Hand

The Cocktail Series

Wallbanger * Rusty Nailed * Screwdrivered * Mai Tai’d Up * Last Call

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About the Author, Alice Clayton

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

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.

Check out her Cocktail Series, Redhead Series and her new Hudson Valley Series! (via the author’s website)

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