Series: Hudson Valley #1
Published by Gallery Books on October 20th 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
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.
If you need a pick-me-up, read an Alice Clayton book. Seriously. This book turned me into a mushy, laughing, happy piece of mess.
Who knew dairy could ruin a career? Roxie Callahan sure didn’t. She also didn’t expect she’d ever go back to her quaint hometown Bailey Falls after moving to sunny Los Angeles.
Now that her career as chef to the stars is over—all because of BUTTER—Roxie has no other reason to refuse her mother’s request to take over the family diner while said mother jets off to join The Amazing Race.
It’s just three months. Just for the summer. Roxie will make the most of this setback; maybe even find someone to play with.
Blue-blooded farmer Leo Maxwell—yes, those Maxwells—comes walking in at the diner with the most beautiful green eyes, a full beard, a basket of walnuts and sugar snap peas.
After a run in with Roxie, the two end up on the floor, on top of each other, with sugar snap peas and walnuts splayed all over and around them. It was the first of many close encounters, and the most innocent.
I love this book. Seriously. I love everything about this book.
The food. It’s a good thing I ate before I started reading this book because the food. It made my mouth water and stomach growl maybe just a little. Imagine what noise my tummy would’ve made had it been empty. And I want/need the recipes!
The nicknames! I am a sucker for endearments and inside jokes. It makes my heart and stomach feel tingly and mushy and ahhh.
The food metaphors and innuendos. Man they cracked me up! Keep ’em coming!
You didn’t really bring me beets, did you?”
“I did…I brought mad beets.”
“Oh man…Did you bring me anything else?”
…“I hesitate to say it now.”
“What did you bring?” …
He buried his head once again into my neck.
“A really big zucchini…”
The voice and tone of the story. This is what I love the most about Alice Clayton’s books. It’s so effortlessly funny. It’s not slapstick nor is it trying too hard. It’s the kind of voice you hear from a naturally funny person.
Roxie (and all her female leads, really). Boy. I think I rolled around the bed in secondhand embarrassment more times than I can remember. Her leads are confident, sexy, but awkward. And they’re great. They have a goal and a dream and flaws and strengths. I’m all about well-rounded characters.
Roxie has struggled to step away from the image of being her mother’s daughter and from being the shy girl in high school. Her mother, although kind, was flighty and easily swayed by “love”. Roxie had to grow up early because of it, and she promised herself she wouldn’t let love take over her life the way it did her mother. Moving to California gave her that confidence she’s always wanted, and it made her feel like a different person.
Leo. He makes me giggle like a schoolgirl. There’s a bit of mystery around him, but he’s a well-liked person in the community, and I understand why. He’s great! Leo is adorable, kind, hot with a capital H, and a damn good farmer. And oh my god. He’s something else entirely after the plot twist. I may have swooned a little. I have a soft spot for his kind of male lead.
“But something happened that I wasn’t expecting. It became more than just a summer fling—don’t you think?”
Chad and Logan. Chad was Roxie’s crush in high school. He was this handsome, unattainable jock at school who was basically everyone’s secret crush. Roxie didn’t expect to find a friend in Chad (and Logan), but it was great to have them in her life in Bailey Falls.
The plot twist blindsided me. I knew Leo had a secret, but I didn’t expect that. I was so relieved when it didn’t go in the direction I expected it would.
Last, but definitely not the least, the chemistry. I could place a frying pan with eggs near the two, and end up with burnt eggs. Heh. But seriously. They’re comfortable in each other’s company and their banter is great. They have this spark you’ll root for. I want them to turn into fireworks. The big bang.
Not only did I enjoy this book, I learned quite a bit, too. Who knew I’d learn about plants and vegetation from a romance novel? Life is full of surprises.
Now, excuse me while I acquaint myself with Oscar Mendoza in Cream of the Crop.
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