Review: Royally Screwed (Royally #1) by Emma Chase

Title: Royally Screwed
Author: Emma Chase
Publisher/Year: Ever After Romance 10/18/16
Length:   276  Pages
Series:  Royally #1

Overview

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant—hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately—the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia—Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

My Thoughts
So – i have to say that i was a little bit confused for a few minutes since there was reference to Genovia which is the country of another series that i’ve read recently by Ember Casey, and and to be honest, these 2 authors have very similar names so i was curious if they are one and the same.  Anyway – it’s a sweet story of living up to the things that are expected of you as a royal, and yet still wanting to live your life.  VERY similar to the other series.
So – Nicholas is our leading man, the crown Prince to Wessco, a country that was created through battles and divisions throughout the United Kingdom i guess.  Nicholas has a younger brother named Henry who is a bit more of the wild child and their grandmother the Queen has sent Nicholas to the States to bring him home since he’s causing trouble.  That leads him directly into the coffee shop run by Olivia.
And Olivia, our leading lady is the oldest daughter of a family who’s had their fair share of trouble – the mother was killed years ago because of a mugging, and the father has drowned his sorrows in alcohol and the youngest sister is really trying to get out of high school and make her own way in college.  Leaving Olivia to run the family coffee shop, and give up all her own dreams.
Of course when suave and sexy Nicholas walks into the shop, things change forever – partially because he propositions her for the most inappropriate things, but also because it makes her open her eyes to doing something for herself, something that perhaps could make her happy without worrying about what it means for her family.
The story from there is one that’s quite sweet – seeing a whirlwind romance come along for them – there’s a quick connection between them, both physically and emotionally – each giving the other what they have been craving without any judgement.
So when Nicholas is called back to Wessco early, knowing that he has to marry someone of royal descent in the next few months, we see that things get complicated fast.  Olivia is given the opportunity to move with him back home and enjoy whatever time she has left with him, but it means leaving her family behind to fend for themselves, which she’s not sure that they can do.  Nicholas makes sure that everything is taken care of and off she goes.
As expected, we know that there’s going to be a lot of trouble for them once they get to Wessco.  The Queen likely won’t be happy that he’s brought an American with him home, when he’s supposed to be finding a wife.  We also know that she’s going to feel like Olivia is a distraction to his royal duties and we see that while it’s possible, Olivia actually helps make Nicholas a better man.
Their romance is something real and sweet and you know that it can’t end well since Nicholas cannot marry Olivia and yet he doesn’t want to give her up.  Add in the fact that Henry comes into the picture and becomes a bit of a nuisance, and there are other royals that are hoping to bring Olivia down since she’s got what they want – and things get dicey and interesting.
You keep hoping for the best, and the way that our author writes this story is one of the expected path, but also gives us enough anxiety to wonder what is going to be the last straw and are they strong enough to get through it.
We need the grand gesture, and neither are the sort to know how to come back with one, and it’s to their detriment since it’s what breaks them apart.  There are so many directions that this story could go, and i think that you need to  check it out to see what happens.  Ms Chase gives us a sweet romance with a touch of irony, modern cynicism and a bit of girl fighting, which is so nice when looking for a poolside book to read.  I’m onto the next installment now, and i can’t wait to see what happens next.  Enjoy!

Review: Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: Dividing Eden
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 6/7/17
Length:   284 Pages
Series:  Dividing Eden #1

Overview

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Testing so i was excited to see that there was a new series – and what we get here is that it’s nothing at all like the prior series and that is interesting to me.  The only similarity is that there’s a trial to name one of the twins ruler, but that’s about it.

So the story takes us on a path of a set of twins, who are best friends at the beginning, always looking out for one another especially since Dreus has a health situation that if found out, would be a problem, so Carys has spent her entire life protecting him.

When the time comes to pit them against one another, they take it in stride, knowing that they want the same outcome, yet when other people get in their ear, we see that it’s going to all go pear shaped.

There are a few nice twists in the story that keep us really engaged.  When they are born, the Seer sees that one of the twins has a ‘curse’ and that’s something that’s going to bring down the palace.  It’s noted that Dreus is really sick, and that identifies him as the one with the curse – or does it.  Then there’s the mystery of a new seer who comes to Eden, with a background unknown, and who’s engaged to the crown prince but who really has a tie elsewhere.

Add to that a Lord Garret who has family who wants him in power and a Trade Master named Errick who shows up- and we don’t now who’s the enemy or the ally and what’s going to happen.

We see the twins go through trials, trying to survive but Dreus gets his opinion clouded by so many others that ultimately he turns on Carys.  It’s what we see her come to do throughout the story that makes you wonder what’s really going on and what the end result will be.

We’re left at a point in the story when there’s one who’s crowned and one who’s died and there are still so many people out there who have their own motives that we’re still left with too much uncertainty.  I can’t wait to see what happens since i think that things are just starting to get interesting.

Review: All I Am (This Man #3.5) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Title: All i Am
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Publisher/Year: Grand Central Publishing 6/18/17
Length:   155 Pages
Series:  This Man #3.5

Overview

I thought I had control. I was so, so wrong…

I don’t need a relationship. I have Hux, a decadent club where I quench whatever raw desire I choose. I take pleasure and I give it – no strings attached. So when Raya Rivers comes in asking for someone cold, emotionless, and filthy… well, no man ever takes his wicked pleasure quite the way I do.
Only Raya is different. Vulnerable. And carrying some deep sorrow that gets past all my carefully constructed walls and inexplicably makes me care. Now craving controls me. Ice has given way to red-hot need.
But Raya has no idea about my other life – my real life. That I’m daddy to an adorable little girl. My two worlds are about to collide with the force of a supernova. Once Raya knows the truth, will she be able to accept all I am?

My Thoughts

I love the bigger series so it’s nice to have a novella that gives us a bit more about Drew since he was only teased in the other stories.  So here we get to know a bit more about his life with his daughter, the one that came around because of a woman who was out to lock another man into being with her.

His life has time for her only, and work, and perhaps a few of his best friends, so it’s not until he’s been requested at his BDSM club to help out a new sub in a cold, no intimacy relationship.  It’s what we’ve come to expect from him actually.

That woman, the one that’s requested him, Raya – has an interesting story to tell, and one that we don’t really get to learn about until half way through.  Their one night is exactly what they both need, but they both soon realize that maybe there’s more of a connection than either wanted or hoped for and that complicates things.

The journey here is really about seeing Drew open up his world while trying to be the best father that he can, and Raya being incredibly private about what she does, wants and where she’s going in life.  When paths cross again, seeing Drew as the man to sell Raya’s house and watching her walk out of his life forever,well we quickly learn what’s really important.

So as expected in a novella, it’s a quick read and not a story that gets too deep but it gives us something to enjoy.  We also get the tell tale signs of Ms Malpas, our great author who is able to weave a nice story while also making sure to keep it just the right about of hot and steamy.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.  Enjoy!

Review: Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton, Nina Bocci

Title: Roman Crazy
Author: Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 9/13/16
Length:   336 Pages

Overview

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.

My Thoughts

You know when you just need a story that reminds you that no matter how bad things seem in life, there’s always something else that can pick you back up?  well that’s what this story is, and it’s so sweet and endearing that you have a renewed sense of love and life.

Avery, our leading lady has the life that a lot of women dream of – married to their college sweetheart, living the country club life, supporting her husband in his profession and making sure that his home life is perfect.  Well, perfect is always that to outsiders, and it’s unfortunately rarely the case on the inside which is what avery learns, when she walks in on her husband having sex with his admin.

That’s where the bulk of our story begins, although we get a sense of the flashback story as well.  Avery goes to Italy as the summary tells us, to spend some time with her best friend and figure out where she should go next in life, and that first night, at a dinner, her world is spun on it’s tail.  There, at the table of friends sits the one man who she’s loved the most and the one that she left behind all those years ago.  What are the odds right?

There’s so much chemistry from the first glance that you know that it’s just a matter of time before something happens, but what we get isn’t just an amazing physical bond (which it is, trust me as you read it is),but it’s a relationship that gives each a chance to grow even more, and to be individuals and live their lives as they should have all those years ago, until one is forced to make a choice that affects the other.

All Avery wants is to be herself, and to find out what makes her happy.  she went to college for art history, and yet had to put that aside to be a perfect wife.  She’s given a chance to live that life now in Rome and it’s perfect.  Top that with the love that was lost and seems to be found now, and well, it’s amazing.

There’s got to be a moment when the other shoe drops right?  It comes in the form of a few things.  Daniel, Avery’s husband makes a surprise appearance in Rome, while also making it a bit challenging to actually finalize the divorce.  Then there’s Simone, the woman that Marcello was with when Avery came back into his life, and boy does she like to stir the pot since she’s a woman scorned.  Then there are the facets of their lives that make it complicated – distance, language, family.

So as you can imagine, what’s perfect again may not be perfect for long and it’s a big question of who will sacrifice this time to make it work and who’s going to keep it from being sunshine and daisies.

I’m such a fan of Ms Clayton since we get stories that have these characters that just want to be happy – with crap getting thrown at them all the time.  There’s so much sweet romance that you have faith once again, and then enough chemistry and heat that if you doubted the perfection of love and romance, you can’t doubt the attraction and passion. All in all, a great stand alone book although i could see it as a series.  (The friends deserve romance too no?).  I hope you guys check it out – enjoy!

Review: The Redhead Plays her Hand (Redhead Series #3) by Alice Clayton

Title: The Redhead Plays her Hand
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 12/17/13
Length:   320 Pages
Series:  Redhead Series #3

Overview

IT’S GETTING HOT (AND HEAVY) IN HOLLYWOOD!

Grace Sheridan is flying high. With scorching passion from her gorgeous Brit superstar Jack Hamilton plus the lead role in a new television dramedy, she could just pinch herself. Then a demand from her show’s directors to drop fifteen pounds brings her back down to earth with a thump. Forced to subsist on air, cucumbers, and boot camp, Grace wonders if the body that brings the newly crowned “Sexiest Man Alive” to his knees is just too booty-licious for Hollywood. Jack, meanwhile, seems overly enamored of the celebrity lifestyle. Forbidden by his publicity-conscious manager to reveal his relationship with Grace, he’s hitting the industry party scene way too hard.

As Grace’s bod incites fiery debate about the message of “thin is in,” Jack’s jealous fans are downing the hate-erade, viciously slamming her curves. Grace longs for Jack’s support, but he’s showing up late and disheveled to her most important moments. With tempers between them flaring, Hollywood’s most talked-about redhead might have more to lose than a few stubborn pounds. She and Jack were clearly made for each other—but will the day ever come when they can walk the red carpet together, hand in hand?

My Thoughts

If we thought that the story here was getting good so far, seeing the complexities of two people who have a star on the rise, while also trying to make a relationship work, well that’s nothing compared to what we get to see in this third and final installment of the series.

While we know that Grace’s broadway show wasn’t picked up, we know that it’s becoming a TV series and she’s due to star in it.  What that means though is that there’s a completely different standard that she needs to live up to – that means that first things first, she’s being told that she needs to lose weight.  This of course brings one of the plot lines to a head.  the idea of what the right body shape is both in Hollywood and in America – and it’s opens up conversations both good and bad.  Totally relevant right now actually given that all we hear about these days is body positivity.  Anyhow, we see some less than good habits beginning for her while she’s trying to be smart about how she loses weight.

Then there’s Jack – the guy who’s got it all.  His movie was a huge success and now everyone wants a piece of him.  The fame we see is starting to get to his head a bit and he’s not able to cope with all the attention as well as we’d hope – especially with Grace around.  Enter of course Adam – a young actor who was in Jack’s place a few years ago but who’s star has faded since he parties too much and is a bad boy with ‘hard to work with’ reputation to go along with.  Being teamed up together for a new project shows how quickly things can go from good to bad.

The path of this story is one that takes our favorite characters in completely different directions.  They find that keeping their relationship a secret is too hard and the fact that there’s so much pulling each one of them in a direction of their own also presents a challenge.

We see heart break, we see new relationships form, and we see that life is not at all what we thought it was going to be even six months ago.  The good thing that we have here though is the way that Ms Clayton writes this.  We go from the amazing banter that we’ve always relied on between Grace and Jack to a mature relationship that’s forced to look at life through a different lens and wonder if there’s something good still there or if it’s all jokes.  On top of that though, there’s still so much amazingly strong chemistry that we have no choice but fan ourselves and feel the need for a shower.

I love how we get this story resolved – all with a surprise relationship, a baby and well – lots of folks playing different roles than we previously imagined.  I’m kind of bummed that we have no more of this story to glom onto, although i guess all things must come to an end.  I hope you guys check this one out though – enjoy!

Review: The Redhead Revealed (Redhead Series #2) by Alice Clayton

Title: The Redhead Revealed
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 11/5/13
Length:   32- Pages
Series:  Redhead Series #2

Overview

LONG-DISTANCE LOVE JUST GOT HOTTER!

Life is sweet. Grace Sheridan has just won her dream role in a new off-Broadway play, and the talented hunk flooding her phone with scintillating texts and scandalous photos is Jack Hamilton, the twenty-four-year-old “it” Brit whose Hollywood career is about to climax faster than . . . you know. So what if their steamy relationship is bicoastal and under wraps, or that L.A. fangirls are grabbing Jack’s ass?

Absence does make the heart grow fonder and the libido hotter, but their few weekend visits feel more more like fast food than the five-course dinner they crave. And then—the creator of Grace’s new show is the man who broke her heart back in college, and he seems to have written the play just to make amends with his leading lady.

As rumors spread that Jack and his lovely, leggy ex-girlfriend have gotten back together, Grace starts to wonder about her own feelings. Can lust alone keep our favorite, feisty duo together, or will Grace find herself back in safer, more familiar arms?

My Thoughts

This is such a sweet story and to see where we go in this second installment is a compelling and intriguing space.  We know that things are off to a great start with Grace and Jack, yet we know that their lives are about to take them on a path that’s so far from one another that it’s going to be incredibly hard.

Where we left off, Grace has just moved to New York to start working on an off Broadway show,  ironically being directed by a man from her past where there are unsettled bits and pieces – they never got their closure and we see that there’s something going on there now – even 20 years in the future.  There’s also the fact that Jack’s movie is about to come out and there’s so much press and attention being paid to him that you know there’s going to be jealousy and hurt feelings.

That’s exactly what happens.  While they talk to each other as much as they can, they can’t manage to see each other in person, and that’s putting strain on things.  Jack is being photographed more and more, and often there’s a woman named Marcia on his arm – a girl that he dated in the past and a woman that the press wants to link him to once again.  Holly, both of their agent is in the camp of ‘let them believe that Marcia is the girlfriend’ so that there’s more buzz generated to raise Jack’s star, and while it’s a valid point, it’s hard on both of them.

Then there’s Michael and Grace – there is something between them and we’re not yet sure what.  I think that it’s clear that Michael wants to be with Grace, and while Grace is so in love with Jack, there’s something growing there that’s clearly more than friendship.  The question really becomes who will make a move and what will be the implications to the Grace/Jack story.

Just when we think that things are going well, there’s an implosion, and their world come crashing down.  It’s perhaps too much for them to handle since Grace is in a different place in her life than Jack and perhaps wants to make sure that he’s not sacrificing for her.  We really don’t know if they’re going to be able to make it work, especially when there are so many other people in the mix.

Where we are left off at the end of this second book is a place where there are still so many questions.  Will Jack and Grace make it?  Will they ever be able to live in the same place since we know that Jack still considers London home, and what will all the people around them add to the mess?

Add to that some really steamy scenes – all written in the same fun and hot way that Ms Clayton always does it.  There’s so much sexual chemistry between these two to make the scenening hot, but there’s so much fun banter and humor in it that keeps it real and entertaining.  So…on that note, onto the next book.  Enjoy!

Review: The Unidentified Redhead (Redhead Series #1) by Alice Clayton

Title: The Unidentified Redhead
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 10/15/13
Length:   289 Pages
Series:  Redhead Series #1

Overview

Grace Sheridan is back. Ten years after discovering that looks and talent are a dime a dozen in Los Angeles, she’s wriggling into a pair of badass jeans and ready to show the film industry that there’s way more to her than just a head of gorgeous red curls. And Hollywood’s newest Brit super-hunk Jack Hamilton certainly sees a lot to like. Grace is trying to restrain herself from jumping a man who is nearly a decade her junior, but Jack is making it clear that he personally has zero problems with that idea.

While Grace and Jack are still swapping innuendo-loaded quips and text sex though, the paparazzi have caught up with them, headlining the “unidentified redhead” who’s been photographed trysting at a restaurant with the heartthrob of the year. Now Grace is in stuck in a double bind. She’s head over heels in lust with Jack, but there’s her own career to think of as well. A sizzling romance with the newest “it” boy may garner her industry attention . . . but is it the kind of attention she’s always dreamed of?

My Thoughts

so i clearly should have read this series before i read the Hudson Valley series but such is life right?  In the other series, we met Grace and saw what her life has become, and now we get to see how it all started.  which maybe isn’t such a bad order to do things.

In this first installment of the series, we see the beginning of the career for Grace Sheriden, the Unidentified Redhead herself.  She’s always known that she’s wanted to be an actress and when she tried her hand at it 10 years ago, she failed, and after some soul searching and life lessons, she’s come back to LA in the hopes of making it again.  She’s putting down roots in town, living with her best friend and new agent Holly and starting to get back into the auditioning circuit.  It’s at a party one night that Holly is hosting that her life changes forever.

and in walks Jack Hamilton – the new ‘IT’ actor in Hollywood with a new movie slated to come out shortly that’s going to be the move of the year.  He’s about to hit it really big, and yet we find that he and Grace gravitate towards one another – something that shocks her to the core.

Their banter is something that’s to entertaining to read – it keeps things light when you know that there’s such a high chance that it’ll get deep fast, and when you want to see things continue on a path that’s unlikely, the banter keeps on in line.  The chemistry that we see from the onset here with them is so strong – yet they take their time with really getting to know each other first.  Probably something that’s unlikely in Hollywood but who knows.

Alice Clayton gives us yet again another great start to a romance that’s going to go somewhere amazing.  She’s given us these characters who are both at the beginning of something great professionally and figuring out how to make it work and if it can work long term is always the question.  It gets more complicated as Jake starts to do even more press for the movie which takes over his time and we see Grace land her first major gig on broadway – therefore taking her across the country to NYC.

Throw in a guy who’s come back from college who seems to make everyone uncomfortable – Jake especially and we’re left at a point in the story of whether this new relationship can last even with the strong feelings between them.  Fame, other people and distance really make it hard and we’ll have to keep reading i guess to see how it breaks and or not and what will happen.  Enjoy!

Review: Buns (Hudson Valley #3) by Alice Clayton

Title: Buns
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 5/23/17
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  Hudson Valley #3

Overview

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

My Thoughts

What am i going to do now that i’m finished with this series?  I absolutely love all that’s come along with Roxie and Natalie so far and Clara’s story is even better.  Can’t we get something more with Chad and Logan maybe? what about Missy?  there’s got to be more!!!!

Anyway there are so many reasons why this last book is one of my favorites.  Let’s start with the fact that Ms Clayton calls out in the beginning that she’s based it off of Mohonk Mountain House – a place that i’ve been to with my boyfriend recently and everything that she’s describing takes me back there exactly how i remember it.  So having that imagine in my head makes it real and then the characters are so charming that you know that you’re going to get a great story out of it all.

So we’ve met Clara briefly in the others stories, so we know that she’s this expert hotel rebranding professional and she’s been wood to Bailey Falls by her friends which means that the saga continues.  Clara’s clearly lived a different life than her friends – and while she’s really successful, we learn that her methods are all a coping mechanism of sorts based on her childhood of being sent from foster home to foster home.  She’s now got these thick walls up where she won’t let anyone in, even her friends and we see how that plays out in this story.

then there’s Archie – the son of the current owner of Bryant Mountain House and the one who will take over likely at the end of the year when his father retires.  We met him a few times in the previous book, where Natalie talked to him at some of the local meetings when she was building her advertising campaign, and while he’s been called out for being attractive, we always knew there was something a bit ‘off’ about him, standoffish and cold and we finally get to the bottom of it.  We learn that his wife, his only love passed away a few years back and of course that damages a person.

So when these two come together, you know that it’ll be sparks (and not the good kind) at first and then once they get to know each other a bit more, things change and they realize that there’s chemistry there and maybe they shouldn’t hide from it.  Granted there’s the added threat of the boss/employee thing here, along with the fact that Clara needs to do an amazing job in order to get a promotion – and well that makes fora great story.

It’s a sweet story – we get to see how both are terrified of the idea of a relationship yet how that same relationship has the ability to change them in a good way. there’s so much pain between them that once they let go, it’s so hot that they can’t manage to find enough secret locations to be together.

It’s sweet to see things come about.  how they think that they’re being so sly – but they’re caught by the interior designer, and the women who are motherly and all who run the place – we see that they are in on it too.  The other sweet aspect is that we see how being in Bailey Falls helps Clara open up and have a ‘family’ of sorts and we see that Archie gets to have the friendships that he seems to be lacking.  Leo and Oscar are so good for him that we see that maybe there’s something great growing.

It’s not until Clara’s company goes through some stuff and she and Archie have it out via sassing one another that we see things start to truly change – and where the story takes us is a place that seems like the perfect place it was always meant to be.  I love how the story closes and how i think that the series itself seems to close too.  Enjoy!

Review: Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton

Title: Cream of the Crop
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 7/12/16
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  Hudson Valley #2

Overview

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is…cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be…love?

My Thoughts

I’m really enjoying this series – it’s sweet with just the right amount of sexy and the story is just so genuine that it’s exactly what i needed right now.  Not major angst – no fear of someone dying – just sweet love and the development of a relationship.

So we met Oscar briefly in the first book about Roxy and Leo – he’s the owner of the dairy farm next door and clearly there’s something in the milk that he’s got since he’s the second sexy man in the town that we get to meet.  Then there’s Natalie who we also met in the first story – best friend of Roxy and a girl that we learn is just as confident if not more than Roxy.

So Natalie’s back story is one that we kind of expect when reading about Manhattanites.  She’s from a wealthy family and had all the privilege that come with that – great apartment, great schools, amazing clothes etc.  She also has a job that she loves and is thriving at and it makes us see that she’s got the world eating out of the palm of her hand.  Granted the confidence that she has now is because she was teased and tormented growing up for being a bit larger than most girls, but it’s something that she owns now and uses to her best ability.  She’s able to get any man that she wants.  That is until Oscar.

Oscar is so mysterious that we really don’t know anything about him.  He’s a man of few words and that’s something that makes it even more intriguing.  What’s his back story, how did he come to Bailey Falls etc.

When these two are finally forced together through a campaign that Natalie’s taken on to help bring tourism to Bailey Falls, we see that they have so much chemistry that it’s on fire, and there’s no stopping them.  If you though Leo and Roxy had it bad, these two are giving them a run for their money.

The story here becomes quite sweet.  Because of Natalie’s past experience, she’s not willing to allow herself to get involved with a man past a night.  Sh’es the one who needs to be in control and when Oscar seems to be more than that, it makes her scared.  She’s also not willing to compromise who she is and what she does and that becomes a complication since she’s a city girl and he’s not. With Oscar too, we see that he’s got a past.  He’s got an ex-wife who seems like she wants to not be an ex, and we finally get out of him what his back story is and that becomes a problem down the line.

What we get when it all runs it’s course is a sweet romance.  The question becomes who will have to give up some of what they are and who they are in order to make it work, and can they?  we see that it’s too big of a question at one point and they go their separate ways but who will be the bigger person to make it stick?  I enjoy this, and i continue to enjoy what Ms Clayton brings to us so i can’t wait to get into Buns – the third installment.  Enjoy!

 

Review: Nuts (Husdson Valley #1) by Alice Clayton

Title: Nuts
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 10/20/15
Length:   286 Pages
Series:  Hudson Valley #1

Overview

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.

MyThoughts

What we have here is a sweet story of a girl coming back home to help her mom, at a time that’s perfect since her own life is falling apart from one silly little mistake.  So when we go back to the small town where it all started, we know that it’s going to be an interesting story.

The path that our leading lady Roxie takes is the obvious one – she’s resenting the fact that her mom keeps asking for help, yet she does it anyway.  She’s back in the small town that she promised that she’d never go back to.  She’s finding herself crossing paths with all the people from high school that made her life less than lovely, and she’s itching to get home and figure out her next move.  So of course when a hot man walks into her life, things go upside down.

It’s a sweet story – one of great banter which is something that we get a lot of in books by Ms Clayton.  There’s chemistry that comes off the pages, yet it’s ‘REAL’ in the sense that it’s happening all at a speed that’s normal and not just right in books.  The way that Roxie and Leo (our hot leading man) start to build whatever it is that they build, it’s normal and real and that makes the reader so much more invested.

We see Roxie find her groove back home – making the diner her own, bringing things to the menu and the community that put her mark on things without taking too much from what her mother built and loves.  Roxie starts to grow into the town a bit, making friends that were shockers at the beginning since we know how hard it was for her in high school and that’s something that really makes the story stick.

There’s romance of course and a twist in that story that no one was expecting.  I think that it’s all a testament to how the story’s written – knowing that once the secret comes out, there were so many chances for our author to write in hints, but there was nothing.  not a bit so that it’s making things complicated in real time in a good way.

The two of these guys are so cute together – they want to make something work that’s destined to fail from the beginning.  They know that there’s nothing long term that’s possible about what they want to do, and yet they still decide that it’s ok.

The intro of Roxie’s friends in this story and the fact that we know there’s a hot dairy farmer means that we’re going to get a few more great segments to the story and i can’t wait to check them out.  Enjoy!