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!

Review: Last Call (Cocktail #4.5) by Alice Clayton

GradeAStupid-cover

Title:  Last Call
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year:Gallery Book 1/6/15
Length: 100 pages
Series: Cocktail #4.5

Overview

Simon and Caroline are back for another round of baking, banging, and big life changes. Settling in, but never settling down, Caroline has finally struck a balance between the professional and the personal. As one of the top interior designers in San Francisco, she travels all over Northern California between nook time with Simon.

Perpetual globetrotter Simon has cut his frequent flyer miles in half over the last year, preferring to balance his professional and personal life, as well.

The next step in their lives seems preordained—toasts, veils, and the aisle of rose petals. But when an accident on a photo shoot in Southeast Asia brings Caroline the most terrifying phone call she could ever imagine, she has to ask whether “till death do us part” is a more realistic prospect than faces most couples.

It’s been a grand adventure, and Caroline and Simon wouldn’t go out without the best surprise ending ever. One part sexy, one part laughter, a dash of exotic locales, and one pink nightie, mixed with passion, and you’ve got Last Call.Served with a side of Clive.

My Thoughts

I don’t know that we necessarily needed another installment ot this series, but i think that it was a rather nice conclusion to a story that we’ve all become so invested in.  Here we are, the morning of Mimi and Neil’s wedding and things couldn’t be going any better.  well…they could be.  See Sophia is preggo and she’s just managed to throw up all over Mimi’s wedding dress, and while Mimi has 2, we’ve also discovered that Sophia puked on her shoes too and that’s something that there’s only 1 pair for.  So there’s about to be a collasal explosion of nerves, when Neil comes over with his romantic words of love and devotion and things are back on the right path.

Wedding goes off without a hitch, people’s lives seem to be going in the right path, and of course when there’s one wedding, and a preggo couple, the questions come up again and again to Simon and Caroline on when they are going to take the leap and join the throngs of happily marrieds.

The idea of it makes Caroline get hot sweats and well, we don’t quite know what it means for Simon, but i think that we’re going to find out.

The other piece of this story is that everyone’s lives go on.  We get to see how getting back to real life actually does happen and what it means for everyone.  Simon still travels for work, and that’s something that Caroline is totally ok with.  She’s still really busy with her work, especially ntw that she’s a partner and she’s even more busy with work up by where Viv lives.  So….happy happy all around.

Until Caroline gets a call that there’s been a huge accident and that Simon is unconscious and laying in a hospital half way around the world – and no one knows what’s going to happen.  Top it off, they are planning their own shindig and things are geting more and more complicated, everyone having their say in what’s the right way to do things and what needs to be done.  I think that it’ll be a question of how strong their bonds are to see if they can get through it and what the end result will be.

So all in all, a nice conclusion to the series, and the bets part – the EPILOGUE – true to form from the other installments in this series, we get to see Clive get his moment in the sun, and i do so love reading bits from a cat’s point of view, especially when he does something that i was totally expecting, yet i don’t know that the happy couple was.  so….Enjoy!

Review: Screwdrivered (Cocktail #3) by Alice Clayton

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Title:  Screwdrivered
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 9/2/14
Length: 256
Series: Cocktail #3

Overview

Readers back for a third round of the bestselling Cocktail series will enjoy a madcap romantic comedy about bodice ripping and chest heaving, fiery passion and love everlasting. Plus a dash of paperwork filing and horseshi—wait, what?

By day, Viv Franklin is a tough-as-nails software engineer who designs programs and loves hospital corners. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.

When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?

There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.

In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian. Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?

My Thoughts

I’m really happy that we’ve gone a bit sideways from the main cast of characters that we’ve known and loved in the first 2 installments and got to know Viv a bit more.  She was a great intro in book 2 and now it’s her turn for romance.  And she’s a girl after my own heart given that i’ve been quite taken by romance novels, thinking that it would be great to be the lead in one of my own.

So, it’s a love triangle that never quite makes it in this 3rd book, and our author writes it in such a way that you want to cover your eyes at what’s going to be a train wreck and push Viv in the direction that she should be going in.  Cowboy or Librarian is the question of the book, and i think that we all want the librarian since he’s so hot in a geeky sort of way that works for Viv, yet you can’t help but really want to go team Cowboy because he’s just HOT.

Throughout this 3rd installment we see Viv question what’s right for her since she’s feeling unsettled, wondering why she was left a house and land, and then wondering what’s going to be her future.  The great thing that we have here is the friendships that she’s made with Simon and Caroline, the new girl Jessica and well, all the men from the town.  Its definitely a time in her life that she’s growing and realizing what she’s made out of, and still not quite sure if it’s anything solid.

It takes us the majority of the story to get to the juicy parts, but given that this is more Chick Lit than romance, i’m ok with that.  We have a hearty story at least of trying to get to the depths of our characters, if it’s Viv, Cowboy or even Clark.  He’s got an interesting story of his own that i’m glad that we get to uncover.

So….i gather there’s no more to this series and i’m ok with that – we’ve resolved quite a bit with quite a few folks.  I’m curious a bit on the ending of Mimi/Ryan and Sophia/Neil but if we never get that far, then i’m still ok.  Good reading for a plane ride today at least and i hope that you guys continue on the journey!

Review: Rusty Nailed (Cocktail #2) by Alice Clayton

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Title:  Rusty Nailed
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 6/24/14
Length: 320
Series: Cocktail #2

Overview

In this sequel to Wallbanger, fan favorites Caroline Reynolds and Simon Parker negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in Sausalito.

Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on an extended honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy-long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel. And with Simon, her hotshot photographer boyfriend, gallivanting all over the world for his job, the couple is heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. No complaints about the great reunion sex, though!

Then a trip back east to his childhood home has Simon questioning his nomadic lifestyle. He decides to be home more. A lot more. And he wants Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort out their relationship. Sure, more togetherness is a good thing—but does less traveling and working have to mean the other extreme? Apple pie and picket fences?

My Thoughts

we are reunited with these love birds, and their lovebird friends (or at least a few of them) in this 2nd installment to the series.  It seems as though things are progressing well for most – Things couldn’t be better for Simon and Caroline both personally and professionally and that’s amazing.  We left off in the first book with them professing their love for one another and finding out that their lifestyle and arrangement works for both since neither really wants to change the other.

To side track for a second, Mimi and Ryan seem to be doing well, they are engaged ironically after such a short time and that’s great news since it means that we don’t have drama from them right now.  Sophia and Neil on the other hand are broken up and their mis-match and situation at the moment is a long standing issue throughout this story.  will they/won’t they is a theme, and it’s inevitable that they will get back together – but it doesn’t look likely to happen in this 2nd book.  It’s a good thing that they aren’t the focus here though and that we’re still all eyes on Simon/Caroline.

So like the summary tells us, Simon continues to world travel while he’s working which is fine by Caroline since she likes her space and her career is taking off – with more and more high profile jobs.  It’s only when Jillian decides to take an open ended honeymoon that she’s really charged with managing her work load, running the design firm and working in time for Simon…..who’s situation has changed after going to his high school reunion.  It’s there that he got a glimpse of what his friends from back in the day have (wives and kids) and he’s forced to see the home that he grew up in when he reunites with his neighbors that makes him think.  This causes him to take a step back from all the world traveling, and begins to smother Caroline.

The interesting thing here is that our author really does stay true to what would be a REAL LIFE relationship.  If you remember in the first book, i pointed out that it was really impressive and nice that Ms Clayton kept things slow with these 2 which is actual in real life since they didn’t want to ‘f’ up their friendship.  In this book, although Caroline is struggling to understand what’s going on with Simon and isn’t necessarily happy with how things are progressing, she bottles it up which again, is very true to real life.  I think that while we always want to maturely deal with things, we tend to avoid in the hopes that it’ll all sort itself out.  So – score for our author here.

Anyhow, i think that the story continues to be a nice one – things are hectic and really busy for everyone – nothing is easy and quick to happen in the positive for any of the couples, and yet you’re still interested in the resolutions to it all.  Where we are left off with all of the couples at the end is a nice jumping off point for the 3rd book in the series.  I don’t know about anyone else, but i’m curious as to what it will mean for Caroline and the firm (since we know that Jillian wanted her to take on the role of Partner so she could step back) and i think that it’ll be nice to see how the Simon/Caroline relationship evolves.  I’m also curious to see if Mimi will become a bridezilla and what that will mean for the group too.  and then there’s also Sophia and Neil – i think that we all want this threesome of pairs to work out – but will they?  and what happens if it doesn’t?

So…it’s onto book 3 for me – thank goodness that i think that it’s out already since i’d be sad if i had to wait.  Oh, and i can’t forget the nice treat that we got in the epilogue – again.  from a special character’s POV – and it’s always a fun inclusion into the story since that one character does play a pivotal role.  especially in this 2nd book for a chapter or 2.  Enjoy!