Review: Screwdrivered (Cocktail #3) by Alice Clayton


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


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


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


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!

Review: Wallbanger (Cocktail #1) by Alice Clayton


Title:  Wallbanger
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 8/13/13
Length: 384
Series: Cocktail #1


The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an—um—intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed “dating hiatus,” and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight.

My Thoughts

So, what i thought i was goiing to get with this series and what i actually got were 2 different things – but i guess that’s not a bad thing since i enjoyed this introduction to the series.  what we have here is much more ‘Chick Lit’ than Erotica, but again, not a bad thing.

So – like the overview says, we have an interesting story of a guy who’s clearly ‘got game’ and a girl who’s very attractive, successful yet on a hiatus from her ‘O’ – it’s disappeared as a result of bad sex, and well, that stress makes the tension between them way too strong.

Through an interesting twist of fate, their paths cross outside of their apartment, at a party thrown by Caroline’s boss, and from there, things spiral.  Simon has 2 friends that are instantly drawn to Caroline’s 2 friends and those couples are quick to form.  Where they net out though, that’s the fun with the story as well.

As for these 2 developing lovers, i like that their journey is gradual – that it’s what would happen in real life.  you don’t always fall into something quickly and either succeed like a lot of other stories make it or crash and burn which i think it’s actual real life results.  In this case they are doing what regular folks would do and sort out what they are to each other and what they want, especially since they each have their own fair share of issues to deal with.

The biggest challenge that i have with this story is that there were a few story lines that were introduced that could have taken things a lot further – made it a bit deeper, yet we never quite went there.  When Caroline learns about Simon’s parents, i kind of felt like it would have a bigger impact down the line and we never get to see that.  I also felt like the introduction of James – Caroline’s ex was something that would have been a bigger thing and it never quite got to that point either.

This is also one of the first times that i’ve come across this author and i have to say that her style of writing for the most part really entertained me.  There was the classic style of telling the story – as we see in almost all books, and then there were segments that were ‘text’ conversations that made it more contemporary – since you know that each of the characters had side bits to talk about and it’s what would have happened in real life.  The weird thing though is that after about page 100, i wondered why there were still 200+ more pages to go, and yet the story kept going on and on.  I don’t know that 300+ pages was necessary, but i read it, enjoyed it, and will continue on with the series.  i hope you guys do too since i can’t wait to meet Mimi, Sophia, Ryan and Neil in their own stories.