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!