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Series Review: Hudson Valley by Alice Clayton

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Nuts (from Goodreads):

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.

breakdown

Series: Hudson Valley
Author: Alice Clayton
# of Books: 3 (Nuts, Cream of the Crop, Buns)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humour
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2015 – May 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I consider Alice Clayton’s Cocktail Series to be one of the best romantic comedy series in Adult Romance. I loved its humour, the unique characters and the fun but heartwarming plot lines. So I was very excited to start another series by her and was prepared to be entertained.

The Plot:

The first book in the series, Nuts, started out so promising. Roxy gets fired from her job in dramatic fashion, she meets Leo and sparks fly as hilarity ensues. I was totally on board until a few chapters later when the book hit snooze-ville.

It’s the same situation with all these books: the middle just drags. As soon as the leads start their sexual relationship the chapters become about said sexy times and repetitive inner monologues about how these girls are scared to love. And I could have tolerated that “scared to love” aspect if anything was really done about it. That’s the perfect opportunity for character development but that doesn’t happen until the very last chapter or two when the girl realizes the error of her thought process and does the “big change”. But other than that, these books failed to go anywhere.

The Characters:

I wasn’t overly impressed with our heroines. The only exception was Natalie (Cream of the Crop #2). I liked her brash personality and self confidence. But Roxy and Clara just never won me over.

The same goes for our heroes, though I will say they got better as the series progressed in terms of complexity. However, I felt like they were very under developed and I wish we got their POVs to help grow their characters a little more.

The Romance:

Because I felt like the characters were underdeveloped, it also made the romances that was as well. They all start out pretty superficially but they never dive deeper to truly establish that emotional connection. And I didn’t really feel the chemistry between our leads either besides physical lust.

My Audiobook Experience:

I thought the audiobooks were very well done. Each lead had her own unique voice (they used different narrators) and did a great job of bringing these heroines to life. I also liked that when they were doing the voice of a previous lead that they sounded very similar to the original narrator (if that makes sense).

I don’t know if listening to the audiobook (which took me twice as long as reading the novel would have) made this series seem prolonged but it might have been a factor. I do know that I enjoy humor more in audiobooks so I think that compensates for the somewhat longer read.

Series Rating: 2/5

Nuts 2/5 | Cream of the Crop 3/5 | Buns 2/5

overall

To say I’m disappointed is a huge understatement. I wanted to laugh and get carried away by eccentrically lovable characters but I ended up snoozing through cliches and sexy times.

Read if You Like: rom-coms, long (page wise) romances
Avoid if You: want better character development, want more plot

similarreads

  • Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Shopaholic Series #1)
  • Tangled by Emma Chase (Tangled Series #1)
  • Caught Up in Us by Lauren Blakely (Caught Up in Love Series #1)

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Series Review: Cocktail by Alice Clayton

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Wallbanger (from Goodreads):
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an 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…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Contemporary 2015
Series: Cocktail Series
Author: Alice Clayton
# of Books: 4 (Wallbanger, Rusty Nailed, Screwdrivered, Mai Tai’d Up)

There is a finale novella, Last Call.

Book OrderWallbanger, Rusty Nailed and Last Call are chronological; Screwdrivered and Mai                  Tai’d Up are connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Humour, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2012 – January 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Cocktail Series, is a popular title in the adult contemporary romance world. I stumbled upon it after reading and loving Tangled by Emma Chase. It’s hard to find that great contemporary read that balances romance, humour and plotline without going over the top or by creating annoying characters (coughcoughShopaholic). So my expectations were high for this one given the great reviews on Goodreads.

The Plot:

Like most contemporary romances, there isn’t much plot besides the relationship between the two leads. But the sign of a great romance book (at least to me) is when you don’t even realize there isn’t much going on and you really don’t care because you are having such a FANTASTIC time reading it!

The humour in this series is great! It was funny, fun and highly entertaining. At the start, I worried that Caroline would go a little off her rocker or become a ditsy, one-track heroine a la Becky from Confessions of a Shopaholic, but she was funny, charming and so real despite the slightly ridiculous situation she finds herself in. And the same can be said about the other heroines in the series–even if I didn’t love their stories as much as that first novel.

Just a note on the sequel to Caroline and Simon’s story (Rusty Nailed). I thought it was going to be boring and monotonous but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I thought it was realistic and a nice way to close their story, though it definitely wasn’t needed.

The Characters:

Great stories need great characters and the cast in this series is so much fun! These characters aren’t overly complex but they have enough unique quirks that keep them interesting. And I’m not just talking about the leads either!

Not only did I fall in love with Simon and Caroline, I also fell in love with their friends (and the other eventual leads in the other books). The supporting characters kept my attention and added to the plot but I never felt like they overshadowed the leads in any way.

The Romance:

Sigh…I loved the romance between Caroline and Simon. The development is everything I crave in a romance. It starts with great sexual tension, expands the emotional connection and has a few close encounters before the big moment. These two just fit so well together and it was apparent to me why they liked each other so much. I definitely added them to my favourite couples lists by the time I finished Wallbanger.

I also liked the relationships between the other characters in the connected books, Screwdrivered and Mai Tai’d Up. Well developed and fun. They are definitely slow burn romances but nothing is wrong with that!

Series Rating: 4/5

Wallbanger 5/5  |  Rusty Nailed 4/5  |  Screwdrivered 3.5/5  |  Mai Tai’d Up 4/5

overall

Normally, I’m not a fan of slow burn romances but this series is an exception! I had so much fun reading these books and watching these characters act out all their shenanigans! Probably one of my favourite groups of characters in a romance series!

Read if You Like: humour, great supporting characters
Avoid if You: don’t like slow burn romance, want an erotica

similarreads

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