Book Review: Nuts – Alice Clayton

Book Review Nuts Alice Clayton

Title: Nuts (2015)
Series: Hudson Valley – Book 1
Author: Alice Clayton
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Extent: 320 pages
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she’s back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?


First things first: reading this book at night before bed was a mistake. Every description of scrumptious food called out to me loudly, prompting me to more often than not make a midnight snack I didn’t need but really, really wanted. Nuts is light-hearted—I love all the food puns, descriptions and tips. I bake a lot when I’m stressed and generally enjoy cooking, and this book is definitely close to my heart in that sense.

Roxie grew on me. At first I felt she tried too hard to sound witty and was a bit of a smart-ass, but eventually she won me over. While I found her fear of bees over-the-top and a little annoying, I have to hand it to her: this is a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it without hesitation. Her passion for food burns strong and is contagious—I found myself loving how involved she is with her job.

I also identified with her on a personal level. Six years ago I ‘left’ my hometown, and I can’t tell you how many times I went back-and-forth between coming home for good and staying away permanently for a variety of reasons. I haven’t really decided so I struggle with it a lot sometimes—occasionally on the daily—so I can relate very well when Roxie started questioning herself. If she comes back, what about her goals and dreams? What about that version of herself that she was previously chasing?

Leo was the quintessential love interest in romance novels: a man’s man, tough, muscly, rich, with a soft heart and of course, a body so hot and a face so handsome that everyone in town drools over him. I always find this aspect of romance novels to be incredibly unrealistic, so I suppose in that sense, Nuts isn’t exactly innovative. I could see why Roxie falls for him, though, and even I was getting frustrated by their numerous almost-kisses!

In terms of the setting, Clayton’s version of a small town is a bit too idyllic, at least in my experience. My dad comes from a small town, and while there was certainly a stronger sense of community, people were also more likely to gossip about one another and meddle in other’s business. It’s one of the reasons why he left for good and the main reason why my mum insisted on not raising our family there when she married him.

But I digress. My big issue with Nuts is that I felt Roxie lost a huge chunk of her identity when she met ‘the right guy’, like she lost her main goals and ambitions and made new ones that were revolved around him. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with changing, but in this case it seemed too easy for me. Where was the career-oriented Roxie that I like? Oops, she’s too busy being in love.

She and Leo were incompatible at first glance: she hated living in a small town and wanted to leave, he didn’t; she wanted no part of commitment, [highlight to read spoiler] he had a daughter, which meant any romantic relationship with him also meant a relationship with the little kid as well [/end spoiler]. I’m huge on compromises in relationships and thus found it unfair that there was never any discussion between Roxie and Leo about where they should stay; it was just assumed that if she wants to be with him, then she should be the one who stays.

I understand that he has responsibilities, but I think there should be a discussion—or an acknowledgment of what she’s giving up for him, at least. When push comes to shove, though, these incompatibilities were suddenly resolved because Roxie has changed her mind about pretty much everything. Because of this, I found the ending too easy, and that was very disappointing.

Save for these issues, however, I generally found Nuts to be entertaining and quite funny. It’s my first Alice Clayton book, and while I don’t think it brings anything new to the Contemporary Romance genre, it was still good entertainment, and I’ll definitely look out for the next one in the series.

Favourite Quotes

  • “No one noticed the perfection of my melons–but everyone sure noticed hers.” — Chapter 1
  • “Culinary school was a fondue pot of sexual tension, and we were all dying to get speared and forked.” — Chapter 3
  • “And speaking of prominent, I finally peeked in the basket he left me and saw the zucchini. He should have been arrested for carrying that thing through town. Honestly.” — Chapter 9

Buddy Read Links

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Nuts – Alice Clayton

  1. I mean, yeah, there were obvious things wrong with this book, it was a little predictable and basically everything else you mentioned, but given that these things didn’t really impact my reading experience I liked it 😉 and all of those cakes had me wanting some cake at midnight too ;P


  2. Despite my low rating and review I won’t deny I enjoyed all the sassy and witty lines 😁 Clayton is actually really good with producing entertaining exchanges between her characters 👍 Love those same quotes…esp about the melon 😉


      • I might try her other books…although I’m worried about her first person pov style, if it was anything like Roxie’s format I might end up a lil cuckoo…since I kept craving more sass from her. I might try Unidentified Redhead, Grace and Jack, they made a cameo in this book 😁


        • Ooh, I completely missed that cameo! I don’t remember reading it. I imagine if all Clayton’s heroines are spunky it’ll actually make it a bit boring–they’re different characters and I hope they sound like it, haha. 😛

          Do let me know if you end up picking it up and your thoughts!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. A loud ‘HAH’ came out of me when I read that first quote. Oh LORD.
    I enjoyed reading this review, Reg! This book seems like your average, typical romance. In saying that though, I admit to reading trashy books that I know are trashy because, well, it’ll be how I expect it to be and it’ll be exactly how I want it to be. (Is that weird??)

    But ugh with all the Christmas feasts left, right and center, I don’t think I could read a book about food… but since you said that this book is entertaining (the magical word!) I might pick this up one day when I feel like a simple romance. :’)


    • Believe me, I reacted the same way! Haha, yeah, I’d say so–it definitely didn’t try anything new; it simply worked with the usual ingredients, but it worked quite well. 🙂

      And I know what you mean! I read quite a bit of ‘trashy’ books myself–they’re usually the perfect ‘winding down’ books for me, even more so than YA books. I hope you enjoy it if you end up picking it up. ❤


  4. Hi Reg! It was so much fun buddy reading NUTS with you all. I hope we can do another one again soon. 🙂

    Like you, my favorite part are all all the food puns and general wackiness, which made it super entertaining to read.

    As for her drastic change from hating small towns to deciding to stay in Hudson Valley, I saw it more as her growing up and changing her perspective. She thought she hated the small town she grew up in because it didn’t give the opportunities for her big dreams, but going back made her see that there’s more there for her than she realized. She liked working and cooking at the diner, she’s making friends (it seemed when she was younger she didn’t form any deep friendships), there were more business opportunities in Hudson Valley than she realized (people were loving her deserts, her cooking classes were a hit, and she wanted to open a food), and I don’t think she wasn’t very happy in LA. So, I didn’t see wholly see her decision to stay as her giving up her ambitions for Leo.

    I did think the twist came out of nowhere, though. That’s where I had my problems with the novel. It sort of felt like at 65% the author realized she needed to throw a wrench in their relationship to make a big drama and added on a secret **you know**. The twist felt superficial to me.

    Sorry for the long comment, I seriously need to write my own blog post review about Nuts.



    • Hi Michelle! Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂

      Haha, I’m glad you mentioned that because I fully recognise that my response to that aspect of the story comes mostly from personal preference (i.e. I might be more than a little projecting). I guess I would like it to be acknowledged that she would be giving up something for him, even if in the end it turns out that she’s not giving up all that much after all? I’m just really big on having discussions before making life-altering decisions, but I admit that most romance novels lack this thing.

      I actually agree with you that the twist came out of nowhere, and in my opinion, there wasn’t that much drama even after that. If it were me, I would seriously reconsider dating Leo–I understand his omission but I’d prefer it if all cards were open from the start, if that makes sense. :/

      Yeees, write it! I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts. ❤


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