Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…
In an effort to escape the small town where she grew up and her mother’s crazy ways, Roxie went to culinary school and moved to LA where she’s started her own business, catering to the stars. However, when her mom needs Roxie, she heads home to Bailey Falls, NY, to run the family dinner for the summer. JUST the summer. What she wasn’t expecting was to enjoy her reacquaintance with her hometown or meeting a sexy farmer who gives her a reason to extend her trip home.
Leo left the bright lights and fast pace of Manhattan behind to start an organic farm in the Hudson Valley. He loves his new life and the friends he’s made in Bailey Falls. However when Roxie shows up, his world turns upside down, and he realizes he may want more from life than his friends and farm.
Overall, Nuts is a wonderfully written, humorous contemporary romance. The story flowed from start to end; a delightful song with both high and low notes, yet never strayed from its melodious tune. Watching Roxie struggle with finding her own way, examining her past and how it shapes her views, was a joy. The descriptions and imagery Roxie provides through her POV created a three-dimensional world in which I wanted to live.
Leo is every woman’s fantasy – kind, loving, good looking, successful, and an incredible lover. Having never given his heart away since his last girlfriend many years ago, it made his falling for Roxie all the more special. Although the story is told only from Roxie’s POV, it was made clear to the listener that he was head over heels for her. As a couple, they are so sexy AND adorable. I loved the banter and innuendos shared between Roxie and Leo.
Roxie’s inner dialogue was completely entertaining. I loved how she thought about each reaction and non-reaction she had, picking it apart to try and understand herself. She’s snarky and fun, but thoughtful and generous. Her relationships with her mom and former high school crush, Chad, shared a lot about her personality and created a wonderful community around which she can base her life. Chad allows Roxie to realize she can still be LA Roxie while being hometown Roxie. Roxie’s love of cooking and food descriptions give Gin (Elemental Assassins series by Jennifer Estep) a run for her money.
Right from the start, I loved Shayna Thibodeaux’s performance. She’s got the smartass snarky down; however, she layers in the emotions of each character. You can hear the frustration, longing, humor, etc. in her performance. Her narration was amazing. But… when I saw that the title had both a male and female narrator, I expected the story to be shared via alternating POVs. I liked that the story narration focused on Roxie for so long at the beginning of the book. But when the book hit chapter 6 then 7, then 9, and so on, I was ready for Leo’s POV. Here’s the kicker – the story NEVER shares Leo’s POV until the epilogue. Seriously… So why hire a male narrator for not even a chapter in the book, just the epilogue?! Anyhow, Sebastian York does a fine job with his few moments, but it’s not what I expected, and it wasn’t really long enough to leave a memorable impression.
In the end, Nuts is a wonderful story, and a great start to the Hudson Valley series. I loved listening to the book, and know I would have enjoyed equally reading it. Ms. Clayton is a fabulous storyteller, her characters fresh, fun, and ones I want to get to know. I highly recommend checking out this one!
Shayna Thibodeaux: A
Sebastian York: B (it was only the epilogue, so it was difficult to rate)
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.