Title: Buns (Hudson Valley, #3)
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Expected Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Page Count: 336
Rating: 4 Stars
The third in the hilarious yet sizzling hot Hudson Valley series from New York Time and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton.
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.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
Personally, I think the cover and title are a bit misleading – or perhaps I was suck at reading between the lines (yes, this naive reader really thought the buns would be prominent in the story. Heh. My mistake). That doesn’t mean I don’t like this book though. Heck, I love it – it’s darn entertaining!
Buns is the third installment of Alice Clayton‘s Hudson Valley series. Not only I haven’t read the previous books in the series, this is the first time for me to read the author’s works too! And no, I had no trouble enjoying the story, so it’s safe to say the book could be read as a standalone.
Although, given the chirpy first person POV, it still took a while for me to warm up to this story; rather like a diesel engine that took longer to heat up. The bouncy feel to the opening chapter almost got me to drop the book. But I stubbornly strode through and boy was I rewarded in the end!
Buns introduced a mix of uproarious circumstances and heartbreaking reflections on the main characters: the freckled, ginger-haired Archie and the perky and petite Clara who narrated the story from her POV. With baggage from their past, throughout the pages both learned to find ways to let go and embrace new future – though not with the same speed as expected – because, sheesh, where’s the fun in that? Right!
Bumpy start aside, this book is a really nice introduction to Alice Clayton for me. I loved how she portrayed Clara as strong and vulnerable at the same time with her animated yet forlorn expressions throughout the pages. Archie proved to be a formidable match to her smart but often naughty mind, outspoken sass, and standoffish outbursts. I really enjoyed having their relationship developed from adversaries to mutual respect then – finally, FINALLY – inseparable couple; how they handle each other – well, the bar went high for Archie, he was pretty marvelous and patient – then owned up to their mistakes and making it right.
Not to be out-looked was also their gang of friends, the former MCs from previous books in the series. These were quite a riot with endless innuendos and potty mouth between them, that really made me want to track the series back and grab the two previous books to read. Clearly, I’ve been missing out!
Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.