Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review: Buns by Alice Clayton

Title: Buns
Author: Alice Clayton
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: The Hudson Valley Series (Book Three)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: Paperback via Reading Alley
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisClara 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.

The Romance Review

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

It's a showdown between a bossy woman and a hotel heir!

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Clara is great at her job. She takes businesses that are in trouble and she uses her multi-step plan to turn them around, from struggling to thriving. When her services are needed in the town that her two best friends call home, she's sure that this will be the best job, yet. What she doesn't expect is to find the owner's son isn't on board with her plans.

Archie likes things the way they are in his family's hotel. The way they've always been. The tried and true methods that they've stuck to for generations. And when a woman comes in from the outside and starts to suggest changes, even if he agrees with them, he can't help but want to reject all of her ideas. The truth, however, isn't that he's startled by the effect that Clara's having on the hotel. It's the effect she's having on him.

This book starts off really well, with Clara and Archie getting off on the wrong foot and butting heads at nearly every turn. He's set in his ways and unhappy with the idea of change while Clara is a straight-forward woman on a mission to turn the hotel on its side. They can't agree on a single thing and their bickering was highly entertaining.

The work tension soon turns into another kind of tension, of the scandalous sort. Our couple have passion in spades and chemistry coming out of their ears. The love scenes were full of spice and well-written. I think the first kiss alone made me sigh in book-reading bliss. I love a little pent-up energy being spent in the bedroom between a couple who challenge each other.

But our characters also each have a past that left them with issues not easily overcome. Archie lost his wife and can't seem to part with his wedding ring. Clara grew up in foster care, unable to form emotional attachments to anyone. Their lust is quick to consume their relationship but the trust and emotion take time to form. The story moved at a steady pace and was filled with interesting secondary characters, as well.

My only real problem with the book was that it followed the typical formula that it seems almost all romance stories are going by these days. Man and woman meet and start a relationship, something goes wrong, couple separates for required amount of time, pair reunite and live happily ever after. I would have been more impressed if Archie had followed Clara or if her friends had come to bring her back or anything to stray from the predictable order of events.

Despite that, I really did enjoy this book. I liked the glimpse I got of the characters who star in the first two books of this series and it definitely left me wanting to read their books, too.

In closing...
A steamy read featuring a head-strong woman, a stubborn man, and a priceless mountaintop view. Four suns!

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