11 July 2014

Rusty Nailed Tour Stop!

 In this sequel to Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.

Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground cliché?

USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton delivers another delicious, frothy cocktail of a book, shaking up her characters, stirring in laugh-out-loud humor, and serving sizzling romance straight up!

I have liked every book that I’ve read by Alice Clayton.  She has great characters and laugh out loud moments that set her apart from other authors of this genre.  And I loved Wallbanger.  After reading Rusty Nailed, I’m starting to wonder if perhaps my expectations for a sequel to such a great book were a little too high.
This is the continuation of Simon and Caroline’s relationship from Wallbanger.  They’re doing great and settling into life as a couple together.  Simon is continuing to travel for his photography, Caroline is busy with her interior design work…it all seems to be falling into place. But as things with Caroline’s work intensify and Simon has a change of heart about his nomadic lifestyle, will they be able to handle a new dynamic in their relationship?
I guess the biggest issue I had with this book was I just felt like nothing happened.  There wasn’t some great drama or misunderstanding with Caroline and Simon, it was more kind of the hum-drum musings of a couple.  I’m a part of a couple and believe me, it’s just isn’t all that exciting.  Sure they had some things they needed to deal with, but overall I just felt the plot around the two main characters was lacking.  It was not lacking, however, for the supporting cast.  This is where all the drama gets injected into the story, and in the end it made me feel like I got a little ripped off for a book that was supposed to be a continuation of Wallbanger.  Caroline seemed to have quite a lot of growth as a character, but Simon almost seemed like he was absent for most of the book.  That I found to be disappointing.
Of course as an Alice Clayton book this read had some really funny moments.  Let me just take a moment to say that Clive the cat needs his own spin off series…he is the best character of this series, in my humble opinion.  Clive…the book is worth reading just for him.
Overall, I didn’t find myself enjoying this book as much as Wallbanger and it had a rather abrupt and I felt unfinished ending.  However, I think if you enjoyed Wallbanger you should give it a shot.  This is merely my opinion and as I stated I may have been filled with overinflated expectations when I began this, which I didn’t have for Wallbanger.  I say read it. 3.5 stars.

I was warned by some friends that this book would be a huge disappointment to me after Wallbanger.  I went in with the mind of letting the book speak for itself and while it wasn’t as funny as Wallbanger, nor as “romantic” I felt it was a real description to what comes in life during this stage of a relationship.  Life gets in the way, stress weighs us down.  What most women don’t have is a man like Simon who is patient and puts up with more crap than I would be willing to deal with. 
When you begin this book you are reminded of the carefree days they shared before coming back to reality.  Caroline starts to put more hours into Jillian’s business while she is on an extended leave and Simon begins to be home more often after noticing what she is doing.  It is a balancing act all new couples have to endure, but I think Caroline takes the complaining to an extreme in this book.  She lost her happy carefree personality and replaced it with what I consider a resentment that stress is heavy and life isn’t easy. 
Simon opens up about what he has dealt with in the past, his losses that broke his heart but it gives us an understanding as to why Caroline and her happiness and in this case sanity, is so important to him.  We also get to see Simon’s gentle side with the cat.  They have their own bonding routine and if you know me a man who is kind to kids and animals are super sexy.
If you are a Clive fan, which let’s face it, he is the best character in the story, there is a mishap with him and his feisty personality that leads to some major chaos, but then what is Clive without humor and chaos.  Of course the sexual chemistry between Simon and Caroline is still steaming hot; the romance suffers a bit in this book.  Once again, I blame it on life happened. 
I would recommend this book, I just warn you to not go in with the same expectations based on Wallbanger.  Look at this as the next stage in life, the author is keeping it real.  Maybe she would have been better off keeping the story flowing based on unrealistic fantasy so the readers can have more of Simon and Caroline they first met, but I personally give credit to the author for letting them mature and grow up.  You are still in touch with the secondary characters that you feel in love with in the first book and see how they have progressed in their life as well. 
I found the writing style to be good and while there were some times it felt the story dragged, over all I hope that the readers will go into this book on its own merit and time frame in the life of Simon and Caroline.  

In Rusty Nailed we get to catch up Caroline, Simon and the gang. Because this is a sequel and we’ve already been through a lot with Caroline and Simon through the relationship they developed in Wallbanger, this book is a lot like catching up with and hanging out with old friends. And because they’re fabulous old friends, it makes it hard for me to write a review.

Seriously, I love this book and it is an excellent sequel to Wallbanger but it’s difficult to articulate just how much I enjoyed the book while refraining from specific details because so much occurs that I would hate to ruin the reading experience for potential readers. And regurgitating the blurb is a waste of time as you’ve likely read it already – I mean, why would you bother reading my review if you hadn’t read the blurb? So, I’ll go with my rollercoaster ride of emotions I experienced while reading. I laughed (A LOT and LOUDLY), I teared up, I cringed, I got frustrated, I just got that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you spend time with great friends, and I got turned on – seriously, Simon is HOT and he knows how to work his and Caroline’s body.

If you loved Wallbanger, you’ll love Rusty Nailed. Getting to spend more time with a great cast of characters while they navigate new stages in their relationships and new hurdles – both professionally and personally – what’s not to love? Ms. Clayton’s writing kept me engrossed from beginning to end and my only regret is that I’ve finished the book and now must wait for the next book in the Cocktail series.


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