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!
Three stars: A book that lacks the humor and tension that worked in the first. Where is the plot?
Caroline and Simon, the Wallbanger, have spent the last year exploring their sexual relationship. Things are still dreamy and wonderful, and Caroline's "O" has been present in all their escapades. Just when things are going so well, Caroline's boss, Jillian, marries and heads out of town on an extensively long honeymoon, leaving Caroline in charge of the firm. Caroline has her hands full with the day to day office tasks as well as doing her dream design for a hotel in Sausalito. Add in the pressures of having Simon home more often and big decisions regarding their relationships, you have a recipe for mayhem. Will Caroline survive all life has to throw at her?
What I Liked:
- I enjoyed catching up with Caroline and Simon and seeing how their relationship was progressing. As time goes on, they tackle some of the big issues facing all couples who are in long term relationships. I liked seeing how they handled the stress and watching them work through their issues.
- Though this one doesn't have as much humor and sexually charged innuendos as in Wallbanger, I enjoyed the fun quips and sexual banter that go back and forth between Simon and Caroline early on. There are definitely some funny lines in this one.
- I like the secondary cast of characters as well as the main characters in this series. Caroline's two best friends, Mimi and Sophie, are hilarious and I love the friendship between the girls. There are some secondary story lines in this one involving the relationships between Mimi and Ryan and Sophie and Neil. I liked the additional romances along with the main one.
- Clive the cat definitely steals the show again. How can you not love that rascally feline? He is cute and funny and all cat. I loved the final Epilogue from Clive's point of view. He always manages to steal the scenes that he is in.
- I adore the setting. The books are set in the San Francisco Bay Area. I think Ms. Clayton does an excellent job with the describing the scenery. I especially enjoy reading about the restorations and design developments in the book.
- The audiobook is terrific. Heather Smith narrates both Wallbanger and Rusty Nailed. I think her voice renditions are fantastic. Her sexy voices are the best. She even does great with the mail voices. I have loved both books narrated by her, and I will definitely be looking for more audiobooks narrated by Ms. Smith. I highly recommend the audio versions of both books.
And The Not So Much:
- This book was sorely lacking in plot. There isn't much substance to this one. The first fourth of the book feels like one sex scene after another until it became almost too much. I kept waiting for a conflict. You get a few smatterings of problems, Caroline taking over the design firm, adjusting to being a couple, the drama between Sophie and Neil, but nothing that drove the story. Toward the end, Caroline develops a bit of cold feet syndrome in the relationship when things get serious in a hurry, but this didn't occur until the final fourth. I didn't feel like there was enough depth to this one.
- Speaking of sex scenes, what made the first book so fun was the sexual tension and innuendos between Simon and Caroline. I loved that there was so much buildup to that big moment, and appreciated it when it finally got to that moment. That isn't the case with this one. As I said, it was one sex scene after another in the early going, so much that it became too much. If I had been reading, I would have skimmed over them, but listening to it, I had to endure them all. A few is fine, but this was more like a dozen or more. I liked the tension and the buildup much better. I get that they are happy and content in their sex life, I don't need that many reminders.
- I was grasping at story lines trying to find one that really captured my interest, but I didn't really get one until the end when the house comes into the picture and the thing with Clive. Unfortunately, that doesn't come until the final fourth, and then it goes so fast. It would have been much better to present the house portion of the book much earlier on and have it be a driving part of the story. It was too little too late.
- There is a lot of drama surrounding the relationship between Neil and Sophie. Frankly, Sophie was acting immature and she never gave Neil the chance to explain. She is miserable as she pines for him, and then acts like a brat when they are forced together on outings. Then all of a sudden at the end, there is a big turn, it happens quick and fast. After all the tension and drama surrounding this story line, I thought the pay out was weak.
Rusty Nailed is a sequel that doesn't live up to the fun and tension of the first book. It lacks a solid, cohesive plot and is heavy on the sex scenes. Even though I enjoyed catching up with Simon, Caroline and the rest of the gang, I couldn't help but feel I wanted a bit more. If you are going to read this one, I highly suggest the audio book as Heather Smith, the narrator, does an excellent job with the cast of characters and her narration.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.