Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
PJV Quickie: Screwdrivered felt very different from the other books I've read by Ms. Clayton - I found the humor to be a bit more understated than her usual brand of funny. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading Screwdrivered, it just took me a bit to settle in and enjoy the ride.
Vivian "Viv" Franklin is a programmer with a dreamy side. She wants a happily ever after, but so far that hasn't happened. When she gets a call out of the blue telling her she's inherited a distant aunt's home on the California shore, she knows this is it - her life is turning into a romance novel and maybe she'll find "the one". When she gets there, she discovers not only did she inherit the house and land, she also gets the hunky cowboy who takes care of the animals. But the house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and with that comes a pesky librarian determined to supervise any renovations to the crumbling old home. Who knew librarians could be so good looking? And annoying. And easy to talk to....
As I mention in the PJV Quickie, the humor in Screwdrivered is different from her previous books and at it threw me at first; I just couldn't get into the story. But then, things suddenly 'clicked' and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. One thing Alice Clayton does well is make you feel like you're part of the story, like you're there with the characters, dishing advice or lending a shoulder to cry on. She paints a very clear picture of the old house and the town, enabling me to easily visualize the characters and their activities.
I really liked Viv - she was smart and funny but maybe a little clueless about matters of the heart. There were so many times I wanted to pick up one of the items scattered all over the house (apparently her aunt had a bit of a hoarding problem) and throw it at her because she was fantasizing about the wrong guy, but her journey to finding the right guy was entertaining. I did find her tendency to zone out and start imagining her situation through a "romance novel lens" a bit distracting. Viv's back-and-forth with the sexy, annoying librarian worked for me though. Clark was a great beta hero - smart, kind, shy but stubborn. Her back-and-forth with the hunky Cowboy, Hank, on the other hand, was painful to read - what a jerk.
She also had a great group of friends to rely on - I love it when heroines know how to ask for and accept a helping hand. Just like you can't throw unseasoned chicken into the oven and expect a great meal, you can't throw main characters into the story without interesting supporting characters. Viv's friends were a great part of the story and a wonderful example of girlfriends who are supportive of each other.
Recommendations: Screwdrivered can absolutely be read as a stand-alone. If you've read previous books in the series you'll recognize Simon and Caroline, but you don't need to know their story to enjoy Screwdrivered. If you love a good beta-hero and a heroine who can laugh at herself, I wholeheartedly recommend Screwdrivered.