For this month’s Literary Bites I picked Wallbanger by Alice Clayton! The heroine, Caroline, loves to bake, and the hero, Simon, loves the bread she makes. Specifically, the zucchini bread. Scroll down to see my review as well as a recipe for Simon & Caroline inspired zucchini bread!
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
Series: Cocktail #1
Publisher: Omnific Publishing, Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…
In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight…
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I picked this one up. It kept coming up as a recommendation on Goodreads, but I finally decided to read it when some fellow readers recommended it to me specifically.
It’s the first book I’ve read of Alice Clayton’s but I was so pleasantly surprised. I think based on the cover photo and title, I was expecting something way less funny. But this book was hilarious! There were several times I was laughing until I cried. I love a lot about this book. Caroline and I being close to the same age helped me relate to her, even if she was way more established job-wise than I am. I loved that she had a cat, Clive, and how much she adored him. Their interactions were just great! And totally relatable for a cat-lover like me. (The scene where Clive jumps on Caroline’s bed after the scary movie was sooooo funny. Caroline was literally me in this situation as I would have reacted the exact same way.)
Caroline was so funny. I loved her. She was dedicated and hardworking in her career, and wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself when it came to difficult situations. She definitely went for what she wanted, but wasn’t afraid to say no too.
Simon was so surprisingly sweet. When he talked about how his parents held hands, and then later on when he and Caroline are working independently on the couch, and he reaches over to hold her hand… *swooooooon*. I loved it. He listened to Caroline, and was actually interested in what she was saying and feeling. He was great!
The friendship between the three ladies was also great. I loved how Clayton interspersed text message conversations into the book. Not only did it let the reader see a bit into the conversations between other characters, it added a realistic aspect to the story. So much of conversation is done by text message nowadays. Adding that really helped bring the story to life.
I really enjoyed how Simon and Caroline helped their friends figure out their love lives. I also liked that Simon and Caroline didn’t start dating each other right away. They definitely tried to keep that friend boundary for a while, even if both of them were feeling more. While the idea of how they meet is somewhat unrealistic, I felt their friendship and their subsequent relationship was much more realistic. It started the best way – they were friends first. They got to know each other before putting any real romantic feelings on the line.
I’m glad there is a sequel because I’m interested in how their relationship progresses, and how they handle life stresses together. I’ll be picking it up soon! Overall, probably one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while. Very enjoyable!
Caroline and Simon inspired Zucchini Bread
One of the things readers quickly learn in Wallbanger, is Caroline’s love of baking. It’s one of the many ways Caroline and Simon bond. She bakes zucchini bread. He loves zucchini bread. Really, he loves any bread she makes, but it’s her zucchini bread that helps bring them together. It was a no brainer that I had to make some in honor of the two of them.
Zucchini Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 zucchinis, grated
1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your loaf pans and/or line your muffin tins.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in one bowl. Sifting optional. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine vanilla, eggs, vegetable oil, and sugar. Mix until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Mix until combined. Add the grated zucchini, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
Pour into two loaf pans (8×4 works well), or muffin tins, whichever you prefer. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees.
I had enough batter for one loaf pan, and one muffin tin (12 muffins). The muffins cooked faster than the loaf. I was able to take the muffins out after about 55 minutes. The loaf pan took longer to cook through, and in the end it was in the oven for about 75 minutes. I used a toothpick to make sure the loaf and the muffins were done. I have a gas oven, and I highly suggest rotating the pans halfway through to make sure everything is being cooked evenly. It definitely made a difference for me.
Do you have a favorite bread like Simon? Do you like to bake like Caroline?
Let me know in the comments below!