Review: Cream of the Crop

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Cream of the Crop
Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charmingly fun and irresistibly sexy. A wonderfully written story about finding our inner fabulous with an awesome heroine.

In a world where a size zero is in vogue, Natalie Grayson embraces her curves and are one of her secret assets to her charmed life. She has her dream job which she excels at, a loving family, incredible friends, and an endless line of eager eligible bachelors. What more could a successful Manhattanite girl want? Simple, the best brie cheese around and its delicious provider.

For the past six months, Natalie has had a Saturday morning routing she’ll no soon break even when it makes her otherwise confident knees go week at the sight of Oscar the cheese maker Mendoza. Every week she goes to the Union Square Farmer’s Market strutting and self-assured. The moment her eyes lock on to the tall and sexy farmer though, she’s reduced to two syllable sentences until her PR firm is called upon to put the small town of Bailey Falls on the map. Will the big city girl fall for the small town charm and the farmer with the deliciously out of this world… cheese?

Alice Clayton’s characteristic humor, entertainment and sizzling hot romance is as present as always in this fabulous city girl meets gorgeous farm boy contemporary romance.

Turns out gentle sweet dairy cows get startled when someone comes running, and they don’t always take too kindly to a shuffle-hop-step. One of them came after me, and although it was likely at a pace of about a mile per hour, it looked very fast in my head…
“What the hell are you doing to my cows?”

The writing is wonderful. I loved every single description from the fast moving city to the small enchanting town as viewed through Natalie’s eyes. I almost felt like I was standing right next to her all throughout her journey into the scary territory of falling in love with a reticent, silent man that seemed to be a complete opposite to her outgoing, exuberant personality.

“You’re bossy.”
“And you love it. All cavemen secretly like to be told what to do now and the.”

Natalie is a great heroine. After getting over her teenage and young adult self-esteem and insecurity issues and an abusive relationship, she’s became all about the girl power. She’s a plus sized woman and loving every inch of herself which not only made her likeable, but very much real and relateable. This story is beautiful and inspiring because of her. I loved her wit and sharp tongue as much as her confidence and the endless soundtrack going on in her head which constantly made me laugh!

“Size eighteen women weren’t supposed to show off their legs, which I did. They weren’t supposed to show off their cleavage, which I did… Size eighteen women were supposed to dress like they were apologizing for taking up too much space. I took up space. I took up space in a city where space was at a premium, and I never apologized for it.”

Oscar had enough layers to make him charming in his quiet and shy personality, but I don’t know if it was because the story was told from Natalie’s point of view that made me feel like I didn’t get to know him all that much which in turn made it difficult for me to connect with the romance and emotional bond between him and Nat. There were some hurtles they had to overcome as a couple which I felt were glossed over. Oh but the sexy times were plentiful and mouthwateringly hot. These two had an incredible back and forth.

The secondary characters were delightful. In Natalie’s words the town of Bailey Falls and its inhabitants were darling. I really enjoyed visiting there with her and all the people she interacted with including her best friend.

Cream of the Crop is book #2 in the Hudson Valley series by Alice Clayton. It is a funny, smexy hot, standalone contemporary romance. Told from the heroine’s point of view that has a happy ending.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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