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Cream of the Crop (The Hudson Valley Series) Paperback – July 12, 2016
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"Emotionally ripe with bold dialogue, strong characterization, steamy sex scenes and Clayton’s trademark wacky humor, the author builds a delectable, opposites-attract romance that focuses on the art of compromise and letting go of one’s past in order to embrace the future." (--RT Book Reviews, in a 4 star review)
"Clayton's playful writing style blends silliness with apt observations regarding modern life, love, and self-confidence. A titillating story with plenty of happy endings." (--Library Journal, in a starred review)
About the Author
Alice Clayton worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop). She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her. And she finally got her Bernese Mountain Dog.
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I was waiting rather impatiently for this book. I've torn through all of Ms. Clayton's other books, most landing on my 4- or 5- star list. This one fell really flat. I love Natalie - her character is very well developed, has a fun, savvy and smart inner-monologue. Oscar. What can we say about Oscar? I was ready to love him based on the sneak peek we got of him in Nuts. "Tall dark and Game of Thrones", a quiet, mysterious guy. He's a boor! Poorly mannered, he PICKS HER UP several times in the book (really? are there women who like this?), is rude to her friends, pouts when he doesn't get his way. In the end, I feel like she settled. Because he's hot. And picks her up. I'll keep reading - hopeful that the Clara/Archie story is good. Don't lose me now, Ms. Clayton!
1) There was a lot of cussing. It was bad enough that the f bomb was used frequently, but I hate, hate, hate the c word. It's demeaning and makes me cringe whenever I hear or see it.
2) I absolutely hated Thomas. He verbally abused Natalie and treated her horribly. The scene when Natalie tells Logan and Chase about Thomas was too long and when she finished, I felt awful for her. I hated to know that she went through something like that.
3) I loved Oscar, but twice I disagreed with him--first with him being so friendly with Missy, his ex-wife. I don't blame Natalie for being jealous. Missy is a bi*** who needs to get a life and stop calling Oscar whenever her car breaks down, etc. Also when Natalie helped him make a connection with the woman who wanted to sell his cheese across the country. What's wrong with that?
4) The cost--this was available at a discount, but I want to read the others and $7.99 each is way too much to pay for a Kindle book.
What I liked about the book:
1) Natalie--she was funny and nice and a curvy girl liked me. She went through an awful relationship with Thomas and survived to kick butt on her job and in her personal life. I love her sense of style.
2) Oscar--his sense of humor reminded me a lot of my late husband's. I loved his nickname, Pinup, for Natalie. I loved his profession and I want to go buy some artisan cheese. I LOVE cheese!
3) The descriptions of NYC and the country were beautiful--I felt like I was right there. I also loved the contrast between the big city and the country.
4) Polly's curse jar--by now, she should be a millionaire--LOL!
I love this author...everything else she's written. Hands down some of my favorite couples, but not this one. It fell flat....never cared about this couple and the whole cheese thing...overkill. Wished I could be more positive but not worth the cost... Not at all.
I really liked Oscar. There was so much more to this mysterious man we meet in Nuts. I won't say that his story goes as in depth as Leo's in Nuts but I guess its enough to understand his character. He's very happy and content with his life and loves what he does. Albeit he does not like to talk and customer service is nonexistent. But hes not so who cares. At first I really didn't like Nicole much because all she talked about was sex and she could get any man in her bed. I enjoy sex as much as any other girl, but I didn't understand it. There is way more to her story that I found really interesting and got through to me. I liked that she embraced her curves.
If you liked Nuts, definitely give this book a try. I can't help but love its small town charm and endless number of hot men. Plus Polly is just adorable.
I liked that the "heroine" is plus sized, beautiful, and confident.
I liked that the author has an accepted gay couple flourishing in small-town life.
I liked, as always, Alice Clayton's goofy sense of humor.
But this story wasn't great. The romance seemed for forced and honestly, nothing really happened. Just contrived sex scenes, and that's about it.