Saturday, July 23, 2016

ARC Review: Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley, #2)
From the blurb:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is...cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it

Heather's rating:

This book was almost amazing. Almost.

First of all, I fully appreciate what Alice Clayton did with this book. She made the MC a size 18 girl who is SEXY and she KNOWS it! Natalie is a diva, through and through.

When I search my brain, I can't think of another romance book with a plus-sized MC where she isn't either trying to loose weight or very self-conscious about her stature. Natalie radiates confidence, and she gets male attention wherever she goes. She is sex-positive and she has swagger. I envied Natalie's body positivity, honestly. I absolutely adored how self-assured she was, and I enjoyed being inside her head.

I also loved how the author made Natalie not only a bigger girl, but a fit one. Natalie took work-out classes, and slammed the stereotype of a plus-sized girl who isn't in shape.

Natalie was funny and easy to get to know. Though I was a little distracted by the constant brand name-dropping for all of her designer clothes, I didn't have any issues with Natalie as a character. I liked her city-girl vibe, and I related to her pretty well.

What I DID have issues with was the other MC, Oscar.

This book is told in one POV, and that is Natalie's. Without Oscar's POV, and with Oscar being an extremely stoic character, I didn't feel like I got to know him... at all. Oscar came across as aloof, and a little off-putting, if I'm going to be honest. I got that he was attracted to Natalie, but I thought that he treated his ex-wife with more care than he did Natalie.

The whole situation with Oscar's ex was... weird. I get that they wanted to be friends after they split up, but I didn't like how passive-aggressive the ex was with Natalie, and how Oscar seemed to always take his ex's side. Not. Cool.

I also thought that Oscar was obnoxious to Natalie, especially towards the end of the book. I wanted more from him as a romantic lead, and I thought that he didn't live up to the awesomeness that was Natalie.

Though I was disappointed in the romance, I still enjoyed this book overall. It was a FUN read, with a confident female MC who owned her sexuality with no apologies. I enjoyed the female-friendship aspect of the story, though I thought it was a little heavy-handed in setting up for the next book. This book has a lot to offer, and I'm excited to try more books in this series.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Catch ya later!

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