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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 be…love?


BOOK REVIEW: Cream of the Crop

Alice Clayton

BOOK SERIES: 

RATING:

Size-eighteen women were supposed to be timid. Size-eighteen women were supposed to be shy. Size-eighteen women were supposed to be grateful for any male attention, and to feel especially honored if a good-looking man paid attention to them. F*ck all that noise. I took the best-looking guy home with me whenever and however I pleased.

I have been smitten with Alice Clayton’s brand of funny ever since her Redhead days, one of the few authors I know capable of making me cackle and sprain my wrist fanning myself all at the same time, and this story was all I hoped it would be—sexy, uplifting, and downright hilarious. But surprisingly, it wasn’t the hot, broody, tattooed hero that stole the show for me; it was the confident, witty, plus-sized heroine whose every word, every action made me want to high five my Kindle. I found myself highlighting entire pages, nodding, sighing, fist pumping the air with one hand while taking note of those passages with the other, and giggling every single time. A most delightful romantic comedy that I loved from the very start, and one that not only left me with the biggest grin on my face, but also hopeful that, next time I look myself in the mirror, a little bit of Natalie might have rubbed off on me, too.

I overheard a beautiful man once say that fat chicks give great blow jobs, because they needed to make sure a guy kept coming around. That same man gave me incredible head three times a day for a solid week, and I never once sucked his dick. He was lucky. He was grateful. I was grinning.

A city girl through and through, born and bred in Manhattan, Natalie Grayson is on the fast track to becoming one of the most successful advertising executives in New York City. Fearless, outgoing, confident in and out of the bedroom, Natalie has long left all her body-size insecurities behind, embracing her curves in all their glory, and making men pant after her the moment she enters a room. But while normally impervious to crushes, her body freezes and all her self-assurance flies out of the window every Saturday morning when one particular dairy farmer locks eyes with her. Week after week, cheese after cheese, Natalie walks to his stall at her local farmers’ market, determined to seduce him, but as soon as he looks her way, she loses her nerve to speak, only able to mutter two words in response.

“Brie?”
“Oh. Yes.”

So when she hears that the town of Bailey Falls—home to Oscar, the Hot Dairy Farmer who turns her brain to mush—has hired her agency to boost the tourism in their quaint little town, she jumps to the opportunity to volunteer for the project, secretly hoping to raise a lot more than just the town’s public profile. But when faced with seeing the hot farmer in the flesh much sooner than expected, Natalie does what any sensible woman would do—she bolts, across a field, scaring every cow in sight.

I wasn’t ready to face him yet, not yet. He existed in another space and time, a space called The Market and a time called The Best Ten Minutes of My Saturday Morning, and seeing him here and now was threatening to unravel the continuum that held our fragile universe together!

Natalie’s determination to never lose her confidence before another man again quickly drives her to confront her fears head-on, however, and very soon, she finds herself spending more and more of her weekends in a certain little town in upstate New York, with a hot dairy farmer keeping her warm at night.

“I love watching your great big ass.”
“Hold up,” I said, placing one hand on his chest and slowing his roll. “Are you saying great big ass? Or great comma big ass?”
He looked at me quizzically. “Great comma big ass?”
This was going to be harder than I thought. “Okay, I’m confused. So you’re not saying that I have a great big . . . ass, you’re saying that I have a great . . . big ass. Meaning—”
“Your ass is big. And it’s great.” He dipped down to bring his face to within inches of mine. “How is that confusing?”

The more time she spends in Bailey Falls with Oscar, the more she not only falls in love with him, but also with the charming little town that has welcomed her so warmly into its fold, but Natalie has promised herself a long time ago never to change her life for another man again, those emotional scars running deep still, and her fear of history repeating itself running even deeper. But in the end, it all comes down to taking a leap of faith in life, and a great cheese love can be the greatest catalyst for finding every single piece of ourselves again.

“Seeing you standing in my line is the second best part of my Saturday.”
“What’s the first best part?”
“Watching you walk away.”

Alice Clayton is a definite go-to author for me for guaranteed laughs, but with this book, she also delivers a heartfelt story that has the power to inspire women of all ages to embrace every curve, every dimple, every imperfect inch of our beautiful bodies. And she does this while never taking a smile off our faces. I am already missing these characters that were so easy to love, this town that Ms Clayton has made us feel part of, her signature humour lacing every single page, and I am hoping this is not the last we hear from Natalie and Oscar. Not by a long shot.

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“I knew the first time I saw you walking away from me at the farmers’ market with that great big ass, how much it would jiggle when I smacked it.”
“We need to talk about your phraseology.”
“Is that a fancy word for my dick?”

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Hudson Valley - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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8 Comments Hide Comments

The difference between a 4.5- and a 5-star rating for me is one that I often do not mention in reviews because it can be something so subtle that even if I could change something in the book, I probably wouldn’t do it because my “issues” with it can be deeply subjective. In this instance, my greedy heart wanted a “bigger red bow” in the end, a more complete ending, heck, maybe even a wedding. Should this story have that ending? Probably not, as it would not fit the tone of this story, the nature of these characters, this author’s voice, but that kind of thing is something that I need to be completely satisfied. I am greedy that way. Also, as much as I enjoyed the descriptions of the settings, and truly find value in them because they immerse the reader completely into the story, make us see, feel, smell everything the characters are surrounded by, I would have preferred less time spent on that, and more time seeing the characters together. Again, would I change that if I could? Probably not. So as you can see, that .5 difference in rating is often a reflection of “how happy” my heart is in the end. Because I read to be happy, to feel, to experience things I do not see in my daily life, and some of my all-time faves fell into this rating category when I first read them. And then I went to re-read them dozens of times over the years. :)

Sass and cheese, yes please! After your review, I’m high-fiving you and looking forward to picking up some swag tips from Natalie. And as always, love the dick … um, I mean the *phraseology* … in your reviews, Natasha! ;)

I ♥ review! I enjoyed this one a lot. I didn’t read Nuts, but I found myself loving Buns to the same level I loved Wallbanger. They both had that extra undefinable something that I don’t always experience with every novel I enjoy.

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