Where to Buy*:
Reviews of Clayton's Previous Novels:
Wallbanger (#1) -- Kame
Rusty Nailed (#2) -- Kame
Natalie’s got confidence and then some, and has no reservations about going after a man, even if it’s only for a night of fun. But there’s something about the quiet, somewhat grumpy, tattooed man at the farmer’s market every week that makes her fumble and ramble. She may love the Brie he makes, but she’s interested in far more than just Oscar’s handcrafted cheese. When her advertising company picks up the small town where Oscar lives for a project, Natalie’s all over the job, mixing business trips with pleasure trips. But as much as she enjoys her time with her country man, she’s a city girl at heart. Can they find compromise somewhere in between the two extremes?
First, I know, I know, the title and cover may be a bit . . . unusual. But trust me, this book is worth the read!
Cream of the Crop was such a delightful read. It’s not so light that there’s not some angst/emotions popping up, but it’s still relatively fluffy and fun – and I mean that in the best possible way. I very much enjoyed Clayton’s writing style (and will be reading more of her books in the future), as well as Natalie’s spunk and sass.
Natalie’s a take-no-shit and give-no-fucks kind of woman, and I loved her for that. She fully accepts that yes, she is plus-sized, but she’s damn beautiful and she has the confidence to take what she wants out of life. She wasn’t always that way; her backstory includes a douchebag POS ex-boyfriend who really did a number on her when she was graduating high school (controlling, verbally and emotionally abusive, made her believe she was never enough, etc., etc.). But after leaving him, she picked herself up and set her mind on a career where she kicks ass and a mindset that dares the world to call her fat and belittle her for her size. I could truly connect to some of Natalie’s early struggles about herself, and while I can’t say I’m to the give-no-fucks level that Natalie is (yet), I loved seeing such a heroine in print. Because we can’t forget that everyone needs to be able to see parts of themselves in books.
And no, this is not the story of the fat girl finding herself – and love – after losing weight. Nope, not at all. Natalie is an unapologetic size 18 from start to finish. She’s happy with herself. Which I also loved because far too often when there is a “heavier” heroine, much of her character arc revolves around her losing the weight and suddenly being beautiful. Fuck that shit. Lose the weight if you want to be healthier, I have nothing against that. But a person isn’t ugly because they’re fat and beautiful once they’re skinny; that’s society’s BS talking.
Let’s see, I laughed and smiled during a lot of this book. I could relate to Natalie and loved her attitude and confidence. What else? Oh! The chemistry between Natalie and Oscar is fantastic; this is quite a hot read, whether they’re simply kissing or getting busy on any available surface. ;)
The only complaint I have is minor: I do wish we could have gotten Oscar’s POV thrown in. I don’t mind 1st POV in my romance novels, but I do prefer if it’s dual 1st POV so we can get the full picture and experience of the couple. The epilogue was done from Oscar’s POV, which was interesting since the rest of the book was entirely from Natalie, but I would have liked to see Oscar’s POV mixed in a bit; maybe not every other chapter, but at the very least a few times during the course of the story.
This was my first Clayton novel but it will not be my last. Fun and relatable and sexy as hell, Cream of the Crop reads like a good romcom.
4 1/2 STARS!
~ * ~ * ~
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.
*Note: The quotes used belong to Alice Clayton; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.
~ * ~ * ~
Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on July 28th for a chance to WIN an ecopy of your own!
Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!