Review, Author Interview & Giveaway ♥ Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

June 25, 2016 Angela Giveaways, Interview, Reviews, Romantic Comedy

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Read on for a review of soon-to-be-released Cream of the Crop and Reading Frenzy Book Blog’s interview with author Alice Clayton. Be sure to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Nuts (Hudson Valley book #1)!

Review, Author Interview & Giveaway ♥ Cream of the Crop by Alice ClaytonCream of the Crop (Hudson Valley, #2) by Alice Clayton
Series: Hudson Valley #2
Published by Gallery Books on July 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
four-half-stars

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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 be...love?

If I’m in the mood for a lighthearted romance featuring wacky heroines and laugh out loud humor, I can always count on Alice Clayton. I have yet to read a book of hers that didn’t leave me smiling, and she really delivers the goods with Cream of the Crop.

Natalie is a saucy, fun-loving, and successful New York City advertising exec. She also happens to be a full-figured fashionista who radiates confidence and has men eating out of the palm of her hand. Basically, she’s sexy and she knows it.

Oscar is a hunky dairy farmer and artisanal cheese maker. Although Natalie is usually charismatic and daring, she gets absolutely tongue-tied and fan girlish whenever she sees him at her local farmers market. When Natalie’s work takes her to Oscar’s small hometown in Hudson Valley, New York, it’s her chance to charm the pants off him (literally) once and for all.

Cream of the Crop is signature Alice Clayton all the way. She’s a master at mixing sugar and spice, and this story has more than a touch of steam. Oscar and Natalie really heat up the sheets. And doors. And trucks. And hay. And… well, you get the picture. Written strictly from Natalie’s point of view, the story includes her zany internal monologues and hilariously awkward/sexy encounters between the couple.

I took off a half star because this is one of those instances where I liked the heroine more than the male main character. Oscar is definitely one sexy mo fo, but he can be a bit of an inconsiderate jerk to Natalie when push comes to shove. I adored Natalie. Her wackiness makes her all the more charming and perfect best friend material. Somehow she manages to be strong but vulnerable, put together but cheeky.

Cream of the Crop is sure to please if you’re looking for a feel-good, witty, and sexy romance. This is the second book in the Hudson Valley series, but can be fully enjoyed as a standalone.

 

Recommended for fans of:
Food Network
Romantic comedy
Sugar and spice
Brie

** ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. **

Interview

Alice Clayton recently sat down with Reading Frenzy Book Blog to answer a few questions about the writing process, her inspiration, and the long-standing soda debate.

RF: In the Wallbanger series and now the Hudson Valley series, your characters seem to share a passion for food. Are you a fellow foodie?

AC: YES! Totally, 100%. Nothing makes me happier than cooking, especially for lots of family and friends. I’ve always wanted to be the house that had an enormous dining room table filled to bursting with people and great good.

 

RF: Natalie is a confident and sexy plus-size fashionista. What made you decide to create a heroine who is plus-size?

AC: Because I’m plus size. Because America is plus sized. Not saying that’s the best thing ever, but it’s reality and I think that should be reflected in our romance novels. And not a plus size heroine that happens to get the guy IN SPITE of being a plus size gal, but just because she’s a gal. It’s mentioned, but I tried not to make it the focus of the entire book.

 

RF: Cream of the Crop is absolutely hilarious and it’s also on the steamy side. Is it difficult for you to write sexy scenes?

AC: Sometimes, it depends on the book and the characters. This book the scenes just flowed, I had the best time writing for those two.

 

RF: Natalie frequently has an internal soundtrack playing. Did you create a playlist while writing this book?

AC: Yes! Totally. This is something I pulled from my own life, I think there are moments when we all need a little internal soundtrack;)

 

RF: Is Bailey Falls based on a real town?

AC: Yes and no. There’s a real town in the Hudson Valley, New Paltz NY, that I discovered when I first went to Mohonk Mountain House. I fell in love with the entire area. But it’s also based on a little town south of Des Moines IA that I used to visit when I was a kid, so it’s kind of a cross of a Midwestern small town set in the Catskills on the Hudson River.

 

RF: Community supported agriculture is heavily featured in Nuts, the first book in the series. Cream of the Crop highlights dairy farming and cheese making. What kind of research did you do to prepare for these books?

AC: I’m obsessed with CSA’s, and the local farmers that produce incredible food that is so much more available than I think most people know. I don’t know anyone that an afford to shop exclusively at Whole Foods, but I do know that if you’re a bit creative and cook based on what’s in season rather than what you MUST have that day, you can save a ton of money shopping locally. I remember the first time I bought eggs at our local farmers market, and how much more orangey yellow that yolk was, and what a difference it made in terms of taste. I also love the idea that people everywhere are waking up and remembering how our grandparents ate, and their parents. Think of how hard it would be to explain what a Twinkie is to someone from the 20’s! Now, I love me a Twinkie, but there are way too many kids who can recognize a Twinkie but not a real carrot with the leafy stuff on top!

 

RF: Of all the characters you’ve created, which one is most like you?

AC: Probably Grace from The Redhead Series. She’s the first character I ever created, the first book I ever wrote, and I remember someone telling me when you’re starting out, write what you know. So I did!

 

RF: Random rapid fire question time!

  • Staying up late or sleeping in? Sleeping in
  • Favorite cheese? Pecorino
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee
  • Coke or Pepsi? What is this Pepsi you speak of?
  • Paperback or eBook? ebook
  • Favorite vacation destination? Hawaii
  • Target or Walmart? Target
  • Cats or dogs? I have both!
  • Louboutins or Chucks? Can I have flip flops?
  • Favorite curse word? Word? Fuck. Phrase. Suck a dick.

 

RF: What’s up next for you?

AC: Just started working on the third book in the Hudson Valley Series, I can’t wait!

 

Giveaway

Enter to win a signed paperback of Nuts (Hudson Valley book #1)!

Nuts giveaway

Enter → Facebook giveaway

four-half-stars

About Alice Clayton

Alice Clayton

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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