Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Cream of The Crop by Alice Clayton

Rating: ★★★+.5 | 9 hours 55 minutes| Contemporary | Galley Books| Release Date: 7/12/2016
Natalie Grayson is a lot of things; Marketing goddess. Cheese Lover. Manhattan It Girl. At size 18 she’s not afraid to take up space and is confident in everything she does ...except when it comes to Oscar Mendoza, the smoldering owner of Bailey Falls Creamery at the Union Square farmers market. Oscar represents a country girl fantasy Natalie would never admit to but when her advertising firm gets an account in Bailey Falls, Natalie exchanges her Manolo Blahniks for a pair of work boots to give small-town life a chance.

I’m so mad I’ve been sleeping on this series. Just about everything in this book worked for me. Natalie Grayson is officially one of my favorite romance heroines, I feel like I could follow her around for another whole book. Clayton developed her character perfectly and Olivia Song’s lively narration just brought it all together. I’m sad to see Song only did a handful of audiobooks and hasn’t done anything in the past few years. She is excellent.

My only gripe is how our hero Oscar was handled. These books are all first person POV from the heroine so it is harder to get a sense of the hero’s perspective but I feel like Clayton made it work in Nuts and not so much in this one. Oscar came off as an obtuse charmless jerk who didn’t seem to have any awareness of how other people's feeling but he got away with it because he was hot. Oscar has an ex and I hated how he seemed to enjoy seeing his ex go after Natalie. He made Natalie do all the emotional labor to make their relationship work. I also don’t think we got enough of Oscar’s backstory, it’s implied multiple times he’s not white and I hate that we never get specifically where he is felt a little exoticizing on Clatyon’s part because his ethnicity is focused so much on his physique.

Clayton delivers another snappy, energetic and hi-jink filled romcom but I wish she'd put more thought into her hero.