Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2) Alice Clayton @alice_clayton

That’s why I fell for Oscar the Grouch. I can’t resist a hero who praises a great big ass.

Cream of the Crop is the second installment in the Hudson Valley Series and can be read as a stand-alone novel. But then, you’d miss all the crazy hijinks in Clayton’s Nuts, where the main characters, Oscar and Natalie, first appeared.

This was a sweet and steamy ‘opposites attract’ romantic comedy that had me chuckling and swooning. A buoyantly funny story filled with a dynamic cast of characters, sizzling passion and a touch of drama. Everything I love whenever reading one of Clayton’s tales.  And Oscar…Sigh…He was delectable.

Natalie Grayson ~ buxom, sassy, stylish and overly confident businesswoman is a Manhattan gal through and through, and a girl after my own heart. I liked her snarky and bold demeanor, despite her size, which she worked to her advantage. She was no wallflower and a little stubborn at times, but seeing her past experiences, I understood where her character was coming from. She certainly was one heck of a self-assured quick-witted heroine. However, that entire self-confident attitude went straight out the window as her undying love of cheese forced Natalie to cross paths with the hot and hunky diary farmer named Oscar Mendoza. Seeing him at the local farmers market each week became an obsession, and this boisterously ballsy city girl became all frenzied as she hysterically lost her cool whenever they met. So began the slow burn cat and mouse chase as this couple comically yet feverishly collided.
Oh man, did I adore Oscar. He brought broodiness to a whole different level. Tall, dark, tatted and surrounded by a hint of mystery, this diary farmer was sweet as he was sexy. He was an enigma at first, being the furthest thing from chatty, as his end of their conversations had been barely more than monosyllabic. It took some time to unravel and get to the heart of him, but in the end, Oscar was loveable. There were times I felt he was too laid back when drama and obstacles befell this couple. They had a fair share of troubles to overcome. I prefer the type of hero who is dominant and assertive when it comes to claiming the heart of his woman, and Oscar was a little too relaxed at times. Nevertheless, he managed to win me over in the end.

I enjoyed Natalie and Oscar’s story ~ an all around entertainingly fun and witty read filled with loads of hotness. Loved revisiting the characters from Nuts, namely sexy Leo, as well as loony Roxie, Chad and the rest of the Bailey Falls gang. I recommend this lighthearted read and series to Alice Clayton fans and lovers of romantic comedies.

ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Monday, June 20, 2016

ALWAYS (Spiral of Bliss #5) by Nina Lane @NinaLaneAuthor

Perfection. Nina Lane penned an exquisite ending to her heartfelt romantic series. Professor Dean West, I fell in love with you all over again.

I was delighted and honored to receive the ARC for Always. I followed this couples’ journey from the beginning, and with each tale, my love and adoration for these characters flourished. Their love, their missteps, their pain, their growth, everything they endured, touched me in an unforgettable way. This is without a doubt one of my all time favorite series and there are not enough stars in the sky to award my beloved Dean, his beauty Olivia, and this read. Once finishing Always, I found myself at a loss. Unable to find the words that can fully explain how my heart felt as I stepped inside their truly incredible love story. I can try, but my words will never do their profound beauty justice.

I. Was. Floored.
Astounded by this bittersweet, emotionally driven finale. It is here where they face an unexpected, life-altering obstacle. Liv continues to strengthen her resolve to push herself and her family forward, as Dean struggles with the fact that some situations are beyond his control. He cannot slay all the dragons, but will do anything and everything for the love of his life.

Dean West ~ the bravest and most valiant knight, whose kinks and flaws in his armor made him THE PERFECT hero. My love for his character is immeasurable. The professor was just as swoon worthy, commanding and sexier than ever. All his passion, his vulnerability, his devotion, the fathomless love for his beauty, scorched my soul. I just wanted to crawl inside this story and wrap my arms around him.

Olivia ~ one of the most gentle, soft-spoken heroines ever, and I absolutely adored her. Just like a butterfly, her transformation was remarkable ~ from the insecure timid girl I first met in Arouse, to an admirable woman of strength ~ she left me in awe.

Liv and Dean's journey was an epic love story that will be forever seared deep within my soul. I cherished every moment of their passion (these two, as always, are HOT); sniffled my way through their heartaches; giggled in their moments of levity; and those quirky jokes and drawings made me smile. As I made my way through each book within this series, Nina Lane held my heart in the palm of her hand, causing it to sing with joy over the triumphs or weep with sorrow in their moments of darkness. It was an absolutely incredible experience. I was filled with bliss seeing their continuing tale, but mourning the end of their journey. My only consolation is to revisit the quaint town of Mirror Lake whenever I feel these characters calling. If you love sizzling romances laced with passion, that will twirl your emotions, I highly recommend this series. And as always, I’m looking forward to Lane’s next magical romance.