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review 2016-07-24 22:29
Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton
Cream of the Crop (The Hudson Valley Series Book 2) - Alice Clayton

PJ header


PJV Quickie: I love Alice Clayton's funny, sexy writing style and that style shines in Cream of the Crop.  I really enjoyed this "city girl meets country boy" romance!  


Natalie Grayson lives and loves life in Manhattan - she's a city girl through and through. As an ad executive, she stays busy and in her off time she dates, eats, and enjoys life.  When she gets the chance to work on an ad campaign for a nearby town upstate, she jumps on it - her best friend lives there, and so does the hot brie guy at the local farmer's market.


Oscar Mendoza owns Bailey Falls Creamery, and he's definitely noticed the buxom beauty that sashays across the farmer's market every Saturday morning. The last thing he expects though, is to find her at his farm in Bailey Falls, terrifying his cows.


Sparks fly immediately, but can the heat survive their different lifestyles, an ever-present ex-wife, and hurts from past relationships?




Usually, when I read a romance novel, I fall in love with the hero and enjoy the heroine.  I think in this case, I've fallen in love with the heroine and enjoyed the hero.  In the character of Natalie, Alice Clayton has written someone that I really liked reading - her past as an overweight female, her feelings of not being good enough, are relatable. The fact that she was able to overcome a bad situation and turn it around to become as successful and confident as she is ranks her right up there with all the "kick ass" heroines in my book.  For me, Oscar wasn't really the focal point in the story, which is kind of a change for me.  I liked him, I was frustrated by him, but most of my attention was focused on Natalie.  I will say that Natalie and Oscar had a hot, sweaty, dirty sexy relationship, but the sweet didn't come in until near the end, and it was worth the wait.


This is the second book in the series but I think it works well as a stand-alone.  I was happy to see characters from the first book, Nuts, and I do recommend you read Nuts if you love funny sexy reads, but if you somehow obtained a copy of Cream of the Crop without reading Nuts you'll be fine.


Lastly...Darn you Alice Clayton - this is the second time you've made me want to pack up all my stuff and move to a small town in New York!  I'm afraid that after reading the next book I may actually rent a U-haul!  


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review 2016-04-25 02:45
Growing a Garden City
Growing a Garden City: How Farmers, First Graders, Counselors, Troubled Teens, Foodies, a Homeless Shelter Chef, Single Mothers, and More Are Transforming Themselves and Their Neighborhoods Through the Intersection of Local Agriculture and Community - Jeremy N. Smith,Chad Harder,Sepp Jannotta,Bill McKibben

Growing a Garden City is only possible because of the explosion of interest in local food and community based agriculture.  The photographs are gorgeous, but the interviews and text are surprisingly repetitive. 

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review 2014-07-29 14:24
Doesn't Quite Do Enough - Call The Vet by Anna Birch
Call the Vet: Farmers, Dramas and Disasters – My First Year as a Country Vet - Anna Birch

[Thanks must first and foremost go to the kind people at Random House/Ebury for providing me with an ARC - it cost me no monies, but I'm going to complain anyway.]


When I was 9, we took The Cat of the time to see our local vet, Mr Gilbert. Unlike these modern times full of trendy young things with whom I am on first name bases, Mr Gilbert could only ever be known as Mister Gilbert. I don't know how old he was exactly, but it was probably at least 192 because after he'd finished sticking pointy things into The Cat, he suggested I - who had been stroking her head and reassuring her in the manner of a 9-year-old who recognises this creature is the closest she's going to get to a pony - would make an excellent veterinary nurse. Hopefully he died soon afterwards and was spared the influx of wimmins into his profession, wimmins who were actual vets with actual qualifications and the actual ability to get really intimate with a cow.


Interestingly, a few years earlier than that, Anna Birch was told by her school that she wouldn't be be study the sciences because, as an all girl school, they didn't offer them. Happily, some years later, encouraged by her then boyfriend, Birch attended vet school as a mature student, qualified, and landed her first job in a small town in Dorset near the coastal town of Bridport. Bridport is where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall hangs out. I've never been, but I'm convinced they eat cous cous there.


Initially, I didn't think much of Call The Vet. I was inevitably going to make comparisons with the master, James Herriot - indeed, the book does itself - and the first chapter felt tremendously derivative. I'm not a vet and have no first hand experience of the correct response to a cow with a prolapsed uterus (although I can tell you what mine would be) but it all feels very familiar: large organ to be fed through a small hole, doubt, fear, even the trick with the wine bottle *crosses legs*. 


From there, I did find myself warming to it. It's less focused on the animal stories than James Herriot is, sometimes to its detriment. I'm not the greatest carer-about of romance anyway and Call The Vet spends too much time for my taste chronicling Birch's relationship - yay for her and everything, but I didn't find it terribly interesting. I'm here for the anal glands. 


Overall, it's not quite there. It doesn't do any of the things I'd hoped for with enough aplomb. It's not funny enough - although there's material, it's only written with an adequate comic hand. It's not interesting enough - while I did learn something, my impression is of more time spent on Birch's dog and her own feelings of inadequacy. It lack cohesion - the introductory language to Birch's colleagues is used two chapters in a row; the "it wasn't like this for James Herriot" sentiment is used more than once. Frustratingly, there are the glimmers of something more - following a disastrous/cringingly funny moment with an under-anaesthetised dog (which is criminally underwritten), Birch is told by the office colleague she roped in as assistant "I was scared and you were stupid", but this never extends into self-awareness. The "characters" left little impression on me.


While there are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon than lying in a postdrome stupor reading this book while Wren licks your feet, I'm not really seeing anything here to recommend it particularly. If you want a "my first year as a vet" book, this is just about "fine".


2.5 stars.





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text 2014-07-25 10:20
Dora's ARC - Call The Vet by Anna Birch
Call the Vet: Farmers, Dramas and Disasters – My First Year as a Country Vet - Anna Birch

As we who have been paying attention know, I *love* James Herriot. So, I saw this on NetGalley and thought I'd give it a whirl. I may even learn something.



With many thanks to Random House/Ebury Publishing for providing me with a copy for zero monies, aided in this task by NetGalley.

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review 2014-07-15 00:00
Two Gay Farmers Down the Road
Two Gay Farmers Down the Road - Jack Ward Okay. Okay.



The book ended at 7% which was 6.9% longer than it needed to be.

I was hoping for this:


And I'm pretty sure I got this:


And a lot of racism, utterly disgusting words and descriptions and nothing hot at all!

You can forgive a lot when it's something hot.

But, um, nothing hot here. Please move along. For your own sanity.


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