Almost Perfect

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Pub Date 01 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 01 Nov 2023

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All he wants for Christmas is her.

Dave Richardson's life hasn't turned out the way he thought it would. He never expected to slink back to his hometown of Rochester two years ago and take a bartending job, nor did he expect he'd still be tending said bar. Everyone thought he would achieve great things. Hell, he'd believed he would achieve great things. But when Vivian Walters walked into his bar, wearing that dress, on a random Wednesday night . . . things were looking up for the first time in a long time. And they looked even better when he got her number, even if it was obvious she didn't see things between them lasting beyond her night out on Sunday. If he wanted to keep a woman like her, he'd need to become the man he was supposed to be, and fast.

If there was one thing Vivian "V" Walters liked almost as much as designer heels, it was checklists. They'd served her well her entire life- first with college, then med school, landing the perfect internship followed by an even better residency, and, finally, her dream job. So far, her checklist for the perfect man hadn't panned out the same way. But that didn't mean she would lose her ever-loving mind and chuck it all out the window for a hot, sweaty weekend with a bartender . . . right? No matter how good he looked in those worn jeans, or how his blond hair curled just so at the nape of his neck, or the way his deep-brown gaze made her stomach somersault. And even if she gave in to her purely physical attraction to him, it wouldn't be anything other than a fling . . . would it?

All he wants for Christmas is her.

Dave Richardson's life hasn't turned out the way he thought it would. He never expected to slink back to his hometown of Rochester two years ago and take a...

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Average rating from 126 members

Featured Reviews

Loved this book! I shipped V and Dave from the start. Almost Perfect tells the story of V and Dave, a doctor and bartender, who didn't expect to have more than one weekend of fun together. Both main characters had a great set-up and the changes in points of view really helped you understand them. I only wish this ending was longer or included an epilogue. I wasn't ready to move on from V and Dave yet. I will definitely be checking out more books by E.F. Dodd!

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I love a good book that discusses and respects boundaries, not only in emotional relationships but also physical. I truly hated V's mom. Like she was not redeemable for me, she just really sucked.

This was a super cute read though.

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It was fun to read. Loved the characters too. Enjoyed till the end. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a free e-book.

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The love-at-first-sight and palpable attraction was off the charts! I love cozy romances, and this one falls in line with adorable leading characters! Their descriptions of each other from the very beginning showed how into each other they were, and the follow-through was such a fantastic story. No major drama. No end-of-the-world fuss. Just two people falling in love and doing so charmingly!

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Almost Perfect....

This book was perfect! I absolutely loved it. It had a little bit of everything. Spice, humor, and the best of all... love.
I loved both 'V" (Doc) and Dave. Just loved them! You couldn't help but love V's friends either. I really disliked her mom to start with but she did come around! Also Dave's boss. He was horrible.
These two met at Tonic - the bar that Dave works at and it was an instant connection. It took courage for V to give away her number but I am so glad she did. From there, the two created an amazing relationship, even with some factors that weren't in their favor. In the end, they made it work.
I will most definitely read more from E.F. Dodd, this book was simply amazing!

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This book was sweet. The characters are enjoyable and realistic, the family dynamics are fun and mostly healthy, the friendships strong. Perfect reading for a cool, fall evening when you want to curl up with something light and happy.

I’d describe this as a cozy romance. Low drama, no angst! Dodd didn’t use cheap tropes to raise the tension, both main characters ask each other challenging questions and while the characters avoided answering at times, it modeled normal, healthy relationship dynamics when facing challenges.

The steamy bits were a little drawn out. Lots of consent and boundary checking, which didn’t impact the steam level and is a really nice change from lots of mainstream romance. If anything, the amount of healthy communication about what was going on increased the steaminess.

– no angst, low drama, very relatable.
- Easy to read, good character growth

- pretty simplistic. I kept waiting for big drama or high tension and what drama there was resolved quickly and in a very healthy adult way.
- The big gesture at the end seemed out of character, for both characters. Too soon, too fast!

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Great book!!
Also really REALLY love the cover!!!

"Thank you so much netgalley, the author and the publisher for the advanced review copy if this book💗
"I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

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Almost Perfect was such a cute romcom read. I breezed through it! It was such a quick pick me up happy book. Neither V nor Dave were looking for love and yet they had undeniable chemistry from the moment they met. There were so many funny moments and it felt actually realistic in its own way. Loved it.

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oh my goodness!! this book was such a pure delight!! i really truly enjoyed this one so much! thank you so much to netgalley for letting me read this one early! please pick it up when it comes out!!!

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This book was a darling Christmas read!!! Save it for December! You won’t regret it. Thanks NetGalley for my ARC! Will be recommending this sweet love story to all my friends around the holidays!!!

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"Almost Perfect" is a delightful and heartwarming contemporary romance that captures the essence of love, personal growth, and the magic of the holiday season. With its well-drawn characters, relatable dilemmas, and a touch of Christmas spirit, this book offers a charming and enjoyable reading experience.

The story revolves around Dave Richardson, a bartender in his hometown of Rochester, who is at a crossroads in his life. Despite not living up to the grand expectations others had for him, he finds hope and a chance at love when Vivian Walters walks into his bar one fateful Wednesday night. Dave's journey from uncertainty to determination to become the man he aspires to be is a central theme of the narrative.

Vivian, or "V," is a driven and career-focused woman who values checklists and order in her life. Meeting Dave challenges her structured approach, and the chemistry between them is undeniable. The book skillfully explores the tension between her desire for control and her growing attraction to Dave, creating a believable and engaging romantic conflict.

The characters are well-developed and relatable, with their flaws and vulnerabilities adding depth to their personalities. Dave's genuine and caring nature contrasts with V's meticulous planning, creating a dynamic and endearing couple. Their interactions are filled with humor, tenderness, and undeniable passion, making their romance all the more captivating.

The holiday backdrop adds a touch of enchantment to the story, making it a perfect read for the Christmas season. The themes of family, love, and self-discovery are beautifully woven into the narrative, reminding readers of the importance of embracing life's unexpected twists and turns.

Overall, "Almost Perfect" is a heartwarming and feel-good romance that celebrates the transformative power of love. It's a story of two individuals learning to let go of their rigid expectations and take a chance on a connection that feels undeniably right. With its festive atmosphere, engaging characters, and a satisfying dose of romance, this book is a delightful addition to the holiday romance genre.

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Do NOT let this cutesy cover fool you, this book is sugar and spice and everything nice! Doctor Vivian and bartender Dave seemingly have nothing in common, but that doesn't stop them from falling for each other in this cute and spicy romance. Vivian thinks she is just going to have a quick fling with Dave but they just can't seem to get enough of each other. I like how they made the long distance part of their relationship work (Hello Face Time!!) and I loved the moments they were together in person. He googles flowers to pick ones she would like (If he wanted to he would, gals!). I do love Dave's character growth and how they end up working out their relationship in the end.

This was my first book by EF Dodd and I'm happy to say it won't be my last.

Thank you NetGalley and EF Dodd for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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After a chance meet up in Tonic, the bar where Dave bartends, sparks fall between Dave and Vivian (aka V or Doc) with an instant attraction. A vacation fling slows becomes a long-distance relationship from September to December. But will Dave be enough for Dr. V by Christmas or will he be just almost perfect?

I thought this was such a cute book - much more spicy than I thought based on the blurb and cover. The banter of the characters (not just the MMC and FMC - but all of their friends and family) is fabulous. The banter of the meet-cute had me turning the pages to see what would happen next.

Thank you NetGalley and E F Dodd for the opportunity to read this book!.

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It was ok. I liked some part of the book but some parts were very cheesy to digest. I loved how realistic the job hunting, career frustration was for Dave. It was reflection of what really happens. I also liked Caroline’s parts. As a mother myself I can relate to what she was going through. But man thar halloween party was a little over the top and that cookie party, I don’t know it was just meh meh meh. I mean you can’t really add in something soooooo unrealistic and fanciful while the characters are going through life altering decisions. Its just not done. So I would say the book needs rearranging of chapters so the story doesn’t lose its flow.

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Such a cute read! I loved V & Doc's relationship from the start, it was super relatable and felt real. Their chemistry was undeniable, and I couldn't help but to root for them through and through. Side characters were fun as well! Minus V's mom for awhile... haha. Don't let the cute cover fool you! The spice in this book was A1 in my book, but for those who aren't spice fans, just be aware. But otherwise i really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read, and I blew through it in a couple sittings. Thank you NetGalley & E.F. Dodd for the opportunity to read this cute romcom!

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I loved this sweet story! I feel like EF Dodd writes such emotional romance stories, in a good way! I felt like we really get to know the characters inner most thoughts & feelings, why they’re doing what they’re doing, which makes reading it so much more immersive. This story has some tender hearted, sweet moments of acceptance and clarity, as well as plenty of fun, spicy moments that brought some lightness to the story. Overall, it was very fun, fast read, because I couldn’t put it down. Thanks for the ARC!!!

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Quick read with spicy romance and a cute friend group. Great point of view from both characters. Definitely recommend it for a cozy afternoon of reading

Thanks to NetGalley and Sugar Beaver Books for an e-arc in exchange for an unbiased review.

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ALMOST PERFECT is one of those quick, feel-good love stories that is a cute and steamy romance. I appreciated the realness of the story, but wanted some more depth to the characters. I enjoyed the cute bantering of text messaging between the Dave and Vivian as they continued their long-distance relationship. As someone who loves emotional angsty books, this book is definitely not that and just a simple happy story to escape to. I can see others really liking this book, but it just wasn't quite for me. 3.5 stars rounded to 4.

Thank you to Sugar Beaver and NetGalley for the digital arc in exchange for my honest review.

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a cute Christmas rom com that felt like it could be about your home town, definitely recommend for anyone who likes Hallmark Christmas movies!

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Such a heartwarming spicy meet cute story.

I loved the FMC and MMC and how their relationship forms and builds. Such a realistic story.

also love the WNY ties! So awesome to read stories about local places.

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This was a cute book that had some steamy scenes between the main characters V or Doc and Dave.
V is a pediatric psychiatrist on a girls weekend with her best friends when she meets Dave a bartender in the bar they are at. V has never been one for a one night stand or even a fling, but she feels you only live once and she takes the chance.
It was only supposed to be the weekend, but turned into so much more.

My only complaint was I prefered V's full first name Vivian over the nickname V.

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I have a big smile on my face after finishing and I’m giving this book a big hug! I’m in my happy place. Great read. I loved the romance and intimacy between these two. From the very first minute they had chemistry. The kisses, touches and breath taking moments were swoon worthy. There is nothing better than being able to feel and see the chemistry. The author brought a wonderful, satisfying romance that I just didn’t want to end. What was special was how absolutely crazy they were about each other. Dave was everything I want to see in a relationship and he was scared yes, but always told V how much he wanted her. **Sigh**
I Loved it!
Thanks Sugar Beaver Books via NetGalley.

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This warm and charming romance worked for me! Dave and Vivian - he's a bartender, she's a doctor, can they make it work around family and societal expectations? What do they each really need? This is swoony, and steamy, with lots of consent, and care. They are both insecure, long distance is tricky, the road is rocky but it's so satisfying how they grow for each other, and learn to navigate their feelings and trust each other - and themselves.

Thank you NetGalley and the author for the ARC!

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Dave has never expected to be back in his hometown, taking a bartending job. That's what he did, and that's what he's been doing for 2 years. Buy when, one night, Vivian walked into his bar, things definitely started looking up. But she is a pragmatic list-maker, and she does have a checklist for the perfect man, that Dave does not fit in at all. On top of that, she is only there for one week. Can she throw it all away for a steamy weekend fling?
This is an insta lust, opposites attract, long distance relationship, spicy romance. It is marketed as a "cozy Holiday vibes romance", which I do not agree with. Although Halloween and Thanksgiving are considered Holidays, the cover screams Christmas, and December only happens in the last 50 pages and the book literally ends 5 days before Christmas, so that part was a bit disappointing because I am 100% a Christmas girlie. I thought the FMC was very stubborn and somewhat uptight. But I loved the MMC, Dave, and his golden retriever attitude. Of course, I was not a fan of the third act to break up, that was based on mostly lies, miscommunication and, frankly, overreaction. I would've liked to go more in depth with both the main characters and both of them together, their relationship. And even if I would've liked to see them together more in the book, it was fun to see how they dealt with this long distance relationship; the chemistry between them is real... I liked all of the side characters (at least all of the likable ones). Overall, it was a fun, entertaining, quick read!
"I'm in simply because you are."
I received an advance review copy of this book for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers and of course the author for gifting me this advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

Really loving all the festive books on Netgalley, even though it's only October, and this was another great one! This was the perfect christmas holiday romance book and I loved the total opposite personalities of Dave and Vivian 'V' and how they both sparked that initially attraction which led to them ultimately learning a lot about themselves (and each other).

Loved that it was a super quick read with a nice amount of spice and romance

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Don’t let this innocent cover fool you. This was one spicy holiday romance! We got V and Dave for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. First of all, V and Dave are the definition of opposites attract. They are drawn to each other from the start and honestly I just loved them. V being an over-thinker was her one downfall and Dave not wanting to fail had my heart breaking for him. He is an incredible man though. Their chemistry was off the charts.

How can you not fall for a love story set around the holidays? Maybe the one tough spot for this one was the long distance relationship aspect but it didn’t take away from the characters stories. I was hooked from Dave and V first seeing each other in the bar. I binged this book especially when the spice kicks in so quickly. I really really enjoyed this one and if you want a perfectly spicy, holiday romance then this one is for you!

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E.F. Dodd has nailed the humanity of these characters. This book was a refreshing and relateable story. I love a good escape novel, but this author does such a good job connecting with the real world and to breathe life into the characters and situations that it was such a good read.

V felt like any of my girlfriends, living this out. Did I find myself yelling at the characters to communicate? Yes. Absolutely. Who doesn't yell at their friends in their stupid moments? I've never felt that urge quite as much as in this book, because the situations and emotions were so real.

Adding more from this author to my TBR immediately!

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Book Review

Almost Perfect

By: E.F. Dodd

Pub Date: October 31, 2023

V was in Rochester with girlfriends when she walked into a bar and saw Dave for the first time. She was only supposed to be away from Wednesday-Sunday, but all plans changed once Dave got her number. They flirted for a bit at the bar, and then spent the rest of her stay together. Vivian had already changed her flight twice, she had to get back home. V and Dave wanted more than just their long weekend. Could they make a long-distance relationship work? Even if they did make it work, her parents would never approve of Dave.

My thoughts: This was a super quick read and good from beginning to end. I loved the main characters and felt bad for Dave in his work situation. I thought V was a great strong character that didn’t ignore her needs or wants for whatever Dave needed. V had always experienced success in everything she did, Dave never did. He was smart and went to a prestigious school but had never experienced career success. The characters are relatable, and their chemistry cannot be ignored. The only question is can sparks last forever in this opposites attract romance.

QOTD: What is your favorite holiday?

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Cute read, went through it in one go. Nice characters, well written and likeable, but the story isn't the most original or something that will draw you in when it comes to how they interact and relate (except for when things turn spicy), and for a Christmas book,there's little Christmas in it. It did leave me wanting a bit more depth, and a glance at their happily ever after.

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Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.

This was a cute sweet heartwarming holiday book. Super quick and easy read for me.

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this was really sweet and cute, I liked how the characters interacted and their relationship

thank you netgalley for an arc

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Christmas is right around the corner, so I was super excited to read this one. It did not disappoint! It was super cute, the spice was there, and the chemistry was addictive. This wasn’t overly Christmas, like I like. I loved the long distance rep, as my boyfriend lives in England so I could relate.

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This was just the story I needed!! So much fun!

Dave is the book boyfriend, and real life boyfriend everyone needs. And Vivian is the kind of character you want to be friends with, get coffee or drinks with… They’re both beautifully written and relatable. I loved their chemistry and the way the author handled consent in a very real but sexy way.

Definitely recommend.

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V and Dave were cute. I liked how they never really doubted their feelings for each other. They knew very early on that it was more than a one night stand for them. He wanted to do better for her and I liked that.

I received an arc through netgalley.

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Loved getting to read Dave and Vivian's story! They are such a pare. I enjoyed watching different "seasons" of their time together.
Watching Vivian finally open up and let Dave play a larger role in her life was everything! These two had their highs and lows but it was all worth it in the end!

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V (Vivian) meets Dave while on a girl’s trip to Rochester. We see this trip through Kez’s perspective in Risky Restoration and get to watch V and Dave’s love story unfold in the background of the first two books in the (Not) Looking for Love series. Almost Perfect is the full story of how they navigate from a one-night stand, to a long distance flirtation, to the couple we see in Earning It, the second book in the series. I knew before even reading their full story that it would be special!

I think one of my favorite aspects of this story is how realistic it is. Love stories don’t exist in a vacuum and this one highlights some of the things that people encounter in real relationships. Family acceptance, career challenges, differences in upbringing, long-distance struggles… V and Dave have to navigate all these things together and I loved watching them becoming stronger because of it. They both grew a lot throughout the story! As in the first two books of the series, the strong female characters and the friendship you see between V, Kez, and Rae is super refreshing. And the humor and banter is absolutely on point from start to finish! The long distance aspect gave E.F. Dodd the opportunity to use texts, emails, and even FaceTime (JUST WAIT for that scene) in a super creative way that I really enjoyed. And if you’re looking for spice, you will find it here in spades!

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Wow did I love this book.
The writing was easy yet captivating and the world building was fantastic and felt extremely realistic. David’s ability to say the most suave things in the beginning of the book made it impossible to put the book down and I didn’t anticipate the trajectory of the book. David’s inability or fear to talk about his future felt so realistic and Vs worries about hurting his feelings felt so lifelike. Their relationship was so refreshing and I certainly didn’t think I’d love this book as much as I did.
Do I think it’s a Christmas story? No, it’s more of an autumn/Christmas story which is perfect for this time of year.
I feel so privileged that I received this ARC. Thank you so much. I loved every minute of it

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"Almost Perfect" by E.F. Dodd is an excellent book for a cozy fall read. It's the third book in the (Not) Looking For Love series and follows the charming holiday romance between Dr. Vivian Walters (referred to as V) and Dave Richardson.

The story begins with V and her girlfriends enjoying a weekend getaway. V is a vibrant and intelligent woman who doesn't have time for a serious relationship but is open to having some fun. Dave, on the other hand, is a charming and handsome man who happens to be perfect for the task.

After a passion-filled weekend, V and Dave agree to maintain a long-distance "situationship." They keep in touch through phone calls, text messages, video chats, and occasional in-person visits that inevitably lead to them developing deeper feelings for each other. As their relationship progresses, they have to deal with the challenges of distance and the pressures of their respective careers.

V and Dave are adorable together! Their dating journey is full of frisky dialogue, humorous mishaps, and sizzling chemistry. The author does an awesome job of creating inviting and relatable characters. The story has minimal angst and drama making it a lighthearted and enjoyable love story.

I loved how this story made me feel; it brought back so many gitty and hopeful memories of when I met my husband. If you're looking for a delightful romance that will leave you smiling, "Almost Perfect" is definitely worth reading.

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I think E.F. Dodd is my new favorite author. Almost perfect is a lovely story that just sucks you in. I loved every minute of reading this book and look forward to more books.

If you're looking for a nice hallmark-esque romance look no farther. You've got the meet cute, the banter and the disapproving mom all wrapped up in a quick read.

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Almost Perffect is a fast paced, easy to read, spicy feelgood holiday book.

I say holiday an not Christmas because the story follows Dave and Vivian and their relationship over a fair share of holidays.
We see two people who fell in love and both have to overcome their own insecurities whilst battling the struggle that is long distance.
V. is a doctor, She has achieved all she ever wanted in life from college, to med school and residency to her job.
Dave"s life on the other hand did not turn out the way he wanted it to. That was until V walked into his bar.

The chemistry between these two was undeniable form the beginning. This book has amazing banter, some great heart-felt moments and realistic characters you can't help but love. I personally had to adjust to the writing style since 3rd person writing usually isn't quite my speed but this book is the exception to the rule.

A swoon worthy romance that is a quick read (yes I finished this one in a day) and makes you wish for a love like these two have. I have grinned, cursed but mostly enjoyed this read.

I recieved this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Meeting a hot bartender, while out with friends in a bar over a long weekend vacation in Upstate New York is how Vivian, “V”, met Dave. She was only supposed to be there for a few days, nothing more. But when flirting turns into a one-night-stand, and that turns into spending days together, V and Dave begin to wonder if there could be something more?

V and Dave are drawn to each other from the start. We get to see them from Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas as they deal with family, other thinking, and long distance in their “situationship”.

I loved this story! E.F. Dodd wrote a sweet and sassy romance, and I’m all about it! I felt like I was really able to get to know the characters, and cheered with their successes. I was left with a huge smile on my face. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Dodd’s works!

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3.5 stars!

"Almost Perfect" by E.F. Dodd is a minimal angst, high-spice holiday-time insta-love romance story featuring two pretty great main characters. I typically don't like the insta-love trope, but I think it works here because both V and Dave feel like they do belong together. I loved the chemistry between them. I loved their easy joking camaraderie, their sizzling steamy scenes, and their quick but believable heartfelt adoration for one another. Unfortunately, it feels like the story peters out at around the 65ish% mark and drags for the rest of it. I found the final miscommunication and third-act kerfuffle to be pretty silly, unnecessary, and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Still, this book reads quickly, so it wasn't horrible to finish. I do think the cover is a bit misleading, which will turn some readers off of this book altogether. While this story does take place between Halloween and Christmas, I wouldn't necessarily call this a Christmas book. Still, I had a good time reading this book. Can't wait to see what E.F. Dodd does next!

Thank you to NetGalley, Sugar Beaver Books, and E.F. Dodd for the complimentary ARC of this book. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

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Almost Perfect was such a good read. It will grab you from beginning to end. The chemistry between these two was undeniable from the beginning. This book has amazing banter, some great heart-felt moments and realistic characters you can't help but love. I felt like this was a quick read for the holidays. I will definitely be recommending this book.

Thank you NetGalley and Sugar Beaver Books for allowing me to read this ARC for my honest opinion.

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Almost Perfect absolutely exuded sexiness. From Dave and V's first encounter (hot stares across the bar? Yes please) to each of their hookup scenes, everything was steamy and so fun to read. Having been in a long-distance relationship myself, I loved the Facetime escapades and the surprise Halloween visit. This book was so heartfelt and so fun, all at the same time.

I didn't read Rae and Kez's stories before Almost Perfect and, while I wish I had read them, not reading them didn't take away from V and Dave's story.

I'd also like to add that I LOVED the Christmas village that Dave helped set up. I have my own (including Victoria Station!) so I could wholly envision this scene. While the book cover suggests this is a Christmas book, it actually spans several holidays, but I did enjoy the Christmas aspect.

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