15 January, 2017

Almost in Love (Clover Park STUDS, Book 1) by Kylie Gilmore #Review

Pages -  321
Publisher -  Extra Fancy Books
Published -  February 24, 2015
Sold by -  Amazon
Author Page -  Link
Genre -  Contemporary, Romance
Series -  Clover Park STUDS 1-5
Sexual Content -  4/5
Language -  mild

Successful entrepreneur, Barry Furnukle, is ready to take things to the next level with the pink-haired neighbor he adores. But when his attempt to woo her with the world’s most “awesome” date (birding and fro-yo) lands him in the friend zone, he wonders if a guy like him ever had a chance.
On advice from his ladies’ man brother, Barry returns to his acting roots for a little confidence rehab. Suddenly, he’s got more female attention than he knows what to do with. But will his newfound popularity make him happy? Or will he finally release his inner stud to win the woman he can’t forget?

Let me begin by including a blurb from the author's Amazon buy page...

A humorous friends to lovers romance from USA Today bestselling author Kylie Gilmore.

...then point out two things: humorous and bestselling author.

I have no doubt about the latter as this was a relatively easy and surprisingly flawless read but with the redundancy overkill issue to make it just this side of annoying/insulting.

As for its being humorous?

Let me think.

You're either a comedian or you're not, and you're either great at execution or you never get it quite right.

And, when all else fails, the reader may find it funny. . .or not.

I wasn't particularly amused.

This read more like a trending Geek Romance than a humorous romp through Romance land, but props to the author for making me think one way and then believe something entirely different.

I love that in any story.

When I was introduced to Amber (h) as being pink-haired and on the arm of a biker dude, my inner voice let out a dull groan of disappointment.

But, Artsy Amber turned out to be someone completely different from what said mind had conjured up at the start.

Barry Furnukle (H) didn't strike me as being the H type, and with a stupid name, the inner groan grew louder.

But, the author managed to turn things around and make me LIKE the guy while also helping me to believe he is not only worthy and redeemable but an honest to goodness stud.

These two deserved one another, and once Barry (Bare) volunteered to try out for the lead in The Pirates of Penzance, the story took off.


I was led to believe that Amber wouldn't fall for a Geek and that feeling remained up to the very end, which made it difficult to feel a love connection when the only thing Bare really had to offer was amazing sex.

And lots of money.

And a willingness to pursue despite a few hurdles being tossed at him along the way.

And once Barry became the lead Pirate in the play, Amber took a back seat in the story while falling for suddenly studly Barry Furnukle.

The Geek who danced an Irish Jig at a nightclub, who spent more than an hour showing her his favorite Birding spot without ever really noticing Amber's boredom, and who donned a female Cow costume, danced around inside his Frozen Yogurt store, and fell down in front of her and the customers.

Amber became shallow, and I kept waiting for Barry to get an over-sized ego from his sudden stardom and all the female attention it garnered.

And yes, these worrisome issues were mentioned in the story.

Barry realized that Amber might suddenly be interested because he exercised to (insert dumb exercise video name here) to impress her and then became very popular as a lead Pirate in a small-town theater production.

Which was weird, because Barry decided to try out for the position in order to get Amber's attention, and he's suddenly wary when it happens?

Then there was the Pavlov's Dog treatment that just didn't sit well with me.

I suppose the author meant it to be sexy or alluring, but there was something troubling about Barry's wanting to control Amber sexually that I just didn't care for at all.

Barry kind of read more like an overgrown teenager than a mature man with a brain, but he also read as an adorable sweety with plenty of love to give, so there is that.

Amber didn't quite behave all mature, either, though.

The resentment she clung to for her mother's abandonment seemed a bit much for her age (27) but then I could be wrong because I'm a lot older than that and still cling to some issues from my childhood.

But, when said aggressor finally reaches out to said victim, you would think a light bulb moment would occur, right?

If there is one thing a victim waits their whole life to obtain, it is that reaching out moment from their aggressor.

An apology would be nice kind of thing.

When the wrong reaction occurs, I tend to scratch my head in wonder.

The introduction of other characters occurs not to bog down the main plot but as a way for the author to introduce us to characters for upcoming novels in the series and yes, I became interested to find out what happens to at least one of them.

However, it also read as if some of these characters are from other novels in another series, which caused a bit of confusion for me since this is my very first Kylie Gilmore novel.

Still considered as stand-alone, but you might want to hunt down and read the Clover Park series (there are 10) to learn about and understand who these people are in Almost in Love.

Lastly, there was the aforementioned redundancy issue that makes for difficult reading and tends to force me out of the story and into editor mode.

Two types occur in this novel:

Barry booked a Gallery for Ambers art to be shown in the Gallery, and the Gallery is where Amber's art is shown. Amber's Gallery debut at the Gallery proved her art is worth showing in a Gallery.

*Barry loves birds and created a birding app with different bird sounds.  Barry used his birding app as an alarm that played bird calls.

*Amber loves her art and enjoys painting but never sold anything on eArt, and after years of posting on eArt, she still waits for someone to notice her art.

We are reminded again and again about these two subjects while the words are repeated several times in a single sentence.

In fact, the reader is reminded about several things throughout the story, which became insulting to my intelligence as a reader.

Also, after reading an excerpt for the next in the series, I'm not sure I'm interested in continuing because the excerpt read practically the same way as Almost in Love.

Same Plot, same Formula.

Geeky male lead, sought-after yet uninterested female lead, and Geek vs. burly Rock Star nemesis.

Once is plenty for me.

The hero of Almost in Love, Barry Furnukle, appears in the Clover Park series too, starting with Bad Taste in Men, where he's the "villain."

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