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Former fireman Larry Davison covers his burn scars well, by working at an elementary school as a custodian, where he finds a lost hound dog behind the dumpster.
Fashion designer Jenna Hart is in town to do a charity fashion show, when she loses her top model, Little Treat. When Larry turns up with the puppy, she asks him to be in the show and bachelor auction.
Larry's not sure he belongs in a fashion show, and balks at being her good deed. Can Jenna convince Larry, beauty is never skin deep, and love's arrow strikes not only the beautiful, but the bold?
Book 1: Melisa & Rob, Christmas Lovebirds
Book 2: Jenna & Larry, Valentine Hound Dog
Book 3: Connor & Nadine, Spring Fling Kitty
Book 4: Cait & Brian, Blue Chow Christmas
Book 5: Jenna & Larry, Valentine Wedding Hound
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Erryn Barratt on 06-17-18
I love dogs.
Should I repeat that?
I LOVE DOGS.
So, seeing as the title of the book is ‘Valentine Hound Dog’ and there is a dog on the cover, I knew I had to listen to this book.
Jenna Hart is a woman on a mission. She is currently working for a fashion house, but her true goal is her own fashion line. Her entire life is centered around being successful in this cutthroat business. Her family adores her, so she heads home to San Francisco to host a fashion show that will be the talk of the town. From there, she’s thinking Fashion Week in New York and then off to Europe. She has big dreams.
I can envision the business side of fashion. Women (and men) spend billions of dollars on clothes every year and up and coming designers want to be the next ‘breakout’ star. Some aim for haute couture while others are into ready-to-wear. Regardless, they want publicity, and almost as importantly, sales.
In an effort to garner both, Jenna puts her reputation (and credit card) on the line, deciding to put together a charity auction. I wasn’t convinced she could pull it off. Contrasting with Jenna is her large service-minded family. Sister Melissa is a grade school teacher. Her brother, Connor, as their father before him, is a firefighter and Chief of the house.
Jenna’s grand idea for the fashion show is to somehow involve all her brother’s hunky fellow firefighters and – wait for it – a dog, in a runway show. Her brother’s loyal firehouse dog, Bear, has recently passed, so she figures the perfect gift to give him is another dog. Anyone who has ever grieved for a beloved pet knows there is no schedule on how to recover from the grief. Some people can go to the shelter the next day to rescue another canine or feline and adopt a new friend, while others – like myself – take almost seven years before they’re ready to risk that kind of grief again. Connor feels he needs time, but Jenna has no intention of listening. Impulsive is a nice way to describe her.
The contrast to the whirlwind and unfocused Jenna is Larry Davidson. A former firefighter in Connor’s house, he is a reluctant hero with a heavy heart. He takes great pride and joy in his job as a janitor in the local grade school. He is friends with Melissa and enjoys the company of the other faculty and students. He fixes boilers and empties trash and lives a quiet life.
Until Jenna blows into his life.
Needless to say, sedentary is a distant memory for Larry after Treat shows up, Jenna hot on the little pup’s heels. Treat is another of Jenna’s ill-conceived and crazy ideas. In the end, though, the hound becomes a matchmaker.
I enjoyed Treat (Harley’s) antics and how Larry bonded so wonderfully with the dog, both desperately needing each other. Larry has gone through a horrible ordeal and it is understandable he has hidden himself away. I thought some of Jenna’s treatment of him was tender while other parts were thoughtless bordering on cruel. The Hart family is a group of people who are not just civic-minded, but people with huge hearts and infinite capacities for love and acceptance. Their care and acceptance of Larry is touching and I believe Jenna has the same capacity, but she needs to dig deeper.
I’m torn about the characters from the fashion world and Jenna’s previous interactions with them. All of them – reporters, photographers, and Jenna’s boss, come across as vapid, narcissistic, and self-absorbed. I was grateful one of the models was actually a nice person. The other characters were obviously used to contrast with the Hart family, but it was a little cringe-worthy. Their treatment of Larry was so overtly grotesque that I wanted to skip that scene altogether.
The ‘fire’ scene was entirely unnecessary and just way too hokey.
BUT, there are things I LOVED:
Jennifer Groberg was wonderful to listen to. There were times when she saved the story from descending into ridiculousness. Her most precious moments were when she was voicing the adorable Basset Hound. I could envision the little puppy Treat with his oversized ears.
Finally, I did love the epilogue. I was smiling, which was a nice way to end the story. I’m definitely eyeing Connor’s book. ‘Valentine Hound Dog’ was the second in the series, but don’t worry about starting here. There were a lot of characters, but they are all introduced clearly and I was never lost. It looks like Book 5 will be Jenna and Larry’s wedding and since Treat, oh, sorry, Harley, is likely to be there, I just might be as well.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By A D. on 09-07-17
Sweet, feel-good contemporary romance
Book Two in Rachel Ayala's The Hart Family: Have a Hart certainly lives up to the first book in the series. It is just as sweet and has the same feel-good factor.
Jenna and Larry's story is a clear case of opposites attracting. Larry is a down-to-earth, true blue hero with the scars to prove it. His experiences have left him vulnerable and lonely. Jenna is an aspiring designer flitting about in the shallow fashion world. They contrast physically as well as in lifestyle choices making it seem impossible that they should work. Indeed these differences present large challenges for them to work through before they reach their HEA.
Luckily there are a few more Hart siblings who need to find their partners. I am looking forward to hearing their stories.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Dinky on 03-02-18
A proper feel good book
If you could sum up Valentine Hound Dog: The Hart Family in three words, what would they be?
Love, kindness, growth
Which scene did you most enjoy?
Too many to count, but most involved the dog, dogs put things into perspective!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes.. but was also one that allowed you to take a think break too
Any additional comments?
A good old fashioned romance, where looks are not important, but the love of a good dog makes magic happen!
"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."