Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Who can resist a cute little puppy? Turns out, no one in this story, which is as it should be! Dog lovers will really enjoy this book, not only because Daisy figures prominently throughout, but also because of all the dog themed humor. Not over the top, but just right for a vet and a city boy who just moved to the farm.
Noah Jenkins is an engineering consultant in Chicago who had just gone through a humiliating breakup when his grandfather died and left him a farm in rural Newton, Illinois. Leaving the city to get away from his ex seemed like a perfect plan, and since his work was primarily on-line, he was able to move immediately. He didn’t know a thing about farming, but thought he would just figure it out as he went along. He bought a puppy – another completely new experience – and jumped right in.
One of his first days out, Daisy got bit, and Noah rushed her to the local vet. He was convinced it was a snake bite, was embarrassed to find out it was just a bee sting, but it was a perfect meet-cute for Noah and Hunter Ross, veterinarian. Newton is a small town, so they inevitably met up later, and although Hunter was a little awkward, they bonded over Daisy and became friends, and shortly afterwards, lovers. But Newton was more than just a little conservative, and Hunter was still haunted by the memory of a local man beaten and run out of town for being gay, so he was as deep in the closet as he could get.
It’s been a while since I read a contemporary romance with this level of homophobia, but I thought the author sold it well. Even as I got frustrated with Hunter’s reluctance to acknowledge his relationship with Noah to the safe people in town, I understood why he held back. The pace of their relationship also seemed just right for their situation, and Noah’s reasons for holding back were also explained in a way that were consistent with who he was, and how he acted with other people in his life. The secondary characters rounded the story out well, and had their own wisdom to add. I thought the dialogue was great – they joked, they bantered, and it was funny and entertaining without being fake, and I thought it would be fun to hang out with these guys. I loved it when Hunter teased Noah by using the same language with him that he did with Daisy!
I would have given the book a higher rating except for a few things. First, the book is written in present tense, which I absolutely hate and which usually makes me DNF a book. Present tense is annoying and feels artificial, and all I can say is that at least I stuck it out because the story itself was really cute; change the tense throughout the entire book and it goes up one whole star. Second, the ending seemed rushed and incomplete. I was expecting the violence, but Noah’s and Hunter’s reaction to it didn’t seem quite right and I wanted more explanation of how they felt and why they decided to do what they did, but then the story was just over. It felt like the entire book was building up to a HEA, but the author just stopped midway to make it HFN and possibly make a sequel. There was no satisfactory wrap up to the plot (or at least to the character’s feelings about the events), but also there was nothing that made me think I have to read the next book. It felt like the author had a story arc for one book, but decided to drag it out into a series or something. So, overall it was cute, but nothing to make me want to read it again.
Cover by May Dawney Designs is adorable
Kindle Edition, 177 pages
Published June 23rd 2018 by Small Black Cat Media
SeriesPaw Prints #1 settingIllinois (United States)