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Valentine Hound Dog: The Hart Family

Have A Hart, Book 2
Narrated by: Jennifer Groberg
Series: Have a Hart, Book 2
Length: 4 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)
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This Story Is Flirty

Publisher's Summary

If you love sweet romances (PG-rating), look no further than Rachelle Ayala's, Have a Hart series. The Harts are a family of San Francisco firefighters. Their family motto is: Heart comes first.

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

©2015 Rachelle Ayala (P)2017 Rachelle Ayala Publishing, LLC

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cute story

This was basically a story of a beautiful woman who uses her looks and body in addition to her talent to get what she wants and a hot former firefighter who got badly burned and became a different, less confident man. Throw in a cute puppy and you have an instrument to connect the two. It's a sweet romance with a lot of issues to get through. The narration wasn't the best. Jennifer Groberg has a pretty, feminine voice that is great for the female characters but when I am trying to picture hot firefighters I'd like to hear a strong male voice. I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another entertaining story in this series

If you are looking for a clean, at times touching romance about two seemingly opposites in character and “beauty”, then you are sure to enjoy this second book of the Hart family.
This time the animal featured is a sweet hound dog named Harley.
Larry, a former fire fighter whose career ended when he sustained severe burns while saving five children, is a man still trying to deal with his new life. He’s also the best friend to Connor, one of Jenna Hart’s brothers.
Jenna was a little bit hard to warm up to. She is a fashion designer who seems more interested in her success than in her family and poor Larry. But fate, in the form of Harley brings them together in this new version of “beauty and the beast”. Though honestly, Larry is anytime but the beast. Will Jenna realize there is more to life than a career?
In the meantime, the Hart family continues to entertain as they try to help the romance along. Sometimes unsuccessfully.
In the end, it’s another enjoyable story in this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Saccharine and Cliched

I listened to this book as part of the Audible Romance package, which I am trying out for 30 days. If this is the "quality" of books received with the package, I will cancel well before the trial is over. My headline pretty much says it all. I spent the first part of the book trying to figure out if it was the narrarators overly perky voice that I found grating, or if the story and writing were what got on my nerves. I decided, long before I was done listening, that it was a tie. This book had no nuance. Rather, the author bashes her audience on the head with the theme: wounded, physically and emotionally damaged hero meets and falls in love with beautiful and seemingly superficial sister of best friend. Throw in a dog or two, throw in multiple communication mishaps, former lovers... you get it. So many ingredients that did not make a complex and interesting read, but instead a tasteless mess, that was fortunately only 4 hourse and 38 minutes long.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Puppy Love

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:

Larry
Treat (Harley)
The charity
The narrator

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very heartwarming

This is a very heartwarming clean romance. There is a lot of romance and a little sadness but very enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jan M
  • Southwest
  • 02-27-18

Cute and Fun

I fell in love with Harley! Jenna and Larry belonged together. I loved how Jenna summed up Larry's scars as badges of courage. This story is sweet and has so much going for it. I enjoyed the narration, and got a laugh out of the howls. This is a standalone listen and part of a series. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful Fashion Designer Falls For Scarred Firefighter

I received a copy for a voluntary and honest review.

Jenna comes from a large family with several firefighters. She is working at making a name for herself in fashion design. She is planning a show to showcase her designs and benefit the firefighters fund where her dad was chief and noe her brother is. Jenna because of her beauty and profession is thought of as shallow, even sometimes by her family but she isn’t. She is sweet thoughtful and capable of being hurt
She meets Larry, friend of her brother, scarred from saving children in a fire The story revolves around his lack of self worth after losing 1 child in the fire and his scarred face and body
Jenna knows they have very different lives but she doesn’t see his scars but the man
Their discovery of each other, misunderstanding of Jenna not only by Larry but her family, who will stick
Love and stick up for her
So sweet and Loving and tender story. You’d love to be a part of this family!
This is the second book and IMissed the first but it was alright and can be read alone.
The narrator could not have been better. She was absolutely perfect
Looking for sweet heart tugging romance this is it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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remarkably cute

as a dog lover I just adored this book so very much it's such a cute and the very very lovely book I was smiling a lot during this book and incredible and sweet Valentines story

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a dog can do!

If you are a dog lover and a lover of the underdog, then this story is for you. From start to finish, it is full of fun, warmth, a little heartache and a whole lot of self realization. Rachelle Ayala is such a wonderful writer, she takes some very difficult real life situations and melds them into a story in a way that you feel the pain, work through the problems and come out better for it in the end. This story of Larry and Jenna is beautiful. We did meet both in the first book of this series, and I was immediately infatuated with Larry. He was chasing Jenna's sister, but to no avail. This broken man has so much to give, but has a few obstacles of his own to get over before he is able to really live. Jenna is very self absorbed and when she meets up with Larry, who is willingly taking care of her dog(and it is so sweet the way he is with him) is suddenly looking at her life in a different light. The questions remain though if these two can figure out a way to make it work. Give it a listen, you will love it.

Narration by Jennifer Groberg, the hours of listening are pleasant and go by quickly. She has a very good pace, and her voices in this book are easily differentiated between characters. It is a pleasure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Captivating

This second book of the series was just as sweet as the first. It was funny, romantic and absolutely captivating. I really enjoyed Larry and Jenna’s story and was so happy to see Larry get his HEA. Of course I couldn’t help but fall in love with Harley! The only downside to the audiobook was that all of Jennifer Groberg’s voices sounded feminine. This book was given to me for free and I provided this voluntary review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A D.
  • 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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dinky
  • 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."