Puppy Love by Lucy Gilmore

Puppy Love by Lucy Gilmore
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

These adorable service puppies
are matchmakers in the making…

When Sophie Vasquez and her sisters dreamed up Puppy Promise-their service puppy training school-it was supposed to be her chance to bring some good into the world. But how can she expect to do anything when no one will take her seriously?

Enter Harrison Parks: a rough, gruff, take-no-bull wildlife firefighter in need of a diabetic service dog. He couldn’t be a more unlikely fit for Sophie or Bubbles-the sweet Pomeranian she knows will be his perfect partner-but when Sophie insists he give them both a shot, something unexpected happens: he listens. Even better, he keeps on listening, even as Sophie and Bubbles turn his lonely, uber-masculine world upside-down.
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As it turns out, they all have something to prove…and more than enough room in their hearts for a little puppy love.

I adored this book. Every chapter, every page, even the epilogue was perfect. This was the most uplifting, romantic and heartwarming novel I’ve read in a long while. The plot revolves around Sophie and Harrison but the character that stole the show was Bubbles, the support dog. You have no idea how emotional I got while reading this story. It was spectacularly believable, cheery and joyful, with a wonderful sense of humor. I felt like I was getting a book hug.

If a reader is fed up with all the dark drama in the real world then escape to a place where miracles happen – between the pages of Puppy Love. Harrison is a bit of a grouch and he has a few reasons to be that way. He’s solidly made of hero material because he cares, he can be counted on and he’s really a protector – although if you told him all these things he wouldn’t believe you. He thinks he’s broken and in some aspects he is, especially after he suffered a serious medical condition and his mom abandoned him when he was just a kid. That’s one of the reasons I liked him so much. Harrison’s sad past made him the unsocial guy everyone respects but won’t approach making him a hero in need of healing. The hero is worth saving and I was cheering for him.

Sophie has her own past burdens to carry and they’re significant. The difference of having family support and love during trying times is made very clear – the heroine ended up well-adjusted, determined, happy and somehow can lighten the mood and bring sunshine where there is grumbly thunder. She was the light in Harrison’s internal dark fortress. I loved her sense of humor and her extreme patience when dealing with her recalcitrant hero. Best of all, she was great with puppies.

Bubbles is the best dog ever. The funniest dialogue occurs early in the book when Harrison experiences Sophie, and meets the puppy, for the first time. The names the heroine comes up with to describe Bubbles were hysterical. In fact, even before the first chapter was done, I’d already laughed out loud quite a bit, I know had a grin plastered on my face. I truly had a feeling I was in for a very fun time right from the get-go. I was not wrong. The heroic little puffball was able to do what no human could do, reach Harrison’s heart and the soft side of the hardened man.

When I mention fun dialogue, I mean it’s hilarious. The names she comes up with to describe Harrison’s male attribute were comical and amusing, not to mention incredibly inventive. I let out a loud guffaw at the scene were Sleeping Beauty is referenced. The banter between Sophie and Harrison turned out to be the gem of the novel due to its strength, naturalness and sheer irreverent fun. Their attraction to each other caused sparks to fly. They pretty much seduced each other and though it initially was subtle, once passion flared they explored it to the max. What amazed me was that every encounter showed progression of their relationship and expressed their growing love in tangible ways. It was awesome.

There is a lot more I can say about this book but a) it would be too long and b) I’d be sorely tempted to unleash a few spoilers. I didn’t get to mention that the book is populated with awesome secondary characters. Also there is the theme of forgiveness. When a person forgives and reaches out, the gains and benefits are extraordinary and good things start to happen. Happiness can happen.

Run, don’t walk, to get your own copy of Puppy Love. It’s worth every minute reading. It’s worth staying up until 1 a.m. just to finish it. It’s worth falling in love. Ms. Gilmore has written an awesome novel!

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