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A New Leash on Life Mass Market Paperback – November 29, 2005

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
Book 5 of 5 in the Hearts of Gold Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Carmichael's latest pet-themed romance takes an affectionate look at the unglamorous, itinerant life of the dog-show circuit. Jane Connor is a successful trainer and handler until an Arizona wildfire strikes her property, on which she had let her insurance lapse. Left without home or income, she's forced to accept a producer's offer to feature in a documentary film about canine agility competitions. Demi-celebrity jars self-effacing Jane, as does the prospect of sharing an RV for months with her bubbly blonde producer. Her handsome trainer/handler competitor, widower Cole Forest, unsettles her still further, especially after Cole and his ornery daughter, Teri, have a vehicle breakdown and begin to travel in the same RV as Jane. Many of the plot twists feel artificial, as does the almost pathological level of self-deprecation that keeps Jane blind to Cole's attraction. Though this book is less strong than Carmichael's earlier efforts (Gone to the Dogs, etc.), her lively prose, sensitivity to Teri's inner battles and insight into all things canine still make this an appealing tale. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

Jane Connor's life is going to the dogs, and she likes it that way. As the owner of the Bark Park in her small Arizona town, she prefers dogs and cats to people. Jane and her young golden retriever, Shadow, are scoring high marks at an obedience competition when she's approached by a reality TV producer who wants her to star in a show about the dog competition circuit. Jane wants no part of it and returns home, but a wildfire soon destroys everything she owns. In an effort to give herself some breathing room, and to make some money, Jane agrees to be filmed. As she and the producer travel from trial to trial, she becomes friends with Cole Forrest, his dog, Dobby, and his young daughter, Teri. Regardless of how much she believes she's not a people person, Cole creeps under her defenses. Carmichael has created yet another wonderfully written romance featuring charming animal characters, this time around offering a truly enjoyable on-the-road adventure. Maria Hatton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553586351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553586350
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.2 x 4.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,281,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
More fun than a dog show.
A light romance with enough bite to keep me turning pages. A bit longer than absolutely necessary, but "A New Leash on Life" placed a group of interesting believable human characters into a world of dogs the average dog owner hasn't seen. It sent to me to YouTube to watch videos of Papillions competing in agility trials.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
up A New Leash on Life at the library because of the clever title, and my pretty much boundless love for dogs. It’s about a no-nonsense dog trainer named Jane who loses her dog-training business in an Arizona wildfire. Jane has never been one for fame or getting all dolled up, but thanks to her dire finances she’s forced to star in a reality TV show as she tries to win the top agility prize with her beloved golden retriever, Shadow.

Unfortunately, Jane’s biggest competition is a DILF trainer named Cole whose pampered papillon, Dobby, was named by his troubled and motherless daughter Teri. Jane has no time for children or hot guys with wimpy dogs, and she’s got to keep her eye on the prize.

While I loved the premise, A New Leash on Life turned out to be a disappointment. And not just a disappointment–I actually couldn’t bring myself to finish this book because every page felt like wading through molasses (hence the DNF, or Did Not Finish, grade). Unlike Carmichael’s hilarious Gone to the Dogs (#3), about a matchmaking snobby-woman-turned-chubby-corgi named Piggy, this installment had none of the zany situations and funny romance of its predecessor. I ended up making it all the way to page 400 without anything more than painfully obvious sexual tension occurring between Jane and Cole. I love dogs, but even I would rather read a romance than have to spend hundreds of pages learning about the ins and outs of dog showing.

Cole’s daughter, Teri, also reeks of Plot Moppet-ness. She misses her mom and lashes out at any woman who makes eyes at her dad, her her cutesy/angsty antics soon bored me. In fact, most of the book focuses on Teri’s relationship with her dad and Cole’s worries about her mental state, instead of his much more interesting crush on Jane.
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By A Customer on November 29, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dog show trainer Jane Connor has had a successful career until a wildfire destroyed her Arizona home. Since she failed to pay her biannual insurance bill as the envelop slipped under her car seat, a stunned Jane feels like stupid burnt toast when she learns she has nothing though she rescued all her canine pals and is a bit of a heroine in the Flagstaff area.

Needing income, Jane accepts an offer from producer Angela Gardner of Rising Star Production to star with her dog Shadow in a documentary film on canine agility competitions. The only problem with the job is sharing the traveling RV with several people. First there is bubbles (as she classifies the enthusiastic over everything Angela) who can drive the self deprecating Jane to lunacy with her energy that would wear out the bunny. Then there is handsome rival widower Cole Forest (and his nasty, at least to Jane, daughter).

Though lacking some of the bite from tales like GONE TO THE DOGS, etc.), A NEW LEASH ON LIFE is an amusing road show that looks deeply into the lives of people and canines involved in agility competitions. Dog aficionados will appreciate the deep look at those DIAMOND IN THE RUFF competitors as their owners ready them for the shows. Teri is filled with angst and is a vulnerable child rarely seen so sensitively written in literature. Though Jane's self-censuring becomes an irritating bark, fans will enjoy who let the dogs out escapades.

Harriet Klausner
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