Baker’s Dozen (Soul Mutts Series 1)

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Baker's Dozen (The Soul Mutts Series Book 1)

Last Free Dates: 26th Nov 21 to 28th Nov 21
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...A happy, heart-warming, dog story, if somewhat by-the-numbers, that dog lovers will love....

Baker, a boxer-mix has had a hard life. Untrusting of humans after a succession of poor owners, and bullied by other dogs, she’s on her final chance in the shelter. Maeve is a designer deserted by her boyfriend, dealing with the clients from hell, and desperate to open a bakery and improve her life. When fate, or rather Maeve’s friend Emma, turns up on her doorstep and drops off Baker without permission it isn’t a match made in heaven. Could it be?

This is a heartwarming story about dogs, written for dog lovers by an obvious dog lover. Of course there will be a happy ending. It is not a spoiler when it is obvious. As the first book in the Soul Mutts series, it isn’t surprising that this book is definitely one for dog lovers.

It’s a fast read, taking me very little time to finish including review notes. There are some typos, e.g. “leave the dog a long in the hot car”, but these are easily skimmed over. I often had to stop myself skimming instead of reading, but overall it is the undemanding, relaxing and generally fun read that I think the author intended it as.

Many tropes are found, and none are left unexplored. The moment you hear the plucky heroine must win a competition to get her dreams, you know where this is going, and it does not surprise. However the journey there is entertaining and dog lovers will love Baker who is surprisingly adorable (and suffers the Boxer dog’s curse of eyes bigger than stomach).

The story is told in close third from Baker and Maeve’s viewpoints, with conversations Baker could not understand relayed to move the plot along. Likewise the sections between MacCavity and Baker just miss being ‘talking animal’, keeping to sentiments that could be conveyed through body language alone. There interactions should be painfully realistic to anyone who has seen an established cat getting a new dog firmly under paw.

That said, the characters in here are mainly archetypes, quickly sketched and moved on from: the pushy best friend, the high school bully, the benevolent doctor, etc. More time is spent on the animals, Baker, the shy nervous Boxer, and MacCavity a larger – and slyer – than life feline, whose personalities come off the page. I didn’t get much of a feel for Maeve’s character, only for her situation: dumped by a boyfriend, trying to change jobs, chasing her dreams… Characters act as the plot demands, which makes this an easy read but one that did occasionally make me want to throw things.

The plot contrivances involve the idiot ball – unless you want to think that a friend knows someone just so well that they can ignore what that person wants, everything they’ve said and done, and tread straight on their traumatic past and the end result will work out. In real life, people stop being friends or press charges over things like this. Fortunately this book is fiction and not a life guide, so it does work out.

Said ball passes hands frequently whenever required to move events on. Who on earth in a shelter has a biting and aggressive dog out without a muzzle by an open door to the reception area where there are other dogs and access to the outside? Realistically, disaster follows. Unrealistically, no one is sued and the dog is not put down.

Unusually, this is good for most ages. Middle-school children and upwards should enjoy it, though the shelter sequences might be a bit strong for some. For adults its a pleasant, feel-good, read with a happy ending to lift your day.

Overall, dog lovers looking for a fun and heart-warming read should pick this up, and give a thought to the rest of the series if it follows in this vein. Pet lovers and those who like animal storys should do the same. For the rest it is a light, cozy, story to pass a pleasant afternoon with tea.

Rating: 3
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