Cover Image: The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

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Member Reviews

This was a fun book to read. It really showed how small town life really is. Not only did it bring the spirit of Christmas to life but also how the holiday spirit really is. I felt the relationship between Ben and Ally was fun to watch as it grew. This was an all-around feel good book.

** I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review**
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I received an advance copy of, The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, by Lizzie Shane.  This is a cute love story about dogs and people. I loved the characters, and the setting. This is a great Christmas read.
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The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Lizzie Shane

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Story Notes

Lizzie Shane offers readers a delightful Christmastime story with lots of fun happenings and a sweet romance that will leave you cheering.

Stories that happen at Christmas usually fall into one of two categories for me – too mushy/sticky sweet or hilarious good fun. This was thankfully one of the latter and I really enjoyed reading it. It begins with Ben West, who is having a very bad morning, compounded by the fact that his Keurig coffeemaker is on the fritz. He’s the guardian for his niece and everyone’s favorite town council member to bring their complaints to. Keeping everything balanced and attended to is really starting to take its toll but if he can make it through the holidays, maybe he can slow down. Ally Gilmore has come to Pine Hollow to help her grandparents run the dog shelter. A professional fashion photographer, she has spent the last few years traveling the globe to capture the best the industry has to offer. But when she finds out that her grandmother has suffered an injury that requires time off to heal, she is happy to take a breather and help out. When she literally runs into Ben in the town square, his volatile reaction gives her reason to label him both “grump” and “Scrooge”, regardless of how handsome he is. Also finding out he is partially responsible for the funding being cut for the dog shelter makes her dislike him even more. Too bad he has very good reasons for cutting that money off and for being so grumpy. Realizing he has created a real problem for Ally and her grandparents, Ben offers to help Ally find homes for the dogs that are still at the shelter – all twelve of them. So begins a race for finding good homes and people for the hilariously adorable fur friends. The time spent together will bring an unexpected friendship for Ally and Ben but the idea of something more depends on them moving beyond their fears and hurts. If only they can let go of them, they could find everything they’ve been searching for all along. I really enjoyed reading this wonderful book. From the hilarious dogs to the interesting people in Pine Hollow, it was a blast to read. The story was very well crafted with real situations and happenings that could happen to anyone. I loved how nosy yet kind everyone in town was in Ally and Ben’s lives and while it might have been frustrating, it was so nice to see. Each dog had a very clear personality and I really liked seeing how they found their way into people’s hearts. I also liked that Ms. Shane made her characters very honest and raw when dealing with situations that many of us have faced before in our lives. And she finished everything with a lovely conclusion that was just perfect. My only slight issue with the story was the addition of unnecessary curse words but the rest of the story and the characters definitely saved the story from that problem. It was otherwise a very clean and delightful story that I will certainly recommend (with a warning about the language). Hallmark would do well do snap this one up and make it into a movie ASAP.

I received this temporary complimentary E-Book from Forever/Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in order to provide a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Four shining puppy dog stars

This one’s for the dog lovers, the Hallmark Christmas movie watchers, the Gilmore Girls followers, the small-town dreamers and anyone who loves a feel-good Christmas tale.  

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas has all the makings of a charming Hallmark Christmas movie.  New York City traveling photographer Ally returns to her charming Vermont small town to help save her grandparents’ dog shelter.  Enter the ruggedly handsome but grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge city councilman responsible for the loss of the shelter’s funding.  Cue the romance.  

This was the perfect book to get me out of my 2020 blues and into the (albeit early) Christmas spirit.  It gave me all the warm and fuzzy Christmas feels.  I definitely recommend it as a cozy read to usher in the season.  Just add hot chocolate and a snuggle with your favorite dog.  

My thanks to NetGalley and Forever Grand Central Publishing  for a complimentary advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Just Read: “The Twelve Dogs of Christmas” by Lizzie Shane
Read October 2, 2020 – October 4, 2020
NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) gave me access to this adorable Christmas romance just before it officially released on September 29th and I am so thankful! At some point last month I realized a ton of Christmas novels were likely to publish soon so I figured I would scroll through and see what interested me. This one is not only about my favorite time of year but it involves rescue dogs… yeah, obviously I was requesting it right away. How can you say no to doggies and holiday magic?
What is it about? 
Think: small town Vermont enchants big city girl. Ally is in town from New York City to help her grandparents save their modest animal rescue shelter. She’s lost her way and is uncertain what she wants to do with her life but she knows that being in Pine Hollow is where she belongs for now. Ally is the type of girl who believes in signs and at the moment, all signs point here. She’s a photographer by trade and seems to find most comfort hiding behind the lens of her camera but hiding gets her in a bit of trouble when she bumps into the Grinch himself.
He’s more than a Grinch. His bad attitude may be tolerable at times but the fact that he is (mostly) to blame for the funding being cut from the city to the shelter makes him my own nemesis. He tries to make up for it but continuously falls short because his heart seems to have iced over. Ally kind of likes him, though. Mr. Grinch kind of likes her, too. It’s more than complicated as they both try to find their way in life and in each other’s lives. Sometimes feelings can seem very one-sided. 
What does it have?
•	Budding Romance
•	Christmas Festivities
•	Small Town Charm
There’s nothing more heartwarming to me than a Christmastime romance. Successful or not, the prospect of love during the holidays is such a thrill to read. Shane does a great job at delivering a charming story while giving the reader an opportunity to consider how they handle different situations in their life, especially involving family. I love how she was able to point right to some of the most obvious, yet ignored, human weaknesses while showing how to solve them. Home is where you want it to be; home is where you make it.
Is it worth reading?
I really enjoyed it! This book is a cute Christmas read and if you love dogs, it’s kind of impossible to pass up on. Every pup deserves the right home.. and so do we.
I hope you’re ready for the ride this month because I have three more upcoming/new releases to talk to you about… and yes, it’s all Christmas all the time in my heart so get a cup of hot cocoa and stay a while.
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The book blurb will tell you about the story and I won’t redo that in this review.  What I WILL do is tell you what I liked about this book:  To me, The Twelve Dogs of Christmas starts out with two people who are lost…in heart and spirit.  Ally Gilmore comes “home” to her grandparents’ place in Pine Hollow – wondering if her life in New York City may be at an end.  She loves her photography but she doesn’t have any roots there and it is starting to wear on her.  She tries to use her time to get her head on straight and decide what to do with her life…AND help her grandparents with their animal shelter.  

Ben West feels he is a fish out of water.  He has become a single dad, almost overnight, to his ten-year-old niece when his sister and her husband pass away unexpectedly.  He is trying SO hard to be all that he can be and to give his niece all that she loves and deserves.  Along the way, he loses sight of his own inner heart while trying to be everything to his family and his town and his friends.  And then he runs into Ally…literally!

I loved how these two went thru their days and learned how to just…be…a little more each day.  There were missteps for both of them, that’s for sure!  Some of them were funny:  like when Ally was startled by Ben thinking it was actually a moose sneaking up on her.  His response?  “I get that a lot.”  It’s funnier when you read it in the story but it made me smile.  And don’t get me started on the dogs.  Let me just say, Partridge.  He’ll steal your heart.

Reading about Ben and Ally was fun and heartwarming and heartbreaking at times.  People need to learn to take care of themselves, too.  And once these two figure that out, they work together and become a wonderful team.  Especially with the dogs.  The twelve days in the town’s newsletter made me laugh out loud.  Really enjoyed the story!
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I loved the premise! I loved the town! I loved the dogs!  I was even already predicting who book 2 in this series would be about, but there are two things about the Twelve Dogs of Christmas that drove me absolutely bonkers.

Twelve Dogs of Christmas has a major case of "kissus interruptus," so bad that by 80% it wasn't just delayed gratification, I was questioning whether these two wanted to get together at all.  

Second, Ben is single-parenting his niece after the death of his sister and brother-in-law, and he uses Astrid as the main excuse for why he can't date Ally. Ok, fine, You don't want to introduce someone into your life who may not be around for long and create unrealistic expectations. Totally makes sense.  But it's more than that with Ben. He uses Astrid as a shield for the entire book. And there's not nearly enough runway for his a-ha moment to be believable.  By the time it happened, I was already wanting to tell Ally to quit trying to make her case and move on.
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The meeting between Ally and Ben is not cute and their relationship appears as if it will worsen when it becomes clear to all the Ben’s was the deciding vote on the town council to pull town funding from the Gilmore dog shelter. For Ally it’s not much better when she learns the reason (it’s a good one). Feeling bad, Ben takes on yet another commitment in helping Ally place the twelve dogs currently in the shelter before Christmas and the end of the year shut down. 

Then something amazing happens. Ben truly does help and he and Ally begin to spend time together. Their friendship rapidly blossoms as the town throws itself into noticing everything they do then spreading rumors (good ones). There are hiccups along the way but I was enjoying watching Ben’s devotion to his niece, how Astrid and Ally talk and bond a bit over shared feelings of loss (see above car crashes), and lots of people step up to help place these dogs – most of whom have issues but are lovable nonetheless. Ben’s friendship with his poker buddies is a hoot, too. 

It does seem as if Ben and Ally feel the spark between them but doggone it (pun intended) I did get tired of Ben continuing to recoil from any hint of romance due to “putting Astrid first.” I can’t fault his determination to be there for his niece and think of her welfare before his own but after a while I began to think that he was hiding himself behind a wall and naming that wall “Astrid.” Finally Ally started to catch on, too. Just when I thought there would be a breakthrough, everything crashes. It’s the final conflict, I thought. It will be worked through. Only then something else happens and information is revealed (or maybe reinforced?) about Ben. I started to doubt whether he was truly ready for a relationship. Could he change that much and that quickly before the book ended? 

Well, it’s a romance so there is a HEA but it felt more rushed and obligatory than totally worked out and finalized. Suddenly Ben has “seen the light” and the “error of his (all his life) ways” and is ready to commit? Um, I’m not totally convinced. For over 3/4 of the book, I loved it. But the important part – buying into the romance dream – didn’t win me over. B-
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✦Review: THE TWELVE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS (Pine Hollow Book 1) by Lizzie Shane
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna
Rated 5 Stars 

This book was just what I needed. A heartwarming story about finding something you forgot you needed. Yes, it is based on a tried and true storyline, but it was told in a way that felt new. I fell into Ben’s spell from page one, he did frustrate me from time to time, but I still loved and understood him. Ally was also easy to like. She was open and so full of hope, that she pulled me into her journey as well. I couldn’t help but yearn for them to get together. The dogs, family and townspeople added just the right small-town holiday spirit that makes this a perfect Christmas book. This light romance made me tear up a few times as well as smile long after I read the last page. I’m now looking forward to book two in the Pine Hollow Series.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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A really sweet holiday story. Ally Gilmore has taken a break to come to Pine Hollow to see and help her grandparents. Little did she know that the rescue shelter has just had its funding cut and they have four weeks to find homes for twelve dogs before it closes its door. Ben West feels bad as he was the deciding vote as it was the only place they could cut funding to make major repairs left by a huge snowstorm. Because of this he has offered to help by posting pictures of the pups they needed to find homes for. Ben feels he is in over his head and because of that, he sometimes gets grumpy hence they call him Scrooge but know he has a heart of gold.  Two years ago his sister and husband were killed in an accident and they had asked him to raise their daughter Astrid should anything ever happen to them. The story is clean and located in a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business but also was there when you needed them, you just had to ask. If you like dogs, you will enjoy the pups in this story too. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and this is my honest review.
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A Christmas with fur babies and precocious 10 year olds, winner, winner here!
I hadn't read a book by Lizzie Shane before and this was awesome.  
A great Christmas time read melded with the seriousness of pets needing furever homes just tugs your heart.  
Poor Ben known as Scrooge really wasn't a scrooge at all.  Just afraid of loss and control.  
Ally was amazing and just what scrooge needed, but didn't know it.  She made everything better in Ben's mind.  He just had to get past one big obstacle, himself!
Recommended read from me to put on an awww smile and a lighter heart.  
I received an advance reader copy via Net Galley.  I am giving my thoughts voluntarily.
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The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is a total hallmark movie! If they haven't optioned this yet, they are missing out! City girl uprooted to small town? Check! Town grump trying to raise his niece? Check!

Dog lovers will delight in the plot for sure. Ally and Ben are trying to find homes for 12 dogs. I LOVED that the author put a positive spin on pit bulls. The dogs are some of the sweetest but they get such a bad rap in the mainstream media. Adding to the delight of the dogs is the endearing townspeople. They are your mix of campy gossip mongers, loving family, and zany characters. They really make the town feel real and I wanted to visit.

Ally and Ben have a slow burn relationship; this would normally not be my thing, but I was so charmed by the story, I wasn't bothered by it! Their romance is the main point of the story, but it isn't the ONLY thing in the story. I think readers who don't want a sexy romance will enjoy this because it's very low flame. At the same time, regular romance readers who enjoy all heat levels will be charmed by the story and romance! The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is sweet, lovable small town romance that will provide an escape for readers!
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A sweet and charming holiday romance!

Ally is in town helping her grandparent's with their dog rescue shelter. Christmas is approaching when she finds out the city is cutting the funding that keeps the doors open.  The deciding vote to cut the funding came from Ben, an over-worked councilman who is guardian to his niece.

As the two of them work to get all the shelter dogs adopted love is definitely in the air. This story felt like the best Hallmark movie or small town tv show. It had a nice mix of the struggles that both Ben and Ally face and humorous and sweet moments.

I really enjoyed the writing and storytelling. I flew through the story and am already looking forward to more!
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The Twelve Dogs of Christmas was a really cute story about dogs, love, family, responsibility, and opening your heart. The activities to hep place the shelter dogs were so cute and clever, almost as cute as the dogs.

Poor Ebenezer Ben had a lot on his plate trying to fulfill his sister and brother-in-law's shoes after they died and he became a guardian to Astrid, his adorable niece. He was always overwhelmed until Ally showed up in his life. It was fun to watch the two of them and to see the small town speculate that they were dating.

I really liked how the small town willingly came together to help each other when it was really needed. It gave the reader that wonderful Christmas spirit of hope.

This story will have your heart pulling for Ben, that he can somehow open his heart and let others in to help. It will also have you hoping Ally can find her place, her home and not return back to New York City where she does not want to be. I received an advance copy of this book and I willingly chose to write an honest review.
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You don’t need to be a dog lover to appreciate Lizzie Shane’s The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, just someone who loves small town holiday books with all the feels. From grumpy, Scrooge-like Ben, the single guardian to his niece Astrid, a self-professed dog fanatic to photograph Ally, determined to save her grandparents dog rescue. These two opposites are fun to watch as they become friends after an accidental coffee mishap during their first meeting.
I appreciate so many aspects of this book. I love how Shane wrote Astrid as a well adjusted ten year old, still mourning her parents but not being that ultra bratty kid that I’ve read way too much of lately. I like how everyone in town is invested in a relationship between Ben and Ally, even as they themselves deny that romantic bond. And the dogs! Each dog has their own personality and the reader really gets to know each one, like we were looking for one to adopt. 
This was a really great book for any time of year, not just at Christmas and not just for dog lovers.
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This holiday tale has all the makings of a Hallmark Christmas movie – big-city girl Ally returns to charming small town to help her grandparents run their animal shelter. However, the funding for the shelter gets cut right before the holidays by the cute but grinchy city councilman Ben, who is a single insta-dad to his dog-obsessed niece. Cue the romance. 

Overall, I found this book to be paws-itively charming. Like many contemporary romances, it dragged a bit in the middle as we all had to suffer through the inevitable misunderstandings and cold feet. But, in the end it’s a cute story with all the holiday feels. If you enjoy Christmas movies, I recommend you buy this book now and save it for your holiday TBR!  

Book synopsis: Pine Hollow has everything Ally Gilmore could wish for in a holiday break: gently falling snow in a charming small town and time with her family. Then she learns some Grinch has pulled the funding for her family's rescue shelter, and now she has only four weeks to find new homes for a dozen dogs! But when she confronts her Scrooge-y councilman nemesis, Ally finds he's far more reasonable -- and handsome -- than she ever expected.

As the guardian of his dog-obsessed ten-year-old niece, Ben West doesn't have time to build a cuddly reputation. But he does feel guilty about the shelter closing. So he proposes a truce with Ally, agreeing to help her find homes for the dogs. As the two spend more time together, the town's gossip is spreading faster than Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve.

Throughout the book, we are introduced to many single characters, so I have no doubt that this will be the first book in a new series. The town was really cute (reminded me of Stars Hollow, actually, for you Gilmore Girls fans) with lots of quirky characters. 

Thank you to @netgalley and @readforeverpub for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Holiday romance at it’s best: small town, single dad, saving family from a Christmas disaster, dogs, a grinch-like hero!

Pine Hollow really sines at Christmas, and there is no place Ally would like to be then right here, helping her grandparents at their dog shelter while her grandmother recoups from an injury. But soon the mission to help run the seller becomes a rescue mission as the town pulls thier funding for other demands. Now she needs to find a way to keep the seller afloat and find homes for twelve special dogs!

Guilt and responsibility fuel town councillor Ben into action to help find homes for the displaced shelter dogs… he is already up to his ears in responsibilities and doesn’t have time for this, but he can’t resist Ally and the dogs!

This story was absolutely adorable and totally had me immersed in the Christmas spirit! I kept expecting to look up from my book and see my living room all trussed up like a Christmas goose!

As I mentioned above, this book had everything needed to make a perfect Christmas romance. It’s a sweet treat, perfect to get you in the holiday spirit!

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Lizzie Shane is scheduled to release September 29th, 2020.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Forever Publishing and NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Blog link:
#TheTwelveDogsofChristmas #LizzieShane #NetGalley #pinkcowlandreads
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Thanks to Netgalley and Forever Pub for the early copy of this book in exchange for a review.

This was such a cute Christmas story!  Felt like watching a Hallmark movie.  Very much G rated but that works for me since I don't really want to read a lot of romance.  A light hearted story about a young woman, Ally Gilmore,  returning to her hometown to stay with her grandparents around the holidays.  They run a dog only shelter (which I thought was weird, where are the cats?) and the shelter is going to lose money and not be able to operate at the end of the year.  

Ben West is a young single dad who has his sister's daughter after her and her husband die.  I thought it was weird that he automatically had to take on all their roles and jobs too, but I guess that's the story.  He's the "town grinch" and of course he has a bad run in with Ally when she first gets there.

But it doesn't stay that way and they become fast friends, working to help the shelter.  The setting of this reminded me a lot of Stars Hollow and Gilmore Girls.  Just a cute holiday story.
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Puppies, cute kid, Christmas, grumpy man, snow, cute small town, and oh yeah more puppies...what could be wrong with this at all...nothing! This is so cute and I just loved it! This is one you just want them to make into a movie- it's so feel good- warm fuzzies! New single dad who is the town grump but really loves it all but afraid to fail. Big town city girl comes home to help grandparents and run their dog rescue- runs into grump man and bingo it starts! This one will make you want a puppy! SUPER slow burn and almost no steam. Hope we get to come back to this super cute small town! 

Overall, 5 holiday stars and .5 steam. 

Thanks to Forever and Netgalley for this book in exchange for an honest review.
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What a perfect holiday romance to get you in the spirit! I adored this book about an animal shelter that has lost it's funding in the small town of Pine Hollow, VT. Following along a slow burn romance between lifelong resident Ben West and Ally West, a newcomer who's grandparents run the aforementioned shelter, this book tugs at the reader's heart strings in all the right ways. I absolutely adored both the back stories of the two main characters as well as the multiple minor characters that were built up around them, making way for future novels in the series. 

I really appreciated the twist in the novel regarding Ben being the guardian of his late sister's pre-teen daughter. This added a lot to his character as a whole, providing solid reasoning behind his thoughts and actions. I also loved the multifaceted growth that occurred with him throughout the book. Even his growing relationship with the dogs was endearing.

I also LOVED how each of the dogs became strong characters in their own rights. They were provided such personality and they helped to really move the story and romance along. It was easy to see that the author did her research on the dog breeds and I loved that some of them had their own human character to reflect with. 

This was a great book and I highly recommend it, especially if you are a fan of romance series that take place in small towns. This first book laid the groundwork for the novels that will follow without letting those plots overshadow the main one in this story. It was really hard to put down and just so heartwarming and entertaining from start to finish. I can't wait to return to Pine Hollow and have already preordered the next novel!
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