Cover Image: Heart on a Leash

Heart on a Leash

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Member Reviews

This romance would have been perfectly charming even without the huskies, but I'm a firm believer that dogs make almost any story better.

Taylor Lipin is disenchanted with her life in LA, but she doesn't know it until she loses her job and returns home to Helen, Alaska to help her family run their resort hotel. While there she meets Josh, a physician. Their chemistry is smoking hot and their banter is everything I could ask for. Straight to the HEA, right? Well, no, because Josh is a Porter. And here's where things get complicated, because the Lipins and the Porters have been locked in a Hatfields/McCoys style feud for literally over a century. They’ll stop at nothing to get ahead of each other, whether it's jockeying for economic and political power or a little light vandalism. Once Josh and Taylor’s relatives find out they’re dating, their actions escalate to the point where actual violence becomes a possibility. 

I loved Taylor's slightly sardonic voice, and how she is just done with this whole feud mess. Josh and Taylor's relationship was really well done, as were their conflicted feelings about their families and the feud trying to tear them apart. Each is understandably concerned about the other getting hurt by some overzealous relative (even aside from the inevitable awkwardness at family events). Indirectly the book was also a nice comment on the dangers of dehumanizing your opponents. The wrap-up was heartwarming, even more so because the dogs were directly involved in moving the plot forward (the Porters are obsessed with huskies and every member of the family has a bunch of them). I very much enjoyed HEART ON A LEASH, and PAWS AND PREJUDICE, the next book in the series (though not a P&P retelling) is at the top of my TBR!
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Don't let the cover on this book fool you! Heart on a Leash was unexpectedly steamy! If you love books set in Alaska, I highly recommend it. This was a fun book with a little bit of everything -- romance, small towns, steam, and of course adorable doggies!!
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3 1/2 Stars
It's not the Hatfields and McCoys but the feud between the Lipins and the Porters contributed to the interesting storyline. I really like Taylor and Josh. They both are against the feud and disapproving of it made me like them even more. Josh's three huskies, Jay, Pepper and Bella were fun to see interacting with Taylor and Josh. I can't say this was fast-paced story but I did enjoy the storyline.

I received an ARC in exchange for a honest review.
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The review will appear at Romance Reviews Today:

HEART ON A LEASH – Alanna Martin
Hearts of Alaska, Book 1
Berkley Jove
ISBN: 9780593198834
April 27, 2021
Romantic Comedy

Helen, Alaska – Present Day

An urgent message from her sister Lydia in Alaska changes Taylor Lipin’s life. Lydia’s news is that their parents have separated, and with their mother moving to Anchorage, it’s left Lydia to run the family bed & breakfast alone. Can Taylor come home for a few days to help her manage the ensuing chaos? As it turns out, Taylor learns on the same day that she’s been laid off from her job in Los Angeles, so doesn’t have an excuse to say no. Returning home will mean once again finding herself living with the ongoing feud between the Lipin and Porter families. A feud she hates because it’s too stupid. Shortly after arriving in Helen, Taylor goes out for takeout food and runs into a handsome man—a local doctor named Josh Krane. The two hit it off and, even though Taylor will only be in Helen for two weeks, they go on a few clandestine dates. She likes his three dogs, though Lipins are cat lovers, and the dog lovers are Porters. Then, to her shock, she learns that he is related to the Porters.

Josh, like Taylor, thinks the Porter/Lipin feud is crazy. The blood is so bad between the families that they are not allowed to mingle, and you must choose sides. They pull pranks on each other, which Josh feels is childish. After realizing that Taylor is a Lipin, they continue to date, but it’s even more secretive. But since Helen is a small town, the truth is bound to come out. How will their families react? Can their fling continue past the discovery—and beyond two weeks?

It’s a romance not unlike Romeo and Juliet in HEART ON A LEASH by Alanna Martin. Well, except Taylor and Josh won’t be drinking poison to end their lives. What started the feud between the two clans? Just some fighting over politics and such that has gone on for years. As for Taylor, between trying to juggle her romance with Josh and helping her sister run the B & B, she must deal with the unraveling of her parents’ marriage. The relationship between Josh and Taylor is cute and adorable, with the added bonus of his three huskies, all of whom love her back. In a normal situation, including living in the same town, they’d be dating long term. But Taylor left Helen because of the feud and Josh’s job is here. How can they even make it work? Heck, the short-term is going to be hard when the families start pressing them to end things. 

This is the first tale I’ve ever read by this author and it won’t be the last. I can’t wait for the next one coming after HEART ON A LEASH, which is titled PAWS AND PREJUDICED, out the end of June. This tale is fun and breezy, just what readers need to read and relax whenever the stresses of the day get to them. I highly recommend putting HEART ON A LEASH on your book buying list.

Patti Fischer
Romance Reviews Today
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Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin is the first book in her new Hearts of Alaska series.  Taylor Lipin, our heroine, having recently lost her job, goes home to Helen, Alaska temporarily to help her sister run the family B&B, since their mother left town.  Taylor left Helen 10 years ago, coming back home occasionally, because she hated the horrible feud between her Lipin family and the Porter family.  She quickly meets a handsome hunk, who happens to be doctor and owns three wonderful huskies, who immediately fall all over Taylor.

Dr. Josh Kane, moved to Helen to open his own clinic, and be near his mother’s family, and enjoy the small-town atmosphere.  Josh walking with his three huskies, meets a beautiful girl, who is fawning all of the huskies, and decides to ask her on a date.  What Josh doesn’t know is that Taylor is a Lipin, whom he has heard about during his time in Helen; which is because his cousins are all Porters.

Josh and Taylor find themselves enjoying each other’s company, neither knowing that they are consorting with the enemy.   Eventually, they discover the truth, and decide that they like each other too much, and plan to try to keep their relationship a secret. But in a small town, secrets are hard to keep, and tensions escalated as each family makes threats against the other to break the two of them up.  But both Taylor and Josh think this century old feud is ridiculous, and despite the various sabotage attempts, they decide they are going to stay together, as they are both falling hard for each other. 

I really loved Taylor and Josh together, as they made a great couple, who were willing to fight their families, in order to stay together.  Taylor’s sister is willing to give Josh a chance, until there are a few attacks at the B&B; and when Josh learns that someone from his family poisoned wine to make the guests sick, he begins to worry if Taylor’s life is at risk.   Will Josh break up with Taylor to keep her safe?  Will Taylor leave and go back to L.A.? 
What follows is a fun and sexy romance between Josh and Taylor, and those adorable huskies, who made this story even better.  Taylor’s relationship with the three dogs was fun and adorable.  I loved the scenes with both Josh, Taylor and the dogs, as they were fun and cute.  Heart on a Leash was a sweet romance, but the feuding of both families added an element of being complex, tense and very destructive. I liked that Josh and Taylor were determined to not let their family destroy their love for each other, but when things get dangerous, will they walk away?

Heart on a Leash was a wonderful steamy romance, great couple, three fantastic dogs amidst a terrible family feud that created a tense background.  Alanna Martin did a great job writing this book. I suggest you read Heart on a Leash.
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I wish I could have liked this book more because I loved the concept of it and the doggies. But this was a bit boring and I wasn't that interested in the story by the 50% mark, but I wanted to finish it.

One of the main reasons I wanted to read this book was because of the family feud. Both of their families are rivals and they have a decades-old feud where none of them have any contact because they hate each other. But how can you make me care about this family feud when both of the families are SO AWFUL?!!! They're so mean and horrible. Maybe Lydia can be saved, she's so nice. But even Kelsey is kinda mean and I just don't want to read about a HEA for her? I don't know. Josh and Taylor need to be away from every single member of their family because gosh they're so toxic and not really family for them.

The huskies were cute, I can say that. A lot of husky content.

But yeah, the story is very slow, and nothing really happens. There are a lot of "pranks" or whatever you want to call them their families do so this two break it off, and there is also worry and kissing and eating at Josh's house a lot. But aside from that? Nothing really happens. I couldn't connect with the story or the romance itself, I wasn't feeling it as much as I wanted.
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This book was boring. I made it 25% and it felt like it was taking the story forever to progress. Also, grown adults being concerned about a decades old family feud only works for me if I am invested enough in the couple to care. And I didn't care. I didn't even get to learn about the cats that are supposedly in this book. <insert sad face>
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I couldn't resist the cover and title of this sweet contemporary romance set in Alaska. I was pleased that this book was really fun and exactly what I enjoy in this genre. Josh and Taylor's relationship, to the dismay of their feuding-for-decades family, developed in an adorable and fun way. The dogs were sweet little side characters and I enjoyed the character development. Can't wait for the rest of this fun series!!!
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A paws-itively sweet read. This present day Romeo and Juliet story, made this book a so very entertaining read.  The husky’s ere extra fun and added much to the story line. This book has it all, mystery, drama, angst, romance and steam. Grab this as one of your vacation reads.
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A modern day Romeo and Juliet in the frozen north, with huskies. When when a young man descended from one noble family but still a newcomer in this small Alaskan town hooks up with the rebellious prodigal daughter from a rival family, the family feud threatens to escalate out of control. It’s an entertaining debut, even if  the warring families do go to extremes, The shenanigans are offset by the level headed and cinnamon roll like leads. Here’s how I justify it in my head: the families behave like competing mafia families or gangs with a veneer of respectability.  That worked for me.
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Heart on a Leash was the perfect balance of sweet and sexy. Imagine having an instant connection with someone only to find out that your respective families might as well be the Montagues and Capulets? This is what happened to Josh and Taylor, both somewhat new in Helen, Alaska (although Taylor had grown up there) but engulfed in a long two-family feud as a result of genetics.

I enjoyed Josh and Taylor's chemistry, ADORED the huskies, and was completely vested in the fate of their forbidden love, Josh and Taylor's, not the huskies :). The family antics were so over-the-top but I could almost see it happening in real life, especially in a small town with so much history. Although there was obviously a HEA (it was a romance, people), I appreciated that it wasn't all wrapped up on a bow and look forward to seeing how the Porters and Lippen's are getting along in book 2 in the series even though the rivalry won't be at the forefront of the new couple's romance.
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Heart on a Leash
by Alanna Martin
 Read an Excerpt
Berkley Publishing Group
 You Like Them
Pub Date 27 Apr 2021   |   Archive Date 27 May 2021

Super cute romance and I loved the family drama, but other than that this book was not memorable for me.  
I like the cover.. who can turn down our canine friends.  Thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for this ARC.  

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Ok let me start by saying if you are anything like me don't let the cover make you think otherwise. This is a romance with full heart and steam. And yes the dogs are there are very important part of story too.but it's not in their POV as I had been misled prior to picking it up.
CW: none that I think of.
Syeam: open door

Taylor and Josh start a sweet bumping into each other meet cute (won't add the spoiler) but soon grow into a hot couple. That coupled with the beautiful imagery of summertime Helen Alaska was a much needed getaway for this frozen quarantined reader.

But the best part for me was the whole family drama 😬 it was too much reminiscent of my fav feud romances but with just enough tension without making my heart sink violently.  The cousins are the best. Love Taylor sister and Josh cousin Kelsey's tough act. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So take a walk, a trip , there's even a hike! And get to the other world with this book! Can't wait to pick up the next one!
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A long standing family feud, adorable canine companions, & an irresistible attraction makes for a charming Alaskan set romance. A sweet and entertaining series starter!
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A delightful contemporary romance with a likeable pair of protagonists! Josh and Taylor both know their families’ century old feud is ridiculous and are determined to pursue a relationship in spite of it. But their journey to a happily-ever-after requires them to navigate the long-simmering animosities of the Porter-Lipin feud, and that’s no easy task.

Martin does a wonderful job of making the small-town of Helen, Alaska so appealing you’ll want to book a vacation stay at the fictional Bay Song Inn owned by the Lipins. And then there’s the adorable trio of huskies owned by the hero, Josh, who will win over the reader’s heart just as they did Taylor’s. (Even though the Lipins are “cat people.”) Cute huskies FTW!

I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Paws and Prejudice!
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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I downloaded the ARC for this book, but I’ve never been so happy to be an early reader! Heart on a Leash is exactly the type of book I love. It had romance and family drama and the everyday challenges of life. 

The novel follows Taylor Lipin as she returns to the hometown she left years earlier to help her sister for a few weeks. Once there she meets the town doctor Josh Krane, and the two are quickly smitten with each other. The fact that Taylor’s only in town for a limited time seems like the couple’s biggest problem until you find out they are from opposite sides of a small-town feud that’s been going on for generations. 

Heart on a Leash is a fresh and steamy small-town romance with incredible world-building and characters you love and characters you love to hate. You are swiftly pulled in by the town of Helen and the abundance of cute huskies and one grumpy cat, but you stay for the people and root for this couple despite all the odds being stacked against them.
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This was a cute romance, with likeable characters, but it wasn't super memorable for me.

The relationship between the protagonists was well-developed, though a bit lacking in the steaminess department. The setting was a big draw for me, and it didn't disappoint. And the two main side kicks (Josh's cousin, Kelsey and Taylor's sister, Lydia) were interesting. However, the overarching family feud plotline felt forced and kept me from really being able to enter into the story and fully enjoy it.

Because Kelsey was someone I found fairly fascinating, I am planning to read the next book in the series. And if Lydia gets her own book, I may have to read that one, too.

To sum up:
H/h Romance: 4
Steaminess: 2
Character development: 4
Setting: 4
Overarching plot: 2

Overall rating: 3
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LOVED this book!! Taylor is not only relatable, but I love her confidence. And Josh is smoking hot. Chemistry, dogs, family feuding - it was all just PERFECT. I enjoyed every page of this book and can't wait for the rest of this series!!!
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First of all, that COVER!!! I'm drowning in cuteness!!!

I liked Heart on a Leash, if I have to resume it in one sentence I'd say it's like a modern Romeo and Juliet but with a happy ending instead of deaths and sorrow.
It was light and fun, but I won't lie, I wish the dogs (all of them) were more present because... HUSKIES!!! Who doesn't like fluffy huskies?! 

Anyway it was sweet and the second book seems promising. 
Can't wait for Kelsey and Ian's story and hopefully more doggy moments!
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I was definitely sold on this book by looking at the cover! The Huskies are too adorable for words.  This is a sweet and sexy Alaskan romance.  In fact, everything between Josh and Taylor was just about as adorable as Josh's three Huskies.  What wasn't adorable was the feud between their families that dates back generations.  The Porter family (Josh's extended family) and Lipin's (Taylor's family) have been at odds for a long time.  With both families trying to sabotage the other and each family wanting different things for their town of Helen, Alaska.  Josh didn't grow up in Helen and has only recently moved there.  Taylor left Helen for school and wouldn't have returned at all - if her parents weren't getting a divorce and her sister hadn't asked for help.  

Both Josh and Taylor think the feud is stupid and destructive - but they try to keep the peace by at first hiding their relationship and then trying to rise above the petty antics of their families.  When things start to escalate things between them unravel a bit for a while - but they (obviously) do get their happily ever after.  

I really liked Josh and Taylor - and their crew of family on both sides.  What I didn't love - and what kept this from being a four star read for me - was the choice to not have their families take steps to rise above the feud.  <spoiler>Josh's cousins and Taylor's mom and sister do - but the leaders of the families chose the feud over love.  I really needed to see those members of their family learn or grow a little.  Obviously the feud isn't going to end because Josh and Taylor get together permanently - but I didn't feel like the ending was as satisfying because that conflict felt so unresolved. </spoiler>

Overall - this is a light, quick read with awesome puppies.  

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, but these opinions are all my own.
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