Thursday, April 22, 2021

Review - - Faux Paws

Faux Paws
by Roxanne St. Claire
The Dogmothers - Book 8
Publisher: South Street Publishing
Release Date: April 23, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

At a personal and career crossroads he never expected, Navy nuclear engineer Theo Santorini faces the fact that his once charmed existence isn’t so charmed anymore. Then, on a cross country trip, he saves a desperate and abused dog, hoping he can turn around both their lives. When he arrives at Waterford Farm in North Carolina with his rescue, Clementine, Theo’s matchmaking grandmother and her best friend immediately launch a plan to help both man and dog. Theo doesn’t hate their idea of getting an assist from a beautiful, enigmatic “pet psychic” while he figures out his next move. But the woman’s preposterous claims that she can read an animal’s mind seriously test an engineer who lives for logic and flees from feelings.

After bolting from the church when she learned the groom waiting at the altar had cheated on her, Ayla Hollis can now add “runaway bride” to her short resume. But this perennial people-pleaser has broken free from her stifling upbringing and is finally ready to begin a new life. She’ll start by openly admitting to the world that she has a gift that might seem bizarre to some, but she can help animals, and in a town that loves dogs, that makes her a local hero. Her first “patient” is an emotionally damaged stray dog held in the strong arms of a handsome, but skeptical, owner. Ayla soon finds it can be much easier to understand an animal’s feelings than those of a man who refuses to believe her abilities are real.

As Theo and Ayla work together to help Clementine heal, they can’t deny one thing is real: their sizzling chemistry that quickly grows to feelings of forever. But before the Dogmothers can claim another successful match, Ayla’s psychic skills thrust her into a perilous spotlight that threatens everything. With their love on the line and a dog’s life in the balance, Ayla’s gift could save them all…but only if Theo will finally risk his heart and believe.

PJ's Thoughts: 
Roxanne St. Claire aims straight for the heart and never misses. I adored this book. I know it may seem like I say that with each newly-published book in this series but sometimes there's an extra-special something that pushes a book to the top of the heap and Faux Paws has it. As soon as I finished my first read-through, all I wanted to do was go back to the beginning and read it all over again. With more tissues. As I said, straight for the heart. 
In Faux Paws, St. Claire brings us three main characters (two and four-legged), newly arrived in Bitter Bark, North Carolina, who are all at a crossroads in their lives. I love the way she explores the challenges, possibilities, and decisions facing each of them. Yes, even Clementine, who is definitely in the running for my favorite rescue pooch in this series. Her journey is a hard one that had me reaching for tissues more than once. Don't worry, she definitely gets her happily ever after. 
I love the chemistry between Ayla and Theo but I also enjoy the fact that St. Claire takes her time with them, gradually building a friendship before introducing deeper feelings. They have some fundamental differences to work through before those deeper feelings can take root. I always enjoy the emotional layering that occurs in these stories, along with the slow burn. The relationships that form are very realistic, with humor and conflict along the way while the main characters are complex people I'd enjoy knowing in real life. In fact, they're so realistic that I'm still halfway convinced they're all living happy lives in a lovely little North Carolina town only a couple hours away from me. 
The extended families - including the matchmaking Dogmothers a/k/a one Irish Gramma and one Greek Yiayia - all add an emotional richness to the story along with more than a few laugh-out-loud moments. If you're a fan of The Dogmother series, as well as The Dogfather series, you'll enjoy catching up with some of your favorite characters in this book, while also welcoming new babies and pups to the clan. For readers who are new to these books, you should know that you can jump in with any of them and feel right at home.
If you enjoy family-centric contemporary romance with humor, sweet (but deeply emotional) romance, characters you'll want to be friends with, and rescue dogs who will flat-out steal your heart, this book is for you.


  1. THIS looks adorable. I have not read this series...or this author, but I think I could jump into the series with this one. :)

    1. I think you would like her, Hellie. She's one of my favorite authors. I discovered her back in 2007 when she was writing sexy, danger-filled romantic suspense then followed her into sexy contemporary romance around 2012. When she left her NY publisher and started self-pubbing, her books changed a bit. First, with a Barefoot Bay trilogy featuring "silver fox" heroes and comparably-aged heroines (YES!) then the creation of her big, loving, Irish-American family in The Dogfather series. Now, the Dogmothers have taken the matchmaking lead with the Greek Santorini family being added to the Irish mix. These new books are light on suspense/danger (though it's a bit more present in some - like Faux Paws) and the spice is left mostly to the reader's imagination...though the chemistry and depth of emotion are clearly evident in all of the books. And the humor. I love the humor. To be honest, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of the more than 50 books she's written but I have to admit, there's a very special place in my heart for those of the Dogfather and Dogmother series.

    2. I love this series! I already have this on pre-order. I can't wait to read it.

  2. Thanks for the review. You have made me want to read some of the books in the Dogfather and Dogmother series.

    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

  3. Love, love, love this series. I started reading her Bullet Chaser series. I have her on my auto-buy as soon as she has a book coming. I laugh, cry and always close the book feeling good.

  4. I've enjoyed her books - thanks!!

  5. I love Roxanne's books and I love dogs, so I'll have to add it to my list! Thanks, PJ!