For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Review: It Started with a Dog by Julia London

 

Thanks to an accidental phone swap, two adorable rescue pups, and a coffeehouse clash, a holiday flirtation goes to the dogs and hilarity ensues, from New York Times bestselling author Julia London.

All Harper Thompson wants for Christmas is the huge promotion she's worked so hard for--which she should get, as long as her launch of the hip new coffeehouse, Deja Brew, goes according to plan. Jonah Rogers is trying to save his family's coffee shop, Lucky Star, from going out of business, which will be tough with the brand-new Deja Brew opening across the street.

When Jonah and Harper meet for the first time after accidentally swapping phones, their chemistry is as electric as a strand of Christmas lights. He's a tall, handsome, compassionate hunk of engineer, and she's an entrepreneur whose zest for life is very sexy. They love all the same things, like scary movies, greasy food--and most of all, dogs. It's a match made in heaven...until Jonah finds out that Harper's the one about to put him out of business.

Only one coffee shop likely can survive, and a competition of one-upmanship ensues in a battle of the brews. The paws really come out when the local rescue shelter has a fundraiser where local businesses foster dogs, and patrons vote with their dollars for their favorite pup. Harper takes in an adorable old bulldog on behalf of Deja Brew, while Jonah fosters a perky three-legged dachshund for Lucky Star. As the excitement builds for who will be crowned King Mutt and king of the coffee hill, Harper and Jonah must decide if their connection was all steam or if they are the perfect blend.

Source: e-arc provided by Berkley Books in exchange for an honest review

*I read this one for La La in the Library's Dog Days of Summer challenge

After a strange Lyft ride to the airport and an accidental phone swap - Jonah and Harper start exchanging texts until they can return the phones back to each other after the holidays. Jonah and Harper hit it off immediately and can't believe their luck. 

Unfortunately, due to a (reasonable) misunderstanding, they don't know each others true professions and don't realize they are in direct competition with each other as Harper oversees opening the new flagship Deja Brew coffee house right across the street from Jonah's struggling family owned coffee shop.

via GIPHY

The summary makes it sound like they have an all out war but they are pleasantly mature about the whole thing. Sure they have their moments of competition and anger but I thought they handled it quite well and actually supported each other. 

The bigger obstacle to their relationship was Jonah being so (too, one might say) committed to helping his family even if it means giving up on his own dreams. While Harper has had to go it alone for so long that she doesn't see any need to rely or depend on others and it makes her a bit aloof & career driven at times. 

There's a heaping dose of wacky with Harper's new age type boss, LOTS of dogs - Jonah's dog Truck, Harper walks shelter dogs and fosters a cantankerous bulldog named Bob and the local King Mutt contest. 

Jonah's family is a hoot as he tries to drag them into the modern era of coffee shops and they just don't get it. lol 

My minor nitpicks - I didn't love Harper's relationship with her best friend. There was a weird vibe to it. The bff (I can't remember her name - Olivia maybe?) kept trying to push Harper into things that she just didn't like and Harper was judgy and and didn't really listen to the bff either. It was ok but not my favorite part. Not a huge part of the story though. 

I'm horrible reading dog books. I've worked with animals for years and it drives me crazy when they blame dogs for bad behavior like biting or pulling and say there's nothing the can do. But that's most definitely a me thing. Dogs being silly move the plot along so...lol 

😍It Started with a Dog was a super cute, lower angst romance with big You've Got Mail vibes, adorable dogs, dueling coffee shops and couple deserving of their HEA. 🐕🐕



22 comments:

  1. Yes I agree, I am not a fan of animals being used just as a plot point and not really showing the reality of being a pet owner or working with animals.

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    1. I know they make for a funny storyline when a muddy dog jumps all over someone or crashes through a restaurant but I cringe inwardly every time lol

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  2. This sounds fun... coffee shops, lots of dogs haha. Misunderstandings but they're mature about, not overly silly sounds like. I like that name deja Brew for a coffee shop too :)

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    1. The misunderstanding is their jobs. But there was no reason for him to say he worked at the coffee shop because it was not his *real* job. He was helping out. And her actual job title has nothing to do with Deja Brew - that was a special project.

      So I could accept that lol I HATE when it's a dumb reason and the whole plot hinges and falls apart on it.

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  3. This sounds cute, and I love when there are some pups in a story. I was hoping this would be in the same world as the previous book, but it doesn't sound like it.

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    1. Ooh I don't know the other book. There don't seem to be any carry over type characters. Everyone is a hot mess lol

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  4. Super cute cover! Thanks for the thoughtful review. I enjoy her historical romances, but haven't tried her contemporaries.

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    1. Why did I not connect that??!! I knew the name but somehow forgot she was a HR author lol

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  5. That sounds really cute. I love when people meet in weird ways. My brother met one of his wives when he called the wrong number. I say one of his wives because he's been married 6 times. lol

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    1. Ha!!! The cab/phone mix up was fun the way it was done. They were so nice to each other - forwarding information, responding for each other.

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  6. I think I got this one...must check!

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  7. This one sounds really cute and I really want to check it out now. I had the first one on my maybe read list because dogs but it seems I need to read this one as well.

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    1. It was really sweet. I love when characters handle things maturely. And...dogs lol

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  8. Since misunderstanding/miscommunication is my least favorite trope, I'm glad you mention that theirs is a reasonable one. This sounds super fun when you want something on the light side with no drama. :)

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    1. It really makes sense with this one and they handle it naturally instead of freaking out so I was ok with it.

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  9. yeah, it bugs me too when characters blame dog behavior on the dogs but it sounds cute so I'll keep an eye out!

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    1. I did had to ignore that lol but it wasn't a huge part of the story. The pets were cute.

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  10. Speaking of dogs... your bookmark should be on it's way on Friday! It's coming from The Netherlands, tough, so it will take a couple of weeks, but it should be there by Halloween. 🎃✨

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  11. Hmmmm. Some of those elements do sound cute. I'm not the biggest fan of the whole "secret identity" aspect of You've Got Mail but it sounds like that is revealed early on, not toward the end. And yes, when we got our dog, a dog trainer very sternly told us that the dog's annoying qualities were ones we were unintentionally reinforcing.

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    1. Me either but the reason it's secret to each other makes sense. They aren't really lying or keeping secrets - it's just that what they are doing is either temporary or not exactly in the job title.

      It's always the human's fault jen!! lol

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