Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Review - - It Started With a Dog & Birthday Giveaway #29

It Started With a Dog
by Julia London
Lucky Dog - Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

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.

PJ's Thoughts:

I loved this book. It was exactly what I needed. Fresh, original, feel-good, and fun, it pulled me in and kept me entertained from start to finish. The characters were well developed and likable. I was invested not only in Harper's and Jonah's relationship but in their individual journeys as well. Jonah's family was frustrating, meddlesome, and adorably sweet and well-meaning. Watching them with Jonah, and later with Harper, really tugged my heartstrings. 

I loved the set-up through the first few chapters, the initial attraction and intrigue as Jonah and Harper communicated via texts from the swapped phones and also uncovered details about one another via texts they received from others. There's a lot of humor in those chapters but also sweetness and the laying of a foundation with the potential to grow into more.

And then there are the dogs. I mean, who can resist those rescue dogs? Not this puppy! They all would have ended up going home with me. All of them. And they weren't just window dressing - although a grumpy old bulldog was quite the front window star - but were important characters in the story, adding additional incentive for self-reflection and evolution. 

If you're looking for a feel-good contemporary romance that will make you laugh out loud, cheer for happy endings, and fall in love with both two-legged and four-legged characters, give It Started With a Dog by Julia London a try. It's one of my favorites written by this multi-talented author. 

Have you ever adopted or fostered a rescue dog?

Do you have pets now? Tell me about them.

Birthday Giveaway #29:

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 1 will receive one book from PJ's home collection.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited


  1. I've had two wonderful dogs - the second was a rescue and the sweetest thing ever. I have had many cats. I help ferals and strays so it's inevitable that I bring some of them in. They bring such joy and heartache but I continue to do what I can. I've had up to 7 cats at one time but at the moment I only have two. It's been a very bad year.

  2. I have a rescue dog, Bogie who is 16 years old and a small mix. A smart, loving and special dog who is a wonderful companion. He is exceptional and everyone falls in love with him.

  3. I have always adopted a rescue. I have one now and enjoy everyday with Ginger, a cute and sweet dog. They make life worth living and bring me great happiness.

  4. I have allergies, so no pets. Just boys. ;)

    great review!


  5. For over 25 years, I have lived with rescued dogs. Right now, I have a rescued Pekingese. After my other dogs died, I had decided I would not want to have another dog. And if I did, it would be female, short haired and medium sized. I have a male, white, long haired dog who weighs 16 pounds.

    I have lived with Boxers and Sporting dogs. They are active. They are playful. They have a sense of humor. I live with a dog who could be a substitute for a stuffed toy. But, he was exactly the dog I needed. And being with a stuffed toy seems to be a good plan for me.

    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

  6. For many years, my mother and I took in strays and rescue dogs. At one point, we had five dogs (three of whom lived to be 20 years old). We took the dogs almost everywhere with us, garnering many stares and comments. We didn't care, though, because the dogs were our family. When the last few dogs were nearing the end of their lives, my mom suggested we take a break--we had invested much time, love, energy, love, and money, and it was time for us rest for a while. Then the cats came. Mom was retired, she didn't drive, and she was home most of the time. Eventually, we had all cats --a lot of cats. I had them all spayed or neutered and vaccinated. I also bought expensive flea treatments for them. I am allergic to cats, and I have to take allergy medicine every day. Twenty three years after cats started coming, I still have three rescue cats. I am a dog person owned by cats. Having cats as pets is very different from being a dog parent. I had a lot to learn, and I am still learning. The three cats that I have now and I have been through a lot together. They are my constant companions, my best friends, and they make me laugh out loud today. I am very lucky.

  7. No pets as hubby is allergic to fur and feathers. We got our kids a box turtle, which they loved.

  8. I have never had any pets but fish. I did watch a dog for a week with my family growing up; Skippy belonged to a friend of my Dad's.

    1. May I add; I hope you had a wonderful bday. And TY for the wonderful month long contest for all us readers.

  9. We have rescue Poodle #3 and rescue designer dog Cockalier # 1 in the house right now. Our first dog was a passalong cocker spaniel and we've had rescues since.

  10. All our dogs came from local dog pound. A couple of them were puppies, most were older dogs. It's so easy to get attached.

  11. I currently have an almost 10 yo Yorkie mix. He is a snuggle bug. I've had other dogs between growing up with a couple and having a family dog for my children prior to this one.

  12. I have never fostered or adopted a rescue dog and we don’t currently have a pet. My children have been encouraging me to adopt a dog. They know I love interacting and caring for pets, but they are particularly encouraging the choice be a dog for the motivation to get outdoors and walk.

  13. My youngest son has a rescue dog,Chance, a Australian Shepard and a rescue Maine Coon cat, Miss Ellie. His wife fostered cats while they were in college.
    I do not own a pet. My middle son has two dogs: Bandit a Morkiepoo and Milo a Biewer.

  14. At the moment we only have 2 11 year old cats. They are a bonded pair of bottle fed littermates. He's a large and chonky ginger tabby and she is a petite (but not skinny) tortoiseshell. They are super cuddly and well cared for. Suprisingly they even travel pretty well. We had a 22 hour drive in July and again just last weekend. Bandit the tortie spent most of her time perched on the console or in my lap. Oscar the tabby wandered a bit but mostly hung out in the backseat.

  15. We adopted a dog 7 years ago and he is the best pet we ever had and we also took in 2 female tarantulas from the pound 12 years ago they are great.

  16. I have always had cats and they have all been rescues! I currently live with 2!

  17. Our house has been a home for so many rescues. We have had 4 rescue cats, one that came up and knocked on our door to come in and join the puppy we had just kept. We have had up to 4 dogs and 2 cats at the same time. All 10 of our dogs have been rescues as have been the peacocks and ball python we had. We fostered puppy litters for the local animal shelter for several years. A some times, with our own dogs we had a dozen or so in the house at once. We have fostered adult dogs while owners were in the hospital and when the shelter needed some place other than in the shelter for them. Our beagle mix and lab mix (our 1st and 3rd dogs) lived until 17 years old. A terrier mix made it to 15. Our current dog is almost 11 and the last of our pack of 4. All but one of our cats had similar long good lives. They are such important members of our family and are dearly missed when they leave us. When our current one is gone - either over the rainbow bridge or to live with our son (it is his dog, but of course we have it and are feeding her and paying vet bills. To be fair, his wife has a dog that doesn't get along with anyone.), we will likely be dog free for awhile. We want to travel and do not take pets with us on trips. It isn't fair to send them to a kennel and is hard to find someone to take them for weeks at a time. I have no doubt we will remain dogless for very long.