Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It Started with a Dog by Julia London
Published by Berkley on October 5, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
I admit it took me forever to get started reading and I read over 2 weeks. Normally, a book doesn’t last me more than 1-2 days. But I had a happening and since I normally read at bedtime, I was falling asleep instead of reading so it stretched out. Once I got into the setting and characters though, It Started with a Dog didn’t last a day.
I really like the main characters Harper and Jonah. They are smart and talented. Best of all, they act like adults. I would have liked them to talk to each other a bit more but they were each used to going it alone. They really enjoyed each other’s company and had a great time talking about all the things that interested them. The supporting cast was also great. By that I mean the family, friends, coworkers and of course, the dogs.
The dogs did play a definite role in the story and each dog had a distinct personality. I love that and how they were so much a part of their lives. The rescue dogs were loved, flaws and all.
I felt the problems they had and were going to have were obvious from the beginning. It was weird neither of them accurately described their work when it was so much of their time commitment. Equally, the solution was predictable from the beginning.
In the end, the higher rating is because of the humor and the support circle built by these caring people. I felt their love and care and it was heartwarming. I was rooting for them both, even when they seemed to be in competition. Everything worked out because they could work together, something they weren’t exactly used to doing, but they adapted very well.
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