It Started With a Dog
Grade : B+

Julia London gives readers another fun, breezy dog-based contemporary romance with the next piece of the Lucky Dog series, It Started with a Dog. It’s just as good an experience as the previous book, and is a darnn fun read.

Every year, Austin declares its Most Popular Rescue Dog in Austin, aka King Mutt, as part of its Mardi Gras festivities, and the King Mutt fundraiser comes with a lot of prestige for the winning dog. Both Harper Thompson and Jonah Rogers are aiming to get their dogs named King Mutt at this year’s festivities, but they didn’t count on one big problem – falling in love with each other.  Unfortunately, they’re also bitter business rivals as well as enemies in the competition.

Workaholic Harper plans on staking her career on the opening of the first branch of a (hopefully) mega coffee shop chain Déjà Brew. The VP of Development for their parent company, Street Sweets Inc., Harper is in pursuit of career advancement.  If the shop manages to take off, then it will spawn a chain, and Harper will likely finally get the promotion she’s worked her butt off for and as a result, she has no social life.  She doesn’t even have time to adopt the dog she regularly walks for the local shelter, an old bulldog named Bob.

Meanwhile, Jonah’s family business depends on him, even though he’s broken away and become an aerospace engineer, but he’s returned to the family fold to help them figure some things out.  Lucky Star Coffee Shop was established by Jonah’s grandparents back in the 1950s and has been a local institution for years, but with the new Deja Brew opening across the street from them, the shop’s days might be numbered.  But Jonah won’t give up that easily.

One day, Jonah and Harper find themselves sharing a tumultuous Lyft ride to the airport, which results in them accidentally swapping phones.  They’re on vacation, away from home, and get closer as they pass messages and pictures back and forth to each other until they can meet to swap the devices back. They have a lot of commonalities and appreciate each other. But soon enough Jonah learns that Harper is the woman who’s threatening his family business, and the gloves come off.

With the two shops in fierce competition, Jonah and Harper decide to enter the King Mutt festivities and each sponsor a dog.  The winning company usually lands accolades, which ought to be of huge benefit to their respective shops.  Harper chooses to champion Bob, while Jonah picks his three-legged Great Pyrenees, Truck.  Let the games begin.

It Started with a Dog is diverting, funny, warm and big-hearted in the best of ways.  It’s easygoing and fun, and it’s a smooth, quick read for anyone who likes dog romances.

I enjoyed what Jonah and Harper each brought to the table.  It’s clear that Jonah loves his family, but he also wants to do what he’s best at and be his own man.  Meanwhile Harper has put such stock in her career that the notion of losing a promotion is utterly horrifying to her.

The fact that they like each other a lot, enjoying greasy food, loving dogs and spending time with their families just provides further proof that they’re meant for each other.  There’s never anything mean-spirited between them, and they handle their competition professionally, and they make a dynamic combination that works quite well.

The book uses their dogs perfectly, which is always to be expected in a London book.  Austin pops to life as a setting, and the dog competition is properly unusual (and based on a real-life one!).

If you like simple, lighthearted friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romances, then It Started with a Dog can’t be beat.

Buy it at Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : October 31, 2021

Publication Date: 10/2021

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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