‘She’d done everything right. She’d gotten good grades in school, had gotten a good job, and had worked hard. She’d been a decent daughter, a better sister. She didn’t do drugs or drink much. She’d done everything right. It was not supposed to be this way. She was supposed to have it all by now, not be worrying about how to pay her rent.’ – Julia London, You Lucky Dog
Every once in a while, I need a reading break. When that happens, I look up feel good romances that I know will make me smile or laugh. My latest feel good read was You Lucky Dog by Julia London. I won’t lie – the cover hooked me first, giving me 101 Dalmatians vibes with the twisted together leashes. That plus basset hounds and I was ready to start reading. You Lucky Dog is the first in the the Lucky Dog series.
Carly Kennedy is struggling. Her new business, Carly Kennedy Public Relations, is not going well. She only has two clients, yet they are the neediest clients she has ever had and demand so much of her time. Her parents are divorced and are both now going through separate midlife crises that are way too much. Her mother bought her sister a basset hound WITHOUT asking her, causing said sister to completely melt down. Baxter, the basset, is now Carly’s problem. Baxter is a sad basset hound. In fact, Carly thinks he may be depressed. He can frequently be found with his head wedged in the corner of the room no matter Carly’s best efforts to coax him out. Baxter is growing on her though.
Yet another inconvenience is dropped on Carly’s plate when she comes home from work late one night to discover an imposter basset hound in her house. Her dog walker has switched out her sad basset for this perkier female basset who has no boundaries. This one is on her couch, chewing on things she shouldn’t be touching!
Max Sheffington is also confused. His happy basset hound, Haxel, has been replaced by this depressed male basset hound who, for some reason, will not get out of the corner of the room. Max is even more bewildered when Carly shows up on his front step demanding her dog back. It doesn’t help that Carly is pretty and extremely opinionated, facts that distract Max and simultaneously captivate him. He was expecting his dog walker, something that this gorgeous woman is not. Carly was expecting a stuffy old man given the name of the man she was told had her dog. Instead she finds a handsome man who is corrupting poor Baxter! Her dog is sprawled on the couch and has clearly been eating macaroni and cheese.
What most surprises Carly is that Baxter seems to be at home at Max’s house. He loves Hazel and follows her around. Since Baxter’s mood has improved, Carly decides that she needs to spend more time with Hazel and Max to keep him happy. It doesn’t take long for Carly to realize that there are feelings buzzing between her and Max, even though the two couldn’t be more different. Their lives end up being completely altered by an accidental dog swap.
While I enjoyed the premise, I found myself wanting to shake Carly at points (to be fair, I find myself more likely to want to shake the main characters when I’m reading romance – just TALK to each other already). Some of the solutions to her problems were right in front of her face, but she was just not seeing them. Regardless of my frustrations, this novel was adorable and exactly the brain break I needed. The main characters were both genuinely nice and cared about all the people in their lives. The fact that the author made Max’s brother autistic was a breath of fresh air. His portrayal was done sensitively and seeing him through Max’s eyes from both a scientific and familial point of view was also realistic. All in all, I enjoyed this book and am already searching for the second book, It Started with a Dog.
Lucky Dog series
‘That was the problem with social media—there were people in the world who seemingly existed just to tear other people down, but you couldn’t give them any oxygen. You couldn’t let them steal your mojo. And the best way to keep your mojo intact was to stay off social media and allow your publicist to post for you and monitor comments.’ – Julia London, You Lucky Dog