Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tour Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway - - A Highlander Walks Into a Bar

A Highlander Walks Into a Bar
by Laura Trentham
Highland, Georgia - Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Reviewed by PJ

The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland come to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…

Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?

My thoughts:

If you're looking for a fun, flirty, feel-good romance set in the Georgia mountains, with a bit of Scottish flair, you'll want to add A Highlander Walks Into a Bar to your summer reading list. Laura Trentham is one of my favorite contemporary authors when it comes to quirky characters, small-town charm, family dynamics, and southern flavor, with all on display in this first book of her new Highland, Georgia series. 

Izzy's family has always been in charge of planning the Highland Games that keep their small town afloat and since her father's death, it's been just Izzy and her mother at the helm. But when her mother comes home from a trip to Scotland with a kilt-wearing souvenir, Izzy's world is flipped off kilter and the festival planning that she and her mom have always shared falls squarely on shoulders. And when Alasdair arrives hot on their heels, she doesn't know what to think. Sure, he's cute and all, but why is he in Georgia? And when is he leaving? Are he and her mom's constant companion in cahoots? Just what are they after? Alasdair is there to fetch his (wealthy, Scottish Earl) uncle home before he's taken advantage of by an American fortune hunter (Izzy's mother) but once he arrives, he discovers maybe things aren't quite as he expected. Especially, as he begins to get to know the supposed fortune hunter and her daughter. And then the fun really begins.

Humor, heart, sexy times, small-town charm, happy endings, and men in kilts. Trentham pours all of the above into this story that's sure to bring laughter and light to your summer reading and have you searching out the Highland Games nearest to you. I'm already looking forward to book two!

Have you ever attended a Highland Games or Scottish Festival, either in Scotland or elsewhere?

Have you read Laura Trentham's books yet?

If you could bring home a six-foot souvenir from a trip, who would you choose? A sexy Scot? Irresistible Irishman? How about a romantic Italian? ::Sigh:: So many lovely choices. 

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, August 7, will receive a print copy of A Highlander Walks into a Bar. (U.S. only)


From A Highlander Walks into a Bar. 
Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Chapter One

“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her
arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the sto-
ries she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was
exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center
of attention.
Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the
fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with
hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through At-
lanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to
Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The
jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and al-
ready dreading their exit from the airport.
Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the
bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her
mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and
blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be
new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to
gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy.
Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those ear-
rings your surprise?”
Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her
mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared to heave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta,
the sooner she could get back to work planning the High-
land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of
wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, consider-
ing how much she still had to get in order in three scant
“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been roll-
ing cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an
accent Izzy couldn’t place.
She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the
man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so
“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her
mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side
and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a
matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edin-
burgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something
more exciting.”
“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited
attention while she watched the man load suitcase after
suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle.
More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to
catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my
mom’s stuff.”
For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He
was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear-
like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a
salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade
darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expres-
sion on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s
direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared
the fog of confusion.
Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six-
foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.


  1. I have really enjoyed every Laura Trentham book I've read. Unfortunately I've never been to a Highland Games. And since I've got my own Italian man, I don't think I'll be picking up another on any trips - no matter how much I love the Scottish burr. 😂

    1. If I had an Italian man of my own, I don't think I'd be searching out a new one either! lol

  2. The only Trentham book I read was The Military Wife and I loved it.

    I do like Gilles Marini.

    1. The Military Wife was her first women's fiction novel and, like you, I loved it. Book two in that series, An Everyday Hero, is scheduled for release in February 2020, as well as A Highlander in a Pickup, book two in her Highland, Georgia series. Looks like February is going to be a very good month!

  3. I live just south of Grandfather Mountain in NC, so I've been to the Highland Games there quite a few times.

    I've never read any of Laura's books but this one sounds great!

    Since I'm almost 6ft myself, I wouldn't bring home a souvenir that short! Lol. I am currently married to a 6ft3in Scottish hunk... in his ancestry anyway. Haha!

    1. I'm in Charlotte but I haven't made it up there for the Highland Games...yet. One of these days, I will though.

  4. Sounds like a cute story. I haven’t read anything by this author. I have been to see a Highland games competition in PA. It was fun.

    1. I haven't read her historical romances, Eileen but I've enjoyed every contemporary of her's that I've read. She really captures small southern towns so well.

  5. This is a new author to me. This sounds sounds fun

  6. I have never been to any Scottish Festival, nor read any of Laura's books.

  7. Never been to a Scottish festival but I did go to a wedding where the men wore kilts. Love Laura’s books!!

  8. I have never been to a Highland Games or Scottish festival, but I did go to Scotland for my honeymoon. It was wonderful and filled with friendly people and whiskey tasting. I have not read Laura Trentham's books but this one sounds like great fun. I actually did bring home a six foot souvenir from a trip (hence the honeymoon in Scotland) and he is a Dane.

  9. I read this book and it was one of the best for me. Laughter is an aphrodisiac. Thanks for the review.

  10. I love reading Laura Trentham's books. Military Wife was amazing. I've read several of Cottonbloom books. I've never been to the Scotland games but would love to. As to who I would bring home, I flipped a coin. The Scot won.

  11. I have not read any of Laura's books. I saw Annette's comment and agree about laughter.
    Natty's Mama (Karen T.)

    1. If you give this book a try, I hope you'll enjoy both the laughter and the story!

  12. I've read Laura Trentham's books from at least four of her series and totally enjoy them. I've never been to a Scotland games or Scottish festival. Thanks for the review PJ.

  13. Oh, what fun this book is going to be. We have attended many Highland Festivals over the years and enjoy them. Our first was an accidental find - the New Hampshire State Highland Games at Loon Mountain. It was raining, actually pouring, and wonderful. A 15 to 20 bagpipe band in a closed tent while it pours outside is an experience not easily forgotten. We live in NE TN and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in NC are held about 2 hours from us. They are the largest gathering in the States and rival those held in Scotland. It is a wonderful venue and experience. They have two groves set up for continuous celtic music from traditional to rock plus concerts in the evening. There are competitions going on during the day in athletics, dance, fiddle, and piping. There is a Scottish bakery in NE TN and they have scottish treats which they sell there as well as at other highland games around the country.
    I already have my souvenir in a kilt, but if I were to get another he would likely be Irish or a Scot.

  14. I went to a Scottish Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a few years ago.

    I've read a couple of Laura Trentham's books.

    Thank you for the chance to win. This sounds like a fun read.

  15. Aaaahhh, this book sounds absolutely delightful! Another book for my TBR pile!!

    My step-mother is actually Scottish, and attends yearly highland games and festivals (and her sister is a teacher of highland dances!), but I haven't had a chance to go yet myself! I hope I get to eventually, she always brings back videos and photos and they look like SO MUCH FUN!

  16. I've never been to a Scottish Festival or games. But I'll definitely be working towards that. And a 6 foot souvenir would be a Scottsman. I've always enjoyed reading her books. Add some humor to the story and I'm all in.
    Carol Luciano

  17. LOL!!! That's quite the souvenir! I'd have to go with a Scot, or maybe an Irishman--those accents slay me!

  18. I have never attended Scottish games. An Italian souvenir would be very appealing. Laura's novels are captivating.

  19. Scottish festivals would be fun. Laura's books are enjoyable. I would definitely love an Italian souvenir.

  20. I have never attended a Highland games event. It sounds like a lot of fun! I've never read a Laura Trentham's book. I guess I'm missing out.

    A Highlander would be a great treat!

    johns lake at usa dot com

  21. The Scottish Games in Fair Hill, MD, are fun to attend. I've always wanted to attend the one at Grandfather Mountain--they once claimed to be the largest gathering outside of Scotland. http://www.gmhg.org/homepage.shtml


    1. here's a nice video from Grandfather Mountain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC5OSKDblso

  22. Oh, I'd definitely bring home the Highlander. All. The. Way.