Thursday, February 15, 2024

Review - - Fish Out of Water

Fish Out of Water
by Katie Ruggle
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: February 13, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

When Dahlia Weathersby's sister disappears on what should have been a simple day hike, Dahlia immediately heads deep into the Colorado Rockies to find her. Knowing she'll never survive the mountains alone, she convinces the local hermit—adorably grouchy survival expert Winston Dane—to be her guide. All it takes is a good helping of Dahlia's charm…and just the teeniest bit of blackmail…before she's got all six-foot-something of him wrapped around her finger. But even with her very own mountain man in tow, things aren't going to be easy. There are:

  • Long hikes through gorgeous wilderness? Check.
  • Bears? Check.
  • A single shared sleeping bag? Check.
  • Enough sparks to set the Rockies ablaze? Check, check, check.

With everything the wilderness has to throw at them, it'll take more than charm and some city girl ingenuity to make this trek anything but a disaster waiting to happen…and an adventure she'll never forget.

PJ's Thoughts:
I've been reading Katie Ruggle since her debut novel. Her slightly offbeat characters, complex storylines, and slow-building, edge-of-your-seat suspense have landed her first two series on my keeper shelves and cemented her as an auto-buy author. After a few years publishing hiatus, Ruggle is back with something a little different. There's still the quirky characters and terrific banter of her earlier books but Fish Out of Water is lighter in tone, more romcom than suspense, though still with a bit of danger.
I enjoyed this book that pairs a chatterbox makeover artist from the city with a Mr. Grumpy Pants, reclusive author from the mountains. Dahlia and Winston are hilarious, endearing, and more than a little quirky. It's a vibe Ruggle has used before and does well. Even during the spicy bits I found myself grinning and chuckling along with the unlikely couple who somehow seem perfect for one another. I admit that there were times when I found myself wondering if they had forgotten about Dahlia's missing sister. I had to suspend belief a bit there but I willingly did so because this book was more romcom than suspense and, also, I was having fun with these two. Even when the danger showed up around the 80% mark, I was so entrenched in the lighthearted vibe of the story by that point that I took it for granted that all would be well.   
Did I miss the complex character development, emotional depth, and breath-stealing tension of Ruggle's earlier books that I love so much? Yes, I did, but once I realized that this was a different type of book I was able to appreciate it for what it is: a lighthearted, laugh-inducing, slightly bonkers, adventurous romcom...with a touch of danger and a happy ending. 


  1. I have not read anything by Ms Ruggles. But, this book does sound like a fun read. Thanks for the review and the introduction to a new author.

  2. I've enjoyed reading Katie's books and am curious to read this...used to her old style so this will be fun...thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Thanks for the review. I loved her earlier books and wondered what happened to her. This a bit off from her usual stories, but it sounds like she kept the important parts of her style. I am looking forward to reading her lighter side of writing.

  4. I haven't read any of her previous books, but this sounds good! I'm looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the review, PJ!