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New Release Review! FISH OUT OF WATER by Katie Ruggle

FISH OUT OF WATER by Katie Ruggle, trade paperback copy on top of my 2024 reading blanket with a page of stickers and packet of book-branded gummy fish

Why date a mountain man? Because he knows how to pitch a tent.

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.

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Fish Out of Water cover


I’m honestly not sure how to categorize this for my 2024 reading blanket (and sadly, I have to pick just 1 for the blanker format I chose) it’s very rom-com-y (so much LOLing and much highlighting of the best bits) but Dahlia is searching for her sister, and all of the surviving in the wilderness and rescuing bits at the end are very dramatic, which veers it towards romantic suspense–I could go for the safe option and just say it’s a contemporary, but it feels like so much more than that, so…hmmm. Stay tuned on that front.

It’s been a while since I read a Katie Ruggle book, and the ones that I did were all (ex)military-type guy out doing rugged stuff, mostly with dogs and fighting bad guys with his buddies and a heroine somewhere in the mix-style of reads, and this is a pretty big deviation from that. I can’t say I’m terribly upset about it; I loved her previous books, but I really liked this too. I can understand why long-time readers *might* find issues here, but honestly this was just such a fun read for me from start to finish. So many highlighted bits! I’m going to have a hard time deciding which of them I’m going to record in my reading journal for sure.

So…if you don’t have set preconceived notions of what a Katie Ruggle book has to be (and maybe even if you do, but you’re willing to step outside them to have a good time) and you’re a fan of romances with:
-grumpy/sunshine vibes
-a fish out of water character (obvs)
-cinnamon roll heroes with serious survivalist skills
-city girl heroines who have also seen enough horror movies to have clear ideas of what NOT to do in certain situations
-strategic use of a well-stocked travel makeup and skincare bag
then give Fish Out of Water a try!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

P.S.–I decided to call it a rom com. I realized I laughed all the way through the book, whereas the true action/suspense was pretty concentrated at the end.

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