Saturday, June 17, 2023

Isn't It Romantic?

Ruby Spencer's Whisky Year
 by Rochelle Bilow
Published by Berkley Books on February 14, 2023
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance

When a thirty-something American food writer moves to a Scottish village for one year to fulfill her dream of writing a cookbook she finds more than inspiration--she meets a handsome Scotsman she can't resist.

Ruby Spencer is spending one year living in a small cottage in a tiny town in the Scottish Highlands for three reasons: to write a bestselling cookbook, to drink a barrelful of whisky, and to figure out what comes next. It's hard to know what to expect after an impulse decision based on a map of Scotland in her Manhattan apartment--but she knows it's high time she had an adventure.

The moment she sets foot in Thistlecross, the verdant scenery, cozy cottages, and struggling local pub steal her heart. Between designing pop-up suppers and conversing with the colorful locals, Ruby starts to see a future that stretches beyond her year of adventure. It doesn't hurt that Brochan, the ruggedly handsome local handyman, keeps coming around to repair things at her cottage. Though Ruby swore off men, she can't help fantasizing what a roll in the barley might be like with the bearded Scot.

As Ruby grows closer to Brochan and the tightly held traditions of the charming village, she discovers secret plans to turn her beloved pub into an American chain restaurant. Faced with an impossible choice, Ruby must decide between love, loyalty, and the Highlands way of life.

My first thought when I was reading this book was – how bold. Quitting your job, picking up and moving to a new country to pursue your dream. I love that! I don’t think I could ever do such things, but I was immediately rooting for Ruby because I admired her bravery. As you can see I was easily sold on Ruby.

I also adored the setting. Seriously, take me to Thistlecross! I fell for this charming little town and was so invested in town being able to move forward without leaving behind everything this made this place unique. The was home to some interesting characters, and I loved the little found family Ruby was able to assemble.

Enough about the village, this was a romance, and it was a good one at that. Both Ruby and Brochan had trust issues stemming from past relationships. Neither anticipated ever finding “the one” until they found each other. I throughly enjoyed seeing them learn about each other as they slowly fell in love.

Overall: Great romance, great town, and amazing food combined to produce a wonderful reading experience for me.

In Love with Lewis Prescott
 by Sarah Smith (I Heart SF #2)
Published by Carina Press on February 21, 2023
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance

A woman’s peaceful life is turned upside down when a bad-boy TV star comes to town in Sarah Smith’s new laugh-out-loud romantic comedy

She needs a break

Fed up with the long hours at her prestigious San Francisco architecture firm, Harper Ellorza has traded the overcrowded city for the sleepy seaside town of Half Moon Bay. Her plan to renovate her late grandparents’ house has hit some snags, though: it’s in worse condition than expected, the costs are piling up and her savings are dwindling—fast.

He needs to hide out

A chance encounter with TV hunk Lewis Prescott might be the solution to her problems. After a career-killing meltdown, he’s desperate for a place to lie low for a while. He offers to help Harper remodel the house—for free—if she lets him stay there. He’s famous, he’s handsome and he’s surprisingly good with his hands…

They need each other

As their living arrangements become more intimate, so do their conversations. Turns out, there’s more to Lewis than she ever would have guessed, but Harper knows she needs to keep her hands—and her heart—to herself. After all, her hard-earned quiet coastal life could never be enough for a TV star determined to return to the A-list. Could it?

This was a lot of fun! It was a celebrity romance, and I rather liked Lewis Prescott. He was trying to lie low after being fired from his show. That’s not new, but I love that he stepped in to renovate Harper’s home in exchange for a place to stay while he waits for the drama to blow over.

We all know how these forced proximity things go. There was tension which turned to more, but what elevated this story was the family focus. There was a lot of interactions with Harper’s friends and family. The ones including Lewis were especially sweet because he was accepted in a way he had not been in a long time. He was Lewis Prescott the person rather than Lewis Prescott the actor. There’s a lot more to that story which was explored well by Smith and was one of several aspects that gave this story some depth.

Overall: This story had me laughing often, and I loved the Hollywood ending. I look forward to reading more from this series.

What celebrity would you like to renovate your home?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I don't know if I'd be as brave as Ruby either!

  2. Ruby Spencer's Whisky Year has such a cute cover but yeah, I couldn't think about moving to another country after giving everything up either. There's no way I could go that far out of my comfort zone.

    1. I wish I could. Who knows what amazing things await

  3. I tend to enjoy renovation stories. I don't know that I'd want a celebrity remodeling for me, but I could think of some fictional celebs that I wouldn't mind renovating my home. Tessa Bailey has quite a few heroes that I'd have trouble picking from.

    1. Prescott had a great backstory that he learned all his building skills from his grandpa. It was very sweet. I liked the Hot and Hammered books - they were all in construction