Wednesday, February 1, 2017

REVIEW: Lost in Scotland by Hilaria Alexander

Title: Lost in Scotland
Author: Hilaria Alexander
Release Date: Feb 1, 2017
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Shel: Last year we discovered a writer who was not new to the scene but new to us; Hilaria Alexander took us across the globe and back to the south with her interesting and funny characters. So when we saw that she had a new book coming out with Scotland being a featured location, we were all over it. 

Shel: Lost in Scotland has many of the things that Alexander consistently gives us--interesting locations, fun and funny characters, and characters that have to face some tough choices. While this isn't the first novel I've read that is set in Scotland it is the first one that I remember that seems to delve into Scotland other than its lush and expansive greenery. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've sympathized more than with Sam when she constantly reflects on how cold she is. I'm not a huge fan of being freezing cold all the time and this particular setting was steeped in temperatures that made me want a cup of tea next to me at all times. My point, here, is that Alexander always seems to capture such great detail about the places she writes about and it definitely enriches my reading experience. Court: I can't expound on that thought too much better than Shelley already has, but I find that is a familiar component of Hilaria's writing, and I do love a good setting to really represent the book and characters well so this was welcomed...and it being on a movie set where people are tight knit and getting to know each other was fun too! To really get to visit one would be surreal for me!

Shel: Additionally, her characters inevitably have witty, or delightfully snarky, conversations and the characters in Lost in Scotland are no different. When Sam isn't on set or contemplating her past and current relationships, she's often laughing with or at someone--her roommate is a great source of humor, especially when it comes to Hugh (Sam's love interest). Ahhh Hugh. The swoony Scot, who has got to be one of the kindest characters I've come across in a while. I mean he's an actor who isn't really insecure nor is he a big jerk. Yum, right? Pairing Sam, a make up artist working on the set, with Hugh made for an interesting love story, especially when Sam's history came to light. All in all, two characters we hadn't seen before with Alexander or in the genre. Court: I really enjoyed the characters. They're fun together...things are easy between them - when we get to see them getting to know one another little by little. But, as we find out very early on...there are some things Sam's hiding from us - and being somewhat of an unreliable narrator (my favorite...) and you just KNOW things are gonna get a little intense at some point.

Shel: I do have a few quibbles--they're small and more about personal taste than anything else. There were times when I wanted less exposition and more dialogue--I wanted Sam to show me and not just tell me certain things so that I could sink into the novel a little faster. And I know I'm a weirdo for the next thing but oh well--I wanted their to be a little more in the last 10-ish percent of the novel; more about what was happening in those angsty times with them both.  These small things didn't prevent me from enjoying the novel, but they were things that stuck with me. Ultimately, the sweet ending and the vast majority of the novel's plot and pacing worked. Court: Yes. I agree, completely. I like the way you put it too, because it wasn't something that was bad with the book per se - just a little jive that wasn't quite all the way into my heart with the feels, if that makes sense. Sam left us hanging a few times in a place that was a little jarring, but overall I really was invested in finding out how these characters did or didn't get their happy ending, and in the grand scheme of things that made me happy so winning! 

Just when you think you're lost, you might end up falling in love.

Sam Farouk is having a bad year. Things went down the drain ever since she found her boyfriend cheating on her at the Golden Globes. An unfortunate turn of events forces her to trade sunny Los Angeles with the rainy, chilly highlands of Scotland. She has the chance to work as one of the makeup artists on a new TV series based on a fantasy saga everyone is bananas about, but she can’t help feeling lost and a little bit homesick. Until she starts falling for Hugh MacLeod, the actor set to impersonate the titular role of Abarath, dragon slayer and part-time Casanova.

Hugh MacLeod is ready for his big break. After more than a decade taking every possible acting job just to stay afloat, he can finally show his range in a series to be proud of. Hugh’s commitment to his career comes before anything else, and that’s part of the reason why he hasn’t had a serious relationship in a while. But the more he’s around Sam, the more he knows he’s in deep, deep trouble. How is he supposed not to fall for the sexy, mysterious brunette who works all over him every single day? Every touch, every look is torture.

Getting lost in each other might be wrong, but it could end up being just what they need.



“It's so beautiful, Mom.” I pointed the camera of my phone to the scenery in front of me.

“I can see that. It's just as stunning as you see on TV. So green.”

“It's almost too much to take in all at once.”

Scotland was intimidating in a mysterious kind of way. California was what I had known all my life, and I’d barely even spent any time around the United States. Save a few times in London with my father and my siblings to visit my grandparents, I hadn’t been anywhere else in the world. Scotland was as foreign and new as it could get, but now, it was going to be my home for the next eight months. I switched the camera back to me.

“Have you met any of your coworkers?”

“Not yet, just one of Mira’s friends, Lainey. She picked me up at the airport and took me to my place. I have a roommate, but I haven't met her yet. Some of the crew was out bonding last night. I missed it.”

“Oh, well. You’ll have time to get to know them. You’re lucky you got this gig at the last minute.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Samhain, everything will be fine. You’re a talented makeup artist. You know you got this job because of your extensive resume and not just because of a phone call.”

If you say so, I wanted to tell her, but I just nodded. I hoped my mother couldn't tell how scared I was. I knew I was overreacting—I was twenty-nine-years-old, for crying out loud. I was acting like a kid leaving for college, but this actually was my first time away from home, away from my family, my friends…my sister, my brother. I was going to miss them so much.

“Maybe I’ll come visit you,” my mother said. “I heard the male lead on this production is quite the hunk,” she joked. I saw her wink through the screen, and just like that, she brought the smile back to my face and washed away my fears. I laughed and rolled my eyes.


“What? I might be old, but I’m not dead. I can appreciate a handsome man when I see one.” She shrugged. “Who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone cute.”

“I don’t think so. My goal is to lay low for a while. Love only leads to drama.” I knew that all too well.

“Oh, honey…I’m not talking about love—”

Oh, Jesus.

“Mom, come on.”

“No, Sam, let me say what I have to say. Sweetheart, you’re still young. Have your fun while you can. You know that’s why I never liked the fact that you and Eric got so hot and heavy when you were just twenty-two. You spent your best years with a man who didn’t deserve you.”

I nodded and pressed my lips into a tight smile. She was right, of course—as was everyone else with their I-told-you-so’s. I was the fool who had loved him blindly for too long, getting nothing in return. I had gotten my revenge on the cheating bastard, but it had kind of backfired in a way I hadn’t expected. Now, for the next eight months, I would have to call Scotland my home.

I heard footsteps coming from behind me, and I turned around.

The hill I had attempted to climb was deserted. I was alone. In that moment, it dawned on me that maybe this hadn't been the smartest decision. I shouldn't have ventured out by myself; I was in a foreign country, and I didn’t know anyone.

But the scenery had been so inviting.

I barely detected my mother saying, “What is it, honey?” I was too focused on the noise. A moment later, a tall guy in a baseball cap and athletic gear reached the small, flat spot where I had been chatting with my mom. He was wearing a windbreaker and shorts.

Shorts! I was huddled in a knee-length puffer jacket, and just the sight of him in shorts made me shiver. He lifted his head and the sight of his ice-blue eyes made me shiver again. He looked at me for just a second, nodding his head in my direction.

“Hello,” he said in a deep, uber-manly voice, one of those that could make you swoon even saying the most boring and generic stuff. He had me at hello.

“Hi,” I replied, frozen.

His eyes shifted to the phone in my hand. My mother kept calling my name from her office in Los Angeles. The stranger stared at me for another second, and then he gave an imperceptible shake of his head. The corner of his lips curled into a smile.

Ugh. Fucking embarrassing. I had been caught FaceTiming with my mom. This would be a really good time to lose reception, but noooo. My mother kept calling out to me, but I was sort of frozen on the spot, staring at the handsome stranger.

Yes, handsome. I stared at him all of five seconds, but that was enough to see his face—and what a face it was. He had the most perfect features: straight nose, strong jaw, high cheekbones. His eyes were sharp blue and gorgeous, and with just one look, they were melting my insides.

“Samhain! Are you okay, honey? What's wrong?”

“Mom, hang on a sec,” I said, completely distracted by the vision in front of me.

He quickly walked past me and kept climbing up the steep slope, making it look so effortless.

“What is it, honey?” my mother asked again.

“Nothing, Mom. Just some mountain climber,” I said in a lower tone, raising my eyebrows, hoping the stranger wouldn’t hear me. He kept moving just as steadily as he had a moment before. He had to be a pro—he moved way too quickly to be a regular person. I was a fan of hikes, but my expertise was limited to canyons in the valley. This California girl was no match for real mountains like the peaks of Scotland. I had been out of breath in minutes. It must have been the altitude or perhaps the fact that my body was not made for strenuous exercise, no matter how hard I tried. I might not have had a lot of time to look at the stranger, but since I got to stare at his back for a little bit, I knew the rest of his body was as good-looking as his face. He had broad shoulders and muscular, lean legs—no wonder he made it look so damn easy, effortless even. His thin shorts revealed the curve of his ass and that alone was…spectacular.

I sighed. It had been too long, what felt like forever since I’d lusted after a guy. I guess I wasn't broken after all. Good to know. If I had more stamina and no shame, I would have followed him up the mountain. I would have committed to following that ass anywhere.

“Mom, I have to go. I need to get back to the townhouses. Maybe I can catch my roommate before my orientation.”

“All right, honey. Text me, okay?”

Hello! I'm the author of Prude, This Love and FU Cancer. I was born and raised in Italy but now I live in Oklahoma City with my husband and kids. I love traveling and I'm a self-proclaimed concert addict. If you have questions about me or my books, ask me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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