Title: Hot Scots, Castles, and Kilts
Author: Tammy Swoish
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Check it out on Goodreads.
Buy at: Chapters
Little does 16-year-old Sami Ames know what she’s in for when she and her mother head to Scotland to help their cousins save MacKensie Manor. Sami feels like she’s landed in a medieval time warp. There’s no electricity, no running water, or hair conditioner! But Sami joins in the challenges of daily peasant life in order to get MacKensie Manor up and running as a working farm tourist attraction. She can’t imagine people paying to make soap, dye wool, or milk cows. What’s worse, a ghost has invaded her room. Sami can’t figure out cousin Fiona, who obsesses over an ancient family feud with the McClintoggs, but Sami’s thrilled when she has a close encounter with a hot Scot. Too bad it’s Adan McClintogg! (Source: Goodreads)
Sami and her mom are off to Scotland to visit relatives they didn’t even know they had. When they arrive Sami finds out they’re actually there to help the family fix up the castle and make it ready for guests to come and experience medieval life. Sami also learns about an old family feud and meets a ghost while she’s in Scotland and becomes sort of determined to help the ghost pass on and to fix the family feud – especially when she falls for a guy from the other family!
I wanted to spend the remainder of my summer reading romances where the main character travels the world and falls in love while they’re off on this exciting adventure. This book was so far from that. This is an epistolary novel, told through disjointed journal entries. It largely focuses on anything but the romance – even though the book seems to sell itself on the romance. Mostly it seems to focus on Sami whining, like the plot was really not that much of a concern to Swoish at all. I really didn’t enjoy any part of the book, the writing was bland, the plot was predictable, the romance was practically nonexistent, and the format was awful.
In terms of plot this book is pretty predictable, that is once you centre in on what the actual main plot of the book is. The book was sold to me as a romance, but the romance between Sami and Adan feels very unimportant to the actual meat of the novel. There’s little attention paid to it and it’s wholly underdeveloped. The redevelopment of the castle and surrounding grounds isn’t that big of a deal either. I sort of thought it would make for a more interesting plot of it turned out these Scottish people were just scamming them or if there was some thriller twist. But instead the plot really centred more on the ghost and the clan war/family feud. That was really central to everything and it played out very quickly and predictably. It wasn’t particularly interesting. The ghost tied into the clan war. The clan war story was kind of lame to me…I don’t know, it wasn’t interesting enough to warrant focusing on it. It didn’t really lead to any fighting beyond some teenage bickering which was underwhelming.
The characters of the book are similarly underwhelming. There isn’t any substance to any of them. Sami, our lead character, is very dull. She spends a good deal of her time whining about everything. She reads like a very overly stereotyped teen girl, there isn’t anything that seems real or believable about her to me. She’s like a ’90s movie teen. Her cousin was this kind of manic unstable figure, not because that was actually central to her character but because she’s so poorly developed. All the adults basically act like Sami too. And then Adan is basically a nothing character. This leads to there being absolutely no relationships of substance either.
The romance in this book is nothing. There is basically no romance at all. Adan is seen frequently throughout the book but he’s very much a background character, with little to no dialogue and even fewer real interactions with Sami. We don’t see anything really spark between them. They date because they’re both (of course) attractive teens. There’s nothing else there. It’s really very lame.
I hated the diary in this because it wasn’t even used well. Basically it’s got days….sometimes? But other times….it has chapter titles? It was like a really bad attempt at a Princess Diaries type of thing. The writing seemed to jump around a lot and the diary format just seemed like a way to excuse lazy writing. I was really not a fan.
One thing that really pissed me off about this book was its focus on essentially Celtic mysticism. Everything in Scotland is of course magic, the people are obsessed with magic and spirits. And even more than that…the bloody Loch Ness monster. Who comes up frequently in this book. For some reason. It just annoyed me and felt like lazy writing and poor research.
I would really not recommend this book, it’s not even good for a laugh or just for fluff, it’s bad.