Saturday, September 24, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Legend of Lady MacLaoch by Becky Banks

Release Date: May 23rd, 2011
Publisher: Ha'iku
Page Count: 249
Source: From author, via Romancing the Bookfor review as part of the Becky Banks blog tour

A legendary love, an unforgiving curse, and the discovery of a lifetime.

Centuries ago, a vengeful curse buried itself deep into the history of the MacLaoch clan and become a legendary tale told by all those not cursed by its words.

In present-day Scotland, the laird and chieftain of the MacLaoch clan is an ex-Royal Air Force fighter pilot who has been past the gates of hell and returned a changed man. Rowan MacLaoch does battle with wartime memories and a family curse that threaten to consume him—unaware that his life and that of the history of the clan will be changed forever by the arrival of an American woman.

Cole Baker, a feisty recent graduate of a master’s program, stumbles upon the ancient curse while researching her bloodlines. Moved by the history of the MacLaoch clan and the mystery of its chief, she digs into the legend that had been anything but quiet for centuries.

On their quest for answers, Cole and Rowan travel to places they have never before been and become witnesses to things they have never before fathomed. The legend—one started with blood—will end with more shed as its creator finally exacts her justice.
What Stephanie Thinks: Cole Baker has always been proud to be Cole Baker—all-American, no-nonsense, overly frisky Cole Baker. It isn't until one Christmas evening when her grandfather breaks news that her name isn't Cole Baker at all. She's actually Cole Minary, and is introduced a Scottish surname she's never even encountered in her life. Curiosity and a hard head have Cole setting out on a quest to find about her bloodlines, but she discovers more than what she could have ever hoped for, instead.

Fictional Scottish history and dark, brooding mystery ignite the pages of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. An ancient curse brings Cole to Scotland and into the arms of Rowan MacLaoch, chieftain of the MacLaoch clan. He is the modern version of the sexy Scottish hero (kilts and all!!!!) and though I've never read a Scottish historical before, I'm pretty sure I could get used to them. Cole and Rowan's chemistry is undeniable, and is a gorgeous demonstration that love can often both be happenstance and eternal, if not redeeming. Rowan is a romance hero I've gone ahead and fallen in love with (who saw that one coming?), and Cole is an independent, admirable heroine. She however, does come off as extremely rude at times. I know it's supposed to be portrayed as "feisty", but if I was acquainted with her in real life, I feel I'd constantly tingle with the urge to bitchslap her.

The plot is surprising, but not shocking in terms of the conclusion. It's fairly predictable, in fact, it's just that there are minor twists within the story I never see coming.

Banks's writing is suspenseful and provocative. The story is consuming; I was unable to put it down! Her characters are witty—a fine combination of hilarious and smart—and in the end, they are definitely the type that linger. I am impressed by Banks's marvelous debut; definitely pick this one up if you're in the mood for heated romance mixed with a striking image of Scottish history, as well as the intrigue of mystery and revelation.

Stephanie Loves: "'Mother, Roger is an ex-boyfriend from high school; one that was very sweet but incredibly unmotivated in life except for the pursuit of ass.'"

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥