Thursday, July 31, 2014

Magnolia ~ Kristi Cook (arc) Tour Review + Giveaway [@SimonTeen @TUABFC @Asatoorian @Kristi_Cook]

by Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Pages: 384
(purchase links after the review)


In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

Kristi Cook's Magnolia is a great, fun, summertime read. Jemma and Ryder are what would happen if you flipped Romeo and Juliet's tale on its head: their families have been uber close for generations and have all but planned their wedding. Only, Jemma and Ryder cannot stand each other.

Or so they want to believe.

The families' history adds an interesting element to Magnolia and to Jemma and Ryder's lives, as well. Both their history - personal and familial - and their present play roles in their feelings for each other. It brings more depth to their relationship and the novel.

While it stays a fun, easy read, there are elements of the story that provide more substance. Characters are facing their own - internal and external - struggles that affect not only them but those around them. It all affects everything from why Ryder and Jemma have to brave the storm together to what their futures hold. We get a fuller picture of the characters and the 'why's for things feel logical and real. Even as the characters may be thrown together, there's a reason.

Those deeper issues that are part of the story and the characters' stories, make for a really enjoyable read. It's not just two characters who hate each other and then have to spend a stressful, trying time together. It's characters with a history (dating back to the Civil War), with their own stressors who have to face a trying event, together.

It is a full and well thought out story where nothing is isolated, everything - and everyone - affects everything else.

One of my favorite things about Magnolia was how well the author could set the scene. The characters live in Mississippi and that was not just so that the storm could happen. The descriptions from Jemma of her surroundings evoked a terrific sense of atmosphere. It was easy to imagine being in that same place, knowing how it would sound, smell, look and feel. It really brought the setting to life.

Favorite Quote:

"But yeah, Mama taught me to sew, Daddy to shoot. That's the way we roll here in Magnolia Branch."

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Follow the FFBC Magnolia Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

That’s the official version–here are some other fun facts:

~ As an undergrad, I majored in History and minored in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. While at Southern Miss, I was a member of Phi Mu sorority, and I was a Dixie Darling. And yep, Brett Favre was our quarterback at the time!

~ I studied American History in grad school at Columbia University. I *love* history, especially the Civil War era (U.S.) and Regency- and Edwardian-era British history.

~ My all-time favorite book *and* movie is GONE WITH THE WIND. My favorite literary characters are Rhett Butler, Atticus Finch, and Mr. Darcy. I kind of want to add Peeta Mellark to that list!

~Weirdly enough (or maybe not so weirdly?) I’m also a big fan of STAR TREK (the original series). I never can remember if I’m supposed to call myself a “Trekkie” or a “Trekker,” though!


Win (1) $25 gift card to an online bookstore of choice (Amazon or BN) plus an entire paperback set of the Winterhaven series (Haven, Mirage, and Eternal) [INT]
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