Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 336 pages
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.
I liked Jemma, I did . . . most of the time. She had a lot of tantrums that I thought were a bit . . . extreme. Childish, even for someone her age. All of it geared at Ryder when it wasn't called for. I get it that you don't like the guy (or do you?) but he does nothing but exist to have her start throwing a fit. Doing it once was okay, I can get passed that but the amount of fits she threw really made want to reach inside the book and give her a good punch in the face. I'm not a violent person but dammit if she didn't pull the rage out of me. Thankfully, these fits didn't last that long so I was able to enjoy the book even with them. Now, if we put this to the side, I really enjoyed her as a character. She was fun, smart, passionate (which might be part of problem) and loyal. Majority of the book is tantrum free and the majority of the book I really liked her. So you see, if you just ignore those few scenes, you'll like her too, I'm sure. She has two really great best friends and a group of friends she's basically known her entire life. All the guys in her group of friends, including Ryder, are huge into football.
Speaking of Ryder . . . I think his feelings toward Jemma were pretty obvious from the first time we meet him. Jemma was definitely harder to read and if it wouldn't have been from her point of view, it might have been trickier to notice, too. Could you imagine, though, your mothers basically planning your future as Mr. and Mrs. from the moment you were born until today? Would you want to do everything in your power to rebel against this vision? I would and they do.
But you know what the greatest part of this book was? When the hurricane came their way. The tornado warnings threw these two into a tiny shelter, alone. Tensions were high but it was the beginning of something different for these two. It was exciting, fun (though scary at times), entertaining and even swoony.
There was a tragic accident that occurred in this book and really, it was one that I thought was a little random. Predictable though, I just didn't think the situation would've gone as extreme as it did. Was a little bummed when it happened not only because I loved the character but because I was expecting it and I was really hoping it wouldn't go down the predictable road. Alas, it is what it is.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and honestly, I wished there was more than just this one book. But I am happy with what I was given (I'm a series type girl so standalone's are tough for me).
Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review (it was given to my by Hannah from the Irish Banana as she picked it up at ALA).
One lucky US reader will get the chance to win an ARC of Magnolia by Kristi Cook. This giveaway ends on August 13 at 11:59 PM EST. Please keep in mind that the post office I use is no longer right up the street so I only go there about once a month. There is a chance it could take up to 30 days before the book is sent out. I will email the winner once the book has been shipped so they know to look out for it. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.
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