Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

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Magnolia - Kristi CookPublisher: Simon & Schuster (August 5th 2014)
Paperback: 384 pages
Source: Edelweiss & FFBC
Add on: Goodreads
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

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


Magnolia is a delightful Romeo and Juliet inspired tale of romance and friendship, except our new Romeo and Juliet’s love story is taken by tale, spun around and flipped upside down. This is the story of Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden, who’s parents want nothing more than for them to join the Cafferty and Marsden families together in holy matrimony. Too bad they can’t stand each other.

So instead of this:

R&J - fish tankthere’s a lot more of this:

Vampire Knight - punch

Once upon a time, there might have been a chance for Jemma and Ryder, but after Ryder (sort of unknowingly) blows it, it’s the cold shoulder and bicker-to-the-very-end for the two of them until they finally get a chance to mend their friendship. I love the play on Romeo and Juliet, from the parallels of names and characters to the twist of it not being love-at-first sight, and not even hate-at first sight, but a deeper relationship with history.

The big storm the leaves them stranded together and kind of forces them to face each other (and gave us a lot of super cute moments). I loved watching the development of their relationship. It was pretty cute to see Jemma’s feelings for Ryder go from:

[…]I hold up my finger and thumb, creating a little frame around Ryder Marsden, wh0 stands outside on the lawn below. I close one eye to get the illusion just right and then pretend to squish him.

Take that.


I hear him swallow hard. “I’m glad I’m here with you.”

“I’m glad you are too,” I say automatically. But then… I realize with a start that it’s true. I am glad he’s here. I feel safe with him.

as Ryder slowly wins over Jemma with his southern charm as they get the opportunity for some heart-to-heart talk that allows them to mend fences and get over all the misunderstandings.

The misunderstandings are pretty typical teen angst and a good reminder that sometimes boys are a bit stupid and don’t always get subtle hints. That  being said, I really adored Ryder. Turns out he’s a totally sweetheart behind his cold golden boy persona. The more we get to know him, the more we understand which means the more we (or at least I) love him.  And I loved that Jemma isn’t just another demure perfect southern girl, she’s got sass but she’s also self-aware. Together, they have a damnable spark. The family obviously plays a big role in their lives.  It’s interesting to see how they influence and shape Jemma and Ryder and their relationship.

Overall Magnolia is a breezy and delightful re-imagined love story with southern charm. There’s a mix of heartbreaking, heartfelt and humourous moments that have you flying through the book. My only (tiny) complaint is the (almost too) perfect ending, but Jemma and Ryder are so cute together, so I got over that pretty quickly. Definitely a fun pick-me-up for fans of sweet YA contemporaries.

{*Thank to Simon and Schuster & Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for the an honest review.



“I hold up my finger and thumb, creating a little frame around Ryder Marsden, wh0 stands outside on the lawn below. I close one eye to get the illusion just right and then pretend to squish him.

Take that.”


“I’m trying not to obsess about the storm too much. I mean, I do have the urge to watch the Weather Channel twenty-four-seven, but that’s pretty normal for me. What can I say? I like watching the Weather Channel. And okay, maybe I have a teeny-tiny crush on Jim Cantore. Doesn’t everyone?”


“You can imagine what it’s been like since our mothers first plopped us into a crib together, rubbing their hands in conspiratorial glee as they planned our wedding. Playdates followed where the adults smiled and cooed as they watched us dig in the sandbox, where Ryder tugging on my pigtails was a sure sign of his adoration, where me throwing sand in his face only proved my devotion.”


“Is this okay?”

I tilt my head back against the wall, catching my breath. “Yeah,” I say, panting. “It’s definitely okay.”

And, of course, that’s when the dang-blasted tornado siren decides to go off again.



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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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About Kristi Cook:

Kristi CookAs 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!

Find Kristi Cook:

WebsiteGoodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Purchase the book:

Amazon (PB) | Amazon (Kindle) |  B&N |  Book Depository | Chapters !ndigo | iTunes


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Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

0 Replies to “Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Magnolia by Kristi Cook”

  1. Romance isn’t really my thing, but it sounds interesting anyways. Also I nominated you for a blog award: Let me know if you can participate!

    1. Aww, thank you so much! But unfortunately i don’t think I’ll be able to participate, but we really appreciate the nomination!!

  2. At first I didnt pay attention to this one at all because the cover threw me off but lately i keep seeing reviews for this one that MAKE ME want to read it. Love the fact that this one is basically the opposite of Romeo and Juliet! Great review 🙂

    1. Yeah, I only really noticed it because of the tour opportunity, the cover doesn’t give us much does it haha. It was a fun read, hope you enjoy it!!

  3. Oh I just love the sound of the relationship here and how it goes from antagonistic to growing on each other, how adorable! I’ve heard that the storm is a major factor of their relationship development. Lovely review!

    1. Me too, me too! Yup, the storm really forces them together (literally) and kinda makes them talk, haha.

  4. Ok, you have me very curious, and until now I knew very little about this..but it sounds well, adorable!

    1. It is quite adorable, haha. I could never resist those fine lines between hate and love romances 😉

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