Magnolia by Kristi Cook

magnoliaGoodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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.

Look at me – ruining another book I love. Watch me go?

This book used to be a favorite. It was one of my beloved contemporaries that was on the shining elusive book favorite shelf of this reforming book hipster – lol, I say reforming but trust me I mean, NEVER CHANGING BECAUSE I RUINED ANOTHER FAVORITE BOOK.

Ugh, this book has a great sounding premise. I loved the concept of the hater to lovers in a small town then getting trapped together in a crazy storm. Idk, but crazy storm romance IS JUST AN AMAZING PREMISE. I love me some thunderstorms, and I was all for jamming to a romance started in a tornado bunker while they realize all of the hate is just misunderstanding and they’re pretty fantastic in their banter.

I got some of them.

But mostly I got annoyance. I felt like there were a lot of things that irked me about the romance and the guys in this book. I felt like there was some slut shaming going on along with how unnecessary Ryder’s protectiveness was for Jemma. It wasn’t full on alpha male, but it turned me off a bit. And Jemma felt so much flatter to me than what she had in the past. I didn’t get some of her motivations like I used, and I felt like she was a sketch of some different YA characters than just one full one. And the second half of the book after the storm? Don’t even get me started on that. I can’t get into much detail because of spoilers but I felt like author decided to create a giant plot twist basically just to keep the romantic lovebirds apart. It was super unnecessary and fell so flat for me since really, it didn’t add any depth to the story for me and it really felt like it was just to keep Jemma and Ryder apart.

Cinderella is feeling the blue on that cover. 

I did enjoy the storm parts. I thought it was exciting and it kept me from skimming the story. Cook did a wonderful job making these parts tense and describing them wonderfully. I did feel the connection between Ryder and Jemma in these parts and I really just enjoyed the atmosphere Cook created with the storm. OKAY, THE STORM WAS JUST REALLY COOL, OKAY. IT WAS TENSE AND EXCITING AND I WAS PLEASED IN A MORBID WAY.

Anyhoo, basically, this story didn’t live up to my childhood love (aka childhood being 3 years ago????) and now I’m deeply saddened by the lost of yet another favorite. There was just a lot of things that annoyed me and the epic storm parts weren’t enough to keep me thrilled and in love. The characters were just okay, but I never deeply loved them as much as I had in the first go around – and the romance? EHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. 2 crowns and a Cinderella rating!


What do you think? Do your favorites live up to their status when you reread them? Do you ever end up hating books that used to be your favorites? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


15 thoughts on “Magnolia by Kristi Cook

  1. More support for why I don’t reread. Sorry this one didn’t withstand the test of time. I recently read a “storm romance”, which I really like – Meet the Sky. It takes place in a hurricane and there’s a lot of fight for survival stuff, plus personal issues that are worked through, and a bit of romance on top of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I’m starting to get that fear of it too. Like, I know some books I immediately won’t be as good but there are a few that I definitely have that fear that they won’t have the same magic. Ugh, it’s a struggle to figure out whether or not to go for it.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.