Tour Stop: MAGNOLIA by Kristi Cook Book Review

by Kristi Cook
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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.

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Book Review:
Rating: 3.2 of 5 stars

The Good:
I love the twist to Romeo and Juliet. I've read a book or two of a retelling of the story so it's nice and refreshing to see a different, more unique version of it in Magnolia. It felt like Romeo and Juliet in reverse. That instead of them having to repress their feelings because they can never be together they're actually doing everything they can to not be together. It's actually one of the reasons I was ecstatic to read the book. I have been a huge fan of Kristi Cook ever since I read Haven so I was very excited to see how she'll pull this one off. And it turned out really good.

I love that the main protagonist, Jemma, isn't portrayed as someone too feminine. I mean, how many times have I come across a heroine who's hobby is to shoot guns? I don't think I have honestly. It gave her character an edge and made her more intriguing. Granted she doesn't jump from moving trains or fight off demons. But let's admit it, she's great at what she does and that to me makes her a kickass.

I can relate to Jemma and Ryder's situation. Not because I have my whole life planned out for me by my parents and by the parents of the guy who they tell me I'm going to be with forever but because I know what it feels like to want to be in control of my life. To do or not do something just because our family said so. It feels so freeing to do the one thing we're not supposed to do. Haven't we all been a rebel at one time? From the chocolate cookie we're not supposed to eat before dinner to the midnight curfew we broke - all these little shows of rebellion just so we'd feel like we're still the ones who make the decisions.

I admire the relationship between the Caffertys and the Marsdens. This for me highlights one of the great things about Magnolia. I have never seen such loyalty, closeness, familiarity and affection between people. It was sweet and humbling.

Lastly, I love the culture and the traditions incorporated in the story. I wish this was explored more but the little I read about it made me want to live in Magnolia Landing. Or just go and visit Mississippi. And is it just me or does the book remind you of the movie The Blind Side?

The Bad:
I did not feel any connection towards Jemma. I can't sympathize with her and even after reading the whole book, she still feels like a stranger to me. I could count off in one hand the few things I know about her.

Jemma lead Patrick on, stringing him along when she clearly knew that she did not feel any romantic feelings for him.
Meanwhile, Patrick is clingy and way too overeager. Poor guy, he seemed nice and likable but he just got on my nerves. And after what happened to him I feel terrible saying that but seriously, something just felt wrong with him.

Some of Jemma and Ryder's interactions sounded way too cheesy and felt insincere.

Lastly, Jemma, Ryder and the members of both families were portrayed perfectly. Too perfectly in fact I just didn't find it believable at times.

Magnolia is a great book with a unique twist. It wasn't as amazing as I expected but I enjoyed it a lot.

I received a free ecopy of the book as part of a blog tour.

Follow the tour here.



Welcome to Literary Addicts End of Summer Event Brought to you by the following authors.
Join our Virtual Book Party Friday August 1 – Friday August 15 to chat with the authors, find great books to read, and win some cool prizes!


A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds... The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he's a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he's inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse--and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps. Read More

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The Sea of Dreams spat me out with no memories, no idea of who I was or what my purpose might be. When Captain Bo, dream killer extraordinaire, arrived, I took a chance to explore. On the road of discovery, I tripped upon dreamplanes floating dead in a graveyard, scared children attempting to survive their dreams turned nightmare, strange guardians, rogue Dreamlanders, and ships with hearts of silver. I learned more about Dreamland than I ever thought possible. But people are dying. They're disappearing. Dreamland is twisting, shifting, ripping. I don't know how best to help, how to save those I've met, who have wormed their way into my heart. If only I knew who I was, what I'd been born to do. Then I found out. I know who I am. I wish I didn't. Dream Killers is geared for fans of Once Upon a Time. Read More

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Sometimes the safest distance between two hearts is no distance at all. Kidnapping a baby wasn’t something Hope ever dreamed she would do. But she’s been burned by the legal system before, so when the court places her friend’s child into the custody of an abuser, she takes matters into her own hands. She steals the baby and fakes her death, hoping to make a clean getaway. She planned every detail, except one. Her high school sweetheart and best friend, who left her years before, sees her at a gas station. Hope thinks all is lost, until he offers to help them. Read More    

Erinn Wolf needs to reinvent herself. A once celebrated playwright turned photographer, she's almost broke, a little lonely, and tired of her sister's constant worry. When a job on a reality TV show falls into her lap, she's thrilled to be making a paycheck--and when a hot Italian actor named Massimo rents her guesthouse, she's certain her life is getting a romantic subplot. But with the director, brash, gorgeous young Jude, dogging her every step, she can't help but look at herself through his lens--and wonder if she's been reading the wrong script all along. . Purchase       


Annie Crow Knoll-Sunrise is the story of a place where people come to restore their spirits, heal their pain and reclaim their lives. Annie is a determined young woman who is left to run her family's property after the death of her parents. Managing fourteen summer cottages with only the help of a family friend, she struggles to survive on her own. When she meets Drew, a young college professor, Annie thinks she's finally found a love she can trust. But years of conflict and pain destroy their bond and leave Annie alone again, unless she can find lasting peace and passion in the most unlikely arms. Read More    


Imagine an island that offered a couple an erotic fantasy for their benchmark 40th Birthday. And if this milestone was the one time to step out on a ledge and take a risk, would they dare participate in a multiple partner sexual encounter? When Don Nightengale, a budding hotelier, husband and father, successfully gambled the answer an astounding yes and opened a mysterious sex-fueled cabaret in the catacombs of an ancient slave castle in Cuba, his former life as a suburban Long Island insurance executive ended. Seeking a taste of his carefully crafted masquerade, revelers from around the globe arrived in droves. But Don couldn't have his cake and eat and it too. To fulfill his dream of building the world’s most spectacular resort, he partnered with men he ordinarily would not have and convinced his wife that this was the road to success and happiness. Read More       


Elena is a survivor--and no stranger to the cruelty that lurks in the shadows of society. Caught up in the search for a missing student, she must face the increasing violence head on and find the strength to overcome her own past. Time is running out. Too many children have recently been reported missing, for this latest disappearance to be a coincidence. Invitations for a special auction have already been sent and buyers are gathering. Elena's fierce determination to save a young girl sets off a chain of events that leads to the same man who orchestrated Elena's own vicious kidnapping. Will justice triumph in Elena's crusade to save other innocent victims from the same fate she was forced to endure? Purchase   


To what lengths will a man go for the woman he loves? Reed Dartmouth will learn the answer to those questions time and time again throughout his relationship with Jade Montgomery. When he first meets her as a young, gentle boy the heartache from losing his mother only a year before is still fresh and painful. Jade is different from anyone else he’s ever met; tough, sassy, and even a bit cruel. But she’s also the same as he is: she knows what it’s like to lose a parent. Their friendship begins and a bond like no other is formed. Time passes and Reed learns that not only are Jade’s parents dead, they were murdered and she’s made an oath to one day bring them justice. No matter the price. Read More   


When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park and left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him. Purchase     


Look out, Venice Beach--the Wolf women are all together again. But when 70-year-old Virginia arrives with her teacup Chihuahua and unshakeable confidence, she senses trouble. Erinn is keeping secrets--like being broke and out of work--and Suzanna is paying too much attention to the wrong man--a Latino dance instructor who nearly broke her heart once before. Virginia's ready for the third act of her life, and she intends to make it rousing and romantic. Now she just has to convince her daughters to throw out their old scripts. If life has taught Virginia anything, it's this: there's more than one way to a "happily ever after"... Purchase         


What happens when the heart and soul divides? Chosen by the Myst, her royal prophecy traces back over a thousand years. Leader of the Valkyrie, part human and part supernatural, Auriel bridges the invisible gap between Earth and Midgard demanded by the Laws of the Nine Norse Realms. She alone prevents Ragnarok from wiping away those she loves. There’s only one problem: he forgot. Liam Skyland is a hybrid werewolf with a death warrant. The bastard son of the lycan King narrowly escaped death as an infant. The world shifts, and Liam loses four years of his life. All he remembers is that she is coming. Read More  


One woman, three men, and a beach romance as unpredictable as the riptide. . . Being a widow at the age of forty-four was never in Jude Hawthorne’s plans. After her husband’s death, she’s left with her family’s beach restaurant and two nearly-grown children. The last thing she’s looking for is another chance at love. However, if her husband’s best friends, the Posse, have anything to say about it, love is just what she’s going to get. The Posse is determined to take care of Jude, and when they decide the best way to do that is for one of them to sweep her off her feet, three begin to vie for her affections. But only one can reach her heart. In a story of friendship, loss and second chances, Jude will learn her life is far from being over. Purchase  


A potion gone wrong, or right? Single, unemployed, and in charge of her very own pet zombie, Ella Perry is cooking up trouble, and it's raining men. Ella has spent years searching for a cure for a zombie named Freddie. However, when an experimental concoction takes an unexpected turn, she gets a glimpse of the life she's been missing by hanging out with the undead. Zombies, Angels, and Pixies. Oh my! Don't miss out on the first book in the new "Sexy Witches" series. Purchase       
What the Heart Knows Book cover 1-31-14

After a night of celebrating with friends, Emily Warren is attacked by a colleague. She’s fortunate to escape the rape attempt but now suffers from terrifying nightmares, although she’s too ashamed to tell anyone. Her family suspect something and enlist Bill, an old friend of hers she’s not seen for a number of years, to try to find out what’s wrong. Under the pretext of a white-lie, he invites her out to his farm, where she will have to be careful she doesn’t reveal that her attacker is still in contact and threatening to finish what he started. This isn’t her biggest secret, though. Bill must never learn that she’s loved him since high school. Bill has two weeks to find out what is frightening Emily, but must also be careful she doesn’t discover how much he loves her. Read More       


Book ONE in the stand-alone EMBRACE YOURSELF series. A poignantly humorous New Adult romance with a twist. Embrace your awkward. Be unique. Change your fairytale ... If you are looking for a happy book about beautiful people, this is the wrong story. If you are looking for a narrative without emotion, without regrets, and without mistakes, this is definitely the wrong story. This is by no means an uncomplicated tale about uncomplicated people. It is by no means sweet or light. This story is ugly. This story is complicated. This story is emotional. This story is tragic. Read More 

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Review: PERFECT KIND OF TROUBLE (Finding Fate #2) by Chelsea Fine

by Chelsea Fine
Publication Date: June 17th 2014

Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . . 

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief . . . until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father's protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she's forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla's seen his type before. But Daren isn't who he seems to be . . .

Struggling to make amends for his family's mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He's beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner's princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she's just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla's dad could have left them . . . was each other.

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My Review:
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Your value is not in what others make of you, but in what you find in yourself and what your loved ones see in you.'

Kayla and Daren are more alike than they're likely to see. They're both guarded, broken and alone. When they are forced to work together to find an inheritance that could mean the difference in their lives, they find out just how much things can change and take on a whole new meaning when their lives and hearts are put on the line.
I adore Kayla's strength and kindness. Eventhough she has a closed-off personality, she's caring, kind and willing to help others. Daren is much like her. Even with his attachment issues, he's sweet, charming and can be counted on. Too bad he gives himself too little credit and doesn't see the kind heart other people see in him.

I love how all the characters are portrayed with such vivacity and personality. I admire Ellen's character. She's motherly and loving. I like how she easily accepts and loves what she sees in people without judging. I would have loved to meet Marcella and Kayla's father though. They played a huge part in Daren and Kayla's lives. And what little I've seen of them (through Kayla's and Daren's memories), I'm in awe. 
Being a father's kid, I can relate to Kayla and "Old Man" Turner's relationship. I know what it feels like to have that one person who would love you unconditionally and would sacrifice their everything for you. And yes, I kinda hate Kayla's mom and Daren's dad. To have someone you trust, someone you love betray you like they did, it has to be very difficult and heartbreaking.

I absolutely fell in love with Daren and Kayla. The whole time I was reading the book, I find myself either smiling or frustrated. Those two put a whole new meaning to chemistry. I definitely found a new book bf in Daren. He's a self-proclaimed womanizer but can I just say I love him?
I greatly enjoyed the whole book - I was mesmerized from beginning to end. I don't even remember what I did in the two days I was reading the book. It was like I was in this huge bubble all on my own - I was that hooked. And the scavenger hunt? The whole idea was hilarious and fun and it felt a lot like I would have wanted to go on one myself.

Lastly, the writing was flawless. I fell in love the first time with author Chelsea Fine after I read Sophie & Carter. It was heartfelt, emotionally driven and romantic and this time is no different.
You're in for a sizzling romance and a fun adventure with a slice of drama in Perfect Kind of Trouble.

Earc provided by the publisher via NetGalley to read and review.
Quotes cited may change in the final print.

Review: PIECES OF OLIVIA by Melissa West

Pieces of Olivia (Charleston Haven #1)
Publication Date: July 15, 2014

Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future.But on one fated night, everything changed.

Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life.

She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal… that is, until she meets Preston.
Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars.

Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…

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My Review:
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Quotes may change in the final print.

I have recently been testing the waters of the NA genre and when I learned that Melissa West is releasing her newest NA book (in a series), I jumped on the chance to read it. And it was a lovely, thrilling experience.

Olivia Warren is running from a tragic past. While she keeps everyone at an arm's length, what she has bottled up inside are all the physical and emotional scars she'd rather forget. With all that Olivia is going through, I admire her strength and determination. She keeps a tough exterior while still being sassy. And as she goes through the whole healing process, we see how amazing of a character she is. 
I don't know why but there were some instances in the book where I'm reminded of E. Lockhart's We Were Liars.

Enter Preston Riggs. Preston is charming, sweet and enigmatic. He's hot. And he's off-limits. But the more that Preston and Olivia deny the attraction between them, the more that it grows. I love how Preston can be very understanding of Olivia's condition. He doesn't push Olivia but instead settle on just being there for her. And isn't that all we need sometimes? Someone to make us feel that we're not alone and that they will be there when we fall and needed to be caught.

I love everything about Pieces of Olivia - the realistic plot, the complex and wonderful characters and the enticing romance. It made me believe in the power of love, family, friendship and second chances. 
Pieces of Olivia is intense, heartwarming and emotional. Must-read! 

"I'm here, right now, and I am out of my mind in love with you. I love you so much that it feels like my chest might explode."

Author Bio:
Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/Intermix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.

Connect with Melissa at or on Twitter @MB_West. And for sneak peeks at upcoming works, prizes, and more, join The RES Spies at Mel's Madhouse:

Book Blitz and Excerpt: LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid plus GIVEAWAY!

Release Date: 07/29/14
Harlequin Teen

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Early Praise:
“This will likely be a popular summer hit, especially for older teen about to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery.” –Booklist

“Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper Towns and road trip novels that feature a teen paving the way to adulthood, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels.” – School Library Journal

“Five love stories, beautifully woven together by a special girl in search of adventure, hope, and full appreciation of life’s simple pleasures. A do-not-miss.  ” – Justine Magazine

“Moving and poignant.”  - Glitter Magazine

“An entertaining and romantic road-trip debut.” – Kirkus

"Leila's quest to find the Northern Lights takes readers on a captivating cross-country journey, where four strangers' adventures collide into one riveting tale of finding yourself." ―

HUDSON COULD HEAR the car’s engine from blocks away. He stepped outside the garage and closed his eyes, listening, picking apart the sounds so that he would know exactly what he’d have to fix before he even popped the hood.

Standing there against the garage, listening to the still-far-off car, Hudson could forget about everything else. About school and girls and his future and whether his friends were actually jackasses or just acting like them. With his eyes closed, Hudson could reduce the world to a single engine and nothing more; a world where he could not only name every little part but knew what it was for, how it worked, how to fix it.

He opened his eyes when he heard the car’s brakes chirp as it slowed to turn into the garage. It was an old Plymouth Acclaim, the kind of car you either happily sent off to die or loved with your entire heart and refused to let go of. It had seen better days, its red paint job chipped and faded, its muffler not doing much muffling. He waved the driver forward to where he was standing. He was still identifying the car’s problems when the girl killed the engine and climbed out.

He only allowed himself a quick glance at her, knowing as soon as he saw her that she was the kind of girl who could make you think your life was not complete unless she was in it. She was a jumble of contradictions: short but with long legs, fierce green eyes but a kind expression, baby-faced but wise. She was wearing a snug, plain red T-shirt that matched her car. Her hair was down, the black locks reaching just past her chin.

“Afternoon,” she said, offering a polite smile.

He replied in kind, trying to adopt the professional tone he used with most customers. He asked her to pop the hood and then walked to the front of the car to release the latch. He meant to bury himself in work right away, but against instinct he stole another glance. How long would the memory of her face haunt him? Days? Weeks? “You having trouble with anything specific?”

“Well,  not really,”  she said, slipping her hands into the back pockets of her shorts, which made her posture change in a way Hudson couldn’t help but notice. The quiet world outside the garage noticed the change in her posture, the damp Mississippi air noticed, even the various grease stains spread out on the garage floor noticed. “I just got started on a road trip, and it’s making a lot of noise, so I wanted to be sure it’s in shape.”

Hudson grabbed a clean rag off a nearby shelf and checked the oil and the transmission fluid. He liked working in relative silence, nothing but the subtle sound of the cooling engine, his hands and tools on the machine. Something about this girl, though, made him chatty. “Where you goin’?”

“North,” she said. “All the way north.”

“You from around here?” He suddenly felt self-conscious about his drawl, the hitch in his vowels, the overall lackluster quality of his presence.

“Nope. You?”

He chuckled as he ran his hands around the engine, checking for cracks in belts. “Born and raised.”

About the Author:

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. 
He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.  

Author Links:
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1 signed hard cover copy of Let’s Get Lost
1 Let’s Get Lost luggage tag
1 Harlequin TEEN notebook
1 Let’s Get Lost sachel
1 Harlequin TEEN tote bag

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