Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Magnolia by Kristi Cook

Release Date: August, 5th

Arc kindly provided by Simon & Schuster 

Be careful what you wish, people use to say...

A little more than a week ago, I read the most glowing review of this book an author could wish for. lol
In the follow up of that experience _ the review _, I was ready to buy this book wherever I could get it! Really! The review was that good!

But, to my despair, I found out that this story was only available as an arc, since the book is only going to be released in August.
Imagine my despair *Oh, woe is me!*
This prompted me to immediately log in to Edelweiss and request it asap.

This is what I may have said to convince the publishers to give me the book:
(not the actual phrasing and without having resorted to capital letters, but yes, this was basically what I said...)

Following that line, I can't even say that this story was too sweet for me, because I did ask for chocolate...

What I can actually say is that if you like stories that take place in the south, with the southern way of thinking, and southern way of talking, this story is for you. Of course never having lived there, I'm not the right person to judge the exactness of the descriptions... but they do sound very... Gone With the Wind... if all the people were nice to each other, and if racism wasn't allowed...

This is written in a very straightforward manner. An easy, smooth read, it tells us the story of two teenagers whose parents would love to see them planning a future together.
Think Romeo and Juliet, and then imagine what would happen if the Capulets and Montagues weren't long time enemies... but instead great, GREAT friends!
Romeo: It is the east and Juliet a... bore!
Juliet: Oh, Romeo, Romeo, why is thy name Romeo, deny thy father, and refuse thy name... so that our families would leave me the hell alone!!
Nothing kills romance quicker that having one's parents pointing at your future significant one!

This has a good premise, and it's a nice story. It has the necessary ingredients to make a cute romantic story work. But I'm afraid that I needed more in terms of "spices".

The writing is okay, but with this setting I feel that it deserved a language a little more finely worked.

The characters are supposed to be likable... but I honestly couldn't develop any interest for Jemma. It's like when you're talking to someone who loves a character, and you hate it. That person will go and on on the fine attributes of said saint... and you will go:

 Yes, I may pity the guy, but I don't have patience to put up with him! 
"Oh, but he suffered so much..."
"Yes, but having to live with someone like that, would leave me depressed... which in turn would make me suffer!"

By then you will be receiving long emails describing the poor character's mental state... and you couldn't care less...

This is a little of what I feel happened here. The author tried to describe Jemma in the most favourable light. She's kind, and sweet to her parents, friends, animals...
She likes to fire arms...
She's on the cheerleading team... but she's nice to strangers...

It's too much. At least for me it was. Especially when I remember some comments she makes about her cousin... and the five bedroom house.

Despite that, of course it is possible to enjoy a story even when one doesn't feel a connection to one of its characters.
The plot... I'm afraid that, notwithstanding the main characters supposed dislike, there isn't much in terms of conflict to fill the story.
Jemma has her moments of tstl, which wouldn't be anything surprising considering she's a teenager. But the thing is, we get these occasional moments in which she points out how much she's not stupid (not wanting to be driven by someone who is known to drink), but then she goes and just proves otherwise (opening the door in the middle of the night to a drunk, when she's home alone).
I'm sorry, but survival instincts surpass good manners... since she's so clever...

The attempted love triangle with a bad boy was kind of a mess... he's a preppy rich teen who walks in the same circles that Jemma. A preppy teen who likes to drink and drive at the same time, and who thinks himself a lady's man... this is not my definition of bad boy.

Ryder, for instance, doesn't have enough substance to pass from the good guy stereotype to an actual "feels-real" character, I'm afraid. I see him in the future being one of those sweet guys who gets to be bossed around by his... wife.

Then we come to the situation that finally places these two together in a single setting, a tornado, and all its repercussions...
Not a year ago I was offered this amazing book. A YA romantic survival thriller, you could call it.
The book is called "Lost In the River Of Grass" and it's pretty much amazing. In it we can definitely feel the characters struggle for survival... in this one, not so much.

Honestly, I couldn't help feeling this was some sort of "soft tornado" wanna be situation.
Two teenagers home alone in a "not" mansion _Ryder has the antebellum mansion, poor Jemma has the house with five bedrooms _, therefore they're at Jemma's house, having to constantly herd 2 dogs and three cats from one place to another...

And then there was a scene in which Ryder was able to transport three cats in only one arm, and with the other he brought the cake... well being a cat owner... were they stuffed animals? o_O A little unrealistic...

The neighbours left them piles of food...

Only some trees were affected by the tornado...

The barn disappeared but, before that, they had been able to save the precious guns...

There's a scene with a snake, but Jemma proving to be Miss Perfect takes care of that...

And that's my bigger issue with this book.
Everything and everyone was close to perfect! And if you weren't, sooner or later fate would get you.

The romance is kind of weak.
Honestly I don't know why Ryder would be in love with someone who hasn't paid the least attention to him in the last couple of years...
And Jemma besides ogling Ryder's physique also doesn't show that much... love for him...
She does show her temper tantrum side... so maybe that's how people do it in the South.

Thank you so much to the publishing house for allowing me to read this "chocolate". It's not your fault that this didn't turn out to be my "type of chocolate"... ~I'm starting to sound like George Clooney in One Fine Day~ o_O
But do give it a try. You may end up enjoying it more than I did :)

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