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Daily Archives: July 27, 2014

Magnolia – Kristi Cook

Magnolia
By: Kristi Cook
Available August 2014

Description:
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.

This Blonde’s Review:
Jemma and Ryder’s mothers are best friends. Their idea of the perfect life for their children would be a life where they end up together so they do everything they can to maneuver them to make it happen. They are not having anything to do with it though. They put up with each other because they have to but that’s all. Until they find themselves caught in a hurricane together alone and other feelings start to come out.

Watching Jemma and Ryder try to figure out what they feel for each other without letting their parents find out was amusing. Most kids have to sneak around since their parents wouldn’t approve. Jemma and Ryder have the opposite problem. If anything happens between them it would make their parents’ dreams come true and they would never hear the end of it.

Jemma and Ryder have their friends that overlap and their families, so there is no way to stay away from each other. But when they get caught in the hurricane together when both sets of parents are out of town they find themselves seeking comfort in each other. That comfort opens the door for other things they wouldn’t have allowed themselves to feel otherwise.

I liked the way they were able to encourage each other to do what mattered to them, that those things were able to bring them closer together instead of further apart. It was a cute book and one that I breezed through pretty quickly and happily.

If you enjoy reading about a couple whose only thing keeping them apart are the things they think they know about each other then you’ll enjoy reading this one to watch them learn they don’t know each other as well as they think.

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Talon – Julie Kagawa

Talon
By: Julie Kagawa
Talon – Book 1
Available October 2014

Description:
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

This Blonde’s Review:
Ember and Dante may look like normal teenagers but they’re actually dragons in hiding. They’ve spent their whole life in training in a compound and are finally being given a summer to try to blend in. Dante is the one who is good and always does the right thing. Ember is the one who finds the idea of freedom exhilarating and can’t wait to see what life is like outside of the compound they grew up in. She has a hard time not turning or flying, but at least she can surf and get something close to it.

Ember and Dante have always been close, but when they are separated for training they find themselves drifting apart. They learn different things at different times as their instructors believe they need to know it. Ember’s trainer puts her through hell, forcing her to fight and trying to make her lose touch with her humanity. Her trainer wants Ember to attack humans without pause. When she finds out what job she’s been assigned to she doesn’t know if she can handle it.

During everything she has met two guys. One, a rogue dragon, who appeals to her dragon side and encourages her to fly and break rules. Another is a human guy who appeals to her human side, who is secretly a member of St George, the group that tracks and kills dragons. She never though a dragon would be attracted to a human but somehow she is attracted to Garret. We also see the guys’ points of view, the way they see Ember and what they want from her. But throughout it all, Ember is primary and her viewpoint is the important one. These guys are going to lead Ember to some important decisions and realizations about herself and the world around her. And at the same time, she’ll help them see the things around them in a different way too.

When I started this one I wasn’t sure that I’d like it. We were supposed to hear the way that Ember thought about dragons and it almost seemed like she thought of herself as part of a larger unit rather than as herself. And it would have been irritating to hear her describe herself in terms of dragons as a group throughout the whole book. But as the book went on that got to be less of an issue. While I was reading it I took it as the author describing things and irritating me with the way she was doing it. But as the book went on and more of Ember’s human side came out less of that descriptive side was present. So it may have also been something to do with the way she thought about herself, in the beginning she was part of this larger unit while later she was simply Ember, dragon and human at once.

The relationships were complicated the way they always are. We don’t want to give up on the people that everyone else can see aren’t capable of being there for us the way we want them to be. At the same time, in some ways they weren’t as bad as it could have been. There was of course attraction and a bit of a love triangle, but nothing so overwhelming that they didn’t come together when needed to fight together on more than one occasion, before and after they knew each other’s true identities.

At first I wasn’t sure I’d care for the writing style, but by the end of the book I was really enjoying Ember’s story. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.