The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories

2 ½ Stars


“There’s no time,” Colin said. “You have to go. Find me, call me . . .”

Jacey and Colin shared the three most intense days of their lives together, waiting for help as Mississippi floodwaters surrounded them. Jacey knew Colin was the love of her life—until her rescue boat went under water, along with Colin’s last name and pieces of Jacey’s memory.

The last thing she remembered was being submerged in water. Again.

As Jacey walks down the aisle as the maid of honor in her friend’s wedding a year later, the last person she expects to see is Colin. The biggest surprise, though, is that the man of her dreams is not wearing jeans and flip-flops as he did when he held her through those long nights of the flood. He’s the preacher.

As Jacey’s memories come flooding back, it’s almost more than she can take. The fate of the young family trapped with them haunts her. The unwavering honesty—and support—of her best friend Georgia forces her to take a fresh look at herself. She’s spent her life afraid of love. But this flood is opening Jacey’s heart in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts

Sadly, I wasn’t impressed by The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories. This was really a disappointment for me, because I truly enjoyed the author’s first book, The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. I guess I was expecting to have the same level of connection with the characters as I did in her first book, but that was not the case … at least not for me. I felt the characters were very shallow, and it almost felt like I was reading a book geared towards high school girls (minus the innuendos, etc.); the juvenile actions and conversations the two main female characters had rubbed me the wrong way, and I had a hard time believing that adult women would carry on the way these two did. It was as if the author was trying too hard to be clever and witty, so it came across as inauthentic.

The plot itself was your typical cookie cutter style romance. (*Spoiler? Not really, but thought I would give a warning.) Girl and boy meet, fall in love, get separated, find each other again, have a misunderstanding, it all gets worked out in the end. The parts of the story that could have been so heartwarming were barely touched upon, so it felt very flat to me. I had a hard time getting to the end, because I was simply not interested anymore. So sad!

Lastly, one little pet peeve of mine – the author used the term “shook her head” multiple times when it should have been “nodded” her head. They were indicating yes, but showing (shaking their head) no. Don’t hate me! I know it’s a small issue, but those types of things just drive me batty. LOL!

As always, this is my own personal opinion – you may very well enjoy The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories. I would probably read another book by Celeste Fletcher McHale (if I find out she has written a new book) because I did enjoy her first book so much.

Until next time, my friends!

Sincere thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers and the TNZ Fiction Guild for providing me with a complimentary copy to read and review. Opinions and thoughts are 100% my own, and are in no way influenced by the author or publisher.


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  • Reply
    June 23, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Awww! I’m so sorry you didn’t care for this one. But…I understand. Sometimes we just don’t connect.

    I did want to tell you “shook her head” is a southern thing. “Nodded” foreign to me. LOL. And maybe the banter between the girls is a southern thing, too. I listen to 20 somethings talk to each other around here all the time. I thought I nailed it.

    Anyway, thank you for taking time to review! And I am tickled you liked Hummingbird, especially since it was a true story.

    Have a good day!

    • Reply
      June 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Celeste!

      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I always hate to leave a less-than-stellar review, but I promised to be honest in how I felt with each book, so that is what I have done. I do hope your feelings were not hurt, because I enjoyed your first book very much.

      I am from the south as well, and most of my family still lives down there. I think that is why I was so excited to find an author that wrote stories that were set in the south. It is a way to connect to my heritage, even though I am not there anymore.

      I do hope to see another book from you, and I wish you all the best in your writing career! ♥


  • Reply
    June 23, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Oh my word, no! You didn’t hurt my feelings! I literally salivate waiting for Stephen King to write a new book. I have loved some and hated some. That’s just how it works. I mostly just wanted to say thank you for reading!

    In in the middle of Book 3. Hope you give it a try.

  • Reply
    June 23, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    And frankly, I read and take from reviews like this one. The ridiculous ones that have decided I’m going to hell because I don’t think exactly like they are…I skip over.

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