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4.4 out of 5
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    Absolutely loved it!

    While I have loved each of the Whisper Creek stories, I must say this one is truly my favorite. The story is heartwarming, emotional, and will grab you from the start. Cole and Jess first met two years ago but each has always held back. Cole is tired of hiding his attraction but Jess is still holding back. As Jess's story slowly unravels we get to understand her better and Cole being the kind, loving soul he is won't let her hide any more. This is a great story and will have you laughing at some parts and crying at others. A great emotional read that should be on everyone's list. I highly recommend it.
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    Beautiful, emotionally charged story!

    What a beautiful, emotionally charged story this was! Maggie McGinnis has written a book that will draw you in from the first chapter and take you on an emotional journey. She’ll make you smile and also have you grabbing a tissue, but in the end she has woven a tale that will make any doubter believe in happily ever afters. Cole and Jess have been dancing around the attraction they have towards one another for the past two years. Jess has once again returned to Whisper Creek dude ranch for Hayley and Daniel’s wedding and the sparks start flying from the moment she arrives. And of course everyone is pushing Cole and Jess together – which makes it hard for these two to resist each other. I loved watching these two come together, only to be confronted with obstacles that seemed insurmountable, which ultimately made their HEA even more special. Jess’s back story was just horrible. The life she lived before reinventing herself was painful to read about. I loved that she ultimately came out of those experiences a strong, resilient, and independent woman. Cole has also had some struggles with his past, feeling that he had to give up his dreams in order to help run the ranch after his dad passed. He is constantly wondering what he could have done or made of his life if circumstances were different. Now he’s also feeling the added pressure of trying to pick up the slack when his brother has to devote his attention to his other business ventures. As Jess and Cole begin their relationship they are both carrying around issues from their past that cause misunderstandings and hurdles that they need to clear. It was frustrating at times watching these two struggle to communicate and trust in each other, but the end result was certainly worth all the angst. The added drama of Jess’s past coming back in to play added a nice layer to the story. Watching Jess grow as she built up the strength to deal with her issues was wonderful. And seeing Cole support her without taking over and handling things himself made me just love him even more. I have come to love the Whispering Creek dude ranch and the wonderful family that has been built around it. This little slice of paradise in Montana has me smiling at the thoughts of real cowboys and trail rides, and has me hoping that Maggie McGinnis will be taking us back to Whispering Creek for a few more stories. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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    Whisper Creek Magic Provides New Beginning.

    ** Provided by NetGalley in Exchange for an Honest Review ** -- MY THOUGHTS -- Judging a Book by it's Cover: There is really nothing in this cover to convey that it is a Western Romantic Comedy other than the cowboy boots that she is wearing which is at odds with her fuzzy top. The synopsis is a tad cliche' and I can't help but assume that the female lead may be the stronger of the two in this story. Looking Deeper: Third-person POV. Although this is the third book to the series, you can read it fairly easily having not read the previous installments. That said, I've not read book 1, but *did* read book 2 when it first came out. The characters are all interconnected, but each have a unique story that can and will stand-alone This is going to be a rough one to score... I absolutely LOVE Cole. His gentle, patient and caring nature is often taken advantage of by those around him. He's the good and dutiful son that has put his own dreams aside for far too long, but never says a word. Jess... I really am not a fan of her adult decisions in reaction to her juvenile life left behind. This makes her difficult to connect with, both in the story with the other characters AND with the reader. Cole and Jess's chemistry is too one-sided. She likes him, yeah, but she's "afraid" and continues to push Cole away... he's left to do all the work - again... just like on the ranch. It's no wonder the poor guy hasn't just said, "I quit. All of it" and walked off the ranch and straight to a new life. The secondary characters on the ranch are great; enjoyable, lovable, and fun while the ones back in NC add the necessary touch of "bad guy" drama. The dialogue throughout the story is natural and believable. The plot wasn't horrible, but I just was not as engaged as I'd liked to have been even with the smooth, fluidity of the writing. There are a few minor conflicts along the way that are handled by Cole in his most heart-warming and utterly charming manner, yet the main conflicts remain until much closer to the end. It is only at about the seventy to seventy-five percent mark that I begin to feel that things are becoming truly and believably cohesive between Cole and Jess. That is NOT to say that it was poorly portrayed before, but rather that her "personality" did not quite allow for anything but her self-imposed stiff, impersonal, and aloof being. I waited through the entire length of the book, or so it seemed, to see what Cole's retribution for the water balloons would be and was strangely disappointed that it never came to fruition. There really was not any predictability to speak of, but there were a few minor unforeseen twists. The conclusion was complete and solid, an epilogue is provided to slingshot the couples forward a few years and touches on a few places that were waiting in the wings to be finalized. Overall, it's a pleasant read that flowed nicely. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Heat Level: 2.25 / PG ~ Score: 4.3 ~ Stars: 4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Sweet!

    Jessalyn Alcott's first trip to Montana with her two best friends led to love for one of them. Her second trip out there led to love (again) for her other friend. Third time's a charm, right? You would think so especially since Jess has had her eyes on blue-eyed and dimpled cowboy hottie, Cole Driscoll for a long time. Well, not for this girl. Underneath Jess's calm and serene facade are soul-deep scars and dark secrets from a painful past. All it takes is one phone call and a past that she thought she had left behind for good has come back to haunt her thirteen years later and remind her that the happiness her friends have found is not for her. Cole Driscoll wanted Jess from the first time he saw her two years earlier and now that her friends have made their home in Montana, he hopes that Jess would decide to stay too and give them a chance. But Jess is unusually afraid and evasive and all Cole wants is take away her fears if she would let him in. Jess was the victim of abuse from the very people she trusted to care for her and she ran away from that life with the help of her Grampy. She has since created a new life for herself, a life that is now being threatened by the very people she ran away from. In a very strange twist, I'm reading this series from the last book to the first but ONCE UPON A COWBOY stands well on its own. Ms. McGinnis writes a story that reaches in and grabs onto the heartstrings and just won't let go. Emotional and heartbreaking, this is a touching story about the healing power of love. Even though Cole is trying to figure out his place on the family ranch, everything takes a back seat to Jess and his quest to gain her trust. Cole is kind, sweet and gentle all wrapped up in one sexy package and I loved him. His tender handling of Jess was very heartwarming. Jess realizes that she has been stuck in limbo all this time and that she needs to face her past in order to reach out for her future and also that she can count on her friends to be there for her. Ms. McGinnis handles the issues delicately and respectfully but still maintains a lighthearted tone. The location was so charming and characters so well written that this was a fun story to read. I absolutely enjoyed the end where Jess faced down the demons from her past. However, my favorite parts of the book are her memories of her Grampy, the fun times they had together and the love they shared. ONCE UPON A COWBOY is a sweet story and I will be catching up on the previous books soon. And yes, third time's the charm! Source: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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    A must read!!

    Once again Maggie McGinnis has out did herself. From beginning to the end I laughed, I cried, I just could not put it down! This book is Cole's and Jess's story. In this book we will read all the different steps Cole takes to try to win over Jess's heart and proof he is the right cowboy for her. If you want to read a book that make you laugh and cry at the same time, then this book is for you. You will learn also payback can be trouble and fun at the same time. I will say I LOVED IT!!!
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