Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tour! A Review & Excerpt of Once Upon a Cowboy by Maggie McGinnis

Once Upon a Cowboy (Whisper Creek #3) by Maggie McGinnis 
Genre: Adult Fiction (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept

In this sexy Whisper Creek romance for readers of Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe, a red-hot cowboy uses some Montana magic to give a reclusive beauty her happily ever after.

Yoga instructor Jessalyn Alcott radiates peace, calm, and serenity—on the outside. Inside, she still feels like the broken, desperate girl from the trailer park. She’s got dark secrets she can’t share, which is why she never lets her relationships go beyond the third date. But when she travels to the Whisper Creek dude ranch for a friend’s wedding, Jess is enchanted by a cowboy whose deep blue eyes, dimpled smile, and rock-hard body make it tough to remember why she keeps running scared.

Cole Driscoll has struggled to find his place on a family ranch where he’s always played second fiddle. His future might be uncertain, but he’s sure of one thing: He wants Jess by his side. Easier said than done. When it comes to getting close, she’s full of excuses, and he longs to fix the hurt he sees in her eyes. Now that she’s at Whisper Creek, there’s nothing he wants more than to break down the walls around her heart and heal her pain with the power of love.

Once Upon a Cowboy is the third book in the Whisper Creek by Maggie McGinnis.So we've gotten glimpses of the chemistry between Jess and Cole throughout this series, and now we finally get their story. Cole is the ladies man, or well... he was before he met Jess a few years ago. Jess has a whole lot more baggage than I expected, and she's afraid of her secrets getting out among other things. Both of them are so stinkin' stubborn too. There were funny times(of course!) and serious times. Like the previous two books in the series, the romance is addictive and intoxicating. I love that the characters are so close knit, and we get to see how main characters from the previous two book are doing too. I want these people as my friends. Reading Once Upon a Cowboy makes me want to move to Montana and open a dude ranch of my own! Seriously, let's go!

The ARC of Once Upon a Cowboy by Maggie McGinnis  was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

“Okay, look to your left.” Kyla pointed toward the stable as she adjusted her camera later that afternoon. “And stop growling at me. Grumpy cowboys do not sell calendars, Cole.”

“Don’t they have models who do this kind of thing?”

“Yes, but they’re not authentic. You guys are the real deal.”

Cole raised his eyebrows. “The real deal is sweat and dirt and stink.”

“We’re going for pseudo real deal, then. Dirt and stink don’t sell calendars, either.” She motioned at him again. “Lift the brim of your hat up a little, okay? Your eyes are in shadow.”


“No growling.”

He raised his hat the obligatory half-inch, and of course as he did, Decker strolled out of the barn.

“Lookin’ good, Cole. Gonna get a little scratchy with those buttons undone, though, don’t you think?”

“Shut up, Decker. Don’t get any horse shit on those fancy shoes.” He looked toward Kyla. “Are we done here yet?”

“I was actually hoping to get a few more in the—”

“Sorry. Union rules. I can only be photographed for an hour a day.”

“Just a few more?”

Cole started doing up his buttons. “I have work to do, Kyla. Go play shutterbug with somebody else for a while, wouldja?”

Christ. Stupid calendar. Real cowboys didn’t run around with their shirts open, aiming for the best light so their eyes wouldn’t be in—shadow. He shivered. At least she hadn’t suggested waxing.

“You could do worse, you know.” Decker grinned as he watched Kyla walk back up to the main lodge. “Maybe she can post those pics online or something. Might help you get a date for Daniel and Hayley’s wedding.”

Cole executed a middle-finger salute, then leaned down to pick up a rope Kyla’d insisted on using for a prop. “Don’t need a date. We have any early guests coming in today so I can be very, very busy next time she comes around with that damn camera?”

“Just Jess.”

Cole stopped coiling the rope. “Oh. Right.”

“Trying to make like you forgot? I’ll pretend I haven’t seen you check your watch about eighty times today.” Decker laughed. “Gonna get up the nerve to actually take her out while she’s here this time?”

“I’ve got plenty of nerve.”

“Right. She’s been out here three times now, and every single time, you’re like a parched man looking at a desert mirage, but—”

“Shut up. I’m hardly—parched.”

Decker eyed him in that way he had, the look that stripped the lies right off your face and made you tell the truth whether you wanted to or not. “I don’t know. Word in the bunkhouse is that your rep in town is getting a little rusty.”

“I’m not—rusty. And we don’t have a damn bunkhouse.”

“Want to know what I think?”


“I think ever since you met Jess, you can’t help but compare everybody to her. And nobody quite measures up.”

Exactly. “Not true.”

“Well, true or not, she’ll be here by dinnertime. Kyla’s leaving for the airport in a while to get her.”

Cole rolled his eyes. It wasn’t like he’d been counting the days or anything. Not like he’d gotten a haircut yesterday or had thoroughly checked out Jess’s cabin this morning to be sure it was shipshape and ready for her.

He shook his head, trying to get visions of Jess’s long dark hair and deep brown eyes out of his brain. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around Daniel and Hayley getting married in a week. I feel like we live and breathe weddings around here these days.”

“We’re gonna have a lot more if Kyla’s Bridal Bliss package thing works out.”

“I suppose that means we’d better finish the spa so she can start selling the packages.” Cole shook his head. How in the world had their working ranch become a wedding-slash-spa-slash-getaway place? “Your woman makes a hell of a lot of work for us, you know.”

Decker laughed. “She makes a hell of a lot of money for us, too. I think the only reason she’s not haranguing us to get the spa done is she’s hoping Jess will help with the design. I have a feeling she’s going to dangle it out as a carrot to get Jess to stay out here.”

“Out here out here? Like, for good?”

“Yep.” Decker nodded. “She’s been planting seeds for months. Getting Hayley to move to Montana got her all puffed up about her abilities. Now she’s turned her sights on Jess.”

“Poor Jess.” Cole shook his head.

“Pretty sure she can handle herself.” Decker tossed a beaten-up leather briefcase into the cab of his truck. “I gotta go charm the home buyers. Hold down the fort.”

As Decker headed out the driveway, Cole turned up the hill toward the new lodge, half of which was Whisper Creek’s new childcare facility and petting zoo. The other half was still rough-framed inside, but by fall was supposed to be ready for duty as a full-service spa.

He strolled toward the building, letting himself in the spa door. He inhaled, loving the scent of fresh lumber and drywall putty. Decker was the acknowledged brainiac of the family, working with his design software for half the night, but Cole preferred to be the guy with his hands right in the mud—literally.

Morning sun came through the east-facing windows and skylights, and he tried to picture what the spa would look like once it was finished. They had fifteen hundred square feet to work with, which might be an architect’s dream—if the architect was ever at the ranch long enough to figure out what to do with all this emptiness. Cole sure didn’t have a clue.

But then he pictured Jess in the warmly lit space, gliding around with one of her yoga outfits on, flashing her warm smile his way, tying up that long, long dark hair into a ponytail he’d just itch to take back down.

He shook his head, trying to erase the vision. Fantasizing about Jess before she even got here was only going to torture him more.

And her kind of torture was the kind that only left a man wanting what he could not have.

Check out my reviews of more books from this series!!

Maggie McGinnis is the author of Accidental Cowgirl and Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. A former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, she lives in New England with her family.

To learn more about Maggie McGinnis and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction)
Date Published: May 7, 2013
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

The 5th Wave is the first book in the 5th Wave trilogy by Rick Yancey. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I first started reading this book, but it wasn't what I got. It was a lot better! It kept me wondering the whole time. Who's good? Who's bad? Are they really aliens? Is it the government? Is it both? I'm still wondering. You're given multiple viewpoints. Cassie's point of view kept my attention the most.  It was a little draggy around the boot camp parts, but that's really the only fault I have with it. There's romance, but not too much, there's action, but it's not over done, and there are twists and surprises. I think this book offers variety to its audience. I'm so curious for more it's ridiculous, and I'm super exited and nervous that they are making a movie. I hope they do it up right.

THE 1ST WAVE took out half a million people.

The 2nd Wave put that number to shame.

In case you don’t know, we live on a restless planet. The continents sit on slabs of rock, called tectonic plates, and those plates float on a sea of molten lava. They’re constantly scraping and rubbing and pushing against one another, creating enormous pressure.

Over time the pressure builds and builds, until the plates slip, releasing huge amounts of energy in the form of earthquakes.

If one of those quakes happens along one of the fault lines that ring every continent, the shock wave produces a superwave called a tsunami.

Over 40 percent of the world’s population lives within sixty miles of a coastline. That’s three billion people.

All the Others had to do was make it rain.

Take a metal rod twice as tall as the Empire State Building and three times as heavy. Position it over one of these fault lines. Drop it from the upper atmosphere. You don’t need any propulsion or guidance system; just let it fall.

Thanks to gravity, by the time it reaches the surface, it’s traveling twelve miles per second, twenty times faster than a speeding bullet. It hits the surface with a force one billion times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Bye-bye, New York. Bye, Sydney. Good-bye, California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, British Columbia. So long, Eastern Seaboard.

Japan, Hong Kong, London, Rome, Rio.

Nice to know you. Hope you enjoyed your stay!

The 1st Wave was over in seconds.

The 2nd Wave lasted a little longer. About a day.

The 3rd Wave? That took a little longer—twelve weeks. Twelve weeks to kill . . . well, Dad figured 97 percent of those of us unlucky enough to have survived the fi rst two waves.

Ninety-seven percent of four billion? You do the math.

That’s when the Alien Empire descended in their fl ying saucers and started blasting away, right? When the people of the Earth united under one banner to play David versus Goliath. Our tanks against your ray guns. Bring it on!

We weren’t that lucky.

And they weren’t that stupid.
How do you waste nearly four billion people in three months?


How many birds are there in the world? Wanna guess? A million?

A billion? How about over three hundred billion? That’s about seventy-fi ve birds for each man, woman, and child still alive after the first two waves.

There are thousands of species of bird on every continent. And birds don’t recognize borders. They also crap a lot. They crap five or six times a day. That’s over a trillion little missiles raining down each day, every day.

You couldn’t invent a more efficient delivery system for a virus that has a 97 percent kill rate.

My father thought they must have taken something like Ebola Zaire and genetically altered it. Ebola can’t spread through the air.

But change a single protein and you can make it airborne, like the flu. The virus takes up residence in your lungs. You get a bad cough. Fever. Your head starts to hurt. Hurt bad. You start spitting up little drops of virus-laden blood.

The bug moves into your liver, your kidneys, your brain. You’re packing a billion of them now. You’ve become a viral bomb. And when you explode, you blast everyone around you with the virus. They call it bleeding out.

Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, the virus erupts out of every opening. Your mouth, your nose, your ears, your ass, even your eyes. You literally cry tears of blood.

We had different names for it. The Red Death or the Blood Plague. The Pestilence. The Red Tsunami. The Fourth Horseman.

Whatever you wanted to call it, after three months, ninety-seven out of every hundred people were dead.

That’s a lot of bloody tears.

Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.

To learn more about Rick Yancey and his books, visit his website.You can also find him on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.