It Started with a Cowboy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 May 2019

Member Reviews

Omg, thank you so much Netgalley, Jennie Marts, and the publisher for giving me a chance to read this amazing book for my honest review. This book has all a girl could ever want..... slightly bruised rugged cowboy hunk, helpful, sweet, handyman, n just man of my dreams. Lord have mercy look out for the steam coming off the pages. I couldn't seem to put this book down.
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It Started with a Cowboy is the third title in Jennie Marts' Cowboys of Creedence series, and compared to the previous 2 titles in the series I've read, this one left the most to be desired, and I cannot give it more than a 3-star rating.

The heroine, Chloe Bishop, is a shy, introverted, somewhat OCD, third grade teacher. She's great with children, kind, caring and admits to only being kissed 4 times in her 30-year life. She has a terrible self-image, and low self-esteem thanks to her deceased father, who was a verbally and physically abusive alcoholic, whose wife, Chloe's mother, left them both many years earlier. She's had a crush on a handsome, charming cowboy, Colt James, for months, but she's done nothing about it because she believes herself to be too dowdy, too unattractive, and too boring to attract his attention, although we soon learn that Colton James (Colt) has noticed and been attracted to her since the day they met. Chloe's next door neighbor, Tina, has several children, some of whom Chloe has had in her classes. Tina's a single mom with little money. She's divorced from her violently abusive husband, Rank, who has been incarcerated for several years after she finally filed charges against him. Her eldest son, Jesse, is in the wind, troubled, and afraid that his father blames him for getting in touch with the authorities, although he didn't. 

One cold and snowy morning as Chloe was leaving for school, she volunteered to take Tina's other children to the school with her, mainly because she had a good heart, and noticed that they weren't warmly dressed, but as she was backing out of her driveway, a snow plow plowed right into her car. The driver was Colt James, who blamed himself for the accident, told Chloe he would have her car towed and repaired at his own expense, and then had Chloe and Tina's children climb aboard the snowplow and drive them to the school, also telling Chloe that he'd be picking her up and driving her to and from her job until her car was repaired. It's seems that Colt is quite the do-gooder around town, a volunteer firefighter, EMT, part-time deputy, and more. Chloe assumes that in keeping with his image, that his care of her is just one more good deed to add to his list.

Colt once had big dreams of a college sports scholarship and entering the world of the NHL (National Hockey League), but a car accident and the resulting damage to his leg ended that dream in 4 seconds. He was so surly during his recuperation that the girl who was engaged to him left, his long-held dream of a scholarship and career with the NHL was gone. He blames all his misfortune on a family curse, which seemed pretty ridiculous to this reader. For a handsome, kind cowboy, he too has a lot of self-doubt, especially because he's attracted to Chloe but doesn't want to let her know his feelings because of this imaginary curse. I liked Colt a lot, and couldn't understand why half the women in town weren't after him, and no mention of him dating anyone other than his ex-fiance was mentioned.

My main problems with this novel are Chloe-related. Since she teaches young children, she has come up with a slew of alternatives to using actual cuss-words, and while I found her substitutions both cute and funny at the outset, they went on through the entire novel, even when she was speaking with adults or even talking to herself and boy, did it got old--fast! My other issue was her seemingly endless self-doubts due to her being a chubby child who was the victim of her father's verbal abuse. Even once she and Colt get together, her self-recriminations, self-doubt, and low self-esteem caused her untold and unnecessary pain since she couldn't understand why he'd want her as anything more than a friend, and these negative thoughts and behavior simply went on for far too long. 

Meanwhile, Colt is seeking ways to keep Chloe around, even teaching her to skate when the local kids wanted him to coach their newly formed hockey team. But that led to even more problems once their physical relationship began. For a woman who was admittedly the recipient of only 4 kisses in her lifetime, why was there no mention of the fact that in all probability, Chloe was in all likelihood a virgin. Yes when these two hook up, she's ready, willing, able, and bold--certainly not the behavior of the shy, introverted, repressed virgin as portrayed leading up to this point in the novel. 

I liked Colt enough to be rooting for him and Chloe to finally admit their feelings for one another, but things went from one misunderstanding to another, each person not trusting the intentions of the other. When Tina's violent ex-husband is released from prison and attacks Chloe, who stands her ground to protect Tina's children, Colt saves the day and becomes her protector, moving her into his home on the family ranch, where things certainly heat up, but again, neither of them can get past their own issues or admit to anything more than friendship 

While I liked this main characters, aside from hearing about their never-ending insecurities, I kept wanting to slap both of them when their internal dialogue about their own self-doubts led to page after page after page of self-recriminations and second-guessing each others' motives and such a wariness of revealing how they actually felt about each other, and I desperately wanted to slap each one of them and tell them to "get over it!" 

What saved this novel for me were the secondary characters--Tina and her adorable children, the danger posed to Tina's eldest son, Jesse, Chloe's cat, Colt's golden retriever, Colt's rowdy family members, and the fact that at heart, and despite their feelings of inadequacy, Chloe and Colt really did work well as a couple of kind, generous, hardworking people with good hearts and a real chance for happiness, although the eventual HEA ending was a complete turnaround, literally and figuratively, and it simply happened too fast. 

While this wasn't a bad book, it simply wasn't up to the high expectations I had for it after reading and loving the first two novels in this series. It works fine as a standalone, and if the aforementioned issues don't get to you the way they got to me, it's a book I think you'll enjoy, although I do recommend reading the books in this series in the order in which they were written, simply for the background information.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
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First book for me by this author, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Characters were well developed, and it was easy to follow the storyline and the understand the other characters' backstories without having read the previous books.  A really lovely story, I'll be checking out the others in the series.
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Colt James is back home on the family ranch, and he’s done taking risks. A car accident ruined his shot at a professional hockey career and messed up his love life, and he’s not taking a chance on anything that seems too good to be true. Especially not on Chloe Bishop, his nephew’s irresistibly charming teacher and the one woman he can’t stop thinking about. Chloe Bishop liked her life the way it was—orderly, structured and safe. Life goes from managed to messy when Colt talks her into helping him coach a hockey team of rowdy eight-year-olds. Being this close to the cowboy she’s crushing on is dangerous territory. But when a real enemy threatens Chloe, Colt will do anything to protect her. Even if it means risking himself—and his heart.
This was a really cute story. I loved both main characters and all of the side characters. I loved both Chloe’s and Colt’s caring natures in regards to the children. I really enjoyed it and recommend. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
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This was a wonderful story, and I loved Colt. This is the third book in the Creedence series, but the first book that I have read in the series. The chemistry was great through out the book and I loved the sweet side of Colt. I would highly recommend this book and I plan on reading the first two books.
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Totally, totally not my kind of book.

Look, I try to stretch myself sometimes outside my comfort zone of historical romance, paranormal romance, and queer romances, and I often venture to the world of M/F contemporary romance. I also (rarely) dabble in cowboy romances, though it really isn't my usual thing. But It Started with a Cowboy irked me from start to finish. 

The book starts off with a huge info dump of "telling" instead of "showing," and I knew, I knew that this wouldn't be the story for me. Also. right off the bat, we get insta-mushy feelings from a guy who barely knows this 30 year old teacher. He is waxing poetic about her in an intimate, lovey sort of way, which didn't jive with the level of their interactions. 


Both of these MCs also had piles of insecurities that kept them from showing any sort of initiative. They both act like timid birds, dancing around each other, and it wasn't in a fun, sexual tension sort of way. The female MC's incredibly low self-esteems bothered me to no end. Also, her little phrases that she used to avoid cursing gave the book a Christian romance sort of feel, which isn't my thing. 

The whole story was too slow, too contrived, and too irritating for me to enjoy it all that much. Maybe contemporary romance fans or fans of cowboys would love this one, but it wasn't my kind of story, I'm afraid. 

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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I really enjoyed Colt and Chloe’s story. It was a bit slow in parts, mainly because they were both trying to come to grips with their pasts. They had great chemistry and were both confused about where things were going. The hockey kids were adorable. Some parts reminded me of a video of a toddler skating with a hockey stick. I hope Logan gets a story.
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I very much enjoyed It Started With A Cowboy.  Ms Marts writes with passion and humor. I appreciated the crisp dialogue, it seemed so suited to the characters.  Though I havent read the first two book is the series, I wasnt lost at all.  The happily ever after journey is not without it's trips and stumbles, but the primary couple is engaging enough to have me rooting for their success.  I will seek out the other books in the series. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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This is the third book in the series about the James brothers of Creedence, Colorado. The first book was about oldest brother, Rockford, NHL hockey star and the second about middle brother, Mason. This is about youngest brother, Colt, who we had glimpses of in the other 2 books. 

Colt could have been a hockey pro too, as he was even better than Rock, but an accident caused by his own carelessness cost him, his hockey career, girlfriend and college scholarship. He got it in his head that he is cursed, so spends most of his spare time, when not working on the family ranch, the Triple J, helping others. He tries to avoid the attraction he has for grade school teacher, Chloe Bishop. Chloe also has a head full of negative self talk. She was brought up by an abusive father after her mother walked out on them. She can't understand why someone as gorgeous as Cole would be interested in a frumpy school teacher, so when he is threaten by her next door neighbor's ex, she assumes that Colt is just helping her as a friend. The two of them are like yo-yos, giving into the attraction and then letting the negative voices in their heads, push the other away. This is so real. Will the thought that they might lose the other, force them to finally open up and express their fears of love and loss?

I received a free, advanced copy of this book from This is my unbiased and voluntary review. While it can be read as a stand alone, why would you want to when their mother, Vivienne raised 3 such irresistible men? The characters are wonderful, the plot compelling and the narrative masterfully written. In addition the author includes both a skating and self defense lesson, provided by Colt to Chloe.
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✦Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: IT STARTED WITH A COWBOY by Jennie Marts
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Genre: Western Contemporary Romance 
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna
Rated 4 Stars 

I enjoyed this story of two people finding their confidence and how they learn to let go of their pasts. Colt was sexy, handsome and a truly nice man. I liked Chloe well enough but wish she hadn’t come across so needy at times. At one point, she should have been the one to come forward to apologize, not Colt. That being said…they were good for each other. The danger to her was believable and flowed nicely with the story, showcasing her hang-ups, personality and giving nature. I also love the people around them, family and friends with their lifelong banter is something I enjoy in books.  It’s a nice and sexy romance that left me smiling.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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I loved my first book by this author! Great characters and an exciting, inspiring story. I can't wait to read more of her work. I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a good book! I enjoyed the differences between the hero and heroine. Although there were times I wanted to smack them both upside the head and tell them "communicate your feelings" LOL. I did love how protective Colt was! It was a great weekend read. Just long enough that I could read and finish it in one day! 

I received an advance copy from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review.
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader – ☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance
Triggers: Domestic Abuse

Colt is a cowboy through and through. Despite having some rough times in his past, when he was young, he now wants to make sure that the people of his small town know how much he appreciates their help. He loves his brothers and his family, but there is one woman who has caught his eye and while he might not quite know how to approach her, he knows that he'll find a way.

Chloe is a woman who is trying to overcome her past as well. Despite being an amazing teacher and friend, Chloe is lonely. She doesn't have great self-esteem and when she thinks that she's caught the eye of a hunky cowboy, she's not quite sure how to handle the attention. Old insecurities rear their ugly head. When her neighbor kids are endangered by their absent and dangerous father, she has to make sure she can protect the kids and herself.

Colt is not letting Chloe out of his sight. When he realizes that she might be a target for the angry dad next door, Colt makes it his mission to protect her.

These two dance around each other until one of them is brave enough to say what they both are feeling. However, with old insecurities and superstitions following them around, they will have to decide if their relationship is something that can get off the ground.

It's a sweet story that follows a predictable storyline. However, it was enjoyable.
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The premise for this book was creative, with Chloe and Colt accidentally running into each other in the most literal sense, and I really liked both of these characters. Colt James is part of a large ranching family that seems to have an endless supply of handsome sons. And not just handsome, but good guys, in their ways. Though they’re cowboys they also love hockey, and Colt’s older brother is a professional hockey player. Colt had his own hockey dreams but an accident put an end to that and, even worse, an end to his confidence.Chloe is one of my favorite heroines I've read in a long time because it was like reading parts of my life when reading her inner struggles.Chloe and Colt's romance was so organic and so sweet.
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Truly loved this story, with a introverted heroine and the man she has a secret crush on, it's a perfect mixture for a fantastic story.
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Captivating, heartbreaking moments romance story from the 'Cowboys of Creedence series'. Strong description of the characters. Well written book, I enjoyed reading, it's a pleasure to review. I received a free ARC copy of this book, am voluntarily leaving a review.
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When a character has experienced shattered dreams it always pulls at my heart strings. Such is the case for Colt James in It Started with a Cowboy by Jennie Marts. The James family has been at the heart of this series with the youngest James getting his HEA. It was hinted at in the last book but now the time has come for him.

The James men are hockey playing cowboys. That is not to activities that I have ever put together; cowboys and rodeos, yes, cowboys and hockey, not really. What do I know I have spent my entire life living in the southern US. It is extremely believable in these books. 

Colt’s opportunity to play professional hockey has come and gone thanks to an accident. While he is wary and even cynical at times, Chloe Bishop is pretty irresistible though she would never think so.. He does he best to be around her but not fall, until events lead her to need protection from a real danger.

As always, Jennie Marts writes stories that you fall in love with the characters. There is humor, excitement and drama within the pages of the wonderful story of Colt and Chloe. I have never read a Marts book that I didn’t like. Recommend to all fans of romance.
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IT STARTED WITH A COWBOY is intense, it’s definitely emotional and it’s currently my favorite of the series, so far. Colt and Chloe both have deep-seated issues that have a long, long way to finally be overcome. Facing the past, believing in themselves will be a major part of that journey, for without winning the battle with their inner demons they have little chance for a successful, long-lasting relationship like they both want.

There is a lot of mind dialogue in this story. I understood that it brought out what neither Colt nor Chloe could say out loud at that time, but it is a lot of hearing their thoughts on their unworthiness for the other. That feeling, belief in self-doubt drives this story in many ways for both have a history where that mindset has been firmly placed either by others or by circumstances beyond their control. The thing is if they’d had those conversations out loud with each other instead of in their heads they might have discovered that they are definitely worthy — but that isn’t the drive of this particular story.

My heart ached for them in different ways, and as they come together to solve a problem, take on a youth hockey team and begin to open up to each other and their possibilities that ache turned into a cheering section. It was an emotional, hard-fought journey and I enjoyed every moment of my time spent with this couple and familiar faces from the earlier books. I would not hesitate to recommend IT STARTED WITH A COWBOY or this entire series to any Romance reader.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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Could not help but fall head over heels in love with this beautifully complicated cowboy and his equally intriguing, sexy and fun match made in heaven..... This is a very heart felt, sassy, fun and witty reading experience that had me laughing, crying and all the good feels going... Loved it!
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I give this book 5 stars. The storyline between Colt and Chloe was well written and a great must read book. I whole heartedly recommend this book. This book has great chemistry. I voluntarily reviewed this Advanced Readers Copy of this book.
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