Welcome to Last Chance, A Place to Call Home Series #1
This book has a great supporting cast. I enjoyed the townspeople and their personalities. The author struck a good balance between quirky and realistic. The main character seemed disconnected to me, like she held herself aloof, which was part of her personality, but it affected my ability to connect or relate to her. Her emotions were withheld not only from the other characters but from the reader as well. The relationship she had with Ray seemed a matter of convenience- their reasons for being together or caring for each other were not developed or communicated. There was some character growth, but it was very subtle. The ending was too abrupt for me, and the epilogue didn't make up for the lack of resolution.
February 21, 2014
A One-Evening-Read: It was *that* good!
From the really good beginning to the really *sweet* ending, Welcome to Last Chance is an excellent read!
I have a hard time believing this is a debut novel-but I'm really glad about that, because now, Lord willing, I can follow Cathleen Armstrong's future writing career, hopefully through many more novels!
So what makes Welcome to Last Chance so special?
Well, first I'm going to talk about The Characters. Let's meet a few of them.
Lainie, a woman a woman on the run, whose sharp, hard demeanor is a shield over a heart that longs to stop running, but's she's been forced to run all her life.
Elizabeth, the elderly lady who takes Lainie in. Elizabeth is "soft, like pillows" and loves watching cop shows. She lets Lainie right into her house, giving her a neat little room with a quilt on the bed, and she also lets Lainie right into her heart... a place Lainie isn't sure she should go with anyone.
Then there's Ray, the steady, solid grandson of sweet Elizabeth. A man who doesn't drink and is stuck tending a bar that he can't wait to be done with, all because of a promise to his dying father.
Then you need to hear about The Setting. I love small towns, and Last Chance is a great example of why.
And then, of course, The Plot is what places the characters in the setting.
The plot here had everything I like: Sheriff's deputies, moral choices that must be made, redemption, regeneration, and real people coming to care for each other.
Really, it is all three (Characters, Setting and Plot) that come together like bacon, eggs and biscuits fresh from the oven that make this story so delicious.
As Cathleen's tag-line says, It's Grace, served with a side of green chile.
Thank you Revell for my copy of Welcome to Last Chance!
*Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*
August 29, 2013
Escape The Past For A Future and Romance
Janice Thompson in her new book, Ã¢ÂÂWelcome To Last ChanceÃ¢ÂÂ Book One in the A Place To Call Home series published by Revell introduces us to Lainie Davis.
From the back cover: SheÃ¢ÂÂs learned you canÃ¢ÂÂt count on anyoneÃ¢ÂÂbut she didnÃ¢ÂÂt count on landing in Last Chance.
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, itÃ¢ÂÂs her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal lifeÃ¢ÂÂespecially since sheÃ¢ÂÂs on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.
Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?
I like the name of this series, Ã¢ÂÂA Place To Call HomeÃ¢ÂÂ. I like the title of this book, Ã¢ÂÂWelcome To Last ChanceÃ¢ÂÂ. I think Ms. Armstrong has hit the ground running and brought in a winner with this series. I also think she brought about everything that the series and book names suggest. Last Chance, NM is a place to call home and is LainieÃ¢ÂÂs last chance though she doesnÃ¢ÂÂt know it. Lainie is on the run and the old car she has dies in Last Chance. Here Lainie meets the residents of this small town and finds people who reach out with love to her. She could actually start a new life here if the old one wasnÃ¢ÂÂt hunting for her. And then, of course, there is the romance. This book is all about relationships, good and bad, and how these relationships can affect those we come in contact with. All the characters are likable and Ms. Armstrong has a way of bringing you into the story and making the characters lives very real. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255: Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
August 26, 2013
IN THIS DEAD END LAINIE'S LAST CHANCE?
What goes on in a small town? Plenty! Lainie Davis was about to find out that dark desolate night her crippled used Mustang rolled to a dead stop in Last Chance, New Mexico, abruptly ending her escape from life in Palm Springs to El Paso where she would be safe with her friend LindsayÃ¢ÂÂ¦at least for awhile. Her phone was also dead and the only light was in the High Lonesome Saloon across the parking lot where her car had given up the ghost. Was this a dead end to her running as far as possible from the threatening dangerous ex-boyfriend, Nick?
The bartender Ray wasnÃ¢ÂÂt too warm toward frazzled Lainie when she dragged into the bar to ask for answers about what to do next. The townÃ¢ÂÂs only motel was closed while the owner was attending a mayorÃ¢ÂÂs convention. She would need to wait until morning to contact the only mechanic in town. While in the bar, the town drunk Les tried to Ã¢ÂÂbe friendlyÃ¢ÂÂ with her and Ray squelched that, telling Les to go sit in the truck and wait for him to take him home after he closed the bar. Lainie appeared brazen when she asked if Ray had an empty spot for her. In desperate resolve she slept in her car.
Lainie began to experience the kindness offered to strangers when she entered the Dip Ã¢ÂÂnÃ¢ÂÂ Dine cafÃÂ© across the street from the High Lonesome Saloon the next morning. Fayette, the owner, recognized immediately that Lainie was in desperate straits and offered her a shower, breakfast and even called Elizabeth to ask if Lainie could stay with her while the car was being fixed. That arranged Lainie was uncomfortable over ElizabethÃ¢ÂÂs insistence that members of her household attend church. However she trudged on to meet this unusual woman with momentary promise of rescue.
After showering, Lainie found something hidden in her backpack that sickened her and filled her with fear. The package she found was evidently put there by Nick. During her time in the cafÃÂ©, she was able to contact her friend Lindsay and heard frightening news that Nick had called Lindsay looking for her. Never before had Lainie had so many people, strangers at that be so concerned for her well being. In a way it caused her to feel like running Ã¢ÂÂlike the wind.Ã¢ÂÂ She noticed a police car pulling up to the cafÃÂ© and wasnÃ¢ÂÂt sure what to do by then, so she slapped a ten dollar bill on the counter and headed for the door when Fayette called out that she had change coming.
And indeed, Lainie had many changes coming! Last Chance was certainly a town where everybody Ã¢ÂÂ all 743 - knows your nameÃ¢ÂÂ¦.and your business. Cathleen Armstrong wrote her characters well with defining qualities about each one. Everyone has a personality thatÃ¢ÂÂs either strong, weak or somewhere in between. It was an engrossing read, so much so that it kept me from getting my needed rest at night. Having been born and raised in a small town, I could identify with those things considered normal or unusual that happens in Everytown, USA.
Ms Armstrong writes strongly with color and conveys vivedly the beauty of the country around Last Chance; romance with caution between the characters; the true Christian nature of the Last Chance residents; and problems in single parenting a self-indulgent child. Lainie wasnÃ¢ÂÂt familiar with Christian principles and values, but surprised herself when she sought to know more about GodÃ¢ÂÂ¦.and particularly when she began singing in the church choir. Cathleen Armstrong left a few conclusions unwrapped and hopefully this fine author will give another chance at a sequel to LainieÃ¢ÂÂs last chance.
Ã¢ÂÂAvailable August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.Ã¢ÂÂ
I received this book through the Revell Book Blogger's Tour, and was not required to give a positive review.
August 21, 2013