Friday, May 16, 2014

One More Last Chance {by Cathleen Armstrong}

Title: One More Last Chance
Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Series: A Place to Call Home, #2
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sarah Cooley has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason–because it doesn't change. After an engagement gone bad with a man who wanted to change everything about her, Sarah is more than ready for the town whose motto may as well be, “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.”
Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. As the new owner of the Dip ‘n’ Dine, he’s shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his restaurant.
As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance–just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect.
With the same evocative writing and fascinating characters that won fans for her debut novel, Cathleen Armstrong invites readers back to Last Chance for a soul-searching, romantic story of two people navigating the twists and turns of small-town life.

Let's just get it out of the way: I had huge problems with the main character. From the get-go, she annoyed me. Although that was one of the reasons I couldn't fully enjoy this book, I also found myself not really being able to get into it, fully emmerse myself in the story. 

Now, I will say, I didn't read the first book in the series. But as this was one of those series where the MC's of the first book only make an appearance, and there are all new MC's, I didn't have any issues. There may have been more family background, but nothing vital was missing. 

Chris has moved to the little town of Last Chance. He has bought the local diner, and had plans to change things up a bit. He never imagined that he would face such opposition from the people of the town. He also never imagined his sister would leave her 7-year-old, Olivia, with him. The poor guy has hands full trying to run a sinking diner, and now care for a little girl when he has no clue how to do either. 

Sarah has moved back after being away at college. After breaking things off with her long-time boyfriend, she just wants a place to refresh, a place where things never change. Except, she finds out that not only is there a new guy in town, he's trying to change things up. 

There was no excuse for Sarah to treat Chris the way she did, and that was really set the tone for how I felt about her. She comes back to town, finds out Chris might want to make some changes (additions, really) to the menu at the Dip 'N Dine, and treats him so rudely. …what? I just didn't understand. And then yeah, the poor dude had a very obvious crush on Sarah, but she continues to be rude and embarrass him. She does redeem herself a bit with taking Olivia under her wing, and she seems to mature as the book goes on. Until Brandon comes back into the picture. 

This love triangle also got on my nerves. I mean, I'm with Sarah's grandmother in thinking that Chris was the obvious choice. He was sweet, and kind, and shared her faith, and took in his niece. But Brandon, her ex-boyfriend comes back, feeds her some crap about how he loves her, and she falls for it. That wasn't the part that bothered me, necessarily. It was that she should have had some confidence in her new found independence after escaping from under his oppressive thumb (not abusive…more like stifling creativity) the first time. I think the author was trying to write a strong, independent character in Sarah, but it didn't really come through. 

The redeeming parts though! Definitely Chris and Olivia. Chris is going through a lot, but he doesn't let it stop him from caring about other people, especially Olivia. The way he cared for her and loved her was just so sweet. And although he is frustrated, he doesn't assert himself as a dictator, which he easily could have done, being his restaurant. Instead, he listened to his employees, and was willing to compromise with them. 

Olivia will just break your heart. The poor girl has been through so much, and is so bitter, you forget she's only seven. And while all her problems can't be fixed by the end of the book, there is a lot of change in her. Chris and Olivia were the main thing that kept me so interested, enough to keep going. 

Sarah's grandmother was another redeeming part. She was so sweet and caring, even if she was a bit biased toward Chris ;) The rest of the townspeople, with their meddlesome ways, will keep you on your toes and make you laugh. 

So do I recommend this book? If this is your usual type of book, then yes. I think you will enjoy it. If it isn't what you usually read, it might be better to hold back. I know most people won't have the issues with Sarah that I did, so take from that what you will. 

I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
This review can also be found on   Rachel Marie's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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