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Fat Chance, Texas #1

Welcome To Fat Chance, Texas

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“A fresh, heartwarming voice.”  —Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling authorFor champion professional knitter Dymphna Pearl, inheriting part of a sun-blasted ghost town in the Texas hill country isn’t just unexpected, it’s a little daunting. To earn a cash bequest that could change her life, she’ll have to leave California to live in tiny, run-down Fat Chance for six months—with seven strangers. Impossible! Or is it?

Trading her sandals for cowboy boots, Dymphna dives into her new life with equal parts anxiety and excitement. After all, she’s never felt quite at home in Santa Monica anyway. Maybe Fat Chance will be her second chance. But making it habitable is going take more than a lasso and Wild West spirit. With an opinionated buzzard overlooking the proceedings and mismatched strangers learning to become friends, Dymphna wonders if unlocking the secrets of her own heart is the way to strike real gold.

300 pages, ebook

First published July 21, 2015

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About the author

Celia Bonaduce

14 books479 followers
Celia Bonaduce has the coolest day job – a field producer on HGTV’s House Hunters. Her credits include other HGTV shows, including Tiny House Hunters, Where Are They Now and ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

If you’re sensing a theme – a love of houses – so did she. After her mother moved into a tiny house of her own, it seemed like a new book series revolving around what it’s like to live in a tiny house was nothing less than providential.

While Celia’s other books – the Venice Beach Romance series and the Fat Chance, Texas trilogy – are anchored in particular places, the heroines of the Tiny House Novels are off to discover life’s big mysteries while living tiny!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for So, I Read This Book Today.
722 reviews116 followers
July 16, 2015
Can mismatched strangers revive a ghost town? “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ― Mother Teresa
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
Clarence “Cutthroat” Johnson certainly changed huge chunks of the world. And yes, he cast his stones across the waters and created many, many ripples. The thing is, of course, that the huge chunks of the world he changed crashed in on the people who inhabited those chunks, and the stones he cast destroyed lives and crushed families. He always said, “You have to have a tough hide to succeed.” Yep. And succeed he did. He succeeded in making billions, more than he could ever spend in several lifetimes. But that doesn’t do you any good when the Reaper comes your way. The Reaper doesn’t take checks. He doesn’t even take cash. But seeing the creature in the black robes standing over your shoulder can make you look back at what you have done with your life – and sometimes? It makes you think. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance is all natural – but sending his spoiled rotten daughter, who never worked a day in her life, and lived for her hair and nails and various charity events and social gatherings, to live in a ghost town in the Texas Hill Country with seven other people, and told to “make something” of the town before she can earn her inheritance?! Seven other people from the “lower” classes at that?!
“How are we going to shop? Can I get my nails done?
Yep. This isn’t starting out well. And telling Daddy’s Little Princess she should be a “good sport”, well, you know that went over well. So, Daddy’s Little Cleo sets out with an eclectic band of misfits to Fat Chance, Texas. Well, not exactly “with” – Daddy may have taken away the family private plane, along with all access to the family funds, but there is no way she is climbing on a rented RV with Titan, Polly, Dymphna, Elwood, Wally Wasabi, and Old Bertha. So, she packs up more fancy clothes than she can fit in the trunk of her stretch limo (Stilettos? And mink coats? In a ghost town? Really?), stuffs her family retainer behind the wheel, and they leave California for Fat Chance. Fat Chance this is going to work out, right? Especially when the unexpected seventh person in the group turns out to be her ex-husband, Marshall “Let’s call me ‘Powderkeg’ like a Pirate cause everyone else has cool nicknames!” Primb.
Cutthroat destroyed these seven people’s lives, or the lives of their families, in one way or another through his long, money-grubbing career, starting with Wally’s grandfather and working his way down to his latest bit of destruction, buying the land Dymphna live quietly upon, raising her sheep, spinning yarn and selling her knitting, right out from under her. A pristine, pastoral life, destroyed in the name of greed and rampant over-development. Now, he is determined to “help” them to “Get up, get out, and achieve the American Dream.” If they can live in Fat Chance for six months and create a functioning, successful town, Cleo gets her millions – and the rest get three years’ wages. And if three years wages for each doesn’t add up to $100,000, well, they each get that amount. As Dymphna puts it, “I guess he figures if we’re stuck there for six months, we might as well give it a shot.”
What happens next, as these eight completely disparate people come together in a dusty, ramshackle town where the buildings seem to be holding together on a wing and a prayer, the only road has been washed out for years, and no one has been near the place since the 1950’s – well, except for crotchety, gun-wielding old Pappy, the town’s Mayor, Sheriff, Banker, and all around butt-kicker. An old, “old” friend of Cutthroat’s, Pappy is there to make sure they don’t self-combust in the first week.
This book really touched a place deep inside for me. People with no shared history, no common interests, thrown together in a place where they are pretty much completely isolated and forced to learn to barter goods and services and to rely on one another for survival, in what amounts to a “post-apocalyptic” landscape. The only store for fresh food and supplies is a four-mile hike, with only Jerry Lee the mule and Thud the Bloodhound for pack animals. Watching these strangers pulling together to make a community is charming. Developing a fellowship, learning to survive with little, as well as learning to be a grocer, a hostler, and myriad other business owners – well, the story was so creative, and so positive, I couldn’t resist reading it straight through. There is pain and disappointment, but there is also hope and happiness to be had in Fat Chance. And at the end of the six months? Well, read it and see!
I received this book in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. Oh, and one thing I really liked about it? Everybody learning to live and work closely, without the author falling into the whole “let’s pair everyone off romantically” trope. Refreshing!
If you enjoy my reviews, please do me the honor of clicking "This review was helpful" on whatever site you are reading it on (I post my reviews to several!). I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you.

About the author
Currently a Field Producer on HGTV’s House Hunters, Celia Bonaduce's TV credits cover a lot of ground - everything from field-producing ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to writing for many of Nickelodeon’s animated series, including Hey, Arnold and Chalkzone. An avid reader, entering the world of books has always been always a lifelong ambition. Kensington eBooks’ The Merchant of Venice Beach, first in The Venice Beach Romance Series, is available now!

Profile Image for Leah.
1,832 reviews
August 24, 2019
I liked that this took place in a ghost town in Texas. It was interesting to see what the characters did with the run down town. I also liked the animals--a dog, a herd of goats, and some rabbits. The dog was the best character. I didn't like the human characters. They were too much for me.
Profile Image for Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm.
1,256 reviews106 followers
July 25, 2015
Seven people met for the first time, under one roof, all from different walks of life. Seven strangers unaware that they had one something in common. Cutthroat Clarence. The multi-billionaire tycoon had died, and had left his last will and testament. But this will could only be read once his daughter CJ Primb gathered these 7 people together. Including Dymphna Pearl, expert knitter and rabbit raiser.

Dymphna and the other strangers who attended the reading of the will didn't know what Clarence got to do with their lives. Turned out, he was involved in each and everyone of them and it all involved money. They were all going to receive something from Clarence, but there was one hitch. They all must live together in a ghost town in six months. That town is called Fat Chance, Texas.

This book really surprised me. At first I thought it was a little slow, with Dymphna discussing something with her friends, then CJ Primb entered the scene, acting all snooty and high and mighty. And then the will was discussed and soon I realized I was already interested with the characters. It was like I was reading an entire season of Survivor and the excitement didn't falter at all until the end. The uncanny group of benefactors was a really entertaining bunch, and Dymphna & Professor (+Thud) stood out. The ending was intriguing yet perfect!
57 reviews2 followers
December 2, 2015
Ghosts town multi millionaire last will request for 7 persons.

A aging multi millionaire has guilt about his life actions that resulted in his vast worth. He broke promises, cheated and deceived to get money opportunities his whole life. He picks 7 persons or relative of 7 to makes amends to in his video will. He buys a ghost town in central Texas keeps a man there to oversee the town. He decides he is the Sheriff and Mayor. The millionaire requires 7 persons, including his daughter and her X, to live and build up the ghosts town in order to get what he has left them in his will. They agree and are delivered there by a Rv. Nearest place for goods is hours by mule pack. With limited funds, no web connection, very different backgrounds and talents they must learn to barter to survive the 6 months. Each has been assigned a part of town to maintain. Soon the town has strangers causing trouble. A person who wants the town himself wants them gone. The plot is interesting but I could see where other issues could been addressed such as illness, emergency care. Also extreme weather changes in 6 months time. But as a Texan I know this and maybe not obviously to average reader.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,947 reviews
September 2, 2015
Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas by Celia Bonaduce

Professional knitter Dymphna Pearl inherits part of a ghost town in Texas. To earn her inheritance which could change her life, she’ll have to leave California to live in tiny, run-down Fat Chance for six months.She will be staying there with seven strangers.

A well written original story with well developed characters. Each person is different and they all must learn to live together and get along. The concept of strangers working together made for a fantastic interesting read.

Dymphna is very likable, she does some deep soul searching, and this becomes a learning experience that can change her life forever. One unexpected inheritance turns into a life changing adventure. I highly recommend Welcome To Fat Chance, Texas to readers of all genres.
4,416 reviews22 followers
February 26, 2017
Welcome To Fat Chance, Texas review

Welcome To Fat Chance, Texas is the first book in this series written by author Celia Bonaduce. An improbable group of people have to live together for six months in order to gain an inheritance.
110 reviews
July 29, 2015
What a interesting dilemma, give up your current life for 6 months to live with a group of strangers in a ghost town or lose a generous inheritance (and cost the rest of the group theirs). I have to say that people do some strange things when they get a terminal illness, but this was one even I was surprised at.

Aptly named "Fat Chance", this group of strangers must learn to live with each other and run a successful town for 6 months. Each character is unique in their background and reason for being there and things get off to a very rocky start. I have to admit, I was so enthralled with what was happening I did not want to put this book down.

Sometimes a large group of characters gets to be too much to keep track of, but Celia Bonaduce does a wonderful job of keeping things interesting and consistent between them so I didn't have a hard time remembering who was who. Each character brought an interesting piece to the story and I really enjoyed all of them for their faults and quirkiness.

Dymphna is the main storyteller and given her role as observer we get to know this rowdy group and really enjoy the scenery of this run down town. The descriptions of the town when they arrive drew me right in, I could feel the dust settling in my nose. Bonaduce does a wonderful job creating this place and giving the characters real reactions to the chaos that inevitably ensues.

I really enjoyed everything about this book: strong characters with lots of growth, interesting story line, and of course a bit of romance. It wasn't what I expected when I picked it up, but it was a very fun read and I would highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.
1,254 reviews48 followers
October 12, 2015
8 people, mostly strangers to each other, a will and a ghost town. I'm a sucker for books like this. Fat Chance wasn't what I was expecting. It was a light, breezy read with no true romance. Amazon classifies it as women's fiction and humorous and that's right though I only laughed out loud once. Love is found, sometimes in unlikely pairings, but there is no romance despite some characters coming together as they would being stuck together for 6 months in the middle of nowhere.

I enjoyed the set up and the variety of characters. The blurb indicates the story focuses on Dymphna and while she does get a little more attention than the other characters, I wouldn't say she is the main character. It's really the ensemble and how they function as a whole.

Ultimately, I liked Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas, so I'm giving it 4 stars, but I have some reservations that made me fluctuate between 2 and 3. The folks get to Fat Chance and just start to settle in when the author jumps 5 months forward in the story line. We miss all the difficult (and surely it must be, being dumped into a ghost town and trying to survive) times and picks up with the group trying to put on a wild west show to finish out their 6 month stay on a high note. This whole set up deteriorated the story for me. It's implausible for a variety of reasons, I was expecting the ending, but it was implausible too. There are no real emotional highs in the story, but there are some sweet moments.

I requested a review copy from Jupiter Grove Book Solutions in exchange for my honest review.
341 reviews21 followers
July 18, 2015
I didn't know what to first expect, when I first read this book as it was not a storyline that I would normally read. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the book first started and I found myself wanting to know what happened.

I found the storyline dragged a bit and sometimes it was hard to follow. I found myself questioning who was who at some points, but overall really enjoyed the storyline. It is definitely not your typical romance book - however, it is delightful to read. Could you survive without the comforts of home for six months? Could you start a life with six strangers? How would you do with the comforts of the 1950's?

Celia Bondauce did a good job with the storyline and twists and I really did enjoy the characters. Each of them brought something unique to the storyline and I found myself enjoying each and everyone. Overall, it was a fairly good and enjoyable story.
Profile Image for Laurie.
617 reviews129 followers
July 21, 2015
This book sure had a motley crew of characters – odd ducks, all. It was often quite funny watching the different personalities interact together. I loved the setting and the description of the ghost town – it was easy to picture in my mind; desolate and remote. I LOVE the beautiful Texas Hill Country and it was a special treat to read a kooky story set there. I also loved the name of the ghost town. It's perfect as anyone who's driven anywhere in Texas can tell you this huge state is just brimming with weird town names. It bothered me that Dymphna’s knitting did not get more mention after the initial chapters. All the characters bore the trials with only minor complaints and seemed to find their niches in the ramshackle town fairly quickly so the story moved along at a good clip and I never got bored. I thought this was cute, sweet story, and a very enjoyable light read.

I received this book through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

Reviewed by Laurie-J
738 reviews2 followers
July 22, 2015
Welcome To Fat Chance, Texas by Celia Bonaduce is an unusual but entertaining story. It is sort of a take on the reality series that are so popular now days in that a group of strangers live today in a Texas ghost town for six months. While it isn’t being filmed as a TV series, it has drama galore, along with a bit of romance.

The group is filled with unique and exceptional characters. Most likely they would have never chose to spend time together if not for the incentive of a three year salary for six months work in the town. Probably not a plausible storyline but did I care while reading it? No, the story is just too interesting. In fact, I imagine it could really happen just like this.

The ending is not a cliff hanger but I couldn’t help but want to know what happens one year later.

4.5 Stars
Net Galley provided a copy.
January 7, 2016
I just finished Celia's latest book "Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas". A charming extension continuing the Saga of a group of friends from her earlier Series, Fat Chance gives much to Contemplation, as it's Premise evolves around the attempt to Make Right damages incurred by recipients of the actions of a now-deceased Tycoon, who brought together a group which, through his Actions, he had Done Wrong.
A Fun Read, Fat Chance provides Food for Thought, and is particularly suited to the Younger Reader, or those who have not yet found a vehicle to propel them into the Wonderful World of Recreational Reading.
Setting the Stage for the remainder of this series, Fat Chance leaves the reader wanting more; and we look forward to following these characters through their inevitable Journey. Well Done, Celia!
Profile Image for Georgiann Hennelly.
1,949 reviews22 followers
March 31, 2016

Welcome to Fat Chance Texas .Dymphna Pearl is a professional knitter , she inherits part of a Ghost Town in Fat Chance Texas. In order to claim her inheritance she has to live in Fat Chance Texas for Six months along with seven other people all strangers to each other. In order to survive they must learn to live and work together to try to make it habitable. It's going to take more than a Wild West spirit to accomplish this. They have very little money, no web connection and very different backgrounds. They each must learn to barter for the items they need to survive, Each person has their own section of town to rebuild can they do it or will they give up and leave forfeiting the inheritance? To make matters worse one of them wants the town all to themselves and is causing trouble to make the others leave! A fun fast paced quick read.
Profile Image for Zeinab Dh.
1,479 reviews36 followers
January 27, 2016
I got this in exchange for an honest review, I have not read a lot for this author but I am happy that I got the chance to read this one and I liked it a lot it was a nice fresh book in this genre and everything was just so wonderful the characters are very real the sparks and connection between them is amazing they are very captivating enchanting and addictive the action is great these are very soft romantic clean books which are sweet and nice like a fresh breath of air different and charming the flow of events is perfect and well written I know this is not the last book I read and hope to read the next ones in this series I recommend this to everyone
Profile Image for Heidi.
444 reviews43 followers
November 14, 2016
This heart-warming read had me hooked from the beginning. Told in alternating character perspectives, the plot proves to be unique and kept me engaged the entire length of the novel. There is something about needing to depend on others in order to survive in a town where everything is in bare bones (no TV, internet, etc.) that makes me smile.

Please read my full review on my blog:

I received a free copy of this book from the JGBS Review Library in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own and no compensation was received.
Profile Image for Cathy Geha.
3,648 reviews67 followers
May 31, 2015
Intriguing premise for a book! Take a handful of people and put them in a Texas ghost town with electricity, water, some implements to work with and a place to stay and you get a cross between Giligan’s Island and Survivor. In some ways this is a quest by each of the characters to find their true self and in other ways it is a story of community and how friendships and bonding take place. Well written, sometimes comical, always fun – I highly recommend this story to anyone looking for an interesting read.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book to read and review.
Profile Image for Bonnye Reed.
4,089 reviews69 followers
July 27, 2015
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway from Kensington Publishing Corp and Celia Bonaduce on June 20, 2015. Thank you for allowing me a chance to be a first reader of this book!

Welcome to Fat Chance, TX is a very interesting book, not your standard romantic novel in that the characters are very well rounded and the plot is intricate. I think anyone interested in the Texas Hill Country, or who enjoy romance books without a lot of sex will get a kick out of Celia Bonaduce and her books.

Profile Image for Susan James.
Author 4 books136 followers
August 24, 2015
I loved the story, but I wanted more. Fat Chance is is funny and kind and altogether delightful. BUT I wanted it to be longer and I wanted to know more about the characters. I am delighted to know there will be a second book, because when I came to the end of the story, it felt like there ought to be more. I would have been happy if there had been twice as much about each character. I loved Dymphna from Much Ado About Mother. And was happy to see her as heroine surrounded by as cast of characters I couldn't wait to know. I look forward to the second book.
Profile Image for Neena Christianson Martin.
1,185 reviews10 followers
October 6, 2015
Ghost town

Seven people are named in a will to inherit $100,000.00. With a catch. They must all agree to go live in a ghost town and run a business for six months. Only two had ever met before, the rest all strangers to each other. In a true comedy of errors, the new residents of Fat Chance, city slickers all, head off to what everyone regards as hell. What no one expected to find was home. The author takes you on a emotional rollercoaster, as we learn about this strange group and what makes them tick.
Profile Image for Coral Mitchell.
3,022 reviews
October 9, 2015
Eight people are brought together in rather unusual circumstances. Only three of them have met previously. Their decision is to make money and get a chance at their dreams, but only if they live and succeed at this ghost town in Texas for six months. They must all go or no one gets the prize. A great story of their journey to success and new life choices.

This book is the same realm as reality tv, without the tv crew. It was a fun read with quirky characters that you root for from the beginning. Read to find out if this will be their big break, or a fat chance.
Profile Image for Bette Hansen.
5,055 reviews37 followers
July 11, 2015
I found this book completely entertaining! While outside the usual genre of book for me, I found the premise of this one fascinating. What would happen if a handful of relative strangers were put in a situation where they had to live for 6 months in a small ghost town in Texas? While they all start this journey with the motivation to go being money, but in the end they find they end up with so much more!

A very well done story that I would recommend.
61 reviews
September 30, 2015
I loved this book it was hard to put down!! It is so wonderful reading a book that flows and keeps you interested from beginning to end. I loved how everyone learned to make a go of it in Fat Chance. This was an awesome story of how given the chance a group of strangers learn to make the best of a strange situation and grow from the unique experience. They group learns many new things about themselves and has a wonderful adventure!!
516 reviews5 followers
July 6, 2015
I loved the premise of this book. Strangers thrown together in a ghost town for six months. They come together as a family to make the town a home and a place they want to live and make a go of. Interesting, quirky characters. Lots of animals. A place I would like to visit. I am hoping for a sequel.
Profile Image for Jessica Alcazar.
3,923 reviews445 followers
January 20, 2016
OK, so this story was a little unusual. It's not really a romance story so I didn't enjoy it as much. But it was entertaining and it did keep me interested thru the whole story. Writing style was solid and easy flowing. Characters were all well developed. So again, overall it is a good story, just not what I would normally pick up to read.
Copy provided by NetGalley for review
Profile Image for Faith89 .
2,378 reviews40 followers
February 26, 2016
copy courtesy of Netgalley
this book book was not what I was expecting. When I saw all the 4 star reviews,I thought I was reading the wrong book. I thought I was getting a romance with a little bit of laughter. Not so much. I really could not get into the story line. To be honest the names of some of the characters annoyed me. That soungs petty but, yeah. Also it was a little slow for me.
Profile Image for Ana Smith.
35 reviews
October 5, 2016

As nonsense as the story may sound it is so very entertaining & interesting, a very interesting experiment out of the box that shows us that humans respond to affection in unique ways and also tells us that fat chances are still chances that very much depend in each of us.
Profile Image for Bill Langheim.
13 reviews
November 27, 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed following this cast of characters as they are called to inhabit the near ghost town of Fat Chance, TX. Now that they have formed initial relationships / friendships, I look forward to future escapades in the next installment.
Profile Image for Liz Donatelli.
293 reviews12 followers
November 26, 2015
A wonderfully fun and touching read complete with a host of lovable and quirky characters that includes a buzzard, a bloodhound and a salty mayor named Pappy.
Profile Image for Brenda Brown-barton.
5 reviews1 follower
December 23, 2015
Fun Read

This was a fun read I loved the characters they were so different from each other but all came together and grew together!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews

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