Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blog Tour & Review: Tidewater Inn (Hope Beach, #1) by Colleen Cobl

Title: Tidewater Inn
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers (July 17, 2012)

Source: Received from publisher via LitFuse Publicity Group

Buy book: here
About the Book:
Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.

I enjoyed reading Smitten this past holiday season in which Coble was one of the 4 writers and when Tidewater Inn was offered as a book to read from Litfuse, I jumped on it because I loved the writing in Smitten! I am happy to say that I wasn't disappointed!

I just love the setting and premise of Tidewater Inn. Old hotel on the Outer Banks in NC... *sigh* It might be because I'm a sucker for Nicholas Sparks novels and they ALL seem to take place in NC so I associate the state with love. :) However, once I started reading, the story grabbed me from the first few pages and took me along a journey full of unexpected twists and turns. Normally, I feel like I can see where a story was going, but with Tidewater Inn, I was caught off guard several times in the book, but in a good way. I couldn't put the book down! (Too bad the toddler needed to eat dinner, so I had to stop. Hehe.)

One of my favorite themes of the book is how Libby works on her walk in Christ by thinking about WWJD, which is engraved onto the necklace she receives from her dead father that she didn't know was alive up until a month ago (and did NOT die when she was five). This all happens within the first few pages, by the way. Roller coaster, right?! God and faith play a big part in this book and it was refreshing to read. It's exactly what a reader looks for in a Christian fiction book.

My only criticism is that I wish it had a little more love in the story. I think because I read Smitten right before this, I was expecting a lot of more love story than I ended up with. I'm not complaining too much though because Alec, a Coast Guard lieutenant, helps Libby along the way.

You really get a little bit of everything with this book, romance, action, mystery... so, I'm definitely looking forward to next one in the series! It looks like it's going to be a good one!

4 out of 5 stars

About the Author: Colleen Coble
Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Visit her website at Twitter @colleencoble.

Celebrate with Colleen by entering to win a $500 gift certificate to!

Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $500 gift certificate to
  • A copy of Tidewater Inn.
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 22nd. Winner will be announced at Colleen's "Tidewater Inn" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/23. Colleen will be sharing the story behind the book, hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways - books, gift certificates and a Book Club Prize Pack! She’ll also be giving a sneak peak of her next book too!

So grab your copy of Tidewater Inn and join Colleen on the evening of the August 23rd  for a chance to connect with Colleen and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER about Colleen's giveaway and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

Check out more posts on the blog tour:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

MMGM: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Title: Princess Academy: Palace of Stone
Author: Shannon Hale
Publisher: Bloomsbury (August 21, 2012)

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
Summary from Goodreads:
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should "help them. Soon Miri finds herself torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city. Picking up where "Princess Academy "left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.
Wow. Simply wow. I LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down once I started and I am so excited that the publishing date is finally here because now I can shout from the rooftops about how amazing this book is and people can buy it starting tomorrow!

It's been several years since I've read the first book, Princess Academy. I didn't think I would be able to remember everything when starting this book, but Hale does an exceptional job of catching her readers up and connecting the two books together seamlessly. I don't like it when authors over do it on the reminding readers of what happened in the previous book. I hate it when a TV show takes a commercial break and when you get back to the show, the actors just say the same exact lines over again. Hale does it naturally and effortlessly. I didn't feel like I was forgetting anything even though it's been such a long time.

Miri is such a wonderful character for young girls and boys. She is intelligent, brave and isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in, but she's also vulnerable and is conflicted by the decision to continue her education at the cost of being away from her family. In Palace of Stone, we find Miri leaving her home at Mount Eskel to go to school at the Queen's Castle, but when she arrives there she discovers there is unrest in the kingdom.

Hale is such a masterful storyteller in the way she explores the complex issues of poverty, revolution, loyalty, friendship and love. She exposes the conflict that Miri feels regarding all these issues in such a honest, real way that I think will resonate with MG/YA readers and even adult ones. I enjoyed the journey with Miri as she tries to figure out what is the right thing to do. I honestly had no idea how the story was going to end, but I was pleasantly surprised with all the action! And the love triangle too!

I can't wait to put this book in the hands of my students this year because I know it will bring up such rich discussions and push them to really think about hard issues that don't often show up in the books that they read. It's also in the September Scholastic Book Order and you know I'm going to push it when I do my "spotlight on recommendations" when the orders go home. :)

Even though I was surprised that Palace of Stone was written as a sequel, because Princess Academy ended and wrapped up so nicely, it is the book that I didn't know I needed or wanted. I am so glad that Hale decided to finally write this because it is an amazing piece of literature. I will preface my next statement by saying that I am no expert in Newbery winners (because I've only read a dozen or so), but I think Palace of Stone should definitely be a contender for the Newbery this year (and not just an honor)! It is THAT good. Go get it, you won't regret it.

5 out of 5 stars
And now, the book trailer!

About the Author: Shannon Hale
Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels, including the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy. Its sequel, Palace of Stone, releases August 2012. She also wrote Austenland and other books for adults. She co-wrote the hit graphic novels Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack with husband Dean Hale. They live with their four small children near Salt Lake City, Utah.
Author's website:

If you would like to find out more about Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday, you can check out Shannon Messenger's blog here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

MMGM: Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm

It's been awhile since I've blogged. We are finally in our home after a 2+ year journey of ups and downs (and lefts and rights). Praise God that we are finally settling down roots. :)

Title: Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm
Author: Megan McDonald
Publisher: Candlewick (August 14, 2012)

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
Summary from Goodreads:
Will Judy’s lucky penny lead her to the nation’s capital — or to third-grade C-A-L-A-M-I-T-Y? And what do her spelling-bee nemesis and a potbellied pig have to do with it?

The lucky penny in Judy Moody’s pocket sure does seem to be working. She can’t stop winning — at bowling, spelling, the unbeatable Prize Claw, everything! For sure and absolute positive, she’ll ride that wave of good fortune all the way to Washington, D.C. Watch out, District of Cool, here comes Judy Moody, the luckiest kid ever, until . . . oh, no! Her lucky penny just did a belly flop into a porcelain bowl of yucky, blucky UNluck. Has the coin’s magic gone kerflooey?Are some people, like Jessica Finch or Stink, destined to have all the luck, while she, Judy Moody, gets stuck with a yard full of three-not-four leaf clovers, a squealing potbellied pig in an elevator, and a squashed penny with cooties? ROAR!
Sometimes I get a little embarrassed by my love for middle grade fiction because it often leads me to wander through the kids section. Most of the time, I spend most of my time in the kids section of a bookstore because I love middle grade books. People have asked me why I like reading "kid books" and usually my response is because I love being able to share them with my students. I used to think that there was no restriction on how far down the grades I could go and still enjoy the books. God knows I love picture books. However, since Judy Moody is written more for the younger readers, I think it might be past that mysterious "point" where it's not as interesting for me as an adult.

What I love about the Judy Moody series are the beautiful illustrations. She is a grown-up Junie B. Jones for a lot of my students and has entertained many girl (and boy!) readers in my classes throughout the years.

This eleventh installation of Judy Moody finds her trying to ride out the luck on her good luck charm for as long as possible. This brings her to Washington D.C. and I enjoyed the descriptions of the city for readers that might not have visited there before. Judy is a girl that always stands up for what she believes in and I love her tenacity.

Overall it was an enjoyable story, but I think I'll stick to my higher-level middle grade fiction in the future.

3 out of 5 stars

About the Author: Megan McDonald
P1030350.jpgI had the pleasure of meeting Megan McDonald at the 2001 LA Times Festival of Books. Read more about that experience here.

Pretending to be a pencil sharpener was Megan McDonald’s first experience as a writer. She was 10 years old when she wrote the story for her school newspaper. “Anything can become an idea for a story,” says McDonald. “Even a pencil sharpener!” Megan has since written and published over 60 books for children in 22 languages, including the hilarious Judy Moody adventures, which are largely inspired by her childhood memories of growing up with four older sisters.
     Megan says, “I am lucky to be a writer, because I get to live in my imagination. (And I get to go to work in my pajamas!) I spend my days thinking like a hermit crab or a little blue penguin or a girl who loves bugs. Or pretending I’m a bossy big sister with a little brother named Stink. Or traveling back in history as a young girl who journeys across the Santa Fe Trail in 1848. Or solving a mystery in 17th century Jamestown. I spend my days looking at things upside down, inside-out, sideways, wondering, imagining, questioning everything, always wanting to see the inside.

Author's website:

If you would like to find out more about Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday, you can check out Shannon Messenger's blog here.
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