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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOUTHERN CHARM
by Padgett Gerler, author of GETTING THE IMPORTANT THINGS RIGHT

Eleven years ago a raging hurricane deposited a newborn girl on the riverbank at Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Colonel LoBeau rescued her, named her Moses (after the Biblical character discovered in the bulrushes), and, along with his girlfriend, Miss Lana, is raising Mo as his own...
Published 23 months ago by Padgett Gerler

versus
284 of 291 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting read but not for 10 year olds
As the 5 star reviews state, this is a well-written and exciting story. For the sake of other parents who might give this book to their kids without reading it first, here is a warning. I found the description of the drunken Dad beating up his wife way too terrifying for the Nancy Drew crowd. She had gotten a restraining order forbidding him to come to their house but he...
Published 21 months ago by JK


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284 of 291 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting read but not for 10 year olds, July 1, 2012
By 
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
As the 5 star reviews state, this is a well-written and exciting story. For the sake of other parents who might give this book to their kids without reading it first, here is a warning. I found the description of the drunken Dad beating up his wife way too terrifying for the Nancy Drew crowd. She had gotten a restraining order forbidding him to come to their house but he showed up anyway. Here are some excerpts of that incident.

"Shut up, Mo," he growled, keeping his eyes on Miss Rose. "You talk too much. If you were my kid I'd knock some sense into you, wouldn't I, Dale? Go ahead, Rose, call for help." When she didn't move, he sneered, "What's the matter? Phone out?"

"His hand snaked out. He grabbed the front of her blouse and yanked her forward, onto her toes. "You'll what?" he growled. "Get me thrown out of my own house?"
"Daddy!" Dale cried. "Let her go!"
Time shifted into slow motion. Mr. Macon's hand swooped down in a clean, vicious arc, slamming Miss Rose's face, snapping her head back. She staggered sideways, her knees buckling as she crashed to the floor.

I darted forward to elbow his chin, but she grabbed my arm. "Stop," she gasped. "He'll kill you. Macon, please. She's a child. Just ... just sit down. I'm sorry, I'll get you something to eat."
His laugh came jagged as broken glass, and he stepped closer, fist raised.

So parents, read the book yourselves (I think you will enjoy it) and decide which of your kids are old enough to read it too.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOUTHERN CHARM, May 17, 2012
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
by Padgett Gerler, author of GETTING THE IMPORTANT THINGS RIGHT

Eleven years ago a raging hurricane deposited a newborn girl on the riverbank at Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Colonel LoBeau rescued her, named her Moses (after the Biblical character discovered in the bulrushes), and, along with his girlfriend, Miss Lana, is raising Mo as his own.

Welcome to the South, where we name our youngins first and think about it later.

Mo LoBeau, sassy, charming, and wise beyond her years, careens through life and Tupelo Landing in her plaid sneakers, accompanied by her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III. Now, Dale isn't really a third of anything; his daddy just tacked III to the end of his name because his hero, race car driver Dale Earnhardt, drove car #3. So I guess you'd say Dale was named after a race car driver and his car.

Mo is working the counter in the Colonel's cafe, perched atop her Pepsi crate, Dale pestering her to skip work and go fishing with him, when the two of them learn that cantankerous Jesse Tatum has been murdered. Mo and Dale jump right into the middle of the investigation, creating an impromptu detective agency, Desperado Detectives, and set out to solve the mystery of Jesse's murder.

Sheila Turnage, in her debut novel, THREE TIMES LUCKY, has created a world of eccentric characters, humidity-dripping scenes, and quaint intrigue as only a southern writer can. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD came to mind as I read about Mo, a charming, motherless little girl who is being raised by a wise (surrogate) father and a town of colorful friends and neighbors who love her, abide her sassiness, and are amused by her antics. And just as the world loves Scout Finch, I can't imagine the world not adoring Mo LoBeau.

Though THREE TIMES LUCKY was created for tweens, it is suitable for adults with its spot-on southern dialogue and crisp, clever prose. Sheila Turnage has written a coming-of-age novel so charming, touching, and humorous that I predict we'll soon see Miss Mo LoBeau on the big screen.

As for my copy of THREE TIMES LUCKY, it lives on my bookshelf alongside TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. And just as I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD each summer, I'll read THREE TIMES LUCKY, 'cause summer just wouldn't be summer without it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Middle Schoolers' Opinions, February 22, 2013
By 
E. H. REumann (Ann ARbor, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
Three Times Lucky is a mystery written for MG readers. The narrator, Mo, is an 11-year-old girl, and a rising sixth grader. She was lost 11 years ago by her Upstream Mother during a hurricane. This creates a giant mystery for Mo, because she doesn't know who her real mother is. She lives with her adoptive mother, Miss Lana, and her adoptive father, the Colonel, who found her in the middle of the hurricane she was lost in. In the summer, a detective, Joe Starr, comes to her town, investigating a murder. The murderer must have taken some cars, and the Colonel has a new "Underbird," so Starr wants to investigate the Colonel. Suddenly, Mo and her best friend Dale find out that Mr. Jesse, a stingy customer at the Colonel's cafe, was killed, and his body left in his rowboat, which Dale had "strongly borrowed" and returned. The two launch the Desperado Detectives to solve the murder, and the story unfolds.

This is a pretty good book, because it has so many good mysteries and characters. There are three main mysteries interwoven in the story. They are: The case of the Upstream Mother, who the Colonel really is, and who murdered Mr. Jesse. We agree that the mystery of the Colonel is the most exciting mystery. We both like the Colonel, because he is strict and sweet at the same time. He also has a funny touch on the story, with his military antics.

The reason we gave it only three stars is that at times the story is not very believable. For example, the way that Mo runs a cafe by herself, and people actually pay when she offers cold peanut butter and cucumber sandwiches is strange. Also, Mo sometimes says things very abruptly and without thinking, which is immature for her age. Believe us, we know. For instance, Mo has to pick someone to compliment Mr. Jesse at his funeral. She picks someone, and referring to a rumor she's heard, she calls the person "the double chinned lady with the jealous husband." She says this in front of a packed church, which we find despicable. We also think that Mr. Macon should not be drunk all the time. It's a little disturbing. It's not really appropriate for 10-year-olds. This book actually has a lot of mysteries, a few left unsolved at the end, which disappointed us a bit.

All in all, we think that for a first novel, this is pretty good. Mystery lovers will probably enjoy this book. :)(:

WRITTEN BY SAM AND BRITTA
PUBLISHED BY AMAZON :D
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read, but not stupid!, May 10, 2012
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
My problem with reading fiction is that books are either boring but well written, or fun to read but lacking writing style and real substance. This book manages to be fun AND smart. Although the book is marketed as one for middle grades, it is not dumbed down at all. I.e., it isn't a difficult read for adults but you don't feel like you're reading a jr high book (think Harry Potter-ish). The characters in the book are colorful and the dialogue and plot developement are artfully done. I read the book in one day, because I wouldn't put it down. Highly recommend to anyone age 9 and up! (My husband also enjoyed the book)!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Southern Nancy Drew, May 11, 2012
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
If Nancy Drew were a young Southerner with a lot of spunk and a love of Wonder Bread, she would be identical to the Three Times Lucky heroine, Mo LoBeau. Living in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Moses "Mo" LoBeau is eleven and full of vim and vigor as she tries to solve the biggest crime to come to town with her detective partner and best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III. As part-time employee of the only diner in town, Mo is determined to use her connections to solve the mystery of who killed Jesse, a grumpy, but regular diner customer. Meanwhile, Mo is trying to solve her own mystery of biblical proportions. After being discovered floating down river during a hurricane, strapped to a billboard, Mo was taken in by the Colonel and Miss Lana, a delightful, but zany couple, but she desperately wants to learn about her origins and history. The Southern charm of Mo as she tries to tackle both of these cases is pitch perfect and readers root for her as she deals with all the drama of a young sleuth. With crazy characters and great dialogue, Sheila Turnage has written perfect book for reading aloud (especially if you are in the mood for doing a fun Southern accent). The twist at the end is perfect for young adult readers, and while this is written for a younger audience, can be appreciated by older Nancy Drew mystery-style fans as well. I can easily see Mo LoBeau appearing in another novel because Turnage has created a believable and engaging young Southern girl who has a lot of life left to live in the town of Tupelo. (Shelfishness.blog.com)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting plot, May 24, 2012
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
An interesting plot and excellent narration has made this book one of my favorites. I saw the book in my cousin's collection and decided to read through it. I was hardly able to take my eyes off the book as it had a racy narration. I liked the characterization in the book and found it suitable for adult reading as well. This fun book is amazing especially for a maiden effort of Sheila Turnage. Three Times Lucky is a must read for those who love humorous plots. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars is not enough, May 20, 2012
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
After reading the first two sentences of Sheila Turnage's book, Three Times Lucky, I knew I was in for a rare treat. I picked the book up with my first morning cup of coffee and a list of chores 2 days long (a book for kids, I thought I was safe) but soon I was in Tupelo landing with all these fabulous characters and was disinclined to leave. The writing style kept me reading and the plot line would not let me put the book down. (Fortunately, like all well-behaved chores, they waited).

I am sending this book to all my friends and hope that there will be many more adventures with Mo and Dale in Tupelo Landing. Sheila Turnage is on my list of favorite authors.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent, March 25, 2013
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
I give this book three stars because I am a sucker for you-can-make-your-own-family stories and large casts of endearing characters.

That said, I was highly annoyed. I didn't grow up in eastern North Carolina, but I did marry into it. I found the town of Tupelo Landing unbelievable. Not because it is so out of the way there is no reliable cell phone and internet service but because there are few towns in that part of the state, no matter how small, where some Yankee transplants and Hispanic farm workers are not part of the community. The cultural setting has a land-that-time-forgot feeling that is at odds with the modern murder mystery turned kidnapping plot.

What annoyed me most of all was the inconsistent use of colloquial language. I have observed that children grow up talking the way their closest family and friends do. It makes no sense that Mo and Dale use words like "ain't" when Miss Lana, the Colonel, and Miss Rose do not or that these otherwise loving and nuturing adults didn't correct it out of them long ago.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Conflicted, March 19, 2013
By 
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
I love reading children's literature, but sometimes I wonder if I over-analyze it as an adult reader. Then I get nostalgic, wondering what I would have thought of this book as a kid - before the veil of my life experiences became quite so thick. This is at least part of the reason for my conflicting feelings about this book.

On the one hand, I found this to be a fast-paced and exciting story. It was hard to put down and had characters that I came to love by the end of the story. My extended family lives in rural North Carolina, and I found the setting to be quite well rendered. The cultural details and idiomatic speech was right on target: treated with respect and not overdone. The story was sprinkled with humor, but the humor didn't stem from poking fun at the characters or surrounding culture.

Difficult issues were addressed in a sensitive way: abuse, financial struggles, feeling of abandonment, not knowing who to trust. But it was the difficult issues that were passed over lightly that were disturbing to me. Like murder. I had a hard time getting past the nonchalant way that the small, tightly-knit town responded to a man being murdered in their midst. Even if he was a not-particularly-liked man, the violent and sudden death of any member of the community would surely shake the town to its roots. I just couldn't buy the sandwich-eating crowd craning over the edge of the yellow crime scene tape, hoping to land some clues before the detective could. It's not that I think the real life effects of murder are appropriate thematic material for children's adventure books. But violence isn't something that should be taken lightly. I think I'd rather stick with treasure hunts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming & Delightful! The Perfect MG Read!, May 21, 2012
This review is from: Three Times Lucky (Hardcover)
THREEish WORDS: Boatload of Charm & Delight

MY REVIEW: Reading Sheila Turnage's MG book Three Times Lucky is like settling in on the front porch swing on a sunny day with a glass of sweet tea and a gaggle of friends and family swapping tales and jokes...relaxing, fun and nowhere else I'd rather be!

Eleven years ago, during a hurricane, a baby washed up in Tupelo Landing, NC. Christened Moses "Mo" LoBeau, she has been raised by the Colonel and Miss Lana. The Colonel, whose own forgotten past is a mystery, owns the local café and Miss Lana is the hostess with flair. Mo loves Tupelo Landing, its people and her ragtag family, but still longs to find her "upstream mother". But when a lawman comes to town, investigating a murder and one of Tupelo Landing's own turns up dead, Mo and her BFF Dale Earnhardt Johnson III form the Desperado Detectives and set out to catch a killer and just maybe save Mo's family.

A boatload of charm and delight doesn't really do this MG book justice; it's more like a giant yacht full! Sheila Turnage has created one of the funniest, most delightful and heartwarming stories that I've read in a long while. With a completely captivating mix of humor, heart, mystery, excitement and an enchanting cast of characters, Three Times Lucky is the perfect kind of middle grade book.

This book is over the top in the best way possible, touching in unexpected ways and its Southern charm is absolutely irresistible. Told from Mo's perspective, Turnage has crafted a pitch-perfect and laugh out loud voice. The story itself is quite grand and soap operatic- what with babies washing up during hurricanes, amnesia, murders, bank robberies, lost loves, new loves, scandalous loves- but Turnage has somehow taken all these things and weaved them together to create a story that readers will want to believe in.

There's a fabulous and large cast of colorful characters and I loved every single one of them...even the bad guys. Mo LoBeau is definitely my new favorite MG heroine! With her spunky, fearless attitude, big heart, quick wit and courageous grace, she shines bright! Whether Mo is taking orders at the café, raising money for her crush, karate chopping bad guys or saving the day, she puts her whole heart into everything she does. Mo's best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III (the "third" stands for Dale Earnhardt, the racecar driver's infamous car number!) is a sweet, endearing sidekick with moxie of his own.

The Colonel and Miss Lana are wonderful parental characters and readers will be just as addicted to their story as to Mo's. Dale's nineteen year old brother and Mo's crush, Lavender, is another awesome character. I loved his interaction with Mo and how sweet he is to her. Mo swears that one day she'll marry Lavender and they'll have a bunch of adopted children and you know what, I wouldn't be surprised if ten years down the road Mo did finally get that boy to fall in love with her! There are too many other characters to mention, but Turnage definitely offers readers a town full of lovable, engaging and completely eccentric characters.

The mystery and intrigue are fun and exciting, while the other storylines are moving and heartwarming. There are some serious topics being explored in this book-poverty, abusive relationships, alcoholism, abandonment- and Turnage writes about these things with both sensitivity and humor, and in a way that is appropriate for younger readers but still realistic.

One of the things I love most about Three Times Lucky is the fictional setting of Tupelo Landing. This small NC town may not be real, but it felt like home. Many readers may find Turnage's made up town to be unbelievable and an exaggerated look at small southern communities, but as a resident of a small NC city myself, I can tell you that her depiction is spot on. And more importantly, it is entertaining and enjoyable!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I loved everything about this book and cannot wait to read it again! Three Times Lucky is a fantastic MG debut full of heart, humor and superb characters. A definite MUST read!
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Three Times Lucky
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Hardcover - May 10, 2012)
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