Monthly Archives: April 2012

because of mr. terupt

This one is for the junior/preteen readers…though I definitely loved this one and read in within two hours.  It is called Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea.  It is a book ALL kids should read.  A group of fifth graders are starting school with a new teacher, you guessed it…Mr. Terupt.  He is unlike any teacher they have ever had and he makes school fun, but that is not all.  The story focuses on 7 students (which I thought would be too many characters to keep track of…..it is NOT).  Each chapter is written in a different student’s voice and version of the school year.  The students are as varied as they could possibly be….a new girl, a mean girl, class clown, the smart one, shy girl, an outcast, and a loner.  Sounds kind of like The Breakfast Club?  Mr. Terupt teaches them more than just math & reading….and he understands them all.  As the story progresses, you are aware that something horrible is about to happen and you are hoping that it is not too horrible….so you keep reading.  And then the horribleness comes, and you keep reading….you have to find out the conclusion.  And you won’t be disappointed.  I told my 11 year-old that he would love this book, and he plans to read it…as soon as he finishes the Harry Potter Series.  He is on book 5 and can’t put them down!  Not a bad thing at all!

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Agatha Winning Author

This is the latest review book from Morrow Publishing.  It is A Faith Fairchild Mystery written by Katherine Hall Page.  She has written 19 novels in this series, and this is my first one.  It is titled: The Body in the Boudoir.   Since I have not read any of the previous ones, I was a bit leery about jumping right into a series and being lost and confused… I find myself lost and confused quite often in this crazy, wonderful life.  Fortunately, this mystery was presented in a flashback where our lady sleuth AKA caterer spins the tale of her engagement and the murders that surrounded it, so I was able to grab some background info on the characters.  This novel takes place in the months before New York born Faith is to marry Massachusetts native Tom Fairchild.  The wedding is to be held on Faith’s wealthy uncle’s estate.  Strange and bizarre things begin to happen as the nuptial preparations begin ….Faith finds herself the target of someone’s wrongdoing.  Faith has the habit to be surrounded by mystery and has the instinct to sense things that others overlook.  The murder knows she is on to something and wants to put an end to her snooping.  The clues are cleverly hidden throughout and keeps you guessing….all the way to the reveal.
Fans of Diane Mott Davidson Goldy the Caterer series will enjoy this mystery series without feeling like it is more of the same. 

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Rerelease of a John Irving classic

I have read a few other novels by John Irving….The World According to Garp  and Hotel New Hampshire.  Both wildy bizarre, inappropriately intriguing and shockingly humorous.  A Prayer for Owen Meany hits all three of these qualities as well…just not as shocking for myself.  The story takes place in New England and centers on the unlikely friendship of two boys – Owen and John.  John is your average boy who lives with his mom, loves baseball and hates going to church.  He has never known his father or even his father’s identity.  Though his beautiful and kind mother helps fill the gap.  John’s best friend is Owen Meany.  The Meany family have been around for a long time….and Owen is a unique character.  He is dwarfish and talks in a strange, annoying voice that is written in ALL CAPS throughout the story.  His mother is a recluse…never leaves the house and leaves Owen searching for a maternal figure which he finds in Tabby – John’s mother.  The story starts out quickly with a horrific accident.  Owen hits a foul ball which strikes Tabby and kills her instantly.  Owen believes he has become an instrument of God through this incident.  This is what guides the story.  Owen and John’s relationship evolves in despite of the tragedy.  The reader bounces back and forth from present day with John retelling his past and relationship with Owen Meany.  I wanted to desperately to devour this novel, but I found myself reading and setting it aside.  It was at times too wordy and it felt like it was trying too hard to be shocking.  I have read that Irving has been compared to Charles Dickens in his descriptive writing style….though Dickens was paid per word.  I enjoyed the novel, but I am not sure it is one I will revisit.

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The Magic and Naughtiness of Art

I stayed up late (again) to finish this review book by Christopher Moore called Sacré Bleu A Comedy D’Art..  I have many loves, and art and art history is most definitely one of them….so much so I have a minor in art history just for my love of art not for any practical purpose.  As an artist, I am not.  I do not have that talent and envy others who do.  My boys seem to have a little of that love….Calvin is intrigued by architecture and Henry loves to paint while Nate loves to draw and draw and draw.  Not sure about Benny yet.
So when I received this book in the mail (hardback edition)….I could not wait to dive into it. This is my first Christopher Moore book, and I may now be an addict.  I was delighted by his writing…the wit, the intrigue and the naughtiness that kept me turning pages.  It begins in Auvers, France in 1890 on the day Vincent Van Gogh dies.  Was it suicide or murder?  Why would a man walk a mile with a gunshot wound to the chest to get help if he wanted to die?  Was he simply a mad man? Or is there more to it?  These are questions the author has left to Vincent’s friends to unravel. 
The story focuses on Paris in the 1890’s and the artist’s that get their inspiration from this city.  The story centers around the characters called The Colorman and his female friend.  The Colorman sells colors (paints) to artists since art supply stores have yet to be created. He makes the colors and peddles them from town to town on his donkey.   He has one unique color that the artists are attracted to….Ultramarine…the Sacré Bleu.  The mystery of this story is in the color. 
The reader joins Lucien Lessard (baker and artist)  as well as artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir & Toulouse-Lautrec on their  journey as they begin to unravel the mystery of the Blue and the women they call their muses.  We get to live as these artist may have lived: drinking lots, taking opium and “bonking” many women as we travel through an amazing time in art history.

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