Archive for May, 2015

The Graveyard Book (A summary by Candice S.)

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy Novels, Neil Gaiman, Young Adult books on May 14, 2015 by Mr. Winch


The Graveyard Book is a young-adult fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman (some of his other well-known works include Coraline, Neverwhere, and Stardust). The book begins with the Jack murdering the protagonist’s family. The toddler, Nobody Owens, usually referred to as Bod, had successfully escaped from his crib. He slid down the stairs, out the door, and down to the graveyard, while the man Jack was “busy” with his parents.

When Bod arrives at the graveyard the local ghosts find him and decided to take him in after seeing the bewildered flickering ghosts of his parents begging for their help. Silas assigns himself as the boy’s guardian, and Mrs. and Mr. Owens become his new adoptive parents.

Jack finds many things: the reason for his parents’ death, why the order known as Jack of All Trades is after him.  He also finds himself.


Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman (Summary by Tori Loveland)

Posted in 14 Years Old, Book Reviews, Coming of Age, Disabilities, Young Adult books on May 14, 2015 by Mr. Winch


Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman tells about the hidden life of a fourteen-year-old boy named Shawn McDaniel. Shawn has cerebral palsy and is unable to talk–or move, for that matter–on his own accord. We are introduced to your average character in a way that we rarely see. As you read, you hear Shawn’s thoughts as if he were right next to you, whispering in your ear. His family was told by doctors that he has a mental age of three or four and many people use baby-talk with him, though he is intelligent and claims to remember everything that he has ever heard. His father, Sydney McDaniel, is a writer who won a Pulitzer Prize for a poem that he wrote about Shawn. His father thinks that Shawn is in pain, and wants to relieve it. Shawn has reason to believe that his father is going to kill him.

Eight Keys (Summary by Ja’von A. Lewis)

Posted in Book Reviews, Coming of Age, Mystery Novels, Young Adult books on May 14, 2015 by Mr. Winch

Eight Keys is a mystery novel by Suzanne LaFleur set in the countryside in modern times.  A girl named Elise finds a key with her name on it which turns out to be for the eight doors in her grandparents’ barn.  In those doors, she finds stuff her dad left for her before he died. In the middle of the story, she gets in a huge argument with her best friend, and in a journal in one of the rooms she learns that her dad and his friend got in an argument and how he regretted not apologizing.  Elise learns from her father’s regret: she learns to keep friends close.  She finds the true meaning of friendship.  When she finds friendship and discovers her past, she also finds herself.  

Into The Wild (summary by Paige Antonich)

Posted in Adventure, Book Reviews, Travel Stories on May 14, 2015 by Mr. Winch

Author Jon Krakauer wrote about the wild adventures of Christopher Johnson McCandless as he goes into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. 

McCandless graduated Emory University May 12th 1990. He got his bachelors degree that year and double majored in history and anthropology. McCandless was wealthy and gifted. He grew up in Washington D.C. with his parents and sister. McCandless had anger building toward his parents since his freshman year in college, until he graduated and donated his $25,000 dollar savings anonymously to charity. From there Christopher jumped in his car and left without telling a single soul where he was going or that he had even left. Not too much later a flash flood hits ruining McCandless’s car, and that’s where the real journey begins!

He had to ditch the car and start hitchhiking his way around the whole Northwest to Alaska, getting jobs here and there not staying in one place for too long. After about two years McCandless made it to his final destination where he spent 16 weeks hunting whatever he can and living off the land.

You’ll have to read the book to see how it ends.

 Dance of Cloaks (book review by Kevin O’Brien)

Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy Novels on May 14, 2015 by Mr. Winch

A Dance of Cloaks is the best book. It has violence, death, betrayal and a little love.  Thieves fight one another for control over parts of a city called Valdren, but they all face a common enemy called the Trifect. The Trifect is an alliance made up of three of the most powerful and wealthy Nobles, Kennans, Conningtons, and the Gemcrofts.  In all of Veldren there is only one man that Trifect has no control over. . . his name Thren Felhorn.  Felhorn has control over all the thief guilds and declares war against the Trifect.  Felhorn has a son named Aaron who he has trained to carry on his fearsome legacy, that everyone will one day fear a hundred times more so than himself.  Aaron is sent to kill the daughter of a priest but puts his life at risk to keep her safe from his father’s fury and gets a glimpse of a life without death, poison and the iron rule of his father.  This book is recommended for those who enjoy violence, betrayal, some love, and plenty of action.

The Catcher in the Rye (a review by Tori Loveland)

Posted in 1950s, Book Reviews, Coming of Age, Young Adult books on May 14, 2015 by Mr. Winch

     The Catcher in the Rye is a great book that everyone can learn from. It contains  situations that many people can relate to, and people that everyone is able to compare to their own friends. Holden Caulfield – the protagonist –  is experiencing a rough time in his life. He leaves school and goes on an adventure in New York, calling up old friends, getting drunk and taking a walk on memory lane. Cigarette in hand, he walks the streets moving from hotel to bar, wooing the ladies and picking fights with pimps. He has an overwhelming view of the world and a head full of opinions. He has a lot to say, but many people don’t appreciate his words. He often feels lonely and ends up calling old friends and significant others. He thinks mainly of his younger sister, Phoebe, his older brother, D.B. – who is a writer – and his deceased younger brother, Allie. What you’re left with is expected, but what you expect reveals itself in a very unexpected way.

Roger Cara’s Treasury of Cat Stories (reviews by Lexi Ballou)

Posted in Book Reviews, Cats, Pets, Short Stories on May 14, 2015 by Mr. Winch

The story “The Fat Cat” by Q. Patrick (page 269-274) is my favorite story in Roger Caras’ Treasury of Great Cat Stories because it caught my attention the most. It was funny, very different (in a good way) and has a plot twist. It’s about these Marines who found a cat in a mission house in Fufa. They didn’t expect to find anything alive, especially a fat cat that was sitting on what was left of a mat. Throughout the story, Randy and Joe were with the cat, and all of a sudden they ran into Japanese soldiers and they went into the jungle and found something to eat; it was a chicken. They and the cat stared at it.  At the end, the cat that got it and the cat was just smiling. I love how this story ended.

The story “Midshipman, The Cat” by John Coleman Adams (page 116-126) this is also one of my favorites even though it’s sad at some parts, especially the ending. I like how it’s based on a true story. True stories are my favorite. This story is about a cat who travels along the sea. In the 70s, a group of people were sailing, and they took the poor cat along with them in their boat. The cat quickly made himself at home; he never got seasick and he ate with the humans when it was dinner time. Middy was the name of the cat. He snuggled and laid his head on the captain’s knee and slept the rest of the way to Boston, and that was the last time they ever saw Middy. He was taken to his new boarding place. This story is very meaningful and cute.