First Chapter Review: Alchemy by Mike Wood

Alchemy by Mike Wood is a coming of age novel that I grabbed as a Kindle freebie in 2014.

BLURB: The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.

COVER: I live a little over two hours away from Cape Cod. This is the perfect cover to draw the reader into the setting where Al lives. I also love how the author works the year the story takes place into the road sign.

FIRST CHAPTER: Told by Al as if he is speaking directly to the reader, he explains the challenge of his name, a bit about his family and his life, and the day he made the mistake of taking a neighbor’s magazine.

KEEP READING: A resounding yes! I remember when I downloaded this book, because it reminded me of my high school years and was set in a place I knew. Even though Wood has Al give the reader a ton of information in the first chapter, I feel it reads like a teenager would speak and is a cohesive sequence of events. Al is funny and engaging, which makes the reader want to keep turning the pages… especially considering how the first chapter ends.*

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0038M2HC6
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Booksurge (January 12, 2010)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ January 12, 2010
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1331 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • This First Chapter Review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

    *Based upon the ending of the first chapter, this novel may not be appropriate for younger readers.

    The Star That Lost its Twinkle by Janice Blanchett

    Looking for a new and endearing story about the wise men’s journey to find Jesus? Then The Star That Lost its Twinkle by Janice Blanchett is the perfect book for you and your children.

    Lucas is a bright star that outshines his classmates. But his classmates don’t enjoy his bragging, and keeping up his image makes Lucas forget the importance of caring for himself. Soon, he loses his shine, and his classmates treat him poorly. It seems like nothing will help, until some encouraging advice leads him to pray to God asking for His help in making Lucas the star he created him to be.

    What a touching story! The Star That Lost its Twinkle reminds us that we must take care of our temple (body) and that God has a special plan for all of us. Alongside Jack Foster’s amazing and beautiful artwork, this story is perfect for this time of year, but also as a constant reminder to reach out and ask for God’s help every day. Such a beautiful story!

    Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09KN62V3B
    • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Janice Blanchett (November 3, 2021)
    • Language ‏ : ‎ English
    • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 31 pages
    • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8985182514

    I received a digital copy from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

    The Shepherd and The Squirrel by Janice Blanchett

    One tiny squirrel’s hobby leads him into an unexpected friendship with a young shepherd destined for greatness.

    In The Shepherd and The Squirrel by Janice Blanchett, Sammy’s unusual hobby of collecting stones grabs the attention of a young shepherd boy named David. They form an unexpected friendship, and when David leaves with supplies for his brothers in the king’s army camp, Sammy tags along. Little did they know that David’s faith will be put to the test and Sammy’s hobby is God’s gift for success.

    Having written a children’s book about King David as a shepherd boy facing Goliath, I was immediately drawn to Blanchett’s The Shepherd and The Squirrel. In this charming story, a friendship between David and a squirrel unfolds against David’s life of caring for his sheep and visiting the army camp with supplies for his brothers. The Biblical story of David is a well-known one, but this unique way of bringing it to life is both engaging and sweet.

    Jack Foster, one of my favorite artists, provides the colorful artwork for The Shepherd and The Squirrel. His trademark wide-eyed characters fill this story with great emotion.

    This story would make the perfect addition to a church or home library.

    • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BK5DBQ5Q
    • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Janice Blanchett (October 20, 2022)
    • Language ‏ : ‎ English
    • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 31 pages
    • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8985182576

    I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.