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The Alchemist, QB1, The House of Hades, Son of The Mob
QB1 Review, Brian Gilvary
(Grades 5-8) When Wyatt Cullen, a quarterback legend, finally makes it to the state championship for Granger high football at his final year, and saves the game with a long throw for a touchdown, Jake Cullen’s freshman year becomes way harder. Now Jake has to live up to the world’s expectations as his brother Wyatt becomes a quarterback legend. But Jake is in no hurry to live in his famous family’s shadow. Jake has to fight for the starting spot at Granger High with Casey Lindell, a senior, who is not going to be happy if he loses to a freshman. But Jake is not going down easy and will do anything to show the coach whose boss. Jake also fights for his dad’s attention since his dad is only interested in Wyatt and does not attend to Jakes games. Will Jake be able to take the starting spot at Granger and finally show his dad he is worth something? Or will he crack under the pressure and ruin his family’s reputation? Read to find out. This book takes place in Granger, Texas where Jake and his famous family have lived for ever and have always played football, Jakes dad even made it to the NFL. But mainly it takes place on the field. This book was mainly a realistic fiction book and I would give it four out of five stars. This was my favorite of all Mike Lupica’s books. I liked how it had a lot of football action and spoke the football language. Also, Mike Lupica described everything perfectly. He made me able to see everything that the character was seeing. Some things that I didn’t like about this book are it was slow at parts. When Jake was about to make a play the author would stop and say something about the scenery. But overall I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Mike Lupica and football.
Son of the Mob Review, Brendan Hartnett
Son of the Mob is a fantastic realistic fiction book that explores the world of a normal teenager with problems that wouldn’t usually occur in the average family. He discovers that being a regular teen when you dad is on the FBI’s most wanted list is not easy. The book Son of the Mob takes place on Long Island, NY where Vince Luca is the seven-teen year old high school student who fulfills the role of main character. Vince is different than most seven-teen, for he is a son of the local mob boss, Honest Abe Luca. Vince’s life is always interfered with due to his father’s profession and it makes life worst that Vince isn’t into the family business. One night at an NYU frat party Vince comes across the school reporter Kendra and they fall in love. Vince soon finds out that her father is the FBI agent in charge of taking down Vince’s dad. Vince won’t let his father’s business destroy this relationship this time. Kendra knows about Vince’s dad after a while of lies and is cool with it because she knows Vince isn’t involved in the mob. But when Vince tries to protect someone his father is scamming things go downhill. Vince discovers his own brother has created a betting site out of one of his own school website projects, and the tension between Vince and Honest Abe Luca never has been so bad. And worst, Kendra’s father discovers that Kendra is dating Vince and shows Kendra pictures of him loaning money to some of his father’s victims she dumps him. Now Vince is a suspect for loan-sharking and under the radar of the FBI, will things ever be normal? I am sure you will be beyond satisfied with the endings as well. And also read Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle I would suggest this book to eight-graders to tenth-graders due to the mild language, non-graphic violence, alcoholic suggestions, and the inappropriate terms. I would rate this book 4 star. If you are interested in Romeo and Juliet, Grand Theft Auto, or anything in-between I would suggest you read this book.
House of Hades Review, Michael Owen
Kids these days may find most of their entertainment in electronics, but this book draws them out of that techno-void and pulls them back into the world of words on paper and its many mythical mysteries. Rick Riordan sweeps the floor again with this amazing book, the fourth in the Heroes of Olympus series. With perfect addition of Greek myths, Rick Riordan manages to teach in an entertaining way, whether it is about Sciron the sea bandit, Damasen and the other giants, or even the arai, spirits of curses. As the story begins, our heroes must continue their quest to Greece to find the Doors of Death, but also arrive simultaneously with their friends Percy and Annabeth, who are trapped in Tartarus. Along the way they encounter many friends and foes, such as Calypso, Khione, Favonius, Bob, Clytius, Nyx, and even Tartarus. However, even if they do make some new powerful friends, not much will help with their biggest threat – Gaea, the Earth Mother, is waking, and once she does, she almost cannot be stopped. Will the seven demigods reach the ancient lands and save the world by preventing her wake? Or will their blood be spilled on Mount Olympus to fully awaken Gaea?
I found this book to be a delightful addition to the series, as it really gave perspective on what it would be like to be a monster and face the punishment of being imprisoned in Tartarus. Even if some details were a bit morbid, you would still need those to be able to describe perfectly what a battle would be like. Also, I liked the throwback to Battle of the Labyrinth with the re-addition of Ogygia and Calypso. However, I didn’t like how my favorite character, Small Bob the saber-tooth tiger skeleton, was only in the book for about 100 pages overall. Although it was only a small part of the book, I also liked that Reyna came to get the Athena Parthenos to repair the friendship between Greeks and Romans. Overall, I’d give this book a rating of about 9 Olympian gods out of 10.
The Alchemyst review, Matty Billemeyer
(Grades 7 and up) The Alchemist is a thriller that will keep you reading until the very last page. If you liked the Harry Potter series, then you will most likely like this Fantasy fiction book. It starts off on a sunny day in San Francisco, CA, when Sophie and Josh (twins) come upon Nicholas Flamel, a man who claims to be over 600 years old. They witness weird magic orbs and creating glowing magic spheres to lead them to believe that Nicholas is an actual immortal being. Dr. John Dee, another immortal and Nick’s enemy, steals part of the codex and takes it to his Dark Elder masters, the immortal race that ruled Earth before humans. Nicholas and the twins meet up with an ancient warrior named scathach. They then go to Hekate’s shadowrealm; a place created by magic, and pleads for her to awaken the twins’ magical ability. Dee gathers two powerful elders, Morrigan and Bastet, and invades Hekate’s shadow realm. Sophie with her newly awakened powers fights off evil creatures while Josh feels jealous for not being awakened in time. They flee from the shadowrealm and go to Ojai, CA, where they meet the Witch of Endor to train Sophie. Dee tries yet another attack. Will they survive their greatest threat yet? Read to find out. In my personal opinion, I think the ending was satisfying and leaves it open for the next book, The Magician. I like how there are many Mythological references from all sorts of cultures and places. Michael Scott writes the book from the point of view from the narrator. The narrator still follows the thoughts of Sophie and Josh, yet manages to still tell the story from almost a third person view. Overall I think this book deserves a 4 star rating.