Official Review: Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon

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MarisaRose
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Official Review: Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon

Post by MarisaRose » 16 May 2017, 16:58

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Strong Heart" by Charlie Sheldon.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The audible book, Strong Heart, is written by Charlie Sheldon and narrated by Laurel Anne White. The story follows Sarah, a thirteen year old girl with seemingly no place to call home, and Tom, Sarah’s grandfather. Completely unaware of Sarah’s existence, Tom only learns about her when she is unexpectedly dropped off at his front door. The timing couldn’t be more unfortunate as Tom and his friends, William and Myra, were about to embark on a trip to visit the grave of Tom’s grandfather, located deep in the wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula. Not wanting to cancel, Tom decides to bring Sarah along. After drawing the image of a short faced bear she claims to have seen, Sarah mysteriously disappears along with a very important artifact. Although Tom and his friends find it hard to believe Sarah actually saw the animal, whose species has been extinct for thousands of years, they can’t deny there is something unusual about the girl and the circumstances of her disappearance.

The audible narration of Strong Heart was not the strongest narration I’ve heard. The narrator’s voice sounds very monotone and robotic at times, having a tinny ring to it. I’m not sure if this is due to the recording or if it is the narrator’s actual voice. Voice variation was provided for different characters and though mostly successful, felt forced and confusing in some places. More than once, the narration failed to hold my attention; however, the curious storyline kept me wanting to listen.

Strong Heart provides a magical blend of science, native mysticism, and the exploration of familial ties. These themes are all interwoven throughout the story, creating a cohesive and powerful plot. The book is written partially in Sarah’s point of view, as she recounts the outlandish events surrounding her disappearance. Sarah’s voice was the most successful aspect of the story. The author masterfully captures the essence of a teenage girl, lost in the world, and trying to believe in herself when most others don’t believe in her at all. Sarah’s narration was both captivating and enigmatic. I don’t think I’ve ever read about a girl like Sarah before, and I find myself contemplating her character long after the story’s end.

The main characters were not given much backstory, which would normally be a negative aspect of any book; however, it worked really well in this novel. As the plot progresses, the characters develop based on their unexpected interactions with each other. Their mysterious backgrounds only add to the enchanting, mystical tone of the story. While listening to the novel, I felt like I knew everything about the feelings and internal struggles of the main characters. However, after some reflection, I realized the author actually provided very little detail about the character’s lives, proving his talent as a writer.

My enjoyment of the unique and mysterious story leads me to rate the book 4 out of 4 stars; however, I was tempted to deduct a star for the audible narration. Because I enjoyed so many aspects of the characters and plot, and found merit in the narrator's voice variation, I decided to stand by my initial rating. Those who enjoy fiction about native legends and mysticism will find themselves engrossed in this book. To those who have difficulty paying attention to less than engaging narrators, I would recommend reading the book rather than listening to the audible version.

******
Strong Heart
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Post by Ynnahxx » 17 May 2017, 08:46

Strong Heart is indeed a very nice novel.

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Post by kandscreeley » 17 May 2017, 08:57

I'm glad the story was good, but it's too bad that the narration wasn't stronger. I enjoy audible books during trips, and I don't know that I would use this for that purpose. Sounds like a good book to read, though. Thanks.
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Post by MarisaRose » 17 May 2017, 08:58

kandscreeley wrote:I'm glad the story was good, but it's too bad that the narration wasn't stronger. I enjoy audible books during trips, and I don't know that I would use this for that purpose. Sounds like a good book to read, though. Thanks.
I also love audio books for long trips, it's a great way to make the trip go by quickly! Definitely a great book worth reading though. Thanks for reading :)
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Post by Jaime Lync » 18 May 2017, 14:13

This is the first time i'm seeing a review for an audiobook. really well-written by the way. I want to take you up on that offer to read this myself instead of the audiobook option. Thanks.

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Post by MarisaRose » 19 May 2017, 10:50

Jaime Lync wrote:This is the first time i'm seeing a review for an audiobook. really well-written by the way. I want to take you up on that offer to read this myself instead of the audiobook option. Thanks.
Thank you :) It was my first time reviewing an audiobook - definitely a bit harder than reviewing a regular book as I had to take the narrator into account as well as my overall enjoyment of the narrative! :tiphat:
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Post by Amagine » 21 May 2017, 12:11

This story sounds really intriguing and the concept is very interesting. It's unfortunate that the narrator couldn't have told the story in better quality rather than a monotone voice. In spite of that, the plot and characters sound like they alone are worth reading about.

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Post by VEQUE » 29 May 2017, 03:03

This audiobook was not well done,of course the audio portrayed a univoice. That would seem quite boring to a first reader.Otherwise the hard copy is interesting to go through and is quite attention catching. Varry tones in the audio book and the who work will be excellent

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Post by Kitkat3 » 31 May 2017, 02:14

This is a genre that I really like, and this sounds like an enjoyable story. I like that you say that you had a sense of knowing even though the author hadn't actually given you a lot of backstory on the characters. It's too bad that the narration wasn't the best. I'll probably just read it then. Wonderful review!

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Post by gali » 31 May 2017, 06:43

The book sure sounds intriguing. I love magic realism, native legends, and mysticism, so will check it out. I don't like audio, so will read the regular version. Thank you for the review and congratulations to the author for the positive review!
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Post by Strangerthanfiction » 31 May 2017, 06:49

Great review. Unfortunate about the narration though. I do feel that I would like to read this book for myself though. I love a good tale about native legends and mysticism. I think when a story brings magic and science together successfully it's usually quite intriguing. I also like the mysterious air about the story. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Post by hsimone » 31 May 2017, 07:00

A read with magic realism, native legends and mysticism sounds like a perfect adventure! I love how you found this read unique and mysterious - I'm intrigued. Thank you for the great review! Congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review!
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Post by GCamer » 31 May 2017, 07:51

When I was browsing the first chapter from the sample on Amazon, I thought the book was just a story revolving around family relationships. But after reading your review, I'm more intrigued about the book. I enjoy mystical stories and I can't wait to read the whole story. Thanks for the great review!

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Post by Obidigwe » 31 May 2017, 09:03

The writer did justice to the environment. Listening to the narrator, I felt as if I was there.
The narrator actually tried. In all, I think the book would be very interesting to read with a lot of suspense.

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Post by James Craft » 31 May 2017, 09:27

Already got my copy and looking forward to checking this one out! The review makes it sound really interesting and enticing as a coming of age story!

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