Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon is a beautiful story that tells of the healing power of nature, the love between family, and the ties that bind our ancestry. Tom Olson is heading out on a backpacking trip in the Olympic Peninsula Wilderness in Washington State with his friends when a knock sounds at his door. On the other side of that door stands Sarah Cooley, an abandoned thirteen year old girl. Come to find out, that thirteen year old isn’t a runaway or a foster child but his long-lost granddaughter. Along this trip comes a story that is a coming together of both Hatchet and A Call In the Wild as the story proves that no matter where you go, it’s what you’re made of that shows when your only choice is to survive.
While reading the book, I found myself instantly enthralled with Sheldon’s writing style. How it sweeps you in like a breeze along a hiking trail. I reminisced about reading books that had similar storylines and plot points in my youth, and what it felt like to escape inside a book again. Reading this book made me love reading again, and for that was the biggest aspect of all. There are few books that I read as an adult and thoroughly enjoy but this one kept me reading, I enjoyed learning nature and geological facts while reading as well as being swept up in the storytelling of the Native American ancestral stories.
Some aspects of the book were two overwhelming with geological facts and I found myself not being able to stay focused in those parts. The emphasis of the strong main characters were what would pull me back in and remind me why I began to read this book and fall in love with this story: Tom and Sarah’s bond was definitely something I connected with on many levels, and felt anyone could find a connection with when reading this book.
I rate this book four out of five stars because while it helped me fall in love with reading again because it reminded me of the stories of youth, it also contained a lot of detail within the geological fact parts that made me lose my focus while reading and actually struggle with certain levels of sensory overload.
My recommendation is that those who go to read this book are aware that a good ten to twenty chapters of the book are geological and nonfiction in writing, they do not read like fiction but instead contribute a lot to educate the reader of real life issues with the ecosystem, etc.
I found no errors while reading but am unsure if I would read the follow-up books in this series because of the geological memoir like sections of the book.
ZombearWrites is a clever soul full of vibrancy and wonder but still her words pinpoint a pain only few know: the pain of a heartbreak.
To Walk on Moonbeams is a petite collection discussing the painful and powerful things that make life worth living.
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Poetry is this beautiful snippet into the window of someone’s soul and so is the case with Raquel’s collection.
The short collection offers much perspective into what it means to grieve the loss of a relative or friend, a love or romance that had to end, and the gain of finding hope in a love that wraps you up on both the good and bad days, and even the hope of finding Christ.
One thing is certain
Poetry is a nice
Reprieve from memoir and fiction
But anyone who reads this collection
Will find a new vice
With the ink of this author’s pen.
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Sometimes in life, without looking, we find all you weren’t searching for. With a unique cadence and story-telling rhythm Shaye Baker’s Cerebral Fossil will have you engrossed from page one.
The collection was inspired by the tragic event, the author’s unfortunate loss of his younger brother. The poems discuss these emotions and all those associated with life, death, grief, and the in-between.
Can, Can, Can, Tethered, Breathe, Garden District, A Fire Pit Story, and God Hates were my favorites yet the poem I personally resonated with was Seeds to Grow.
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Hillery is no product of trauma. She is a beautiful rose, rising high above what tried to bury her, end her, and silence her, one poem at a time. She is the voice of those who know the struggle of suffering at the cold, dirty hands of trauma, mental illness, or society’s unmeetable expectations following the divorce and/or infidelity.
“Medicine That Burns” serves you a shot of the dark liquor of life, and helps you come to terms with “not being fine” in a world that glorifies perfection, illusive love stories, but doesn’t want to fall in love with the breaking process of all of us who are broken.
Whether you’ve had you had to mask your pain or survive by masking, Hillery’s poetry will have you drunk on the truth of what it means to live even if the pain still cripples your veins.
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Poetry for me is an eye-opening experience. You step into the soles of the shoes of another but ironically enough because the human experience is mirrored through triumphs and pain, you will find some of ‘you’ in the pages of Bare Roots.
No matter whether you’ve gone through similar traumatic experiences as Hillery:
sexual assault and rape
anorexia, addictions, and self-harm
depression and suicidal thoughts
or overall just feeling like a burden to the people you love.
My favorite piece in this collection was a piece called What They Don’t Tell You In College which poignantly pens the struggle between feeding on the lies they sell you about growing up and adulthood and the reality as painful as it may be, as it is.
Bare Roots will act as new soil and help you water the roots of the trauma so you can start anew, flourish and thrive.
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Hillery’s newest poetry collection will be out this Monday April 19 and it is entitled The Medicine That Burns. Look for my review coming this Monday right here. Pre-order it now and get your copy of Bare Roots here.