Stoneheart Trilogy by Charlie Fletcher

Stoneheart Charlie FletcherRecently, I’ve been re-listening to The Stoneheart Trilogy by Charlie Fletcher. This series is one of my favorites because it deals with fear, abandonment, anger, loneliness, guilt, and self-confidence. The series itself is fiction and is intended purely for entertainment, but the manner in which these issues are melded into and addressed in the story leaves the reader feeling hopeful and encouraged.

The series, probably geared towards young teens on up, is set in London in a world where statutes and gargoyles come to life. Only certain people, however, can see these “living statutes” and George, the main character, sees the living statues only after breaking one of them in anger. This launches him on a journey where he has to make choices – to take the easy way or the hard way; a journey where he must face his fears; and a journey where he comes to grips with his dad’s death.

Along his journey, George meets Edie, a tough young girl who has grown up relying solely on her wits and her instinct in order to survive. This story is as much about Edie as it is George. Due to her tumultuous past, Edie is quick-tempered and struggles to maintain her visage of control on her life, not allowing herself to appear vulnerable. Nonetheless, throughout her journey with George, Edie is exposed to situations that lead her to deal with her feelings of abandonment, anger, and loss.

If you are looking for an entertaining, uplifting pleasure book, The Stoneheart Trilogy by Charlie Fletcher is one worth reading.

Awaken: Melody’s Song by Tanya Schofield

AwakenI received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review. I did not receive any monetary compensation, just the opportunity to read a new book before most people.

“Awaken: Melody’s Song” by Tanya Schofield is an entertaining story. While not what I would consider a strong book, needing more character development and another read through by proof-readers, it demonstrated some creativity and was an easy, enjoyable read.

The book started off a little slow, (but in all fairness, I tend to be impatient when it comes to books). However, when the links between the different characters’ lives became clear, I found myself enjoying my time with the three main characters – Melody, Jovan, and Kaeliph – and looking forward to continuing reading the story.

In short: if you are looking for a story that is entertaining, but not one that prevents you from stopping when the responsibilities of reality beckon, this would be a book to read.

While I found the book lacking in character development, I do believe Ms. Schofield demonstrates potential as a writer, and with a little bit more character development, could have a “solid” series.

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In terms of content, I would give this book a PG-15 rating. There are three sexual encounters, in two of which a woman is raped, and while these instances are not explicit or graphic, they are enough to make some more sensitive readers uncomfortable. If it weren’t for those three instances, I would have said the book could be rated PG-13 because, other than those three instances, the book is relatively clean as far as the young adult genre goes, with just a few innuendoes and “damns” dispersed here and there.

NOTE: I usually do a “sensitive reader alert” for books with sex content, but because those three instances were all within the same chapter/scene and did not permeate the entire story, you can easily skip over it and enjoy the rest of the story. For that reason, I do not feel that “Awaken: Melody’s Song” warrants a sensitive reader alert.

Ascendant by Craig Alanson

Ascendant by Craig AlansonThis is my new favorite book series!

Ascendant is the first book in the series, and it is a clean, fun book. No sex, only 5 instances of profanity (Yes, I counted because it was so surprising to find a young adult book that doesn’t curse regularly). The characters are very likable and real characters. This is a book that a family with children ages 12 on up can enjoy (younger kids will probably get bored).

Ascendant is definitely getting added to my “Top 10 Favorite Books”.

Michael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen

Rise of the Elgen.jpgMichael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans is the second book in the Michael Vey series. It is an engaging story and drew me in a lot faster than the first book, but it is rather violent for a children’s book series, and some of the violence even bothers me. I think it is mainly the fact that the children (not the main characters) are truly bad and don’t seem to have a conscience. I’m not used to that kind of callousness from teens. If you had a problem with The Hunger Games and the children killing children, you will have a problem with this book series. (Although, this book is much better written than The Hunger Games.)

I do want to point out that in this series, the “bad children” have been brainwashed by Dr. Hatch. They have been conditioned from a young age to believe they are superior to everyone because of their electric abilities and to see nothing wrong with taking lives. The good children – Michael Vey and the Electroclan – were not “broken” (that is the term used in the first book to refer to the process that Dr. Hatch puts the children through) by Dr. Hatch because they were older and had a formed conscience. As a result, these children rebelled against Dr. Hatch and joined Michael to form the Electroclan. So it is not that the “bad children” are intrinsically evil, it is how they were “raised” by the evil Dr. Hatch.

Anyway, the scenes with Dr. Hatch and his gang of bad children is too violent for me, and this is not a book series I am going to finish reading. It is one that I would cautiously recommend to people who don’t get quite drawn into the lives of the characters as much as I.

P.S. I do like that one bad kid in the first book had a chance of heart, and that there are signs in this book that a couple of the other “bad kids” are coming around. So I think there may be potential for some character’s to re-deem themselves, but since I’m not finishing the series, I won’t know.

The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1)

Michael VeyThe Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans is the first book in the Michael Vey series. It was entertaining and is a series I am currently enjoying. It started off a really slow, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I was looking for a book for the family to listen to when we went on vacation, I probably wouldn’t have continued listening to it, but I’m glad I did. Right now, I’m on the second book, and it starts off a lot faster because you don’t have to get to know the characters. Unfortunately, this is not a book series that you can’t just start with any book, you need to read the first book. But, I highly recommend putting up with the slow speed of the book. It’s worth it.
I will say that it was a little more violent than I had anticipated from a kid’s book, and I think the reason was I’m not used to there actually being kids who are villains. There are a couple kids in there who seem to lack a conscience (and the reason being is thoroughly explained and understandable), and whose maliciousness when it came to hurting people surprised me. Again, I think it is because I’m not used to kids being the “evil” ones. Although !SPOILER-ISH! one kid does change his ways.
I also really appreciate that the main character has turrets syndrome. I think it brings a nice aspect to having a hero/main character who isn’t perfect (like Thor or Captain America). This is just a normal kid (who actually !SPOLIER-ISH! has an electric power). However, he is living with turrets which gives him an aspect of humanity, more than your average super hero; he is more relatable because we all have struggles in our life wither physical, emotional or neurological, etc.