ARC Review: The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini

20518854 The Heart Does Not Grow Back | Fred Venturini | Picador –  Macmillan | Stand Alone | Source: Review (Netgalley) | 320 pages | Adult | Sci-Fi 
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
ISBN13: 9781250052216
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

“EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE…

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise?The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.”

Review:

To say I have been eagerly anticipating this books would be an understatement. As soon as I heard the title and the synopsis, I knew I wanted this book. I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of an E-ARC on Netgalley! I happy to report that even of hyping this up for so long, it definitely lived up to my expectations.

The Heart Does Not Grow Back follows the story of Dale Sampson, a young introvert who is trying to navigate the minefield of high school and life. One day a tragedy occurs and it becomes apparent that he has the ability regenerate limbs and organs.

I loved this novel from start to finish. It was a combination of all things from character development to the actual logistics behind Dale’s condition. The book is essentially asking what you would do. It is so interesting to see everyone’s reactions and moral compasses on the go. You definitely have a chance to see the darker side of human nature in this one, people’s justification for what their actions. You have a sudden realization that not everyone is as kind hearted as you think.

A small commentary on characters. Apart from Doc, I didn’t get along with any of them Doc is someone that you always feel for. He has a persistent need to seek redemption and sees Dale as his only chance. We have all had a friend like Mack. I personally thought he was a leech. I hated every other ounce of him. He is one of those friends that everyone has and no one will get rid of. At times he really was a good friend but at other times he truly was the worst thing for Dale.

Dale as a main character was quite complex. He did have a need to help people and even wanted to. His motivations were distorted and his chronic need for someone and crippling loneliness made his decisions for him. He is also turns out to be selfless when it comes down to it. All this added up to an amazing character to follow!

The ending to The Heart Does Not Grow Back is nothing I could have called and absolutely brilliant. What occurred was a true act of defiance and selflessness and I loved it.

Probably one of the vaguest reviews I have ever done but I would hate to spoil this for you. If you want a superhero novel with a difference, an intriguing set of characters and to questionable modern day motivation, this is the one for you!

Goodreads Average: 4.09/5 (out of 116 ratings)

Extras: 

There are so beautiful quotes in this one! Here are some I Instagrammed:

 

Quickie Review: Daimon: A Covenant Novella by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant 0.5)

Daimon: A Covenant Novella | Jennifer L. Armentrout | Hodder and Stoughton | Half Blood #0.5 | 5 Stars | Source: Review (Bookbridgr) | 62 pages | Young Adult | Fantasy 
Release Date: April 19th, 2011 
ISBN 13: 9780983157267
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Love in my world usually ended up with someone hearing ‘I smite thee!’ as she was cursed to be some lame flower for the rest of her life.”For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals–pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she’d been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she’s pretty much accepted that she’s a freak by mortal standards… and that she’ll never be prepared for that duty.According to her mother, that’s a good thing.But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return-the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she’s being hunted by the very creatures she’d once trained to kill.The daimons have found her

Review:

A short review for a short novella. Daimon is a 69 page prequel novella to the Half-Blood series and although not an essential read, I still recommend picking this one up if you want to delve more in to the world of The Half-Blood series.

Daimon is set in the days running up to the beginning of Half-Blood. It follows the same protagonist and we get to see how she is getting on in the mortal world. We learn a lot more about her. She is no longer popular and she is just another girl which completely out of her comfort zone. We also get to see her with her mother and how affectionate and protective of her she is.

In terms of plot, this novella does not add much to the series, but it certainly adds to Alex’s character. For that reason, I say it is definitely worth the read.

I read this prequel after I read Half-Blood and I can honestly say it would not make much difference which way round you read them. The novella basically could be put at the start of the full novel and it would be perfectly in sync.

Goodreads Average: 4.11/5 (out of 11,141 ratings)This is pretty good for a novella!

Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant #1)

22908923Half-Blood | Jennifer L. Armentrout | Hodder and Stoughton Half-Blood #1 | 5 Stars | Source: Review (Bookbridgr) | 400 pages Young Adult | Fantasy
Release Date: August 14th, 2014 (Original publishing: 09/2011)
ISBN13: 9781444797992
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

“The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi – pure-bloods – have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals – well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem – staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.”

Review:

Yet another JLA book finished in one sitting. I am on a roll. Well, JLA is.

Half-Blood follows the story of 17 year old Alex. A half-blood herself, she has chosen the path of a Sentinel. There is a small problem of graduating first, but there is a lot more to worry about. From leaving the Covenant for no reason to being hunted by daimons (pronounced dee-mons) you can tell from the start that this is going to be a journey for her.

I think it is going to be a given that I love a JLA book from now on. As I said before, I finished this in one sitting and I could not put it down. This book just kept on giving whether it be character development, mythology or both at the same time.

I loved all of our characters in this novel. Alex (she has a pretty cool name right ;D) although annoying at times was a perfect heroine. She was stubborn and strong in equal measure. Sometimes characters aren’t there to be liked or agreed with. You develop a certain level of empathy and understanding with her that makes her actions justified.

Half-Blood has some brilliant mythology. I found the whole concept of the Half-Bloods and Hematoi’s so intriguing. I loved finding out about the gifts that  they had  and following the politics between them. I think this is a subject that has a lot more to give and I can’t wait to see it develop more.

This is a very strong start to a series. It struck the perfect balance between establishing the foundations of a series and being a worthwhile read in itself. I will definitely be continuing the series!

Goodreads Average: 4.19/5 (out of 35,306 ratings)