The Heart Does Not Grow Back, by Fred Venturini (@FredVenturini) – Review

About the book The Heart Does Not Grow Back The Heart Does Not Grow Back

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Picador (November 4, 2014)


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.

Buy, read, and discuss The Heart Does Not Grow Back

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About the author, Fred Venturini Fred Venturini

Fred Venturini grew up in Patoka, Illinois. His short fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South ’13. In 2014, his story “Gasoline” will be featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s Burnt Tongues collection. He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter.

Connect with Fred

Website | Twitter

My Thoughts

As a digital diva and comicbook (Stan Lee says it should be one word, and you do NOT argue with Stan Lee) geek, I love a good superhero story no matter what the format is.

With The Heart Does Not Grow Back Fred Venturini has given us not only a good superhero story, but a just plain good story. I would happily have read about Dale’s life even if he hadn’t been able to regenerate most of the vital bits of his body (hint: there’s one he can’t; spoilers, sweety: it’s in the title).

While I confess, the first chapter was a bit difficult for me – I have a hard time reading about kids being bullied, despite the fact that I was never bullied myself – but I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did, because ultimately, this story is funny, poignant, and comes from a place of emotional truth.

As I learned as an improvisational actor, if you start from truth, you can do anything you want, no matter how implausible, and your audience will take the journey with you.

I enjoyed my journey into Fred Venturini’s world immensely, and I recommend it for anyone who has a taste for superheroes, sci-fi, or underdogs saving the day.

Dear Mr. Venturini: MORE PLEASE?

Goes well with A foot-long chili cheese dog, crinkle cut fries, and a cherry Coke.

About the Tour

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours. For the list of tour stops, see below. For more information click HERE.

Tour Stops

Monday, October 13th: Benni’s Bookbiters

Tuesday, October 14th: Books a la Mode – author guest post

Wednesday, October 15th: Read a Latte

Thursday, October 16th: Benni’s Bookbiters – an unofficial soundtrack

Monday, October 20th: Bell, Book & Candle

Wednesday, October 22nd:  My Shelf Confessions – Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon Giveaway

Thursday, October 23rd: Saints and Sinners

Monday, October 27th: A Fantastical Librarian

Wednesday, October 29th: In Bed with Books

Tuesday, November 4th: Read-Love-Blog

Thursday, November 6th: Sweet Southern Home

Friday, November 7th: The Steadfast Reader

Monday, November 10th: Fourth Street Review

Monday, November 10th: Guiltless Reading

Tuesday, November 11th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, November 12th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, November 13th: More Than Just Magic

Friday, November 14th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]

Monday, November 17th: A Book Geek

Thursday, November 20th: Bibliophilia, Please

Monday, November 24th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

TBD: Book Marks the Spot

Review: Settling (Solid Book 2) by Shelley Workinger

Settling (Solid, Book 2)
by Shelley Workinger

Product Description/Synopsis (from“Solid” left off, Clio and her friends realize that they aren’t ready to go home; they’re determined to stay on campus and continue their journey of self- discovery. But someone doesn’t feel the same way and will do anything to drive them away – even kill.

Friendships will be tested, abilities will evolve, and more secrets will come out as the teens race to stop the killer before he sets his sights on one of them…

My Thoughts:
In my review of Shelley Workinger’s first book in the Solid series – SOLID – I mentioned that I’d planned to read the second book almost immediately.

I was not disappointed.

Picking up from the end of book one, book two, Settling expands Clio’s circle of friends, who have all created internships within their camp, but it also adds some jeopardy – there is a killer attacking staffers and students – and it seems to be one of the kids.

If the first novel was all about self-discovery, this one is much about playing detective, and forming teamwork. But playing against it all are normal teenage relationships, romances gone awry, and a bit more information about the special abilities Clio et al have.

While Settling is very much part of a series, it’s enjoyable as a stand-alone novel as well.

I’m looking forward to book three, due out later this year.

Goes well with a fried chicken picnic on the lawn.