Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

March 18, 2015

This Heart of Mine {Brenda Novak}

Welcome to my tour stop for This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak.  The tour will consist of reviews and spotlights and runs March 16- April 7th. Check out the tour page for more information. 

As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next!

Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.

Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both—if they can forgive the mistakes in their past…

My Thoughts:
I read the first book in this Whiskey Creek series a while back, and I immediately fell in love with these characters and this town from Brenda Novak.

This Heart of Mine is the story of Riley and Phoenix. As Phoenix returns from prison and looks forward to meeting her son for the first time, all kinds of emotions pour from her character. She is free for the first time in seventeen years, but you immediately feel the vulnerability of a fragile person who is afraid the entire world is out to get her. She is determined to make it on her own, and motivated by the desire to make sure no one thinks she is the same person they once knew.

My first impression of Riley was not a good one. He seemed rough and accusing towards Phoenix - like he wasn't even willing to give her a chance. But as this story progressed, I discovered that Riley is truly a good person and I found myself rooting for him as much as I was rooting for Phoenix - and I secretly wanted him to tell his mother off, ha!

As Phoenix and Jacob's relationship grew, we really learn what kind of person Phoenix is. I found myself wishing everyone would just leave her alone and let her live her life. The innocence of a teenager truly wanting to get to know his mother melted my heart. It is evident that Riley has been an amazing father to Jacob and I loved, loved, loved this mother/son relationship.  I wanted so badly for her and Riley to get together and create the family that they never had the chance to have.

If I had to find a con  with this book it would be how down on herself Phoenix continued to be. As she found her footing with some friends, it was a bit hard to watch her continually doubt those around her and think so horribly of herself. At times I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and just tell her to chill out and trust those around her - but then again, I have never been in her position.

Overall, I loved this book and was very excited to see another great book in this amazing series. Although this is a part of a series, you can read it as a stand-alone. I still have plans to go back and read some of the ones I have missed over time.

I appreciate CBB Promotions for the opportunity to be a part of this tour.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 45 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best, The Bookbuyer's Best and many other awards. She runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at . To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.