Friday, April 17, 2015

Review ~ This Heart of Mine ~ Brenda Novak

This Heart of Mine (Whiskey Creek, #8)This Heart of Mine
Whiskey Creek #8
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads

Synopsis
First love. Second chance?

As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson becamse 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 of their past...




This Heart of Mine was quite an emotional read for me. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes throughout most of it. It was an engrossing, powerful story - maybe my favorite in the series so far.

phoenix - noun - a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation

This is such an appropriate name for this brave and resilient woman. To endure all Phoenix had, and continued to once she returned to Whiskey Creek, she truly rose from the ashes. Phoenix has spent half her life in prison for a crime she maintains she's innocent of. She's missed out on raising her son, Jacob, as a result. She did all she could to be a part of her son's life and protect him, as well as Riley -- all at considerable personal cost. And she maintained her dignity. As Kyle stated,

"Most people in your situation would've let resentment and bitterness eat them alive. But you've managed to avoid that. As far as I'm concerned, someone like you will win out in the end," he replied.

I've always liked Riley but I feel for him a little more after this story because we got to see this other side of him. He is a good man and he was doing what he thought was best to raise Jacob. That he managed to approach Phoenix with more of an open mind -- let himself see her through his own eyes rather than the perceptions of others, made me proud.

Maybe the fact that I'm a mom is why Phoenix's story resonated so deeply with me. I can't imagine missing out on my kids' lives for any reason. She missed out on so much. Yet she was grateful to Riley for doing such a great job in her stead. And she was grateful for the present -- the time to get to know Jacob now. Phoenix is a character I greatly admire.

I always say how much I enjoy returning to Whiskey Creek. It's so good to sit down with my good friends to catch up. In This Heart of Mine, my friends made me proud to be in their acquaintance. Obviously, I was moved by Phoenix and Riley's story. As much as I'll be eager to meet up with all the characters from Whiskey Creek soon, I'm really excited for what comes next for Phoenix, Riley, and Jacob.




29 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of her books yet, but always heard good things from bloggers I follow. Perhaps I'll have to try this series myself and see if it's a good fit for me, too, huh? Your review certainly makes me want to! :)

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  2. I love the premise & the themes of this novel! I want!

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  3. This one was lovely..I adored Phoenix. I am so happy you loved it too Brandee

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  4. I have been wanting to read this for a long time, Brandee! Perhaps after I've read a fluffy romance, I'll come back to this one because it sounds greeeaaat but I have been put through the emotional wringer with Life As We Knew It! Great review, poor Pheonix. She sounds like such a strong main character. Love those. :D

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  5. Sarah, don't worry! I'd uplifting! LOL It's warm and makes you smile and has a happy, happy ending!

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  6. Aw, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :-)

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  7. Give it a shot, Braine, and let me know what you think. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you like it.

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  8. Silvia, if it helps, the first two books in the series are currently on sale in digital for only $1.99. Might be the perfect time to give Whiskey Creek a try--although you could even start with this book. It can definitely be read as a stand alone (I haven't yet read a review on Goodreads where anyone has said differently).

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  9. Nancy Gwaltney StopperApril 17, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    I loved this book as well - perhaps my favorite in Whiskey Creek. Love Brenda Novak too! My review is on http://allromancereader.blogspot.com. Thanks for sharing your review!

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  10. She sounds easy to like and root for being so strong and resiliant

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  11. That's nice to hear! I don't have problems if each instalment works as a stand-alone, although I usually prefer to start a series from the beginning to get all the connections/relationships with the characters right. Anyway, do not worry, I'll try your series for sure! ;)

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  12. Nancy, that is another well-written review. Thank you so much--and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the story so much!

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  13. Awesome review, Brandee! You touched on everything that made This Heart of Mine such a strong story! And I agree, Phoenix really carries her name very well!

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  14. I haven't read any books by Brenda Novak yet but she is on very high on my TBR. I love emotional plotlines that tear at the heart.

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  15. The Whiskey Creek series is on my list - I learned about it on Kimba's blog and I have to admit that the stories are calling out to me. This one especially... As a mom, like yourself, I can't imagine Phoenix's situation... Heartbreaking.

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  16. Oh, it's a great series, Ramona. And I think the first one is on sale right now. :) I have to tell you though - I started the series midway through. I haven't felt lost at all and still haven't made the time to go back to the beginning. (so many books, so little time...) I will eventually, but this is one of my favorite series despite not having started at the beginning. :)

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  17. I hope you'll get to her books sooner than later, Trish. This series is on my favorites list but I've read an HR from her as well, and enjoyed it just as much.

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  18. *grins* I'm glad you like my review, Lexxie. This was just...*sigh*...really, I think it's my favorite in the series. So far anyway. I was thinking about something...that I didn't include in my review...I like the parallel between how the people of Whiskey Creek formed their opinions of Phoenix based on the perceptions and opinions of others and how we often do the same in real life. Anyway, THANK YOU for introducing me to Novak's books.


    I hope you're having a grand weekend. We have a break in the snow right now but more is coming. :) **BIG HUGS**

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  19. She is, Brandi! You'd like Phoenix's story.

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  20. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. I'm glad you loved Phoenix and Riley's story just as much. I adore Phoenix's spirit!

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  21. It really is an uplifting story - like Brenda said, Sarah. It kept me in an emotional state but I think that's mostly because I'm a mom and I couldn't imagine being kept from my child. But Phoenix is an incredible character. You'll love her! :)

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  22. She's an easy one to adore, I think. Thanks, Kimba!

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  23. You'd definitely connect to this one, Braine. :)

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  24. I think you'd definitely enjoy it, Silvia. The series is on my favs list, for sure. It's a comfy-feeling series...like meeting for coffee with friends. :)

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  25. You know how much I love the emotional reads, so I think this one would be a good fit for me. Great review Brandee!

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  26. True, we often listen to what other people say instead of making up our own minds... And quite often, what other people say is completely wrong!

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  27. Wow... this sounds like it really got to you Brandee. I know what you mean though, it would be hard to miss out on your kids lives, so Pheonix sounds like a tough character. Fantastic review!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??