Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: This Heart of Mine

So, I've been reading and reviewing the Whiskey Creek series by Brenda Novak and I was really looking forward to Phoenix's story in This Heart of Mine.  She's the woman who was sent to prison as a teenager because she was accused of murdering Riley's new girlfriend, when she herself was pregnant with Riley's child and he had recently dumped her.  Seventeen years later she's come back to town to get to know her son she had to give up the moment he was born.

From the little snatches of information we knew about Phoenix and Riley's relationship, it didn't seem like this was going to be a welcome homecoming at all.  But from the moment you meed Phoenix, all is not how it has seemed.  As a mother I really related to how she would be desperate to know her son and regretting all the time she'd missed out on.  And having Riley there, the only man she's ever loved, made it all the harder since she doesn't want him to think she's still carrying a torch for him. Phoenix has been through a lot in prison and trying to readjust to life on the outside, getting to know her son, and facing a town that believes she is a murderer is a tall order for anyone to fill, but Novak does a great job of really letting her readers experience all of it with Phoenix.

Riley is trying to find a balance with keeping his son emotionally safe and letting him get to know his mother who is an ex-con.  He also realizes that maybe some of the things he's believed about Phoenix all this time might not be true.  He's got a lot of pressure from all sides to deal with though.  His parents are sure Phoenix is guilty and not good for anyone to be around, including her son.  The family of the murdered girl wants her run out town.  But her son wants the opportunity to figure things out on his own about what he believes about Phoenix without anyone coloring his judgment. There's such a great emotional entanglement getting unraveled through the whole story, it was riveting.

The only thing that drew me out of this story, was that there more profanity (and more descriptive sexual thoughts/scenes) than I'm used to in a Novak book.  There's always been some, but not a lot, and this one seemed to have a little more than her other ones.  They are able to be skipped over, but a little heads up for my gentle readers.

I'm interested to see if the next book in the series will be the last and how Ms. Novak wraps it all up. Will we see more of all the characters from Whiskey Creek? Will the next story be Kyle's happily-ever-after? Hopefully we find out sooner rather than later.

If you'd like to buy your own Kindle copy of this title, you can get it herefor $4.99

Here's the back copy:

First love. Second chance?
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…

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