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This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

This Heart of Mine

by Brenda Novak

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Whiskey Creek (8)

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697173,491 (4.03)1



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This novel is a love story of vulnerabilities, honesty, and forgiveness. It tells the story of a woman aptly named Phoenix Fuller and a man named Riley Stinson. As I began reading, I’ve never wanted to read a book so quickly and yet so slowly. This novel is compelling and intense reading to the core of one’s heart – especially if the reader has ever had to heal from heartache and ‘start over’ or ‘begin again’. Heartache can take many forms – it knows no boundaries – it crosses lines of gender and socio-economic class without definition and the timing is often unexpected. Anyone that hopes or wonders about second chances in life and especially second chances for love might want to begin their path forward by reading this novel.

I have read many of the novels in the Whiskey Creek Series and each time I’ve burrowed into the story, I ponder and muse that “this one” is my favorite. Then as a new novel in the series becomes available and I read the story, I change my mind and want to exclaim “this one” as my favorite. So until a new title is released, I share “this one” to savor, to hold dear to your heart, to delve in deeply to the vulnerabilities of the characters, to experience the courageous search for a path forward, to understand the depth of the love of a child, to cheer for perseverance, and to hope that love can be as resilient as it is in our hopes and dreams.

As with every novel in the Whiskey Creek series, there are characters from previous novels and once again the reader is enveloped in the strength of their mutual respect for one another, their genuine caring, and the depth of their friendships in good times and in sorrow. Without a doubt, Whiskey Creek is a special place where courage becomes stronger, perseverance and hard work build character, and life becomes richer with the blessings of friendship and love. I highly recommend a visit – you’ll not be disappointed no matter the story you choose to begin reading.

I mentioned this comment in an earlier book review for the Whiskey Creek Series but it definitely deserves mention again. One of the special delights of the series for this reader is that each novel can be enjoyed as a stand-alone title. There are some novels that are tiring to read as in order to move the current story forward, the author seems to provide a comprehensive review of the attributes and histories of all characters to date which interrupts the flow of the current novel and is more of a frustrating and distracting interruption to the reader – regardless if an independent title reader or series reader. As always, I look forward to my next visit with the characters in the Whiskey Creek Series.

I was lucky enough to receive a pre-publication copy of this title from the author to read and review.
( )
  Corduroy7 | Nov 16, 2017 |
Phoenix was convicted of killing Riley's girlfriend after they broke up and she went to prison for 17 years, having their son in prison and Riley's family raised Jacob. Now out of prison, she returns to town to get to know Jacob, only the town doesn't want her here, although Jacob and Riley start to believe that it was an accident and not deliberate, and caused by her passenger. ( )
  nancynova | Sep 20, 2017 |
"5 out of 5 stars! After 17 years away a wrongly accused woman is released from prison, heads back home, and hopes to connect with her son. Yet as she grows closer to her son, she also grows closer to his father too. Will she be able keep her heart intact through it all or will she loose it along the way?

I was instantly addicted to this novel!! I loved the main and sub plots!! In truth, even though I loved its plot along with Riley and Phoenix's relationship, I don't think they would've been able to have as meaningful of relationship with one another when Phoenix first got pregnant, as they are able to now. Therefore, while I don't like that Phoenix had to go to prison for a crime she didn't commit, I think the time away from Riley helped their relationship for the better."

Read more of this review and a teaser here: http://frommetoyouvideophoto.blogspot.com/2015/03/idolizing-in-whiskey-creek-ser... ( )
  fromjesstoyou | Mar 21, 2016 |
Absolutely amazing! Not sure more needs to be said. Brenda Novak has brought us another incredible story in the Whiskey Creek series. While each of these can be read standalone, I highly recommend them all. The beauty of these books is how realistic all the characters and life situations are. This story is a great lesson on second chances and following what your heart is telling you.

In this book Phoenix Fuller is back in Whiskey Creek after serving 17 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter. While she doesn't expect anyone to believe her, she has proclaimed her innocence the entire time. She's back in Whiskey Creek to hopefully connect with her son Jacob. Problem is Riley Stinson, Jacobs father, doesn't trust her.

This one needs to be on the top of everyone's must read list. I highly recommend it. ( )
  Bette_Hansen | Nov 3, 2015 |
Good book. Phoenix has been a presence in the background of the series from the beginning, as the girl who had been sent to prison for running down and killing a romantic rival. There was always a feeling that there was more to the story, and here we finally get it.

After finishing her time in prison, Phoenix is back in Whiskey Creek. All she wants is to live quietly and finally get a chance to know her son. But Jake's father isn't exactly making it easy for her. Riley really isn't sure he wants Phoenix anywhere near Jake, but he can't deny his son a chance to get to know her.

My heart just broke for Phoenix. The entire time she was away, all she could think about was the baby she hadn't even gotten to hold. Though she doesn't earn much money while in prison, she feels it's important to contribute to Jake's care, so she sends money to Riley whenever she can, even though he doesn't need it. That first day, when she invited Jake and Riley out for breakfast, and didn't eat anything herself so she'd be sure to have enough money to pay, just made me ache. All she really has left is her pride and she refuses to allow herself to look bad in their presence.

I thought that Phoenix was an amazingly strong woman. She is starting her life over with practically nothing. She is back living with her mother, an obese woman with hoarding issues, who is extremely negative toward her. She has little money, but an incredible determination to make the small business she has started a success, overcoming obstacles not of her own making to do it. She has to deal with the attitudes of people in town who don't want her living there. Through it all, she has her eyes on the prize of getting to know Jake. She was willing to do whatever it took to do so, and always put what was best for him ahead of what she wanted for herself.

Riley bugged me a bit at first. I understood that he was trying to be protective of Jake, but he was so darned suspicious of anything that Phoenix said or did. I finally got that part of it was the guilt he felt, because he had listened to everyone else back when it happened and not trusted his own feelings. He didn't want to believe that he had misjudged her all those years. I did appreciate that, in spite of his fears, he didn't try to keep Jake and Phoenix apart.

The rekindling of the relationship between Riley and Phoenix was pretty sweet. Phoenix had never stopped loving Riley, but she was determined that she wouldn't repeat the mistakes of the past. She does everything she can think of to make sure that Riley knows that she doesn't expect anything from him. Riley moves quickly from suspicion of Phoenix and her motives to wanting to get closer to her again. I loved the ways that he tried to help her, and his frustration at her resistance. I especially loved seeing the way that his public support of her grew and seeing him stand up for her against others. I really loved the patience he showed as he worked to earn Phoenix's trust. What he did for her at the end was absolutely fantastic.

I loved Phoenix's son Jake. Riley had done an awesome job raising him. He could have been spiteful about having an ex-con for a mother, but he gave her the benefit of the doubt from the very beginning. He was a real sweetheart about trying to include Phoenix in his life from their first meeting. It was pretty sweet to see him almost shaming his father into doing the right things to help her. He also was very protective of her feelings and hated to see the way she was treated. I had fun seeing him try to push Phoenix and Riley together.

Riley's friends were the wild card at the beginning. It was hard to tell if they were going to be for her or against her. I loved the way that Kyle was the first to reach out to her. He felt that since she had served her time, it was time to move forward. He was a really nice guy with the way that he gave her ways to help herself without feeling like she was accepting charity. It was also fun to see the way he pushed Riley's buttons a little, by paying attention to Phoenix. I liked the way that Riley's friends all made a point of talking to her and including her during the weekend party at the cabin.

I loved the ending and seeing what Riley did for Phoenix. It was very satisfying to see him stand up to his parents and the family of the dead girl. I would have liked to see some actual consequences and contrition as a result of what happened, but as long as Phoenix was content, I suppose I should be too.

*copy received in exchanged for honest review. ( )
  scoutmomskf | May 10, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0778316726, Mass Market Paperback)


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…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:49 -0400)

Unable to prove her innocence, Phoenix Fuller was sent to prison for running down a romantic rival. Now, after serving her 17-year sentence, Phoenix wants to return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son, Jacob. But Jacob's father, Riley, isn't exactly welcoming.… (more)

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