This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

March 20th, 2015 Kimberly Review 69 Comments

20th Mar
This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
This Heart of Mine
by Brenda Novak
Series: Whiskey Creek #8
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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…

This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak is the eighth book in her Whiskey Creek series. I love small-town romances and I have always wanted to try one her novels. I was delighted that this worked as a standalone and was even more excited to meet Phoenix Fuller. An unusual heroine and a second chance romance gave me all the feels.

Phoenix was not a popular kid in high school, in fact, most thought her an oddball. She lived in a trailer on the outskirts of town with her mother but Riley noticed her and the two fell in love. Family pressures led to their break-up and Phoenix found herself alone, heartbroken and pregnant but a tragic car ride sealed their fate. Phoenix was accused and found guilty of running down a classmate and sentenced to jail.

The story picks up seventeen years later when Phoenix is released and returns to Whiskey Creek hoping to establish a connection with her young son. Novak did a wonderful job of fleshing out the characters and making me connect. It is a story of forgiveness, truth and most of all love.

The romance was sweet, tender and made my heart skip a beat. I adore second chance romances and this one was fragile and filled with heartache. I was so glad to see Riley and Phoenix get their chance. Phoenix is such a strong character and her story will have you swallowing a lump in your throat. I would have imagined she would be bitter, but her journey has been remarkable and the scars she carries are a testament to her strength. Yet, beneath it all, she is still that hurt young woman with a tender heart. Her son and townsfolk made the tale feel genuine allowing us to feel the impact her return has made. We see the stigma of living on the wrong side of the tracks in a small-town and the helping hand of neighbors.

Novak stated that Phoenix’s story just flowed from her and you can feel it in the writing. The characters are genuine and their interacts realistic. If you have not tried Novak, yet I encourage you to try This Heart of Mine. Low angst, realistic characters, and low-heat make this a perfect Sunday afternoon read. Go, go visit Whiskey Creek, I promise you will want to stay awhile.


Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

69 Responses to “This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak”

  1. Tika

    My two close blogger friends, Blessie and Sarah spend alot of time on your blog finding amazing books, so I thought, “Why haven’t I been to her blog?!” so here I am ready to stalk some posts! First of all, this book is so up my alley. I love that the main character is strong despite being in jail, and probably labeled as a killer or murderer in her town. I’m so intrigued to see how the relationship between Phoenix and her son goes, so I will definitely be adding this to my TBR!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was such a great story Tika, I can see why the author felt it was a personal favorite. I am so glad you are stalking some posts..Welcome! Blessie and Sarah are here and like to blame me for their growing TBR piles. You will find I read a little of every genre.

      • Tika

        I will admit they do blame you alot, but that’s definitely a good thing! They rave about all the books they find here, and I want in on all of the good recs to girl lmao. I read just about everything, so I’m sure I’ll fit right in here 🙂

  2. Diane Sallans

    I’ve been wanting to read this series – I love series set in small towns!

  3. Tressa

    I’ve been meaning to read one of her books for some time. This definitely sounds like one I would like, especially the small town setting and low heat. Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hope you try it, I am glad these are like companion novels

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It is one of my favorite tropes in romance, well that and arrangements.

  4. Sarah

    I think I may have read one of her historical romances a long, long time ago. I’ve been wanting to read more of her works and this one sounds delightful. I’m curious to see how Phoenix turned out after living with a hoarding mother. Always been curious to understand what makes a person start hoarding! Thanks for sharing 😀

  5. Lorna

    As usual with your reviews, you make me want to read this one. I do have one question-does a lot of it take place in prison? I am not a fan of books that take place in prison, so I am wondering. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Not one minute take place in prison is after her release and picking up the worries there and you will love this woman

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    Omigoodness! I’m so happy this story was a good one, Kim. I have it for review and I’m so excited to start it! I have a feeling it’s going to bring lots of feels. 🙂

  7. Paij Slater

    Book 8….Book 8???? It sounds wonderful, but Book 8…That intimidates me a little with all the books I have to read right now 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Don’t let it stop you at all..each works totally as a standalone and I haven’t read any of the others.

  8. Benish

    I wanted to read this one but the book tour didn’t work out for me :/ I like the premise of this book, it sounds like a cute read – wonderful review.

  9. Erin O'Riordan

    As a ‘Supernatural’ fan, do you imagine that Brenda Novak is distantly related to Jimmy Novak? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

  10. Kris

    This sounds like a cute novel. I love books that give characters a second chance! Lovely review, Kimberly! 🙂

  11. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Love the sound of this. You had me when you described Phoenix but you let me know I need to read this with “low angst” and “realistic characters”. Onto the wishlist!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved that it had a real feel to it Melissa, it had a bigger impact on the my “feels”

  12. Grace MyBookSnack

    Oh, my word! This sounds heartfelt and emotional, which I love! You just want to root for their second chance right away! I always see her books in the stores, but have never picked one up. Wonderful review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Grab it, you can totally step in and feel at home ..

  13. Kay

    This one sounds unique! Way more than the cute over implies. I think I’m going to have to read it. 🙂 I am glad this works as a standalone because I don’t really have an urge to read all the other books, especially before this one.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree the cover doesn’t capture the depth..but the bike really ties into the story

  14. Ann Noser

    I’m not huge on romance novels, but this blurb has me intrigued.
    Plus it shares the title with a favorite song of mine. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am a genre whore..I read just about every dang thing 🙂

  15. Ramona

    Second chance romances are so sweet. And books that parctically write themselves are always a treat. There’s something about how they flow.. Lovely review, Kimba, thanks for sharing.

  16. Candace

    Wonderful review! I’m so glad you really loved this one! Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop and sharing your thoughts!

  17. Red Iza

    I love small town romances too, they’re usually “feel good” novels 😉 Glad you loved this one !

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was stood out for me. So glad I jumped in 🙂

  18. Laurel-Rain Snow

    This sounds good….I haven’t read any of the other books in the series…I should probably start at the beginning. Thanks for sharing.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I hadn’t either. I ended up picking up book one and look forward to it as well.

  19. Debbie Haupt

    Kim, great review and wow thanks for the chance to win a copy. I LOVE Brenda not only does she write some of the best romances but she’s also devoted to her fight against childhood Diabetes too!!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy your weekend too Ali. I have my granddaughter spending the night tonight. She is so stinking cute.

  20. Nick

    Kim, I saw you posted your review for this last night and had rated it highly, so I started it at 12 am (bad bad bad decision) and I read half way through. I’m so in love with Phoenix’ character. I actually might enjoy her a lot more than Riley. She is so fantastic and I love her so much. And OMG the feels, Kim! The book has already managed to squeeze my heart a few times. I can’t wait to read some more today!
    Lovely review! 🙂

  21. Aubrey Wynne

    I have been in the mood for a good second Chance story. My anniversary is coming up and hubby and I are poster children for the Second Chance trope.

  22. Lauren Marion

    This sounds so good! I’m sure I’ve read the whole coming back from prison thing before, I think… but there has never been a child involved before.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This one touched me, I like when an author can do that

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I could see you really liking this Brandi..the depth she brings to the heroine is one I think you would appreciate given the books you favor.

  23. Jenny

    “I adore second chance romances and this one was fragile and filled with heartache.”

    YES KIM!!!! I just finished this one and absolutely LOVED it, it’s the first contemporary romance I’ve read that made me tear up again and again. I just felt for Phoenix so much, the way she expected nothing from anyone. I wanted to hug her the whole way through. This was my first Brenda Novak romance, and I’m definitely going to be devouring her entire backlist now:)

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was surprised by how much I connected and felt for her. Such a good story

  24. Quinn's Book Nook

    I’m not really sure I would like this book. The whole going to prison thing freaks me out a bit. BUT, I’m glad you really enjoyed it. Thanks for the review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Quinn, we don’t spend anytime in prison and in fact meet her after..but Novak made me respect and appreciate her.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was wonderful Linda, and I was surprised how much I connect to her

  25. Christy

    Okay, I’ll be honest … When I first saw the cover I thought it would just be another romance, but then the blurb had me totally intrigued. So I’m glad to see you loved this and that it can be a standalone.

  26. Renee

    I haven’t read this author yet, but I have one of her books on my book shelf, so I should really pick it up. glad you enjoyed this one, small town romances are such fun to read.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have wanted to for a long time, I do have book one in my tbr pile now.