This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

this heart of mineTitle: This Heart of Mine
Series: Whiskey Creek bk 8
Author: Brenda Novak
Genre: Contemporary

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.

Thoughts: Brenda Novak is an exceptional author, that being said her books are very hit and miss with me. While I’ve loved some of her books, others I’ve gone WTF why didn’t your editor or crit partner tell you to not do that. I’ve had both reactions in this series.

While this one wasn’t an OMG I LOVE this book, neither was it an WTF book. It was more of an okay I can see why you went there.

For the last seven books we’ve seen how Riley reacts every time he gets a letter from Phoenix for their son. He hates her. He wants her to stay as far away from them as possible. So I found it extremely hard to believe that he’d have an about change in this book regarding her.

Don’t get me wrong I like Phoenix. A lot. What I didn’t like was that for seven books I was supposed to hate her, and then we get to see her and she’s nothing like what we’ve come to expect from her. Phoenix is one of those heroines you love from the first page, at least I did. Her mother was/is a hoarder. She wasn’t raised in a normal family environment so as a scared pregnant teenager she acted the only way she knew how.

It was that behavior that convicted her of a crime that took her away from Riley and their son. Watching Phoenix reclaim her life bit by bit had me cheering for her.

I’m still not sure how I feel about Riley in this story. He’s been one of the characters I liked in this series, but his story line wasn’t what I’d been hoping for. I was expecting him to fight his son wanting a relationship with his mom, instead from the beginning he was okay with it, so long as it happened on his say so.

Now I get that the son is a teenager and could go behind his dad to see her, and the fact that he doesn’t says a lot about how he raised him. But from the get go it was like all Jacob wanted was for his parents to hook up and Riley of course fell in line with that. Way to easily.

Riley’s also a grown man, but yet he hides his relationship with Phoenix from everyone in his life but Jacob, but only because Jacob is invested in them.

Honestly if I could take all the Riley parts out of this book and just have it be Phoenix and Jacob I would love it. But alas I can’t.

Grade B-

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