Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review + Giveaway: This Heart of Mine

THIS HEART OF MINE
Whiskey Creek #8
Brenda Novak
Contemporary Romance
400 pages
Harlequin/Mira
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY
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…

MY THOUGHTS
Despite being a later book in the Whiskey Creek series, This Heart of Mine easily stands on its own, a heroine returning home after a seventeen-year prison sentence instantaneously winning us over with the love she has for the son she was robbed of knowing. We meet Phoenix moments before her first meeting with Jacob, and the abject terror she feels in those opening pages wraps us immediately around her little finger as we long to reach in and lend her a little of our strength. Our emotional connection to Phoenix only deepens as her story unfolds, tears springing to our eyes time and again as she struggles to find her place in a town that doesn't want her and isn't afraid to show it.

After serving seventeen years of a fifteen-year sentence thanks to the cruelty of a fellow inmate, it's easy to expect Phoenix to be one of two things: Bitter and full of resentment for those who refused to believe her side of the story, or self-loathing, her time in prison giving her a clarity as to her own faults that she might not have had otherwise. Remarkably however, we find a woman who is inordinately grateful for the chance to finally meet her son, and who wants nothing more than to build a relationship with him if he and his father will allow it. Her fear that one wrong move on her part will result in Riley forbidding her from spending time with Jacob is so thick we can hardly swallow around the lump that forms in our throats, wanting nothing more than for her have this one tiny piece of happiness.

While Phoneix's story would have been heartbreaking even should she have turned out to be bitter or self-loathing, what's especially moving about her is the fact that she genuinely doesn't expect a single kindness from anyone. She doesn't feel as though she deserves their hatred though–that would lead us to wish she would come to terms with the fact that her cruelest detractor is staring back at her in the mirror–she instead knows she's served her punishment but is also keenly aware that she's been found guilty in the court of public opinion, one whose sentencing is far more brutal. Seeing her fight an uphill battle over and over again is extraordinarily painful at times, forcing us to set the book aside as we practice our deep breathing exercises and wish violence on those who feel she hasn't yet paid in full for her supposed crime.

The only minor complaint, and it's one hugely personal in nature, is the fact that we don't get to see those who were so thoroughly convinced of Phoenix's guilt eat more than the tiniest sliver of humble pie in the end. Riley's mother in particular deserved a much larger piece, but it's hard to get too worked up about it in the midst of our relief that Phoenix is finally going to live the life she should have had seventeen years ago. A beautiful and poignant contemporary romance, This Heart of Mine guarantees a late night of reading as it's nearly impossible to put down.

Rating: 4.5/5

Find This Heart is Mine:


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BRENDA NOVAK


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 45 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best, The Bookbuyer's Best and many other awards. She runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.


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TOUR + GIVEAWAY

http://www.cbbbookpromotions.com/tour-sign-up-this-heart-of-mine-by-brenda-novak-march-16-april-7-2015/

Thanks to CBB Book Promotions and Mira, there are 5 paperback copies of This Heart of Mine up for grabs on the blog today. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US/Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out the full tour schedule for more reviews, spotlights and chances to win!


http://www.cbbbookpromotions.com/tour-sign-up-this-heart-of-mine-by-brenda-novak-march-16-april-7-2015/

35 comments:

  1. sound like a good book, I will add it to my TBR pile :) Lovely Review Jenny

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    1. I absolutely adored this Alreem!

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  2. I've not read any books by this author, but I've always been interested. Whiskey Creek sounds like an intriguing series. I have to admit that the heroine coming home from a prison sentence is a bit jarring at first. But that what makes it sound all the more intriguing!

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    1. It was jarring for me too, and I wasn't sure how it was going to play out especially since the synopsis made it sound kind of silly with the "But she did not run down the girl he started dating next!" line. This story was not in the least bit silly though and it made me feel all the feels:)

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  3. I'm glad the books function as standalones because this is a series I could jump right in, regardless of the order. I don't remember reading about a heroine just released from prison, at least not in comtemporary romance, but it sounds so very interesting, and I love that you formed an emotional connection right away.
    Thank you for the lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. Yes! This was the first of the series I've read and now I need to go back and devour them all:) So good Maja!

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  4. Oh wow, this sounds like a really different kind of contemporary romance for sure, with the prison sentence and reconnecting with her son and finding a way to prove herself worthy of respect. Glad that it is also an standalone!
    Great review Jenny!

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    1. I LOVED IT SO MUCH PILI! I can't recommend it enough:)

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  5. Oh gosh this sounds fabulous and very emotional! I think I would adore this Jenny!
    Wonderful review!!

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    1. It was hugely emotional, I was a mess all the way through. I just loved Phoenix:)

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  6. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this, and it definitely sounds like my cup of tea! Phoenix sounds like a really brave and strong woman, and I can't wait to meet her. Fabulous review, Jenny!

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    1. Phoenix was outstanding Aimee, I really hope you give this book a try so you can spend some time with her:)

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  7. This book was so heartbreaking and I loved Phoenix so much! She truly was a wonderful heroine and I had nothing but respect for her. I'm with you on that last paragraph. Riley's mother needed to feel a lot more guilty than she did. That woman was evil!
    Wonderful review, Jenny!

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    1. Wasn't it? I just wanted to reach in and hug her the entire time. And grrrrrr Riley's mother. I wanted to throttle her! Judgmental witch.

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  8. This sounds like an emotional read, Jenny! I've heard many great things about Novak but have yet to read anything by her. I like the fact that you can read this one as a standalone. Phoenix seems to live up to her name and I can't wait to meet her.

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    1. This was my first book by her and now I can't wait to go back and read more:)

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  9. Wonderful review! It's definitely an emotional book, you can't help but get emotionally tied up in it. So powerful.
    Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop and sharing your thoughts!

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    1. THANK YOU for asking me to be a part of itl I wouldn't have read this one otherwise and I would have been missing out hugely.

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  10. this book sounds really good! was a bit wary about the prison sentence and retuning after 17 years but apparently the character totally won you over so i'm interested to see how that plays out. thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. I was definitely wary about that as well, but it's impossible not to fall in love with Phoenix, I promise!

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  11. Ahh Jenny this book sounds absolutely fantastic and super super intense! I feel like i'd really love the heroine and fall head over heels for her and her fierceness. Great review!

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    1. This has my highest recommendation Lily, I loved everything about it:)

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  12. This story sounds wonderful Jenny! I could totally see myself rooting for Phoenix's character, I'm glad that she was able to turn things around. Thanks for putting this book on my radar Jenny!

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    1. Phoenix is made of so much win Jasprit, love her:)

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  13. What a unique plot! Sounds heartbreaking and I love stories involving prison and redemption.

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    1. Then you will love this one for sure Jen!

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  14. I'm not going to lie, the MC serving 17 years in prison is the driving force behind me wanting to read this book so bad. It's definitely not a plot we see when it comes to the female heroines in this genre.

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  15. I agree with your last comments. I would have enjoyed seeing those who contributed to her pain feel a little guilt and remorse.

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    1. YES. They needed to be taken down a peg or two. Riley's mother made me all rage-y:)

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  16. this sounds interesting. You had me a daughter of hoarder

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  17. The poor girl's been in prison?!? Eep. Haven't seen that before. I know I'd be massively pissed off if that had happened to me.

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