Happy April.... Yes, it is April, so even if there is is still snow out there for some of you, Spring is definitely on its way, so hang in there. If you are feeling gloomy and still suffering from Winter Blues, I have a wonderful pick me up, second chance romance for you all today. I am excited to be on the tour for Brenda Novak's This Heart of Mine (Whiskey Creek #8). This was a solid romance with an admirable and courageous main character. Do not fear that this is the eighth book in the series as each book is a stand alone romance. I really enjoyed this one, and would recommend it to those who need a satisfying romance all about overcoming the odds. As part of the tour today, I have a review for you as well as a chance to enter the tour wide giveaway. So let's get to the good stuff.
Here is my review:
This Heart of Mine(Whiskey Creek #8) by Brenda Novak
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… (less)
Paperback, 400 pages
Published: March 31st 2015 by Mira
Four stars: A wonderful second chance romance that is all about overcoming prejudice and difficulty.
Phoenix takes a deep breath and tries to calm her shaky nerves. After sixteen long years, she is about to finally see her son again. The last time she saw him was right after she gave birth. Since that day, she has been dreaming of this reunion. The only problem is that she must also face the boy's father, Riley, the man who once stole her heart as a teenager. Phoenix has spent the last seventeen years in prison, serving time for a murder she says she didn't commit. When Phoenix was just seventeen, her car struck and killed a girl. Phoenix swears she wasn't the one who turned the wheel, but no one believed her, and she was convicted and sent to prison. Now she is out, and Phoenix knows that in a small town like Whiskey Creek, she has a tough road ahead, but she is willing to endure to spend time with her son. Will Phoenix find her heart again in Whiskey Creek?
What I Liked:
- This was a terrific and satisfying second chance romance centered around a woman with so much heart, courage and sheer determination. I admired and respected Phoenix. Phoenix is just released from prison after seventeen years for a murder she swears she didn't commit. Not once, does Phoenix sit around and feel sorry for herself, no matter the situation or circumstances. She is selfless, brave and dedicated to helping with her sixteen year old son. She has so much heart, you can't help but cheer for her. If you want a great romance with a female character who will earn your respect, read this.
- Even though this was book eight in the Whiskey Creek Series, I had no issues picking it up and jumping right in. This is a companion novel series so you can pick up a book anytime in the series and dive in. You get a stand alone story with each new book, and you get to catch up with some couples and characters from previous books. So grab one, or two or several and have fun.
- The romance is a second chance romance. It is slow, satisfying and wonderful once it takes root. I liked how realistic it was and that it took its time to develop. In the end, I was pleased with how it all worked out.
- Usually Whiskey Creek is a cozy, cute small town, but this time around, you get to see the not so pleasant side of small town life. As an outcast and former convict, Phoenix is constantly scrutinized, gossiped about and even attacked. I liked that the author wasn't afraid to show the darker side of the town, it made it believable. Luckily, not everyone in the town was small minded. I especially loved Kyle and his willingness to help someone down on their luck.
- This is a quick, light pick me up type read. Even though, Phoenix has to endure some tough circumstances, her strength and courage are inspiring. The romance is lovely, and the story is solid and satisfying. This is a perfect read for when you need a nice, cozy read that will leave you smiling. I especially liked the way things played out at the end.
And The Not So Much:
- This is my second book in the Whiskey Creek Series, and I found that I had the same complaint with the ending. The book concludes in a happy place, but there were a lot of loose ends that I would like to have seen better tied off. I was hopeful that after reading book seven, that I would get some closure on open story lines in that book, but I was disappointed. Eve makes a small appearance in this one, but I learned nothing about how things played out for her. I wish that it didn't feel so open ended.
- There isn't much of a presence from the rest of the Whiskey Creek Gang. If you are expecting to catch up with all your favorite couples and characters, you might be disappointed. Kyle is the only one that has a strong role in this one. I really liked Kyle and I am eager for his story which is next. There are a few gatherings, and an announcement regarding one of the couples, but for the most part, the gang is absent.
- Phoenix's mother, Lizzy, was a troublesome character. She is extremely obese, a hoarder and a recluse. Lizzy and Phoenix have a difficult relationship to say the least. I was hoping for more movement with their relationship, but I didn't get it. This is one of the story lines that I felt wasn't developed enough.
- After the big dramatic events of the climax, I would have loved to see some of the aftermath. Such as how the family of the murdered girl felt and how they acted, and how people treated Phoenix afterwards. Hopefully, this will be followed up on down the line.
This Heart of Mine was a feel good romance all about second chances, a long lost love and sheer determination and bravery. If you want a satisfying, sweet and inspirational romance, I would highly recommend checking out This Heart of Mine. You can read this book without having read any of the previous books as it is a companion stand alone romance. So grab it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
About the author:
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.
Finally, as part of the tour, I am able to offer you a chance to enter the tour wide giveaway. Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. Please note: This giveaway is not hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings. For all giveaway details visit Candace's Book Blog and Promotions.
A huge thanks to Candace for hosting the tour. Be sure to visit Candace's blog for upcoming tours.
See the full tour: