This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak REVIEW

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!


This Heart of Mine ​can be a stand alone book and it stands alone. I've seen books incorporate a past love child as well as reconnecting relationships that didn't work out in the past, but nothing quite like this. This is a whole new spin on making it work. There is a rivalry among friends that leaves you guessing who she will end up with and I would have been truly fine with either candidate. This story didn't focus on love, which was unexpected and made it so unique. It was centered on a woman's drive to rebuild her broken life and as she went along love just so happened to bloom. She has a handful of hard battles to face with the brother of the girl she supposedly murdered wanting to run her out of town, hopefully convincing her son and those around her of her innocence, and beginning to try to build a relationship with her son. She had not been able to work and barely even drove before going into jail, so she has a lot to make up for when she got out. She is filled with a lot of self-doubt and hesitancy, which gets a bit frustrating at times how unsure she is with every situation she is presented with. This love story picks up right where it left off in its high school daze, but this time instead of listening to his family, he has the chance to stand up and defend his love which he does quite chivalrously. This story has some love, action, suspense and mystery (even a murder), but mostly the drive Pheonix has towards her uphill battle is the most mesmerizing and memorable part of this story. She's not head strong and stubborn facing this town that despises her, but she has her way of still getting things done which made her more realistic and relatable. I gave This Heart of Mine ​four out of five stars.