Summer Loving Review: The Art of My Life

The Art of My Life  16276593

Ann Lee Miller

Kindle Version



Cal walked out of jail and into a second chance at winning Aly with his grandma’s beater sailboat and a reclaimed dream of sailing charters. Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed. But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying. For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.


I read this book while on a cruise in Cocoa Beach Florida, which I thought was funny because I was only an hour away from New Smyrna Beach where the story takes place. As you all have probably figured out, I love Ann Lee Miller and The Art of My Life is no acceptation.

I find that all of Ann Lee Miller’s books are relatable in some way, but personally I loved The Art of My Life the most because it was the most relatable to my personal life. There is just something about Miller’s writing that makes me never want the story to end.

The characters are the driving force behind the plot and are extremely real. This was not a story that you could never picture happening, because too many families it is real. Cal has not been dealt the best deck of cards, but he does nothing to turn his life around before he is arrested.

Miller introduces the idea that Cal is never good enough for his mother, which I think may be a common thought in many young adults and teenagers. It is as much a great story for a child to accept their mother, but for a mother to accept their child.

Aly is really the driving force at Cal changing. While he has always had it in the back of his mind he needed to change, what really pushed him over the edge was realizing she was not going to visit him in jail. The feeling of never wanting to miss her again was the motivation Cal needed.

I really loved this book, it was the best in the new Smyrna Beach Series in my opinion. Truly a perfectly written story that captures readers and is real. It is a story that can and does happen to many people, making it reach to a wide audience. It is also the perfect beach read!




Review: Tattered Innocence

Tattered Innocence17653107

Ann Lee Miller




A tale of passions indulged, denied, and ultimately forgive. On the verge of bagging the two things he wants most—a sailing charter business and marrying old money—Jake Murray’s fiancée/sole crew member dumps him. Salvation comes in the form of dyslexic, basketball toting Rachel Martin, the only one to apply for the first mate position he slapped on craigslist. On a dead run from an affair with a married man, Rachel’s salvation is shoving ocean between her and temptation.

Rapid fire dialogue and romantic tension sail Jake’s biker-chick of a boat through hurricanes, real and figurative. A cast of wannabe sailors, Rachel’s ex, Jake’s, a baby—go along for the ride.
The many-layered story weaves together disparate strands into a seamless cord. Mother and daughter look eerily alike—down to their lusts. Their symbiotic bond, forged in the blood of childbirth on the kitchen floor and cemented by their secrets, must be cracked open. A son must go home. Sin must be expunged. Tattered Innocence is for anyone who’s ever woken up sealed in a fifty-gallon drum of their guilt.



As a big fan of Ann Lee Miller’s books, I was excited to pick up another one. Tattered Innocence is unlike the other novels I have read by her in so many ways, but it still holds the core concepts that she stands for. I was slightly intimidated when first setting out to read because of the sailing terms glossary. It is extremely helpful, but it looks more haunting than it actually is.

Different from other book by Miller, Tattered Innocence focused on two characters instead of a group. I enjoyed this approach a little more because we got to see the characters more in depth and experience their emotions and thoughts on a different level. We see the journey that Rachel takes and the immense guilt that she carries as weighted baggage. Jake, also carrying bags of his own, travels on an emotional rollercoaster and eventually understands who he is meant to be with.

Tattered Innocence does have religious elements weaved throughout the story, but they are muted compared to other books in this series. Religion did not play as big of a part as it does in other characters’ lives. Rachel shows Jake that he needs to reencounter his religious spirit, but even with these elements the main focus of the story was the growing romance between the two main characters.

The dynamic of the families within the novel are contrasting, and it shows the different background that Rachel and Jake grew up within, as well as showing why they mix so perfectly. I completely fell in love with Jake’s family. Call me crazy, but I want to start giving out Christmas gifts like his family. It is hard to make me cry during a book, and even harder to make me laugh. Written words don’t usually evoke laughter even when I can see the humor, but I was laughing so hard throughout the time they spent with Jake’s family.

I loved this book, there were so many surprises and twists and turns that the readers does not expect. I love expecting one thing and then something else happens. If you are reading The New Smyrna Beach series, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that some other characters snuck their way into this novel as well. As usual, this was a great book written by Ann.