book reviews

3 More Books I loved

Here are three more great books I discovered (or won!) and you won’t want to miss:

  1. Fleeing Beauty–can Jamie get to know her long-dead father through his artwork?
  2. Mission Hollywood–a cozy romance that will make you smile
  3. The Art of Breaking Things–a heart-wrenching but uplifting story of one girl’s struggle to survive a difficult childhood

A note about my reviews: I only review books I liked so don’t be surprised to see lots of 4/5 and 5/5. If I don’t like the book, I won’t spend time writing about it.

Fleeing Beauty

by Mark Love


Jamie, the star of Mark Love’s Fleeing Beauty (2016), a Jamie Richmond Mystery, is a talented author with a tight schedule, a hot boyfriend, and close friends who love her attention. As good as she is as a writer, her talent is vastly overshadowed–even in death–by the inspirational and charismatic sculptures of her biological father. To everyone’s surprise, long after his death, a hidden workshop is discovered, filled with never-seen-before pieces of his art that are worth millions. It falls to Jamie and her jet-setting mother to catalog the work, secure it, and decide what to do with it.

Though Jamie will inherit her father’s multi-million dollar estate when she’s 35, she performs the work more to get to know a father she never knew. With each piece, she digs a bit deeper into his background, his personal history, and what made him tick. What she really craves to understand is why he was always so distant during his life and whether he ever loved his only daughter.

Following Jamie as she documents every step of this massive collection while juggling a writing career and a full life kept me turning pages. The pacing is excellent, no wasted words, the story always moving forward with interesting tidbits that add to the characters, ultimately growing into a mystery that could cost lives.

My only complaint–and what cost the book half a point–was that I had trouble identifying its goal, understanding its theme, and therefore applying a genre to it. I know, that doesn’t sound like a big deal–I agree. It has oodles of romance (really, tons of it, lots more than I am comfortable reading in the cozy romances I gravitate toward; but it’s healthy romance–R-rated, not X) but without the plot characteristics of that genre. It hints at a mystery early in the story but that became more of a subplot until the end. The story is mostly Jamie’s journey to get to know her dead father, peeling back layers as she explores his unknown artwork.

Overall, a well-constructed novel with interesting characters, fascinating information about the art world, and an enjoyable read.

–received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review

Mission Hollywood

by Michelle Keener


In Keener’s cozy romance Mission Hollywood (Ambassador International 2019), Lily Shaw works as a teacher/singer/et al in the family mission, located in one of the poorer sections of Hollywood. With God as their guide, they provide help to the neighborhood kids who often don’t have much of that. The intrigue starts when a handsome famous actor, Ben, ends up in Lily’s brother’s limo and the paparazzi tailing him think Lily is Ben’s latest girlfriend. One thing leads to another and romance sparks between them despite all the reasons why it will never work.

Or will it?

The story itself isn’t surprising. Movie star falls for Ordinary Girl. The budding romance doesn’t work for all the expected reasons and then it does (lots of reasons why but I’m not into spoilers). What makes this book special is how Keener tells it. She weaves a beautiful story of dreams and emotion and lost love, all done with just the right words and enough twists that the reader is at a loss for how the star-crossed lovers will work out the problems that come of their dysfunctional pairing.

This is highly recommended for those who love cozy romances, heartwarming plots, and happy endings.

–received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Art of Breaking Things

by Laura Sibson


The star of Laura Sibson’s The Art of Breaking Things (Viking Books 2019), Skye, is not the typical high school senior unless you think a hard drinking, pot smoking, party goer who has been molested by her mother’s boyfriend as a child and who has an amazing talent for art is normal. I’d call it damaged–challenged, maybe. This book is Skye’s story of how she handles the roadside bombs life throws at her while graduating from high school and moving on with her life.  Can she heal herself enough to pursue her closely held dreams? Can her friend Ben help or will he just get in the way? And my big question: Why does her mother not help?

There’s a lot to like about seventeen-year-old Skye:

  • She has a deal with non-boyfriend Ben that neither will drive when they’re messed up
  • She’s been accept to art college and is working hard to get a scholarship.
  • As much as she wants to leave her dysfunctional home, she worries about leaving her little sister. Would the horrible boyfriend focus on her in Skye’s absence?

Despite it all Skye is trying to survive. That’s the reason I kept reading. Where did she get the internal strength to continue despite what can before? Actually there are a lot of reasons to read the book. It’s beautifully written with perfectly chosen age-appropriate prose, and enough drama of real life problems to keep the tension sky high.

Recommended for those looking for stories about kids who overcome adversity.

–received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Winter 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

44 thoughts on “3 More Books I loved

  1. I really like your blog. A pleasure to come stroll on your pages. A great discovery and very interesting blog. I’ll come back to visit you. Do not hesitate to visit my universe. See you soon. Happy Holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.