What are you reading right now?

I know. I don’t often post book reviews. But every now and then, I like to share what I’m reading. I recently had the privilege of devouring a couple of stories before they release. Lucky me!!

I enjoy many fiction genres. Each of these books has a distinctive storyline. I received these books from NetGalley, and the book reviews I share are my own. Each novel will be published by Harlequin’s Love Inspired Trade line. Both books are written with a Christian worldview.

One Southern Summer

by Heidi McCahan (releases June 27th)

Image of the cover of One Southern Summer and book reviews for this upcoming book by Heidi McCahan
Two Book Reviews for Summer Reading Options 4

This book pulls on the heartstrings even as it brings laughs and a few tears. The contemporary story made me think both about today’s culture and about where we find our personal value.

Avery Lansing Crawford, a media influencer, believes her life is perfect. But when she discovers her husband wants a divorce, that ideal image is shattered. She finds herself back in the town where she grew up—Camellia, Alabama—trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to move on. 

When her feisty grandmother cuts a deal with a local founder of a nonprofit organization, Avery says yes to a job she’s not sure she can do. 

Cole Whitaker needs funds to achieve his dream of creating a safe space for young women coming out of human trafficking. (For the record, this book is not largely about trafficking; it’s about the changes that occur between the main characters.) When money is offered to make this goal a reality, he’s grateful. And somehow, he’ll figure out how to make the one string attached to the funds work out. When he offers Avery the job of consulting on and designing the home, he knows she has the talent, and he hopes to reignite the friendship they once shared. 

What he doesn’t expect is for the love he tucked away years ago to rekindle. Or for the media to wreak havoc with the quiet work he wants to do on behalf of women who have no voice. I loved the way Avery and Cole navigated their friendship and learned how to relate with each other. Their relationship felt honest as they each helped the other see their strengths.

Camellia, Alabama, is almost another character. The people in the town, the beauty of the South, and the “Southern” mindsets and manners enriched this story. 

This book boasts a host of quirky, fun characters and a lot of mischief, especially from Nana Lansing. I truly enjoyed this story. I could relate to Avery’s struggle with worrying about what other people thought about her, as I’ve also had to work through this. I especially loved seeing how Avery’s sisters pulled together to help her, spoke the truth when she needed to hear it, and supported each other.

McCahan deals with some current hot-button issues in a gracious, authentic way. The themes of resiliency and second chances shine throughout this story. Even a character who I wanted to “hate” ended up having redeeming qualities. This book drew me in and kept me reading as fast as I could. 

Two Book Reviews for Summer Reading Options—The themes of resiliency and second chances shine throughout One Southern Summer #tellhisstory #bookreviews Click To Tweet

If you enjoy women’s fiction with southern flare and a strong romantic thread along with unexpected fun and authentic characters, you will love One Southern Summer

The Lost Manuscript

by Mollie Rushmeyer (releases August 29th)

Image of the cover of The Lost Manuscript and book review this upcoming book by Mollie Rushmeyer
Two Book Reviews for Summer Reading Options 5

The Lost Manuscript is my first read by Mollie Rushmeyer. Contemporary fiction with romantic and suspense threads, along with a missing person, made for an intriguing story.

Ellora Lockwood, a medieval history professor, and expert, feels adrift after her grandmother disappears and her estranged husband, Alex, moves to England without her. When Alex practically begs her to accept a summer teaching position in Alnwick, England, teaching in an exchange program he oversees, Ellora reluctantly agrees when she learns there may be new information pertaining to her beloved missing grandmother.

While in England, she and Alex uncover clues about a priceless manuscript her grandmother had been searching for. As they put the clues together, pieces of their own lives are also revealed. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt for the ancient artifact. And, if Ellora continues the quest, will her life be endangered?

Set in the beautiful English countryside, historical settings and facts wove through and deepened the story in a creative and poignant way. This countryside also created its own peril in the search for the lost manuscript. Mollie Rushmeyer crafted fun and unexpected happenings that drew me in and kept me reading.

The secondary characters add depth and fun to The Lost Manuscript. They offered humor and truth to the main characters in an organic way.

I appreciated how Ellora and Alex struggled with their pasts, with previous decisions, and the wrong beliefs they had. They each had to come to terms with these things and learn how to live in a healthier way. 

The themes in this story include second chances, learning to trust, and the importance of honesty in relationships.

Two Book Reviews for Summer Reading Options—The themes in The Lost Manuscript include second chances, learning to trust, and the importance of honesty in a relationship #tellhisstory #bookreviews Click To Tweet

Overall, I enjoyed this story. There was a point where I believed a character was being unreasonable, which didn’t sit well with me. That said, I found myself thinking about this book, even when I wasn’t reading it. The story wasn’t predictable, and it was a fascinating read.

If you enjoy intrigue, history, and redemption in relationships, this is a book you’ll enjoy.

What about you? Do you rely on book reviews to determine your next read? Which books are you looking forward to their release?

***P.S. The fam and I are traveling this week, so I may be slow to respond to comment and visit. But I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!!

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