7 Books to add to your summer reading list. PLUS a bonus quiz

Is there anything better than digging into a new book on a nice summer day? We can’t think of anything. Although, it can be a challenge to find the book really worth getting into, we’re here to make that decision easier for you! Take a look at this list of 7 must-read books, both fiction and non-fiction, to add to your summer reading list. And, for any romance fans, take our quiz to find out which new romance you don’t want to miss this summer. 

1. Muddy

As Morgan Davis and his new bride, Angeline, travel the long trail south in a covered wagon, they fall in love and connect with the other Saints. But the desert location on the Muddy River soon becomes a physical and emotional test for all of them. Together they face difficult requests from Church leaders, multiple failed attempts to settle, deaths of loved ones, and then perhaps the ultimate challenge—polygamy.

What do stalwart members do when faced with conflicting feelings between what their hearts tell them and the hard instructions from Salt Lake City? Morgan and Angeline are about to find out.

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2. Insights from a Prophet’s Life: Russell M. Nelson

Insights from a Prophet's Life offers a candid view of President Russell M. Nelson, the seventeenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from childhood to the current day. More than a biography, this landmark volume invites readers to experience President Nelson's life through dozens of brief vignettes and hundreds of photographs. Each episode highlights an important lesson; taken together, they weave a captivating story of a man prepared in a unique way to lead the Church in our day.

"The attempt of this book," the author writes, "is not only to highlight signal events in President Nelson's life . . . but, in particular, to examine major episodes from the life of the living prophet and extract the insights embedded in them. Some of these episodes in President Nelson's life took place in a matter of minutes or hours; others spanned several years. I selected each episode either because he learned something or because we can learn something from him, or both. . . . Impressions, thoughts, learnings, and insights will vary with each person. Personal revelation is just that—personal. That you will learn from President Russell M. Nelson's life, though, is a given. It is certain."

 
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3. Crossings

In this collection of personal essays, letters, and even drawings, Melissa Inouye considers how Latter-day Saints in an increasingly globalized Church might cultivate unity without leaving their distinctive gifts behind. As an Asian American Latter-day Saint feminist religious studies China scholar, she feels the urgency of the Lord's command that the Church "be one" (Doctrine & Covenants 38:27).

With her unique mix of humor and candor, empathy and idealism, Inouye draws upon her academic training in Chinese history and religious studies, her rich cultural heritage, her experiences raising a family in an international setting, her tangle with cancer, and her resilient faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ to unfurl vibrant reflections on the enduring question of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint today.

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4. Simple Truths for an Abundant Life

As you embark on any new adventure, whether it's schooling or a mission or a career, there are nuggets of wisdom from others that can prove invaluable. Mitt and Ann Romney have found lessons in their own life experiences, so they wrote a letter to their grandchildren in hopes of helping them face critical decisions and turning points. And now they share those bits of wisdom—for finding your own abundant life—with you.

From their insights about the "Five Big Years" (ages 15 to 20), to their beliefs about God and church, to marriage and raising a family, and finally to what constitutes success and what builds character, the Romneys will inspire you to be better tomorrow than you are today. And perhaps their vulnerable authenticity will help you find a way to leave your own legacy of values, love, and wisdom to those who will follow after you.

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5. Born to Change the World

"The Lord is hastening His work to gather Israel," declared President Russell M. Nelson. "That gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today." In this book you'll find answers to questions:

  • So I'm from Ephraim or Manasseh? So what?

  • What does it mean if I'm from another tribe?

  • What does it mean to gather Israel?

As members of the Church, we are often told to obey commandments because we are children of God or because we have been saved for the last days. But isn't everyone on earth right now a child of God who has been saved? What sets Latter-day Saints apart?

We have a birthright! We have been given much—temporally and spiritually. Now it is time for us to use what we have been given to make an eternal difference for people throughout the world—in other words, to gather Israel.

"Don't let the world change you," writes Brad Wilcox, "when you were born to change the world!"

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6. A Song for the Stars

Inspired by a true story

Hawaiian Islands, 1779

As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaii, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.

But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him dies, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.

John has been Captain James Cook's translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with Maile's homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John's guilt over the death he caused, and Maile's guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she's kept hidden from everyone on the island.

When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.

 

7. Daisies and Devotion

Timothy Mayfield has nearly given up on his search for a wife. Though he is the picture of a fine, social gentleman, Timothy wishes his finances provided a more stable foundation. Then his Uncle Elliott presents to him a solution: participate in his “marriage campaign,” and upon approval of his choice for a wife, Timothy’s inheritance will be his.

Freed from the constraints of having to marry for money, Timothy is ready to marry for love instead. And he knows exactly what he wants in a wife: youth, optimism, beauty, blonde hair, fine-boned features, shapely shoulders, small waist, blue eyes, button nose, solid fashion sense, a light laugh, low voice, arched eyebrows, fair skin, elegant fingers, quick wit, calm manner, and a dazzling smile.

His friend, Maryann Morrington, an heiress in her own right, tells him outright that his expectations are ridiculous—no such woman exists. Maryann had considered Timothy as a potential suitor for a time, but then their relationship shifted to friendship and she has avoided allowing herself to have feelings for him again.

She agrees to help him find his “perfect wife,” because she’s certain that the search will render nothing. Until it does. Miss Shaw appears to fulfill every single item on Timothy’s list—unlike Maryann who has brown hair, brown eyes, lacks delicate features, and possesses a laugh that is definitely unladylike.

But when Timothy and Miss Shaw begin courting, Timothy realizes something profound. He’d rather spend his time with Maryann. But can he trust his judgment when his heart has led him wrong so many times before?

It is only when Maryann leaves the London season early, that Timothy realizes that he had truly fallen in love with her and that his list of requirements were nothing but fantasy. If he hopes to build a strong relationship, Timothy must convince Maryann that she is the very woman he’d been looking for all along—before it is too late.

Now, for romance fans, we have something special for you. Take this quiz to find out which new romance novel you should read next. Or if you’re not in a quiz-taking mood, find more romance options here!

Happy Reading! 

Chelsea Oldroyd