It’s hard to believe the end of summer is just around the corner. This month I have three books you’ll want to put on your end-of-summer reading list.

The first selection is The Art of Love and Lies by Rebecca Anderson. This Victorian romance uses the Art Treasures Exhibition that was held in Manchester England in 1857 as the backdrop and the author does a masterful job in describing it so the reader feels like they are right there among the paintings. Rosanna Hawkins is an artist, but her work isn’t in the exhibit. Her talent is producing “parlor versions” of masterpieces, a copy that upper middle-class families can own and show off. She goes each day to fine-tune her reproductions and while there meets Inspector Martin Harrison who is the head of security over the exhibition. They form an unlikely friendship, bonding at first over different art pieces in the exhibit, then their hopes and dreams for the future.

Martin is hiding a secret from his past, however, one that colors his perspective on those around him. He has a very black and white view on human nature, with no room for any gray areas, and when Rosanna is accused of being a thief, he turns his back on her. Readers will find his growth arc satisfying when he finally starts to see that there can be light and warmth even in the darkest times. Rosanna is a superior artistic talent, but a childhood experience has made her uncertain that she can do anything original. She is very relatable in her lack of confidence and the steps she takes to finally trust herself. There is a cruel villain and suspenseful twist during the story to add a bit of adventure to the budding romance. Readers will be holding their breath to see how it all turns out!

The Art of Love and Lies by Rebecca Anderson, published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, 288 pages, available in ebook, paperback, and audio.

The second selection is a romantic suspense, Unseen, by Traci Hunter Abramson. This book is part of her Guardian series and is set in Honduras. Manuel, a Guardian, is trying to save an informant from certain death, when a civilian named Laura is caught up in the web of danger. They end up on the run from the notorious Jaguar Negro gang with several breath-stealing chase scenes and gunfights. While they are stuck in a safehouse, Manuel and Laura feel a spark of attraction as they get to know one another, but how could Manuel ever ask someone to be part of his life when he’s relegated to the shadows?

The author paints a beautiful picture of Honduras, contrasting the incredible scenery with the ugly side of gangs and drugs. There was an emotional depth to Manuel as he struggles with missing his family and the fact that being a Guardian was a choice he never wanted to make. Laura is the first real human relationship he’s had for a very long time, so he quickly falls in love with her. She is more hesitant to be part of such a dangerous world where guns and violence are an ordinary occurrence. Readers will root for this couple to stay alive and find happiness. Overall, this can be read as a stand-alone book, but there were characters and allusions to previous stories that some won’t understand if they haven’t read the other books in the series. Unseen is an edge-of-your-seat story, perfect for a summer night of reading.

Unseen by Traci Hunter Abramson, published by Covenant Communications, 240 pages, available in ebook, paperback, and audio.

My last selection is a little unusual. Our family read the Fablehaven series years ago and have been fans ever since. This year, the Official Fablehaven Cookbook was released and it is full of fun! It features an original Fablehaven Adventure called, “The Missing Brownies” that is funny and sweet and fans of the series will really enjoy it.

Beyond that, there are recipes inspired by characters from throughout the series. Readers will love learning how to make Fairy Toast, Mummy Dogs, Zombie Cake Eyeballs, and my personal favorite, Coulter’s Caramel Apples. For those last summer gatherings, you could make a yummy dessert like Goblin Glop Trifles or a drink like Singing Sisters Bubbling Brew. Need a craft to chase away boredom? You can make Wizard Slime or Shapeshifter Playdoh. There is something for every occasion in this cookbook! Each recipe is easy to make with beautiful eye-catching illustrations and they also feature a quote from the book the recipe appeared in or at least what the character might do with the recipe. This imaginative and entertaining cookbook is a must for Fablehaven fans or anyone who loves to try new recipes with a fun twist—and it will definitely make these last days of summer memorable!

The Official Fablehaven Cookbook, published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, 128 pages, available in ebook and hardback.

After winning $10 in a second-grade writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. That dream came true and she is now an award-winning author of thirty books. She is also a podcast host for Authors Off the Page and Book Chat with Julie.