My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of My Favourite Reads, where I share the books I’ve loved over the past month and encourage you to add to my to-be-read pile by doing the same.

September started off so slow reading wise that I was sure it was going to be a repeat of May, when I read only a paltry two books. This time, unlike then, at least I would have had the excuse of The Grazier’s Son edit deadline and then travel to explain my slackness. But in the end I didn’t need an excuse because things picked up and I managed seven books. Admittedly a couple were quite short but still. There was reading accomplished!

What was my favourite out of these fab reads? Two books by the same author. And they are…


Once Upon a Royal Summer by Teri Wilson

Cover of Once Upon a Royal Summer by Teri WilsonAh, this book! A sweet and lovely and a ridiculously happy-making fairytale delight.

How could Once Upon a Royal Summer not be so with a premise like this: A theme park princess meets a single dad who turns out to be a real-life prince. Sigh…

Lacey was a gorgeous character. She’s working her dream job as Princess Sweet-Pea, entertaining crowds in her fluffy pink dress, white gloves and tiara, and incredible happiness and charm, when some smarty-pants single dad drops into her tea party, appears to mock her “royal” ways, then waltzes her off her feet. So much so Lacey nearly forgets to leave her glass slipper behind.

How cute is that?

As for Henry. Cue even deeper sigh. What a dreamboat.

Glittery, gorgeous, romantic, Cinderella-y fun. I even got teary at the end.


Christmas Charms by Teri Wilson

Cover of Christmas Charms by Teri WilsonSuch was the fun I had with Once Upon A Royal Summer and my hunger for more of this romantic loveliness, I immediately picked up Teri Wilson’s Christmas Charms.

Delightfully Christmassy and sweet, Christmas Charms is a heart-warming second chance romance full of little and big surprises. There’s a hot fire-fighter hero, a likeable heroine who needs to find her true heart, a loving (and a little quirky) family, good friends, small country town charm, and bucketloads of community spirit. On other words, all the adorable things.

If you love Hallmark Christmas movies, this will be smack in your zone.

Thanks to author buddy Michelle Douglas for the Teri Wilson recommendations. MUCH appreciated. Next stop: A Merry Royal Layover followed by Once Upon a Royal Christmas. Yeah, I’m hooked.


Cover of The Royal Windsor Secret by Christine WellsThe Royal Windsor Secret by Christine Wells

I was thrilled to bump into Christine Wells at the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference, and even more thrilled when she offered me an advance review copy of her new release The Royal Windsor Secret. So lucky!

I always enjoy Christine’s books. They’re terrifically written, with great characters and evocative settings, and I learn things too.

The Royal Windsor Secret was no exception. This was fascinating read, with an expert weave of fact and fiction. The Shepheard’s Hotel setting was done wonderfully (what a place that must have been!) as were the south of France locations, and the wartime atmosphere was very well executed. But mostly I loved Cleo and Brodie and their story.

Cleo’s in particular. She was so interesting with her passion for jewellery design (the descriptions of the jewels… swoon!), and her bravery when it came to seeking out the truth about her birth really warmed me to her. She was also kind to those who cared for her.

Marguerite was a compelling character too. I liked how we got her point of view. She’s not a terribly likeable person and it helped to understand her life and motivations better.

A wonderful book and very close contender for my favourite read. Very highly recommended.


Cover of From Below by Darcy CoatesFrom Below by Darcy Coates

Ah, I do love me a horror novel, as regular readers would know. I’ve read a few Darcy Coates stories now and I think From Below might be her best. Certainly, it ticked all my scary boxes, probably because being underwater/drowning is one of my greatest fears.

The historic wreck of the SS Arcadia has lain undisturbed since it vanished suddenly on a routine voyage, leaving behind only a garbled distress message and, later, a washed-up lifeboat oar. But the wreck has been discovered, and documentary maker Cove and her team are determined to uncover its secrets.

And it has some seriously creepy secrets!

There were plenty of twists in From Below but what I really liked was the horrible claustrophobic atmosphere, made worse with most of the action taking place deep – and I mean deep – underwater and in the confines of a wreck.

Most excellently scary.


Cover of Small Spaces by Katherine ArdenSmall Spaces by Katherine Arden and Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

I adored Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy. They were fantastic books that I recommend highly (review of book one here), so much so that when I spotted the Small Spaces quartet I had to give it a go, even though it’s written for kids.

What fun!! And quite scary in spots for this adult, but then I do get a bit weird about scarecrows.

Ollie, the star of Small Spaces, is brilliant. She’s clever and brave and loyal, which is no wonder given her late mum’s genius and her eccentric dad’s loving nature. Friends Coco and Brian are cool too – quirky and each with their own strengths. As a team, the trio are formidable, as their enemy discovers.

A hoot. Loved these books. Want mooooore.

Except I can’t because book 3, Dark Waters, isn’t available in ebook in Australia, even though, for some unfathomable reason, the paperback and audio are. Figure that one out. Even more annoying, book four, Empty Smiles, is available in all formats, including ebook. What is going on there? Grrrrrrrr. Some publisher’s treatment of ebook readers as second-class citizens drives me a bit mental.


Cover of Mrs Hudson and the Spirits Curse by Martin DaviesMrs Hudson and the Spirits’ Curse by Martin Davies

I really enjoyed Mrs Hudson and the Christmas Canary (my thoughts on that here) and on finishing immediately bought Mrs Hudson and the Spirits’ Curse. I enjoyed that so much I’ve already snapped up the next book, Mrs Hudson and the Malabar Rose, and Mrs Hudson and the Lazarus Testament.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I’m a huge fan of anything Holmesian and have read quite a few of the newcomers to the canon. My favourite have been those by Anthony Horowitz (House of Silk and Moriarty were brilliant), but these Martin Davies stories are hitting the spot too.

Mrs Hudson and the Spirits’ Curse introduces Flotsam, our point of view heroine and maid in the Holmes and Watson Baker Street abode. When Mrs Hudson takes Flottie under her wing, Flottie thrives and is soon caught up in the mysteries that land on the Baker Street doorstep.

I LOVE how Mrs Hudson runs rings around Sherlock. That gave me a huge smile, especially when Sherlock snottily comments that this is what can be learned from observing a master at work. The only master at Baker Street is Mrs Hudson.

A blast. As I mentioned above, I’ve already bought the next two books in the series. Rock on, Mrs Hudson!


What have you read lately that’s excited your bookish heart?


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