Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

42 Comments

  1. Mireya
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 18:52:15

    I managed to get my hands on a review copy of Nina Bangs’ upcoming “Eternal Prey”, which is book 3 of her Gods of the Night series. I have been reading her work for a while, and I always associated her with lighthearted romance. This series is not lighthearted at all and I didn’t know how I was going to be liking it. It’s turning out a lot better than I admit I was expecting. Though I didn’t find the main characters as attractive as I found the ones in the other two books it definitely was a good read.

    I discovered author Kathryne Kennedy as well. I read “Enchanting the Beast” and now I am reading “Enchanting the Lady”. I always feel like I’ve won the lottery when I find an author new to me that I actually like.

    I have a humongo-list of TBRs in my reader’s memory card … and there are a few more coming out on Tuesday… plus I am craving a re-read of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series … thank God I am going to have quite a bit of free time in November and December o.O

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  2. Barbara
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 20:16:43

    I’m working my way through Skinwalker by Faith Hunter (only slowly because I’ve had a ton of other things to do) and it’s really good. I’ve got the second in the series sitting here too (Blood Cross). It’s a lot edgier than what I’m used to reading lately. I have no idea why, but it put me in the mood to watch the Kill Bill movies today.

    I’ve got a TBR pile covering my coffee table, but for about one in ten new releases that I’ve got, I go back to my keeper shelves and pull out one or two older books by the same author and toss them on the pile. Tonight I have so many other things to do, but after reading Lora Leigh’s Styx’s Storm and having a funny taste in my mouth from it, I’m going to have to reread Mercury’s War. I wish I knew what to do with the whole Breed series. I’m afraid it’s a goner.

    My first introduction to romance novels was through my grandmother, who wooed me with her Harlequin subscriptions and big historicals. I’d forgotten how much fun they were. I re-subscribed to Harlequin Presents (even though they KILL me by not being readable on my Kindle) and discovered Teresa Medeiros (The Devil Wears Plaid – loved it) this month.

    Is it me or does it seem like there’s been just an embarrassment of riches lately in books?

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  3. Donna
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 20:18:33

    When does the next Ryder brothers romance by Sophie Renwick come out? I’m unable to find any info on it.

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  4. MaryK
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 20:22:28

    I’m looking for very specific Romantic Suspense recs. I’ve been listening to Karen Robards’ One Summer and rediscovering how much I liked it back in the day. Are there any RS books that remind you of One Summer? Not plot-wise, but in atmosphere and romantic-ness?

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  5. Jody W.
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 20:44:27

    I just finished Coupon Girl by Becky Motew which my husband got me several Xmases ago because I love coupons. It reminded me of that movie about community theater, Bigger Than The Sky. Kind of chick lit without being annoying or name droppy. I liked it! Now many I’ll actually read The Historian, which DH got me several Xmases ago minus one…

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  6. Julie M.
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 21:13:49

    Thanks for recommending Megan Whalen Turner. I just got to her books this month and I loved them. I’ve read “The Thief” and “The Queen of Attolia.” I have the next one on my tbr pile. I picked it up while I was reading “The Queen of Attolia” because the first two were so good. I’ve found a lot of great authors because of this website. Sending you a million thanks.

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  7. Leslie
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 23:21:39

    @MaryK: If you haven’t already, another old RS gem is “After the Night” by Linda Howard – I reread it every couple of years. Her other RS titles from around the same time are also good options. (I ADORE One Summer – now I’ve gotta go get it out).
    I am looking forward to the new Lauren Dane, the re-release of Balogh’s Christmas Promise, and the new Stephanie Laurens’ Bride Quartet book.
    Off the romance wagon – Fannie Flagg’s new book promises to be good.

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  8. MaryK
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 23:53:58

    @Leslie: Yeah, I’ve read the LHs. Loved most of them. :) I guess I’m really wondering if any current RS authors are writing books like After the Night and One Summer.

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  9. Katie
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 04:33:22

    The last three Lisa Kleypas books have been such disappointments. It is sad because she is a fabulous writer but she seems to be trying to be something she is not. I really hope she can get back on track for the rest of the Friday Harbour series.

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  10. Ceilidh
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 04:37:10

    I’m currently in university mode so it’s nothing but politics in Shakespeare, 9th century Irish grammar and studies on the decline of Celtic languages in Britain for me.

    I do have a question for intrepid readers though, mainly YA ones – does a huge publicity campaign for a debut novel interest you or turn you off? I’m referring to Nightshade by Andrea Cremer which I talked about on my blog *coughshamelessplugcough* and is getting a massive campaign involving YouTube videos, role playing, Facebook and multiple other platforms. It drew my interest to the book but ultimately it sounds too derivative and uninteresting to me, plus reviewers I trust say it’s not that good. Can a publishing company really create proper hype or is that something that must be organic? Excuse my rambling, I’m about to rush off to class!

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  11. Janet P.
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 07:15:46

    Read Nora Robert’s Happy Ever After over the weekend and was a bit disappointed. Everything in that world is just too rich, beautiful and perfect. I was hoping the bad boy mechanic would muss Parker up a little, but not much happened.

    Sooooo looking forward to the Kleypas Friday Harbor book tomorrow and I wonder if the suspense series Stephanie Tyler is starting will be good. First book has the hints of heroine kidnap/stockholm syndrome so I think I’ll wait for the reviews.

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  12. Las
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 07:57:53

    This month I continued with my Julie Ann Long glom. I’m still annoyed at myself for not having read her until now. The only book left is To Love a Thief, which wasn’t available in digital when I purchased her other books but I just checked and there it is. Yay!

    I also read a few of Lorelei James’ Rough Rider books. Meh. They were fun, easy erotic reads but it was a mistake reading them back to back because holy crap all the heroes are IDENTICAL to each other. And, damn, James really, really likes babies, doesn’t she?

    I still have Cara McKenna’s Willing Victim in my TBR, and I’m eyeing her other books as well. I’m desperately looking forward to Singh’s next Psy/Changeling book, Play of Passion. I have never before been so excited about a series. (I’m also dreading it for all the Hawke/Sienna references that I’ve heard about. GAH!)

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  13. cead
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:10:33

    There are a lot of gaps in my romance reading because I only started reading romance a couple of years ago, so for the last couple of months, I’ve been reading a lot of backlist titles to get caught up: Balogh, Beverley, Kinsale, the whole Cynster saga (in order!). At the moment I’m reading the Malloren saga, which has me wondering why there aren’t more Georgian-set historicals. I like Regencies, but I think I prefer Georgians; there’s something about these exquisitely-garbed, uber-dangerous men that really intrigues me. Can anyone direct me to other good Georgian-set historicals worth tracking down? I’ve already read Eloisa James’s Duchess series (wish she hadn’t moved back into the Regency era) and Elizabeth Hoyt’s stuff.

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  14. cead
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:22:25

    @Ceilidh: You’re doing Old Irish?!

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  15. Maili
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:26:04

    @Ceilidh: I think the best thing about it is it increases awareness among those who might be interested. The bad? It increases expectations that the book might fail to meet, which could generate a negative word-of-mouth and undo all the invested work.

    I think the best ones are those when publishers realised were taking off (sometimes, unexpectedly) well. They quickly revolved campaigns around these positive word-of-mouth fires. It’s a win-win. The most famous example is the first Harry Potter book. It didn’t have a campaign when it was released, but when it was unexpectedly popular, the publisher knocked up a web site and blah blah to encourage it to go far.

    Current read: “In For a Penny” by Rose Lerner. Enjoying it so far (I’m about fifty pages in). The hero reminds me of Hugh Grant’s dashing fop character, but Nev seems a lot more “British” than most supposed British heroes in historical romances these days.

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  16. Maili
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:37:54

    @MaryK: Marilyn Pappano’s ‘In Sinful Harmony’ and ‘Suspicion’. Theresa Weir’s ‘Amazon Lily’… heck, any of her books. Michelle Jerrot’s ‘Absolute Trouble’ (free download at her web site: [url]http://www.inkalicious.com[/url]).

    Also, Ginna Gray’s ‘For the Love of Grace’ for a similar plot.

    Michele Albert’s RS series if you want a bit of action (in order: Getting Her Man, Off Limits, One Way Out, Last Chance, Hide in Plain Sight, Tough Enough – most are available as ebooks at her site (see above under Michelle Jerrot) with cheap prices)

    … I can’t believe this. I right now can’t remember the author and the title. Recommended it to a friend only a week ago. The hero’s name is Blue. The opening scene is a car ride with the dog sticking its head out of a window, enjoying the wind. I’m going senile. Wah!

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  17. mdegraffen
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:44:15

    @cead I love those Mallorens myself. The new Elizabeth Hoyt Maiden Lane series is also Georgian. Really good too.

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  18. Jennifer Estep
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:45:29

    I’m with the other folks who have mentioned Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas. I adore her contemporaries. I’m really looking forward to that one and to Jo Goodman’s new western, Marry Me, although it’s not out until early December.

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  19. Maddie
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:50:22

    Just went out and bought Karen Marie Moning Highlander Series, which I loving right now.

    I’m waiting with baited breath for Eve Berlin’s Pleasure Edge which comes out Nov 2
    other Juliana Stone’s His Darkest Embrace and Karen Marie Moning’s Dream Fever, that is all I can think about as in buying next month how sad is that.

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  20. Janine
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:52:40

    @MaryK: I don’t know of any current ones, but back in the day Sandra Brown wrote some romantic suspense in that vein. I recommend Best Kept Secrets and Mirror Image if you haven’t read them.

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  21. Maili
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 08:53:29

    The blue book – ‘In the Midnight Rain’ by Ruth Wind! It’s available as an ebook at Smashwords under ‘Barbara Samuel’, I believe. (Many thanks to Sarah Tanner of Monkey Book Reviews for kicking my memory back into action.)

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  22. Mireya
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 09:10:41

    I am reading all the posts about Lisa Kleypas’ contemps… meanwhile I haven’t been able to read a single one that I could say I liked. I actually ended up skipping huge chunks of them. Meanwhile, I ADORE her historicals. I had something similar happen to me as it pertains to Christina Dodd. I have loved most of her historicals, with a couple of exceptions. I have liked all of her paranormals… and I was not able to read more than one or two of her contemps. Strange.

    Oh, Teresa Medeiros has some beautiful historical romances, and some are nicely lighthearted as well. I can’t say I’ve liked everything of hers as I’d be lying, but I can say with certainty more than half of her backlist has been enjoyable to read. To this day, one of my comfort reads which I’ve read multiple times is one of hers, “A Whisper of Roses”. When I feel the doldrums hitting, that’s one of the books I crave.

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  23. Ceilidh
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 09:15:34

    @cead Yep, I’m doing a Celtic/English lit degree and this year is all about Old Irish. I get to do Old Welsh next year!

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  24. cead
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 10:28:34

    @Ceilidh: That’s so cool! You’re the first person I’ve met spontaneously who does Old Irish. My master’s is in Greek and Old Irish philology, and I got to read a lot of it when I was learning it. I really miss that; I still work on it, but this mostly means staring at the grammar. (Really super jealous about the Old Welsh; I’ve wanted to learn it for years, but haven’t had time yet.)

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  25. Ceilidh
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 11:18:48

    @cead: I do love the classes. The grammar can be mind crippling now and then, especially with all those different verb forms, but my teacher’s ace and really good at explaining things (plus she gives us stickers on our homework – I’m 20 and still love that!) Very much looking forward to the Welsh side of things. I’m also doing an essay on the development of language revival in Ireland post independence. Good times!

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  26. MaryK
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 11:32:47

    @Maili: I liked Absolute Trouble though I didn’t love it like the two I mentioned earlier. I’ll have to hunt up the Pappanos because I’ve never tried her, but I think I have a couple of Weirs on my TBR.

    Thanks everybody for the recs!

    I’m hoping the Moning series ends well so I can read it. ;) I’m worried about the new Kleypas series. The blurb I read was all about the hero and his little girl and how the heroine would affect their lives. I hope Kleypas isn’t going Women’s Fiction on us.

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  27. JB Hunt
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 12:08:59

    I just finished The Iron Duke, and now I need to go back and read the novella (in the anthology Burning Up) that launched Meljean Brook’s steampunk series.

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  28. Karenmc
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 12:27:35

    I’ve read the first two Blades of the Rose books by Zoë Archer, and I’m ready for the November release. Loved the second book,Scoundrel, a lot. I have The Iron Duke in the TBR pile, too.

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  29. KeriM
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 13:50:42

    Looking forward to the following:
    Lisa Klepas’s A Wallflower Christmas in MMPB
    Shannon K Butcher’s Living Nightmare Allyson James’s Firewalker
    Kylie Brant’s Deadly Intent

    The only bad thing is they will be released on the same day, November the 2nd and my wallet is going to squeal.

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  30. Anon
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 15:42:25

    I’ve been frustrated by an annoying trend in romance books lately. I just tried to read a Harlequin and I stopped reading after the first paragraph. Why?

    Well, the hero’s c*(K was aching (yes, that’s what the writer had in the first paragraph) and the hero needed a female to slide it into.

    Apparently, it didn’t matter what female. Any female that doesn’t move too quick would do.

    I admit I should have read the beginning, but I was intrigued by the title and blurb bought it. I thought, it’s a Harlequin. It’ll have romance.

    How am I supposed to like this hero? But this is a problem I’ve been noticing in lots of romances…or maybe just the ones I’ve been picking up. What is the deal with all the sex that doesn’t mean anything?

    Not only that but bad (boring) beginnings. I’m sorry, if you make a mistake in the start, I just can’t read on anymore. I’m kicked out of readerville. I will not struggle through one chapter to see if it’s going to get better.

    The sex, sex, sex of some romance books without the emotional build up of the relationship is not a romance for me. Like the hero I mentioned up above, he sounds like someone you’d just love to get to know, maybe spend a few hours with, right? Well, someone expects the reader to because that’s how long I have to be with him inside the story.

    I think the glut of erotic romance selling like hotcakes has spread everywhere, but the best stories are ones with the emotional build up, not just sex and a few naughty words to try and trick the reader into buying.

    Also, plots. Some plots of romance novels lately sound like a sane woman’s worst nightmare. Or so boring that you have to force yourself to read on. I know there is usually the romance taking centre stage in a romance, but the romance is emotional, and with the lack of any emotional build up, there’s just sex and no plot.

    I not only get no emotional pay off for reading, but nothing interesting to read about.

    So when a writer says a hero’s whatever is aching in the first paragraph and he needs a willing female preferably floating in mid-air while he’s atop his horse — I know what I’m in for.

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  31. Estara
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 16:07:10

    @cead: Have you tried Lynne Connolly’s Richard & Rose saga yet? They’re out from Samhain and available in ebook and print I believe. Georgian romance and mysteries.

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  32. MaryK
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 16:21:15

    fictiondb.com includes time period in their book data. Unfortunately, only “subscribers” can use that search function. I got around the restriction by doing a Google site search on “fictiondb.com” for “Georgian” and got a bunch of hits. You could try that.

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  33. jcp
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 18:07:50

    I enjoyed The Best Laid Plans by Sarah Mayberry a Harlequin Superomance (11/2010)

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  34. JB Hunt
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 19:08:09

    There’s lots of buzz out there about Kieran Kramer’s debut — When Harry Met Molly.

    Anyone read it yet?

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  35. John
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 20:16:16

    @Ceilidh: Nightshade interested me because there is a gay side character and I’ve heard that it’s supposed to be something different from Twilight, BUT I totally agree the publicity campaign is too much. It’s like this big club you have to join by buying the book and adoring it. There is such a thing as too much. I saw the same thing when blogger turned author Emma Michaels promoted her book like crazy, and I heard it was rather stilted and blah. I was turned off before the bad parts of the reviews surfaced.

    Of what I’ve read that I’ve liked:

    I’m currently reading The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal (Egmont: January 2011) and it’s totally awesome. Great fantasy with a mature, quiet protagonist that makes SMART decisions and a nice romance that takes its sweet time. Thank the YA gods.

    I read my first Amanda Quick book and enjoyed it a lot (Second Sight).

    I’m almost finished with Butterfly Swords, which is all the awesome I expected it would be.

    Olivia Gates’ The Desert Lord’s Baby was really good, despite my dislike of small children. Non-romance plot was super thin, but the characters had a boatload of chemistry, so I was content.

    I also got a boatload of free romances when Borders online had them. Some Maya Banks as well as a few others. EXCITED to read those whenever I can sit down with my ereader.

    An M/M I enjoyed was Beyond the Veil by Stevie Woods – only one full on sex scene, a well balanced main pairing, and a broadening of issues in history, making more than just the romance. Too bad the side m/f romance was really poor. Still, worth a shot.

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  36. Jenny Schwartz
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 20:44:23

    I’ve been such a happy reader the last few weeks.

    I read Meljean Brook’s “Here Be Monsters” in the anthology, Burning Up, and the anthology intro’d me to Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling world — yeah, how have I missed it? So I’ve also read Slave to Sensation by Nalini and look forward to reading more in the series.

    I’ve been catching up with Jayne Ann Krentz who I also somehow (how?) missed. And there’s some lovely stories. Sweet Starfire is probably my favourite so far, although I love the Harmony dust bunnies.

    This month I’m looking forward to Patricia Briggs’ Wolfsbane, Rebel by Zoe Archer and Trisha Ashley’s 12 Days of Christmas.

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  37. BlueRose
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 04:28:15

    Cryoburn from Lois McMaster Bujold arrived for me today – officially it came out in Oct but it might take some time to filter all the way round the world :)

    Big wait for me for Nov is Pegasus by Robin McKinley – only a couple of weeks to go….

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  38. cead
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 07:23:25

    @Ceilidh: So cool. I work on the verbs and pronouns and bash my head into things a lot. Are you using Quin, or someone else?

    @Estara: No, I haven’t! I’ll have to check those out. Thanks!

    @MaryK: Thank you! I really appreciate it.

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  39. ka
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 11:45:56

    @John: Glad you enjoyed Amanda Quick’s Second Sight, but her earlier works are even better. While I enjoy the Arcane Society, her books not related to the series have more time to focus Amanda’s trademark – witty banter.

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  40. KarLynP
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 13:37:55

    In November I’m also looking forward to book 3 (Rebel) in the Blades of the Rose books by Zoë Arche. Loved the first two, very original and steamy.

    I’m also looking forward to the re-release (in ebook format) of Lorraine Heath’s Texas series. The used paperbacks were going for $35++, which is crazy. I’ve been wanting to read Texas Destiny forever, but not at those prices. I’m so happy to see some of the really good out of print romances being re-released in ebook format!! Publishers, please keep them coming.

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  41. LauraJ
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 14:24:14

    I’m relieved that November isn’t going to be a big book-buying month for me. I have several hundred books on the TBR pile to get to and it’s becoming a problem.

    Has anyone read Highborn by Yvonne Navarro? Curious if it’s worth looking into.

    John – I’m interested in reading The False Princess next year so I’m very happy that you think it’s a good one.

    Ceilidh – I think huge publicity pushes have helped mediocre books like Hush, Hush and Nightshade become hits. I loved that there were gay characters in the wolf packs in Nightshade, but felt the leads weren’t as interesting as the supporting cast so I never finished it.

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  42. Estara
    Nov 05, 2010 @ 15:42:10

    Just in case anyone is checking this, Kobo books has two sales at the moment: 3 books that you buy are one dollar off if you enter the code “save1” until Saturday 6th I believe, but even better there is a numbers unlimited 20% off sale at the moment (ends November 8th) – even the new releases can be had 20% cheaper with that – you need to enter “nov5row20” into the code box for that (i.e. no matter how many books you buy until Nov 8th, they should all be 20% off).

    I still advise that you check what the total is after you have applied the code.

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