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4 Stars

White Hot – Ilona Andrews

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) – Ilona Andrews

White Hot

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Déjà vu… The cover.

So I did a random one person experiment and asked my husband what he thought this book would be about by looking at the cover. Keeping in mind he doesn’t read much at all, and when he does read, Ilona Andrews books are not exactly in a genre he enjoys. Anyway I quote, “Some cheesy romance book with lots of sex”. Now I know this isn’t exactly a decent sample size, but he echoed my thoughts about the darn covers in this series. If I didn’t know and love Ilona Andrews, I would probably have skipped past both of them.

Sure, there is a little bit of sex in the book (ok probably a moderate amount by Ilona Andrews usual standards which generally isn’t much at all) and a little bit of romance, but there was also much more action, violence, twists and turns.. It was a really good book! I think the authors are going to lose some of the random “Looks good by the cover, I’ll buy it” audience. Thankfully for me I listened to both as audio books so didn’t have to stare at the cover picture much unless I was looking at my screen.

Anyway enough of my little rant.. Hubby and wife authors otherwise known as Ilona Andrews have produced yet another solid story. It has been two months since Rogan left Nevada standing in the warehouse. And he is nowhere to be seen. Now another case throws them together again when Cornelius’ wife is murdered and they enlist Rogan’s help to find the killer. Sparks fly, bullets fly, cars fly and Nevada has to start to come to terms with the reality of her powers.

As always, Renee Raudman is FANTASTIC as the narrator. I am so used to her voice now I just think she is absolutely fabulous. She is my favourite female narrator.

You may have noticed that I rated this one 4 stars and not the 5 that is generally reserved for Ilona Andrews books. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it. I just didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first one in the series. I’m not particularly invested in the main characters like I am with her other series. I think Rogan is a bit of a douche, and Nevada annoys me at times.

However, I am still in awe how the authors come up with the story lines. It is truly a very special gift. I a still very much looking forward to the next one due out at the end of the month on audio.

Would I recommend White Hot?

Of course! I recommend ANY Ilona Andrews series! This is the second book though, if you don’t read Burn for Me first, you will be completely confused as to what is going on.

I purchased White hot on audio at audible.com at my own expense.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Ilona Andrews

 

 

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge (GoodReads).

 

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

 

 

Renée Raudman is a multi-award-winning audiobook narrator. She has earned a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris and Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien, as well as a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for Joe Schreiber’s Chasing the Dead. She has also performed on film, TV, radio, and stage, including the recurring roles of Jordon on ABC’s One Life To Live, Phyllis on NBC’s Passions, and guest-starring roles on prime-time TV. She has been heard in cartoons (The Simpsons, Billy & Mandy), videogames, and on the E! channel. Her narration of Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper was selected by Library Journal as one of the best audiobooks of 2009, and her reading of Marthe Jocelyn’s Would You was selected by the ALA as one of the best young adult audiobooks of 2009 (GoodReads).

 

 


If you enjoy White Hot, you may enjoy:

Burn for me   Clean Sweep   Magic Bites

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Diamond Sky – Annie Seaton

Diamond Sky (The Porter Sisters #3)

Diamond Sky

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this whole series. Kakadu Sunset and Daintree are among some of my favourite Australian suspense/romance books and Diamond Sky was like the icing on a really yummy cake!

Dru escaped a difficult situation in Dubai and came back home to Australia to work in a Diamond mine in the Kimberley. She feels safe now and enjoys her job, however is a bit rattled when newcomer Connor starts working at the mine. Connor is a private investigator, hired to find out who is stealing some of the mines diamonds. He is working undercover as a safety officer, and Dru is his number one suspect…

Firstly, I think the covers of this series are probably my favourite covers of any books EVER. They are all so beautiful and I think Diamond Sky is my favourite cover! Just beautiful! They really capture the landscape perfectly and just look so gorgeous!

Loved the premise of this one. I knew nothing about diamond mining before, so I feel like I have had a bit of education along with a great read! Really interesting stuff surprisingly! Really enjoyed the description of the mine and the workers, the different personalities and rules and regulations of the mine and living quarters.

It was such an original setting and, like all the other books in this series, I adored the descriptions of the landscapes and her research really shines through.

The romance was cute and the situation made it all the more intense. As always, I enjoyed the satisfying romantic tension.

It had a fair bit of action and suspense, but I would have liked more. It felt slightly lacking by the end, but I still can’t get past Kakadu Sunset and the CROCODILES!!! What can beat that??!

Would I recommend Diamond Sky?

Yes it was a great romantic suspense by talented Australian author Annie Seaton. I won’t hesitate to read anything she has written! Check out an interview I did with her last year HERE!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of Diamond Sky in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annie Seaton

Annie Seaton lives near the beach on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. She is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing and has been delighted to discover that readers love reading her stories as much as she loves writing them. Her career and studies have spanned the education sector for most of her working life, with the completion of a Masters Degree in Education, and working as an academic research librarian, a high school principal and a university tutor until she took up a full-time writing career. She is now published internationally in e-books across the romance genre, in 2014 Annie was voted Author of the Year and in 2015 was voted Best Established Author in the AusRomToday.com Readers’ Choice Awards. Each winter, Annie and her husband leave the beach to roam the remote areas of Australia for story ideas and research. (via Pan Macmillan)


If you enjoy Diamond Sky, you may enjoy:

   Kakadu Sunset - Annie Seaton    Daintree    Black Hills

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Ashes to Ashes – Tami Hoag

Ashes to Ashes (Kovac and Liska Book #1)

Ashes to Ashes

4 Stars (4 / 5)

FINALLY!! Back to reviewing following a long absence due to a difficult pregnancy and a huge bout of newborn sleep deprivation. I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything except rock a screaming baby lately, so its so nice to be able to read a book. Or I should say, listen to an audiobook. Finding time to sit and read is still a little bit beyond me at the moment. But hopefully soon!

I had listened to another book by Tami Hoag last year, and I always wanted to read another. So when I wanted something that would hold my interest in the endless hours of feeding my baby, I immediately thought of her and randomly picked and downloaded Ashes to Ashes.

Ashes to Ashes is the story of a serial killer, and the joint effort to find him. “The Cremator” is what the media have dubbed this killer, because of the people that he is setting alight. But he gets sloppy, and there is a witness to one of his crimes. Kate, the crime victim advocate, attempts to look after the witness, Angie. Kate’s past comes back to haunt her when an FBI agent Quinn is called in to investigate the case. In the meantime, more of Kate’s clients begin to disappear, she thinks that the killer may have a vendetta against her.

This was a great audiobook. I really enjoyed the narrator and the exciting story. One thing I really enjoy about Hoag’s books (so far) is that she introduces different complex characters, and any of them could be the killer. It isn’t blatantly obvious like so many other books, and that is really important to me. I love the surprise aspect, and because I read so many thrillers, I’m getting really good at figuring who the killer is!

Enjoyed the cute love lost, love found again romance aspect of this book. And I enjoyed how it was set amongst the murder mystery, but didn’t take anything away from it.

Would I recommend Ashes to Ashes?

Absolutely! To any thriller fan! Really liked the audio version, and I am looking forward to reading more by Tami Hoag!

I listened to this audiobook through Audible, at my own expense.

Dinosaur Roar The Tyrannosaurus Rex – Jeanne Willis

Dinosaur Roar The Tyrannosaurus Rex (The World of Dinosaur Roar Book #1)

Dinosaur Roar

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Now, my son loves dinosaurs. Yes, I know a lot of 3 year old kids love dinosaurs. But my son LOVES dinosaurs.

He only wants to wear dinosaur clothes, dinosaur socks, and dinosaur shoes… He takes two toy dinosaurs with him wherever he goes, and goes up to random people saying “This is my tyrannosaurus! This is my spinosaurus!” “Look, this is my allosaurus!”.  He constantly corrects me if I get my dinosaurs wrong, because “Mummy you don’t know dinosaurs, that’s a VELOCIRAPOR!”. He has a giant blue dinosaur skeleton next to his bed that takes up half his bedroom, and only wants to watch dinosaur movies/tv shows. He is dinosaur MAD!

So Pan Macmillan must have had a clairvoyant moment when they sent me this book.

Dinosaur Roar – The tyrannosaurus rex, is part of the Dinosaur Roar series. I guess its like a spin off from the original and much loved (especially in our dinosaur house) classic Dinosaur Roar. Its set in the World Of Dinosaur Roar.

Dinosaur Roar the Tyrannosaurus Rex obviously loves to roar. Loudly. This delightful little book introduces some other characters, Dinosaur Munch, Dinosaur Boo, Dinosaur Squeak and Dinosaur Honk, when Dinosaur Roar interacts with them, or roars at them really. It also has a section at the end with facts about the tyrannosaurus rex.

Did we enjoy Dinosaur Roar – The Tyrannosaurus Rex?

This book is cute and perfect for my 3 year old with its rhyming and beautiful colourful illustrations of the different dinosaurs. My son just adores this book, and this, and the other books we have in the dinosaur boo series, are among the most requested books in his collection. He loves pointing out how the tyrannosaurus rex has sharp teeth and tiny little hands, and calls him the LIZARD KING! He knows almost all of the words off by heart now.

I think this book is really cute. However, the story just doesn’t flow quite as easily as the others in the series, and out of the series it is my least favourite. However it’s not up to me! My son loves it! And that’s all that matters.

Big dinosaur thanks to Pan Macmillan and the author for sending me a copy of Dinosaur Roar – The Tyrannosaurus rex for my son and I to read and enjoy together. And for bringing a HUGE smile to his face!

You can purchase Dinosaur Roar the Tyrannosaurus rex HERE or leading children’s books retailers.


If you enjoy Dinosaur Roar the Tyrannosaurus Rex, you may enjoy:

It's a Little Baby

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To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea – Christine Dibley

To The Sea

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I am constantly impressed with the new Aussie authors that are emerging! What a bunch of talent we have here!

This book was delightful! What captured me the instant I saw it, is the beautiful cover. It really captures the essence of the story. I quickly became engrossed in the beautiful saga of this family, and its interesting and perhaps magical history.

A teenager named Zoe has been reported missing, most likely drowned off the coast of Tasmania. Tony is the lead investigator in her disappearance and realises right from the start that there is something strange about the family that lives in the beautiful house by the sea. While investigating Zoe’s life, Tony is swept into the stories of the history of the family, from hundreds of years ago, up until now. And some of it is a bit beyond belief. Will he be able to find Zoe? Is she really dead, or is there something extraordinary happening?

The story is told from four perspectives. Tony, the investigator carries the weight of the plot in his search for the missing girl. Zoe’s aunt Sadie and her parents John and Eva have the remaining narratives, and fill in the story with important history, leading certain things to come together, and others that create even more mystery.

The writing of this novel is absolutely beautiful. It didn’t take me long at all to get engrossed in the story and just when I was getting into a nice groove, the tales within the story BLEW ME AWAY. I was utterly captivated by the stories of love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice. And the romance! There were a few romances weaved into the story and they were all sweet, one especially. However, with so many back stories I sometimes became confused with who was who and where I was in the story. I think this is my issue more than the writing though, I am a very fast reader, and I have baby brain! I’m not surprised I got a bit lost – I am surprised I can remember my name most days at the moment!

My only other criticism was the ending. It just didn’t do it for me. It was good, and I got it, I really did. But personally I didn’t find it ultimately satisfying. However, it didn’t diminish the rest of the story for me at all!

Would I recommend To The Sea?

Absolutely. If my ramblings have even remotely sparked your interest, then I have no doubt you will enjoy it. Definitely worth reading!

Many thanks to the author via Pan Macmillan for a copy of To The Sea to read in exchange for an honest review.

PURCHASE:

Pan Macmillan | Kindle AU | Kindle US


If you enjoy To The Sea, you may enjoy:

The First Lie

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Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

img_3946

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Ok, there is a lot of hype surrounding this one. I was a bit out of the loop as I hadn’t read any of Bardugo’s previous Grisha books, although the first one, “Shadow and Bone” has been on my to read list for a long time.

Set in a fantasy world where a certain race of people called the Grisha have magical powers, Six of Crows is pretty much the story of a heist. Six people come together through Kax Brekker, the leader of a criminal gang, to perform a somewhat impossible caper. A lot of action, adventure and romance follows. I have heard it time and again compared to “oceans 11 meets game of thrones”, which is almost right… Except it didn’t quite have the game of thrones vibe for me. It did have the entertaining one though.

I must admit that for the most part, the hype is warranted. The characters are fantastic. All their backstories are superb, and I found them all to be extremely likeable. The humour was fabulous, the story was exceptionally well done and I did thoroughly enjoy it.

However I did have one major problem with it though. I haven’t heard many other people complain about this, so it may just be me: But how the hell can these characters be so young??? I cannot for the life of me bring myself to believe that Kaz, Inej and the rest of the characters are TEENAGERS! Especially Kaz… It just ruined the whole atmosphere for me, the things that they said and did just didn’t meet with their ages, no matter how much they had been made to mature quickly in their extremely hard lives. If I pretended that they were adults, at LEAST in their 20’s, the story was much more enjoyable for me. Of course I have nothing against teenagers, or the young adult genre. I quite like young adult. But this didn’t feel young adult to me. Also, I listened to the audio version and the narrators reading the story were obviously older, which that added to my dissonance about this. When they were talking about how they were teenagers merely 16 years old, I just kept going “NOPE, NOPE, NOPE! There is just NO WAY!!”.

Other than this major hurdle which I had to keep pretending was not written into the story, I thought it was great. It certainly did have that “Oceans 11” vibe, and I really loved the way all the twists and turns were written. very clever indeed! The only other thing that lowered the rating for me, was it had a bit of a slow start. It took me a good 5 hours to start to get into this book. And 5 hours of an audiobook is longer than I usually get if I’m not getting into it. But thankfully I persevered and it got SO MUCH BETTER! It was just a bit hard to follow all the characters and get into the world at the start. I’m not sure if I should have read the first series before attempting this one to get a better feel for it, but I got there in the end.

I love audio books with different narrators, but holy moly! 6 NARRATORS!??? It took me a while to get used to the voices and figure out what was going on, but it surprisingly worked.

Would I recommend Six of Crows?

Yes for sure! See if imagining the characters as a bit older makes it better for you?? I have the next one on audible ready to go! Might just jump straight in!

I purchased Six of Crows from audible.com at my own expense.


If you enjoy Six of Crows, you may enjoy:

Artificial   Vanquished   Dawn of Wonder

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Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight – Melissa Landers

Starflight

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Oh this book was SO MUCH FUN! I know in a lot of reviews for this book they compare it to Firefly, and I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but it is definitely like the YA version of Firefly. It does have a lot of similarities, however I found it original enough to not care at all! Just so much fun!

Solara is looking for a new life on the outer realm. She has a piece of land with her name on it. She just has to get there. She must indenture herself to a wealthy traveller in order to pay for the 5 month passage. When her old school nemesis Dorin is the only one to offer her passage in exchange for her servitude – she RELUCTANTLY accepts. And when they find themselves stranded, the only opportunity they have to get there is to jump aboard the Banshee, a run down, ugly ship with an interesting and hilarious crew who have a lot of secrets.

I loved all the characters, they were all so funny and entertaining. And I ADORED the banter between Solaris and Dorin. A slow burning romance that was worth EVERY TORTUROUS SECOND!

I loved the bad guys, I loved the action and the story. I loved it all!

I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Amanda Dolan and I thought she was FANTASTIC! My main problem with a lot of female narrators I have listened to (sorry to be sexist), is their portrayal of male characters. So many times I have commented that they sound all the same and totally robotic and annoying. Not in this one my friends, Dolan does a great job making all the characters unique, and of course the writing helps with that too. I didn’t get annoyed once at the portrayal ANY character, and that is saying something. Superb!

Would I recommend Starflight?

Yes, if you are a sci-fi fan with an addiction to the TV show Firefly like myself, you will absolutely enjoy this. If you haven’t seen Firefly, if you area a fan of sarcastic humour, light-hearted comedy and space-action, with a splash of romance, give it a go!

I purchased the audio version of Starflight from audible.com at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AUDIBLE | Booktopia AU | Book Depository


If you enjoy Starflight, you may enjoy:

Zero World   Fortune's Pawn

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The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Yes, this is a book for book-lovers! If I see that phrase in one more review of this one I think I’m going to scream! So just to be fun, I decided to LISTEN to this book on audio (because I’m a rebel like that… and I had severe morning sickness which rendered me unable to read 3 lines in a book without puking for over three months). It wasn’t the 5 screaming stars that I was almost expecting from reading some of my friends reviews, but I did like it a lot.

Our story begins when Margaret Lea, a biographer, is sent a letter from one of the most famous authors in Britain, Vida Winter. She is dying and wants Margaret to write her life story. Confused, as Margaret usually only writes biographies of long dead people, and also because Ms Winter is well known for her secrecy, Margaret decides to travel to Ms Winters estate and talk with her. Of course she agrees to write the book, and thus the tale of Vida Winter beings.

And it is quite a tale. Twists and turns and more twists and some more turns, and then a MASSIVE twist which I never saw coming. But when it did come, it was a little bit too unbelievable for me. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t stop the story from being fabulous, but it was just a little bit much.

I found the story of the girls at Angelfield so fascinating. What a life! I really enjoyed the gothic atmosphere and all the drama.

I thought Margaret’s obsession with her dead sister was extremely well written and quite unnerving. It keep the tone of the novel quite brooding and dark.

I didn’t mind the shifts back and forth in time, and enjoyed the somewhat slow unravel of the truth.

The audio version was really well done. I love when audiobooks have more than one narrator. It really helps keep the characters separate, which I believe is really important. Often when listening to audiobooks, I can get a bit lost if the narrator is a monotone and is reading all the characters in a similar voice. Different actors really enhances my listening experience! And the two women in this one were fantastic. They really differentiated the characters completely and made it extremely easy to follow.

Would I recommend The Thirteenth Tale?

Yes, it was well worth reading. A touch slow in parts but overall it was a gripping novel with lots of twists and turns and sometimes had unnerving subject matter.

I read The Thirteenth Tale with a local book club, purchased on audible at my own expense.

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU |Book depository | AUDIO


If you enjoy The Thirteenth Tale, you may enjoy:

The Muse

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Ready or Not… Out I Come! – Raechel Bull

Ready or Not… Out I Come! – Raechel Bull

Ready or not... Out I come

4 Stars (4 / 5)

So I’m finally back after an excruciatingly long absence from reading. Not by choice mind you… some extremely horrific pregnancy complications have meant that for over three months now, I have been unable to read a book, newspaper or even scroll down the screen of my phone without becoming violently ill. Only now, almost halfway through the pregnancy, am I able to read without needing my head in a bucket.

So I thought it was an extremely fitting way to get back into the swing of reviewing, by giving my thoughts on the last book I read before the vomiting started, which coincidently happened to be a book on pregnancy, birth and motherhood called ‘Ready or Not, out I come.’

I really liked this book. It is a mothers account of the struggles of getting pregnant, miscarriage, pregnancy, birth, and becoming a mum.

The author incorporates not only the her own story, but also stories from numerous other people who have gone through similar things. These different perspectives were extremely interesting and I found myself adding my own in my head.

I enjoyed the different subjects and chapters on things like conception, miscarriage, and premature birth.

My only criticism would be that even though it had a lot of different perspectives and information, I still felt like it could have gone deeper. Although, having said that I did enjoy the lightness of it. There are just so many horror stories out there and to hit the points on the more depressing subjects – without making a depressing book – is an achievement.

Would I recommend Ready or Not… Out I Come!?

Yes, any woman or couple struggling to conceive, anyone who has suffered the pain of a miscarriage, or any new mum or mum-to-be would appreciate this book and find it very helpful, and at times inspirational. It was an extremely quick and easy read which is a big plus – especially if you are time poor.

A massive thanks to author Raechel Bull for a copy of this book for me to review. I am SO SORRY it has taken me so long! I TOTALLY owe you a coffee!

PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU


If you enjoy Ready or Not… Out I Come! You may enjoy:

Mindfulness for Mothers   Maternity Leave

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Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Alright, before I begin my review of this book I need to admit something. A secret shame. This is my very first Liane Moriarty book! Yes I know, I know! I can hear you SHARPLY GASP! Her books seem right up my alley, how could I have not read Big Little Lies, or The Husband’s Secret? “SHAME ON YOU MELISSA!” I hear you yell! “She is one of Australia’s most loved authors!!” I have heard such good things, but guiltily have never had the chance or inclination to read them before. However, this means that I came into reading Truly Madly Guilty with an unbiased perspective, and will hopefully give you a run down about what I liked and didn’t like about it as a Moriarty novice!

Something happened at the BBQ that day. Clementine didn’t even want to go, and a major life-changing event occurred. Something that will change all of their lives. This is the story of three marriages, friendship, and the fateful events of one seemingly ordinary afternoon that will become extraordinary in their memories.

Now, if you are after a light, feel good read then look elsewhere. This story is gritty, raw and deep.

Moriarty creates an amazingly charged atmosphere in the first half of the book without actually revealing what happened at the BBQ! I found this SO FRUSTRATING! But not in a bad way! I was DESPERATE to know what happened. So desperate that when it did happen I felt slightly let down, as it went in a different direction than I was expecting. But I assume that’s the point.

I enjoyed the way it switched back and forth in time and from each different characters perspective. It was an extremely character driven novel which I can only assume is a Moriarty trademark by reading reviews of her other work. It was done masterfully. Each character was so inherently unique and imperfect. I was quickly sucked into their lives and relationships.

It touched on SO MANY themes! Friendship, love, lust, family, parenting, childlessness, IVF, marriage, and mental illness just to name a few. However, with so much going on I found it dragged on a little bit for me. I was willing it at times to just get to the BBQ. However once it did get to the BBQ, I found the pace improved, even if it went in a direction I was not entirely anticipating. And there were a few excellent twists that I never saw coming, and that’s always a big plus for me!

Would I recommend Truly Madly Guilty?

Absolutely worth the read! I will be definitely checking out her other books! I can’t believe I have waited so long!

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for a pre release copy of Truly Madly Guilty in exchange for my honest review.

Truly Madly Guilty will be released on the 20th July.

Add to goodreads

PURCHASE:

Pan Macmillan | AMAZON AU | AMAZON

It will also be available at all good bookstores.


If you enjoy Truly Madly Guilty, you may enjoy:

Running Against The Tide   Like I Can Love   Beside Myself

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