If you are like us (and probably one of the many thousands of book lovers across the globe) and have had the misfortune of spending your hard-earned cash on an apparent "best-seller"; you will probably also have experienced the dull thud as you bang your head against the wall, thinking "Why did I listen to the reviews on the back?!" The truth is: reviews found on books are usually self-promoting, PR stunt-type hype and not necessarily a true reflection of the books' quality at all.

It is our aim to tell the truth about books, but don't for one second assume that that is synonymous with us creating a blog to 'diss' authors' work - to the contrary - our intention is to provide an honest appraisal of each and every book we read. If the book is any good - it'll get a good review. If it's awful and a tragedy to the literary world - then it won't. It's that simple.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

NEW Book Giveaway!

Well, it's already rolled around to that time of year again, when all that sentimental fluffiness covers everyone in a snugly down of giving, caring and sharing and general niceness... We, at TTAB, are not immune to such sentimentality and so we're going beyond any giveaway we have EVER done before:  we are not giving away a few copies of the same book...NO... we are giving away
of the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy!  This fantasy series had us reeling when it first grabbed our attention a couple of years ago.  Since the release of Book Two: Lamplighter, we were concerned that we might never see Book Three - but in October this year, the wait was finally over.  We salute D M Cornish for the masterful creation of an entirely new world, replete with gloriously monstrous monsters; irrationally charming slang courtesy of Craumpalin and Fransitart and  idiosyncratic characters as diverse as they are detailed.
For your chance to be one of our incredibly lucky three winners, all you have to do is follow this link and answer the question.  Simple.  It is free to enter, but you must be over 18 years old and a UK resident.

Good Luck!

Winners will be announced on the closing date of 22 Dec 2010

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Potentially a huge title for 2011: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Our pals at Headline have given us a rare treat: a preview of a potentially huge new title for 2011.  A Discovery of Witches was the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair's hottest title and was consequently the source of a right old publisher ding-dong ( that means: fight, for the uninitiated).
Rolling up the respective worlds of witches, vampires and daemons (demons) into a single universe makes for some complicated reading; let alone creating a modern-day Romeo and Juliet to rival Bella and Edward (from the Twilight series).  A Discovery of Witches is the first in this much fancied trilogy... due out in February 2011.  But of course, you won't have to wait that long to find out if the book is really worthy of all that hype - we'll be publishing our review asap! 

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Lunamorte by Sam Young

It’s not often that we come across a bright, young thing in the literary world that hasn’t already been discovered by the mainstream – and we have to admit, we probably never really expected to. Then, along came Sam Young with her debut teen novel: Lunamorte – and suddenly, we got ourselves all in a tizz. And here’s why: Ok, so the fantasy genre is burgeoning with vampires, werewolves and magical beings galore. So, yet another teen novel surrounding a teenage werewolf shouldn’t really get us going… but the thing is; Lunamorte is like taking your favourite wardrobe staple and vamping it up so it’s more than just utterly comfortable and familiar – it also sizzles with newness and above all – originality.

You see, Lunamorte’s “Caia” is not your average werewolf. And this isn’t your average war between good and evil. There is so much shading in between; it makes your head spin. We think this debut title from a young Scottish writer is a must read. If you want to know more, check out our full book review >>>

Friday, 15 October 2010

Secrets of the MoneyLab by Kay-Yut Chen & Marina Krakovsky

In our opinion, publishers are often reluctant to offer review copies of business titles, perhaps this is because they feel books in this genre don't really need reviewing... but we think they couldn't be more wrong.  Business titles are big business (apologies for the pun) - millions are spent on them every year, and they're not exactly cheap; many of them go for around £20 a pop.  But with so many titles to choose from: how the heck are we meant to know which ones deliver? 
So, it came as a pleasant and most welcome surprise when Penguin agreed to send us through their very latest titles in their new Portfolio list.  And to kick things off, we reviewed the extravagantly titled: Secrets of the MoneyLab by Kay-Yut Chen and Marina Krakovsky:

Read our review of The Secrets of the MoneyLab >>>

Business heads: stay tuned, we've got more on the way...

Rebel Books LLP and "There's a Lion in my Bathroom" by Giles Paley-Phillips

We're a huge fan of all things new when it comes to literature; so we were happy to be contact by an Giles Paley-Phillips in a bid for us to review his collection of short poems for children entitled: There's a Lion in my Bathroom.  Now, we know what you're thinking: poetry?  Really???
Well, we'd normally be with you on the dubiousness of poetry as entertainment - but we soon changed our tune when we gave There's a Lion in my Bathroom a shot.  Our review will be loaded shortly on our main website, however, we just wanted to congratulate Rebel Books LLP for broadening our horizons and giving the world this little gem of a book.
Incidentally, Rebel Books LLP itself is a young, new thing.  The above title only being their third publication - like - ever.  But if their editorial team is this brilliant at picking our great new writers; we're sure they'll be around for some time to come. 

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Comin 2 gt U by Simon Packham

We're a fan of Packham's gritty style.  He's not afraid to get his hands dirty.  There's no dancing around the issue with him - and despite writing for a completely different demographic than The Opposite Bastard - in Comin 2 gt U, Packham still delivers killer prose.

Never for the faint hearted, Packham's latest novel tells the tale of a young boy, Sam, who finds himself the target of some serious bullying.  As if he didn't have enough to deal with, what with his psychiatrist mum who over-analyses everything, his AWOL dad following his 'Hardman' dream and a dying Grandfather with a heavy burden on his guilt-ridden shoulders...

Read our book review >>

Pop Goes the Weasel by Albert Jack

Ever wondered what Jack and Jill were doing up that hill?  Or how about what a Goosie Gander was doing wandering around a 'Lady's Chamber'?  These and many other curiosities that have been driving us all mad these many years are finally answered by the inimitable Albert Jack.

The secret meanings behind our beloved nursery rhymes are laid bare - and some of them have a startling, occasionally lurid history.  Read the review of Pop Goes the Weasel >>

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Voice From the Planet (an anthology)

Voice From the Planet is almost experimental in its nature.  A collaboration of original works by authors from as diverse a range of countries and continents as you are ever likely to come across, is something that can be likened to setting of a spark in a box of fireworks: it not only blows your mind that this anthology came about through the determination of authors to tear down the physical barriers between them, but will also enlighten the reader to the presence of alternate styles of writing that are lacking in our niche Western literature.

This anthology of 30 short stories from across the globe comprises the many and varied works of authors who came together via the Internet to form a truly unique experience for the reader. From award winning authors to complete unknowns; just as the anthology does not discriminate geographically, is it not prohibitive to the unpublished author... Continue reading the book review >>

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

No Readers' Choice for September

We really don't like not giving away books, it just goes against the grain - but the fact is that with us all being off, there isn't really a lot of reviewed books to choose from.  It'll be back next month (October), so don't go having panic attacks on us... you'll be able to get your voting fix in just a few weeks. 

Back to Business

September has finally rolled around, and the office is buzzing with excitement... but that will probably wear off quickly once everyone has a chance to look at the INBOX.  So much to catch up, so many emails to answer - how the heck did you manage without us for 6 weeks?!?
So, Autumn is upon us and with it comes the inevitable Halloween rush, followed closely by the Christmas seasonal releases.  In fact, there is so much coming out in the next few months that it can leave you bewildered and overwhelmed with choice.  This is (hopefully) where we come in: we'll be trawling through the masses, uncovering the great titles from the not-so-great. 
Things to look forward to:
  • We'll be featuring a Halloween special RIGHT HERE during October
  • Our list of Christmas stocking titles
Happy reading !!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


As we're sure you are aware, it is that time of year again when schools are out and everyone dashes off to hotter climates and we're no exception!

The TTAB main website will not be updated from 22 July until 1st September 2010.
What this means to you is:
  • The winner of our current (July) Readers' Choice will not be notified until September and therefore will have a delay in getting their book,
  • No new reviews will be loaded onto the website,
  • The August Readers' Choice competition will go ahead as usual,
  • There will be NO Readers' Choice comp for September
And that's it really...

Wishing everyone and our members a happy summer!  Oh, and remember, we have left you with our selection of tasty summer reads - because we're considerate like that!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

As Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief hit our cinema screens; Riordan had already moved on... done with capturing the excitement and exhilaration of being half human, half God - he's also opted out of the Greek stakes in favour of all things Egyptian.

In this, the first installment of The Kane Chronicles, Riordan blasts our senses with an incredible plot line, bags of action, tons of magic and a veritable feast of wonderfully memorable characters.  If you liked Percy Jackson - you will love The Kane Chronicles!

Read the review of Rick Riordan's latest book >>

Friday, 25 June 2010

Starting Over by Sue Moorcroft

If you love the thrill of a strung out chase, the emotional tumble of falling in love and the speculative dip into sumptuous (but not really THAT rude) sexiness - then maybe, just maybe, you have found a book to sprawl with by the poolside. 

We'll be honest, we're not all that fussed about the genre of Chic Lit.  A lot of it is same-old, same-old.  Everyone is devastatingly handsome, or spectacularly stunning; which is great if your self esteem can handle it, not so great if it makes you look at your bulging love handles and that baby belly you still haven't quite shifted.  But, and it's a BIG but - Moorcroft is just a genius at creating realistic, believable characters.  Tess, in Starting Over, is quite frankly extremely messed up.  Her fiance dumped her a couple of days before the wedding, she miscarried a child she didn't realise was there and if that wasn't enough, then the "Curse" as she calls it, would absolutely, one hundred percent make you weep inconsolably for yourself.

We weren't sure about naming the main man "Ratty", or "Rats" - but then, it's a damn sight better than being called "Miles"...

Read the review of Starting Over >>

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Jake Ransom and the Skull Kings Shadow by James Rollins

Rollins is better known for his adult thrillers (The Last Oracle, Black Order and others); but this is his first forray into the often trechorous Children's fiction genre.

Available in the UK from 1st July, this is one series that is sure to whizz off the shelves. Ok, so it's marketed as a "childrens'" title, but in reality, any adult who itches to indulge in original storytelling that is both captivating and intriguing, exciting and intelligent - will undoubtably find themselves sucked into the Jake Ransom series.

A sequel, Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx, is due out sometime in 2011.

Friday, 18 June 2010

NEW! Book Giveaway - 5 signed copies to be won!

We loved the self-published title: Jakob Flint by Jonathan J Drake. Not only is it laugh-out-loud funny, but the magic is in the story itself. Yes, it's a bit childish. No, it's not really that complex. But you'd be hard pressed to find a novella that will keep adults amused as much as Jakob Flint does.

The 2nd Edition was recently released and lucky us, we managed to get our hands on 5 signed copies from the author. For your chance to win a signed copy of Jakob Flint, all you have to do is answer a easy question (we don't like to make it too hard for you!)

Enter this FREE Book Giveaway!

You'll have to HURRY though! This giveaway is only open until the 16th July 2010.

A Brief History of Lies by Daniel Nanavati

This non-fiction title appears to promise a lot of things: a brief (breathe a sigh of relief) history of lies, a pinch of humour and some funny cartoons.

We want to like this book. In fact, we willed it to be good...

Read the Book Review >>

Moscow Sting by Alex Dryden

If you enjoyed Dryden's Red to Black, then you will no doubt have been looking forward to the sequel - Moscow Sting. The premise is straight out of James Bond 007 territory, only with less overt shooting and no discernable car chases. But at least there is the beautiful Russian defector, ex-KGB Colonel, Anna. What would a spy novel be without one of those?

Anna's in a world of trouble. Not only has her lover, husband and father of her child, Finn, met an untimely death at the hands of the Russians; but she is now being hunted by nearly every major power in the world. Anna, it would seem, is the only one who can identify Mikhail, an extremely valuable asset. It's a plot that has plenty of scope, but can it deliver?

Read the Book Review >>

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

May 2010 saw the release of the much anticipated English translation of the phenomenon that is Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Accomplishing something that few international authors do, Zafon has breeched our shores and made himself at home on our bookshelves - and not without reason (or considerable effort).

Prince of Mist was Zafon's debut novel. Essentially a children's title, he always envisaged it to be a book that would appeal to all ages willing to immerse themselves in a good old story.

Read the Book Review >>

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Fetlock Hall: The Unicorn Princess by Babette Cole

Babette Cole, author of brilliantly funny and entertaining children's book - A Dose of Dr Dog, has come out with a brand new series aimed at young girls. The Unicorn Princess is the introductory title in the Fetlock Hall series and features a young pony-mad girl called Penny as she discovers that sometimes boarding school can be fun, exciting and just a little bit magical!

Read the book review >>>

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill

For those of you looking for a scare-fest of the traditional variety: look no further...

Adam Nevill is a newcomer to the horror genre and is being loudly touted as the next big thing, as far as the Brits are concerned... In this his debut horror title; Nevill brings us a gruesome blend of artistry gone awry, the darkness of the "Void" and the terrifying prospect of what lies beyond death all wrapped up neatly with the requisite dumb American girl and a diverse cast of strange characters that never quite make it past the two-dimensional stage.

Read the book review >>>

Changes by Jim Butcher

Our Book of the Month is a brilliantly conceived magical fantasy that will appeal to adults and teenagers alike. With Butcher's charming self-deprecation and wonderfully dry sense of humour, it is impossible not to fall in love with this book. Just one of a long list in the Dresden Files series, Changes brings Harry Dresden's escapades as a professional wizard to a dizzying crescendo... what we don't know is whether or not this is the last that we will see of Dresden for the foreseeable future. Indeed, the author's note at the back refers to Butcher's other series - perhaps this is a none too subtle hint?

In any event, we've concluded that the Dresden Files are a staple for those seeking a more grown-up version of Harry Potter. Read our book review >>>>

Monday, 19 April 2010

NEW! Book Giveaway!

We know we're spoiling you this month, but we just can't seem to help it! Not only is there our regular Readers' Choice competition, but we have yet another book giveaway just for our readers & members.

Entangled by Graham Hancock is a fantasy/adventure that explores the nature of reality, time and space; alternate planes of existence and the story of two teenage girls from utterly different times in history who come together to battle against a demon determined to eradicate the human race as we know it.

We have 5 signed (by the author) copies of this gripping read to give away!

Enter the Book Competition >>> (scroll down the page to this giveaway)

Read the Book Review >>>

Friday, 16 April 2010

NEW! Book Giveaway!

We have 5 author signed copies of
ANGELOLOGY by Danielle Trussoni to give away absolutely free! All you have to do to enter is answer a simple question... and have lady Luck on your side!

Enter this Book Competition >>>

Read our Book Review >>>

The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric

Insidious and tantalising in equal parts: The Book of Human Skin is a uniquely packaged novel coming as it does in its distinctive red covering and black tinted pages. It is not only the outward manifestation of this book that is eye-catching; the story itself captures the imagination and makes for compelling reading.

Read our book review >>>

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Nurtureshock: Why Everything We Think About Raising Our Children is Wrong by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

This controversial book aims to challenge our preconceived notions of child rearing - from querying the causal link between obesity and sleep deprivation, to why white parents are reluctant to talk to their children about racial difference - some of the ideas can make for extremely uncomfortable reading.

Written by award winning American journalists, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, it would be easy to disregard the substaive scientific evidence put forward as non-applicable to any non-US family; but that would be counterproductuve - besides, some of the suggestions make a strange kind of sense. Like our fetish for heavily praising our offspring for fear that any negative commentary may make they less confident in this harsh world - but in fact, in doing so, we are potentially making things worse, not better...

>>> Read the book review

*IMPORTANT* Change of address

From 1st April 2010 our address is changing at The Truth About Books. Our new address is:

TTAB, PO Box 4732, Sheffield, S17 9BZ.

Any review copies or other correspondence should be sent to this address. However, to smooth this transitional period, items sent to our old PO Box address will still be delivered up to the END OF APRIL. After that date, no mail will be accessible by us and will be returned.If you have any queries regarding this change, please contact us using the links on the Contact Us page on our main website.

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but hope that any disruption will be kept to a minimum.

Regards,The TTAB Team

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sphinx by T.S Learner

Not the best book we've read recently despite the potential for a great storyline...

Egypt, in the 1970’s and the country is in the throes of trying to find political stability under President Sadat. Not everyone is keen to see peace across the region; there are those whose political and personal ambitions would sooner see war and civil uprising – and the discovery of a long-lost artefact with legendary magical powers to influence events and even predict a person’s death date would be an extremely desirable object to have in one’s possession... >> read the book review

Monday, 15 February 2010

How you can support The Truth About Books

It's true that The Truth About Books came about because of some silly notion that everyone deserved an insider's take: an honest take, on the veritable mountain of new literature that is churned out day after day. It's also true that everyone who works so hard on your behalf does so out of a passion for books and also because they share the vision that people are entitled to no-nonsense, accessible and above all - free - reviews of books.

We don't really ask for anything in return. Not a thing, in fact.

All we're going to say is: if you like what we do - pass it on. Tell your friends, neighbours, family, co-workers... and if you decide you rather fancy buying a book that we've reviewed - well then, tell us! Leave us your comments and views on any of the titles we've reviewed. And if you're inclined to help us just that little bit more - you might like to know that when you buy a book through the link on the review page, we earn a few pence in the process - at no additional cost to you.

So go on - take a look. And remember - you can always just drop us a line and tell us how you think we're doing. It's all good!

Friday, 5 February 2010


We have 10 copies of Jane Casey's debut novel: The Missing, to giveaway to our members. All you have to do to enter is answer a simple question from our interview with the author... it really is that easy! You'll have to hurry though - this competition closes on 1st March 2010.

Read the book review

Read the author interview (you will have to register as a member to do so - but since it's free, we figured you wouldn't mind...)

The Complaints by Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin's first stand-alone novel since the Rebus days was always going to have an uphill struggle as people tend to stick to what they like - and most don't like change. However, in his creation of Malcolm Fox, we think Rankin has outdone himself - he's big, canny and beautifully flawed.

Unlike most crime novels, The Complaints focuses on that less than tasteful element of the police force - the Scottish version of Internal Affairs: The Complaints. Their job is to uncover the bad cops and hold them to count for their naughtiness - a job we can well imagine comes with a lot of grief and nastiness from the general policing population. You wouldn't be inviting Fox round to yours for a drink if you could help it...

Read the book review

Monday, 1 February 2010

Mortlock by Jon Mayhew

Debut Children's author, Jon Mayhew brings us a universally accessible tale about a pair of twins with a mysterious and dangerous legacy. Josie and Alfie are thrown together after being separated at birth when events begin to spiral out of control - Josie's Guardian is brutally murdered and so are many others who get in the way of the unnatural 'Aunts'.

Mortlock is set to the beginning of a series of books, although it appears at this stage that the books will each be stand-alone rather than, say, a trilogy featuring the twins. Not due out until April 2010, our review offers you a sneak preview of what is sure to be the start of a budding career for Jon Mayhew.

Read our book review.

February's Readers' Choice competition

February's Readers' Choice competition is now open. Choose from the following fantastic titles: Pursued by Love, Bequest or Whispers of the Dead and enter for free for your chance to win a review copy that is signed, lined, dated and numbered by our very own infamous Words URTH Worm (he's a bookworm and our editor).

Enter the competition.

Please note: The Ripley's Believe It Or Not competition is now CLOSED. Any entries will not be counted. We will endeavour to get this section removed to avoid confusion as soon as possible.

Dark Origins: Level 26 Bk 1 by Anthony E. Zuiker

From the creator of C.S.I comes a debut novel that plays to his strengths - enter all things macabre, creepy and gruesomely gory...

But as with most Americans, he just had to go one better than any other debut novelist - he didn't just produce a cracking book, but he also made it interactive. You can chose to take a break from the written word and login to a dedicated website that features footage and other online material to further enhance your reading experience. Of course, you have to buy the book in order to obtain the passwords, although we suspect that some will get leaked at some stage...

You can read our book review.

Friday, 29 January 2010

The Returners by Gemma Malley

The Returners is sure to win critical acclaim - and not just from us. Malley is a master at creating deeply thoughtful, provocative novels and her latest offering is no exception.

Aimed firmly at the Young Adult market due to its profoundly abstract philosophical concepts and ideas; The Returners is just as likely to appeal to an adult audience. It isn't comfortable reading; dealing as it does with racism, bigotry, over-zealous nationalists and the deplorable acts that we humans have commited against each other... but that's the point.

A resounding triumph for Malley and a modern classic that could do worse than finding its way into the curriculum.

You can read our review and use our handy widget for finding the best price for this book on our main website.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

House of Night Series by P.C & Kristin Cast

We've been indulging ourselves recently with some light, entertaining reading in the form of the hugely addictive Vamp series - House Of Night. Essentially, the story of a teenager, Zoey's, transformation from ordinary teen to Vampyre fledgling - and all that that implies - which, as it turns out, is a hell of a lot! With her highly unusual extending markings, Zoey finds herself thrust into the politics of Vamp life and in doing so, discovers that not everything that goes on at Tulsa's House of Night is what it seems.

The series comprises 6 books: Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted and Tempted. You can read all our book reviews as well as reading the latest book review in this series on our main website. It is worth mentioning that the series is not really for younger teenagers as the language and sexual content is very adult in nature.

Burned (Book 7) is due out in April 2010, which frankly cannot come soon enough - although we do know that the book isn't quite finished yet. We hope the authors get their skates on and provide us with our House of Night fix!

Other cool news is that the series appears to have sold its film rights, which could mean the novels being transformed into a major new film! We'll be keeping our beady eyes open for further developments...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

We're on Twitter

For those of you who like their technological advancements and especially like fast, uncomplicated updates - you can now keep bang up to date with all our latest book reviews and links to competitions via our Twitter page. Simply click to follow us and bob's your uncle (as they say) - you will receive all our Tweets! Tidy!


Pursued by Love - Georgia Hill

This modern-day romance novel hangs itself loosely around Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice; in the sense that its main characters are actors caught up in a remake of that gloriously and hopelessly romantic story.

If you like your romance passionate, predictable (not necessarily a bad thing) and brimming over with devastatingly handsome men and dazzlingly gorgeous women; then Pursued by Love will be just the ticket.... Read the full book review