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.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Readers' Choice Competition

Watch out for 1st October, when we launch the Readers' Choice competition once again...
We'll have THREE great titles for you to vote for and in doing so, enter our comp for your chance to win a free copy of the winning book!

Good luck!

Things That Make Writing Book Reviews Tough

  1. The author is amazing but the book isn't... it makes having an opinion hard.
  2. The book is amazing, but the author isn't... easier to manage, but incredibly difficult to prevent personal opinions from sneaking in.
  3. Writer's block (Yes, we're writers too!)
  4. You can't just write: "I thought this was rubbish/great"... there's probably dozens of reasons why you finally came to that conclusion - but pinpointing them, or being able to articulate them is a whole other matter.
  5. When you've spent hours perfecting your review only to have your Editor ask you to redo almost half of it! (I'm mentioning no names...!!)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Topsy and Tim First Numbers and First Writing

Those amongst us who have young children got very excited at the prospect of reviewing these books as they seem to promise a fun way of educating your child; so it was hugely gratifying to discover that they really are as brilliant as we had hoped!
As sad as it may sound, the thing that most impressed us (apart from the beauty of wipe-clean pages so you can do the activities over and over and over again) was the sturdy pen with the funny looking, but incredibly useful eraser on the cap.  The gasps and 'Oooo's that went around made the males wonder if some firemen had turned up outside (they hadn't, more's the pity)... Do not underestimate the convenience factor for parents.  We also especially liked the fact that the pen can fit right back into its little compartment once you're done - making sure that its always there when you come back to it.  Genius!

Read our book reviews of both new titles, out in June:  

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Reminder about this month's BOOK GIVEAWAY

Just a quick reminder that our current book giveaway is now open!  We've got THREE copies of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time to giveaway to our readers - absolutely FREE!!!!!!  

It couldn't be easier to enter this fabulous competition... 
All you have to do is follow this link: book giveaway, answer the question and hit 'submit' - simple!

You'll have to hurry, though... this competition is only open until 7th June 2011.  So if you want to be in with a chance of winning this brilliant title from award winning author, Yasutaka Tsutsui, then get yourself over to our competitions page and get your entry in NOW.  It's free and there is no limit to the number of times you can enter.  Good luck!

The Tiger-Skin Rug by Gerald Rose

An usual children's story centred around an extraordinarily ingenious tiger who is fed up of his hard life in the jungle.  Near starvation, he decides on impulse to replace a tiger-skin rug hanging outside the Raja's palace.  His mind full of the comfort, food and drink that will be available to him once inside.  But as he becomes well-fed on all those scraps, he becomes worried that he will be discovered... what to do? 

Although we perhaps don't quite approve of the use of such a controversial item (a tiger-skin rug) as subject matter, it would be ridiculous to be offended by such a cute story.  In the end, the moral is clear: a live tiger is far better than a tiger-skin rug - so all's well that ends well, right?

Read the book review >>

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Getting back into the blogging thing...

So, for those of you who take the time out to come read this blog - I guess you will have noticed that it's been awfully quiet in here for the past few months... Thankfully, it's nothing serious (as you will have noted from our twitter feed, we're still reviewing books, still having cool comps), but we feel a little bad for leaving you hanging, so we thought we share some insider goss and get back in your good books (no pun intended!).

First up, we recently reviewed the compelling (and disturbing) "Pink Hotel" by Anna Stothard.  It's a grim tale 99% of the time, made all the more grim because it's supposed to have a slightly autobiographical slant to it.  We can-not-imagine-being-17-and-alone-in-LA!!!  Read our review.

Apparently, the face of 'evil' is being changed... at least, in psychological/biological/medical terms.  According to Simon Baron-Cohen (and yes, he is related to THE Sasha Baron-Cohen - go figure!), a world-renowned expert, evil doesn't actually exist, what we're calling evil is actually just 'human cruelty' - and would you believe it?  The cause of cruelty is.... Empathy.  Ehhh?  My view exactly.  It seems his editors failed to comprehend that he actually meant that it's the absence of empathy that causes cruelty.  Minor quibble, we know... but still.  Take a look at the enlightening review.

We're excited about reading the latest in the enthralling series by Paul Hoffman, so watch this space (or our twitter feed) for details of our review of "The Last Four Things".

That's all for now folks,

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui

This classic Japanese animé title is immediately recognisable and we couldn’t wait to see how the original text would differ from the animated version. The slenderness of the novella caused a slight ripple of apprehension – would this fail to live up to expectations?  Read the whole book review >>

Anyone interested in Japanese animé should consider giving this the once over... and if that's not enough of any incentive, then perhaps a FREE copy would pique your interest?

We've got THREE copies to give away this month - Check out our Book Giveaway competition for further details.