Wednesday, 31 July 2013

" The Spinning Heart " by Donal Ryan

*** Thanks to Lisa from for this book ***

I had wanted to read this even before it was Longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2013 and was delighted when I finally got my hands on a first edition!

Donal Ryan's Debut novel is a work of art.
Written in the form of short stories which are interlinked via a common factor, it is quiet reminiscent of Roddy Doyle's " The Deportees ".

Set in a country town near Limerick, this novel shows the cause and effects of one greedy property developer in recent times and how the Celtic Tiger in 1990s Ireland led to massive changes for many people when the recession hit.
From the building industry :

 " Christ on a bike.  I had a right swagger there for a couple of years, thinking I was a great fella. Foreman, I was, clearing a grand a week. Set for life. Houses would never stop going up "

to the unfortunates who bought in the Boom and ended up in negative equity :

" When Daddy and me went into the auctioneers to ask about these houses, they let on they let on they were nearly all sold. 
He said he couldn't promise us any of the houses would still be available the next day. I believed him , even though I should have known better. Daddy got all worried and flustered then, and drove like a madman back to the Credit Union to get me the cash.  I'd love to go back to that auctioneer now and kick him in the balls "

The author also shows all sides of the story including former workers, family members, residents and all affected by the Limerick Ghost Estate.
There are plenty of familiar tales of woe here but ,when all blended together like they are in this novel, it becomes less woeful and more soulful.

Donal Ryan's style is fresh, smooth and passionate.  Outstanding for a debut novel !

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Niamh Greene " Coco's secret "

I was given a pre-release copy of  " Coco's Secret " to review from the lovely Lisa from

I had just finished a lot of chic-lit so was all set to read another tale of moaning mothers and their tales of woe.

This book was the complete opposite of that. I actualy read it in a day , and that is not an easy task with 4 kids off school !!

This book is a little bit perfect!
A little slice of chic-lit heaven all packaged into 339 pages.

Coco finds an original Chanel handbag at the bottom of an odds and ends box purchased at auction.  On closer inspection, she discovered an old letter inside the bag and it moves her to a search for the bag's original owner.
With not much to go on, she trusts her inner voice and follows the leads from her small hometown, to London and Paris.
She begins to get a picture of the owner's life and so does the reader. 

From the first page I was hooked. I too wanted to know the origins of the bag and ,along with a great set of characters, Niamh Greene brings us on a nice, easy trip from the 1950s to the present day.

Coco's Grandmother, Ruth is a wonderful addition to the tale and a character I would love to meet in real life.  I could just picture their little antiques shop and all it's bits and bobs, and could almost smell the atmosphere.  

Very chic, very sweet and very clever.  Well done Niamh Greene!

Monday, 29 July 2013

First Young Puffin : " Space Dog Shock " by Andrew and Paula Martyr

Review by Endija Age 6

It was about a dog who came from space. Horatio wanted to keep him as a pet but his parents said no.

The Mum said he could take him for a walk when he had tidied his room.
The dog turned one of Horatio's toys into a robot it and lots of other crazy things happened.

I liked this book because it was a bit funny and weird!*Version*=1&*entries*=0&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=nav-sitewide-msg&pf_rd_r=0SPWVYPCNGX16ZJC3AY3&pf_rd_t=4201&pf_rd_p=416874307&pf_rd_i=navbar-4201

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Tommy Donbavand " Fangs Vampire Spy. Operation: Golden Bum

Tommy Donbavand " Fangs Vampire Spy - Operation: Golden Bum

Review by Mia Madden, age 9

Special Agent Fangs Enigma is a vampire spy and with his friend Puppy Brown they are out to catch the bad guys.
These two guys watch people's behaviour to spot the baddies, they sneak a tracking device on to them, and then watch them on their computer.  
In Operation: Golden Bum , they have to battle in a farting competition to stay alive and defeat the bad guys.

I would recommend this for age 8 and up as some hard words in it. It has nice big writing and some pictures which means this book is perfect for the younger reader.

This is a very funny book which I really enjoyed and can't wait for the rest of the series.

Thanks to Lisa from for the book proof !!!!

Lucy Clarke " The Sea Sisters "

What a wonderful book !

This was given to me my a member of my amazing buddies at Esquires Book Club.

So far, this is my favourite read of the summer.
It is the tale of two sisters, complete opposites, who decide to live together after their Mum passes away.

When Mia ( the wilder, more bohemian sister) comes to a tragic end while in Bali, her sister Kate plucks up the courage to board a plane and face other demons in order to make some sense of Mia's death.
She uses her sisters travel journal to discover which areas Mia had been to, and why.  It is like taking a look into someones mind and getting a glimpse of what they see.

I was sucked in from the very first page and could not put it down!  This book has such beautiful descriptive writing and you almost feel like you are part of the story.
I cannot wait for Lucy's next book and will be buying a lot of copies of this for birthday presents ;)


Maria Duffy " The Letter "

Again, Thanks to Lisa for the advance copy and introducing me to the wonderful work of Maria Duffy.
Such a wonderfully light and easy read and I have a copy of her previous book to sink my teeth into soon.

My Review

Ellie is getting married and off to New York with her two best friends for the Hen Party. Finding a letter addressed to her dead sister, while clearing out her old room, sets in motion a very different trip to The Big Apple than expected. This is Maria Duffy's third book and its a little gem! Lighthearted, warm and perfect for a day at the beach or at a window seat while listening to the rain. The storyline held my interest all the way through and the trip to New York really made me want to visit again ( even just for the Waldorf Salad ). The author's love of Glasnevin and its surrounding areas really show her love of Dublin and reminded me of day trips I had as a child. Ellie's friends are two different types of characters but both are equally endearing. Her family sound a little too perfect for my liking, as does her fiancée but other than that, I couldn't fault Maria's style at all. Will look toward to her next book...... 

The Letter is published by Hachette Ireland and is available in paperback and ebook format

Sinead Moriarty " Mad About You "

I was asked to do a guest review of this book recently by my good friend Lisa whos great blog has inspired us to start our own little blog.

I am a big fan of Sinead Moriarty since her first book over 10 years ago.  When I heard she had written a new instalment of this series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy.  Thankfully, Lisa stepped in and gave me a copy to review for her blog. Thanks Lisa - You have created a monster!!

My Review
After 10 years of Marriage, two children and career changes, Emma and James find themselves relocated to London for James' new job as coach to London Irish Rugby Club. While Emma struggles with loneliness and looking after her young kids, James is getting home later and later from work.  When James starts getting sextexts from an unknown number, Emma fears the worst. Then the parcels start arriving to their home and panic sets in...... Mad About You is Sinead Moriarty's ninth novel. She introduced Emma and James in the 1990s so readers of the previous novels will remember Emma's wacky sister, Babs , as well as their best friends, Lucy and Donal. However, if you haven't read the previous novels it doesn't affect the enjoyment of this one. The author has introduced some great new characters and I especially loved Poppy, who is a forty something Divorcée on the hunt for a man with money. Should Sinead write another novel in this series, I would love if she developed the new characters more! I could feel Emma's frustration when she read the text messages and received inappropriate gifts in the post. The description of her heart pounding away like mad seemed so real. Good read for the summer, especially if you are of a certain age and a bit of a worrier!!

Mad About You is published by Penguin Ireland and is available in Paperback and ebook format. 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Family That Reads Together .....

This is my first blog and you will have to forgive me if  I'm doing something wrong or completely pre-historic in my approach.

We are a family of 6 and this can increase at any given time as we are also a Foster Family. Myself and Hubby are both 41.... He works full time and I stay at home to look after kiddies, dogs and Bleach House in general.

Before we renovated the house, I dreamt of having a library in one of the rooms.  I finally have it !!
It's not like the library from Disney's Beauty and The Beast, ( My dream room ) but, it has an open working fireplace, double doors to the garden and is in Alphabetical Order :)

I will add books as I read them and also some reviews of books I have previously read.
My whole family want to get  involved reviewing the books so they will each post their own reviews, in their own words. The youngest child at the moment is 6 years old and our eldest living at home is 15.
My amazing first born is no longer living at home, but will guest review from time to time.

I hope to update 2-3 books per week and when I do, please feel free to leave us a comment ( remembering that children also read this blog, so discretion appreciated ).

I can also be contacted via email should you have any questions or on Twitter

Wish us luck and Happy Reading from all at Bleach House Library !!!!

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