Thursday, 31 July 2014

"This Is The Water" by Yannick Murphy

I received a copy of this title from Headline in return for an honest review.......

The story of a murderer watching the every stroke that a young swimmer performs. The parents of a swim team.  The secrets that are hidden within everyone.  The determination of both athletes and their families. The parents right to protect their children.

 The narration is told from the second person, starting almost every line with " This is the... ".  I can honestly say that I gave up.  I couldn't take the style any longer.  It reminded me of reading those nursery rhyme books " This is the man that killed the cat, that ate the mouse, that stole the cheese...".etc.  I drove me insane.  I had looked forward to the book so much as the blurb sounds amazing.  However, not only did the style annoy me, the long, drawn out sections about being a swim team mom really irritated me too.  Their super, expensive swimsuits were mentioned more than I care to remember, the heat of the arenas, the getting the kids up early and driving them to practice.  I am a mother of five, and I actually couldn't have cared less.  Annie, the main character was dreary and forever tired. So tired, in fact, that to open a window was a problem.  Really? Then maybe standing at a poolside while timing young competitors may not be a good idea?  I really tried to get into the book more, but eventually, threw it down in despair!  My only fear now is, that it will end up winning some amazing literary prize and I will have virtual egg all over my reviewers face....

It's a love/hate book, it seems.  I am on the hate side.

This is the water is published by Headline and is released in paperback and ebook on 1st Aug 2014

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

" Anyush " by Martine Madden.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in return for an honest review..........

Anyush is a young Armenian girl who is surrounded by a world of war and poverty, mistrust and deceipt yet dreams of better things.  She sees only the good in the darkest of places and has hopes for the future of her small village in Turkey.  However, the year is 1915 and things are about to get a lot worse for Armenians within The Ottoman Empire.  Turkish soldiers begin to take over the land and with a caste system in place, where Armenians are at the bottom and the realities of war hit fast and hard.  

Dr, Charles Stewart is a missionary medic who has made it his lifes cause to help those who need it the most, regardless of their race, religion or nationality.  He has moved his wife from her comfortable home in America, in order to do this, but will he regret his decision? 

Captain Jahan Orfalea is a Turkish soldier who must carry out unspeakable tasks and lead his troops through some devastating details.  A good man, with a heart which belies his uniform, can he ignore the effects of the war and the millions of people who are are suffering?  Is his pride in his Country and his race enough to carry on? 

This is not just a story of war.  It is a story of hope, innocence, ignorance and grief.  A tale of love, boundaries, forgiveness and disbelief.  Armenians are often overlooked in the world of fiction.  We have all read of the atrocities of war, from WW1 trench tales, to The Holocaust in WW2 and current fiction based in Afghanistan.  Many, many stories based on real events.  But this was a new approach for me.  The massive scale of Armenian genocide is brought to life in this novel, based on actual events.  Martine Madden has researched with obvious care and yet has managed to inject the story with the balance of cold, hard facts with beautiful, warm and genuine moments of fiction.  The protagonist, Anyush, is a character of strength and yet she has her own inner weakness.  This makes her come to life and linger with you, long after closing the back cover.  I didn't just read this book, I inhaled it.  The sights, smells and atmosphere were written with such clarity and were respectful of the period.  There was no need to add moral anecdotes or righteous opinion to this work.  It was simple and lyrical without needing any further addictions.  At first I struggled to keep up with all the characters, but this is due more to the language and unusual names rather than having too many different threads in the book.  Told from three main viewponts, each chapter has its own voice and each deserve their place.  There are no fillers in this book.  

Martine Madden has written a work of fiction that deserves its place on every bookshelf, alongside The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Sophie's Choice and Schindler's Ark.  371 pages that need to be read, enjoyed and appreciated.  A haunting tale that will forever stay with you.
Cannot recommend highly enough..............

Anyush is published by Brandon, an imprint of The O'Brien Press and is available in paperback an ebook format 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

" The Four Streets" by Nadine Dorries - Guest Review from Celeste McCreesh

Thanks to Celeste McCreesh of for her guest review.......

This book is written by Nadine Dorries who most people in the UK will know as a somewhat controversial MP. Nadine divides opinion and I am fairly sure that this book will do the same. It is the first part of a trilogy, the second part being issued in December 2014. 
The book is set in Liverpool in the 1950's. It was about a tight knit Irish Community who through trials and tribulations showed how far they would go for each other. Two young girls with their own secrets which they had to keep close to their hearts. I found this story a little disturbing especially with Molly's threatened innocence.  Although it started off well and thought it was going to be a nice book about a community pulling together, it ended up that there is a dark side to it, and rather than spoil it, I would say if you are super-sensitive then it may be wise to give it a miss but if you enjoy advertisements for the NSPCC this is the novel for you. It upset me and made me feel sick and I didn't enjoy it at all, it was very graphic, poorly written with a ghost character thrown in just to make it that little less believable.  Unfortunately because I didn't enjoy this book I won't be reading the next installment of this trilogy.

Thank you to & Head of Zeus via Margaret Madden for allowing me to read and review this book. This book is available on kindle & in all good bookstores.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

It's my 1st year Blogiversary. Let's Celebrate !!!

It has been exactly one year since I wrote my first post on  I can’t believe how much fun it has been and how a little blog like mine could have taken off so fast!  It just goes to prove that books are alive and well and long may this last!!

Rather than asking authors or publishers to donate books for the giveaways, I have bought a few things myself and plan to run giveaways through the day.  There will be some books, of course, as well as some other girlie treats.  I have managed to get some lovely testimonials  from followers, authors, publishers that I will share with you on this special day.
I will be updating post right through the evening and adding giveaways, memories and snippets so keep checking back.

I have “Met” some amazing people through this process and it’s great to be able to chat away with like-minded people on a daily basis, about books, authors, events and just general chat.  As the review blog is for both adult and children’s books, there is such a special mix of people I can call on when I have a bookish question.  I want to thank everyone who has contributed over the past year; with guest reviews, comments, entering giveaways, RTs and Favourites and the wonderful support I got when I was doing my exams!  I’m off to college in September, but never fear, I’ll still be blogging about books and reviewing as many books as possible......

Thanks for reading my reviews and just being part of this great book review/blog community!!!
You can check back here all day to see some great quotes from authors, readers, bloggers and general bookish people.....

Just leave a blog comment, or comment on Facebook posts or RT tweets to enter the giveaways running all day.  My kids will take turns pulling name out of the hat ( an actual hat will be used, it is a special day afterall ) and I will tag winners.  Please be patient with postage delivery, as I pay for all my own giveaways, I may need to spread the postage costs over a week or two.  All Giveaways are open Internationally and I wish you all the best of luck!

Lots of love from Co. Louth.....
Margaret Bonass Madden

Some Blog Memories

Louise Phillips was the first author to come for an author evening at Bleach House Library.  An amazing, award winning author of Crime Fiction, she has helped me so much over the year and I thank her from the bottom of my heart XX

From Louise Phillips
As a writer it's wonderful to meet someone who is so passionate about books Margaret!! I love reading your reviews and appreciate that you have read my work. Writers need readers like you, and every bit of support is really appreciated. Thank you so much for the warm welcome of your wonderful bookclub too, and the chance to stay in that lovely library of books!! I know and it's readers look forward to your reviews too. You have a talent for getting to the soul of a book which is something really remarkable. I'm not surprised your blog has taken off so well as it is filled with great pieces and within a very short time, you have become one of the top reviewers in the Irish publishing scene. Happy reading and happy blogging! 

Another author evening, this time with my great pal, Carmel Harrington.  An inspiration in persistence and determination.

Vlog From Carmel Harrington 


Bleach House Front Door (during renovation)
Books are definitely my bag !!
Giveaway #1 

CLOSED-winner @agi_mybookshelf
Blog Memories

 Filming for TV3 bookclub with Esquires BookClub at BleachHouseLibrary

Vanessa O'Loughlin of, Zoe Miller and myself in Dubray Books,Grafton St.

From Claire Allen

You wrote the most gorgeous review of 'The First Time...' which really made me feel like I had done something very special with the book. It was an open and honest review and one I will cherish x

From Lisa Redmond of

Margaret is one of the most passionate book lovers I have ever met and I am delighted to have seen her blog really take off. She is a great supporter of writers especially Irish writers


Giveaway #2

Super cute notebook. Who doesn't love stationary???
Just comment below using Ruler in your message.  ___________________________________________________________________________

 Mia got to meet and interview Erika McGann !!

A visit to The O'Brien Press was one of our highlights.
From AnnMarie Miles

There are some blogs that grab you straight away - this is one of them. 
Before Bleachhouse I would have said I don't read book reviews (or write them). But I read them now...
Margaret has a great way of telling you just about enough to tempt you in, without blowing the plot. 

I was particularly struck by her review of Nuala Ní Choncuir's book, 'The Closet of Savage Momentos', much talked about at the time. Margaret dispensed with the other issues and did what she always does. Made me want to read more. 

To know she has read my own book is a special treat ;)

Here's to many more years of Bleachhouse reviews. 

Annmarie Miles

Giveaway #3 

As we review children's books as well as adults, this one is for the kids. A copy of  Mad Monster Agency along with some kids bookmarks ( age 7+ ). Just comment below to enter and use word kids in your message.

___________________CLOSED - WINNER FIONA KEHOE ______________________

 Outside Amazon offices in Dublin

At Kate Kerrigan's book launch in Dublin

From Lynn Marie Hulsman 
One of my favorite things about blogger Margaret Bonass Madden is her authenticity. She will read any book she likes, and review it without regard to trend, status, or publisher. It's clear that she simply loves to read a good story, and to share her views with her tribe. I had the pleasure of being a guest at Bleach House Library. She honored both me and my books, while managing to maintain an open friendliness. I'm proud to support Margaret and her work. What she does is a gift to authors, and I know I'm not alone in my appreciation.

Lynn Marie

From Sue Carroll, Bookclub Buddy 

Margaret you always find some amazing books, and I was fortunate enough to have won from you (em, I'll read it when I away in a couple of weeks) - congratulations on your first anniversary


Giveaway #4

Great magnets styled like scrabble pieces. Just comment with 'magnets' in your message below.

Gillian Binchy at our interview about Ruby's Tuesday

The children of 4th class, Collon N.S. at one of my kids reader events

From Gillian Binchy
Huge congratulations on your 1st Blogiversary - aptly your paper anniversary !

I love your blog the reviews  they are beautifully written, very  entertaining, spot on and terribly honest. It was a pleasure to finally met you and the extended family this summer - a fantastic bunch. Thank you for having us to your incredible home. Wishing you continued success in your blogging and writing career - such a refreshing and interesting blog.

From a BIG fan 
Gillian Binchy

From Celeste McCreesh of
I've actually read a few of books over the last few months that Margaret has recommended on her blog & I hope to get more of them read, I don't think I've ever met anyone as passionate about books as she is, she also is a huge supporter of alot of Irish authors & their books that have been released over the last year or so & I  talking about everything book related with her too  Congrats again Margaret on your success  


Giveaway #5

A paperback edition of the wonderful Jodi Picoult's Change of Heart.  Just leave comment with 'Jodi' in your message to enter.


Nicola Pierce after her talk on City of Fate

Me showing my crime investigating skills at Carmel Harrington book launch, Enniscorthy Castle

From Nuala Ni Chonchuir
'Writers don't get out much, apart from to meet other writers, so I always love a chance to meet readers, daunting and all as that can be. I was delighted when Margaret asked me to her stunning Louth home to meet her book club, who had recently read my novel. It was like meeting people I had known for ages - they were all warm, witty and wise, with plenty of insights and opinions about my characters: 'She didn't really love your man!' 'Yes she did!' We chatted and yapped and laughed; the convo sometimes serious, always honest.
Margaret and her club, as well as the family and dogs, couldn't have been more welcoming to me, my husband and youngest daughter, Juno.
The author night at Bleach House was one of those rare, memorable events that happen to us as writers: something out-of-the-ordinary, offered up as a gift, by a truly enthused, decent and warm reader. Thanks a million, ó chroí, Margaret - may your devotion to books continue to bring great things to your life and to the lives of others.' Nuala Ní Chonchúir, author of The Closet of Savage Mementos

From Sharon Wilden of
Several of the books I've added to my Amazon wishlist recently is as a result of your reviews, one of the latest is Ruby Tuesday.
Sharon x 

Giveaway #6

Really cute clip-on book light.  Just comment below with 'light' in your message to enter.

_____________________CLOSED- WINNER CELESTE MCCREESH_______________________

Dexter (named after serial killer) is getting some tips....

The amazing John Connolly. I am a MASSIVE fan !!

From Liz Nugent
I will have to meet you some time! You are such a great supporter of writers and readers! THANK YOU! x

From Hazel Gaynor
'Margaret wrote one of the very first reviews of the The Girl Who Came Home and although I was terrified of what she would think, I was very happy to know that my book was in good hands. Margaret's reviews are always honest, thoughtful and considered. This lady knows books! She also works exceptionally hard at what she does, which is why her second year of book blogging will be even more epic than the first. As for her author evenings - I am recovering from one as I type. Turns out that 'evenings' can be wonderfully long when books, wine and great company collide!' 


Giveaway #7

Paperback edition of Mrs Zhivago. Just comment 'Zhivago' in your message below.
At Maria Duffy's Book Launch, Dublin

My summer outdoor office ;)


Giveaway #8 

Cute cotton tote. Perfect as a book bag! Just comment 'tote' in your message to enter.

Have to finish up for tonight as internet playing up :(

Back tomorrow for part two, with lots more giveaways and photo memories!!!



I had so much fun yesterday, but the internet started to play up and I had to quit before all giveaways done. So, continuing today, with more books and random stuff.  Keep spreading the word and leaving comments, RTs and best of luck to you all !!!


Giveaway #9

For crime fiction lovers. Magnetic bookmarks. Just comment 'Murder' below in your message.


Prof. Terence Dooley was my first non-fiction review.

Me and TV3 prize winning author, Jennifer Burke


Giveaway #10

Shortlisted for Orange Prize 2006, a wonderful debut. Just comment 'Rules@ in your message below. RT, share also gains an entry.

Two amazing ladies, Carmel Harrington & Hazel Gaynor, signing in Drogheda.

From Lavender Smith of

 I love your blog and am so happy that I can always find the best Irish books on it! I keep track of your reviews, so I won't miss any great new discovery. You're also a great friend and I'm glad I've met you.


Giveaway #11

Cute notebook which basically says what we all think ;)  Just comment below with 'trap' in your message.

_______________________CLOSED - WINNER ANNMARIE MILES_______________________

Me and Clare Dowling, Dubray Books, Grafton St

2 of my reviewers, Cassie & Mia, aged 10.


Giveaway #12

You can never have enough bookmarks! Just comment 'owls' in your message below to enter.

__________________________________________CLOSED - WINNER EM-BLOG_________
Myself and Zoe Miller

Janet E Cameron in Dubray Books


Giveaway #13

Everyone needs something light to read in the summertime. Just comment 'Fairy Godmother' in your message below to enter. 

_________________CLOSED - WINNER LAVENDER SMITH ______________________

Final Giveaway and a Big Thank You!

Mr. Darcy, you are my soulmate !!!

My real-life Mr. Darcy. My real-life soulmate.

A massive thanks has to go to my husband, Declan ( also known as Mr. Darcy ) for putting up with a wife who is constantly either reading or tweeting. Non-stop. He has the patience of a saint and I love him dearly. He encourages me everyday and nagged me (gently) to study for my exams.  As my tattoo says " I believe we were designed for each other " 
Pride and Prejudice

My five chicks. Thanks for agreeing to takeaway on more than one occasion!

Giveaway #14

Kindly donated ( I didn't even ask, I swear ) by the author,  a SIGNED edition of Hazel Gaynor's The Girl Who Came Home and a bookmark - A New York Bestseller if you don't mind !!!
Just comment 'Titanic' in your message below to enter.


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