Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech | @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater | #blogtour #RandomThingsTours #recommended

Delighted beyond words to host a stop on the blog tour for Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Louise Beech
Title : Call Me Star Girl
Pages : 276
Publisher : Orenda
Publication date : April 18, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Tonight is the night for secrets…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Thoughts? Ha! Bloody hell, I don’t know. I can’t even begin to think of any words. I hurt. Way deep inside, like an awful physical pain that makes me want to curl up into a tiny ball under the duvet and just weep.

Louise Beech is one of maybe two authors who always manages to make me cry in the ugliest way possible. So when I heard she had gone down the dark path and written a psychological thriller, I felt relieved and my first thought was how I wouldn’t need to stock up on tissues and explain to my other half why my eyes were so red. There’s only so many times you can use the “I was chopping onions” excuse, you know.

How wrong I was. How massively wrong to think for just one second that Louise Beech would somehow stick to the “rules” of this genre. Because we all know by now this is an author who doesn’t fit neatly into a labeled box and neither does Call Me Star Girl. I was expecting something dark and boy, did I get that! But despite all the warnings, I was not prepared for how devastating this story would turn out to be.

Such incredible characterisation, such complex and multi-layered personalities, so many secrets and throughout it all a stunning Noir vibe, feeling like I was watching an old black and white movie and then the utterly exquisite writing, which just pulls you in, sweeps you up and away, becoming so immersed you forget everything and everyone around you, all the while stirring something deep inside. Call Me Star Girl is intensely compelling, emotional, memorable and thought-provoking. What would you do for love?

This is the kind of novel that causes book hangovers. I don’t know where to go from here. My heart is broken and nobody is able to elicit those kinds of emotions from me but the amazingly talented and incomparable Louise Beech. Wherever she goes, whatever she writes, I will follow her without a moment’s hesitation.

Call Me Star Girl is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019.

Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice.

Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Weekly Wrap-Up (April 14)

First things first! Many, many thanks for all the positive vibes you guys sent my way here and over Twitter regarding my doggie. The news was altogether pretty positive and she’s out of the woods for now. Unfortunately, it looks like it might turn into a recurring problem. She’s old after all. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, she’s being spoilt rotten … erm, even more so than before.

Yohi would very much like to point out she looks amazing for her age

What the hell happened to Spring?! It’s been so cold this past week, with a few nights even going below freezing point again and I do NOT approve! Still, that does mean I can ignore my garden for a little longer and stay nice and warm on my sofa, surrounded by books.

So, what have I been reading this week, I hear you ask.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

Another six off the shelf! I’m happy with that amount because that C.J. Sansom series is one doorstop after the other. This one was a mere 576 pages, although it didn’t feel like it.

I also finished an audiobook but since I started it weeks ago, I didn’t feel it should count 🤣

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I’m continuing with my collection of Harlan Coben books, of which I apparently read more than I thought 🙄. I also went ahead and bought the three books in the James Marwood series by Andrew Taylor because of Kate. If you love historical fiction, you should definitely follow her!

These are the April 4th preorders that finally arrived. Why yes, I have already read two of them.

| BOOK POST THAT LANDED ON MY DOORSTEP THIS WEEK |

Lucky, lucky blogger. With thanks to Orenda Books and Penguin!

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Reviewed The Bridal Party by J.G. Murray

Tuesday : Shared my review for My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Shared an extract from Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer on the blog tour

Friday : Nothing

Saturday : Took the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

I didn’t get any reminder emails so it’s safe to say I didn’t forget to write anything down in my schedule and at least I managed to fill in some of the gaps. Let’s just call it the quiet before the storm. 😂

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing planned

Tuesday : Blog tour | Review | The Passengers by John Marrs
Tuesday : Blog tour | Guest Post | White Leaves of Peace by Tracey Iceton

Wednesday : Blog tour | Review | The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Blog tour | Review | The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

Friday : Blog tour | Review | Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Told you things would get back to normal soon 😂. Still ahead of schedule though. I’ve read all of them, I just need to write one more review.

In other news, voting is now open in the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. I’ve been nominated for Best Book Blog, alongside 64 other amazing book bloggers. I don’t stand a chance of winning but if you feel so inclined to cast a vote my way, please do. I don’t know if they rank everyone but if they do, I’d quite like to avoid coming last 😂 . You can vote here

Question of the week : Short versus long books. Yes, of course this was prompted by the Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom. Does a high amount of pages put you off starting a book? What is your cut-off point, if you have one?

I personally don’t care. I mean, I read the Game of Thrones series. Some of those went over a thousand pages and it didn’t bother me at all. Obviously I’d need more time in my schedule to tackle something like that than I do now. And preferably someone to hold the book up and flip the pages for me. 😂

Speaking of Game of Thrones, the final series starts tonight/tomorrow, depending on where you are. I will be disappearing off social media every Monday until I’ve had the chance to watch the episode myself so don’t worry if I’m late with sharing your posts or just not interacting. Should probably say, interacting even less. I just know the second I go online, there will be spoilers and I will do anything to avoid that. I so can’t wait!

Right, enough babble for this week. Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time. Happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (April 10)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

Summer, 1540. Matthew Shardlake, believing himself out of favour with Thomas Cromwell, is busy trying to maintain his legal practice and keep a low profile. But his involvement with a murder case, defending a girl accused of brutally murdering her young cousin, brings him once again into contact with the King’s chief minister – and a new assignment . . .

The secret of Greek Fire, the legendary substance with which the Byzantines destroyed the Arab navies, has been lost for centuries. Now an official of the Court of Augmentations has discovered the formula in the library of a dissolved London monastery. When Shardlake is sent to recover it, he finds the official and his alchemist brother brutally murdered – the formula has disappeared.

Now Shardlake must follow the trail of Greek Fire across Tudor London, while trying at the same time to prove his young client’s innocence. But very soon he discovered nothing is as it seems . . .

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

I fully expect this week’s reading to knock my socks off! What’s on your list this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Some of my most anticipated books of 2019

At the end of last year, I mentioned doing a post focusing on some of my most anticipated releases for the new year. Since then, it seems everyone and their dog has done a post like that so obviously my idea wasn’t as original as I thought it was. Anyway, I decided to share this list regardless and hopefully you’ll find something that will pique your interest.

Listed by publication date for digital and hardcover copies.

| JANUARY |

Steve Cavanagh – Twisted
Matt Wesolowski – Changeling
Will Dean – Red Snow
Steph Broadribb – Deep Dirty Truth
Diane Setterfield – Once Upon A River

| FEBRUARY |

Angela Marsons – Dead Memories
Jo Spain – Dirty Little Secrets
Stacey Halls – The Familiars
Louise Beech – Call Me Star Girl
C.J. Tudor – The Taking of Annie Thorne
Alex Michaelides – The Silent Patient

| APRIL |

Gillian McAllister – The Evidence Against You

| MAY |

Stuart MacBride – All That’s Dead
Alison Weir – Anna of Kleve : Queen of Secrets
Sarah Hilary – Never Be Broken
Melanie Golding – Little Darlings

| JUNE |

Karin Slaughter – The Last Widow
Alex North – The Whisper Man

| JULY |

Riley Sager – Lock Every Door

| UNKNOWN |

Sharon Bolton – The Poisoner

This is a weird one but I’ve included it anyway. I could have sworn the original publication date was May but Amazon now lists it as December 2020, which quite frankly I refuse to believe because I WANT IT NOW!

Honourable mention to Johana Gustawsson and the third book in the Roy & Castells series.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a great bookish year once again! Which book(s) are you looking forward to the most? Do let me know and I hope you’ve found something in this list that caught your eye. Happy reading! xx

My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2018

What an absolutely amazing year for books it has been! 

Just like last year, I thought splitting things up between series and stand-alones would help narrow down the list but nope. A Top 10 was never going to happen here. Despite the fact that my reading mojo was up and down like a bloody yo-yo all year, I still managed to read 250 books. Sure, that’s 50 less than last year but do I care? Clue : no, I don’t 😉

Anyway, I present to you My Top 20 Favourite (stand-alone) Reads of 2018. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list.

In no particular order, except for the Top 5, here we go!

Phoebe Locke – The Tall Man [my review]
Louise Voss – The Old You [my review]
Linwood Barclay – A Noise Downstairs [my review]
Mark Edwards – The Retreat [my review]

Ane Riel – Resin [no review]
Joanna Cannon – Three Things About Elsie [no review]
Gillian McAllister – No Further Questions [my review]
Shari Lapena – An Unwanted Guest [my review]

Lesley Kara – The Rumour [review to follow]
Karin Slaughter – Pieces of Her [my review]
SJI Holliday – The Lingering [my review]
Elly Griffiths – The Stranger Diaries [review to follow]

Gill Paul – The Lost Daughter [my review]
Louise Beech – The Lion Tamer Who Lost [my review]
Rachel Rhys – Fatal Inheritance [my review]

Top 5

5. C.J. Tudor – The Chalk Man [my review]
4. Ruth Ware – The Death of Mrs Westaway [my review]
3. Liz Nugent – Skin Deep [my review]
2. Elizabeth Haynes – The Murder of Harriet Monckton [my review]

My favourite book of the year is …

I don’t think this comes as a huge surprise. When I read this back in February, I said it would take something insanely special to knock this off the top spot. Skin Deep and Harriet Monckton came awfully close but in the end, “Agatha Christie on crack” won out. [my review]

A massive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making 2018 so spectacular! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers, huge thanks for the support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #mustread

I’m beyond delighted to join the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech today! Massive thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my gorgeous (and embossed!) copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the tour!

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Author : Louise Beech
Title : The Lion Tamer Who Lost
Pages : 323
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 20, 2018

aboutthebook

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?

mythoughts

Good grief. I need a minute. Or a lie-down. Or maybe a few stiff drinks to get past this huge lump in my throat.

I don’t really consider myself a particularly emotional person (although I did once cry at a diaper commercial but that’s another story), yet somehow Louise Beech always manages to rip out my heart, stomp all over it and leave me a big, unattractive, blubbering mess.

We first meet Ben in the magnificent surroundings of Zimbabwe, where he’s volunteering at a lion sanctuary. It’s rather obvious from the start that Ben is trying to run away from something or someone but the what or the who is only teasingly revealed  and it took me a while to figure it all out. Back in England, we get to know Andrew. He’s a children’s author with a long outstanding wish. But when his wish comes true, he wishes it hadn’t. I’m not telling you any more than that. You need to just jump into this novel and be completely swept away.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a powerful, tragic and incredibly emotional love story. With realistic and believable characters that almost jump from the pages, I quickly found myself utterly invested in their lives. Their pain was my pain, their tears were my tears, their heartache was my heartache. What an incredible talent Louise Beech has to evoke all these emotions.

This beautifully written tale is not to be raced through or devoured. Every single word on every single page is to be savoured, to be cherished, to be felt deep down into your very core. It’s so hard to explain but it’s just … special. Original, compelling, emotive, exquisite and in case you weren’t able to tell, it left me lost for words but it is a gem of a book I will treasure forever.

This is the fourth book by Louise Beech I’ve read and I can never find the right words (or any words really) to do them any justice. She is the most amazing storyteller and if you’ve not yet read any of her novels, you’re doing yourself an extremely big disservice. Start with this one, work your way back. I promise you will thank me later! In the meantime, I will (im)patiently sit here and await whatever it is Louise Beech comes up with next because I just know it will be special once again.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice.

Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Author links : Twitter | Website

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My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017

top20

Around this time last year, I first started to get this wee itch about starting a blog as I desperately tried to get my favourites of 2016 shared via twitter and realised there had to be an easier way to talk about books. I can’t believe a whole year has passed since then and I’m here talking about my favourite books of this year. Crazy!

Last week, I shared my favourite series of the year which I thought would help me narrow down this list. Boy, was I wrong. It’s been an amazing year for books and since I nearly read 300 (there’s still time! 😂), a top 10 was never going to happen.

So I present to you, My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2017. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list. I feel bad but I had to narrow it down somehow or I may as well just have listed every book I’ve read.

In no particular order (except for the last one), here we go!

Stuart MacBride – A Dark So Deadly [my review]
Stuart MacBride – Now We Are Dead
Karin Slaughter – The Good Daughter [my review]
Sharon Bolton – Dead Woman Walking [my review]

Louise Beech – Maria in the Moon [my review]
Lesley Allen – The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir [my review]
Michael J. Malone – House of Spines [my review]

Alice Feeney – Sometimes I Lie [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – Her Last Secret [my review]
Barbara Copperthwaite – The Darkest Lies [my review]
Paul Cleave – A Killer Harvest [my review]

Thomas Enger – Cursed [my review]
Matt Wesolowski – Six Stories [my review]
Will Dean – Dark Pines [my review]
Johana Gustawsson – Block 46 [my review]

Alison Weir – Anne Boleyn : A King’s Obsession [my review]
Rachel Rhys – A Dangerous Crossing [my review]
Gill Paul – Another Woman’s Husband [my review]
Eve Chase – The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde [my review]

My favourite book of 2017

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Fredrick Backman – The Scandal / Beartown [my review]

I’m sure it comes as no surprise but I knew it the minute I started reading, that this was going to be my top book of the year!

***

And there you have it. Mahoosive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making my reading year so phenomenal! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers of this blog, thank you for your support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

I wish you all a wonderful and peaceful Christmas and Happy Holidays! xx

Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech @louisewriter @orendabooks @annecater #blogtour

** advanced copy received from publisher **

I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech today! Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda and Anne Cater for the opportunity and my advanced copy!

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Author : Louise Beech
Title : Maria in the Moon
Pages : 280
Publisher : Orenda
Publication date : August 15, 2017

aboutthebook

Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can’t.’

Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.

With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything.

Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide.

mythoughts

Good grief. What to say about this exquisitely told story? I postponed reading this one until I was on holiday, determined to savour every word on every page without a single interruption and I’m so glad I did. But it’s hard to find the words to describe how incredibly special Maria in the Moon is and I fear my review won’t do it any justice at all.

Let me just first point out that I’m not really known as the emotional type. Although I have been known to once cry at a nappy commercial but I swear that was a completely unexplainable hormonal thing. That said, there are two authors who always manage to make me shed a tear or two (or ten) and one of them is Louise Beech, who just seems to have this uncanny knack of pulling at my heartstrings until I need a stiff drink. Or two. (Or ten. Who’s counting?)

Catherine has an exceptional memory but for some reason, she can’t remember a single thing about the year when she was nine years old. When she loses her home to a flood, she volunteers at a Flood Crisis Line and bit by bit, things will start to fall into place that will ultimately reveal a devastating memory.

Maria in the Moon is a sometimes emotional, yet at times also a surprisingly witty story. I took to Catherine straight away. Not only do I appreciate a healthy dose of sarcasm but also the level of self-deprecating humour she displays, used to protect herself or hide her innermost feelings. It all just felt entirely relatable. Her relationship with her mother, complicated though it may be, came across as highly realistic and believable. And throughout the story you wonder about the importance of memories and how even things you may have forgotten can have an impact on the rest of your life.

I soon found myself utterly swept away on the waves of this touching and moving tale. Catherine’s story is dark, heartfelt and honest, deeply moving and yet also inspiring. Hers isn’t the only heartbreaking story to be told as callers to the Crisis Line deal with issues of their own. All these characters felt so real, I expected them to jump off the pages. I got so invested in their lives, they stopped feeling like characters but more like real-life people dealing with real-life issues. Not all of the heavy variety but some everyday mundane things as well, like drawers that won’t open or an out-of-control smoke alarm.

I adored both of Louise Beech’s previous novels and was fully aware of her incredible talent. I always feel safe in this author’s hands, blindly trust her capabilities and I will gladly let her lead me wherever she wants. And yet, I wasn’t quite prepared for the effect Maria in the Moon would have on me. It’s so utterly powerful and emotive and it just blew me away. This is some exceptional and masterful storytelling. Maria in the Moon deserves pride of place on everyone’s bookshelf and I shall treasure my copy forever.

Massive thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda and Anne Cater!

Maria in the Moon is available now.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Louise Beech has always been haunted by the sea. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She was also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show for three years.

***

Maria in the Moon - Blog Tour Poster