Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…
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 fourteen 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…

With echoes of the Play Misty for MeCall Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

My Review

Louise Beech has been my favourite author who doesn’t write crime fiction for a few years and with this novel she has made a successful transition into my favourite genre. But whilst this is a crime novel, with a huge amount of tension, she still managed to tug at my heart strings.

Stella is the star of local radio, but she decided to quit the job she loves. Before she leaves she wants to know the secrets that her listeners have. And in return she will reveal hers. 

Well, where to begin… The three people who feature in the novel all have a connection to the murdered woman and her unborn child who tragically died with her. The connection is revealed throughout the novel, but mainly during one chapter when secrets are revealed and this part of the novel broke my heart a little.

It’s dual narrative and dual time frame. At first it was difficult to have any sympathy for Elizabeth. I found her selfish and struggled with the way that she neglected Stella. But as I read, I realised that she was the one who suffered more. Stella had Sandra, the woman who raised her, Tom and her friends through work. She had her listeners who she felt she a had connection with. She was also somebody you wouldn’t mess with, I was cheering when she dealt with the school bully. Elizabeth had nobody.

I had never considered what it must be like for somebody who works in the radio. To talk to people but have no contact. To be surrounded by people but be alone. To pick a playlist. I found this fascinating, wondering how the playlist was picked. Were they favourite songs that had some meaning or were they just songs that were played as the book was being written? Whichever, the playlist that is playing throughout this book is a good one.

There is the crime in this novel, but not in the conventional way with a police investigation. This is all from the people who knew the victim or in the latter part of the novel from Bob Fracklehurst who regular readers of Louise’s books will know very well. 

There was more than one victim, most of Stella’s story  left me feeling sad. How she could touch so many people and not realise how much she had an impact on them. This became more evident when Bob appeared and you could see how she affected people. Even the ones she never really knew. 

In this novel there is a lot of tension, there isn’t as much violence as in other crime novels but it is gripping. It is about a crime but mainly it is  about the small group of people who are connected to it. Louise Beech has written another stunning novel, she has proved that she can write in different genres and is an author who has never failed to deliver. 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have now read and thoroughly enjoyed all four of Louise Beech’s novels. She is the only author who doesn’t write crime fiction who I follow avidly. Her writing is exquisite.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story. Most of the novel concerns both Ben and Andrew, the reader sees both sides of their story. You first meet Ben when he is in Zimbabwe. You know that it is a life long dream but don’t know why he chose to be there at this time in his life. He is struggling with his emotions though, wanting to ring home, or write but not being able to do so. But he is somebody who struggles to admit to those close to him his true feelings. More is revealed as you read. It is a different setting for me, but I could visualise it through the writing. The weather, the magical sunrises, the lions with their beauty but also the knowledge that they could be a threat. And the vile coffee.
Andrew is a completely different character. Much more open in some ways, he has no problems with his sexuality, but in other ways he struggles. Health issues, a lonely childhood and the unfulfilled dream of becoming an author.
When reading this novel I felt like everything else that was happening in the world vanished. It was impossible to be distracted whilst reading. This is rare for me, I’m best reading with nothing happening in the background but with this book it didn’t matter. It took over everything. There is so much to love. Bob Fracklehurst ( a character who regular readers will know), the humour that is present in a relationship with a soul mate, the wrong words, the excerpts from Andrew’s book at the top of each chapter. I could go on and on.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. More than once. I cried at the relationship between Ben and Andrew a few times and I also cried over Will. The man who knew he had made mistakes, and regretted them.
An absolutely brilliant novel, told as always from the heart.

The Lion Tamer Blog Tour Poster Final

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech – Review.

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About the Book

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?
What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have now read and thoroughly enjoyed all four of Louise Beech’s novels. She is the only author who doesn’t write crime fiction who I follow avidly. Her writing is exquisite.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a love story. Most of the novel concerns both Ben and Andrew, the reader sees both sides of their story. You first meet Ben when he is in Zimbabwe. You know that it is a life long dream but don’t know why he chose to be there at this time in his life. He is struggling with his emotions though, wanting to ring home, or write but not being able to do so. But he is somebody who struggles to admit to those close to him his true feelings. More is revealed as you read. It is a different setting for me, but I could visualise it through the writing. The weather, the magical sunrises, the lions with their beauty but also the knowledge that they could be a threat. And the vile coffee.
Andrew is a completely different character. Much more open in some ways, he has no problems with his sexuality, but in other ways he struggles. Health issues, a lonely childhood and the unfulfilled dream of becoming an author.
When reading this novel I felt like everything else that was happening in the world vanished. It was impossible to be distracted whilst reading. This is rare for me, I’m best reading with nothing happening in the background but with this book it didn’t matter. It took over everything. There is so much to love. Bob Fracklehurst ( a character who regular readers will know), the humour that is present in a relationship with a soul mate, the wrong words, the excerpts from Andrew’s book at the top of each chapter. I could go on and on.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried. More than once. I cried at the relationship between Ben and Andrew a few times and I also cried over Will. The man who knew he had made mistakes, and regretted them.
An absolutely brilliant novel, told as always from the heart.

Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

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-two-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 devastating 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…

My Review

Catherine, whose house was badly damaged in the Hull floods volunteers on a helpline for those who are in a similar situation. She finds that concentrating on being there for others helps her deal with her own life and she can relax knowing that she is helping somebody else. Not everybody who rings in has flood related issues but she listens to them regardless. Some of the phone calls are comical but most are serious and often upset her.
I thought Catherine was incredible. She was made homeless from the floods and sleeps on a friend’s sofa, she is determined, brutally honest and at times has a sharp tongue. Especially with her mother and spoilt, pampered step sister. She has a fractured relationship with her mother and takes pleasure in using bad language just to annoy her. There were many amusing moments where she was admonished. But she has no memory of being nine years old and its starting to trouble her more. As she struggles to cope with current events, she is also determined to remember what happened when she was nine.
There were a few times when I felt choked reading. It’s not a depressing book but it is very emotional and when I got towards the end I was in tears more than once. The descriptions of the flood damage could only come from somebody who went through it. When you see it on the news you don’t feel it, smell it and see the destruction that it leaves behind. And I could sense the frustration at being ignored by the Government and the media, but being humbled by the kindness of those nearby. When she remembers what happened when she was nine and how she dealt with it broke me. I can’t write about that part of the novel in my review without spoilers so you will have to read it to find out more.
Louise Beech is an incredible author who has touched my heart with each of her novels. I feel when reading her words that you can see her soul. Her words are powerful, emotional and there is a passion about things that are important to her and people who are close to her. She is an author who I will never tire of reading. Maria in The Moon is probably my favourite book so far.

To read about Louise’s publication day click here

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My Publication Day – Louise Beech.

Today, I  would like to welcome you to my blog to read a new feature. I plan on running a series featuring several different authors and how they feel on their publication day.  Today my guest is the lovely Louise Beech who has already had two books published with Orenda and her third Maria In the Moon will be published in September.

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How will you spend the day?

I spend the day often in disbelief. Excited disbelief! Like, wow, it’s here. My baby is really out there. People can actually read it. Often the day is weirdly normal other than that because the actual launches are on different days to when the book is released. So, it can be a quiet day, where I likely carry on writing whatever new thing I’m creating. But now and again I stop and think again, wow, it’s out!

Will you be following reviews from early readers or do prefer not to know? (Excluding blog tours.)

I like to know. But it’s terrifying. It really is, every time. You’ve spent so long writing and editing and reworking, and you really want your work to be enjoyed. So I do look at places like Amazon and Goodreads… nervously!

Is it emotional, getting the novel you have worked on for months into the public eye?

Very emotional. A lot of my novels come from personal experiences, so you can feel quite exposed. I have learned to remember that not everyone feels the same about something. You can never please everyone. So, write from the heart, from your own truth, and put everything you have into it, and then you know you did the best you could, no matter what.

If you have had books published before, does the feeling change?

I swear, I think I get MORE excited! For me, it hasn’t faded one bit. Perhaps if you ask me again in ten years, the answer might be different, but I hope not. And, to be honest, I think I’ll still be excited. I’m just that kind of girl. A clap my hands and jump about kind of girl!

I often wonder and imagine that when your novel is published and you have been working on at least one novel since, is the book that is published less important?

Not less important, but sometimes strange. As in, for example, right now I’ve just been editing book four (The Lion Tamer Who Lost, which will be out next year) and have started book five, while still promoting The Mountain in my Shoe, and now of course Maria in the Moon. So sometimes you forget which story you’re in, so to speak. Because, trust me, I’m deeply in them when I write/edit. I live them.

And is it a distraction, welcome or otherwise having to focus on what is for you old material?

Haha, I quite like it. Maria in the Moon was first written after the 2007 Hull Floods, so it really is ‘old’ material in many ways. It really was a revisit when I came to edit it. But it was like revisiting an old me. A younger me. A me going through a hard time. And it was wonderful to think how far I’ve come since.

Do blog tours make you more nervous or do you see them as beneficial?

I know they are beneficial, but of course you can be nervous. Luckily, it’s usually with bloggers/reviewers who like your work generally.

What is your publication day treat? Champagne, cream cake, 10km run?

A lovely bottle of Prosecco, chocolate, and a dance around the room!

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