Blog Tour/Book Review: Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Call Me Star Girl, the latest novel by Louise Beech.

My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Orenda Books for my review copy.  You can read my review below.

Call Me Star GirlAbout 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…

With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call 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…

Format: Paperback (300 pp.)    Publisher: Orenda Books
Published: 18th April 2019 Genre: Fiction, Thriller

Purchase Links*  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Call Me Star Girl on Goodreads

My Review

I’ve seen so many other book bloggers heaping praise on Louise Beech’s latest book that I’m pleased to have had the opportunity finally to experience it for myself. I know her pedigree as a writer from her earlier book, Maria in the Moon, which I really loved, and I have several of her other books in my TBR pile.

Call Me Star Girl oozes atmosphere from the very first page. This is a book where your review has definitely to be more about how the book made you feel than what it’s about both for fear of giving anything away or of spoiling the sheer experience of reading it for others. In the author’s skilful hands, the reader is taken on an emotional journey that is, at times, unsettling, chilling and full of twists and turns.

Events unfold over one night during Stella’s last shift at a community radio station. It’s late at night and for much of the time she’s alone in the building with only callers to the station providing any human contact. The narrative is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of Stella and her mother, Elizabeth, going back and forth in time to chart their troubled relationship, and between Stella and her boyfriend, Tom. I confess some of the latter felt voyeuristic in a way I found quite unsettling.

I loved that Louise Beech chose once again to use Hull as the setting for her book. I also enjoyed the occasional references to the nature of fiction, reminding the reader that you should not necessarily believe everything you’re told. And there’s room for a couple in jokes as well. At one point the young Stella, after recounting a story she’s written at school, is told she should write mystery novels when she grows up. Earlier, in response to the use of the pet name ‘Star Girl’ by her mother, Stella says, “We just need a killer twist and a cliffhanger ending, and we could have a bestseller called Star Girl“.

Call Me Star Girl is a dark, intense story of desire, control and secrets. It poses the question what would you do, how far would you go, what risk would you incur for the one you love?

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Orenda Books, and Random Things Tours.

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In three words: Dark, intense, compelling

Louise Beech Author PhotoAbout 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.

Connect with Louise

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call me star girl blog poster 2019

Blog Tour/Review: The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl

The Boy At The Door Blog Tour

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for psychological thriller, The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl.  The Boy at the Door is published in hardback on 12th July 2018 but you can snap up an ecopy of the book now by following the purchase links below.

The Boy at the DoorAbout the Book

What would you do for the perfect life?  Would you lie?  Cheat? Or…kill?

Cecilia Wilborg has the perfect life: a handsome husband, two beautiful daughters and a large house in the picture-postcard town of Sandefjord.

Then Tobias arrives.  He’s a small, friendless eight-year-old boy.

But he threatens to bring Cecilia’s world crashing down.

Format: hardback, ebook (384 pp.)                    Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: ebook (1st May), hardcover (12th July 2018) Genre: Thriller

Purchase Links*
Publisher (buy direct and save 25%) | ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Boy at the Door on Goodreads

My Review

Cecilia Wilborg’s perfect life is in reality built on fragile foundations – if secrets and lies can ever be considered foundations – and Tobias, even though he’s only eight, may be just the person who brings the whole thing crashing down.  ‘I’m overwhelmed by a sensation of the past as a slithering snake sneaking up on me, ready to unleash its poison on this immaculate life I’ve fought so hard for.’

Tobias is perceptive, observant and his childhood experiences have taught him to be self-dependent, self-controlled and to trust no-one.  Above all, he notices things, particularly about Cecilia.  ‘She’s sad.  I don’t know why, because she has the things to make you happy, but she isn’t.’  And he remembers fragments from the past that don’t immediately make sense to him.  That doesn’t mean he’s not also a lost little boy.

Some of the places Tobias has stayed are a far cry from the well-to-do area in which Cecilia, her husband, Johan, and their two daughters live.   And Cecilia’s ‘carefully curated life’ of shopping, managing her interior design business, glamorous foreign holidays, visiting the gym and enjoying the odd glass of wine (or four) is far removed from that of Annika, extracts from whose journal are interspersed through the book.   However, perhaps Cecilia and Annika have more in common than one might think?

The Boy at the Door takes the reader into a dark world of secrets, lies, drugs and violence, all set against a backdrop of Norway’s forests and fjords.  The book takes you on a twisty, suspenseful and compelling journey as the web of lies becomes more complicated and intricate by the minute, before secrets from the past are finally revealed with devastating consequences. If you’re fascinated by the character, Cecilia Wilborg, why not visit her blog?

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Head of Zeus, in return for an honest and unbiased review.  Oh, and thanks for the letter, Cecilia…

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In three words: Dark, gritty, compelling

Try something similar…Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall (click here to read my review)

Alex Dahl
Photo credit: Nina Rangoy

About the Author

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author.  Born in Oslo, she currently divides her time between London and Sandefjord.  The Boy at the Door is her first novel.

Connect with Alex

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