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Posts Tagged ‘Louise Beech’

Hard to believe that we’re half way through the year already, and as we’ve hit this milestone, I figured that it might be a good time to round up some of the great indie books that I’ve featured so far and some of the great authors who have given their time to take part in author interviews or written guest posts for us to read.

Links to each of the Friday features are below, or alternatively if you want to use the search function at the top of the page, just type in the name of the book or author to bring up the relevant page.

Feature Links:
Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech (book feature)
The Twitches Meet a Puppy by Hayley Scott (book feature)
Fractured Winter by Alison Baillie (book feature)
Inborn by Thomas Enger (book feature)
Roz White (author feature)
Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz (book feature)
The Courier by Kjell Old Dahl (book feature)
The Red Light Zone by Jeff Zycinski (book feature)
A Letter From Sarah by Dan Proops (book and author feature)
The Silver Moon Storybook by Elaine Gunn (book feature)
Runaway by Claire MacLeary (book feature)
Sunwise by Helen Steadman (book feature)
The Lives Before Us by Juliet Conlin (book feature)
The Red Gene by Barbara Lamplugh (book and author feature)
Death at The Plague Museum by Lesley Kelly (book feature)
Heleen Kist (author feature)
White Gold by David Barker (book feature)
Sonny and Me by Ross Sayers (book and author feature)
Claire MacLeary (author feature)
A History of Magic and Witchcraft: Sabbats, Satan and Superstitions in the West by Frances Timbers (book feature)
The Killer Across The Table by John E. Douglas & Mark Olshaker (book feature)
Maggie Christensen (author feature)

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Today’s Celebrating Indie Publishing features a review of a book that’s not yet published. It’s a book that I was extremely lucky to get an early copy of, and for that I am very grateful to Karen at Orenda Books for this.

Call Me Star Girl is the fifth book from Louise Beech, and it’s the first psychological thriller she’s written. Publication date of the ebook is 18th February 2019 and can be pre ordered now!

Description:

Tonight is the night for secrets…

A taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller, reminiscent of Play Misty for Me … from the critically acclaimed author of Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost…

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 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…

My Thoughts:
Everyone has a go to author, one you turn to when you need ‘that’ book, the one that will fill your heart with hope, or have your mind spiralling with the endless what-ifs and for me that author has become Louise Beech.

With a flowing writing style, I can easily be led into the worlds of her books without a second thought. Her vivid descriptions conjure the fictional settings so clearly, the characters are more than just names on pages, they become read. They take on a multidimensional feel, you become connected to them, invested in them….

Call Me Star Girl is Beech’s first foray into the dark world of psychological thrillers and I will admit, I was somewhat hesitant to delve into this. Louise Beech writes beautiful literary fiction, ones filled with human interest, brimming with emotion, characterisation and some of the most powerful writing I’ve had the pleasure of reading. But was I ready for her writing to turn dark? I put my faith in Louise and her writing and followed her into the world of murder and night-time radio.
The plotting of this novel is superb, so taut and clever. No matter how many times I tried to guess ahead or make a connection that wasn’t ready to be made, Louise craftily denied me the knowledge or threw me with some brilliant misdirection.

There’s something addictive about the way this story is told, the flicking between perspectives allows readers to see events from the view of someone else connected to it, and although we may not agree with their actions or mentality, it does give a shred of understanding to why they take the path that they do. Following events through the eyes of Stella and Elizabeth, is a startling look upon reality. The situations of past and present moulding these characters into the women they became.

As well as being a psychological thriller, this is also an exploration of the fragile nature of relationships and vulnerabilities. Delving into the fabric of what makes up the levels of relationships/connections between individuals, readers witness just how far people are willing to go to for another, what sacrifices they are willing to make and what secrets they are able to keep to protect others around them.
Watching the evolution of the relationships in this book, seeing how the power shifted, how things changed, makes for fascinating reading and does have a reader questioning how they might react in those circumstances, something intrinsically vital in Louise’s writing.

Would I recommend Call Me Star Girl? Absolutely! It’s a gripping and thrilling read, one that puts the reader on the edge of their comfort zone and asks for their trust as Louise Beech carefully and expertly leads them into the oft complex and dark world of relationships.

I raise my hat to Louise Beech for another brilliant book and word is that she’s already scribbling furiously on book number six!

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen at Orenda Books for my copy of this book and Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the blog tour**

 

Description:

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 it 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 Thoughts & Review:

If there’s one author you need to read it’s Louise Beech, this wily wordsmith has a unique gift when it comes to crafting a beautifully evocative tale that will capture the heart of readers.  You will often hear people throw the phrase “this is the best book yet” when they read the latest offering from an author, but in this case I truly believe that The Lion Tamer Who Lost is Louise’s absolute best book yet!

Without rehashing the plot, I will say that this is an incredibly moving and poignant read that flows beautifully.  The characters are so vivid and real, you can feel their anguish, their frustration, their happiness and become so invested in them, they become part of you.
This is a love story like no other and it draws emotions from the reader in a way that I cannot explain.  It was likened to the sort of book that brings on a therapeutic cry, a bit like the way that Beaches starring Barbra Streisand never fails to make me weep, and I found that whilst reading this I went through an entire box of tissues.

The most exquisite thing about Louise’s writing is that she portrays emotion and the fragility of it so sympathetically, so understandingly, but with a frankness that does not shy away from the magnetic pull of it.

If you want characters that you can take into your heart, a plot that carry you off to the wilds of Zimbabwe and back again, and writing that will take you on an emotional journey then this is the book for you.  I cannot recommend this highly enough!

The Lion Tamer Blog Tour Poster Final.jpg

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Hello and welcome to another Friday post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” and this time you lucky souls I have TWO books to feature!  They will be in separate posts because each book deserves to be in the spotlight on it’s own.
The book being featured here is the magnificent Maria in the Moon by the wonderful and disgustingly talented Louise Beech, it is published on 30 September 2017 by Orenda Books.


Book Feature:

Description:

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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 Thoughts & Review:

Louise Beech has the rare ability in her writing to render a reader utterly speechless and overcome with emotion.  In each of her books I have found there have been (numerous) moments where I can no longer see the page in front of me for the tears threatening to spill from my eyes and yet I can’t bear to part with the book for even a second to grab a tissue or blink furiously to rid myself of the pesky waterworks.  Each of her books is special, but Maria in the Moon somehow manages to be that little bit extra special.

In this book we meet Catherine, who until the age of nine was known by her family as Catherine-Maria.  She has no idea why they stopped calling her by her full Christian name, or indeed no memory of her ninth year.
Following devastating flooding in 2007, Catherine loses her home and feels drawn to volunteering at Flood Crisis, outside the call centre she finds that her memories begin to return.
Catherine’s story is one that deserves your full attention and appreciation, there are aspects that make for uncomfortable reading, there are moments when you will find that emotions threaten to get the better of you, but it is a rewarding read.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot and potentially ruin the book for others so I will leave my thoughts on the plot here.

As a character, Catherine is so perfectly created.  Her enduring fight to survive really makes her stand out and endears her to readers.  She has battled so long and hard over the years, and has grown a shell of sorts to protect her.  A surly attitude coupled with dark humour are her defence mechanisms, but underneath it all there is a soft, sensitive and caring person so deserving of a good life.  Such a complex character that became so uncomplicated the more I read, and by the end of the book I felt as though Catherine had become my friend, she’s certainly taken a place in my heart.

As I mentioned above, there are some aspects of Maria in the Moon that are of a difficult nature, ones that could cause some discomfort for readers, but I do believe that Louise Beech has written these with great care to ensure sensitivity and empathy.

For me, some of the most awe inspiring writing came from the depiction of the flooding in Hull in 2007.  Beech managed to vividly capture the desolation, the panic, the distress caused by it all.  I could feel the emotions of those affected by the floods, the emotions were just so powerful.

This has got to be one of the most powerful books I’ve had the privilege to read this year, it’s such a poignant and moving read that Beech has managed to sneak dark humour into to make it a beautiful book that NEEDS to be in the hands of every reader.

You can buy a copy of Maria in the Moon via:

Orenda eBookstore
Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

Maria in the Moon - Blog Tour Poster

 

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The Mountain in my Shoe aw.indd

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on Louse Beech’s blog tour for The Mountain In My Shoe and share with you a piece Louise has kindly written for us.

“A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself.  On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all. Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.”

You can buy a copy of The Mountain in My Shoe here.


Water, water, everywhere….

When launching my novel – The Mountain in my Shoe – in Hull, writer Russ Litten observed that water is a huge theme in my work. It’s a constant that trickles through my words. I realised how right he is. I’m haunted by the sea, by rivers, by rain, by water.

In my début – How to be Brave – the sea was, in essence, another character. As the lost crew of the SS Lulworth Hill drifted aimlessly on the searing hot South Atlantic Sea, I made the ocean as much a person as they were. She lapped at the boat, she seduced them with her melody until some men jumped to their death, she gave food in the flying fish, and she took life with the predatory sharks. I could smell and feel that water as I wrote the book; still do when I read it aloud.

In The Mountain in my Shoe that water is a turbulent river, the Humber, which is one of the most dangerous in the world. She is backdrop to a novel full of emotions, reveals, tension, and hardship. She sets a certain atmosphere with her whirling currents and freezing temperatures. In this novel, as in my first, this water almost claims characters who dare test her.

In my next novel, one I’m currently working on, the water is the horrendous rain of June 2007, when floods destroyed homes and lives across England. Here in Hull, we endured some of the worst destruction. I lost my home, my car and many of our precious belongings.
This experience inspired Maria in the Moon, a novel that how Catherine volunteers at a crisis centre to help others going through the same floods. In the story, everything is flushed out, including a long buried, tragic childhood memory she had previously forgotten.

Water can be a metaphor for so many things. Our emotions mainly. She’s ruled by the moon when we consider the sea. She comes in torrents, ruining our lives, flushing out the truth.
But she soothes and quenches us. No wonder she’s a marvellous thing, and no wonder that she’s splashed, trickled, drenched and quenched so many of my novels.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, extracts and fantastic guest posts written by Loiuse!

the-mountain-in-my-shoe-blog-tour-poster

About The Author:

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Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose début novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. 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 is also part of the
Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show. The Mountain in My Shoe was longlisted for the 2016 Not the Booker Prize.

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