That Was The Month That Was… April 2019! #ReadingWrapUp

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April was a busy month for me so I’ve been feeling shattered but it was a productive month so it was worth it.

My husband had two weeks holiday from work and most of our time was spent shopping for a new car, and it was harder work than I’d envisioned. Our current car is old and we got it before my disability happened so it’s really not practical for me. We’ve now chosen our new car and are awaiting a delivery date.

We then spent a lot of our time binge-watching Line of Duty (I’d seen a couple of series but he’d seen none of it so we watched from the beginning). It was stressful avoiding spoilers for the current series as we were catching up but we finally watched episode 5 of series 5  late on Sunday night so we’re up to date ready for the final episode this weekend!

 

Here are the books I read in April:

 

Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

 

Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

 

The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir

 

The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up and The Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner

Mary’s Household Tips and Tricks by Mary Berry

 

April Blog Posts & Reviews:

That Was The Month That Was… March

Review of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Review of Sleep by C. L. Taylor

Review of Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

Review of 55 by James Delargy

This Week in Books (10 April)

Stacking the Shelves (13 April)

Review of Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

Review of The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

This Week in Books (17 April)

Review of Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

Review of Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

This Week in Books (24 April)

Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Samantha Henthorn, Author of Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue (Guest Post)

 

The state of my TBR:

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So my TBR is completely and utterly out of control again! My plan to reduce my TBR by a small number each month so that it would be 200 books smaller by the end of this year has gone awry! Given my plan I should have 2367 or fewer books on my TBR but the actual number is 2526! Ooops! I was aware that I’m accumulating books faster than I’m reading them but I didn’t realise the numbers were so far apart from each other. I think I need to have another book cull and to really think more about the books I’m buying or accepting for review. (Or accept that I’m going to have a TBR mountain that I never get to the bottom of!).

 


 

How was April for you? I hope you all had a good month and that you read lots of good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

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Book Review: Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech | @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #CallMeStarGirl

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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

I’m a massive fan of Louise Beech’s writing so I was thrilled beyond words to read Call Me Star Girl for this tour.

Call Me Star Girl is the story of Stella who is about to do her last ever late night radio show and she wants her listeners to share their secrets so that she can share hers. We get her story told in two timelines – the time around the murder and the present day. Stella was left by her mother as a young teenager and it’s something that she’s struggled with all of her life since then. Her mother Elizabeth is the other narrator of this book – it’s told alternately between them so we gradually get to fill in the back story of Stella’s life and to see what made her who she is.

Stella is in a fairly new relationship with Tom and she is very insecure about it. She’s convinced that one day he’ll realise that she’s boring and she’ll be left alone again. I felt so sorry for her as I learnt this about her. She clearly just wants to feel happy and secure with someone and will do anything to try and have that. Her relationship with Tom escalates and I worried about how it was all going to work out for Stella.

Stella works on a late night radio show and always feels okay about walking home alone. But then one night a book is left for her in reception with an intriguing note that doesn’t make sense to her, and later she finds that that same night a young woman was murdered in an alley nearby.

This novel is haunting! From the very beginning there is an uneasiness that settles around you as you read and yet you just can’t put the book down. This is Louise’s first crime thriller and she brings to it her incredible way of writing characters that are so real and believable. No one writes characters like her.

I felt really unsettled as Stella’s last show progresses. It’s clear that Stella is feeling on edge about being in the studio alone and she’s never felt that before. The murder is playing on her mind, it having happened so close to where she works and it feels like an element of paranoia is working its way into her thoughts. The writing is so evocative – I felt like it was me in that studio, I could feel the darkness encroaching and felt as if someone were right there waiting to attack.

Louise always works in an element of coincidence that often seems incidental but causes a huge shift for the characters it affects. In this novel there is more than one coincidence and the way these are threaded through the novel and how the strands interweave and separate again is so incredibly done. Throughout this novel there are stars – Stella is the first and her mother’s perfume in the bottle with the beautiful star top is the second and also a lot of of this novel is set at night and Stella likes to open a window to let the cold in. It is so emotive then that at its heart this is a novel about fate (things being set in the stars). As you get further into the novel it seems like Stella is on a collision course with fate – the way her mother abandoned her and came back and then Tom comes into her life and it seems like things might get better. Fate has her plan and things often happen outside of us, outside of our control but it’s like it was destined for certain things to converge.

The thing I love most about Louise’s writing is the way she always makes me feel such strong emotions as I read. I wondered whether it would be the same with Call Me Star Girl, which being a thriller doesn’t seem like it would but it absolutely does! I cried, I felt uneasy and tense; I also laughed at the idea of news being reheated (and as an avid listener of late night radio I shall forever think of the repeat news bulletins as reheated!).  Oh, and it made me so happy to find Bob Fracklehurst in this book! I just fell in love with this novel, and with Stella.

Call Me Star Girl is my top book of the year so far, it deserves all of the stars! It’s stunningly beautiful at the same time as being satisfyingly dark and gripping; it’s impossible to put down (and I really do mean impossible because even though it’s a couple of weeks since I read it, I still keep thinking about it). It’s stolen a piece of me. I can’t do it justice in this review but please just go read it for yourselves, I promise that you won’t regret it!

Many thanks to Anne at Orenda Books for my copy of this book and the blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Call Me Star Girl is out now in ebook and is available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

I’ve previously reviewed these books by Louise Beech:

How to be Brave

Maria in the Moon

The Lion Tamer Who Lost

 

About the Author

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Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a GuardianReaders’ 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.

 

You can follow the rest of the tour at the following stops:

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That Was The Month That Was… March 2019!

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March is the month that disappeared! I haven’t been up to much as my health’s not great at the moment and yet the days have flown by.  I have been doing lots of reading – mainly audio books as my eyes are still not great – but some print books too. I’m trying to spend less time looking at screens so apologies if I haven’t commented on your posts or shared things as often recently. I hope to get back to it soon.

 

Here are the 23 that books I read in March:

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

I’d had this book on my NetGalley shelf for almost a year but I finally picked it up in March and I loved it so I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I will review it soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend it!

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

I loved this crime novel, it has such a good sense of place and great characters. I’ve already reviewed this one so click the title above if you’d like to know more.

Don’t You Cry by Cass Green

I listened to this on audio and it was an okay listen. I enjoyed it while I was listening but it’s not a book that’s really stayed with me.

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This book is so good! It has so much depth to it and kept me hooked all the way through. I’ve reviewed this one so click the title to find out more of what I thought.

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

This book is so hard to define but it was impossible to put down! I really enjoyed it. My review is already up so click the title to learn more.

Entanglement by Katy Mahmood

I had this book on my NG but I also got the audio book so part read and part listened to it. I very much enjoyed this one and hope to get my review finished and posted soon.

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

This book is so good! It grabbed me from the first page and had me gripped right to the very end. I’ll be reviewing this one soon too!

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

This is another really good read! I think I read this in one sitting pretty much and love how even though I thought I had it all sussed there was more to come! My review is posted so please click the title if you want to know more.

Hold My Hand by M. J. Ross

I downloaded this on audio after reading Meggy’s great review of the second book in the series. I loved this and already have the next book on my phone to listen to soon!

Not Fade Away by John Gribbin

This was a really enjoyable book looking at the music of Buddy Holly.

Goodnight Malaysian 370 by Ewan Wilson

I got this one on my Kindle Unlimited free trial and it was an interesting read but there was nothing in it that I hadn’t already read from articles online.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

I’ve had a copy of this on my NG shelf for way too long so when I spotted the audio book on my Scribd trial I decided to listen to it while reading. I adored the writing in this novel and will definitely be looking to read more Jesmyn Ward in the future.

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

This book was brilliant! I finished it a couple of weeks ago but it’s still going round in my head. I will be reviewing it once I get my thoughts together but in the meantime I recommend it!

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

I listened to this on Audible and really enjoyed it. It was gripping and I was keen to find out who was telling the lies!

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I listened to this one on Scribd too. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for ages and I enjoyed it but it’s not the best book by the author.

It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

This was also a Scribd listen and I was engrossed all the way through this book. It’s a great read and it really makes you think as you listen to both sides in the aftermath of a sexual assault.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This book is incredible and I feel sure it will be in my top books of the year. I was utterly absorbed in the story and I feel sad to have finished it. I highly recommend it and if you want to know more click the title for my review.

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

I’m slowly re-reading all of this series so when I found this one on Scribd I decided to listen to it. It’s not my favourite in the series but I enjoy all of the books. Kinsey Millhone is great!

The Point Of Poetry by Joe Nutt

This book gave me some of my confidence back for reading poetry and got me to see poems I already knew in a new light. I recommend this book to everyone! Click the title to read my full thoughts.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book is stunning! I loved every single second that I spent reading it and I’m sad to have finished it. This is also a contender for my top books of the year!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while so when I saw it on Scribd I decided to listen to it. It’s a brilliant book and I now want to get a physical copy to have on my bookcase.

Milkman by Anna Burns

I had the book of this but decided to listen to the audio while also reading it and I completely and utterly adored it. I feel like my thoughts on this book will keep developing for a while but I 100% recommend it!

55 by James DeLargy

I finished this book yesterday and I’m still thinking about that ending! This is such a good read, it’ll be one that stays with me!

 

March Blog Posts & Reviews:

That Was The Month That Was… February

Stacking the Shelves on 2 Mar

Mini Book Reviews of The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal, Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce, Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield and Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

Review of The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

This Week in Books 6 Mar

Review of Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis Goff

Stacking the Shelves 9 Mar

Review of Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr. Liam Farrell

Review of Past Life by Dominic Nolan

Review of Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

This Week in Books 13 Mar

Review of Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

Stacking the Shelves 16 Mar

This Week in Books 20 Mar

Review of Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Stacking the Shelves 23 Mar

Review of The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This Week in Books 27 Mar

Review The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

Stacking the Shelves 30 Mar

 

The state of my TBR:

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So I said in my February TBR update that my plan to reduce my TBR had gone somewhat awry. Well, in March it’s done waaay beyond that! Ooops! My plan was to reduce my TBR each month so that by the end of the year it would have 200 fewer books on it. At the end of February it was at 2482 and now it’s at 2500. That doesn’t seem too bad but it should be at 2387 if I was sticking to my plan. Ah well, I can’t really complain about having lots of lovely books to read. 🙂

 

How was March for you? I hope you all had a good month and that you read lots of good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

This Week in Books (27 Mar 2019)!

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages so when I spotted the audio book on Scribd I decided to listen to it. I’m very much enjoying this one.

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover Up and the Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

I’m trying to make sure that I read some of the older books on my TBR and this is the one that was picked for this week. I don’t really know what to make of it but it’s interesting.

55 by James Delargy

This book is so good, I’m utterly intrigued by the two men and have absolutely no idea who is telling the truth and how this novel might end. I would have read it in one sitting if it wasn’t for my eye problems.

 

Then

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book was brilliant! I’m not sure how to find the words to write a review but I can say that I completely and utterly adored it.

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

This was such a good book and has got me wanting to read poetry again. I’ve got a review of this on here today so you can read my full thoughts there if you’d like to know more.

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

I’m slowly re-reading all of this series before getting to the last book, which I’ve not read yet. I found this on Scribd so it was great to enjoy the book in a different format.

It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

This is another book that I’ve been so keen to read so I couldn’t resist it when I spotted it on my Scribd audio book free trial. I thought this book was so good and really made me think. I recommend it.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This book was brilliant, I loved it and feel sure that it will be one of my favourite books of the year! I’ve already reviewed this so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I listened to this book on Scribd too and enjoyed it. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations but it was a good read and I’m glad I read it.

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

This was a recent Audible purchase and it was a fast-paced listen that kept me gripped all the way through.

 

Next

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

This book has been calling to me from my TBR and so it’s definitely next up in my reading plans.

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

I’m on the blog tour for this book next month so I’m keen to start reading it this week to give me time to read it. My eyes are really slowing down my reading of physical and ebooks these days.

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

I just received a copy of this last week but I’m so keen to read it, hopefully I’ll be able to make a start on it in the coming days.

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

I’ve been so excited to read this book by the lovely Kim and hope to be able to get to it in the week ahead.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

This Week in Books (20 Mar 2019)! What are you reading?

Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it so I was thrilled when I discovered it on audio during my current free trial of Scribd! I’m very much enjoying this and am intrigued to find out where it’s going.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

I’ve only read a couple of chapters of this so far as my eyes are struggling again but I loved what I’ve read and can’t wait to read more.

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

This is another audio book that I’m mid-way through and I’m enjoying it. There are lots of lies happening and now I’m keen to find out what the truth of the matter is!

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

This is my current kindle book so I’m reading it with the font huge to try and help my eyes. I’ve only managed one chapter this week but I’m back engrossed in this book and am keen to read more.

 

Then

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

I knew I was going to love this book but it was even more brilliant than I was expecting it. My mind is spinning at the moment as I only finished it shortly before putting this post together but I definitely recommend it. I hope to review this one soon… once I get my thoughts in order.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

I’ve shamefully had this on my NG shelf for almost a year unread but when I spotted the audio book on Scribd I decided to half listen and half read. I really enjoyed this novel, it’s one that is staying in my mind. This was my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be the last.

Goodnight Malaysian 370: The Truth Behind The Loss of Flight MH370 by Ewan Wilson

This was an interesting read that I got as part of my free trial of kindle unlimited.

 

Next

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

I’m really keen to read this book, it sounds like it might be just the thing to give me some of my confidence back to read more poetry.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book has been calling to me ever since it arrived a week or so ago and I just can’t wait any longer to read it. Eyes permitting it’s top of my list for the coming days!

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

I’ve been so eager to read this one too so it’s a definite for this week!

Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

This is an audio book that I’ve been sent to listen to for a forthcoming blog tour so I think now will be the perfect time.


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with a New Book Haul (16 Mar 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Books I Bought This week

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

I’ve been wanting to read this book for absolutely ages so I finally treated myself to it with part of my birthday book voucher. I started reading it yesterday and it’s really hard going in places but it’s so well written. It’s a non-fiction book about the murder of the author’s mother.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

This has also been on my wish list ever since it was published so when I spotted it on kindle for 99p yesterday I snapped it up. I think this is a book I’ll want to own in physical format but I like having it on kindle too.

The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

This is another book that I’ve been intrigued by for a while and finally bought it this week. I’ll need to be in the right frame of mind to read this one but I hope to get to it soon.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

I haven’t read any Diane Chamberlain for absolutely ages but this new one really appeals to me so I grabbed a copy. I don’t think I’ll be long getting to this one.

Operation Lighthouse by Luke Hart and Ryan Hart

I can’t remember where I read an excellent review of this book fairly recently but the title stuck in my head and when I saw it on the kindle daily deal yesterday I snapped it up.

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

This is a recent audio book purchase from Audible. It was on a daily deal as I already have the second and third in the series on my TBR it seemed perfect timing to grab the first one. I can’t wait to get started on this series!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

This was another Audible daily deal purchase. I’ve enjoyed other Kate Morton books on audio so I’m really looking forward to this one.

 

Books I Borrowed This Week

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Hold My Hand by M. J. Ford

I borrowed the audio book of this from my audio book subscription service after reading Meggy’s fab review of the second book in the series. I’ve already listened to this whole book and I loved it so I plan on borrowing the second book very soon!

 

ARCS I Received This Week

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

I was so excited to open a package yesterday and find The Ringmaster inside! I read and reviewed the first book in this series last year and it was brilliant. I can’t wait to read this next installment!

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book also arrived yesterday and I squealed when I saw it! I’m a massive fan of Louise Beech’s writing and have been eagerly anticipating this book. I’ll be reading this one very, very soon!

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.