BOOK REVIEW: Call Me Star Girl – by Louise Beech @Orendabooks

Title: Call Me Star Girl
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: April 18th 2019
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: May 23rd 2019
Pages: 300

“I shiver, look to my left and then my right. No one there.

It’s just me.

Me and all my terrible gut feelings.”


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After hearing so many fantastic things about the writing of Louise Beech, I thought it was about time I finally tried one of her books myself. I was so excited when my pre-order finally arrived earlier this month! I know I have been warned about the effect of her stories, but I still wasn’t fully prepared for what I encountered. Call Me Star Girl left me absolutely speechless staring at that final page, wondering how long it would be before my heart would be whole again. How do I even begin reviewing this title? Please bear with me as I try to write a somewhat coherent review and explain why I Call Me Star Girl is my officially my fifth 5 star read of the year.

It doesn’t happen often that a book is able to provoke reactions this strong, but Stella’s story is one of them. The writing style is absolutely wonderful of course, but it is the characters who steal the show in Call Me Star GirlLouise Beech should receive an award for being able to create such fascinating characters that are both flawed, strong and essentially unlikeable, but are able to win over your heart anyway. This story was so so so cleverly written! I slowed down my reading pace deliberately, wanting to fully savour ever single minute with this story, as I didn’t want it to end either… And this is always a good sign. We start Call Me Star Girl with slowly getting to know more about Stella and her past, her mother sometimes taking her turn to tell her part of their history together. Sometimes we see more about the present life of Stella with Tom as well, but the main focus seems to be on Stella and her mother. All these little bites of information will make you even hungrier to find out how everything fits together and what connection everything could have with the death of the poor girl found in the alley.

Subtle twists and turns are incorporated in such a way that builds the tension and suspense without even realizing it; throwing new shocking information at you before you are getting comfortable with what you already know. Louise Beech creates her characters to have a dark side and she isn’t afraid to make them show it; it makes the characters all the more realistic and beautiful as a result. It was fascinating to see how Stella dealt with her mother abandoning her when she was twelve and how she grew up to be the woman she now is. Elizabeth’s story was intriguing as well, although I did connect with Stella more than with her mother’s POV. Call Me Star Girl will go dark and emotional and will stamp on your heart and rip it out in a million pieces. There are so many little details cleverly incorporated into the plot and the ending will both shock you and make you feel satisfied albeit heartbroken. It is a true emotional rollercoaster, an absolutely fantastic read and a worthy new all time favorite to add to my shelf. Oh yes, I will definitely be reading more Louise Beech stories in the future!


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WWW Wednesdays #224 – May 29th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool… It’s taking way longer than I thought to get through this MG story, both because I’m not able to connect to the story or characters (do I smell an unpopular opinion review coming up?) and because I haven’t had much time to read as I’ve been baking like crazy for our niece’s 15th birthday. As of today, I’m free to read again though, and I can’t wait to properly dive into The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Especially as so many have recommended this title to me over the years!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/05 
Call Me Star Girl left me absolutely speechless staring at that final page, wondering how long it would be before my heart would be whole again. How do I even begin reviewing this title? It doesn’t happen often that a book is able to provoke reactions this strong, but Stella’s story is one of them. The writing style is absolutely wonderful of course, but it is the characters who steal the show in Call Me Star GirlLouise Beech should receive an award for being able to create such fascinating characters that are both flawed, strong and essentially unlikeable, but are able to win over your heart anyway. This story was so so so cleverly written! More raving in my review tomorrow.

2. The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/06
Even though the blurb itself sounded intriguing enough to have my interest piqued immediately, I’m afraid the actual story ended up being not exactly my cup of tea. It’s hard to put my finger exactly on the why, but I think a lot of my lack of connection to the story had to do with the writing style. The writing and tone of The Paper Wasp was too aloof and cumbersome to my taste and it almost felt as if it was trying to hard to be overly complicated and ‘literary fiction worthy’. And between the writing style, unlikeable characters and an unconvincing plot development, sadly The Paper Wasp wasn’t for me. But I also know that the right person will love spending time with this story.

3. In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/06
book four is without doubt another excellent addition to the series. The writing style sweeps you away, makes you forget about daily chores and feel yourself part of the story. I LOVED both Lundy as a character and the fantasy world that fits her personality. Goblin Market is a wondrous world of fair value, debts and birds; the description of both world and the characters that inhibit it are excellent and truly make it come alive. In An Absent Dream is one of my favorites of the series and I’m already looking forward to the next installment which is scheduled to be published early 2020.

4. The Disappeared by Amy Lord (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 10/06
Look out for my thoughts on The Disappeared during my blog tour stop next month June 10th!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to try and keep reading mostly my own books, and my final May TBR title is up next: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. I can’t wait to finally try his work! I do have a few ARCs still left to read, and next up is The Woman In Our House by Andrew Hart. Also up soon is We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. by Samantha Irby, which I will approach with care as I’ve been hearing mixed things about it. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


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WWW Wednesdays #223 – May 22nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally reading Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about it and I’m so excited to be finally getting to know her work… I have my tissues ready just in case. 😉 I’m also starting another blog tour read which is due early next month: The Disappeared by Amy Lord. I’m really curious about this title as the blurb sounds intriguing.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes is by no means a bad read (quite the contrary in fact) and the three star rating reflects my personal experience with the story rather than the quality itself. Every book has its target group and while the story sadly wasn’t a right fit for me, I could also really appreciate it for what it was. The power behind this read is Ruth Hogan‘s ability to create quirky, flawed and unique characters that will most likely stay with you for quite some time. A lot of time is invested in the description and development of the different characters. While I could really appreciate that and I do love my quirky and unique characters, for me personally it slowed down the pace too much and I struggled to connect and stay invested in the story.

2. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/05
I literally cancelled all plans, settled down in my favorite reading chair and flew through Dead Inside in one sitting. It was simply brilliant! Dead Inside shines a light on domestic abuse from the point of view of both victims and (in a less direct way) abusers. At the same time, we also have an active murder investigation going on with ‘victims’ who don’t exactly arise sympathy. This story is lightning fast and isn’t afraid to go dark and messy. There are various twists and turns involved in Dead Inside, and while I did see part of it coming, I definitely didn’t guess the final reveal. And what a way to end the story! Crime thriller fans, you have found a new title for your wishlist! Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this outstanding crime thriller debut.

3. The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/05
I know I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger‘s writing in the past and The Sleep Tight Motel fitted a couple of challenge prompts… Making it easy to make an exception and give it a go. Between the cover and blurb I knew I was in for a creepy read, and I can say this short story would have been a perfect fit for the Halloween month. What starts out as a simple crime thriller with the main character on the run and hiding from someone, turns out to be so much more by the time you reach the final page…

4. Breakers by Doug Johnstone (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/05
Look out for my thoughts on Breakers during my blog tour stop tomorrow!

5. Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/05
I think there is a lot to love in Your Life Is Mine, but in the end the story failed to convince me completely. A big part of this feeling had to do with the very slow pace during most of the story. The slow pace came as a surprise especially considering just how twisted things get at points… Especially in the second half you will find a lot of action as things are spinning out of control, but somehow the overall plot still feels slow? It sounds contradicting, but sadly it was how I felt about the story as a whole. Your Life Is Mine is by no means a bad read and it has some very interesting and twisted elements, but sadly it failed to stand out above other recent thrillers I’ve read.

6. The Last Of August by Brittany Cavallaro (2/5 stars) REVIEW 27/05
I wasn’t expecting to be having this reaction, especially as I really enjoyed the first book of the series, but The Last Of August turned out to be a mayor disappointment. About 90% of the story is filled with a frustrating love triangle,  a whole lot of ‘does he/she love me?’ and ‘I don’t know what to do with my feelings’ and basically an overdose of teen angst in general. The whole Sherlock Holmes investigation was mostly pushed into the background and the only thing that stopped me from DNFing was the promise of Berlin and Prague descriptions (and even those were not as present as I hoped). I’m definitely giving up on this series for now.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to try and squeeze in more of my own books before continuing with my ARCs… Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield are up next. Then it’s ARCs again and I’m probably going to pick up The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora if I’m in the mood for it. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


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WWW Wednesdays #222 – May 15th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m trying to work through my ARCs so I can take the month of June off and read mostly my own books… I’ve been trying to resist new ARCs and so far things are looking up if I can only get through the current ones (about 8 left with these included; whoops?). I’m currently reading The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan even though it’s a June ARC, mostly because I’ve been wanting a break from the mystery genre… It’s still early days so we’ll see how things go. I’m also starting with Breakers by Doug Johnstone, which I should try to finish quickly since my blog tour post is due next week. I’m really excited to be reading it though!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Circe by Madeline Miller (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/05
I loved this story just as much as the gorgeous and shiny cover! If you enjoy (Greek) mythology retellings, Circe definitely is a must-read. Madeline Miller uses Circe’s immortal character to weave in a variety of different myths and stories about Gods and famous mortals alike. This is done exceptionally well and in a way that makes the story flow naturally. It’s true that time passes slower or more quickly at times and sometimes decades or centuries pass in a blink of the eye. But for me it only demonstrated the immortality of Circe and the way passes differently for her. I can see why Circe wouldn’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy Greek mythology retellings and don’t mind a slower pace at times, you will most likely enjoy it as much as I did.

2. Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small (3/5 stars) REVIEW 17/05
Look out for my thoughts on Bright Burning Stars during my blog tour stop on Friday!

3. The Vanishing Season by Dot Hutchison (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
The Vanishing Season has definitely succeeded in making this series go out with a bang. Things are going to get very personal and cold cases are going to get mixed with a current kidnapping case in a way you won’t be able to guess easily. There are twists and turns involved to mislead you and while you may get some details right, it will be impossible to imagine the full truth about the who, how and why until the very end. And you won’t be able to keep it dry by the time you reach the final page either… I found myself flying through the pages as I was dying to discover how it all ended; I literally couldn’t put down my kindle until I got there. I liked how everything wrapped up nicely and I was more than satisfied with this final book of the series. The Vanishing Season and The Summer Children are now tied for series favorite!

4. The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/05
I’ve enjoyed Katie Alender‘s books in the past so I was excited when my TBR jar thought it was time to pick up this title. I admit I was expecting something a little more creepy than what I found. There are elements of suspense and there are some creepy moments and secrets hidden in Hysteria Hall, but overall I found most of them to be cliche. I also didn’t find the main character Delia strong enough to carry the story; for example Maria came over as a considerably more interesting character to follow. There are a lot of cliche involved in general, related to both ghosts, family drama and even a love triangle… On the other hand it was still quite a fun and fast read; just don’t expect to be scared away, as for a haunted house story it’s surprisingly light on the horror.

5. Trouble Makes A Comeback by Stephanie Tromly (3/5 stars) REVIEW 21/05
I think I had the same issues with this sequel as with the first book… I should have checked that review better before deciding to read Trouble Makes A Comeback. I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. It’s true the story reads superfast and there are entertaining parts. BUT. I had huge doubts about the credibility of it all and the fact that you are constantly reminded of THE love triangle is beyond annoying. In fact, it’s more than a triangle; a square maybe? Anyhow, this story is packed with high school and romance cliches and between those and the lack of credibility of the plot I had a lot of eyebrow raising going on.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I said before, I’m trying to get through my May and June ARCs ASAP so I can start reading my own titles for a while… I’m really excited to read Dead Inside by fellow blogger Noelle Holten though! And I enjoyed Nathan Ripley’s other story Find You In The Dark last year, so I’m having high hopes for Your Life Is Mine. The only reason I didn’t read Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech yet is that I’ve been reading ARCs and was in the mood for something lighter in between… I’m picking it up soon though. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout… Isn’t that cover gorgeous?! I’m not sure if the story itself will be for me, but I’m looking forward to find out either way.


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WWW Wednesdays #221 – May 8th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading Circe by Madeline Miller, a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while and I’m really excited about. I’m also starting Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small as my blog tour stop is getting pretty close.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/05
Sweetheart has definitely reconfirmed my love for this series. What a delightfully disturbing and twisted read! I always love it when we get to see a serial killer up close and Gretchen Lowell is without doubt one to reckon with. This story has twists, turns and a healthy dose of action and suspense as well as an insight in the psychological aspects. You’ll be having a hard time putting this one down before you find out what happens, and the cliffhanger will most definitely leave you wanting for more.

2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (DNF at 41%; 0 stars) REVIEW 
First of all I have to stress that I feel really bad about the decision to DNF, especially since I almost never have to resort to such a drastic decision and Middlegame is such a highly anticipated title. Trust me, I haven’t taken this decision lightly,and I have really tried to overcome my initial feelings and warm up to the story. But after a second, third and fourth chance, I had to throw in the towel at 41%. More about why I took the decision to DNF in my review.

3. Alice In Zombieland by Gene Showalter (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/05
Unlike what you might guess from the pun in Alice In Zombieland, this first book of a series actually has very little to do with the original story. Wait, this isn’t a retelling? Nope, I would never consider calling it that. Why? Well, apart from the main character being called Alice and a white rabbit cloud appearing repeatedly, there are no references to or similarities between the classic and this concoction. Instead, we have a story about zombies where we encounter a different kind of unread this time around; they are basically spirits and a lot more difficult to fight than your regular brain eaters. This could have been a premise for a very bloody and disturbing read, but sadly the fighting scenes and horror have been taken over almost completely by an overdose of cheesy and sappy romance scenes, a very frustrating love triangle and a whole lot of high school drama.

4. The East End by Jason Allen (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/05
Look out for my thoughts on The East End during my blog tour stop tomorrow!

5. The Death Of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW  16/05
Finally a story that managed to convince me again! I’ve been meaning to read more Ruth Ware for a while now and I’m definitely glad I picked up my copy of The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. What a creepy and suspenseful read! The house in Cornwall is such an excellent setting for this story filled with secrets and lies… I admit I saw part of it coming, but I never guess the full truth.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a final May blog tour book I need to get to, which is also a title I’m really excited about: Breakers by Doug Johnstone. I also need to pick up my ARC of The Vanishing Season by Dot Hutchison,  which is another highly anticipated title. And my copy of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech finally arrived! I can’t wait to read this story, so I’m probably going to ignore my May TBR and pick up this one ASAP. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender.


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