BLOG TOUR REVIEW: I Am Dust – by Louise Beech #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @Orendabooks @annecater

Hello and welcome to my stop of the I Am Dust Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I consider Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors and her stories never fail to blow me away completely. I Am Dust is no exception and without doubt one of my favorite books I’ve had the chance to read so far this year. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: I Am Dust
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: February 16th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: March 20th 2020
Pages: 300

“We never forget. We choose not to remember.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Speechless. Absolutely flabbergasted. Mindblown. Oh yes, Louise Beech has done it once again, and left me a complete blubbering mess. Even though I’m a bit late to the whole party, I’ve considered Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors ever since my first experience with her work last year (Call Me Star Girl). Each backlist title I’ve had the chance to read since has blown me away, so it’s easy to say that my expectations for I Am Dust were skyhigh. But guess what? Louise Beech not only met those expectations, but stamped all over them and went to the next level! It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite among her books, as I simply treasure them all, but there is no doubt that I Am Dust is another absolutely stunning read and of an extraordinary quality. And yes, expect me to sound like a squeeling fangirl during the rest of this review, because my brain simply cannot deal with just how good this story was even a week after I finished it. That’s the Beech effect!

So, I Am Dust. I confess I knew I was going to love this story as soon as I read the blurb. I mean, the idea of a murder mystery turned ghost story turned dark psychological thriller with a theatre angle? How can that not be the perfect base for another absolutely fantastic story?! I fell in love with the story and characters even before I started reading, and that is something that doesn’t happen often. From that gorgeous cover, the blurb and the actual story afterwards… There isn’t a thing I didn’t love of my time spent with I Am Dust! I read this story as a birthday gift to myself last month to help distract myself from these dark and strange times, and I just couldn’t have picked a better read to do just that as well as making myself feel better in the process.

There are so many things I loved about I Am Dust and I’m having a hard time figuring out where to start to be honest… Let’s talk about the setting and Dust first. I personally loved the setting in a small town and the focus on the musical world as well as the Dead Wilson Theatre setting. The descriptions really made the setting come alive for me, and gave us readers a little insight in what the musical world looks like from an insider view. Directly related to this is the musical Dust of course, which plays an all important role in the plot. I love how both the musical itself and some of the songs are incorporated into the plot and its words are given a hidden meaning as well as give clues to what might happen. Dust gave this dark psychological thriller an unique twist and was also the perfect backdrop for the paranormal elements in I Am Dust.

I confess that I’m normally not a big fan of the paranormal, but I loved how this element was developed in I Am Dust. The murdered Dust actress haunting the theatre and set, the chapters set in the past with the ouija board, the things happening to the main characters… The different paranormal elements are perfectly developed and really added that ominous and daunting atmosphere to the story. I also liked the structure of the plot as a whole, and how past and present are interlaced to slowly reveal more about the past as well as give you a glimpse of what might happen in the future. Plot twists and timeline switches work together flawlessly and really enhanced the reading experience for me.

As for the characters… The main focus is on Chloe, who is an absolutely fascinating character. Flawed, troubled and somehow more open to the spiritual world, she is the perfect character to shoulder this story and take it to the next level. Jess (or Ginger) is likewise important to the plot, and especially the dynamics between Chloe and Jess and her connection to the musical world. It was interesting to see the two interact and slowly learn more about their shared past as well… The realistic and thorough character development really made them come alive for me and my heart ached for them as things were starting to become complicated. The secondary characters are likewise well rounded and each added their own little touch to the story too.

Both the plot development and writing were absolutely fantastic, and I definitely loved the direction this story took. The ending left me brokenhearted and simply speechless, unable to render a word or properly describe my love for I Am Dust. I still felt like a mess days later, and I still feel these rambles I tried putting on paper don’t do this story justice at all. In a way, I should have just kept it short and said: “do yourself a favor and just read the damn book. I Am Dust will sweep you off your feet and will haunt you even days after you reach that final page. You will be missing out if you don’t add I Am Dust to your wishlist!” I already know this story will be on my list of favorite 2020 reads even this early in the year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To
Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, 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.


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WWW Wednesdays #261 – March 25th

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 Josie Quinn book number eight Find Her Alive by Lisa Regan… I have a weak spot for this series and I just couldn’t resist getting a copy of the newest on Netgalley. I’m also starting And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. I Am Dust by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 18/04
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is as unique as its long title, and the right person will treasure this story as much as I did. I had a fantastic time reading every single chapter, and I never felt like the story was overlong or should have gone in a different direction. Big is in this case most definitely better! And this book has only reconfirmed to me J.D. Barker belongs on my list of favorite authors.

3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I definitely had a great time revisiting an old childhood favorite of mine. I loved Pippi when I was little and I must have read the book at least a dozen times back then… I remember loving the TV show too, and even dressing up as Pippi during carnaval once. She is a wonderful character most children will be able to connect to instantly!

4. Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I finally completed my Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! It had been too long since I last read the seventh Harry Potter book and I had forgotten about so many details… I always love revisiting this world and this has been no exception!

5. The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (5/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I still can’t believe it took me this long to read this story! I love bookish books and this is without doubt a new favorite. The writing, the bookish elements, the characters, the plot, even the romance… I loved it all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd as soon as I finish my current reads… I also need to read the upcoming ARC The Lost Orphan (also known as The Foundling) by Stacey Halls soon. And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us either even though I have other ARCs I should probably read first haha. I’m also hoping to read Manhunters by Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña soon, as I have a weird interest in the war on drugs and I loved the Netflix series.


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WWW Wednesdays #260 – March 18th

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 She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker, which is as long as the title and a most anticipated 2020 release as I loved his 4MK series. I will also start I Am Dust by Louise Beech tomorrow as a birthday present to myself… There is no need saying that the other reads will be on hold while I read this one. 😉 ❤ And of course I’m still reading the Spanish version of the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte… I’m currently about halfway into the book and I’m planning on finishing it within the next week or so depending on how long it takes to finish my other current titles.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 30/03
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. The Missing Sister by Elle Marr (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
There was something about the blurb that intrigued me back when I first saw it on Netgalley, and I couldn’t resist getting a copy… It wasn’t necessarily a bad read and there were things I loved including the setting and premise of the story, but overall I was unable to fully connect to the story or characters and certain aspects of the plot and plot twists were just a bit too farfetched for me.

3. Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren (4/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I loved my first encounter with their work back in January, so I’ve been really excited to pick up Love And Other Words to see if their magic would make me enjoy contemporary romance once again. I’m not sure if it was because I was in need of a change of genre, but I had a brilliant time with this story! I literally flew through it and finished it in no time at all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

It’s been a while since I last read an Agatha Christie title, so I’ll probably end up reading the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd soon. I also want to read my first Rachel Abbott book, And So It Begins, in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month… And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us much longer, so I’m going to read it as another birthday present to myself. 😉 My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott; it will be the first contemporary I will read when I’m in the mood for a change of genre.


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BOOK REVIEW: How To Be Brave – by Louise Beech @Orendabooks

Title: How To Be Brave
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary
First published: June 1st 2015
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: January 18th 2020
Pages: 300

“You have to know how to be sad to know how to be happy and if you know both of those things you’ll know how to be brave.”

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Oh boy, this book hit me hard! It’s been almost two weeks since I finished How To Be Brave, and I’m still struggling to get something somewhat coherent on paper… Such is the power of anything Louise Beech writes! My first two experiences with her work, Call Me Star Girl and The Lion Tamer Who Lost, already made me an ardent fan of her writing, and How To Be Brave has only reconfirmed my love. What an absolutely stunning read! Before I try to start my rambles about How To Be Brave, I just have to say that Louise Beech is one of the select few authors that can pull off a variety of different topics and genres and maintain that same high quality in each and every single story. For that same reason, Louise Beech now shares a spot right at the top of favorite auto-buy authors I would read no matter what without even checking the blurb or genre first!

Let’s try and discuss How To Be Brave now. There are so many elements I loved in this story, and I’m honestly having a hard time figuring out where to start. I was tempted to leave it at “just read the damn book” and call it a day, which would pretty much be a summary of my thoughts in the first place, but it doesn’t do this stunning and heartbreaking read justice at all… So let’s start at the beginning, and let’s talk about the plot. How To Be Brave is roughly split in two with a dual timeline. On one hand, we have the contemporary family drama storyline where Natalie and her nine-year-old daughter Rose struggle to come to terms with a diabetes 1 diagnosis that changed both their lives forever. To contrast this, we have a historical fiction survivor story set in 1943, where we read about the survivors of a shipwreck during WWII. Both fascinating stories on their own, and combined they truly turn this story into something else. With a technique that had that timeslip vibe, both storylines are combined through the diary of Natalie’s grandfather Colin who was one of the men that survived the shipwreck. Past and present are blurred as not only Colin seems to guide both Natalie and Rose through the changes diabetes 1 introduces into their lives, but Rose also seems to appear in the past… This technique is definitely one of the elements that makes How To Be Brave both unique and a worthy new all time favorite to add to my list.

Let’s talk about the contemporary storyline first. The focus is on Natalie and her nine-year-old daughter Rose, who has just been diagnosed with diabetes 1. I loved how this story was able to teach us more about what it is like to adapt your life after such a diagnosis, and show us how heartbreaking, difficult and seemingly hopeless the struggle can be when it involves a child. How To Be Brave helps shine a light on diabetes 1 and I applaude the author for incorporating a theme so close to home into one of her books. Especially as there is still so much misinformation and ignorance about diabetes 1… The struggle of both Natalie and Rose is portrayed realistically and beautifully, and will most likely break your heart before you reach that final page.

The historical part of this story is set in 1943, with Natalie’s grandfather Colin as the narrator. After a shipwreck, Colin and part of the crew manage to survive and find themselves on a lifeboat waiting to be rescued. We learn about what happens in the days after through Colin’s diary, the same diary Natalie uses to distract Rose during her injections as they start reading the pages. I loved that the lifeboat story of Colin is actually based on what happened to the author’s own grandfather in 1943 and it definitely makes this story feel so much more authentic because of it. Part memoir, part biography, part fiction and without doubt a very powerful combination that takes the story to the next level!

The writing is once again sublime, and the same can be said for the character development of the main characters. Both Natalie, Rose and Colin are thoroughly and realistically developed, making my heart feel for them as I was fully absorbed in their lives. Realistic stories and characters have their ups and downs, and this was masterfully achieved in How To Be Brave. Oh yes, this story is an emotional, raw and heartbreaking story with an ultimate message of hope and learning how to be brave. It’s yet another story that completely blew me away and left me lost for words after that final page… How To Be Brave is simply a fascinating mix of historical fiction and a contemporary family drama, combined through a diary and that timeslip vibe. I’m also already 100% positive it will appear on my list of 2020 favorite books!


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WWW Wednesdays #252 – January 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 currently reading The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda; another 2019 most anticipated title I wasn’t able to get to last year. I’m also finally starting The Unlikely Escape Of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry as my blog tour stop is starting to get closer… The blurb of this one sounds absolutely fantastic so I’m excited to finally dive in.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 30/01
I’ve been meaning to read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened for years now, and although I’m glad I finally did, a part of me was a bit disappointed by what I found. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad read, but somehow that spark of Furiously Happy wasn’t really there for me. The snarky, blunt and sometimes sarcastic humor is still there, and I can’t deny laughing out loud more than once. But other parts felt like the author was simply trying to hard to be funny and quirky.

2. How To Be Brave by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
It’s easy to say that Louise Beech was one of my absolute favorite new discoveries last year and I was blown away by both titles I was able to read in 2019. I had extremely high expectations for How To Be Brave, and those were more than met. What an absolutely fantastic as well as heartbreaking read! There are so many elements I loved that I honestly don’t even know where to begin… Other than saying: just read the damn book.

3. The Silent House by Nell Pattison (3/5 stars) REVIEW 06/02
The blurb of this one sounded absolutely fascinating, as I don’t think I’ve read about a deaf character in a thriller before. I was really looking forward to this one, but unfortunately the story fell mostly flat for me. The pace was quite slow, the characters unlikeable and I had issues with the credibility of certain aspects of the plot… Also, the ending was quite predictable. All in all not my favorite read, although I still think the premise itself is solid and it has been interesting to learn more about the deaf community and everything it entails.

4. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/01
I’ve been excited to read this one as, while I seem to have a love/hate relationship with her books, I did enjoy her most recent books without exception. While Regretting You isn’t my absolute favorite CoHo book and there were a few things that bothered me (including the whole cheating angle and certain behavior of certain characters), I can’t deny it was still an excellent read and I had a great time reading it overall.

5. Beast by Matt Wesolowski (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 21/02
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour next month!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m taking a little break from ARCs until the end of this month so I can focus on my backlist titles… Especially since I’ll be binge-reading some series in February and won’t have much time for them then. I’m probably picking up When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton next unless I’m in the mood for a thriller… Then it’s probably either My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite or Lock Every Door by Riley Sager next. My newest TBR jar pick is still What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler; it will probably take me some time before I actually read it though as there are a lot of other titles I want/need to read first.


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WWW Wednesdays #251 – January 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 finally reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, a memoir I’ve been wanting to read ever since I finished Furiously Happy back in 2016. I still can’t believe it took me this long to get to it! I’m also finally starting my next Louise Beech read: How To Be Brave. I’ve been stocking up on tissues and chocolate as I already know I will need both before I reach the final page… I’m superexcited to be reading this one!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/01
I know I’m not really one of the biggest romance fans around, but I do love a change of genre every once in a while and there are a select few romance authors that can make me actually enjoy the genre. I have now confirmed Katherine Center is one of them. Heartwarming, poignant, honest, brutal and sometimes even shocking: Things You Save In A Fire will take you on a rollercoaster ride filled with emotions.

2. The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/03
I enjoyed reading the first book last year, and I’ve been looking forward to read the sequel… The second book of this duology was another interesting ride, and what might be a not all that original dystopian world is filled with heavy elements and deeper meanings that definitely take the story to the next level. Some parts were a bit slow and there are cliches involved, but overall it was a solid conclusion.

3. The One by John Marrs (5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/01
The One has once again reconfirmed that John Marrs deserves to be on my list of favorite thriller authors and this story was absolutely brilliant. I literally cancelled all plans and flew through it in less than a day… The One might be based on the very romantic idea of finding your perfect Match, but it’s definitely mostly a mix of (family) drama and a solid thriller with a healthy dose of suspense and even crime sprinkled on top. A perfect recipe for a perfect read I already know will appear on my list of 2020 favorites!

4. A Dark And Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/01
I decided to go ahead and read the fourth and final book of the series while memories of book three were still fresh… Especially since it ment I would have one less unfinished series to worry about in 2020. A Dark And Twisted Tide wasn’t my favorite of the series and could be a bit slow and chaotic in points, but overall it was still an entertaining ride.

5. The Home by Sarah Stovell (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 22/01
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to get my Netgalley shelves under control again and next up is ARC The Silent House by Nell Pattison. The blurb of this one sounds fantastic and I’m looking forward to it! Then it’s back to backlist titles and I’m reading two 2019 most anticipated releases I wasn’t able to get to last year: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover and The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda. My newest TBR jar pick is still What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler; it will probably take me some time before I actually read it though as there are a lot of other titles I want/need to read first.


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WWW Wednesdays #250 – January 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 finally reading Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center, a title I’ve heard lots of fantastic things about and one I’ve been looking forward to since finishing How To Walk Away… I’m also starting The Home by Sarah Stovell for my upcoming blog tour stop, and I’m fully ready to be blown away as I already know I will most likely love it if it’s anything like her debut Exquisite.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/01
This book came exactly at the right time for me and I ended up having so much fun reading it! Nothing better than a proper and funny contemporary romance to help taking a little break from all those thriller reads… This was definitely a winner for me.

2. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (5/5 stars) REVIEW 
I loved every single minute with Come Tumbling Down and I already know it will appear on my list of 2020 favorites even this early on in the year. Oh yes, it’s THAT good! Simply electrifying.

3. Nothing To Lose by Victoria Selman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/01
I have to admit that while book three is still my favorite of the series, I had a great time reading Nothing To Lose and managed to finish it in less than a day. If you like your thrillers fast, action-packed and filled with suspenseful moments, this series is definitely for you!

4. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming (3/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I loved the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie adaptation with Dick Van Dyke when I was little… Even though I don’t remember all the details of the movie and it has been at least 20 years since I last saw it, I was curious to see what the original story was like. I’m not sure if my memory completely failed me, but this definitely wasn’t what I remembered of the movie, and I wasn’t all that impressed by what I found to be honest… I felt the spark the movie had was missing, and the plot and writing style just didn’t do it for me. The illustrations were a nice touch though!

5. Big Lies In A Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (4/5 stars) REVIEW 12/01
Big Lies In A Small Town is a historical fiction read that isn’t afraid to go big and throw a complex and wide-ranging plot with a deeper meaning at you; well researched and well developed, the result is an abundant story following two flawed but absolutely fascinating characters. Fans of the genre who don’t mind a slower pace will most likely devour this one!

6. Dark Mother Earth by Kristian Novak (DNF at 31%; 0 stars) DNF REVIEW 14/01
I hate having a DNF this early in the year already, but I just couldn’t get myself to keep reading this. The story is too chaotic, superslow, nothing makes sense and nothing much seems to be happening even almost a third into the book. The characters are despicable and hardly make any sense. Also, there is way too much sex talk involved… More in my DNF review.

7. The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/01
I loved my first experience with her psychological thrillers last year and I’ve been looking forward to read this one… I literally started and finished it in less than a day! Some of the plot was quite predictable, some parts quite uncomfortable, but overall it’s a super engaging, quick and interesting read.

8. Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/01
I finally came around reading my TBR jar pick and it has been interesting to meet up with Lacey Flint again and see how past events affected her. I fully thought I had the whole book figured out, and I was starting to feel disappointed, only for the plot twists to be thrown at me from an angle I definitely didn’t see coming. This is one of those books you will finish in record time, and it has an ending that will most likely surprise you!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

After finishing my last January ARC, I’m going to take a break for a bit and read a few backlist titles… First up are thrillers The One by John Marrs and The Defence by Steve Cavanagh, both titles I’ve been wanting to read for a long time now. And if I’m in the mood for something different, How To Be Brave by Louise Beech is definitely up first! And I finally have a new TBR jar pick: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Lion Tamer Who Lost – by Louise Beech #Orentober @Orendabooks

Title: The Lion Tamer Who Lost
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Fiction, Romance
First published: July 15th 2018
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 19th 2019
Pages: 350

“He had nothing again. Nothing he knew, understood well, was familiar with.

But nothing is so much harder after you’ve briefly had something.”


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After reading Call Me Star Girl earlier this year, I had no other option but to add Louise Beech to my list of favorite authors immediately. I’ve been looking forward to read more of her work ever since, although I was also a tad worried as I wasn’t sure how anything could live up to expectations after such a brilliant first impression. I shouldn’t have doubted the power of the words of Louise Beech, because The Lion Tamer Who Lost once again blew me away. It’s been over a week since I finished this heartrending story, and I’m still struggling to put my thoughts together into a somewhat coherent review. I guess it seems to start becoming the standard when it comes to Orenda titles! That said, after many days of procrastinating, it’s time to finally force myself to sit down and get those words on paper.

So, The Lion Tamer Who Lost. I’ve thought long and hard about what my next Louise Beech read was going to be and even asked the opinion of fellow Orenda readers… This seemed to be the title that was mentioned most, and while contemporary romance isn’t exactly my favorite genre, I love stepping out of my comfort zone every once in a while and let a story surprise me. And surprise me it did! I can now add Louise Beech to the short list of authors who can actually make me enjoy the contemporary romance genre… Trust me, not a small feat. This is also a thing I love of her books: just how different and unique each story is! There are not many authors out there who can successfully tackle more than one genre; Louise Beech not only succeeds in that but takes your breath away in the process.

There are so many different elements to love in The Lion Tamer Who Lost, and I’m having a hard time figuring out where to start. But I guess that with such a title, an easy option is the fact that part of the story is set in a lion reserve in Zimbabwe. Talk about an original setting! The many detailed descriptions truly made the lion reserve come alive for me and I loved the fact that the lions play such a big role in the story. I have a special love for any member in the cat family, so seeing Lucy and the others being treated almost like extra characters was a wonderful bonus for me. Likewise, I really enjoyed reading about the lion reserve in general and the different volunteers being there at the same time as main character Ben. While the main focus of the story is of course on Ben and Andrew, I loved just how detailed the character development of the other characters involved was. It added even more dept to what was already a fantastic story!

I just mentioned Ben and Andrew, and they are definitely part of the reason this story works so well. I’m not a big romance fan in general, but I can make a wholehearted exception for my boys Ben and Andrew. I was drawn towards both characters from the very beginning, and I loved seeing both their characters and relationship evolve over time. They won over my heart, made me root for them and then pulled out that very same heart and made it shatter into a million little pieces… I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot to avoid spoilers, but while I didn’t actually cry (I almost never do, so that’s no surprise) I ended up with a huge lump in my throat and in need of an emergency baking session to soothe myself. Any story that is able to provoke such strong emotions is without doubt a little masterpiece to me! Especially one that is so beautifully written and simply both heartwarming and heartbreaking at that.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost also includes other intriguing and sometimes difficult elements such as the LGBT element and the struggle to come out and be accepted as you are, family issues and the battle against cancer. All elements are respectfully and realistically developed and successfully incorporated into what is a rich and intricate plot. Different point of views are used to let us learn more about both Andrew, Ben and even his father… Instead of confusing you, these switches only help enriching this story. I also loved that Andrew writes and hopes to become a successful writer, and that we get a glimpse of what this journey is like through his character. I also loved that little snippets of his story are shared at the beginning of the chapters. It really gave The Lion Tamer Who Lost another unique touch while also given the title an extra meaning. And I loved the idea behind Andrew’s wish box as well!

I can keep rambling about the things I loved in The Lion Tamer Who Lost, but I think it’s pretty obvious by now just how much I enjoyed this story. Whether contemporary romance and drama is your thing or not, you should simply give this story a chance as the words of Louise Beech are like magic and will fully mesmerize you before you finish the first chapter. Alluring, heartrending and simply irresistible… This story will give you all the feels as well as break your heart into a million pieces before you reach that final page!


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WWW Wednesdays #243 – October 23rd

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 two ARCs that are due soon… The first is Cold Fear by Mads Peder Nordbo, a nordic noir sequel set in Greenland I’ve been looking forward to as the first book was excellent. The second is my first Peter May read (finally!): The Noble Path. I’m looking forward to see how I will react to his writing! And I’ve also decided to continue my Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series… Book number six it is!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Thin Air by Michelle Paver (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
Partly a historical adventure story set in the 1935 Himalayas, partly a ghost story, Thin Air turned out to have a very interesting mix of different elements and it’s a story perfect for this Halloween month or the winter months for that matter.

2. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 28/10
I’m not sure if this was the wrong book at the wrong time for me, or if it’s just that I’m not that used to middle grade books in the first place… But the fact is that I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by this story. While the historical aspect of Fever 1793 was brilliantly handled, the characters somehow ended up falling a bit flat for me… I seem to be in the minority though.

3. The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/10
After reading Call Me Star Girl earlier this year, I already knew I was going to be in for a treat with this title. I’ve been warned to keep tissues and comfort food close, and that was without doubt solid advice as this story left me with my heart shattered into a million little pieces. The Lion Tamer Who Lost isn’t my usual genre, but I should have worried as Ben and Andrew’s story won me over right from the very first chapter.

4. The Museum Of Extraordinary Thingsby Alice Hoffman (DNF 38%; 0 stars) REVIEW 28/10
I’m not sure if it’s just not the right time for this story or if my book hangover after The Lion Tamer Who Lost would have made me struggle with any book in the first place… But the fact is, I REALLY struggled with The Museum Of Extraordinary Things and I just couldn’t force myself to keep reading any longer. The pace is so so slow and I find the main characters to be quite flat and cliche… I’m really struggling to stay focused and even started skimreading some bits; I definitely wasn’t expecting this reaction as the premise of The Museum Of Extraordinary Things is fascinating.

5. The Neighbours by Nicola Gill (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/01/2020
That’s my first 2020 release in the pocket! xD If you are looking for a fun and entertaining romcom with that Bridget Jones vibe, The Neighbours should definitely be on your 2020 wishlist. It’s a superfast read and has both funny and more serious moments incorporated into the plot. Ginny and Cassie make a very unlikely pair, but I had a great time following them despite some of their character traits starting to get on my nerves…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As the blogging slump is getting worse every day and it’s becoming almost impossible to write a proper review, I’ve decided to put those ARCs and Orenda beauties on hold and only read backlist titles I can write shorties reviews for. I feel sad for having to do this, but I see no other way out… Also, I’ve decided to go on a blogging break in November (and maybe December too); more about that soon.

I’m hoping to read The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab next as I’m really in the mood for a Halloween read… I’m also going to try and finally read The Whisper Man by Alex North to see what the hype is all about. And what is Halloween month without a Stephen King read?! I was going to read Pet Sematary, but then I remembered I had promised myself to finish the Bill Hodges Trilogy first, so Finders Keepers it is. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it better than the first book. xD And I have a new TBR jar pick! The third Lacy Flint book Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton… I really enjoyed the first two books, so I have high hopes for this one.


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#ThrowbackThursday – 2019 Favorite Call Me Star Girl #Orentober #TBT @Orendabooks

Today is Thursday, and in the spirit of celebrating all things Orenda during #Orentober month I will be joining #ThrowbackThursday and share a previously published review of a Orenda favorite. Deciding which book to choose out of all the fantastic books I’ve had the chance to read so far has been tricky, but the honor this week goes to one of my 2019 top favorites: Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech. This book made me an instant fan of her work and words fail to describe just how bloody fantastic this story is. In case you are curious, I’m resharing my rambles first posted back in May…

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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