#Review by Lou of The Space Between Us By Doug Johnstone @doug_ johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #MeetSandy #SF #HopePunk

The Space Between
By Doug Johnstone

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone (author of the much-loved series – The Skelfs) featured recently on BBC Between The Covers, presented By Sara Cox and I am delighted to be part of the blog tour with the blurb and review, thanks to Orenda Books and Random T. Tours. Today, I have the pleasure of closing the blog tour with a review.


Lennox is a troubled teenager with no family.

Ava is eight months pregnant and fleeing her abusive husband.

Heather is a grieving mother and cancer sufferer. They don’t know each other, but when a meteor streaks over Edinburgh, all three suffer instant, catastrophic strokes …

…only to wake up the following day in hospital, miraculously recovered.

When news reaches them of an octopus-like creature washed up on the shore near where the meteor came to earth, Lennox senses that some extra-terrestrial force is at play.

With the help of Ava, Heather and a journalist, Ewan, he rescues the creature they call ‘Sandy’ and goes on the run.

But they aren’t the only ones with an interest in the alien … close behind are Ava’s husband, the police and a government unit who wants to capture the creature, at all costs. And Sandy’s arrival may have implications beyond anything anyone could imagine…


The Space Between Us is rather different from The Skelf’s series, where my reading of Doug Johnstone’s books began. This is a bit sci-fi, rather than crime, which The Skelfs is. I have to say though, for someone, like me, who only dips in and out of sci-fi, like me, this is a very good and compelling book. It is more than just sci-fi. It is more about what connects people and their lives.

The Space Between Us is set in Edinburgh and what links 3 people is that that they suffer some strange after effects after a meteor hits and an odd creature emerges. There is Lennox, a troubled teenager with no family. He is 16 and of mixed-race and is being brought up in a home. You find him around Portobello. Ava is in Longniddrey, is pregnant and trying to escape an abusive husband and Heather is grieving and has cancer. Strange streaks occur in the sky and everyone is affected and then the next day, it is as though the strokes they suffered from didn’t happen.

It is an intriguing tale that also has readers sweeping across Scotland, around and out of Edinburgh and the city centre’s surrounding areas.
It also seems to be a premise of bringing “Sandy” the alien to earth and creating compassion to those who arrive in your country, wherever they come from seems to be one of the overarching messages. It becomes a story about community and an idea that there are perhaps bigger things than humans and bigger things that you’re living through right now. It seems that in the space between us is connections and that need for connections, however they  are made and communicated, as well as place that is safe and to have a sense of belonging. Each character is seems to be desiring and needing this in what is a book full of different emotions. So, as much as it is sci-fi, there is also a human story running through it.

Having read The Space Between Us for review, thanks to Orenda Books and Random T. Tours who invited me to and provided a book, I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was, even though it is not my usual genre, more a genre I dip in and out of here and there. So, ultimately it is a book I recommend to both sci-fi fans and non-sci-fi fans alike.

About the Author

Doug Johnstone is the author of fourteen previous novels, most recently Black Hearts (2022). The Big Chill (2020) was longlisted for the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year and three of his books, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), have been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade, and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years.

Doug is a songwriter and musician with six albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of writers. He’s also co-founder of the Scotland Writers Football Club, and has a PhD in nuclear physics.


#Review By Lou of – Do No Harm By Jack Jordan Happy #PaperbackPublicationDay to @JackJordanBooks @simonschusterUK @T4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #DoNoHarm #blogtour #Thriller #MedicalThriller

Do No Harm
By Jack Jordan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It is time for Do Not Harm to be published in paperback. So join me in saying Happy paperback publication to Jack Jordan, author of medical thriller – Do No Harm.



The man lies on the table in front of me.
As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him.
As a mother, I know I must kill him.
You might think that I’m a monster.
But there really is only one choice.
I must get away with murder.
Or I will never see my son again.



An involuntary sharp intake of breath may occur whilst reading Do No Harm!
Anna is a cardiothoracic surgeon. She knows the mantra and code of do no harm. She knows she has life and death literally in her hands. She has an unusual decision to make -who to save? Her son or her patient. The patient could become the next Prime Minister, but her son has been abducted and those who have him demand the patient is killed or she won’t see him again. That’s the threat she is faced with.

Jack Jordan has created such a tense atmosphere that you embody the emotions and intensity of the writing that twists so much in its head as Anna’s career, along with her promise made with it hanging by a thread. 

It is essentially a story about morals and how things can become muddied as life isn’t always so simple. It’s quite multilayered with it asking what you would do in Anna’s situation, when things aren’t as clear cut as say, a scalpel making its first incision. 

It’s quite a psychological drama that unfolds with Anna being emotionally and morally torn in different directions. In top of this, her scrub nurse is also having a hard time in her life.

It is pacy and has grip throughout and is very involving. It’s a book I recommend.

Thanks to Compulsive Readers and Simon and Schuster UK for a copy of the book and for inviting me to review.

Small #Extract #Excerpt of Most of Unusual Demise By Katherine Black @KJBlack71 @LoveBooksTours #CosyCrime #CrimeFiction

A Most Unusual Demise

Today I am delighted to have the blurb and a short excerpt (thanks to Love Books Group and Katherine Black) for you to whet your appetite on A Most Unusual Demise. An intriguing, humorous cosy crime book, available to buy and borrow now.


A well-read old dear has an unhealthy interest in murder in this sharp, witty and refreshingly original cozy crime novel. 

Retired librarian and bookshop owner May Morrigan lives in the affluent village of Blackheath with Fletcher, her best friend since they met decades ago, and May’s two dogs. What could be more normal? But May is not your average little old lady . . .

After an unpleasant church volunteer and an annoying local butcher meet their untimely ends, Fletcher and May team up to do some sleuthing. Soon, the elderly pair start working with a young journalist to investigate the case of a missing girl and its possible link to previous unsolved crimes. May finds this new project quite intriguing. She’s never met a murderer before—and now she just may get the chance, if they play their cards right . . .


Bundled up against the cold, May Morrigan stepped out onto Blackheath. The wind whipped

across the open space, ruffling her cap of white hair. She took a deep, cleansing breath. The

day was beautiful, frosty but bright. Once out on the heath, she raised her face to the blue

sky and allowed the gusts to blow away the cobwebs. She imagined them unspooling behind

her in long, silvery threads. With one arm hooked through the handle of her trusty Kelly

handbag, she set off towards the bookshop.

May had spent most of her life in Blackheath. As she crossed the heath and entered the

village, she nodded hello to familiar faces. A teacher from St Julian’s primary school stopped

to ask if May would be donating to the book drive again. Yes, of course she would. Jean

Drysdale was walking her dog, Tarquin. She waved and thanked May for the flowers sent to

Jean’s daughter, who had just had her first baby. Always a pleasure.

Betty Danvers, coming out of the bakery, asked if May would be at the church’s Epiphany

planning meeting that afternoon. As the two women paused to chat, Harriet Nibley pushed

past them in a huff, causing May to grasp the door frame for support. A spasm of sciatic pain

shot from hip to ankle. She turned to watch Harriet stalk up to the counter.

Yes, May would be at the meeting.

The bookshop was in darkness when she arrived, though it was a quarter past the official

opening. She wasn’t surprised. It was only the second day of January, and Bastian was

probably still recovering from New Year’s Eve. She collected the newspapers waiting on the

step, rummaged through her bag for the keys and opened the door. The bell overhead

jingled out her arrival.

#Review By Lou of – The Ugly Truth By L.C. North @Lauren_C_North @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #Thriller #Blogtour #TheUglyTruth #Bookrecommendation

The Ugly Truth
By L.C. North

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am pleased to be on the blog tour with a review for highly modern story – The Ugly Truth. Discover the blurb and review below.


Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?

Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.


The Ugly Truth is like a story of our times. It’s a work of fiction but it has a feel of a mix of watching a true crime documentary as it has an interview format to it and then looking at Twitter and following other people’s accounts of the story and going back to the interview style. Once your eye is in the format, which, for me happened fairly quickly, it becomes a compulsive read as all is interwoven impressively well to create the story of the disappearance of Melanie Lange.

It is a cautionary tale of our times about social media and the impact when certain stories implode all within a thriller that is a compelling read in all its formats of telling this story of Melanie Lange and everyone who feeds into it, from her controlling dad, her envious sister, her husband who betrayed her. Is fame also all it is cut out to be?

Discover the truth about what happened, is everyone telling you the true story, is everyone reliable and work out what camp you are in – #SaveMelanie or #HelpPeter in this compulsive, slick, highly modern thriller that has a lot to uncover.

Thanks to Random T. Tours and Transworld Books for inviting me to review and a proof copy to review from.

About the Author

L.C. North is the pen name of Lauren North. She studied psychology at university before pursuing a career in Public Relations. Her first book club thriller – The Ugly Truth – combines her love of psychology and her fascination with the celebrities in the public eye. She is currently working on her second novel, and when she’s not writing, she co-hosts the crime thriller podcast, In Suspense.

L.C. North lives on the Suffolk borders with her family.

Follow her on Twitter @Lauren_C_North

Find her on Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor

#Review By Lou of A Season For Love By Ally Sinclair @HeraBooks #AllySinclair #Romcom #ASeasonForLove is inspired by #JaneAusten in the modern world

A Season For Love
By Ally Sinclair

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I thought I’d share a review of A Season For Love. Let’s take a look at the blurb and then I have my no spoiler review.


Can old-fashioned courtship survive in today’s dating world?

When Emma Love’s mother retires, it is time for her to take the reins of the family dating agency and build on its success. And she has a fresh new idea: to host a Jane Austen-style Regency Season of glamourous events where potential lovers can actually take the time to get to know each other in person, with no apps in between.

As the round of glamourous social events begins, we meet some of Emma’s new clients, and see her matchmaking skills in action.

Annie, who has a romantic soul but believes she lost her chance at love a long time ago; recently divorced Jane, who is not quite ready to see what her new love life might look like, and wild child Lydia, who is more interested in hooking up than finding her Mr Darcy.

All is going swimmingly but as the Season unfolds, there is a fly in Emma’s ointment – the irritating Mr Knight, with his casual attitude and gentle cynicism. Why is she allowing him to ruffle her calm, ordered life and why can’t she stop thinking about him? She has no intention of becoming romantically involved herself, of course; she is far too sensible to take a chance on love – isn’t she?

Jane Austen meets Sophie Kinsella.


A Season for Love is very much in the territory of Jane Austen, in-fact so much so that it practically delves into the territory of Emma in both character and premise. It has Emma setting up a dating agency so she can play matchmaker professionally and host regency style balls. 

It is witty in places and very much feels like Emma in contemporary times. The best concept in the book is to see whether, what would be considered old-fashioned dating can actually work in today’s modern, high-tech world.

Overall, it is a pleasantly entertaining rom-com.

Thanks to Hera Books for a copy in exchange of an honest review.

#Review of Beautiful Shining People By Michael Grothaus @michaelgrothaus @OrendaBooks #SF #OutofThisWorld #BeautifulShiningPeople @RandomTTours #BlogTour

Beautiful Shining People
By Michael Grothaus 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for Beautiful Shining People, thanks to Orenda Books and Random T. Tours. It is a book that will make you sit up and take notice. Check out the blurb and my review below and also discover a bit about the author.


This world is anything but ordinary, and it’s about to change forever…

It’s our world, but decades into the future…
An ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky, and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be…

Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives, alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia…

But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John’s unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano.

A secret that reveals that this world is anything ordinary – and it’s about to change forever…


Beautiful Shining People actually seems totally credible and plausible. In someways it makes me think of that amazing tv drama – Years and Years By Russell T. Davies, that looks dystopian, but in reality, it is about things that are happening right now and yet was partly what was predicted only a few years ago. One of the reasons, when I saw the blurb, I wanted to take Beautiful People on to review as it seemed just as immediately important.
Michael Grothaus, author of Beautiful People is equally stark and brave with his writing. It makes you (or ought to) sit up and notice as in a way, it is chilling and certain things seem plausible, that could actually happen and given in Years and Years certain things did actually happen, well, this book, like that tv drama, serves almost like a warning and a glimpse into the possibly not too distant future of today’s actions are tomorrow’s consequences.

Amongst that is also quite the thriller that harbours secrets and a juxtaposition of the ordinary and the extraordinary, that is tightly woven from the harshness of technology and how it isn’t all going to end up being used as innocently as its creators seem to think when they increasingly take over from humans to the warmth of a boy meets girl storyline.

Amongst the devastating consequences, there are some beautiful consequences to certain actions, such as a budding romance. This meeting, however between John and Neotnia isn’t an easy one, it’s a bit awkward because he, especially is quite socially awkward, but she opens his eyes to what the world has and opens his heart. There is warmth and human-kindness and little touches of humour to be found in this book.

It is a book that I highly recommend.


Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist and author of non-fiction. His writing has

appeared in Fast Company, VICE, Guardian, Litro Magazine, Irish Times, Screen, Quartz

and others. His debut novel, Epiphany Jones, a story about sex trafficking among the

Hollywood elite, was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and

named one of the 25 ‘Most Irresistible Hollywood Novels’ by Entertainment Weekly. His

first non-fiction book, Trust No One: Inside the World of Deepfakes was published by

Hodder & Stoughton in 2021. The book examines the human impact that artificially

generated video will have on individuals and society in the years to come. Michael is