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The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath #Review

  We travel back to the 12th Century for this gorgeous historical novel, The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath . It was published by Headline Accent on 18th July. 1191 and the Third Crusade is underway . .  It is 1191 and King Richard the Lionheart is on crusade to pitch battle against Saladin and liberate the city of Jerusalem and her lands. His mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine and his promised bride, Princess Berengaria of Navarre, make a perilous journey over the Alps in midwinter. They are to rendezvous with Richard in the Sicilian port of Messina. There are hazards along the way - vicious assassins, marauding pirates, violent storms and a shipwreck. Berengaria is as feisty as her foes and, surviving it all, she and Richard marry in Cyprus. England needs an heir. But first, Richard and his Queen must return home . . . The Lost Queen is a thrilling medieval story of high adventure, survival, friendship and the enduring love of a Queen for her King.   My Thoughts

The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone #Review #Giveaway

 Here we have another stunning novel by Doug Johnstone and this time it is from the Science Fiction genre. How intriguing! The Space Between Us is the first in a new series and was published by Orenda Books on 16th March.   

I am delighted to be offering a great giveaway with the chance to win a print copy of The Space Between Us. Details on how to enter can be found at the foot of this post.   


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...

 My Thoughts

I can understand why the BBC have selected The Space Between Us for their Between the Covers series 2023. The pace of the story carries you along and you are always wondering what will happen next and would the runaways be found and by whom. Lennox, Ava and Heather are all such interesting characters and become an unlikely family of sorts. They are all complicated, with something they would like to escape from. The result of meeting Sandy is literally life changing for them.

    Being isolated and making connections for others are themes which stand out through the thoughts and actions of all the characters. There are some mesmerising descriptions connected with Sandy, full of colour and light. The ending is a huge cliffhanger which brilliantly sets up the next in the series and leaves you wanting to know what happens next. This is wonderful writing, as you come to expect from Doug Johnstone and a brave leap into science fiction which he pulls off brilliantly.

In short: an unlikely group discover a sense of belonging

About the Author

Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The BigChill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were 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 – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh. 


You can follow Doug here: Twitter   |  Website 

 Book link: Amazon UK


Thanks to Doug Johnstone, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Ore
nda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

Don't forget these other great bloggers!

Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of The Space Between Us, j
ust Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

 Closing Date is 31st March 2023 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions –UK only. The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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