Book reviews, Womens fiction

Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer – Book Review


Winner of the inaugural Mslexia Novella Award (2019). 

She used to be someone else, but now she’s arrived in Vegas, where she can start again. It won’t do to let the past leak in. It’s the Sixties now. She’s going to become … Joan. She makes a list: Buy a new dress (fitted, floral). Dye her hair (dark). Curl it. Buy red lipstick. Buy cigarettes and a lighter, too: Joan, she decides, is a smoker.

There’s no need to dwell on why she’s here, what went before. She is just moving forward, one foot in front of the other, becoming that new person. Joan. This city of flashing neon, casinos and shows is full of distractions. Finding a job will be quick and easy. Things to do. New people to meet. A clean sheet. She’s certainly not thinking about Jack, or … No. Not anymore. Her new life starts right here, right now



“How does the mind learn to let things go?”

Set in the 60’s, an unnamed woman has arrived in Vegas, she’s calling herself Joan …and Joan with her floral dresses and dark hair …smokes, it’s what a Joan would do!

She will not think about the past, just walk to the future, one small step at a time…

What is Joan running from? What is so terrible, she hasn’t even found the right words yet to write to her mother in Australia?

This is a tiny book, a 68 page novella, but don’t let that fool you …this is something special. The tale of a woman on the edge of a breakdown, who thinks if she changes herself she can forget….it never happened did it? That was someone else? 

Incredible, sophisticated and emotion packed literature.

Thank you to Ruth Killick Publicity for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

due for publication December 2019




Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.


Angela Meyer is @literaryminded on Twitter and Insta. @literarymindedblog on Facebook. You can find her online at where there are also some book club questions for A Superior Spectre.

Saraband is @SarabandBooks


Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown – Book Review




You trust your family. They love you. Don’t they?

When 17-year-old Eva Olsen awakes after a horrific accident that has left her bedbound, her parents are right by her side. Devoted, they watch over her night and day in the attic room of their family home in the forests of Norway.

But the accident has left Eva without her most recent memories, and not everything is as it seems. As secrets from the night of the accident begin to surface, Eva realises – she has to escape her parents’ house and discover the truth. But what if someone doesn’t want her to find it?



Set in Norway, 17 year old Eva wakes and her parents tell her she’d been in a terrible car accident and they are going to look after her while she recovers. Eva’s confused and a little scared as she has no memory of the accident at all…. 

As she slowly recovers, she starts to remember little things and she’s now doubting her parents are telling her the truth…..and why they are keeping her in a locked room?

Isabel Ashdown’s writing really conveys Eva’s confusion and her state of mind while she tries to remember everything…..the tension is slowly building with plenty of twists to keep you turning the pages……just what is happening? And how is this linked to Maxine in London?

Gripping, compelling and with an ending you won’t see coming……brilliant.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.


You can buy a copy here


About the Author:

Dark, compelling and beautifully twisty … have you read Isabel yet? Isabel’s thrillers BEAUTIFUL LIARS and LITTLE SISTER were both Amazon bestsellers, and both were shortlisted in the prestigious Dead Good Reader Awards. Her latest novel is LAKE CHILD, a dark and haunting thriller set in a remote valley town in the heart of Norway’s ancient fjords (out September 2019).

Isabel Ashdown was born in London and grew up on the Sussex coast. Her writing career first took off ten years ago when an extract of her debut novel GLASSHOPPER won a national writing competition and was twice named among the Best Books of the Year. Today she is the author of seven books, a Royal Literary Fund Lector, and a regular creative writing host at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. She lives and writes in West Sussex with her family and their two dogs.