Annie Black seems to have the perfect life — a wonderful husband and three children. But when her oldest son is involved in a car wreck, secrets from Annie’s past rear their ugly head, threatening to destroy the life she’s built.
Told as a letter written from Annie to her comatose son A Small Indiscretion chronicles Annie’s life then and now and the mistakes she made along the way. At nineteen, Annie impulsively decides to head to Europe to find herself. What she finds instead is a job, working for an older, married man named Malcolm. A large part of her job involves going to the pub each evening with Malcolm and hearing about his wife and their unusual marriage — seems that the wife is having an affair with an artist named Patrick. Before long, Annie is drawn into this world and finds herself sleeping with Patrick all while fending off Malcolm’s growing advances.
Twenty years later, Annie has created a seemingly perfect life. Married to a doctor and running her own business, Annie seems to have it all. Until it all comes crashing down on her when an old face from the past emerges and her secrets begin to come to light.
I’ll give A Small Indiscretion credit for coming up with an interesting little twist that I didn’t necessarily see coming (I thought I’d figured out exactly what the titular indiscretion was long before Annie is ready or willing to reveal it to us) but that is nicely set-up and paid off during the course of the novel. The letter writing style is nicely done, allowing us to see inside some of Annie’s thought processes but only giving us as much or as little as she’s willing or able to give at the time.
And yet I couldn’t help but come away from the novel feeling a bit disappointed overall. The first and final thirds of the book are utterly riveting as we get to know Annie, her family and the situation. It’s in the middle third that I felt like things were treading water a bit, with Annie dropping hint after hint things but not offering anything more to her son and readers. I found myself growing frustrated with the middle section of the book wishing that Annie would tell us something that we didn’t already know already. Maybe that’s the point or what Jan Ellison is trying to have readers feel in this section.
Overall, the novel is a good one. I’ve seen the marketing materials compare it to The Girl on the Train which I think is a bit unfair to both books. This one is uniquely different and doesn’t have quite the same central, driving mystery Train does.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book as part of the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.
On this installment of the All Good Things, A Star Trek Podcast, Barry and I take the moment to look at a couple of recently published tie-ins to the final frontier.
We look at the second collection of New Visions comics, the latest rebooted Trek-verse crossover The Q Gambit and the novel Takedown.
What do we think of them all? You’ll have to listen to find out!
And a word of warning — yes, there are SPOILERs for all of these contained within!
Time again for Way Back Wednesday hosted by A Well Read Woman. This meme asks us to look back at the books we’ve read that have had a particular impact on us.
This week, I’m going to look at a book-on-cassette that I had growing up The Star Prince.
The Star Prince is one of a series of adapted science-fiction stories from AudiSee. Advances in science have led to humanity being smarter than ever before — with a few exceptions. One of those is Brand, the son of a academic couple. Because his father, Morton, chose to let Brand live instead of “disposing” of him as a baby, the family bears the stigma of raising him. A career cross-roads, the father decides that he will take Brand to a space colony so he can find a life there.
Brand is excited about this because he’s had dreams since he was a young child of a forest by a lake. However, the colony chosen may not have this particular feature. Traveling to the colony, the family’s space ship breaks down and they’re forced to crash land on a planet that has the forest by the lake. The planet’s inhabitants are a telepathic people who see Brand as their chosen leader, foretold as coming from the stars. Continue reading
Moving as often as she does, Avery West doesn’t allow herself to connect much with her new environments or classmates. It’s a defense mechanism against the always inevitable move looming just over the next horizon. But just as she’s considering violating that rule at her new school, thanks to the cute new guy in several of her classes, her mom announces it’s time to move again — and move quickly.
Fed up with her mom’s evasiveness, Avery decides to defy orders and attend the prom anyway with Jack (hot guy from class). This decisions thrusts Avery into a world she barely knew existed and she soon finds herself globe-trotting across the world, tracking down the family of her (presumed) dead father as well as discovering her role in an ancient, far-reaching political agenda that may have ramifications far beyond just attending prom. It seems that Avery is an unwitting part of an on-going battle between two forces and she could, quite possibly, be the missing link in a global prophecy.
Oh and in case you should forget this is a young adult novel, there’s also a love triangle to help keep the pages turning. (Or in my case, to keep my eyes rolling since it relies on that young adult trope — instant attraction!). Avery’s torn between Jack and Stellan, two guys who showed up at her prom and nearly came to blows over her. As Avery eludes the various forces coming against her, both guys show up at various times to save her bacon and for her have insta-love crushes on. It probably helps that both guys are the hunkiest hunks to grace the printed page since the last young adult novel. Continue reading
This week’s Monday Musings (hosted by A Daily Rhythm) asks us to look at the following random question. Do you prefer Hardcover, Trade Paperback, or Mass Market Paperback? Why?
Interesting to note that e-book isn’t included here. 🙂
If I’m collecting a book as part of a series or one that I might get signed, I generally prefer hardcover is available. If I’m purchasing, I prefer mass market paperback because they’re more priced lower and it’s easier to take a large collection of them to my local used bookstore to trade in.
If I’m checking out from the library, I don’t really have a preference in most cases.
The one caveat I will put on it is when it comes to thicker books (like the longer tomes from Stephen King or George R.R. Martin) I prefer the e-book. The last couple of 800+ pages books I read were heavy and could be unwieldy for the first quarter and the last quarter of the book.
And with that statement, I am off to get my early bird special at the Picadilly….
Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #1 by Kevin Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Before the Avengers assembled and Batman meet Superman on the silver screen, crossovers were limited to characters we saw on the Superfriends and the second second Batman installment with the Green Hornet and Kato. Uber-fans Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman clearly recall how monumental that crossover and have channeled that love into this six-issue storyline.
The plotline finds the Dynamic Duo and the Green Hornet and Kato once again believing they’re on opposite sides of the law but working together for a common good. The dialogue is spot-on and the art works well. About mid-way through the collection, I dusted off my recently acquired complete series box-set and re-watched the original story that served as the starting point for this episode. While it’s not necessary, it did help refresh my memory of who one of the villains was in this collection.
Sure, there’s a bit of running around in the middle, but given that this series is intended to be read as single installments and not in one giant feast, I was willing to overlook this.
The second collection of Batman ’66 stories is just as entertaining, delightful and fun as the first one. Jeff Parker continues to channel the vibe of the original television series but is giving a bigger sandbox to play in. Limited only by the budget of what his artists can do, Parker sees the Dynamic Duo traveling in time, taking on Shame and even having a story or two focus on other characters from the television universe. It all adds up to another enjoyable read and a series that only continues to deliver the goods in terms of entertainment value.
Greg Iles triumphant return to the small town of Natchez continues in the middle installment of a new trilogy, The Bone Tree. Thankfully, Tree doesn’t suffer from middle installment syndrome with characters doing a lot of treading water as we slowly set up things for the final race to the finish line.
Iles spends the first third of the book allowing his characters to reflect on the events of Natchez Burning and slowly moving pieces into place for novel’s final acts. But once the revelations start coming, Iles piles them on fast and furiously, making the novel’s final six hundred or so pages fly by and leaving you curious to see what will happen next.
Mayor Penn Cage continues to juggle multiple crises — from his father being on the run from the police and wanted in connection with the death of state trooper to his fiancee not filing him fully on what she knows about the cases unfolding to his own agenda to try and exonerate his father all while uncovering the truths that have long been buried (both literally and figuratively) surrounding racial relations in his own small town, our country and just how that could tie into bigger conspiracy theories (including the shooting of JFK, RFK and MLK). The longer page count of the novel allows time for some of these events to sink in and to impact Cage (and a multitude of other characters) decisions. Seeing the forces aligned against Cage and the other various forces working with him is fascinating and while we may not necessarily root for the various opponents stacked up against Cage, Iles at least allows us to understand their motivations.
And while it’s not quite as fast paced as the first installment in this trilogy, it’s still every bit as page turning and compelling. Once I hit the mid-way point of the novel, it was next to impossible to put down and I was once again left wanting more when the final page was turned.
At this point, I’m not sure how Iles will wrap things up in the next book, but I know that I’ll eagerly be waiting for it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book as part of the Amazon Vine Program.