Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Darkest Corner - Review

Idgie Says:
This is a thriller/romance novel.  There are spies, death, intrigue, plots and the usual as the good guys try to take down the bad guys, but there is also a strong love interest with witty banter and bed play.  So... something for everyone!  

In my opinion, some of the chapters were nothing more than over-descriptive fillers to hit a certain word count, but the story itself was strong, with surprising moments of humor.

The main characters caught my interest enough that I'm more than willing to follow the series to learn more about them.

An interesting story to lose yourself in for a few hours.

May 23, 2017
Pocket Books

Friday, May 19, 2017

Prologue - Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison

Alright gang, this book was a wild ride from start to finish!  So many twisty turns.  Not out until the Fall ( Sept  5th) but I have the prologue to tease you with here!  My actual review will be on the release date, but I'll share this with you now!



In Which Introductions Are Made

You aren’t going to like me very much. Oh, maybe in your weaker moments, you’ll feel sorry for me, and use those feel­ings of warmth and compassion and insightful understanding to excuse my actions. You’ll say to yourself, “Poor little girl. She couldn’t help herself.” Or, “Can you blame her? After all she’s been through?” Perhaps you’ll even think, “She was born to this. It is not her fault.”

Of course it’s my fault. I chose this path. Yes, I feel as if I have no choice, that I’m driven to do it, that there are voices in my head that push me to the dark side.

But I also know right from wrong. I know good from evil. I may be compelled to ruin the lives in front of me, but I could walk away if I wanted.

Couldn’t I?

Never mind that. Back to you.

Truly, deep down, you are going to despise me. I am the rot that lives in the floorboards of your house. I am the spi­der that scuttles away when you shine light in my corner, ever watching, ever waiting. I am the shard of glass that slits the skin of your bare foot. I am all the bad things that hap­pen to you.

I steal things.

I kill things.

I leave a trail of destruction in my wake that is a sight to behold, wave after wave of hate that will overwhelm you until you sink to the bottom of my miserable little ocean, and once you’ve drowned I will feed on your flesh and turn your bones to dust.

You’re mine now. You are powerless against me. So don’t bother fighting it.

I hope you enjoy the show. 



Domestic noir at its best. Readers will devour this stunning page-turner about the disintegration of a marriage as grief, jealousy, betrayal and murder destroy the facade of the perfect literary couple. New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison takes her exceptional writing to a new level with this breakout novel. 

They built a life on lies 

Sutton and Ethan Montclair's idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts - Spotlight and Excerpt

Algonquin Young Readers
May 16, 2017
Age Group - Children 
First in a new series!

High adventure from a master storyteller about one boy’s attempt to fend for himself among cruel orphan masters, corrupt magistrates, and conniving thieves.

In the seaside town of Melcombe Regis, England, 1724, Oliver Cromwell Pitts wakes to find his father missing and his house flooded by a recent storm. He’s alone in his ruined home with no money and no food. Oliver’s father has left behind a barely legible waterlogged note: he’s gone to London, where Oliver’s sister, Charity, is in trouble.

 Exploring damage to the town in the storm’s aftermath, Oliver discovers a shipwreck on the beach. Removing anything from a wrecked ship is a hanging offense, but Oliver finds money that could save him, and he can’t resist the temptation to take it. When his crime is discovered, Oliver flees, following the trail of his father and sister. The journey is full of thieves, adventurers, and treachery–and London might be the most dangerous place of all.

In the tradition of his Newbery Honor book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi mixes high adventure and short, page-turning chapters with a vivid historical setting featuring a cast of highwaymen, pickpockets, and villainous criminal masterminds.



On November 12, 1724, I, Oliver Cromwell Pitts, lay asleep in my small room at the top of our three-story house, when, at about six in the morning, I was shocked into full wakefulness by horrible sounds: roaring, wailing, and screeching.
Confounded by such forceful clamors, I was too frightened to shift from my bed. Even so, I listened hard, trying to make sense of what was occurring. It did not help that the room in which I lay had no windows, so I could see little. Then I realized that my bed—in fact, our entire house, an old wooden structure—was shaking. The combination of darkness and dreadful sounds made everything worse.
I dared not move, in hopes that by remaining still, I might diminish both noise and quivering. Yet as if to mock me, the uproar only grew louder and more frenzied, rising to a horrifying crescendo.
Desperately wanting to see something, the better to gain intelligence as to what was occurring, I reached toward the floor where I had placed my candle and flint box the night before, only to discover they were not there. The shaking of the house was so forceful it must have tumbled them away. The next moment I heard a slapdash thumping directly overhead, as if stones were hitting our thatched roof.
Midst all this confusion, I recognized the boom of crashing waves. Even this familiar sound was no comfort: My family home in the English town of Melcombe Regis was a tenth of a mile from the sea. I should not be hearing such near water. I had to investigate.
I crept from bed, fumbled for my clothing, and despite the darkness, dressed swiftly. As I was pulling on my boots, a ghastly splintering sound erupted directly overhead. I looked up. To my astonishment, a faint light appeared as a piece of our roof peeled away like a strip of orange rind, leaving a large and jagged hole. In an instant, a torrent of frigid water poured down, drenching me. What’s more, the wailing sounds grew louder, which I now identified as wind.
Tempests often struck the Dorset coast, but in all my twelve years I had never experienced one so violent. The storm must have hit the shore at high tide—under a full moon a linking of meteorological conditions, which now and again brought flood. I truly wondered if the world was coming to an end. And, if not the entire world, surely my world seemed to be collapsing fast.
Little did I know how accurate that notion would come to pass.
At that immediate moment, however, my concern was this: I must warn my sister of the danger. Charity—for that was my beloved sister’s name¾had her room below mine. Yet, no sooner had I thought of cautioning her, then I remembered she¾six years older than I¾had thankfully gone to London two months ago to live with our uncle Tobias Cuttlewaith.
Good, I thought. She, at least, was safe.
It was only natural then that my worries turned next to my father, Mr. Gabriel Pitts—to give his whole name. A lawyer, he had his closet—which is to say his office and private room¾on the first level of our house.
Wanting to make sure he was safe, I floundered about in search of the stairs. Ineptly, I found them, and then descended with great caution through the blustery, sodden darkness. The water, coming through the torn roof, was flooding the stairway, making it slippery.
After a brief descent, during which I guessed rather than saw my location, I reached the second level, where my sister had her room. It was a little brighter than my chamber, but such powerful gusts were whipping about that I became convinced a wind had smashed the lone window in.
“Father!” I cried, but the sounds that roared about me were louder than my voice. To find him I would have to go down another flight of narrow steps. Accordingly, I gripped the banister as tightly as I could. Halfway down I began to hear sloshing sounds. That suggested that the sea was nearer than I previously thought.
“Father!” I cried again, but received no more reply than before.
Where could he be? Was he hurt? Had he drowned? Could I save him?
As close to panic as I have ever felt, I picked my way down almost to the bottom step where I perceived shimmering liquid pooling below me. Clinging to the wet banister, wondering how deep the water was, I suddenly felt a gob of water on the back of my neck. It so startled me, my fingers slipped, and I plunged headfirst into the water.
In short, I was in grave danger of drowning right in the middle of my own home.

The Garden of Small Beginnings - Spotlight

The Garden of Small Beginning
Berkley Publishing Group
Pub Date


Friday, May 12, 2017

Washington Power Play - Spotllight and Q & A

By Allan Topol

What does FBI agent Kelly Cameron’s college sweetheart, the dashing Xiang Shen, have to do with her latest case? As Cameron digs deeper into China’s influence on the presidential race, Shen’s romantic overtures might not be quite what they seem. What does this Chinese diplomat have to do with the influence of a foreign power on a national election? And who is targeting Cameron and her daughter?

In Allan Topol’s inimitable style, WASHINGTON POWER PLAY spins a tale of international intrigue, deception, and corruption at the highest levels of power.

Kelly Cameron has just thwarted a terrorist attack on the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, and is now in charge of a task force to find a mole in the U.S. government. She soon finds evidence of a plot initiated by the Chinese government supporting General Darrell Cartwright to promote his election as the president of the United States.

Cameron’s efforts to thwart this plan are hindered by Shen, and Andrew Martin, a powerful Washington lawyer who has strong ties to the Chinese. At stake in this Washington power play is nothing less than the global balance of power.

Allan TopolAllan Topol WASHINGTON POWER PLAY is Topol’s 13th novel of international intrigue. Two of them, SPY DANCE and ENEMY MY ENEMY, were national best sellers. His novels have been translated into Japanese, Portuguese and Hebrew. One was optioned and three are in development for movies. More recently, many of his books focused on his Craig Page series, including THE ARGENTINE TRIANGLE, THE RUSSIAN ENDGAME, SPANISH REVENGE, CHINA GAMBIT and ITALIAN DIVIDE.

In addition to his fiction writing, Allan Topol co-authored a two-volume legal treatise entitled SUPERFUND LAW AND PROCEDURE. A graduate of Yale University Law School, he is a partner in a major Washington law firm, and has traveled extensively researching locations for his novels. He wrote a weekly column for Military.com and has published articles in numerous periodicals including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Yale Law Journal. He also has blogged for Huffington Post. For more information, visit www.allantopol.com.


By Allan Topol
Select Books, Inc., May 2017
$16.95; 320 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-59079-425-8
Fiction/Political Thriller

Q &A
by Allan Topol

1. How is WASHINGTON POWER PLAY timely in today's political world?
Washington Power Play deals with an effort by the Chinese government to influence a US presidential election. Right now, no topic could be more timely than a foreign government's attempt to influence a US presidential election. The lead story in the media day after day is whether Russia influenced the election of President Trump.  Two years ago when I wrote Washington Power Play, dealing with China's effort to control the election of the US president, I had no idea that my book, when published, would be so timely. 

2. How did you decide to write about a plot initiated by a foreign government to support a candidate for President of the United States?
I am and have been an attorney in Washington and a partner in one of the most influential law firms in this city. Though I have never held a position in government, I have been on the fringe of our nation's political process.  In this position, I have observed how vulnerable our presidential election process is to outside manipulation by those with large amounts of money who want to elect a president who will support their agenda. Starting with this fact, it was a relatively small leap to ask what if the Chinese government wanted to manipulate the election to put someone in the White House who would support their agenda. That is the premise of Washington Power Play.

3. Does it mirror what is being discussed about Russia today and President Trump?
Washington Power Play goes one step beyond what is being discussed about President Trump and Russia in the media. In Washington Power Play, the foreign government involved, namely China, has selected the individual, General Cartwright, an American military hero, who they would like to be US president , encouraged him to run, and arranged financing for his campaign.  Cartwright, a complex character, does not view himself as a traitor.  Rather, he is convinced that he is advancing an agenda in co-ordination with the Chinese which he believes is in the best interests of the US.

4. Why did you choose to write about China?
As the twenty first century is evolving, China has emerged as the primary rival of the United States economically, militarily, and diplomatically. The Economist wrote on April 1, 2017, that China is challenging the US for the world leadership it has exercised since the end of World War II. In this effort the Chinese have launched wide ranging spy efforts in the United States. Two examples were uncovered recently.  One involved a high level career official with the State Department who accepted cash and gifts for many years to pass classified US political and economic information to the Chinese.  The other involved an American energy engineer procuring nuclear know how for the Chinese.  These are only two examples of real life Chinese espionage in the US which is a critical part of Washington Power Play.

5. How do you research topics for your book?
I read a great deal about history and geopolitical events throughout the world. I also travel to foreign locations to obtain background for my novels. I have been to China, France, Israel, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Japan, among other countries researching my novels.  Also, the internet is a wonderful source of information that enhances research.
For Washington Power Play, I not only visited China, but immersed myself in China political, military and strategic matters both in books and on the internet. I spoke with people possessing China expertise.  In addition I read biographies of Chinese leaders such as Deng and Mao to understand what was motivating them as they led the Chinese effort to surpass the US. 

6. What is your background in understanding power in the Beltway?
For more than thirty years I have been a partner in one of Washington's most influential law firms.  In my work, I have argued in the Supreme Court and many lower courts. I have dealt with numerous governmental agencies. I have spent time and worked with individuals holding positions at the highest levels of the US government and some foreign governments as well as those in the media.  From this close contact and involvement, I have observed the exercise of power inside the Beltway. I have watched the unfolding of the never ending crises, including in fighting, struggles for power, the pursuit of personal agendas, corruption, and sexual scandals that grip Washington in every Administration.  All of this was very helpful in writing Washington Power Play.

7. What motivates you to write as this is now your thirteenth book of international intrigue?
I write novels because I care deeply about geopolitical affairs. Fiction is a very effective vehicle to convey ideas about geopolitical issues.  My goal is to entertain readers with page turning suspenseful novels, with strong characters, male and female, like Kelly Cameron, the protagonist of Washington Power Play. At the same time I want to educate readers, not with characters who lecture but with the unfolding story.

8. What's the best advice you received about writing that you still use?
The best advice is: make your novel a page turner, make your readers want to know what happens next, and create compelling characters. To achieve this, I recommend that you start with a three sentence synopsis of your story.  Then prepare a detailed outline, scene by scene.  Mine are typically 40 or 50 pages.  When you write, you may not follow this outline precisely, but it is critical to have the blueprint.  You would not build a house without detailed plans. Once you have the outline, prepare profiles of your three or four main characters, what they look like, their backgrounds, personalities, and strengths and weaknesses. Make them compelling.  You must get to know them yourself.  When you have done all of these things, you can begin to write.  Also write your first draft in a white heat---straight through to the end. Do not revise until you have completed the first draft.

9. How did you choose your characters names?
For the names of the Chinese characters in Washington Power Play, when I was at the Aspen Music Festival, I studied the names of the Chinese musicians in the programs for various events.  For foreign names, I use history books about the country as a source.  More generally, I try to pick names which seem to me like the characters they represent.  Occasionally, I use the name of someone I know.  For example, in Spy Dance, I used Sagit for the name of my main Israeli intelligence agent. Sagit was the name of a good friend of my daughter in school; her father had been a military hero.

10. Any more books on the horizon? Where will it take place?
My next, fourteenth novel, will again feature Craig Page and Elizabeth Crowder as the protagonists.  They were the lead characters in five of my prior novels but did not appear in Washington Power Play.   That next novel will be focused on Hungary and much of the book will take place in Budapest which I visited last fall. Part of the action will also take place in Paris, Tel Aviv, Moscow, and Washington. After that, I am developing a story that revolves around Iran.