Sunday, September 29, 2013

THE RUSSIAN ENDGAME: A Craig Page Novel by Allan Topol


Author: Allan Topol
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Select Books
Genre: international thriller, suspense, political conspiracy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"...people shaped world events. Not just leaders. But others. Those with courage and daring."

Blurb - When former KGB agent Dimitri Orlov orchestrates an alliance between two world powers bent on domination, he unleashes a powerful chain of events that will rock the Western World. The agenda? Eliminate the President of the United States and seize classified military weaponry capable of shifting the balance of world power. 

But before this nefarious scheme can reach fruition, Craig Page is on the scene, joined by companion Elizabeth Crowder, ready to confront a painful past and the enemies that helped create it. But can the indomitable Director of Counterterrorism emerge victorious? Finding himself facing an old enemy unexpectedly catapulted into a lethal position of power, Craig is pushed to the limit in an effort to foil his enemy's deadly plans and keep potentially devastating military technology out of the hands of those prepared to destroy the world as he knows it. 

Filled with thrills, twists, and danger, The Russian Endgame showcases best-selling author Allan Topol's talent for delivering electrifying, gripping expeditions into the world of international intrigue.

My review - The Russian Endgame by national bestselling author Allan Topol is a riveting  tale of intrigue and espionage.  Packed with action and dramatic twist-and-turns, it appears to be the final act of a three-part game of international conspiracy (Craig Page series) featuring daring and bold ex-CIA agent, Craig Page. Now EU Director of Counter-Terrorism, the former intelligence operative is called once again to thwart a criminal master-plan that could tragically overturn the political and military balance of our planet. While leading a fierce and sometimes reckless fight against an unhinged and greedy enemy (Chinese General Zhou) and his sidekicks (Russian President Kuznov and KGB agent Orlov), Page will also find emotional closure after the devastating loss of his daughter, Francesca,  a brilliant investigative reporter brutally murdered by Page’s Chinese adversary at the onset of this series. 
With its frequent changes of scene spanning throughout three different continents, Topol’s narrative is quite engrossing and, given our current climate of political turmoil, even resonating with an alarming plausibility. Now and then, the action reaches its peak at a highly engaging pace - no wonder the author has been compared to masters such as Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. While I believe readers of hardboiled espionage stories will enjoy the fascinating premises and the tight plot of The Russian Endgame, I found Topol's writing to be wanting on a few counts. 

The author’s need to connect the threads of the previous installments, and squeeze in the pages of this third episode as much background information as possible, makes for stilted dialogues that affect characterization and credibility. Interactions and conversations sound mechanical at times, and to those who haven’t had the opportunity to read the prequels (The China Gambit and The Spanish Revenge) the introduction of some of the characters may come across as abrupt.

***Review copy graciously offered by the publicist in return of an unbiased and honest opinion.

About the author - Allan Topol is the author of eight novels 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. His new novel, The Russian Endgame, is the third in a trilogy of Craig Pages novels, following the successful The China Gambit and The Spanish Revenge. In addition to his fiction writing, Allan Topol co-authored a two-volume legal treatise entitled Superfund Law And Procedure. He wrote a weekly column for and has published articles in numerous periodicals including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Yale Law Journal. He is currently a blogger for The Huffington Post. To know more about him, please visit his website.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WHO I BE by Annie Brown - Author Spotlight and Excerpt

"Have you looked in the mirror recently? Was the person looking back at you the person you used to be or are you not sure who is starring back at you? Sometimes during the course of life we allow ourselves to become what society says we ought to be. Society and its norms should not be how we define ourselves. God has made each one of us to be uniquely different and special in our own right. When we take the time to examine ourselves we may be surprised how much of the real us is gone. Physically we disfigured ourselves or made ourselves sick trying to measure up to how society says we ought to look or be. Who I Be is personal. It is time that we focus on who and how God intended for us to be. We were fearfully and wonderfully made and we should find satisfaction in being made in God’s image and not who or what society says we should be. Our physical, emotional, mental, and financial status does not make us. Who I Be is about the person who can be themselves and not be stressed or anxious about becoming another product of circumstances or norms to be wholly."

Annie Brown 
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Paperback 64 pages, Outskirts Press (September 10, 2012) 
ISBN-10: 1432795139

ISBN-13: 978-1432795139
Available at Annie Brown l Amazon l Ebook 

Why Do I Need To Be Different?


We did not choose our parents, so we have no control over our DNA makeup. But I do know and trust God’s Word that we all were wonderfully and fearfully made. Is not that a blessing that no matter what our beginning features were like, God made us good and very good? It is that innate (inborn) desire within us to be accepted by the world standards that keeps us from accepting who we really are. Contributing factors are the lies the devil has us believing that there is always something wrong with us. We are never satisfied. If we are short, we want to be taller.
If we have a dark complexion, we want to be lighter. If we are white, we want a tan. If we are slender, we want to put on weight, and if we are obese, we want to lose weight. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to make some adjustments to our physical bodies, it becomes almost an obsession when the images that society and the devil paint as acceptable are what we yearn to be.
So what do we need to do as we feed into this deception and believe things are what the devil tells us they are? We should cry out to God as King David did on so many occasions for help. If we want to step from low self-esteem to confidence, we must take heed of the Word of God and believe what God says about us. Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, the adversary (the devil) has been deceiving people to believe that he knows better than God. St John referred to the devil as a liar and the father of lies.

Annie Brown was born to the parents of Lonza and Daisy Duckett in Alexander City, Alabama. She was the third of four children. Annie is the proud parent of four adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She is a licensed minister and attends Joyful Noise AOH Church of God in Sylacauga, Alabama where she serves as the church secretary.
Annie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Montevallo and  a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Alabama. She currently works at Lakeside Hospice, Inc. in Pell City, Alabama as a hospice social worker.  As a social worker, Annie works with the terminally ill, providing emotional support at the most critical time in an individual’s life.
Annie’s heart desire is that people will learn to love themselves. In order to love themselves a person cannot conform to society’s norms as to what is acceptable but rather believe what God’s Word says.

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