The Midnight Club by James Patterson Book Review

James Patterson’s Midnight Club is a story of a New York detective is shot down in an ambush and struggles to rebuild himself in order to seek revenge against one of the most ruthless killers he has come up against. This is my book review of The Midnight Club by James Patterson

Plot: John Stefanovich is poised to bring down one Alexandre St-Germain, the most ruthless killer he has ever known and head of the elusive Midnight Club. As the sting is about to go down, everything goes wrong and Stefanovich loses everything. He is shot and left for dead.

Stef makes it back, wheelchair-bound and determined, and continues his hunt for St-Germain. Before he can capture him, he is shot and killed by a mysterious group of killers.

Now Stef must find those killers, close down The Midnight Club and make sure all those responsible are brought to justice.

John Stefanovich joins forces with an unlikely accomplish, a newspaper reporter turned novelist, who is researching a book on the infamous Alexandre St-Germain. As the story progresses, Stef must team up with other unlikely allies and put himself and others in mortal danger.

Review: I loved the style of this book, the plot was fast moving, the story jumps a bit from one character’s escapades to another’s and soon they are intertwined. The plot twists and surprises are superb and you never know what will happen next.

Probably one of the best books about one man’s fight for justice against a powerful “mafia style goon” that I have read in a while. Very hard to put down – actually read it in 2 sittings, because I just had to know what was going to happen next.

Art Book Review – The Works of Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall was undoubtedly one of the greatest Twentieth Century Painters of Europe, and his art and legendary status has withstood the test of time. Few could ever match his incredible productivity and ability to capture the imagination of his viewers.

As a connoisseur of fine art, I am pleased to tell you that if you are interested in the life and times, and art of Chagall, then I have the perfect book for you. One you will wish to display on your coffee table at home or give as a high-end gift to a lover of the arts in your family. The book is:

"Chagall" by Susan Compton ; BAS Printers Unlimited, Hampshire, England; 1985. ISBN: 0-87633-062-6.

This is one of the best collections of Marc Chagall's work I've ever seen, in a 275 plus page book that is fully illustrated with the history, era, the art, and the style. The exhibit that accompanied this collector's edition book was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the Royal Academy of Arts. The book explains that Marc's Russian Heritage is often over looked as this great artisan is known for his work in Paris France, nevertheless originally he was from Russia.

Marc Chagall was a genius and few art historians will deny it. Indeed, he was of the greats of his time and his experience and observations of life show through to his work. This book is well footnoted, with background references and fact checking all available, nothing is hidden from the reader. Please consider this book, it's the best book I've ever found on Chagall.

How to Get Free Kindle Books Through Resource Sites

Kindle books are one of the most read e-books in the net today so everyone is vying to get free kindle books. Surveys and Interviews have proven that almost all of the e-book readers are researching on how they can read free kindle books. This would really sound like a Christmas bell ringing to avid readers. This article will provide you with ways on how to get that kindle book free. Yes, you heard that right. Below will be tips for "free kindle reading."

Choose an ultimate resource . You can find about 40,000 free books in a resource site. Remember to take the most downloaded books. Once you have found your choice, click the content kindle format. Save it your storage.

There are actually a lot of nooks you can choose to use. Some suggestions would be:

a.) Openlibrary . There are over one million free e-books available here including kindle books. Create an account for this site so you can download and save for free.

b.) Google play . Google has a great e-book library with thousands of free books available. Just go to the site and follow the instructions given so you can download your book.

c.) Project Gutenberg . This is a sure site for to find free books. They have the highest number of free books available. Try visiting this site. When you open their site, you will see instructions. Read them carefully and follow them so you can start having and reading your e-book.

d.) Internet Archive . Well, actually this is the last site you can visit. They have few free books but still they have so you might find a free book of your choice in this site.

Find 00.00 . Well, this is a zero cash price. This is a classic trick so be watchful. This signal for a open book and you might overlook because it has a price. Funny part is it's actually a 00.0, so its equivalent to a free book.

Swap . You can swap or exchange pieces with strangers. Trade your volume for free and you get chances to read traded copies for free.

These are few ways and instructions so you can purchase free kindle books. There are still so many ways to do so. You can search for them online.

Getting free kindle books can be a little tricky at times, just always remember to follow the instructions given in the site you have chosen. You have to try it like two to three times because sometimes it also fails the first try.

Book Review of Robin Lamont’s The Experiment

Robin Lamont’s The Experiment, the third addition to her well-received Kinship series, traverses the rough terrain of animal rights in a story that not only takes readers seamlessly into a world that brims with webbed mystery but also exposes the horrific aspects of a subject that is not often visited – the protection of animals.

Promptly, from the narrative’s outset, the suspense begins to build, as we meet the story’s engagingly complex protagonist, Jude Brannock, a senior investigator at The Kinship, an organization specializing in undercover investigations of large scale / industrial animal abuse. Jude anxiously broods about a recently hired investigator, Time Mains her trainee, who suddenly seemed to be mysteriously missing in action. Investigative Trainee Tim Mains embarked on an independent mission to go undercover to gather, document and report violations at a targeted company Amaethon Industries. After a spate of little to no contact from Tim, Jude embarks on an intense mission to find the missing investigator determined to get to the truth of his whereabouts, especially after his cryptic message of being on to “something big”. However, Jude’s interest in the mystery of Tim’s disappearance turns out to be more than just a “platonic” or “comrade in arms” type of concern for him as it turns out the two had started an affair that had to be kept out of sight.

Meanwhile, as the progress of her investigative efforts continues, Jude finds herself confronting a debilitating personal health issue. Her intimate feelings towards Tim brought on a deepening mystery as she hears evidence of his untoward behavior, including drug use, and an intense romance with a young woman, all while he was supposed to be working undercover investigating. It was now clear to her that Tim may not have been the man she thought she could trust not only with an important heartfelt job and not to mention with her heart.

Fundamentally, as a whole, The Experiment turned out to be a good stand-alone read that I found to be both creative and satisfying as a mystery read. Ultimately, the story captivated me with a mystery that deepened and twisted as the plot progressed centered around subject matter that I personally found a refreshing relief from the usual mystery genre fare. And as for characterizations, I found Jude to be a well-crafted central character whose own complex personal history intrigued, just as much as the other mysterious elements within the narrative which author Robin Lamont did a splendid job of culminating, into a cohesive and intriguing work that wielded suspense well. I look forward to her other books as well as hoping to see The Experiment made into a movie. I think it would be great and this book is definitely a must-read.

Book Review of "The Templars"

There are so many stories about Templars, Knights and Masons. Some are fact and some are fiction. You have to know a little about history to sort through them. Barbara Frale is a historian who gives the reader the history background collected from her research.

The warrior-monks were put together to protect Jerusalem from being taken over by the Muslims. There were multiple countries involved. France and England were two of the major ones. They led the crusades for centuries but were eventually defeated. In the end, between kings and the Catholic Church, they were disbanded. It was a sad ending to their history. There was an inquisition and they were killed.

Much of the book was beyond my knowledge and I kept my laptop nearby to lookup time periods I needed background on. It was very interesting.

From what I comprehended, they began as an honorable group of men who in the end were used as scapegoats, pawns and murdered in the end.

Many people interested in these topics are into the whole conspiracy theories that make for movies.

I'm not into all that but do enjoy learning about history. What I got out of it is that I do not want to support death penalties or torture in any circumstance. Throughout history, there has been so much wrong done to innocent people by deceit or fanaticism. Even for heinous crimes, I would rather just incarcerate and rehabilitate than chance unjustly murdering or harming someone who was innocent or who didn't submit to an idea.

We have seen these scenarios throughout history from the Templars, to witch hunts, to those refusing to convert to religions, to military revenge. I know in my heart that is not what God would want people doing to each other in his name.

I do believe the military is a necessary part of life that will always be needed. One group will always be trying to take over another and countries need to be able to defend themselves. I am thankful that I have never to to experience war and pray I never do. I am thankful that I live in a country with freedom of religion, democracy and in the age of peace. I am thankful I was born after freedom for slaves, rights for women and civil rights equality. I am thankful for all those before I was born who sacrificed their lives for those freedoms.

Charles Dickens’s "American Notes" Is Perhaps His Finest Non-Fiction Book

One of the joys of our new age of electronic books, if you are fond of books as physical objects as well as texts, is that one can easily download from the Internet Archive and other digital libraries a PDF copy of a century-old book that is considered “rare” in the trade (I’m thinking here of anything that might run you more than $250 at a book dealer in New York or London) and enjoy it almost as though you had the physical copy in your hands — though, alas, without the smell of the leather or the feel of the paper. But also, fortunately, without risk that you will unwittingly damage an object that the years have made fragile.

My favorite edition of Charles Dickens’s American Notes is the John W. Lovell edition printed in New York on Vesey Street in 1883. I have read this version in an East Coast university library in the 1970s and, more recently, on one of my desktops as a PDF, though I’ve also downloaded the Project Gutenberg edition (which you will find as the third item listed under “Dickens, Charles” in the Gutenberg catalog), and emailed it to my Kindle so that I can more easily read it in bed. Of course, Amazon has an edition of this and every other Dickens work downloadable directly from the Amazon catalog, accessible by WiFi from your Kindle itself.

Dickens’s reputation never peaked in his lifetime but simply continued to build until he was considered a kind of God of Literature, a giant among writers. That reputation was already well-established in England and America in 1842 when he made his first trip to the United States (he would return a quarter-century later, in 1867). His lovely young wife Catherine, whom he’d married six years earlier, accompanied him. Catherine Thompson Hogarth Dickens was the charming daughter of an influential London editor, George Hogarth, a fact that did nothing to hurt her husband’s literary career.

Dickens was just thirty when he and Catherine boarded the spanking new RMS Britannia on January 3, 1842, a paddle-wheeler of 1,200 tons, 207 feet long, bound for Boston and Halifax. Already under his literary belt were The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist (which the young Queen Victoria burned candles late at night to read, so engrossed was she by this tale of poverty so close to her London palace), Nicholas Nickleby, Old Curiosity Shop, and Barnaby Rudge.

The Britannia moved like a snail by our standards today — she could produce about 750 horsepower with her two-cylinder coal-fired steam engine (about the output of two large American passenger cars), moving her 115 passengers and 80 crew at a top speed of 8.5 knots across the Atlantic. At that pace it took 12 days to cross the ocean; Dickens was sick the whole time. He vowed never to travel the ocean by steam again and, indeed, returned to England months later under sail. Hi-tech was not his thing, at least when it came to the sea — he was always very fond of railroads.

One of the motivations for his American trip, beyond his boundless curiosity about all things American (especially slavery, which he condemns in the last chapter of American Notes), was his concern about American piracy of his works. The United States was then a nation, like China today, that paid not much respect to intellectual property rights. Dickens’ novels were widely pirated here, with no royalties paid to their author.

Claire Tomalin’s 2011 biography of Dickens tells us that the author spent four weeks in Manhattan to lecture American editors and publishers on the value of international copyright conventions. Using his literary fame, he was able to persuade some two dozen U.S. literary heavyweights, including Washington Irving, to craft a letter to Congress in support of such a measure, though he had less success in persuading the press to join him. In those days, writers who achieved any level of fame were deemed to have benefited sufficiently from their literary efforts. It was considered in poor taste, even gauche, to expect a big payday as well.

Every time I read American Notes I am startled by how timeless Dickens’s voice is, almost as though he were writing contemporaneously for Atlantic Monthly or Harper’s. This is so different from his novels, which have a 19th century feel reflecting his love of the 18th century picaresque style of British fiction that he tried to re-invent in his own age, a literary style that may take an American reader, even a devoted one like me, a while to get back into. Not so with his non-fiction (of which this is only one example — Dickens wrote as he breathed, not as work, but as a form of being alive. It’s unlikely that a day passed without time spent with his ink-stained copybooks.).

Take a look at this riveting description of a visit to Niagara Falls. Though there are a few “tells” of grammar and punctuation that give away its mid-19th century authorship, it is just astonishing to me how fresh this writing is.

These paragraphs are taken from Chapter 14 of the Lovell edition:

“We called at the town of Erie at eight o’clock that night and lay there an hour. Between five and six next morning we arrived at Buffalo, where we breakfasted. And being too near the Great Falls to wait patiently anywhere else, we set off by the train the same morning at nine o’clock to Niagara.

“It was a miserable day: chilly and raw, a damp mist falling, and the trees in that northern region quite bare and wintry. Whenever the train halted, I listened for the roar and was constantly straining my eyes in the direction where I knew the Falls must be, from seeing the river rolling on towards them, every moment expecting to behold the spray. Within a few minutes of our stopping, not before, I saw two great white clouds rising up slowly and majestically from the depths of the earth. That was all. At length we alighted and then for the first time I heard the mighty rush of water and felt the ground tremble underneath my feet.

“The bank is very steep and was slippery with rain and half-melted ice. I hardly know how I got down, but I was soon at the bottom and climbing, with two English officers who were crossing and had joined me, over some broken rocks, deafened by the noise, half- blinded by the spray, and wet to the skin. We were at the foot of the American Falls. I could see an immense torrent of water tearing headlong down from some great height, but had no idea of shape, or situation, or anything but vague immensity.”

Vague immensity indeed! Could anyone do this better in a modern travel guide?

Charles Dickens was the most popular novelist of his time and is very possibly the best known British writer, even today. His works have always been available in print editions, and now also in timelessly preserved electronic copies anyone can download at no cost.

Yet I think his non-fiction work, especially American Notes, his magnificent examination of a former British colony he both admired and viewed with a critical kind of love, have never achieved the popularity of Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Tiny Tim, or Ebenezer Scrooge (was there ever anyone with that gift for naming his creations?). That’s a shame, because they are frankly easier for modern readers to absorb, and this book in particular paints a fascinating picture of the United States just on the brink of a civil war.

Modern readers will find American Notes accessible and readable in a way that will delight them. I hope this book will achieve another century of broad success. And I celebrate the fact that anyone with access to the internet can read not only the electronic text of the book, but can download a PDF copy of one of the early editions, a bound text that most of us would not choose to spend several hundred dollars to own, and revel in the “feel” of the typography and the organization of the printed page. It’s a book that is so easy to enjoy: Charles Dickens wrote non-fiction that deserves to be as admired as much as his novels.

Sinclair Lewis – "The Innocents" Book Review

The Innocents by Sinclair Lewis was one of two novels published in 1917. The full title of this work is The Innocents: A Story for Lovers and was originally a collection of serialized stories for a women’s magazine. It was Sinclair Lewis’s last distinctive pulp novel.

The Innocents, Plot Summary:

The first characters introduced are a couple, born a decade before the American civil war, who now lived in New York City and have married for 40 years. They are Mr. Seth Appleby and Mrs. Sarah Jane Appleby, often called simply ‘Father’ and ‘Mother.’

They have a married daughter, Lulu, who lives with husband and young son in a New York town. Mother and Father are “the innocents” of Sinclair Lewis’s 1917 serialized short novel.

After some decades in Pilkings & Son’s Shoe Parlor, Seth Appleby has worked his way up to become to Mr. Pilkings a roughly modern equivalent of what Dagwood Bumstead is to Julius Dithers, albeit even more under-appreciated and under-challenged than Dagwood. This is a theme that also appeared in “Our Mr. Wrenn.”

During their annual two week vacation on Cape Cod, Father and Mother treat the owners of their vacation home to a snack at Ye Tea Shoppe. Expecting a bill for their light snack to be around ninety cents, Father is astonished to be charged $3.60. He calculates that sum to represent a 500% markup on the food served.

Suddenly, in a moment given as a huge eye opening revelatory moment, the idea of running a tea shop seems an attractive alternative to fitting big city swells with footwear.

They sell all they own and open their own Tea Shop on Cape Cod. It fails. Seth cannot get his old job back. They end up having to wander from New York to West Virginia where they transform manners and morals of a hobo jungle. The hoboes scatter and begin the legend of two rich old eccentrics wandering the world doing good. Ultimately, the Applebys find happiness back in the shoe business in small town Indiana.

If this sounds a little like fluff, Lewis probably wouldn’t argue. He had an amazing ability to make a living as a writer because he knew how to quickly provide “fluff” stories that the common public would consume.

Sinclair Lewis often had difficulty describing married couples who were each other’s equals or at least contributed something nearly equal as partners in their “divisions of labor.” The Innocents is a very notable exception to this, as for any flaws in plot, this novel is one of his best examples of a couple as each other’s equals.

Whether you call it travel, flight, wanderlust, dreaming…call it “greener grass syndrome,” but one of the most persistent themes in both Sinclair Lewis’s personal life and in his work is that sheer movement, sheer trying out something completely new and different, simply hitting the long trail — all or some of these — will almost surely bring good results, something better.

Now a rare collectible book, a good copy without a dust jacket can easily sell for around $800.