VERITAS: A Harvard Professor, A Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife by Ariel Sabar

 

Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife

 

The gripping true story of a sensational religious forgery and the scandal that engulfed Harvard.

Dr. Karen King, a well-respected professor at Harvard Divinity, announced to the attendees of a scholars conference, steps from the Vatican.

Someone had given her a scrap of an ancient papyrus where Jesus calls Mary Magdalene his wife.  As you can imagine, this was huge. I know I followed this in the news because I had an interest in the Gnostic Gospels and what was and wasn’t true. I never saw Mary of Magdala as a prostitute and I never found any corroboration of that.

Imagine if all these years later we find out Jesus had a wife. What? What a shakeup that would be for the Catholic Church especially. If he was married, why celibacy in the priesthood? Why no women in positions of power? There was a powerful uproar and King’s reputation suffered. Was this piece a forgery and if so was King in on it?

Amid all of these questions, journalist Ariel Sabar started digging into the story. Where did the fragment come from? With impeccable research and detective skills, he brings us the story of King and the man who may or may not be a forger.

This was a brilliant look at the rivalries in academia. The hopes of King that there was an alternative to the bible out there that was more inclusive to women. I’ll leave you to enjoy the mystery.

I am still mulling over questions this book brought up. And I’m sure I will be for a long time.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ August 11th, 2020 by Doubleday Books

 

 

 

An Unorthodox Match: A Novel by Naomi Ragen

An Unorthodox Match: A Novel

An Unorthodox Match is a powerful and moving novel of faith, love, and acceptance, from author Naomi Ragen, the internationally bestselling author of The Devil in Jerusalem.

Lola/Leah had it all. Or so she thought. A tragic love story, a new love along with a great career, but while her eyes were elsewhere, her lover hops into bed with the boss and the boss has destroyed the business leaving Lola/Leah with no job, no boyfriend, and no place to go.

Although her mother is Jewish, she rebelled against her parents and the faith early on and led her own non-believing life. She has taught her daughter that religion is a cult and she should make her own rules. But Lola/Leah is broken. And curious about her faith.

When she enters a program for newly practicing Orthodox Jews, she finds it hard and rewarding. She knows this is how she wants to live her life. And when love finds her, the same people who showed her the path will try to push her out of it.

There was a lot of writing in this book. A bit too much. But the story. The words. A lot of them hit too close to home. Oh, how we love to convert someone to a believer or bring back a lamb that has strayed. But we still think we are better than you. I was humbled by this book.

A beautiful and powerful look at true faith and love. Well Done!

NetGalley/ September 24th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

Blogmas Day 8…and then….

So here we are at Day 8 of Blogmas. Got a really good shot of the carousel in the park and of course Grandpa’s John Deere Santa.

My new Anne Rice release came in yesterday, so I lost track of time this morning, reading in the tub, which is really just a second office, but as I said, I lost track of time in there and ended up having to have a conference call with my attorneys from the bathtub. Not a big deal. If we have ever spoken on the phone, I was either in the pool or the tub. Sorry…  I thought I had pulled the call off pretty well until I turned the hot water on just a tiny bit and I heard a voice say, “Are you in the tub?”  You got me.

As far as the Christmas thing goes, I am just not feeling that. It’s not that I’m a humbug it’s just the hypocrisy of it all. I have yet to hear more than one person talk about why you are celebrating Christmas. And then it hit me….these people aren’t celebrating the birth of their Christ, they’re celebrating Santa Claus. People are acting straight up crazy in the malls and shops, literally knocking people down in a rush to buy more stuff. I personally don’t need any stuff. I’m good.

This may not be a popular thing to say but I don’t really care. I don’t have a list of people to buy for. I have 3. They get Barnes and Noble gift cards. Done. And that is only because they are under the age of 5.

I’m still not even sure why Christmas Day is a Federal holiday. When do the other religions get a day off? And please don’t @ me telling me this is a Christian nation. It is not. Read your history books. I think I am just so sick of hearing how tight things are for people and yet they are out there going into debt so their kids can brag at school? What about the multitudes of people who choose feeding their children and putting a roof over their heads? Are these children “naughty” when Santa doesn’t come to their house?

Seems like a really unfair guy that Santa. Anyhow, that’s my opinion and you are more than welcome to yours. I just can’t help but wonder how many people out there shopping will be in church to celebrate what they say they are celebrating….

xxPP

Woman of God by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Woman of God by [Patterson, James]

The world is watching as massive crowds gather in Rome, waiting for news of a new pope, one who promises to be unlike any other in history. It’s a turning point that may change the Church forever. Some followers are ecstatic that the movement reinvigorating the Church is about to reach the Vatican, but the leading candidate has made a legion of powerful enemies who aren’t afraid to kill for their cause.

Faith has never come easy for Brigid Fitzgerald. From her difficult childhood with drug-addled parents to her career as a doctor healing the wounded in Sudan to a series of trials that test her beliefs at every turn, Brigid’s convictions and callings have made her the target of all those who fear that the Church has lost its way–dangerous adversaries who abhor challenges to tradition. Locked in a deadly, high-stakes battle with forces determined to undermine everything she believes in, Brigid must convert her enemies to her cause before she loses her faith…and her life.

Spanning the globe–from the drug dens, high-powered law firms, and churches of Boston to the horrific brutality of a civil war in the Sudanese desert to the beauty, violence, and spiritual enlightenment of the Holy Land–Woman of God is an epic, thrilling tale of perseverance, love, trust and nothing less than what it means to live in a fallen world.

Maxine Paetro is one of my favorite co-authors for James Patterson.

Our story begins twenty years prior to the story, a short beginning with everyone waiting in the square to see the smoke when a new Pope is announced.

We follow Brigid from the dangerous Sudan, where she and her fellow doctors do their best to patch up the wounded flocking to their compound, to Rome, and all over the globe. Surrounded by factions that are killing any and everyone. When Brigid is injured and sent home to heal, she has no idea what to do. Her faith is questioned at every turn and at one point she turns away from the church.

A story of faith, struggles, and how the Catholic Church is moving forward into unfamiliar territory. As usual, there are the those on the fringes who are going to advocate violence rather than change the church and Brigid must let her faith in God be her guiding light into the future of the church and in her own tortured life.

How does one keep the faith when all the things you hold dearest are continually being taken away? How much loss is one woman capable of enduring? Will Brigid find her purpose and is that purpose being the next Pope?

You will have to read it and see! I was very happy to see this at my local library when it came in.  My favorite JP books are the ones with Ms. Paetro. The writing flows nicely and there is a female presence that is obvious in the book.

Lovely Book!

The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias

The Devil's Prayer

Explicit Content Warning: “The Devil’s Prayer” is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive.

A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago. 
In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.

As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.

And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.

Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?
REVIEW:

This is a genre I am very familiar with. I can’t tell you how many books I have read this year about the Illuminate, the other secret societies and the Catholic Church. While some have been quite good, this book is beyond that. It is exceptionally well written, blending fact with fiction and with enough twists and turns to make it whiplash worthy!
When a nun commits suicide in front of thousands of people, Siobhan Russo recognizes the woman as her mother, who disappeared six years ago. At a memorial service for her mother, Siobhan is approached by an elderly priest. Father Jakub has something for Siobhan, her mother’s Bible. And then he is gone. As Siobhan begins to read, she finds the book is more of a confession, written for her and also a request to finish what her mother started.

As we bounce back and forth between centuries, we along with Siobhan hear fantastical stories of the Devil and of God. You can’t have one without the other. Did her mother kill herself? What happened in the past that drove her to make a deal with the Devil for Siobhan’s own soul?

This is a brutally raw and ugly look at history and what people have done in the name of religion and what continues to go on. How far would you go to exact revenge for unspeakable acts done to you or your loved ones? For Denise,she made a pact with the Devil. Wagering her own daughter’s soul. And with the Devil is anything really as it seems? What will this deal cost her in the end?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and actually spent 8 straight hours reading it and then looking up all of the historical places and people and events mentioned in it. Fascinating look at history and religion through the ages.

Thank you Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read this. I’ll be keeping it.

Crown of Blood:The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis

Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey

“Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same.” These were the heartbreaking words of a seventeen-year-old girl, Lady Jane Grey, as she stood on the scaffold awaiting death on a cold February morning in 1554. Minutes later her head was struck from her body with a single stroke of a heavy axe. Her death for high treason sent shockwaves through the Tudor world, and served as a gruesome reminder to all who aspired to a crown that the axe could fall at any time.

The world of the Tudors is complicated to say the least. And yet Tallis breaks it down to an easily read and very well documented and researched read.

Lady Jane, known as the 9 day Queen, was by all accounts an intelligent and strong willed girl. Educated and piously Protestant, she seems to have been a pawn in the way that so many women of that age were.

We follow her from early childhood to her death at the Tower. I was surprised at the amount of information on her. Tallis gives us a brilliant look at this time in history and brings Lady Jane to life for us.

There was also a lot of information on Princess Mary and her vast following, not only of Catholics but Protestants as well.

Thank you to Netgalley for this book!  Publication is set for December 6, 2016.

About the Author

Nicola Tallis achieved a first-class bachelor’s degree with honors in history from Bath Spa University. She also has an MA in Public History from Royal Holloway College, University of London. Nicola has been passionate about English history all of her life, and has worked as a curator, lecturer, and historical researcher. She is currently the resident historian for Alison Weir Tours. Crown of Blood, her first book, is the result of five years of research on the Grey family.

The Atheist Muslim: A Journey From Religion To Reason by Ali A. Rizvi

The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to ReasonStruggling to reconcile the Muslim society he was living in as a scientist and physician and the religion he was being raised in, Ali A. Rizvi eventually loses his faith. Discovering that he is not alone in his beliefs, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to represent the voices that are usually quashed before reaching the mainstream media―the Atheist Muslim.
In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam―as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas―without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.

In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam―as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas―without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.

To look at this book and to check the subject matter one may think this is an overwhelming read. It is not. It is so well written and documented that it was hard to take a break.

Along with his personal story, this was also an excellent history lesson. Are there some ideas we are born into and more that we grow into as individuals, becoming more aware of the differences and similarities between cultures and religions?

Church and State have long been connected in our world’s history. And that subject is dealt with thoroughly here. The author explains how our personal identity is all too often wrapped in our cultural identity.

I had specific questions going into this book and every one of them was answered. I am extremely glad to have read it and to recommend it.

Thank  you Netgalley for the opportunity.