Book review: The Church of Mercy

Church of MercyThe Church of Mercy
By Pope Francis
Published by Loyola Press, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8294-4170-3
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This slender philosophical book is a collection of speeches by Pope Francis, dating from April to November 2013. My impression of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is that he is a good, kind man with a genuine faith in God, and a genuine interest in the welfare of the poor, not just in saving their souls, but their bodies as well. He proves this in Part Eight, Chapter 30 of his book, “The Cult of the God of Money”, in which he deplores the wastefulness of this throwaway culture of ours and the rampant consumerism that leads to so much waste: “This culture of waste has also made us insensitive to wasting and throwing out excess foodstuffs, which is especially condemnable when, in every part of the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families suffer hunger and malnutrition…Let us remember well, however, that whenever food is thrown out, it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry!” Continue reading “Book review: The Church of Mercy”

Book review: The Boleyn King

The Boleyn King
By Laura Andersen
PUBLISHED BY: BALLANTINE BOOKS, A DIVISION OF RANDOM HOUSE, INC.
ISBN: 978-0-345-53409-5
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This book is an historic romance/reconstruction, in the style of Harry Turtledove, an author who enjoys rewriting history by speculating what would have happened if a well-known historic event had never occurred, or had occurred differently. The premise of “The Boleyn King” is: What would have happened if Anne Boleyn had not “miscarried of her savior”? Suppose she had actually given King Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted?
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Book review: The Diamond Man

The Diamond Man
By Michael J. Molloy
Published By: Gypsy Shadow Publishing, LLC, May 13, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-61950-099-0
Review copy sent to author

Review written by Ida Vega-Landow

This is one of the most charming books I’ve ever read. And I’m not saying that just because I know the author. Michael Molloy is the friend of a friend of mine, with the soul of a poet and a fondness for sports. He has managed to combine the two in a surprisingly sweet novel about a sportscaster whose life changes after he performs a heroic act and falls in love.
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Book Review: Zombie Nation: From Folklore to Modern Frenzy

Zombie Nation: From Folklore to Modern Frenzy
By E.R. Vernor
Published By: Schiffer Publishing LTD, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4450-3
Review copy sent by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

The popularity of zombies has yet to wane, as seen by the recent debut of the movie “World War Z”, based upon the book by Max Brooks. Brooks also wrote “The Zombie Survival Guide”, a tongue-in-cheek survival manual for those who believe the Zombie Apocalypse will soon be upon us. But “Zombie Nation” is a serious, non-fiction book about zombies in legend, literature, movies and TV. I found it to be as entertaining as Brooks’ book, though not as funny.
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Book Review: Dead Ever After

Dead Ever After
BY: Charlaine Harris
PUBLISHED BY: Ace Books, New York
ISBN: 978-1-937007-88-1
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

And so we come to the end of the Sookie Stackhouse saga, as Sookie’s relationship with Eric Northman comes to an end as well. Due to his late makers’ meddling, the hunky vampire Viking is now engaged to Freyda, the Vampire Queen of Oklahoma. He is forced to end his “marriage” to Sookie by his boss, Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Nevada, Louisiana and Arkansas, who after witnessing the dissolution ceremony in Eric’s office at his bar Fangtasia, forbids her to ever come to the bar again. You’d think he’d show a little more gratitude to the person who saved him from being killed by his predecessor’s bodyguard. But as they say on The Sopranos, “It’s just business, nothing personal.”
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Book review: Fairy Rides the Lighting

Fairy Rides the Lighting
By Patrick Thomas
Published by Padwolf Publishing Inc. 2012
ISBN: 978-890096-50-2
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

If you believe in fairies, clap your hands. If you believe in Terrorbelle, give her a high five. But brace yourself! She’s not your typical fairy gal, with dainty hands and butterfly wings, so light you could knock her over with a feather. No, this badass fairy is more likely to knock you down, or at least leave you with a badly bruised hand when you high five her. She’s half pixie and half ogre, which means she’s built like a brick house and has razor-edged wings that can slice your hand off if you try to touch her inappropriately. In other words, Terrorbelle is no stranger to trouble. And in Patrick Thomas’ latest account of her adventures, our little fairy warrior is up to her pretty pink hairdo in trouble.
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Book review: God’s Jury: The Inquisition And The Making of The Modern World

God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World
by Cullen Murphy
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0-618-09156-0
Review copy supplied by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose office is located at the Piazza del Sant’Affizio 11 in Rome, is the part of the church whose job is, “to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals throughout the Catholic world”. All the Vatican’s pronouncements on cloning and same-sex marriage originated here, along with its directives to Catholic parishes not to supply names of past or present congregants to the Mormon Church’s Genealogical Society of Utah, because of the Vatican’s “grave reservations” about the Mormon practice of posthumous baptism. The declaration Dominus Jesus, issued in 2000, reiterating that the Catholic Church is the only true church of Christ and the only assured means of salvation, is also a CDF document.
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Book review: Once More Upon a Time

Once More Upon a Time
By Patrick Thomas and Diane Raetz
Publisher: Dark Quest, LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9826197-5-9
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This is a different kind of Mystic Investigators tale by my New York homeboy, Patrick Thomas, and his latest collaborator Diane Raetz. I’m more accustomed to reading about the exploits of Agent Karver, and his empathic partner Mandi Cobb, in the Department of Mystic Affairs. They’re both pros at dealing with practitioners of the Dark Arts, fairies and mystic beasts. But the protagonist of this novel is a young witch named Jillian Anderson, an agent of Templar Mason, once known as the Knights Templar. She’s new at this business, so new that her mistakes can cause serious repercussions for the people she’s trying to help.
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Book review: Mystic Investigators: Bullets & Brimstone

Mystic Investigators: Bullets & Brimstone
By Patrick Thomas & John L. French
Published by Dark Quest Books
ISBN: 978-0-9826197-3-5
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

Fresh from my review of Stefan Kanfer’s bio of Humphrey Bogart, here’s my review of another Bogie fan created by New York homeboy Patrick Thomas. Those of you familiar with the world of Murphy’s Lore will welcome the return of Negral, the forgotten fire god of Sumeria who became the Devil’s Detective to avoid fading away. Fresh from his triumph in Patrick’s previous publication, “Lore and Dysorder”, which this book keeps referring to (or was it this book that preceded “Lore and Dysorder”? Let’s do the Time Warp again!), Negral joins forces with a mortal cop, a police detective named Bianca Jones, to track down one of the Devil’s lost souls. That’s someone who signed a contract with the Devil and tries to get out of it.
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Book review: Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart

Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart
By Stefan Kanfer
Published by: Borzoi Books, aka Alfred A. Knofp, Random House, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-27100-6
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This has got to be one of the best books I ever read about one of my favorite celebrities! I’ve been a Bogie fan for as long as I can remember, and I’ve read a lot about him as an actor and a man, but nobody humanizes him as completely as Stefan Kanfer does. He goes into great detail about Bogie’s background and life—his socialite parents, the exclusive prep school that he dropped out of, his brief naval career and less than successful acting career on Broadway before he got his big break in the movies, his three failed marriages before he met Lauren Bacall—but he never gets boring, judgmental or moralistic. This Stefan Kanfer is a straight-shooter; he tells it like it was for one of America’s greatest male show business icons, and lets us be the ultimate judges on what kind of man Humphrey Bogart was.
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