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The Fifth Gospel by Michelle Grubb
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The Fifth Gospel

by Michelle Grubb

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Recently added bywhataslacker, Lexxi, DanieXJ

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I read Girls with Guns back in March. That is a short story collection that had, at that time, included three authors I had never previously read. Though I had had at least one of them on and off the possibilities list for years. I gave the Carsen Taite story in that book a rating of 4.85; the story by Grubb a rating of 4.75; and the story by Ali Vali a rating of 3.00. I mention all of that to then note that I proceeded to read 5 books by Taite, and 1 by Vali before, at long last, I tried a full length work by Grubb.

Which brings us to this book here. Two things to note immediately: I rather liked Flic Bastone from the beginning and that impression never changed; I didn’t particularly like Anna Lawrence when I first meet her, but she, eventually, grew on me (I made a comment at some point that I wished I wasn’t inside Anna’s head; because her thoughts her not helping me like her much up to a certain point). I mention that because there are several elements that might otherwise have caused me to lowly rate this book. The book was, at least in my opinion, saved by the romance between the two. Not to imply that the plotline and other ‘non-romance’ parts were bad or anything. But the romance really helped push the book along and helped me rather like the book.

I had certain problems along the way:
1) I have certain difficulties about books like this – the kind that seems to include mention within it of the idea that some ‘big thing’ is going to ‘destroy the church’. Reminds me of a short story I read. It was alternate history. Involved Lewis and Clark heading out on their expedition and seeing . . . . a wooly mammoth. Therefore utterly destroying the church. Wasn’t a badly written short story, but the logic escaped me. I think it had something to do with evolution, or the possibility that wooly mammoths were not explicitly mentioned as being among the animals on Noah’s ark or something else equally grand. Admittedly having the Pope turn out to be both gay and in a gay relationship would have an immense impact on the church. I just don’t see that that in of itself would ‘utterly destroy the church’. Hell, you have priests, bishops, and the like raping young children and the church slumps along un-destroyed – and that’s with the church mostly attempting to a) cover it up; b) moving priests around instead of cutting their balls off (they are the church, I assume they could do that if they wanted), or defrocking the priests. Actually, I've wondered why they, way back when, hadn't gone with a eunuch priesthood (the Catholic Church at least). And, I should note, eunuch's are not exactly unknown to the church - there was a time they made certain types of singers that way, by cutting off the balls of little boys.

2) saying all that in the first part, my bigger problem was Anna and her connection to the church. It, in various ways, confused me. She herself said she had a relatively . . . um, well, I forget now what she said, but she is not from an ultra religious family, I’m not even sure her parents are even religious at all. No, she’s just someone who was the offspring of people who moved a lot and had had Anna by accident; and a person who found ‘contentment’ in seeing a church at each location they moved, and spending time in it (I suppose I should be glad that it hadn’t been a McDonald’s she latched on to, eh?) Anna’s personality and character would have made a lot more sense if her back-story had been different. Hell, I had a stronger connection to the Catholic Church growing up than she did, based on what is revealed in the book, and I didn’t reach adulthood assuming that every single bloody Catholic is exactly the same (the numerous times she spoke for the billions of Catholics was very annoying. Stop speaking for me, bitch).

Right. So. The book was enjoyable. The relationship between Anna and Flic was good enough to pull me along. I had certain issues with Anna specifically, though not with the depiction of the church or its supporters/opponents. More with Anna’s connection to the church.

I wasn’t sure if I’d actually get around to reading a book by Grubb, despite loving that short story I had read, since none of her books looked like things I wanted to read. The most interesting one had that church/religion connection, and I’m less than interested in reading that. But I’m glad I, forced might be pushing things, myself to read this book.

June 14 2016 ( )
  Lexxi | Jun 26, 2016 |
This was an interesting book. It was mostly a lesbian romance, but it also had quite a bit of thriller in it as well.

It's basically the story of Flic and Anna. Flic is in Rome when she overhears something about the Pope which inspires her to write a fictional book on the topic.

Anna is the head of marketing and a marketing guru at Flic's publisher (and that whole subplot regarding the publisher stuff was sorta interesting). She gets assigned to be Flic's handler on the book's promotional tour. She also happens to be very Catholic and while she promotes the book to the best of her ability, she also does not approve of it in the beginning of the book.

Since it is a romance Anna and Flic are attracted to each other on multiple levels from the very beginning, and from there it has a lot of the same romantic twists and turns in their story with a slightly different twist or turn here or there as well.

I liked most of the characters. I really liked Flic and I very much wished that there had been more of Laura and especially more of Max as well. Then there was Anna. I didn't dislike her as much by the end of the book, but at the beginning I really couldn't stand her character and I'm not entirely sure that I was supposed to dislike her at the beginning of the book.

It was a good book though, and as I said, an interesting and intriguing read.

I got this advanced galley through Netgalley on behalf of Bold Strokes Books. ( )
  DanieXJ | Jan 19, 2016 |
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MODERN & CONTEMPORARY FICTION (POST C 1945). Rome. A shocking discovery and dark secrets. Is the leader of the Catholic Church hiding something that could change the world? Investigative journalist Flic Bastone overhears a startling conversation she can t ignore. There is no proof, nor does she want any. Poking into Vatican affairs is dangerous. Aware that the secret could soon be exposed to the world, Flic hastily pens a novel that shares alarming similarities to the uncovered truth. Eager to capitalize on what they recognize as a best seller, Griffin Publishers fast-tracks the novel to print, propelling marketing guru Anna Lawrence and Flic on a grueling promotional tour. Pushed closer together when attempts are made on Flic s life, their growing attraction intensifies. Who s targeting Flic? And will Anna move beyond her own religious beliefs while their worlds fall apart?"… (more)

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