The Five Love Languages Book Review

 

A little over a week ago, I sat down and started reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  Almost a week later, I finished it, which is the fastest I’ve read a long book like this in a long time.  I’m aware that it’s a pretty old book now at this point, though to be fair, it has been released several times over the years in a more updated format to keep up with the times and connect better with our current generation.  I was obviously no exception.  I read the latest revised edition from two years ago and found myself intrigued the entire time while reading.

Now, the author Chapman has come out with several other versions of the book meant to be targeted specifically towards different demographics like singles, men specifically, and women specifically.  Not a single one of his versions however was for people on the autism spectrum.  This is not a criticism from me though.  I’d like to point out that even though the author probably didn’t have people on the spectrum in mind while writing the book, this doesn’t at all mean that people with autism won’t be able to understand any of it.  In fact, as someone who’s on the spectrum myself, I found this book to be a lot more helpful than most others I’ve read dealing specifically with relationships between people on the spectrum.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details about each love language, I will just list the basic five explained in this book: acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, and quality time.  While some of the chapters focusing on these love languages happen to be shorter than others, there’s no shortage of information here.  Gary Chapman takes every love language and gives a meticulously thorough explanation for each of them and offers some helpful suggestions on how to approach each of them, whether it’s how to explain to your significant other what your primary love language is or how to speak your significant other’s ‘love language’.  I didn’t finish the book thinking that he should’ve elaborated more.  To back up Chapman’s thorough approach, he explains the reality of the five love languages and how effective they are when used by telling real life stories about couples that have come to him for advice and were told to be more diligent in speaking each other’s love language.  The results usually turn out positive.  It makes me want to meet with and talk to Chapman myself.

On top of the thoroughness of his topics and the stories to back up his claims, the book is written in a clear, straightforward manner.  At no point did I feel like the writing style was too complex for its own good.  It felt like I was reading the world’s longest blog post.  It’s organized, easy to follow, and straight to the point.  Most of the chapters explain a specific love language, tell a few real life stories, then has a list of suggestions at the end to try and speak your significant other’s love language (all of which I admittedly took screenshots of with my phone).  Finally, at the end, there’s a quiz you can take that helps you determine what your primary love language could very well be if you don’t know it already.  Granted a few pages of words probably can’t set in stone exactly what your love language is, but if you’re not lying when you answer the questions given, the results are most likely as closely accurate as you can get.  I for one found the quiz to be extremely helpful, and made it easier to discuss the love languages to my own girlfriend afterwards.

To cap off, I should note that the book’s premise assumes that you’re already married (hence why there’s a singles version out there).  If you don’t feel like seeking out the singles version but aren’t sure if you’re ready to read this book because of its assumption, I can assure you that it really doesn’t matter.  It would still prove very helpful if you’re in a dating relationship.  A few parts of it only apply to married couples yes, but those segments are honestly few and far between, and what stuff is there that only applies to marriage may not be helpful to you at the time, but you’ll at least have that knowledge for when you are married.  It certainly doesn’t hurt to do research ahead of time.

All in all, this is an easy 10 out of 10 for me, and while this might’ve not been the most autism-centric post, I also love reviewing books whenever I read a good one, and I think even people on the spectrum should read this. If it helped me, it should help others too.

Star Wars: Death Troopers

 

When I think about Star Wars, I think about Jedi and Sith with their awesome lightsabers. I think about X-wings and TIE fighters in space battling each other. When I think about Star Wars, I’ve never thought about zombies.

And yet, here it is. A Star Wars book about Imperial zombies. This book creates a very intriguing setting and storyline, but does it live up to its potential? For me, the answer is yes and no.

This book takes place between the movies Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. An army from the Galactic Empire is taking a prison ship called Purge to a prison planet. The barge is a prison for the most dangerous criminals in the galaxy. Unexpectedly, the barge breaks down, and it just so happens that there’s a derelict Star Destroyer nearby that is seemingly abandoned. A crew of ten boards the ship to scavenge for parts, but only five of the scavengers come back, returning with them a disastrous disease that infects everybody, save a handful of survivors, on board. The disease eventually kills everybody, and the survivors board the Star Destroyer, only to find out that’s not a very good idea. Everybody that died from the disease rises as an army of the undead.

First of all, if the book was trying to scare me, it failed. I found Joe Schrieber’s other Star Wars book Red Harvest giving me more chills than this one. The build-up was clever, but not exciting. One thing you need to know is that even though this book LOOKS like it’s supposed to be about zombies, they don’t come in at least until a little after the halfway point of this book. Even then, I found the events BEFORE the zombies to be a little more thrilling.

The characters are either decently written to very poorly written. Kale and Trig Longo are two brothers imprisoned on the prison barge. Kale, being the older brother, has a love for his little brother Trig, but these feelings are rubbed in your face a little too much. I admire a character’s trait being revealed through the character’s actions rather than his words. The words outweigh the actions here in a way that’s almost embarrassing, and makes the character feel like he’s fibbing.

Despite the horror, does this book still feel like Star Wars? Probably less so than Red Harvest. The only things in this book that earns it the title Star Wars is that the Empire is involved, there’s a Star Destroyer, and there are two familiar characters in this book that doesn’t do much anyway. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant twist since I wasn’t really caring for the other characters anyway.

5.9/10 stars

Star Wars Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter Book Review

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Star Wars Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter by Michael Reeves delivers a fun chase book that puts you at the edge of your seat screaming in your head about whether or not this extraordinary set of characters will live.  This is only my opinion though, because not everybody believed it was that way.

Okay, so we know that Darth Maul wasn’t going to die, that the plans for invading Naboo wouldn’t make it to the Jedi, and we knew that the Jedi wasn’t supposed to know about this mysterious Sith assassin yet, BUT, when I was reading this book, I became very engaged with the characters.  Michael really knows how to bring them to life in my opinion.  Unfortunately, Michael has a way of creating ineffective characters.  The only new character that made any effect to the story was the droid I-Five (he’s so remarkably effective that it makes C3-PO look like an idiot), I-Five is a protocal droid after all and he seems to have everything when the other characters do not.  Not to mention (spoiler following) he’s pretty much the only new character that didn’t die in the end but got its memory wiped.

I have to admit, Darth Maul was a pretty effective villain in this book and you could probably understand his frustration in the end when he just couldn’t kill the Corellian (Han Solo right?) Lorn Pavan who was probably my favorite character in the book.  Despite some brief annoyances, I thought Darsha Assant was a great character although I thought it was real weird that Lorn was falling for Darsha when she’s, oh I don’t know, maybe a LITTLE older than Ahsoka Tano?  Anyway, the romance wouldn’t have worked out anyway because she’s a Jedi and she’s supposed to avoid attachment.

Now on to some negative elements.  First of all, I thought some of the products mentioned in this book was stupid and weird.  First of all, Darth Maul is searching for the Neimodian Hath Monchar who started the whole chase in the first place and he attempts to track him down through debit card use.  You heard me, DEBIT card use!  What the heck?  What was Michael thinking when he leaked real modern elements in this book.  He should’ve whipped up something a little more unique.

Everybody complained about how the new characters died in this book, so what was the point?  Well, I liked Michael’s attempt at squeezing a story in with characters that aren’t quite so stale like they are in other Star Wars novels.  This one is definitely one I’m putting on my shelf along with my #1 favorite: The Clone Wars Wild Space.  I don’t know why I like books where the endings are pretty much predictable, but maybe it’s because I loved traveling with these characters even though they died at the end, but the thing is, it’s the character development that grabs me and pulls me into a very interesting ride.  It doesn’t hurt sometimes, it really doesn’t.

4.6/5 stars.

Deadline Book Review

This was one of the longest books I have ever read, and I actually didn’t think I would make it through the whole thing at first. This was a good book, but it wasn’t spectacular.

I actually have different opinions for each section of the book, the beginning, the middle, and the end.  The beginning was good but not great, boring at times but had some really good moments (ex. Finney’s entrance into heaven is a very memorable scene), the middle was only okay for the most part, and the end was great (starting with Jake giving a school teacher a piece of his mind).  This book means it when it was made for adults.  This book deals very heavily on premarital sex, abortion, and even has some pretty intense violence.  This is a Christian book so it had some great character development throughout but still had a few loose ends Randy didn’t bother to tie up and seemed like he tried rushing through a few bits.

For instance, Jake’s daughter ends up getting HIV and Randy keeps hovering the fact that she may die over our heads.  At the end of the book, Randy rushes the fact by saying “the doctor said the HIV had not made any effects at the time”, AT THE TIME he said.  Okay…does she eventually die?  This weird ending kinda thrust us into a guessing game.  I could be wrong, there ARE sequels to this book but they’re all centered around different characters that had very minor roles in this one.

Anyway, I think this book went to into Jake’s job at the Trib, though part of the plot is there, they spent too much time centered around that part of the character’s life that could’ve really been shorter.  As a matter of fact, the whole book could’ve been shorter but chose not to.

Besides the HIV thing, the book did wrap up real well.  I’m not one to reveal a lot of spoilers here so I won’t say much of what happens, but it IS a worthy read if you’ve got time.  It’s a book that IS hard to put down I’ll tell you that, and I’ve running into those a lot (and jeopardizing a lot of school tests here).  Still, it is a good book, not great, but good.  I noticed that when Finney is in heaven there’s not one description that says the streets were made of gold, and isn’t that what the Bible said?

Anyway, 3.5/5 stars.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye Book Review

I’m actually kinda’ a newbie at this type of nonfiction but this was good advising book about the consequences of dating.  It has very good advice, and I confess, I’m not interested in dating and this book made me MORE uninterested.  Let me just say, I’m taking a different approach rather than dating.  I’m waiting until God specifically points out the right person.

There’s not much to say about this book, although I do admit that at some times the writing feels somewhat tedious, but it’s as if Joshua discovers that and gets me sitting back up again in no time.  I know for a fact that for anyone who is seeing the consequences that dating can produce will not regret reading this if that person really pays attention.  I should know, I’ll probably have to read this book a second time to fully understand it, to fully grasp it.

The style Joshua has is not boring I’ll tell you that, but it’s not as straightforward as other books I’ve read, say, Every Young Man’s Battle.  Sometimes it takes reading the same chapter again to finally get the concept.  I know other books are like that, but I thought it would be a little more straightforward so that teens could understand.

Anyway, it does have great advice, and it is a worthy book to read again (not to mention it DOES help).  But I’m not going to explain the messages here, I’ll let you find out for yourself and see what you think.

Overall, this book gets 4/5 stars.

The Force Unleashed Novel Book Review

I confess that I haven’t actually played the game that this novel adapted from, yet. Being really interested in the character Starkiller (whose name is actually Luke Skywalker’s original name before it became what it is now), I went to the library and picked this book up. I started reading and was drawn in completely. Sean Williams did an excellent job with this book. Because I haven’t played the game yet, I don’t know if this was faithful to the game or not, but I didn’t care. This was too good.

What better to begin a book about Darth Vader’s secret apprentice then to begin with a scene where Starkiller and Vader are doing a test duel (little do they know they will be doing a literal duel at the end)?  I mean, this book tied up the loose ends about the Rebel Alliance down to how they adopted their symbol!  It turns out that in the classic trilogy (IV-VI), Darth Vader and the Emperor were actually fighting something that Vader’s apprentice had started BY THE COMMAND OF VADER HIMSELF!  It was Vader’s fault that there was a team of rebels running about stealing battle station plans and whatnot.  Very, VERY interesting.

The set of characters was very interesting too.  I liked Master Kota and PROXY a lot, and the change in Starkiller was extremely evident over the course of the novel.  His back-story really made sense.  By the way, for anyone who has read Dark Lord: Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno, is it possible that Vader had actually found Starkiller (excuse me, Galen) on Kashyyk near the end of the novel during the ending battle?  It would make a great connection.

Yeah, there wasn’t much meaningful dialogue here.  Just a lot of dialogue that had to do with the action, a lot of “we have to do this and we have to do that” type of stuff.  Plus, Sean sure likes to use the word telekinetic a lot for some reason.  The character development is mostly through the action instead of the dialogue for the most part which is fine, but I like dialogue a lot (which is the reason why I liked The Clone Wars: Wild Space by Karen Miller a lot, because it used more talking and less action to show some character development).

Overall, this was a very, very good novel and is probably my second favorite Star Wars novel now.  Very, very intriguing read.

Rating:  4.8/5 stars