Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (Grade: B)

I've finished Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  It was an uneven read for me; some parts were really engaging and some parts were paper thin.  It is an unapologetic Christian romance novel and if you read it as such, I think you may enjoy it.  I grade this book a B.

Redeeming Love is about a young lady, Angel, in California in the 1850s, who was sold into prostitution as a little girl.  She tries to run away from her life of prostitution but is ultimately unable to by herself.  A young man, Michael Hosea, sees her as she is taking a walk on the streets and he hears God tell him to go and marry her and so he tries to take Angel away from her life of prostitution to marry her.  This is the story of Angel and Michael Hosea and how Angel finds freedom from her past and herself.

This is a Christian romance novel.  If you read this book with any other expectation you may find it disappointing.

Rivers is a competent writer.  I think she knows her writing strengths and what her audience wants.  She does not try to write above her ability and she gives a satisfying story with a strong ending.

Rivers does have weakness as a writer such as her character development--her characters are essentially one dimensional.  Also, the reasons why her characters do things or don't do things are far-fetched at best at times.

So yes, there are times where the story and writing is less than great.  But there are also times, where the story is very engaging.  Rivers seems to understand how to write a page turner.  I found myself reading a hundred pages in one sitting more than once.

Also, as I've said before, the ending is very story, which seems to have ameliorated me to the book as a whole.

There is the issue of content.  There is a bit of suggestive content in this story but none of it is explicit.  I guess the reservation on the content of this book come from how frequent sex is mentioned (not described) or referred to in this book.  There are some deliberate shocking revelations in the book too.  So if you are used to, let's say, Stephen King, the content is negligible but you are expecting the book to be as clean as Randy Alcorn, you may be in for a surprise.

Overall, the book was a fun read (but you must remember that it is a romance novel) with a strong ending.  I would recommend this book more for ladies than for men.  I grade this book a B.

Spike Shadow Puppets by Lynch and Urru (GRADE: C+)

I've finished Spike: Shadow Puppets by Brian Lynch and Franco Urru.  I grade this a C+.

I loved the Angel TV show.  And I like Spike as a character.  What I liked most about the show was the character development.  And I wanted some more of that in these comics but alas, I was disappointed.

This comic is about Spike trying to thwart the plans of a group of demon puppets.  The puppets were first introduced in Angel Season 5, episode 'Smile Time'.  NOTE: Smile Time may be one of my favorite episodes in the Buffyverse.

Overall, the story was interesting enough but silly and campy at times (and not in a good way).  I didn't mind reading it (it was pretty short), but I was hoping for something better.  I grade this book a C+.  Average/nothing special and at times entertaining.

The Second Book Of Go by Richard Bozulich (GRADE: A-)

I've finished The Second Book Of Go by Richard Bozulich.  This took me well over a month to finish.  It is about 150 pages long.  I ended up reading many of the pages two or even three times over before I continued.  I thought this was a great primer for players who don't want to play 'RANDOM' GO anymore.  I rate this book an A-.

This book is broken up into two main sections, strategy and tactics.

The strategy section is about the beginning moves, capturing and maintaining ownership of the corners and sides.

The tactics section is about josekis and tesujis, counting liberties and ko fights.

Personally, I don't mind losing GO games.  What I do mind is losing GO games and not knowing why.  This book has help me to understand the game at deeper level than playing stones randomly.

I really liked this book.  Each section is only a few pages long, providing enough information to wet one's appetite for that part of the game without begin so long that one starts losing interest.  For example, Life and Death was only covered in about 5 pages in this book.  It provided a brief overview of each time of Life and Death solution types.  Now, if I read a whole book on Life and Death problems, I'll have the tools to be able to understand the intermediate books a little better.

Overall, I thought the book was easy to understand and very accessible.  I plan to read it again in a few months; there were things that were mentioned that I am already forgetting.  I recommend this book to anyone who doesn't want to play RANDOM Go anymore.  This is a great intermediate book between a beginners book explaining the game and the intermediate books that cover each aspect of the game.  I grade this book an A-.  The A grade is only reserved for book that I plan to read again.

Good times.