Fun and Casual, Scifi Reads from the Road

Moving plus holiday travel equaled lots of time on the road (and in the air). Seems like the perfect time to catch up on reading, but it really depends upon the type of book. I enjoy books that fully immerse me into their skillfully woven, complex tapestry, but not when I can’t give them my undivided attention.

Instead, for the road, I prefer short, easy reads that provide a fun distraction. Stories I can start and stop at leisure without grumbling at each interruption. :-)

Here are two fun and casual, scifi reads from my recent travels.

Old School for Young, Chapter Book Readers

61YRm9Gn9JL._SY346_That Game From Outer Space by Stephen Manes (illustrated by Tony Auth)

From the back cover:
Oscar Noodleman is just an average kid. Nothing exciting ever happens to him. Then one day a giant video game appears mysteriously in Pete’s Pizza Palace.  Suddenly, Oscar’s life isn’t boring anymore!

Fun Factor: Playing catch – A familiar game with a couple of curve balls.

What I liked: An easy science fiction read for beginning chapter book readers that offers an opportunity for a deeper discussion about kindness and empathy.

That Game From Outer Space on Amazon

New and Different for Young Adult Readers

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Hearts Ablaze by Janeen Ippolito
*This book was re-released in 2017 under the title My Alien Boyfriend.

From the back cover:
Anthony Salamandras is the perfect boyfriend: attractive, wealthy, caring, and fine with hanging out in the library while Kelley Vanders-Froggett studies for her senior year of college. Sure, she’s never seen his family or visited his home, but details like that can be sorted out after graduation.

Then he pops the question –and sweeps Kelley off to another planet. Now she’s dealing with alien future in-laws, creepy lizards, and a fiery transformation. Not to mention a fiancé who has no clue that this is not how Earth girls celebrate an engagement.

Kelley’s in over her head. But one thing’s for sure: Anthony’s gonna find out just what this daughter of a vacuum cleaner repairman is made of.

Fun Factor: Picnic in the park – A relaxing, sunny day that makes you smile.

What I liked: Pairing of the daughter of vacuum cleaner repairman with a fiery alien was an interesting choice. It’s a big part of why I choose to pick up this book – I enjoy quirky twists. This novella reminded me of the movie “Warm Bodies”.

Hearts Ablaze on Amazon

Are there any fun and casual reads you recommend?


Whose Approval Are You Seeking?

The following came up as the verse of the day on the YouVersion Bible app.  After a long trip away from home, adapting to other’s daily rhythms and experiencing different cultures, it struck a chord with me.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10

Manners and cultural expectations are taught from birth, some more explicitly defined than others.  It seems the purpose is to make friends and win favor.  However, not everyone follows the same set of rules.  Misunderstandings and problems do occur.  Bad days happen.  So which rules should we learn and follow?  Whose approval are we seeking: man’s or God’s?

In 1 Corinthians chapter 9, Paul talks about surrendering his rights and being all things to all people to save some.  Notice, in verse 19 below, he uses the word servant to describe his side of the relationship.  The word servant here means he respectfully humbled himself.  His point is not about bowing down, being fake, or people pleasing to make friends and win favor.  It is about respectfully learning and adapting to the rules of different cultures in hopes of reaching non-believers with the gospel, all while remaining faithful to Christ.

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.  To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.”  1 Corinthians 9:19-20″

A word of caution.  There is a danger in forming relationships with non-believers, and it lies in their influence over us.  It is easy to be lulled into temptation when enjoying the company of a friend and it is our fault if we succumb to it.  The Bible warns us about such dangers.  Should we avoid relationships with non-believers?  No, for then how could we share the gospel with them.   Instead, we must be vigilant about spending time in God’s word and seeking His will through prayer to guard against being lured away by our own sin nature.   We must also examine what motivates our choices and ask ourselves, “Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”

I must confess, Paul makes it sound so easy and, for some, it may be.  But for me, adapting to different rules and expectations is a struggle unto itself.   I am sure there have been opportunities to share the gospel that I let slide by me.  But I can’t dwell on my failures.  I must seek forgiveness and keep moving forward.

God Bless,
K.A. Cummins
“For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9