Only You, Sierra, written by Robin Jones Gunn and published in 1998, has been released this year as an eBook. The eBook format on my Kindle had a few problems. Chapter headings appeared at the bottom of the page and some words were split in two (“ser vice” for example).
The story centers on sixteen year-old Sierra Jensen who is mature for her age. Her maturity, however, does not keep her out of trouble with her parents as she settles into a new community and her grandmother’s house. A new home, new school, and new semi-relationship with a college student keeps Sierra’s emotions in a constant tangle. The book ends without the happily-ever-after scene, but it is satisfying.
As I read the story, I found myself wishing Robin Jones Gunn’s books would have been available when I was a teenager. None of the books I read at that time reflected my Christian worldview. One of Ms. Gunn’s strengths is to model ways to cope with loneliness, insecurities, and change in a positive manner without being preachy. If you know a Christian girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen, I recommend buying this book for her, as well as Ms. Gunn’s other books.
The Gift is book two of The Chiveis Trilogy, a futuristic story set in a Europe so changed by war, disease, and time that the few clues about the past contained in the story left me adrift most of the time. I found it more helpful not to map their world to our present age.
The one thing completely unchanged is human nature. The lust to control, dominate, and rule continues to plague humanity. In this vision of the future, demons and idol worship are the norm. The Bible had been lost for centuries. In book one of the trilogy, Teo and Ana, the main characters, found the Old Testament. Book two is an account of their search for the New Testament.
The plot in The Gift contains plenty of twists and surprises to hold my interest. The ending was unexpected and satisfying. However, I felt the book had two (non-fatal) flaws. The pacing of the plot seemed mechanical. Most scene shifts appeared to be slightly out-of-sync with the flow of the story.
My other issue with the book was the depiction of the characters. They felt bland and colorless. Instead of making things happen, most of the time things happened to them. I like resourceful heroes. Neither Teos nor Ana acted especially resourceful. While the book had its strong points, I didn’t like it well enough to buy the other two volumes in the series.
Unless you’ve seen them on YouTube, you probably will have little idea of the connection, but Diego the Tornado, the second book in The Wild Soccer Bunch, reminds me of the antics of The Little Rascals. As in The Little Rascals, The Wild Soccer Bunch’s charm is that they are a bunch of misfits. The way they overcome their soccer success—as told in the first book of the series—and play up to a new level is the plot of Diego the Tornado.
This lively story’s voice sounds just like a ten-year-old boy whose passion is soccer. The drawings are full of energy and engaging. Both 8-12 year-old boys and their parents will find the book fun and funny. The story, never dull, ends with a surprising twist. I highly recommend it.
Shaun Alexander—an outstanding professional athlete—gave me a geography lesson on the land of Spiritual Maturity. No short cuts can take a person through this territory. It’s a mountainous region and everyone starts at the bottom as an Unbeliever. Walking is the only mode of transportation and Shaun Alexander describes the marks of a citizen of each region and identifies the trial, traps, and victories found there. He uses the Apostle Peter as his biblical example of spiritual growth from the valley to the peak.
As a senior citizen and a woman who never played in any sport, I was skeptical that I would be able to relate to Shaun Alexander’s book. By the end of the second chapter, I knew that I was wrong. We share the only thing that matters: a strong desire to bring glory to God by walking close to Him and discovering the adventures He prepared for us. I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in a dynamic discussion of spiritual maturity.
Germaine Copeland wrote a devotional book that is a cut above others. Like many other daily devotional books, Ms. Copeland gives a short thought for the day followed by a prayer. In the three months that I have used 365 Days to a Prayer-Filled Life for my morning devotional time, her writing has blessed me in many ways. However, the feature that sets this devotional book apart from others is the time and attention Ms. Copeland took to include the Bible references that are the foundation for the thought of the day. A person who reads the Bible passages printed on the bottom of the page and then uses the prayer as a starting point to talk with God will discover a richer and more rewarding relationship with Him. Thank You, Germaine Copeland, for including so much Truth in such a small book.