The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackermann

Cover Rating: 4 Stars****

Blurb:

The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love. The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child’s attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn’t working. Sunday School isn’t doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

You can purchase it here: Amazon * B&N * BAM * Deeper Shopping


About the Author:

Valerie Ackermann was born and raised in a small prairie town in Saskatchewan, Canada. After high school, she began studies and graduated with a BA in Theology from Briercrest Bible College.

There she met her husband Chris. After living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada for a year, they went to work at Hume Lake Christian Camps.

After moving to Fairfield, CA in 1998 they attended Parkway Community Church which was a well connected church to both of them. They became parents of two active young men who each operate at 100% boy plus some. The Ackermann household is busy with a lot of fishing tackle organizing, trampoline flip contests, dirty baseball pants, finding the right cleats for practice, forts in the dining room, pancakes with way too many chocolate chips, tying ropes to skateboards to pull behind bikes, and a thousand other bad ideas!

In 2004, Val began working on paid staff at Parkway Community Church as the Director of Children’s Ministries and is currently in that position today. This involves overseeing volunteers, planning programs, and facilitating the classes for Sunday school. In 2006 she began a Monday Night program called BLAST, and a kids choir STOMP. Val also teaches her own class every Sunday and loves staying in the classroom and on the front line with the kids.

Val has a desire to see parents equipped to teach their own children about God at home as there is not the time in Sunday school alone. Seeing the need for a resource that was both theologically deep, yet written in language to a child, explaining the Bible and God in a step-by-step process that led to Christ as the center of our faith.

You can find Valerie here: Website * Twitter * LinkedIn * Pinterest * Facebook

~My Review~

When I was young one of my favorite books was a big hardback book of Bible stories. I loved the pictures and the way it explained the stories of the Bible in a way my young mind could understand. I still linger around those type of books when I go to a bookstore even at my advanced age. They wormed their way into my heart and I developed a love for them when I was very young. The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackermann brought back those memories. It’s like a giant storybook but with so much more.

It covers such subjects as :

Who is God?
What Happens because of Sin?
Who is Jesus? What is the New Covenant?
What are My Old Self and My New Self?
How do I Spend Time with God?

Very deep subjects but they are explained in a way that is easy to understand. Kids will gain a knowledge of the Bible they have never had and have fun while doing it.

It is full of activities like:

Fill in the Blanks
Multiple choice
Matching the Scripture with the correct verse
Writing Prayer Letters to God (love this!)

As your child is doing these activities he/she will gain valuable knowledge that will help them grow to know and love God. I love this book as a whole and, if I had kids, I would appreciate having this wealth of knowledge to impart to them in such a fun yet effective way. You can’t read this book and not learn. I would recommend it to anyone with children within the specified age group (7-12) and even suggest it as a gift if you don’t have children yourself. It’s really an amazing learning tool!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine and mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

 
 

 

You’re Strong Enough by Kassi L. Pontious – Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

You’re Strong Enough
By Kassi L. Pontious


About the Book

You’re Strong Enough takes readers on a quest to discover who they are, why they are here, where they came from, and what their ultimate goal is. Christian writer, Kassi Pontious, shares personal experiences aimed at teaching young people that each of us is strong enough for our own trials and challenges. In “You’re Strong Enough,” you will discover who your real enemy is and how to defeat this dragon. As you participate in individual quests at the end of each chapter, you will learn how to cut the strings of dysfunction that may be trying to control your life. Ultimately, you will discover where your true strength lies and how to conquer the obstacles in life’s path. You’re Strong Enough is a book about hope and empowerment. It brings truths to light that will empower your soul and inspire you, and those around you.

KassieKassi L. Pontious

Kassi Pontious is the author of the Christian teenage and young adult books, You’re Enough Series. Kassi wrote the You’re Enough Series, beginning with You’re Strong Enough to help struggling teenagers and young adults who come from dysfunctional families and who feel lost and confused. Her goal is to help her readers to find a way to cope, to forgive, to believe, and to trust again. Kassi is a graduate of the LDS Christian church missionary program and a leader of Christian youth groups. Kassi has studied religion extensively, including four years at seminary and three years at Orem Institute of Religion. She served an eighteen-month mission in North Carolina, leading a group of fifty sister missionaries.

Kassi understands what it is like to be from a divorced and dysfunctional family. Her parents divorced when she was four and she lived with six different families during her childhood. She works with kids that come from divorced and dysfunctional families, teaching them how to cope, and maximize their potential despite their challenging home lives. Kassi is married and has four beautiful children. She runs a successful real estate brokerage firm in Alpine Utah. She loves hiking, playing sports, geo caching, and swimming.

Follow Kassi L. Pontious

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 Amazon gift card, sponsored by author Kassi L. Pontious!

This book blast is hosted by CrossReads.

We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish – Win a KitchenAid Mixer!

Blurb:

A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

You can purchase it here: Amazon * B&N * BAM * CBD * Deeper Shopping

 

About the Author:


Christa Parrish is the award-winning author of three novels, including the 2009 ECPA Fiction Book of the Year Watch Over Me. When she’s not writing, she’s a homeschool mother of three wonderful children. Married to author and pastor Chris Coppernoll, Christa serves with him as co-leader of their church’s youth ministry as well as serving as a facilitator for a divorce recovery ministry. She is now also slightly obsessed with the art of baking bread.

You can find Christa here: Website * Twitter * Pinterest * Facebook

~My Review~

 
Liesl McNamara was a bread maker by trade but it was more than that. Making bread was a family tradition that was passed from generation to generation. She learned to make bread at the hands of her mother and grandmother, Oma, from the time she was a little girl. When she found her mother dead at the age of only thirteen, Liesl closed herself off from the world eventually turning to bread making as an escape from the memories that haunted her. Now, years later, she hides from the past in her bake house, Wild Rise. Because her apprentice sends in an application for the TV show Bake-Off, Liesl sons finds herself in the middle of production with some hard decisions to make. But a little girl and her father have worked their way into her life and heart and Liesl has to decide if she is willing to let go of the past and look toward the future.
Seamus Tate is the new flour delivery man for Wild Rise bake house. After his wife walked out he found himself as a single father trying to raise a six year-old alone. When his daughter, Cecelia, becomes attached to the bakery owner he soon finds himself becoming attached to her as well. Liesl has worked her way into his heart and when his mother becomes ill and needs constant care Seamus has no choice but to return to Tennessee. Is his love enough for Liesl? Can she give up the one thing she has always used as a balm to her wounds? Or will she give up the only true love she has ever known?
I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this book. I love the traditions ingrained in Liesl’s family. The bread making that was passed from generation to generation is something to be admired because it brought a closeness between Liesl, her mother and grandmother. Bread making was their solace and that is a beautiful thing. There are a lot of descriptions on bread and bread making all throughout the story. So much so that I feel like bread makers will be more likely to get the most out of the story. I loved her mix matched “family” though. They are described on page 211 like this, “…odd, growing Wild Rise family of immigrants, high school dropouts, nerdy engineers, flirty artists, fundamentalist farm girls, and everyone else.” This is such an accurate description and you can’t help but love the characters. Xavier and Tee especially. It also covered an issue that is seldom discussed and that is, self-inflicted pain. Kids often inflict pain upon themselves as a way of dealing with the problems going on in their lives. In Liesl’s case she would beat her legs with a hairbrush until she was black and blue. I feel it’s a problem that should be addressed more and I give a thumbs up to Christa Parrish for bringing it to light.
I am a romance junkie at heart, though, and I feel like the one thing I love took a backseat to everything else. The romance between Liesl and Seamus was slow in developing and I really like that but I wanted to read more about it. I wish it had been woven into the story more often. Seamus was such a sweet, teddy bear of a man and I would like to have seen more of him. Also, all throughout the book the story would just stop and there would be a section connecting Jesus, the Bread of Life, to the bread we consume daily and then the story would resume where it left off. While I completely agree with this theological concept, it somehow seemed misplaced for me. I’m still struggling with how to classify this book as well. Is it romance, self-help or women’s fiction maybe? I’ll let you be the judge. I also feel like there was a loose end. I like my books all tied up in neat little packages but I felt like there was a loose thread left hanging. If you are a romance junkie like I am, while you might like the sense of family this book evokes, you may not love the story as a whole quite as much. However, if you are a bread enthusiast I do recommend it as you will most likely love it because it has a lot of references to and instructions on bread and bread making and it also includes several recipes.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine and mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

 

My Rating: 3 Stars *** 

 

 *Tweetables*

 
 
 
 
 

 

Q & A: I ask the question and you answer with your own personal thoughts! 🙂

 
Bread making was a beloved tradition for Liesl’s family that was passed down from generation to generation. It was something that drew them closer and gave them a special bond. What traditions do you cherish in your family?
 
 
 
 

~Giveaway~

 

Christa Parrish is celebrating her fourth novel, Stones for Breadwith a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway.

#StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish http://bit.ly/1aBTNz9

Easy steps to enter:

1. Follow Christa Parrish and TNZ Fiction on Pinterest.

2. Then Pin the Stones for Bread book cover (below), the contest graphic (above), or both, and link to this post (using this URL: #StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/stones-for-bread-by-christa-parrish).

3. Then fill out THIS SHORT FORM to let us know. (There are also some additional ways to earn extra entries, as well as an option for non-Pinterest users. It’s true—people like that do exist!)

Questions? Email info @ litfusegroup dot com.

Winner will be announced on 12/9 on Christa’s Facebook Page.

 

Edna in the Desert by Maddy Lederman – Youth Fiction With a Timely Message

For all those who need to unplug from our high tech world, Clash of the Titles presents a novel about reconnecting with those dearest to us, about turning off the cellphone and living in reality. Although written from the perspective of a new teen, Edna in the Desert applies to all ages.
 

About Edna in the Desert:

Edna is a precocious trouble-maker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service, Internet and television. Edna’s determined to rebel until she meets an older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to know him from the edge of nowhere?

PURCHASE:

What readers have to say:
*  “Maddy Lederman is a 21 st Century Judy Blume”
* “The author displays literary maturity in her subtle, nuanced and patient treatment of Edna’s movement from self-centered to other-centered.I recommend this book to all – not just the YA group & I hope to read other books from this author.”
* “Loved this book, brought up so many things I think about in terms of kids, technology and our materialistic society.”

About the author: 

Maddy Lederman’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Sun Runner, a magazine about California deserts. Maddy has an MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College. After school she discovered what it’s like to wait around at auditions all day, and so she did not pursue an acting career. Edna In The Desert is Maddy’s first novel.

Q&A with Maddy:

What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?

I wanted to write a warm, amusing story about how a modern teenager would react to being totally unplugged. Some of my friends’ kids don’t even look up from their phones to say hello, and I wonder where this is taking our culture. My character, Edna, is thirteen, so the YA market was naturally drawn to my book, but I wasn’t drawn to a particular market. I’ve found that adults enjoy Edna In the Desert as much as teens.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I’ve done many quirky things, a lot of them in the desert! I took a “sound bath” at The Integratron. I hiked up a mountain in 110 degrees on a first date and eventually married the guy. My job in film and TV creates endless quirky opportunities, for example, covering Adam West, TV’s Batman, in creamed corn. We met years later in Palm Springs and laughed about it.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

On Facebook and my website, MaddyLederman.com.

Visit Clash of the Titles for the latest in Christian fiction!

*taken from Amazon reviews

The All-New Tyndale Direct!

http://www.tyndaledirect.com/

Tyndale House Publishers has an all-new website and I would like to share it with you, my readers. At Tyndale Direct you’ll find special offers, gift suggestions and a selection of their favorite devotional titles—direct from the publisher at great prices! They also have a special Deal of the Day page chock full of special deals for that day. Don’t forget to join their Tyndale Rewards program where you can earn points towards FREE Tyndale products. It doesn’t get any better than that! Below are just some of the featured items and special deals. Make sure to check out Tyndale Direct for more great products and specials!

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