Sixteen Brides

July 17th, 2011 — 7:31am

Growing up I remember watching Little House on the Prairie over and over and over again….my dad was (and still is to this day) always into Westerns; we’d watch them together a lot of the time. I grew up getting to know John Wayne and the Lone Ranger and other actors. The stories of pioneers back in the days of old have probably always intrigued me. They built empires out of land and cattle; they had the strength and fortitude to carry them through some pretty rough times.

Sixteen Brides, by Stephanie Grace Whitson, is one such story. In the very beginning of the story, the reader is introduced to a group of women, getting to know each one by name, getting to know each one’s likes/dislikes, quirks, etc. Each woman shares a common life thread, though, in that each one is a widow, due to the Civil War.Characters like Caroline Jamison, Sally Grant, and Hettie Gates definitely bring an interesting spark to the story.

The story starts out with the promise of adventure, as each woman has been duped. A journey west has promise of land to start new homesteads….only the promise is not as it seems. It would seem the mail order bride business is in full business with the arrival of this group of ladies. The awesome part is that even though some are fine with marrying off when they arrive, others are quick to stand up for themselves, starting a new life, working as a team to survive in the frontier. Of course, the story doesn’t stop there….

There is promise of romance and adventure within this story, as other characters are introduced….characters that’ll tug on the reader’s heart. While sometimes it seemed the story flitted back and forth a bit too much, and at times it could be a bit confusing, it was still a great story. The writer does a good job of transitioning between characters; it’s just up to the reader to pay attention. It does leave the reader wanting to know what happens to each person. You can purchase Sixteen Brides for $11.99 from Bethany House.

(Disclosure: I received this book, free of charge, from Bethany House, for the purposes of this review. All views/opinions remain solely my own.)

1 comment » | Real Heart Prints, Reviews from the Heart

Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy

June 15th, 2011 — 6:30pm

Living in Southwest Missouri, I’ll admit….I consider myself part Southerner. Not that I’m a Southern belle or anything, but we have that southern accent here, and we have similar phrases, likes, dislikes, etc.

If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, as well as honest, helpful advice, consider reading Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy, by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. Oh my gosh, this book is so real and hilarious and down to earth. Shellie tells the reader how it is, from a very respectful standpoint….but from the standpoint of her true Southern roots. This book isn’t a tough read; it’s an enjoyable, lighthearted read, yet one that’ll definitely inspire and motivate, as well.

Here’s a basic rundown of the contents of this book:

  • She Got Those Heavy Legs from Her Mama’s Side- This chapter really covers fitness and health, again, from that southern belle standpoint. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “She’s just big-boned.” Yep, Shellie goes there.
  • The Science of Bubba Whispering- A Bubba, in southern terms, is the husband. There are three different kinds of Bubbas: Stray Bubbas, House Bubbas, and Yard Bubbas. This chapter gives insight on how to best “train” and how to “Bubba whisper.” It totally cracked me up, but it’s so full of great advice.
  • Normal Crazy vs. Straight Running Crazy- This chapter talks about things that can make a person go crazy.
  • Self-cleaning Underwear, an Idea Whose Time Should Never Come- This chapter cracked me up. It talks about different business ventures but also managing time. Shellie shares her fiascoes with the Walmart self-checkout lines. Oh, I have so been there! You have to read this to get the full laugh.
  • Ya Southern Mama is Following You on Twitter- More etiquette, especially where social media is concerned.
  • Paulette the Pundit, Lord Help Us One and All- Political and Economic Observations….
  • Rein It In, Geraldo- Regional Showdowns….
  • Parties, Presents, and a Missing Bubba Perched in a Deer Stand- Shellie dishes on the holidays and how southern belles cope and finagle their way through this perilous time of the year.
  • If All Else Fails, Laugh- Shellie just finishes up by commenting on a variety of topics in this one last chapter.

Not only will you laugh your way through this book, reading about anything and everything related not just to southern belles but to women everywhere, you’ll also find recipes at the end of each chapter. There are a ton of different recipes, including holiday recipes, snacks, soups, etc. Shellie also shares tidbits from her Belle Doctrine (which is almost like a 10 Commandments style listing). The Belle Doctrine will give you little thoughts to carry with you, sometimes to laugh, sometimes to really think about and apply to your own life. I like that Shellie doesn’t accept excuses; she confronts them head-on in her true southern manner (with elegance of course). When you’re reading this book, it’s like you’re conversing with Shellie….she tells it like a story, also including real-life stories throughout.

This book is one I’d highly recommend to anyone who just needs a break; it’d make a great beach book, a great summer read. You can purchase Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy for $10.20 on Amazon.

(Disclosure: I received this book, free of charge, from Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purposes of this review. All views/opinions remain solely my own.)

3 comments » | Real Heart Prints, Reviews from the Heart

Branded ~ Sharing Jesus with a Consumer Culture

June 15th, 2011 — 6:00am

The last year has found me diving heavily into marketing, public relations, writing, and working with brands and companies. When I saw the title of this book, I was intrigued. It made me ask myself, “What if Jesus could be marketed or branded, especially in today’s times when so many brand/consumer relationships are being forged via social media?” Think about that for a second….

Honestly, I could NOT put this book down. You can ask my husband. He walked in one day to see me standing over the stove, stirring a pot of noodles, book in hand, reading away. Branded, by Tim Sinclair, is written from the perspective of a very experienced marketer who has worked with big-name brands and knows what it takes to help a company or brand succeed. He really gets down to the nitty gritty of why people are turning away from Jesus, away from true Christianity….he will step on your toes in this book, let me tell you. He’s just not afraid to go there, and I think that’s one reason I couldn’t stop reading.

Tim calls on all Christians to break tradition, to step out of their comfort zones, and to look at their Saviour through a new, different kind of lens. There are things that just aren’t working to further the Gospel, and he brings those things to the table. Some things might include promising those who come to Christ that they will be healthy and wealthy the rest of their lives; judging another/promoting intolerance before ever looking at one’s own heart (he gives examples of the life of Jesus and the people that Jesus “hung out with”); how simply handing out tracts or keeping with traditional methods of evangelism just isn’t reaching the hearts of people, etc. He talks about how there are so many religions and types of spirituality, that it’s a bit like going to the cereal aisle. People might stand there scratching their heads, wondering what the heck they should pick out and take home. He makes so many great points that I wish I could remember every single one and take the time to share them here….but you’ll just have to read the book.

Tim doesn’t just show what is wrong with today’s evangelism, though; he gives examples of big-name companies with outstanding marketing strategies, as well as suggestions and ideas for how Christians can shake it up in their own communities and churches. Think about Apple. Think about not just creating customers for life but true followers who love the brand (in this case, Jesus) and want to share that brand (Jesus) with everyone they know. Thus enters the world of social media (at least in my thinking as a blogger). The last chapter is full of What Ifs….things we can effectively do to share our Saviour in real life with our friends, family, neighbors, etc.

I can’t recommend this book enough; in fact, I think every Christian should have a copy, it is that good. You can purchase Branded for $8.81 on Amazon. Be sure to Follow @timjsinclair on Twitter and Like Tim Sinclair on Facebook.

About Tim Sinclair:

Tim Sinclair is a radio personality on one of the top Christian morning shows in the country, Mornings with Tim and Pam. For over a decade, he has been helping radio stations and various other businesses creatively and effectively market themselves. His award-winning productions have been heard on more than 2,000 radio stations worldwide and recent clients include McDonald’s, Word Records, Moody Press, and the country’s most-listened to Christian nonprofit radio station KSBJ/Houston. Tim has written for CCM Magazine and the Huntsville Times. For more about Tim, please visit his website, http://www.tim-sinclair.com.

Kregel Publications is sponsoring a $50 Amazon.com Giveaway, and you can enter by sending a tweet (using the hashtag #litfuse) about Branded or sharing on Facebook. If you tweet be sure to link to @litfuse, and they’ll have you entered. If you Facebook, you can send your status link to info@litfusegroup.com.

Be sure to check out Litfuse to read more reviews of this book.

(Disclosure: I received this book, free of charge, from Litfuse, for the purposes of this review. All views/opinions remain solely my own.)

2 comments » | Real Heart Prints, Reviews from the Heart

Time Out Tuesdays: Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged

June 14th, 2011 — 1:00am

Tuesday’s here, and this week instead of sharing posts from around the Blogosphere, just thought I’d share some of my new fave sites. Enjoy! Oh….and remember to link up your giveaways below!

This past weekend, I attended a different sort of conference, Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged….an awesome conference that helped several of us to just unplug in a beautiful setting. Check out Arkansas Women Bloggers.

Gwen and Shannon were speakers at AWBU, and I learned so much from them about branding my own blog/business. Check out their site, NWAMotherlode.com.

Have you joined Pinterest yet? Oh my, you will love it, and you’ll soon be addicted; trust me!

That’s it for now….be sure to link up your giveaways!

7 comments » | Real Heart Prints, Time Out Tuesdays

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