August 25, 2012

"The Stars Shine Bright" by Sibella Giorello

Special Agent Raleigh Harmon has made some mistakes in the past, mistakes that now threaten her future in law enforcement. Sent undercover to discover the reasons behind the mysterious deaths of several leading racehorses, Raleigh seeks to discover the truth while working through her own personal struggles and questions.

I know very little about horses. I know even less about the FBI and law enforcement, but after reading The Stars Shine Bright I feel like I had a small glimpse into that world. I enjoyed Giorello's writing style and found the story to be very interesting. I have not read any of the other books in the series, and although the book can stand alone to a certain extent, I think I would have benefited from reading the previous books in the series (this is the fifth book). The author tries to discreetly fill you in on what you missed in case you haven't read the others, but it's not quite the same as living the story along with the character.

I'm usually pretty picky, but I liked this book. I think Giorello did a great job weaving the story together. I was hooked from the first chapter. I love this genre of mystery/suspense. The author does an exceptional job of weaving intrigue and information. The book was well done and I look forward to reading more of Giorello's work in the future.

Novelist Sibella Giorello is celebrating the release of the latest book in her praiseworthy Raleigh Harmon series by giving away a Kindle Fire! 

Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • The entire 5-book Raleigh Harmon series.
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/25/12. The winner will be announced on 8/27/12 on Sibella's blog!

Just click one of the icons below to enter. Tell your friends about Sibella's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

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August 11, 2012

We're Better Together

I sink down onto my living room couch surrounded by seemingly endless mounds of laundry.  Cheerios are ground into my carpet. "Bob the Builder" plays on Netflix for the fourth time this morning. There is not another toilet-trained human being in sight. This is my life. This is my current season. I'm the mother of two preschoolers. I'm exhausted.

When I'm home, it's easy to think that I'm the only one who feels like an inadequate mother, who knows that my housekeeping has not quite obtained June Cleaver status, who honestly would rather eat a donut than run a mile at the gym. But I've learned that I'm not alone. We're all in this together and it's that togetherness that makes the unending days of laundry and diapers bearable.

We were created for community, especially during the difficult days of early motherhood. There is truly no other time in life where we are more exhausted, more vulnerable, and more in need of a friend to come alongside us and help us carry the load - even if it's nothing more than saying "Hey, it's OK, I haven't taken a shower today either."

Sweet mom, you're not in this alone. We've been there too. Not one of us is perfect. Our children are not perfect. Our husbands are not perfect. We are a beautiful mess, but ya know what? God is pleased when we come before Him in all of our messiness and say "I may not be perfect, but You are - and that is more than enough."

God loves using imperfect people. The Bible is full of examples of flawed, imperfect people who were used by God simply because they were available and willing. Moses stuttered and had a bit of a temper. Abraham lied on more than one occassion because he was scared. Rachel and Leah battled insecurity and jealousy. Naomi struggled with bitterness.

The only perfect person in the Bible was Jesus. Even the disciples who hung out with him for three years still managed to mess up on more than one occasion. That is encouraging to me. I don't have to be perfect for God to love me. I don't even have to be perfect for God to use me. I just have to be willing and ready. To be obedient to His voice when I sense His leading.

I'm typing this post from a cozy hotel room in a glorious resort BY MYSELF. Pre-kiddo days,  I would have thought "Why would anyone want to go somewhere without their family?" Two kids later and I'm basking in the unknown glory of an uninterrupted shower. My kids are tucked in safe and sound at Grandma and Papi's house. My husband is back in New Mexico holding down the fort while I am in Dallas for the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) conference surrounded by 2,000 of the most incredible women you'll ever meet.

It has been such an encouragement to be here at the MOPS convention. I've been surrounded by so many amazing moms who understand my stage of life and this season of mothering. I've listened to encouraging speakers who have reminded me that even from my tiny living room, surrounded by toddler chaos, I can still impact the world.

From my cluttered couch it's hard to see the big picture. Sometimes I forget that I'm not alone in my fight against laundry and in my crusade against crushed cheerios. I'm not the only woman struggling to know how to blend who I am as a woman with who I am as a mother. We're in this together and we're better together.