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Blog Tour — What Lies Below

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WHAT LIES BELOW

by

Barbara Taylor Sissel

Genre: Contemporary Mystery / Literary Suspense

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Date of Publication: May 15, 2018

Number of Pages: 334

  

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24dd0-synopsis

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Gilly O’Connell’s nightmares aren’t just bad dreams; they’re glimpses of terrifying realities to come. Gilly has spent her entire life trying to suppress the foreboding visions. So when a dismissed premonition leads to her husband’s murder, she buries the guilt and pain of the unsolved crime in the only way she knows how—she runs from it.

Three years later, after overcoming a battle with addiction and starting over in a small Texas town, Gilly dares to believe the worst is over. That is, until another crime rips her heart open: the abduction of a three-year-old girl. Gilly knows more about it than anyone…

She’s dreaming again.

Gilly is convinced that if she tells the police she dreamed of the kidnapping before it happened, there’s no way they’ll believe her. But when she finally gets the courage to come forward with what she saw, people don’t see her as crazy—they see her as a suspect.

Now, in order to help a desperate single father save his child, Gilly must first clear her own name. But as the nightmares of the past catch up to her, Gilly’s only chance for salvation might be the dreams she’s spent so long trying to ignore.

PRAISE FOR WHAT LIES BELOW:

“Infused with heart-stopping suspense, emotional resonance, and startling imagery, What Lies Below swept me along a river of urgency and dread. Barbara Taylor Sissel effortlessly weaves together prescience, regret, grief, love, and revenge—all wrapped in the mystery of a young girl’s abduction. Beneath the breathless immediacy of the story lie deeper questions: How do we forgive ourselves—and others—for remembered transgressions, and can we ever break free of the past?” —A. J. Banner, #1 Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife

“Barbara Taylor Sissel’s What Lies Below is suspense at its finest—heartrending, compelling, and beautifully written. If you’re looking for your next up-all-night read, look no further.” —Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You and Not That I Could Tell

“I cannot emphasize this enough: you must read What Lies Below. Barbara Taylor Sissel manages to combine an unreliable narrator, twisting plot, and well imagined characters to create a world where nothing is as it seems and secrets abound. I had intended to savor the novel’s lovely prose but wound up devouring the book in a day. Simply fantastic.” —Karen McQuestion, bestselling author of Hello Love

CLICK to ORDER

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ON WRITING, PART TWO

GUEST POST BY BARBARA SISSEL

(originally posted 9/21/17 on Women Writers, Women’s Books)

Click to read PART ONE, posted on the 5/22/18 blog stop with Lone Star Book Blog Tours

I was often the one fighting tears, listening to the stories, the often-heartbreaking ways in which a family’s life was altered by their son’s crime. I hadn’t ever thought of crime in terms of collateral damage before, especially when it came to the families of the perpetrators.

When my first son was born, and we brought him home to the prison, a few days later, when I was asked to come down to the dining hall on a pretext, I was reluctant. I looked awful for one thing. I was the picture of the exhausted new mom. But when I got there the scene that greeted me brought me to tears.

Those guys had collected gifts for my baby. They’d had one of their moms make a quilt, chipped in to buy a savings bond, booties, a box of diapers. They’d made dinner for me and baked a cake. Inmates, in a prison! Now that I had my own child, a son, I thought about it—how despite the way he was raised, things could go wrong. I might one day be the mother of an inmate. I’d met a few such mothers; I knew firsthand they weren’t different from me.

After I finished my first novel, I saw an article in the Houston Chronicle about a relatively young guy on death row, located then at the Walls unit in Huntsville. He was labeled a volunteer because he had declined further appeals and asked the judge to set the date of his execution. It sent a chill through me.

I wondered how it must be to know the date of your death, what it must feel like, watching the days pass until that day arrives. And then I thought: What must it feel like to be his mother? I wrote the book, the second book, exposing my idea of that journey and how it might unfold. I couldn’t stop myself.

After we left Kentucky, we received Christmas cards from several of the inmates through the years. Most of them turned their lives around. I think being segregated in a rural setting with lots of one-on-one counseling from gifted counselors like my husband was key to their success.

At the time the program was in place, the inmate recidivism rate dropped a significant amount. And a seed was planted in my brain, one that I continue to nourish, or possibly it continues to nourish me.

The books I’ve authored aren’t the ones I planned to write. They evolved out of my experience, where I was given a bird’s eye view of the indomitability of the human spirit and the heart’s capacity to love and to forgive. Along the way, I conceived of a tagline, which pretty much sums it up: At the heart of every crime, there’s a family, someone you love. In every book, I search for the place where it’s impossible to forgive, impossible to allow love to heal. I haven’t found it yet.

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Barbara Taylor Sissel writes issue oriented, upmarket women’s fiction that is threaded with elements of suspense and defined by its particular emphasis on how crime affects the family. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, she was raised in various locations across the US and once lived with her family on the grounds of a first offender prison facility. The experience, interacting with the inmates and staff, provided a unique insight into the inmate’s lives, the circumstances behind the crimes they committed, and the impact on the families that were affected. The bestselling author of nine novels, her stories focus on the family at the heart of the crime. An avid gardener and the mother of two grown sons, Barbara lives in the Texas Hill Country. She’s represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

 ║Website ║ Facebook ║ BookBub

║ Amazon Author Page 

║ Twitter  ║ Goodreads


GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

1st PRIZE:

SIGNED COPY OF BOOK + BOOKMARK + $15 AMAZON GIFT CARD 

2nd PRIZE: 

SIGNED COPY OF BOOK + BOOKMARK

MAY 15-24, 2018

(US ONLY)

Giveaway What Lies Below

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

5/15/18 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
5/16/18 Review Dressed to Read
5/17/18 Author Interview That’s What She’s Reading
5/18/18 Review The Clueless Gent
5/19/18 Notable Quotable/Bonus Review The Love of a Bibliophile
5/20/18 Notable Quotable Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
5/21/18 Review A Page Before Bedtime
5/22/18 Guest Post Part 1 Reading by Moonlight
5/23/18 Guest Post Part 2 Books in the Garden
5/24/18 Review Book Fidelity

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Book Review · Guest · LSBBT

Blog Tour & Review — Sins of the Younger Sons

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SINS OF THE

YOUNGER SONS

by

JAN REID

Genre: Literary Fiction / Romance / Spy / Thriller

Publisher: Texas Christian University Press

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Publication Date: February 28, 2018

Number of Pages: 296 pages

24dd0-synopsis

Cover lo res Sins of the Younger Sons

Sins of the Younger Sons has received the Jesse H. Jones Award for Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters! Luke Burgoa is an ex-Marine on a solitary covert mission to infiltrate the Basque separatist organization ETA in Spain and help bring down its military commander, Peru Madariaga. Luke hails from a Basque ancestry that came with the Spanish empire to Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and, seventy-five years ago, to a Texas ranch. Neighbors consider the Burgoas Mexican immigrants and exiles of that nation’s revolution, but the matriarch of the family speaks the ancient language Euskera and honors traditions of the old country. Luke’s orders are to sell guns to the ETA and lure Peru into a trap. Instead he falls in love with Peru’s estranged wife, Ysolina, who lives in Paris and pursues a doctorate about an Inquisition-driven witchcraft frenzy in her native land. From the day they cross the border into the Basque Pyrenees, their love affair on the run conveys the beauty, sensuality, exoticism, and violence of an ancient homeland cut in two by Spain and France. Their trajectory puts Luke, Ysolina, and Peru on a collision course with each other and the famed American architect Frank Gehry, whose construction of a Guggenheim art museum seeks to transform the Basque city of Bilbao, a decrepit industrial backwater haunted by the Spanish Civil War—and a hotbed of ETA extremism. Ranging from the Amazon rain forest to a deadly prison in Madrid, Sins of the Younger Sons is a love story exposed to dire risk at every turn.

PRAISE FOR SINS OF THE YOUNGER SONS:

“Reid’s story is a fascinating blend of page-turning thriller and vivid tableau of Basque culture and the movement that battled the Spanish establishment for many decades. A reader can’t ask for more—a book that’s engaging, entertaining, educative, and unique.”

—Thomas Zigal, author of Many Rivers to Cross and The White League
“What a fine book Jan Reid has written! At once history—both cultural and political—and sensual love story, it reaches beyond genre to make for a magical and profound reading experience. Don’t start reading it at night unless you want to stay up until dawn and then some.” —Beverly Lowry, author of Who Killed These Girls? and Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life
“Page by page, Sins of the Younger Sons invites the reader to dwell for a while within its unique world, to suffer and celebrate with its unforgettable characters. It’s a trip that, if taken, is well worth the effort.” —Ed Conroy, San Antonio Express-News
“Sins of the Younger Sons vividly takes us into a world few of us have seen and into a bitter conflict most of us have never considered nor understood.” —Si Dunn, Dallas Morning News

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review

This is certainly an intricately crafted, thoroughly thought out, and researched novel.

In the beginning it almost seems like a handful of only slightly-related stories, but as the novel progresses you realize just how tied together these stories are. It’s also a reminder that politics stretch over time periods, each with their fingers entwined in what has happened in the past, and what they want out of the future. Isolated incidents are rarely such, and sometimes the reasons reach far into the past.

I love how much of the language, culture, and explanations found their way into this novel. It was certainly an immersive experience in that way.

However, because of the use of Basque, Spanish, and sometime French dialogue, the reading was greatly slowed down. There were also times when the characters would slip into thinking about their past almost imperceptibly, and I’d have to go back and find the place where it changed so I could know it wasn’t the “current” time of the story. I found this book to be a but more challenging than what I typically choose; that’s not a bad thing, it just requires a different amount of effort and type of reading headspace.

I think the characters in this story are very human and want a lot of the same things most people do–a better world–even if the means to the end aren’t quite ideal. I didn’t really find myself empathizing with them though.

This book is a great choice for people who enjoy literary pieces that turn on the brain.

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Author Reid

Jan Reid’s highly praised books include his novel Comanche Sundown, his biography of Texas governor Ann Richards, Let the People In, his memoir of Mexico, The Bullet Meant for Me, and The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. Making his home in Austin, Reid has been a leading contributor to Texas Monthly for over forty years.

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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

5/17/18 Promo The Page Unbound
5/18/18 Review Hall Ways Blog
5/19/18 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
5/20/18 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
5/21/18 Review Books in the Garden
5/22/18 Promo Book Fidelity
5/23/18 Playlist The Clueless Gent
5/24/18 Review The Love of a Bibliophile
5/25/18 Promo Forgotten Winds
5/26/18 Review Reading by Moonlight

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Book Review · LSBBT

Blog Tour & Review — The Way Of Beauty

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THE WAY OF BEAUTY

by

Camille Di Maio

Genre: Historical Fiction / 20th Century / Literary

Publisher: Lake Union Press

Date of Publication: May 1, 2018

Number of Pages: 384  

Scroll down for the giveaway! Continue reading “Blog Tour & Review — The Way Of Beauty”

LSBBT

Blog Tour — Blood and Remembrance

BNR Blood & Remembrance JPG.jpgBLOOD AND REMEMBRANCE

by

CHRIS MANNO

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Publication Date: March 3, 2018

Number of Pages: 321 pages

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Continue reading “Blog Tour — Blood and Remembrance”

Garden

#GardenWithJulia 2018 – May 6 Update

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2018 Intro – Here I Come! | Seeds! | Seeds, Round Two! | Feb. 3 Update | Mar 11 Update

Whew it’s been a while, but here’s an update! Really though, I’ve been working on this update for over a month, and I keep coming back and adding more, and putting off publishing it because of the work involved in the images (I like to resize them so they don’t use all my media storage on WP). Here’s a quick video update of the garden from April 23:

And a video from May 6:

I’ll eventually get the images added to this post, but if I don’t publish it now I never will. I think the fact I’ve been up to doing video updates but not blog posts shows that the same way doesn’t always have to work every time. I hope you enjoy getting to see the garden and how it’s doing.

On March 30 I DID A LOT in the garden.

I purchased this, a 2 pack of 50″ diameter 12″ deep plastic planting bags (way cheaper than the fabric ones), and filled it with 9 1.5 cu ft bags of gardening soil. Then I transplanted a zucchini plant, two eggplants, and planted seeds for 2 yellow squash plants, one more zucchini plant, and several marigolds and nasturtiums. The transplanted eggplants seem to be doing okay, but the zucchini not so much. The yellow squash and zucchini seeds have sprouted, as have the nasturtiums (but not the marigold). The second one I’m not filling right now. Maybe in the fall or next spring.

I also filled 4 5-gallon buckets and 8 5-gallon fabric planters with soil, and transplanted 2 of each of the following plants: beefsteak tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes, Yolo Wonder bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, cayenne peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Just a few days after doing this we had a cold front come through with strong winds and a day of at-freezing temperatures with rain, but the plants seem to have survived. An old fence panel fell on some of the peppers, with one Cayenne pepper taking the bring of the fall. But it’s still green, and it has a baby pepper on it, so I think it’ll pull through. I’m not sure if the tomatoes are doing well or not, I guess time will tell.

I also planted several flowers along the back of the house. The cosmos and allysum have survived and flowered a little, and the snapdragons look pretty good but still small/not flowering. It also looks like the seeds I’ve planted are sprouting. I also received some canna bulbs from a family member, and they’re shooting leaves up from the ground now too.

Written out, that sure doesn’t seem like much, but it was a whole day’s worth of work!

My greens bed seems to be doing… half-well? The arugula and kale have really taken off, but I’ve only got like 3 (out of 8) lettuce still trying and only 1 spinach, which seems to be getting eaten by something. The broccoli plant hasn’t done much but the cauliflower has put on several more leaves. And the baby onions… I’m not sure if something is eating them or they’re just not doing well. They’re still green and trying but some are broken and I just haven’t really seen any progress. As of May 6, the arugula has started bolting and I don’t think I’ll see anything but greens from the cauliflower, but I think it was worth the try.

The peas are doing alright, I think, and I’ve used some old branches to give them something to climb. They are now flowering and making pea pods!

My onion plants (planted from pantry onions that began growing inside) are GINORMOUS and soon to flower. My sage (started last year, survived the winter) is blooming and looking very good.

I’ve eaten a few sweet strawberries from my plants already, and there’s a wild dewberry bush by the back door that I’m keeping an excited eye on. However, something gets to about half of my strawberries before I do, and while I was thinking it might be slugs…one day I went out there and the strawberries were still juicy like they’d been eaten recently, and there were giant drops of strawberry juice on the leaves…do rats do this?

I’ve also had some flowers from previous years come back and bloom!

I noticed some (A LOT) of ants in my potato plants. My guess is that they are after the aphids and their sticky stuff. I guess that’s my next thing to figure out how to deal with. After a little while, the ants seemed to have disappeared. I’m not sure if I should be more relieved or worried.

In some ways I still feel so new to gardening. I feel like an imposter. I see other people’s pictures and how tightly placed and green and lush their plants look. Am I doing something wrong? Starting my plants too late or spreading them out too much? Starting some of them too early? Not watering right? I guess it’s all learned in experience, and I don’t have much of that yet.I get started with so many plans and so much excitement, but it doesn’t feel like anything pans out the way I’m hoping.

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Blog Tour — A Borrowed Dream

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A BORROWED DREAM

The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 2

by

Amanda Cabot

Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: March 20, 2018

Number of Pages: 352

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Continue reading “Blog Tour — A Borrowed Dream”

Book Review · Guest · LSBBT

Blog Tour & Review — Mornings on Main

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MORNINGS ON MAIN:

A Small-Town Texas Novel

by

Jodi Thomas

Genre: Mainstream Romance

Publisher: HQN

Number of Pages: 320 pages

AVAILABLE APRIL 10, 2018!

Continue reading “Blog Tour & Review — Mornings on Main”