Blog Tour: The Paris Affair by Susanne Dunlap

The Paris Affair by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: September 30, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 244 pages

Series: Theresa Schurmann Mystery, Book 3
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction

Apparently, false rumors about Marie Antoinette are all the fashion in 1783.

Marie Antoinette is facing hostility from the populace, inflamed by rumors circulated in pamphlets throughout Paris. The rumors claim that she has dozens of lovers, drinks the blood of poor people, holds satanic masses at Versailles, and more, when nothing could be further from the truth. On the advice of the handsome, enigmatic Captain von Bauer, Joseph II–emperor of Austria and Marie Antoinette’s brother–decides that mystery-solving violinist Theresa Schurman is the ideal candidate for a spy to discover the source of these vile slanders.

Theresa is only too glad to get away from Vienna for a while, unwilling to commit herself yet to marrying Zoltan–a Hungarian baron she met when she was fifteen–and running out of reasons to postpone her decision. She is eager, too, to explore a new musical scene and broaden her artistic education. But when the captain confounds her expectations and places her as a bookkeeper in the establishment of Rose Bertin, milliner to the queen, she begins to lose hope that she will ever achieve her musical aims–or the emperor’s goal of exposing the pamphleteers.

A chance encounter with the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an extraordinary black violinist and expert swordsman, sets Theresa on the path to unraveling the mystery. But will the chevalier’s patron, the powerful duc de Chartres, confound her efforts and put her–and the captain’s–lives in danger?

Be prepared for music, mystery, love, and murder in this riveting tale of pre-revolutionary Paris.

“The settings and situations are enchanting and varied; Dunlap is adept at on-the-fly description and at lacing intrigue with romance…Dunlap proves an arresting tour guide through this rich milieu, summoning up the past without slowing down the storytelling. Author and protagonist alike boast an epigrammatic wit. The touch is light, but the scenery and chatter are sumptuous…Theresa stands as a fascinating protagonist, a woman whose nimble navigation of society’s expectations and several burgeoning romances are exciting and inspiring, even more so than the sleuthing that drives the novel’s plot. The people she encounters are likewise memorable, complex, and surprising, especially the chevalier…This sparkling historical mystery conjures up the salons, fashion, and gossip of Marie Antoinette’s Paris, with a winning emphasis on the power of music and the roles that society allowed women.” – The BookLife Prize

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Not being familiar with the Theresa Schurman books or author Susanne Dunlap, I was very excited to start reading The Pairs Affair!  The description said to get ready for a number of things, including music, mystery, love, and murder.  All are a collection of things that I absolutely love and I know that fans of YA historical fiction/mysteries will be all in on this novel! 

Theresa is a fascinating lady detective with charm, charisma, and an air of sophistication that enables her to walk through French society with ease!  She is complex, confident, and an amazing heroine.  I loved her relationships with the Captain, the Chevalier, and her charming friend Sophie.  The interwoven friendships, romantic interests, and business entanglements make for a captivating story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the backdrop of Paris, a few years before the revolution.  The reader experiences all levels of 18th century French society through Theresa’s eyes!  Readers will also note the beautiful descriptions of fabulous French landmarks and destinations.  This novel went very quickly for me, as I ate it up in one sitting!  As with many historical fiction/spy novels, this story does feature some action, but not so much that it detracts from the mystery at hand!

This has a beautiful cover and an engaging case of characters that many are sure to love!  I would recommend this to YA readers looking for something set in 18th century France!  Also, this is the third book in this series, but I had no trouble reading it as a standalone.  I felt I found Theresa’s voice very quickly and oriented myself easily.  Pick up a copy of this novel and Susanne Dunlap’s other works today!

A huge thank you to the author for sending me a copy of The Paris Affair!  Another huge thank you to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for having me along for this tour! 

About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of nine works of historical fiction. A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, five step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and eleven grandchildren!

In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

For more information, please visit Susanne Dunlap’s website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, September 30
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Thursday, October 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, October 2
Feature at I’m Into Books
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Monday, October 5
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Tuesday, October 6
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, October 7
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, October 8
Excerpt at Turn The Page

Friday, October 9
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder

Sunday, October 11
Review at Bitch Bookshelf

Monday, October 12
Review at Nursebookie

Tuesday, October 13
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 14
Review at Book Bustle

Thursday, October 15
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, October 16
Review at Passages to the Past
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader


During the Blog Tour, one lucky reader will win signed copies of all 3 books in the Theresa Schurmann Mystery series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Paris Affair

Blog Tour: A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

A Golden Fury


Samantha Cohoe

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction

Publication: October 13, 2020

Age Group: YA

Set in eighteenth century England, Samantha Cohoe’s debut novel, A GOLDEN FURY (Wednesday Books; October 13, 2020), follows a young alchemist as she tries to save the people she loves from the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone. The streets of London and Oxford come to life as this historical fantasy unravels. Weaving together an alluring story of magic and danger, Samantha’s debut has her heroine making messy decisions as she toes the line between good and evil while it becomes blurred.

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.


If you’d told me this was a debut before I began reading, I would say you were crazy!  A Golden Fury is a very strong debut novel from Samantha Cohoe.  This is a firmly upper-YA novel that carries the weight of it’s narrative and features superb writing!  Immediately, the reader is introduced to our main character, Thea.  It’s a bit trope-y, but Thea has worked in her famous mother’s shadow for a long time and is thrust into an odd situation after her mother suffers from a breakdown.  Thea is sent to her father, who, of course, has no idea he is her father, and many things ensue! 

While some new releases this year have very strongly relied on the YA tropes of old, I felt like this novel took a used trope and successfully built a narrative that I became wrapped up in, almost from the beginning.  Thea is incredibly well-written and well-developed, even in the first few pages, I found myself wanting to know everything about her and the strange art of alchemy!  She has quirks and nuances, which are revealed in ways that absolutely worked for me!  My only quibble with Thea is that she put a lot of faith and trust in people, which may not have always been the best idea in this story.  That’s a minor thing, though.  Truly, I enjoyed Thea.  I did notice in a few other reviews that others felt that some of the character traits weren’t quite suited to the narrative, but I think that may have been more of a deliberate action on the part of the author, given the time period.  As a fan of historical fiction, which this is loosely historical fiction, I really liked that! 

Certainly, the romance between Will and Thea is strained at times (that trust thing again), which became a bit grating at some point, but I don’t think it ultimately detracted from the narrative.  I felt that their romance kept the plot going, but wasn’t overly intrusive.  Being less of a romance fan, I also appreciated this fact.  The setting was incredible and Thea accomplishes much with the hand she is dealt through the story.  Being a longtime fan of spooky season and also a fan of anti-heroes, I felt this book was what I was looking for right now.  This isn’t a typical YA novel and certainly not a typical YA debut.  I enjoyed the gloomy setting, dire consequences, and potential failure that linger with the reader throughout the narrative. 

Once again, this was a book that was just right for me!  I would encourage any fans of historical fiction, YA fantasy, alchemy, or a non-traditional YA novel to read this!  This is also perfect for fans of other Wednesday imprint authors like Adrienne Young, Emma Lord, Allison Saft, Romina Garber, among others.

My thanks to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review!  Thanks also to Wednesday Books and their amazing team for having me along on this blog tour!

Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

Book Blitz: Saving Irene by Judy Alter

A Culinary Mystery

Cozy Mystery / Women Sleuths 
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: September 10, 2020
Number of Pages: 208

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Irene Foxglove wishes she were a French chef. Henrietta James, her assistant, knows she is nothing more than a small-time TV chef on a local Chicago channel. And yet when Irene is threatened, Henny tries desperately to save her, wishing always that “Madame” would tell her the truth—about her marriage, her spoiled daughter, her days in France, the man who threatens her. Henny’s best friend, the gay guy who lives next door, teases her, encourages her—and maybe loves her from afar. Murder, kidnapping, and some French gossip complicate this mystery, set in Chicago and redolent with the aroma of fine food. Recipes included.


“A nicely convoluted murder mystery and a glorification of America’s diverse cuisines, played out against the attractions of a lovingly drawn Chicago.”—Fred Erisman, In Their Own Words: Forgotten Women Pilots of Early Aviation 

“You’ll find yourself cheering for Henny James as she works beyond her job description as prep assistant to save her boss, Irene Foxglove, glamorous local French-ish TV chef.”—Kaye George, Deadly Sweet Tooth (Vintage Sweets Mysteries Book 2)

“Get lost in the beauty of Chicago and the intrigue of a Texas girl making her way in the world . . . You won’t see the end coming.”—Mary Dulle, avid cozy fan


After an award-winning career writing historical fiction about women of the nineteenth-century American West, Judy Alter turned her attention to contemporary cozy mysteries: the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries and Blue Plate Café Mysteries. Her avocation is cooking, and she is the author of Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and Books, Gourmet on a Hot Plate, and Texas is Chili Country

Born in Chicago, she has made her home in Fort Worth for over fifty years. Judy is also a proud Scot, a member of Clan MacBean. One trip to the Highlands convinced her that is where her heart is, and she longs to write a novel set in Scotland.

Judy is an active member of Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Story Circle Network, Women Writing the West, and the Texas Institute of Letters. When she is not writing, she is busy with seven grandchildren and a lively poodle/border collie cross.

THREE WINNERS: Autographed paperback copies of Saving Irene. 
October 9-16, 2020 
(US ONLY) Rafflecopter giveaway


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Blog Tour: The Diary of Asser Levy: First Jewish Citizen of New York by Daniela Weil

First Jewish Citizen
of New York

Genre: Historical Fiction / Middle Grade / Jewish / Colonial America
Publisher: Pelican (Arcadia Publishing)
Date of Publication: March 9, 2020
Number of Pages: 128

  Scroll down for the giveaway!

For twenty-four years the Dutch colony of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil was a safe haven for Jews who had escaped the Inquisition in Europe. Recife, its capital, was known as “Colonial Jerusalem,” and it was from this religiously tolerant town that Asser Levy tells his story. When the Portuguese recaptured the territory in 1654, they brought the Inquisition and its torments with them, forcing Asser and his family and friends to flee to Holland. About fifteen ships arrive safely in Holland; Asser’s ship does not. 

Through imagined diary entries based on real events, Asser tells the harrowing story of the Jewish refugees who arrived on the island of Manhattan and of some of the first court battles fought to allow religious freedom in America.

“The book breathes life into a little-known yet important Jewish figure of early New Amsterdam and New York. Through a series of diary entries based on fact and the author’s creation, the author brings out the emotion, drama, and conflicts of Asser Levy’s turbulent journey to a new land in search of religious freedom. … The book will add color to classroom lessons on early US history and on Jewish immigration.” —Paul Kaplan, author of Jewish New York: A History and Guide to Neighborhoods, Synagogues, and Eateries 

“What an extraordinary amount of research went into it! And what a creative way of combining historical fiction and contemporary pictures. Kudos!” —Cynthia Levinson, author of The Youngest Marcher

“What a fine job [Daniela] did with this story! … The diary-style keeps the pace moving, and the adventures make it exciting. Lots of setting details bring the scenes alive, and the dialogue engages the reader in the plot. I can see how it will be easy for a young reader to identify with Asser, worrying about how (and if) he’ll succeed in his quest.” —Gail Jarrow, author of Fatal Fever


So much to say about The Diary of Asser Levy!  This is an interesting, innovative, and fascinating look at a subject that history has often overlooked.  A personal story for the author, Asser Levy was one of the first Jewish inhabitants of America!  Author Daniela Weil has taken in depth analysis of historical events and filled in the blanks from the historical record to reach younger audiences.  Ultimately, this is a story of survival, diplomacy, and bravery!

I absolutely enjoyed reading the diary portion of this book, which takes up most of the text.  Asser Levy’s journey from Brazil to Jamaica to the New World took him through real-world dangers on the high seas, religious persecution, skilled deal-making, and eventually a long-term home.  Given the state of the historical record, the author filled in parts of Asser’s personality with an adept hand. 

Included in the later part of the book are maps, photographs, background information, and other intriguing details.  As a historian, I very much appreciated the inclusion of historical documents and background information.  Asser’s voice is fascinating and I am so glad that it is being heard today! 

Another amazing thing about this book is the typeface!  The typeface is OpenDyslexic which is a font designed for inclusion for readers of all abilities.  My son is a much more fluent reader when books have this font!  A fantastic choice to bring Asser’s story to more readers!  This is a perfect book for teachers, parents, and  people interested in Jewish heritage! 

Thank you to Daniela Weil, Pelican Publishing, and the folks at Lone Star Book Blog Tours for having me along! 

Daniela Weil was born in Brazil. She attended the International School in São Paulo, where she was surrounded by people and cultures from around the world. It was also there that she developed a passion for nature, art, and writing. After earning a BA in biology from Brandeis University in Boston, Weil became a field research biologist. She participated in various whale projects, including illustrating the first field guide for whales and dolphins in Brazil.

Being a mother rekindled her desire to share her passion about the natural world. She joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and attended workshops on writing nonfiction and science for kids. After writing several articles on science and history, she ventured into books. Weil attended the Texas Library Association annual conference with her SCBWI group and met the folks from Pelican, who were intrigued by her middle-grade book idea. As the project developed, her research took her back to Brazil and across the world, chasing Asser’s experiences.

When not on the hunt for new experiences, Weil makes her home in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Erik, and daughter, Lucy.

ONE WINNER gets a signed hardcover copy of the book.
 September 22-October 2, 2020
(U.S. Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or, visit the blogs directly:


Book Trailer

Chapter Break Book Blog



Hall Ways Blog


Author Interview

Max Knight



StoreyBook Reviews


Sneak Peek

Texas Book Lover



Reading by Moonlight


Author Interview

Story Schmoozing Book Reviews


Top Ten

All the Ups and Downs



Librariel Book Adventures


Scrapbook Page

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife



Book Bustle

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Blog Tour: I AM JAX, PROTECTOR OF THE RANCH by Catherine Stier

A Dog’s Day Series, Books 1 and 2
Illustrated by Francesca Rosa
Animals / Adventure / Farm Life / Ranch Life / Chapter Books 
Date of Publication: April 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 96
Scroll down for the giveaway!
Spend a day in the life of a livestock guardian dog! Jax the Great Pyrenees has a big job. After the Texas sun goes down, it’s up to him and two other LGDs to protect their ranch from predators. But when the lead dog gets hurt, Jax and a young pup are the only ones left to protect the flock through the night. Told from the dog’s perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.
Spend a day in the life of an avalanche rescue dog! Ava is a chocolate Labrador retriever with a big job. She and her handler have trained for years to be ready to help people at their ski resort if an unexpected avalanche hits. But Ava quickly finds out there’s much more to being an avy dog than daring rescues. Told from the dog’s perspective, this riveting story also includes back matter about the breed and the role of the working dog.

As a lifelong Texan and lover of chapter books with Dogs as main characters, I absolutely loved this book!  In the vein of Hank the Cowdog or Charlie the Ranch Dog, I Am Jax:  Protector of the Ranch is a wonderful addition from a fabulous author!  Jax is a Great Pyrenees, working on a ranch and guarding livestock.  Jax is a Livestock Guardian Dog, LGD, which is an incredibly important job. 

I asked my 8 year old to read along with me, which was a great bonding experience!  He is getting introduced to chapter books, so this was a perfect book to read together!  His favorite character was Jax, who was brave and responsible.  He gave this book two thumbs up!  His favorite chapter is Chapter 2, when the reader is introduced to the guard dogs and the flock.  He loved learning about Livestock Guardian Dogs and the breeds of dogs featured in the book!

I really enjoyed Jax, Bev, and the other dogs and sheep.  The story flowed seamlessly and was easy to understand for both my son and I.  We learned about bravery, having courage in the face of danger, and responsibility for others.  These are all lessons and messages that are important for young people to learn!  Jax is a wonderful character to convey these messages to emerging readers!

The illustrations are wonderfully done and very descriptive!  The illustrations highlighted and enhanced the narrative as Jax navigated the protection detail for the flock.  This is a great book for emerging readers and I would recommend it to parents and teachers for their children/students.  This would make a great birthday gift for a child or a gift for a teacher’s classroom!

I thoroughly enjoyed I Am Jax:  Protector of the Ranch!  Another book in this series is I am Ava:  Seeker in the Snow!  Thank you to the folks at Lone Star Book Blog Tours and author Catherine Stier for the opportunity to read this book and share it with everyone!

Catherine Stier, a former Midwesterner, now lives deep in the heart of Southwest Texas, on the edge of the beautiful Hill Country. Her children’s books have received honors and awards from the Society of School Librarians International, the International Reading Association, and the Bank Street College of Education. Stier has served as a frequent contributor to Woman’s Day Magazine and as a newspaper columnist. Her work has also appeared in Highlights for Children, My Friend, Child Life, and several newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times and the San Antonio Express-News. Stier’s lively and interactive Author’s Visit programs have entertained, educated, and inspired thousands of children. Visit Catherine Stier’s website at for more information, activities, and free curriculum guides.
Facebook ║ Twitter Instagram ║ Amazon ║ Website
ONE WINNER: Hardcover copy of I Am Jax, Protector of the Ranch (Book 1), hardcover copy of I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow (Book 2), $15 gift card to The Twig Book Shop, stuffed animal – adorable “Ava” Lab dog toy, dog stickers, dog socks.  
September 17-27, 2020 
or visit the blogs directly:
Review Jax
Character Interview
Review Ava + BONUS Jax Review
Jax Scrapbook
Ava Scrapbook
Review Jax
Review Ava
Sneak Peek Jax
Review Jax
Review Ava
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Book Blitz: A Vote Is a Powerful Thing by Catherine Stier

Illustrated by Courtney Dawson
Children’s Picture Book / American Historical Fiction / Elections and Voting 
Ages 4-7 
Date of Publication: September 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 32
Scroll down for the giveaway!
Callie knows there’s a presidential election coming up, and people will soon vote to decide the country’s leader. 
Her class is having an election too, about an issue that affects them all–the class field trip. Should they choose the cookie factory or the wilderness park? 
Join Callie as she campaigns for the wilderness park she loves and learns how people have organized, marched, and protested for the right to vote. And find out how a vote–even just one vote–can make a difference!
“Gets the job done.” ―Kirkus Reviews 
“A galvanizing read for children interested in politics or parents who hope to instill such interests.” ―Publishers Weekly
Catherine Stier is the author of several awarding-winning children’s books. Her titles include If I Were President, If I Ran for President, If I Were a Park Ranger, and the A Dog’s Day chapter-book series. In grade school, Catherine ran a class campaign for student council with handmade signs, and, although she didn’t win, she found the process exciting! She went on to earn an MA in reading and literacy from the University of Texas at San Antonio and has conducted children’s literature research. She now resides with her husband in San Antonio and volunteers at a local wilderness park.
Facebook ║ Twitter ║ Instagram ║ Amazon ║ Website
ONE WINNER: Copies of each of the three election-series books; patriotic socks, button, and pencils; plus a $15 gift card to The Twig Book Shop. 
September 4-10, 2020 
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Blog Tour: Nacho’s Nachos by Sandra Nickel and Oliver Dominguez

The Story Behind the 
World’s Favorite Snack
Sandra Nickel
Illustrated by 
Oliver Dominguez
Genre: Picture Book / Nonfiction / Food History / Latinx Interest  
Publisher: Lee & Low Books 
Publication Date: August 11, 2020 
Number of Pages: 32
 Scroll down for the giveaway!
NACHO’S NACHOS is the deliciously true story about how nachos were invented—about what happened when a regular customer asked Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya for something new, and there were no chefs in the kitchen. 
2020 is the eightieth anniversary of the invention, and Oliver Dominguez’s illustrations transport us back to the border of the Rio Grande in 1940, when Nacho’s quick thinking resulted in a snack now eaten everywhere from Texas to Paris to Hong Kong!
  Amazon ┃ Barnes & Noble  IndieBound ┃ Book Depository     

I am excited to say that in my family, we love nachos!  They are a favorite treat for dinner and I was fascinated to learn about the history of this incredible dish.  Though it is simply made, nachos had their beginning in Ignacio Anaya’s Victory Club.  This picture book follows Ignacio from childhood to his invention of nachos with easy to follow prose.  My son and I read this book together and exercised critical thinking skills to draw conclusions from the book.

Some of our favorite moments included the pages devoted to Nacho’s initial invention of the dish and the inclusion of the original recipe!  This story is compelling and a fun celebration of the Mexican heritage of nachos.  The artwork is beautiful throughout the book.  There are vivid images of the 1950s aesthetic with classic cars, glamorous fashion, and intricate depth.  The illustrations jump off the page and enhance the narrative throughout the book! 

Being a historian, I am so glad to see history manifested this way in such a wonderful title!  The afterword details the author’s process for writing and her methodical research into Nacho’s story.  We will be making nachos according to the original recipe in our house before the next week is over!  I would recommend this book to parents of young readers, teachers, and fans of nachos!  This truly is an inspiring book that I would love to share with my fellow parents of young readers!

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours for having me along for this tour!  Thank you also to the publisher, Author Sandra Nickel, and Illustrator Oliver Dominguez!  Enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post and visit all of the other stops on this tour to see a scrapbook page, guest posts, an author interview, and so much more! 

Sandra Nickel writes books and poetry for young readers. In 2020 and 2021, she has three books coming out: Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack (Lee & Low), The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe (Abrams), and Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson (Abrams). Sandra’s poetry can be found in SCOOP magazine. 
Sandra holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has presented workshops on writing for children and young adults throughout Europe and the United States. Sandra has twice won the Katherine Paterson Prize for picture books.
  Website Blog  Facebook Instagram Twitter  Amazon  Goodreads 
3 Winners: Print Copy + Recipe Card; 2 Winners: Recipe Card. 
AUGUST 20-30, 2020 
or visit the blogs directly:
Author Interview
Sneak Peek
Guest Post
Author Interview
Scrapbook Page
Guest Post
Top Ten
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Blog Tour: The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo #LSBBT

Kathleen Y’Barbo
Genre: Fiction / Historical Mystery / True Crime  
Publisher: Barbour Books 
Publication Date: August 1, 2020 
Number of Pages: 257
 Scroll down for the giveaway!
Two killers, two detectives, and a menace called The Black Midnight may be the death of both of them. Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, a killer struck fear into the hearts of the citizens of Austin, Texas. Some believe one man is responsible for both, while others lay the blame at the feet of someone close to the queen herself. With suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin murders case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter. One man is essential to her team, and she doesn’t want to consider taking on this challenge without his expertise. Unfortunately, he’s back in Texas, with a bad attitude and a new profession. 
The prospect of a second chance at catching the man who terrorized Austin three years ago just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer, even if it does mean working with the Queen’s great-granddaughter again. If his theories are right, they’ll find the Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the lady detective left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago. 
Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.
PRAISE for The Black Midnight: 
“Warning! Don’t read this historical romantic suspense at night!” DiAnn Mills, Expect an Adventure 
“Impeccably researched with sparkling dialogue and riveting history, Kathleen Y’Barbo’s The Black Midnight puts a pair of star-crossed Pinkerton detectives on the trail of a Texas killer who may also be the notorious Jack the Ripper. Very highly recommended and sure to keep you reading well past your bedtime!!” Colleen Thompson, RITA-nominated author of Deadly Texas Summer 
“You’re in for a wild ride as Kathleen Y’Barbo takes you on a story through some of America and Britain’s grisliest murders and somehow manages to weave in a delicious romance. From Texas to London, the ties that bind may be more linked than you previously believed. Settle in for a novel of suspense and romancejust be sure to look over your shoulder every now and then!” Jaime Jo Wright, 2018 Christy Award-winning author of The House on Foster Hill and 2020 Inspy Award-nominated The Curse of Misty Wayfair

The Black Midnight is a thrilling crime novel with a hint of romance, a large helping of intrigue, and a transatlantic mystery from Kathleen Y’Barbo!  The narrative follows Alice Anne, Annie, a pedigreed Pinkerton agent with strong ties to the British Royal Family.  Annie is asked to investigate a string of murders in London.  She works to assemble her team of operatives for the case and travels to Austin, Texas to seek the help of Isaiah “Ike” Joplin, a former associate and almost lover.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!  It was my first book by this author, but I will be seeking out other works to fill my shelves!  I found Annie to be an incredibly intelligent, competent, and deliciously witty character!  Isaiah was just the right amount of rough and tumble and loveable.  The author struck a delicate balance between mystery, suspense, and romance.  As a historian, I love novels that instill a love of history in their readers.  I felt this novel provided a great amount of detail, while also providing an entertaining narrative.  The twin mysteries of Jack the Ripper in London and the Midnight Assassin in Austin are compelling and expertly woven through the story.  The pacing is great and I really can’t find anything that I disliked about this book.  This was a treat to read and oh so interesting!

Some historical fiction can be dry or too romance-y, but his novel has the exact right amount of detail and romance to break out of those problems that typically plague this genre.  Kathleen Y’Barbo is a fantastic author and this is a great addition to the True Colors series!  I would recommend this novel and series to fans of Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series (female detective/spy with a hint of romance) or a more modern sleuth series like the Kate Carpenter series by Vanessa Robertson!  Thank you to Kathleen Y’Barbo, Barbour Books, and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for having me along! 

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and author of more than eighty books, with almost two million in print. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen celebrated her fifteenth year as a published author by receiving the Romantic Times Inspirational Romance Book of the Year Award for Sadie’s Secret, a Secret Lives of Will Tucker novel. Her novels celebrate life, love, and the Lord—and whenever she can manage it, her home state of Texas. Recent releases include The Pirate Bride, River of Life, and My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas.
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FIVE WINNERS!  One Winner: Signed copy of The Black Midnight + $20 Amazon gift card 
Four Winners: Signed copy of The Black Midnight 
AUGUST 6-16, 2020 
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@sot_tours Blog Tour: Kings & Daemons by Marcus Lee

Kings & Daemons


Marcus Lee

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Publication: May 25, 2020

Age Group: Young Adult

A tale of conquest, dark kings, and daemonic heroes. A spellbinding story that will enchant you with its plot of ambition, love, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption.

Over fifty years have passed since Daleth the seemingly immortal Witch-King and his army conquered the Ember Kingdom.

Now, with the once fertile lands and its enslaved people dying around him, the Witch-King, driven by his insatiable thirst for eternal youth, prepares his forces to march on the prosperous neighbouring Freestates. It will be the beginnings of a conquest that could destroy nations, bringing death and destruction on an unimaginable scale.

Then, when a peasant huntress whose rare gift was concealed from birth is exposed, it sets in motion a chain of events that could alter the destiny of generations to come.


 Kings and Daemons is the first book in a new series by Marcus Lee!  This interesting and original Young Adult fantasy/romance is the story of a rag-tag group of people who band together to defeat a great evil!  One of those ‘misfits’ is Maya, a girl with extraordinary powers.  Also Taran, a telepath with a penchant for anger and Kalas, an incredible warrior.  I felt this fit exactly into the young adult genre and it is a fantasy book with all of the classical elements that readers love!

The world building through the first few chapters is well-done through character point of view vignettes.  I loved the imagery of the forest, the Free States, and the Witch-King’s lands.  Though the book is near 400 pages, I found it went rather quickly and I was engrossed in the plot from the beginning.  This is a fantastic introduction to a new fantasy world from author Marcus Lee! 

I enjoyed the rich character building for Maya, Taran, and all of the other main/side characters.  I thought the character arcs tied up nicely along with the narrative.  Of course, being a series, there is more to come and I am absolutely excited for a continuation of this story!  I would recommend this to any YA fantasy fans and any general fantasy fans.  There is something for every reader in this book, plenty of action, a bit of romance, all of the fantasy elements, and an easy to follow plot that hooks you from the beginning!

Thank you to Marcus Lee and Storyteller’s on Tour for having me along for this tour!  I appreciate all of the work that indie authors put into their novels and I am so glad to have the opportunity to read them!  Thanks to the team at Storyteller’s on Tour as well!  This is my third or fourth tour with them and they are always top notch!

Writing hasn’t always been a serious hobby for me … but it has always been there, lurking in the shadows, serving me well when called upon.

As I look back over the years, I realise I was guilty of writing many short stories, as well as poetry, and I’d like to think, that even if they were never intended to be published, they were nonetheless warmly received by the intended recipients.

Then in 2019, I was inspired to write not just a short story, or poetry, but a book. Then, suddenly, one book turned into a trilogy and a labour of love, and it was a love I wanted to share with the world.

So, here we are. The pandemic that put my career in sport on hold also gave me the opportunity to lavish time on my alternative hobby, or if demand dictates my new career.

However, only you, the reader, will decide whether this trilogy, which is still a work in progress, will be the first of many. I genuinely hope so.

Who knows, now these creatives juices are flowing, I might just keep on writing anyway.

Epic fantasy has been my favourite genre since I first read The Odyssey and The Illiad as a seven-year-old. Now it’s my turn to see if I can bring another world to life in the imagination of others.

#xpressotours Blog Tour – Balthazar’s Bane by Kat Ross

Balthazar’s Bane
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic, #6)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: July 31st 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling

A bungled murder.
A ridiculous quest.
And a hero with extremely dodgy credentials.

Christmas 1889. Count Balthazar Jozsef Habsburg-Koháry tries to lead a simple life.

Oh, he enjoys a few hobbies.

Collecting ancient Egyptian artifacts. Hunting necromancers with a wire garrote. Impersonating dead Hungarian nobility. Seducing an endless string of women who never suspect the price of the count’s attentions.

But considering what Balthazar used to be like, these pursuits are harmless. And surely he deserves a reward for assassinating the elusive necromancer John Mortlake in the middle of Cairo’s teeming bazaar. What could be better than a holiday cruise up the Nile with his secretary Lucas Devereaux?

There’s just one thing that might ruin his mood.

If, for example, someone stole the talisman that’s kept him alive for two thousand years.

That would really suck.

Unfortunately for Balthazar, he just killed the wrong necromancer – one with a vengeful daughter and huge debts to some very shady djinn. To get his mojo back, he and Lucas must find a legendary sword and liberate a desert kingdom of magical misfits. For centuries, the people of Al Miraj have sought a valiant champion willing to face the wrath of the arch demon Fulad-zereh!

What they get is Balthazar.

But the gods always did like a good joke.

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This is book six in the Gaslamp Gothic series, though I didn’t feel that I had to have read the first 5 books to understand this book.  It almost read like a standalone, though I did need to consult reviews of the other books for a couple of pieces of information.  I would recommend that readers start from book one, but I felt fine starting at book six.  I was so excited to discover this series through this book tour and wow, I am hooked!  It’s part Victorian, part paranormal, part Sherlock Holmes mystery, and 100% fun! 

This book has fantastic paranormal/fantasy elements blended with a rollicking narrative!  Balthazar is such an interesting character with so much flair and personality!  Also, Lucas is exceedingly interesting as well!  Of course, these characters have had 5 books before this installment for character development, but I think that both Balthazar and Lucas are well written in book six!  Zarifa is intriguing and fiery! The character development in this book series is spot on!

The main plot line in this book takes place in Egypt, a place ripe with interesting history and a history of paranormal/fantasy elements that lend themselves perfectly to this book!  I felt like I couldn’t put this book down!  There were demons, djinn, necromancers, talismans, disguises, mystery, and so much more!  I love that all of this fantastical goodness is wrapped up in an original world, featuring some of the places we love like Egypt! 

Overall, this is an extremely well written book that I would rate as “couldn’t put it down.”  I would love to read the first five books in this series!   Kat Ross is an extremely talented writer that blends developed characters into rich worlds to create masterful works of literature!  I will definitely be following along for more installments in this series!

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours, Kat Ross, and Acorn Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book as part of this tour!

Author Bio:

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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