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Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Magician and the Misfit (Arcana of the Tarot #2) by Dana Fox

This enemies-to-lovers, portal fantasy looks amazing! Be sure to check out the Arcana of the Tarot duology by Dana Fox!

The Magician and the Misfit (Arcana of the Tarot #2)
by Dana Fox
August 2023
Genre: Romantic Fantasy/ Portal Fantasy 
Street artist. Criminal. Misfit. 
Lux Dylan was used to wandering the streets of the Bay with her ragtag friends. She was used to all-nighters and loud music and run-ins with the police. But when a sudden death in her close circle uncovers a hidden betrayal, she must commit to a dark path if she is to find justice. She’s always been a bad girl, but is she bad enough for this? Magos the Magician is the Arcana of creation and skill. All the known world is his playland. Except he’s got quite a few problems. A prophecy haunts him. Ennui stalks him. And a Reversal—the worst threat to his kind—looms large. Overwhelmed, he escapes his realm for Earth through one of Arcana’s magic portals. When he emerges to find a crime in progress, he meets Lux, a reckless misfit who courts danger despite the odds stacked against her. Her creative, rule-breaking spirit calls to his own. Magos puts his journey on hold as Lux tempts him into the pleasures of mortal life. Play, work, art—all of it entices him. But when Lux crosses a member of the Order—a network of elites governing the world—Magos cannot stand idle anymore. A revolution is coming, and both Magos and Lux rise as agitators for the cause. In doing so, their hearts become inextricably bound. Together, they must confront what happens when you finally stop running and truly start living.

The Magician and the Misfit is an MF friends-to-lovers, grief/comfort urban fantasy romance inspired by tarot and featuring portals to a second-world realm.

Available on Amazon

The Fool and the Sparrow (Arcana of the Tarot #1)
Spy. Fixer. Assassin.

As the top operative for a global shadow government known as the Order, Thea has served and protected the elite 1%. Her life changes suddenly when she escapes the Order with damning evidence of the group’s existence. Now she is on the run for her life, looking for a way to expose what she’s stolen. Fate intervenes when a fortuitous encounter with a tarot card reader leads her directly into the path of a divine being from another realm. Kit the Fool leaves the Arcana realm for Earth, following visions sent to him from his sisters, Fiona the Moon and Kathryn the High Priestess. As he accompanies Thea on her quest to expose the Order, he is thrust into a cat-and-mouse adventure that captivates his curious and impulsive nature. As does the Sparrow at his side. The stakes are raised even higher when he uncovers a threatening connection to his own people. Together, Thea and Kit set off to expose the nefarious Order, but along the way, the two find themselves tumbling headfirst into an attraction that defies cosmic logic. How will these two souls from very different worlds defeat the odds stacked against them?

The Fool and the Sparrow is the first book in the Arcana of the Tarot series. It is a fantasy romance packed with political intrigue and high heat, featuring a mythical being let loose in the mortal world and a weary heroine on a life-or-death mission.

About the Author
Dana Fox is a college professor by day, romance writer by night. She writes fantasy romance with magic, mystery, and melodrama. Learn more about her work at
Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Character Confessions: Ellyne has beef with her author: Sean R. Frazier + giveaway

: Okay, so Ellyne has some things she wishes to talk about—not so much confessions as...issues or, really, some things she’d like to get off her chest. I told her I’d find a forum to air her grievances so here we are. Ellyne, the floor is yours.

ELLYNE: Thanks, Sean. Okay, first of all, I’d like to at least thank you for writing me to be a strong, independent woman who can handle herself in a fight. I appreciate that.

SEAN: Oh, well, you’re welcome. That’s so—

ELLYNE: Okay, now that THAT’S out of the way, I’ve got a few ... issues I’d like to address. First and foremost, I’m a gunslinger. You gave me a golden revolver and made me a war hero. That’s great, and all, but then why did you drop me in a world that runs on magic? You make me bring a gun to a magic fight!

SEAN: Well, I mean, I thought it would be—

ELLYNE: Which brings me to my next thought. I was doing pretty well—you know, flying under the radar, leading a peaceful existence, and avoiding magic completely. Everything was going great until you told Nicole to find me. She’s the planet’s most powerful mage! Why on Seralune would she need my help? It doesn’t make any sense, yet, you had her go out of her way to seek out someone who hates magic. Did you think this would be a great pairing? Because I find it supremely annoying.

SEAN: I figured you might be lonely, and a friend would be good for you. You can’t live life alone, avoiding all your troubles.

ELLYNE: By “troubles”, I assume you’re referring to that asshat, Marik. You remember—the guy who knocked out my tooth, shot me, and left me for dead, right?

SEAN: Well, I figured you’d want revenge.

ELLYNE: Okay, fair point. Thanks for the opportunity. And the government hunting Nicole and me? What’s their purpose?

SEAN: Also revenge.

ELLYNE: Huh ... okay, I’ll give you that one, too. But the aliens—the Kithrak. Not only are you throwing magic at me—which you know I hate—AND you’ve got the government hunting me, AND you’ve forced me to team up with a mage who also just happens to be an overly-loquacious, annoyingly vivacious girl—

SEAN: She’s twenty-five

ELLYNE: Whatever. She’s irritating. So, what’s with the Kithrak then? Why are they after me?

SEAN: The Kithrak might hold your salvation.

ELLYNE: What exactly do you mean by that?

SEAN: I’m not allowed to tell you. That’s for you to find out. Yes, you’re a fugitive and yes, everyone wants to apprehend or kill you. Also, yes, you’re stuck in a world of magic—the thing you hate the most. But this is all to show you what’s truly important.

ELLYNE: What would that be? Revenge?

SEAN: Family.

ELLYNE: I hate my family, you know that. I ran away from home in my teens. They were both government lackeys.

: Not that family. Your found family. And, yes, maybe a little payback. You’ll figure it out by the second book, I’m sure of it.

ELLYNE: Wait, there’s a second—

SEAN: Oh, hey, will you look at the time! We should probably wrap this up. We’ll talk more later, I promise.

Mage Breaker (Mage Breaker Saga Book One)
by Sean R. Frazier
November 28, 2023
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Creative James Media
ISBN: 978-1-956183-56-6
Number of pages: 350
Word Count: 95,030
Cover Artist: Dark Angel Graphic Design
Magic isn’t a gift, it’s a prison.

The planet Seralune runs entirely on magic, a powerful force regulated by an Alien race known as the Kithrak. An ancient prophecy predicts their downfall at the hands of the most powerful mage ever to live.

Ellyne is a gunslinger who reluctantly agrees to assist a woman named Nicole, who is the answer to the prophecy, when the Kithrak discover that Nicole is the Mage Breaker.

Their quest to bring down this powerful threat leads them to the discovery of magic's dark secret. How will they cope when their mission must shift from one focused on their survival to one that must ensure the endurance of the entire human race?

Ellyne gently closed her eyes and breathed deeply, listening to the man mutter his incantation. His deliberate and careful pronunciations were a stark contrast to Nicole who simply teleported on a whim—as effortless as blinking her eyes. The Kithrak, too, were more skilled at certain types of magic, though their ability came nowhere close to Nicole’s. For a brief moment, Ellyne wondered if Nicole really could have beaten everyone here.
It was an interesting thought—a thought that was interrupted by hot, searing pain erupting from every part of her body. She opened her eyes and screamed, feeling as if she would be torn apart.
“What’s wrong?” someone asked.
“I … I don’t know!” Torval replied. “The spell failed! Why’s she screaming?”
“What the hell is going on?” someone else shouted.
Ellyne would’ve liked to see the looks on their faces, but she only saw spots across her vision as the pressure within her mounted, came to a head, and burst outward with a deafening explosion.
The hands supporting her fell away and she slumped to the ground, her vision dark and her ears ringing. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed, her trying not to pass out, and she was fully prepared for someone to hoist her back to her feet and drag her away at any moment.
But as her vision began to clear and her hearing returned, she neither saw nor heard movement. There was no magic battle, no shouts or yells, no flashes of light from spells being cast—nothing. The sound of her own breathing was deafening by comparison.
As she struggled to her feet, standing on shaky legs, she began to see what transpired and wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be appalled. She staggered forward, stumbling but catching herself on the bench she’d just a few minutes ago used as cover. It was now bent, the metal having been twisted and shattered by the car that fell on it mere moments ago.
“It’s like the Metro all over again,” she muttered.

About the Author:
Website - FB -Twitter 
When Sean Frazier was growing up, he never really paid attention to the written word. It wasn't necessarily something he enjoyed at the time. Once he graduated college, however, the spark ignited and he decided to write something and try to get it published. And it was...well, not-so-great. Truly, it wasn't the highest caliber material ever produced. But the spark was still there, even if it was simply buried deep within.

Eventually, that overly-loquacious, meandering work of wordsmithing became his first book, "The Call of Chaos". It took many, many years, but Sean finally rekindled that drive and found that he did, indeed enjoy writing.

When he's not writing, Sean enjoys running, playing video games, and spending time with his family. He is a bona fide Halloween zealot, loves hot wings, is a grand master at telling terrible jokes and, oh, his cat can beat up your cat.(He's a total dork.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release: School for Extraterrestrial Girls Vol 2: Girls Take Flight

 Papercutz is pleased to announce:

School for Extraterrestrial Girls Vol 2: Girls Take Flight
Authors: Jeremy Whitley (writer) and Jamie Noguchi (Artist)
Genre: children's comics, graphic novel, girl's issues, school issues
Format: 6x9 inches

Page Count: 132 pages
Hardcover Price: $19.99
Paperback Price: $12.99
ISBN for Paperback: 9781545806968
ISBN for Hardcover: 9781545806951
Age Range: 7-12
the students of the School for Extraterrestrial Girls have met their match when they collide with the School For Extraterrestrial Boys!

The extraterrestrial girls are back! With their former school compromised, exposing Tara, Misako, Summer, and Kat, to possible danger from unknown alien forces, they all must relocate to a new hidden school--The School for Extraterrestrial Boys! Located on a hidden island in the arctic north, the new campus has a mysteriously warm summer climate, a beautiful lake, and dozens of sinister mysteries! The girls are staying in what appears to be summer cabins on the lake while going to school in the mysterious castle where the boys stay. This is all under the watchful eye of the boys' headmaster, Headmaster Stokes—an arrogant man with an unknown agenda and an obsession with Tara's people. They may still be in school, but this will be a semester full of blossoming romances, learning to love themselves, and trying to survive the mysteries of both this terrifying island and boys! Romance, magic, and near-death experiences are all part of a regular school day at the School for Extraterrestrial Girls.

Barnes & Noble


Writer Jeremy Whitley weighed in on the second book in the series:

“School for Extraterrestrial Girls, for us, was an opportunity to play in this fun space of BIG sci-fi (aliens, different worlds, different species) and at the same time ground it in very real feelings of coming of age. Tara is a kid who's had her whole life set out for her by her parents and has done what they said without question. She's bookish, studious, and ambitious. However, when she spontaneously combusts in the middle of class one day, her whole world is turned upside down as she learns that her parents aren't really her parents and they've been hiding from her the fact that she's actually an alien her whole life. She's given the choice of being sent back to her people's homeworld or learning how to be "a good earthling" at the School for Extraterrestrial Girls. For Tara, that isn't even really a choice. She's lived her whole life on Earth and has no idea what would await her on her home planet, so she has to join the school.

Obviously, in a lot of ways this is not so different from choices that real kids face about their lives all the time, it's just on a way way bigger scale. She also begins developing these relationships with her classmates that are strained by who they are and where they come from, but all the more intense because of where and how they're forming them. Not unlike normal high school, they're incredibly different people pushed into this high pressure situation and trying to make relationships with others while they're still figuring out who they are. Added with Jamie's fun, colorful, Tokusatsu (“Tokusastu" is a Japanese term for a live action show or film that uses practical special effects. Godzilla, Power Rangers, Ultraman, and Kamen Rider are all examples of tokusatsu that influenced Book 2) influenced art, I think it's a fun and light read that will really stick with the people who need it.

This series is really important to us, because we get to do the best of both worlds. We get to have the high drama of high school right alongside the giant aliens and monsters. And that, I think, captures the feeling of what it's like to be in high school better than the real thing. At some point in their time in high school, everybody feels like an alien."
School for Extraterrestrial Girls #1: Girl on Fire

Tara Smith’s parents are super strict with all their rules and routines, and Tara is a dutiful daughter. Rule #1: No friends her own age. Rule #2: keep her bracelet on, or else. But when she breaks her routine—and then loses her bracelet—she’s in trouble.

Now outed as an extraterrestrial after wielding fire and losing her humanoid form, Tara is captured by the government. She’s given two options: get shipped far away where she won’t be a danger to anyone or stay on Earth and join a school for other extraterrestrial girls like her. Things at the school aren’t easy—especially for the girl whose only friends were textbooks. But Tara’s goal to learn how to control her powers is soon sidelined by the discovery that the people she’s called Mom and Dad all these years aren’t her parents.

The Hal Clement Notable Young Adult Books 2021 List

JEREMY WHITLEY is best-known for his Middle Grade series PRINCELESS published through ActionLab, which was twice nominated for Eisner awards and a three time Glyph award winner. He also has had successful runs on "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," "Courage the Cowardly Dog," and Marvel's "The Unstoppable Wasp." 

JAMIE NOGUCHI is an illustrator from the DC metro area. He has had a successful career as colorist for UDON, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Image. He provided the art for Erfworld, which landed on Time Magazine's Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2007.

About Papercutz:

Papercutz is dedicated to publishing great graphic novels for all ages. Popular with reluctant readers and gifted readers alike, Papercutz graphic novels for kids, tweens, and teens include a wide range of genres, including humor, action adventure, mystery, horror, and favorite characters. We work every day to introduce young readers to the imaginative wonders waiting to be discovered in comics. To find out more visit

About Mad Cave Studios: Driven by madness and committed to quality. Mad Cave Studios provides quality entertainment with a fresh take on an array of genres. From fantasy and action to sci-fi and horror, Mad Cave publishes stories that resonate with unapologetic and authentic audiences.

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Kingdom of Sweets: A Novel of the Nutcracker by Erika Johansen

A dark retelling of the Nutcracker.

As we begin to transition from Halloween to the holiday season, THE KINGDOM OF SWEETS by New York Times bestselling author of Queen of the Tearling trilogy Erika Johansen (on-sale 11/28) is the perfect horrific and magical companion to the rapidly chilling nights of the coming winter. A dark retelling of the Nutcracker, Johansen expertly crafts a new frigid world of magic, deception, blood, and revenge that will consume readers until the very last page.
by Erika Johansen
November 28, 2023
Genre: Folklore, dark fantasy
Light and dark. Twins Clara and Natasha are cursed as such by their godfather, the powerful sorcerer Drosselmeyer. Clara, the favorite, grows into a life of beauty and ease, while Natasha is cast aside as her shadow, ignored and neglected and—one Christmas Eve, betrayed by her family. But she finds a chance of revenge when Drosselmeyer arrives with an enchanted Nutcracker that offers passage into an alternative world: the Kingdom of Sweets. Here, Natasha discovers a power far greater than she has ever encountered before—and a dark bargain that might grant her deepest desire.

For readers that crave complex, selfish female characters; for those who read chilling stories late into the night; and everyone who enjoys a dark retelling with fresh twists and turns, THE KINGDOM OF SWEETS takes the magic of the ballet and twists it into a devious, dangerous tale that readers won’t hesitate to sink their teeth into.

"Johansen transforms a beloved holiday classic into a dark tale of vengeance.... Fans of artistically influenced, realistic historical fiction wrapped in moral allegory will relish Natasha's Nutcracker-adjacent narrative.”—Booklist (starred)

"The famous Christmas ballet takes a sinister turn in Johansen’s spooky retelling... It would be a simple thing to take the outlines of The Nutcracker ballet and make it grim, but Johansen is doing a lot of delicate character work here, primarily around envy, social limitations on women’s choices, and accountability. The world beyond the candy fantasy is satisfyingly creepy but also an effective landscape for exploring what happens when you ignore the rotten core of your deepest desires. An eerie and sophisticated dark fantasy."—Kirkus (starred)

"In this stand-alone novel, Johansen writes a beautifully twisted version of The Nutcracker, exploring the nature of revenge and its costs in horror-tinged fantasy. Recommend to fans of V.E. Schwab and Hannah Whitten."—Library Journal


About the Author:

Erika Johansen grew up and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to Swarthmore College, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and eventually became an attorney, but she never stopped writing.

5 Sheep Book Review: Fantasmagoriana Deluxe: A Combined Edition of Fantasmagoriana and Tales of the Dead

Fantasmagoriana Deluxe: A Combined Edition of Fantasmagoriana and Tales of the Dead
Edited By Eric J. Guignard and Leslie S. Klinger
November 28, 2023
Publisher: Dark Moon Books
First published in 1812, Fantasmagoriana has become one of the most seminal ghost-story anthologies of all time.

Originally collected as a French translation of eight German-language tales, Fantasmagoriana famously led to the creation of such works as the horror-classic novel Frankenstein, the short story "The Vampyre" (a progenitor to the fantasy vampire genre), the novella "Ernestus Berchtold; or, The Modern Oedipus," the poem "Manfred," and more.

In 1813, the anthology was partially translated into English as Tales of the Dead, excluding three of the original stories while adding in one new, and inspiring an even wider audience to delight in stories of the ghostly and macabre.

Now, for the first time, both Fantasmagoriana and Tales of the Dead have been combined with all stories into one English-language volume, in this beautifully presented showcase by Dark Moon Books!

Also included within are:
• Original English translations by Anna Ziegelhof
• Introduction by award-winning author Lisa Morton
• Annotations by noted literary editor Leslie S. Klinger
• Illustrations, biographies, reading list, and more!

Open yourself to Fantasmagoriana Deluxe, and to all that is weird, ghostly, and wonderous.


The Fantasmagoriana ghost story anthology was first published in 1812. Originally collected as a French translation of eight German-language tales, Fantasmagoriana famously led to the creation of such works as the horror-classic novel Frankenstein, the short story "The Vampyre" (a progenitor to the fantasy vampire genre), the novella "Ernestus Berchtold; or, The Modern Oedipus," the poem "Manfred," and others. In 1813, the anthology was partially translated into English as Tales of the Dead, excluding three of the original stories while adding in one new, and inspiring an even wider audience to delight in stories of the ghostly and macabre. 

Now, in 2023, All the stories have been combined into one English-language volume. Some of my favorite stories I enjoyed were “The Storm,” “The Death’s Head,” “The Death-Bride,” and “The Revenant,” Although I enjoyed them all, these went a touch ahead in becoming my favorites. I also loved the cover, it gives an old-timey ghost stories feel.

If you are feeling a need to read with Christmas coming upon us and winter close behind, these stories will fill the bill. It will take you back to those days when the Victorians told scary ghost stories as they huddled around the the fireplace. Thanks to Dark Moon Books for bringing back some great ghostly tales.

I gave Fantasmagoriana Deluxe 5 sheep.




Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

About Dark Moon Books

Dark Moon Books is owned and operated by Eric J. Guignard, as of January, 2017.

The company was purchased and rebranded from its previous owner, friend and mentor, Stan Swanson, who originally founded Dark Moon Books in 2011 as a horror imprint of his publishing house, Stony Meadow Publishing.

The current reincarnation of Dark Moon Books promotes dark fiction primarily through multi-author anthologies and single author collections along with an occasional nod to the novel.

Those who wish to reminisce on the old Dark Moon Books website can do so through WayBack Machine here:

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Character Confessions: Alex McKenna has something to say to his author + Giveaway

Thanks for having me on I Smell Sheep! I brought along a friend, well, more like an annoying little brother, Alex McKenna. We’ve been having the same argument for four books and I thought maybe we could finally settle it.

Alex: Vicki-Ann, first I want to say that I think the way you write me and Margaret is cool! I mean, she’s all in and supportive of who I am. Seeing the dead and talking to them can be scary for others but not Margaret, she’s right by my side. But what gets me the most is her reaction to me being transgender. Margaret understands that this is who I am and this is my journey, and she chooses to walk it with me.
Vicki-Ann: Thank you! You know how I feel, you are who you are. Being transgender is another side to the many things that make up Alex McKenna, just as it is with each and every person.
Alex: Okay, now that I’ve said that there’s something that’s been bugging me since book one.
Vicki-Ann: (Eye Roll) I know where you’re going with this.
Alex: See. If you know, then why not change it?
Vicki-Ann: Because I’ve told you a thousands times, I don’t write like that. I’m like 50 Shades of Disney. My romance is more sweet and less steamy. It just doesn’t flow for me.
Alex: But think about it. If Margaret and me could get a little closer, maybe even a lot closer, it might expand your audience and we’d get a lot more attention.
Vicki-Ann: Listen bud, I wish I could. I’ve tried. It comes out sounding like a tutorial to fix a busted water pipe. A lot of blah, blah, blah, and then an epic fail with a water fountain flooding
underneath the kitchen sink. Disaster.
Alex: (sighs) I guess I get it. But, I do have a favor.
Vicki-Ann: Sure. What?
Alex: Next time you write about us, could you give me a car? I’d like to drive sometimes too.
Vicki-Ann: Deal.

Alex McKenna and the Geranium Deaths (Alex McKenna Series Book One)
by Vicki-Ann Bush
Genre: YA Paranormal
October 17, 2023
Publisher: Creative James Media
ISBN: 978-1-956183-42-9
Number of pages: 316
Word Count: 87837
Cover Artist: Dark Angel Graphic Design
The dead need him.

Seventeen-year-old Alex McKenna is a transgender boy who comes from a rich history of Strega witches. Possessing the ability to communicate with the dead, he uses his talents and understanding of what it means to be different to bridge the gap between the living and the beyond. With his girlfriend Margaret and his spirited great-grandmother by his side, Alex helps lost souls resolve their earthly connections and move on.

When a series of murders plagues his neighborhood, Alex discovers the gruesome truth behind a sixty-year span of deaths and the sinister being responsible.

Will Alex save the next victim and stop the murderer for good? Or will this be his final case?

The shadow slowly turned its attention to Alex. He stood tall, not showing the fear that was ravaging his body.
“Alex, be careful,” warned his mom.
“It’s okay.” Alex stood firm.
The dark figure let out an ear-piercing screech, and Alex buried his head in his jacket. Again, it changed its focus and twisted toward the back seat of the car—Wilby. It held the statue down toward the earth, and the car started to rock back and forth.
“Wilby!” his mom screamed as she struggled to break free.
Alex’s heart pounded; the death freeze of the dark spirit was coming, and it was very close.
“Ma, that thing is summoning the beast!” Alex’s voice dripped with fear.
“Alex, I don’t know what to do. I can’t move. Is Wilby still sleeping?”
“Good.” She wiped her upper lip with her sleeve. “What if he wakes up?”
The vibration in his front pocket distracted him. Alex slipped out his phone; his gram’s picture lit up like a beacon.
“Gram, we’re in trouble,” Alex whispered.
“I know. Listen carefully, Bonzetta. Tell your mother we are going to use the prayer of light. I will do what I need from here.”
“What do I do?” Alex’s palms dripped with sweat from anxiety, and he nearly dropped the phone.
“Just repeat what we say, okay?”
He didn’t want to shout their plan, so he texted it to his mom. “Ma, look at your phone.”
She slipped it out of her purse and read the message. Then, nodding in agreement, she waited.

About the Author:
Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting the sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision.

When not writing, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, their loveable great Dane, Cuba and their baby girl, Curie, a little Chua Chua/Yorkie mix. Other past time faves include, dinner with family and friends, going out to breakfast, and sipping wine on the patio of a lovely Italian restaurant.

In 2022 Vicki-Ann signed a two book publishing deal with CJM Publishing. Coming in 2024, the YA paranormal romance, The Darkest Light, and a New Adult sci-fi, Liminal Space.