Tag Archives: Dark Fantasy

Interview with an Author Featuring Belle Manuel

The Literary Vixen presents…

192197610_209215727688294_3711140920680108673_n (1)

Joining us today is Belle Manuel! Her new release, Of Blades and Shadows (Soul Stealer Saga Book 1) released on June 5th 2021.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing since middle school. I struggled really hard with depression and it was suggested to me that writing might help me. I wrote my first little story for classmates, and then they started paying me to print it out and put it in little notebooks. Then it was passed around the school and became a thing all throughout middle and high school. I don’t know how not to write, now.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I have to have my AirPods in. I literally cannot write without them in. When they die, I don’t know what to do and just sit there, waiting for them to charge back up so I can dive in.

How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I’m always very invested in my books. Some of the deaths I’ve had to write really made me tear up while I was typing them. What I usually have to do is have a funny TV show ready and queued up for when I finish the harder scenes so that I can keep from getting too attached or consumed with the story.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Officially, I’ve written three complete books: Books one and two of my Twisted Fates trilogy and one book in my Soul Stealer Saga. I would have to say Of Blades and Shadows has been my favorite thus far. I’m sure that will change once I have more under my belt, but right now Arayna’s story is my favorite to dive into.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo are by far the biggest influences on my writing. Maas I have been reading for years, and Bardugo I discovered shortly thereafter. I love Maas’ world building and Bardugo’s beautifully designed characters.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

Not that much, honestly. I wouldn’t mind readers reaching out, but I’m still early in my career. I’m sure that’ll come as more books are released and more people find my work. I used to get a lot of feedback on my old Wattpad stories, but I’ve since pulled those down as I’m putting more polished work out.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Nothing right now. I’m in between books. I intend to re-read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo soon.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Sarcastic, apathetic, creative

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Oh, gosh, I’m so bad at these. I don’t know any modern actors anymore. Uh, I do love Kit Young for my character Zad in Of Blades and Shadows. I think his personality matches Zad’s well. Sujaya Dasgupta would be great for Arayna, too.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Keep honing your craft. Keep reading and perfecting and hustling. It’ll be worth it.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I put a lot of Easter eggs in there for readers. Like, a lot. So I’m anxious to see people find them as the series unfold. I also really put a lot of myself into my work. Arayna has my claustrophobia, Evolet has my stubbornness. Other characters have other attributes of mine, and I find that this helps me connect to my stories more easily.

Thank you Belle Manuel for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Of Blades and Shadows today!

paintcover.2

~Synopsis~

After sixteen years of living under the thumb of a brutal slaver, Arayna Gamon is given the chance to be a part of an elite group of assassins—Soul Stealers. Serving only the Dark Throne, Arayna must learn how to use her burgeoning magic to ferry souls to the Underworld.

Raised in the Deep South, Belle is a Sci-Fi and Fantasy author that revels in creating new worlds. She recently moved cross-country to be closer to the publishing world and is an editor for independently published writers. The Twisted Fates trilogy continues with A Reign So Wicked, released in April 2021. 

June 2021, Of Blades and Shadows, the first book in the Soul Stealer Saga, was released! Follow social media to stay up to date on the latest news!

https://linktr.ee/BelleManuel


The Chronicles of Benjamin Bright: The Cursed Blood (Darkling Rising Book 1) by J.S. Craig – My Review

41fFf0BT2IL

Title: The Chronicles of Benjamin Bright: The Cursed Blood (Darkling Rising Book 1)

Author: J.S. Craig

Release Date: June 16th 2020

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tale

This is the beginning of the story of the life and adventures of Benjamin Bright, a young darkling hunter of legendary lineage haunted by ancient prophecy in the world of Feydom. A place of wonders and terrors, where fairytales, magic, and mythology bends and warps reality in unexpected ways. And the plots and schemes of wizards, warlocks, and demons cut a swath of terror with blood, treachery, and arcane power. Setting young Ben down a dark path of epic adventure full of monsters and the supernatural as he reluctantly takes up the mantle he was born into, and dives into the deadliest depths of betrayal, love, madness, murder, and mayhem to discover the truth of his destiny.

The Cursed Blood © is the debut of a bold modern reimagining of Arthurian legend that begins a fresh new series in the worlds of Feydom.

5-gold-stars

Phenomenal world building! Fantastic! Exhilarating! Unputdownable!

The world building this book has is phenomenal! From the story to the characters, I was in awe. Right from the beginning I was pulled into a different world, where magic and mystical creatures actually exist. The characters range from grey to evil and I love that. This is truly a dark fantasy read, which made my little black heart sing with joy! Some of the scenes are not for the faint of heart. The author has an incredible ability to describe something so nightmarish, that will give you the chills. Maybe even haunt your dreams. I was there for it! Bring on the horror! The journey you begin at the start of the book will have twisted and changed so much, that you’ll find yourself at a loss and heading to your next destination. Book hangover town here I come!

This is a fantastic debut from this author. His storytelling and writing is superb and I highly anticipate what comes next from him. If you’re a fan of fantasy with that touch of darkness, this book is for YOU! Skip adding this to your TBR and one click it today! You won’t be disappointed. I give this 5 stars.


The Broken Realm: Kingdom of the White Sea Book 2 by Sarah M. Cradit – My Review

415PZ2HdZCL

Title: The Broken Realm: Kingdom of the White Sea Book 2

Author: Sarah M. Cradit

Release Date: March 23rd 2021

Genre: Dark Fantasy

“The game has changed. The Broken Realm is passionate, deadly and polished. Get ready for a whirlwind of emotions.” – Laura Trujillo, The Literary Vixen

The treacherous, magical, seductive world of Kingdom of the White Sea, introduced by USA Todaybestselling fantasy author Sarah M. Cradit in The Kingless Crown, continues in this thrilling sequel, The Broken Realm.

The crown demanded everything. The kingdom will answer.

Chaos paints the White Kingdom. Missing children, dead nobles, and a daring escape have created an upheaval that threatens the future of the entire realm.

The lords and ladies are armed with a powerful secret weapon as they prepare to make a stand against the crown, but the resistance has plenty to overcome before they can claim triumph. The lord-less Westerlands prepares for war with the formidable Quinlanden Guard spreading their men and cruelty to every corner of their Reach. In the Easterlands, the sorcerer Mortain cultivates his ominous influence over the enslaved Saleen, a decisive threat he could unleash upon the kingdom with a snap of his finger.

To the kingdom, it appears as if these assaults on their freedom are cosigned by the crown. It seems only a matter of time before the king’s victory becomes total.

But from his isolated throne in Duncarrow, King Eoghan has discovered his authority is not absolute. There are other powers at play, as sinister as they are resilient. Those close to him curate the facts he is fed, keeping him tucked away in the dark while they issue orders in his name. As his control spirals, and opposing forces gain ground, the king’s fragile resolve turns to desperation.

Yet, across the kingdom, a quiet but powerful awakening of magic is taking place. One that began generations ago, on a cold night in Duncarrow…

5-gold-stars

The game has changed. The Broken Realm is passionate, deadly and polished. Get ready for a whirlwind of emotions.

The spectacular follow up to The Kingless Crown, Sarah M. Cradit will dazzle readers and leave them wanting more! The phenomenal world she has created will transport you to a different realm and you won’t want to leave. I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*


Interview with an Author Featuring Sarah M. Cradit

The Literary Vixen presents…

SMC_Submark_White

Joining us today is Sarah M. Cradit! Book two in her Kingdom of the White Sea series, The Broken Realm: Kingdom of the White Sea Book 2 is set to release on March 23rd 2021.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was seven, and it was something I did to satisfy a very vivid imagination that had been with me since I can remember. I don’t remember really thinking about writing, but rather, just doing it. It became something that I was known for as early as second grade, and from there it just took off. You could say it’s always been a part of me.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Probably my almost obsessive commitment to world-building. If I didn’t push myself to write, I could build worlds forever. I love coloring out new places and ideas and characters, and what you see on the page is very “tip of the iceberg,” but all the details that don’t make it in nonetheless help make the books what they are.

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

The only way I know how is to lean into it. If I try and separate myself from the emotion, you’ll read that separation on the page. If I can feel what they’re feeling, and I allow myself to go there, then that’s where the magic happens, so to speak. When this does become hard is when it hits close to home. I once had to write a death scene for a major character, and the timing coincided with a death of someone very close to me. I had a choice between “phoning it in,” or tapping into my own grief, and I chose the latter. It’s still a scene I have trouble re-reading, but my readers tell me it’s one of the best of that series.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’m working on my fortieth right now. That felt so strange to write. Forty! I often find that whatever I’m working on is my favorite, and right now I’m still immersed in my epic fantasy saga, Kingdom of the White Sea. The Kingless Crown, right now, feels like the best thing I’ve ever done. It feels like the culmination of all the hard work and polishing of craft that came before it. And that’s the hope, isn’t it? That everything that came before allows you to be where you are now.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

A LOT. Probably 50% of the total world building I’ll end up doing overall. The rest gets colored in as I write. And as I said above, a lot of this world building never makes it into the stories, not directly at least. But it lives in my notebooks, and in my head, and helps make the world feel like it’s real.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I do, and I really really love talking to readers. They offer a perspective I can’t get anywhere else. As the writer, I will never know what it is to experience my books for the first time, and when readers tell me how a story or a character made them feel, I get to live vicariously through that, and to see a side of my world that is otherwise closed to me. Writing is about delivering an emotional experience to a reader, and if my readers are feeling anything at all about my books, then it’s a very satisfying thing for me.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

I don’t read a lot when I’m actively writing a project, unless it’s something I’ve read before. I always have the Lord of the Rings at the ready when I need a break from writing.

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious. Resourceful. Imaginative.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Kingdom of the White Sea has a ton of characters, and I’ve never been good at these exercises, but as a reader, when my favorite books come to life on the screen I prefer the actors to be people I don’t recognize. For casting, their physical appearance is less important to me than nailing the character’s motivations, beats, quirks.

Having said that- I would give my left arm to have Eva Green play ANY of my characters.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Comparison is the thief of joy. Whether you’re just starting out, or years in, no two author journeys are the same, and if you set your goals against what you see others achieving, you’ll find nothing but frustration and disappointment. Instead, set your goals according to what you can achieve, and let your best be the bar that you seek to achieve, and beat, consistently. When I see the progress in craft and process from my first book to my fortieth, that gives me a perspective I can’t get from just looking at my work in its current form. And most importantly, writer’s write. There’s no gatekeeping, no milestone you must hit to be called an author. You just have to write. That’s the one thing we all do. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. The easier it will feel, and the less time you’ll spend cleaning it up.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

That I write what I love. I will always write what I love, even if it isn’t the most trendy, or popular. But it means the world to me that so many of you love what I write, and I can’t thank you enough for taking what can be a very solitary journey for authors and enriching it with your words, and fandoms, and time. It drives me to keep going even on the hard days.

Thank you Sarah M. Cradit for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, The Kingless Crown today!

TheKinglessCrown-Final-high

~Synopsis~

From the USA Today & International Bestselling author of the Saga of Crimson & Clover comes a gripping new epic fantasy world that will leave you breathless to the very last page.

A crown woven together by lies.
A kingdom with the power to unravel them.

Four Reaches. Four brides. Only a fortnight separates the young women from becoming reluctant queens of the usurper king, Eoghan Rhiagain.

Twenty years earlier, King Eoghan’s father cunningly devised marriages between the highborn sons and daughters of the oft-warring Reaches, sealing the unions before they could protest, shattering existing betrothals in place of forced alliances.

Now, Eoghan, the cruel boy king who stole his crown through murder, demands the eldest daughters of these unions. To accept is unfathomable. To refuse is treason.

The lords and ladies of the kingdom have no choice but to prepare their beloved daughters for the horrors ahead. But they’ll soon discover there are no longer any daughters left to present. All four have disappeared, painting the world with their rebellion.

Theirs is not the only rebellion. Across the kingdom, little fires light within. From the enigmatic sorcerers in the northern mountains, to the magi who both wield and regulate the kingdom’s magic, and beyond… to a place where two prisoners are not what they seem.

As the Reaches ready themselves to face the king, the kingdom hovers on the edge of chaos.

And there are many who recall, in candlelit secrecy, tales of a time before…

Sarah is the USA Today and International Bestselling Author of contemporary and epic fantasy.

An unabashed geek, Sarah enjoys studying subjects like the Plantagenet and Ptolemaic dynasties, and settling debates on provocative Tolkien topics such as why the Great Eagles are not Gandalf’s personal taxi service. Passionate about travel, Sarah has visited over twenty countries collecting sparks of inspiration (though New Orleans is where her heart rests). She’s a self-professed expert at crafting original songs to sing to her very patient pets, and a seasoned professional at finding ways to humiliate herself (bonus points if it happens in public). When at home in Pennsylvania, her husband and best friend, James, is very kind about indulging her love of fast German cars and expensive lattes.

 


✮☆ Free Friday Download ☆✮

✮☆ Free for a limited time ☆✮

Slivered (Slivered Souls Trilogy Book One)

by Kandi Vale

~Synopsis~

They say that time heals all wounds. For Kisa, however, the more time that passes, the more of herself she begins to lose. Grief has made her a shell of her former self; eating away at every feeling and driving her slowly to the brink of madness. No matter how desperately she tries to feel something, nothing gets through.

For millennia Dolor has walked the world, watching humanity evolve and devolve before him. After all this time, he has grown content where he is. With true friends at his side, he’s created a profitable establishment; a BDSM club for the supernatural. Being one of the most powerful beings in creation has its perks, and he wants for nothing. Until Kisa…

It’s pain that brings them together. Something she needs to feel, and something he needs to exist. What they don’t know, is what’s about to be unleashed. Will Kisa put her life in Dolor’s hands? Can Dolor teach Kisa to dance in her darkness, or will her pain consume them both?


✮☆ Free Friday Download ☆✮

✮☆ Free for a limited time ☆✮

Dark Heirloom: A Vampire Urban Fantasy (An Ema Marx Novel Book 1)

By J.D. Brown

~Synopsis~

Vampires. Shifters. Nephilim. Ema Marx is their savior, but she can’t believe the bloodsuckers exist. Or that she’s one of them.

Sure, night vision and super strength are cool, but when an ancient premonition threatens her life, Ema just wants to get the hell out of dodge. Or in this case, the mysterious castle she wakes up in.

Jalmari is a vampire prince with a bad attitude. He wants nothing to do with Ema, until he discovers she’s a threat to his throne. Now he’s out for blood. Ema’s blood.

Ema’s survival hangs on her ability to stay one step ahead of Jalmari while curbing her own morbid thirst. Can she save herself, or will she succumb to a dangerous destiny?

Dark Heirloom is the first installment of the 5x award-winning Ema Marx series. If you like strong female heroines, lots of action, and a hint of romance, then you’ll love J.D. Brown’s gripping urban fantasy world.

Pick up this page-turner today!


Crown of Betrayal (The Siren Series Book 1) by Marie F. Crow – My Review

Title: Crown of Betrayal (The Siren Series Book 1)

Author: Marie F. Crow

Release Date: June 4th 2020

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Verona has lived in the safety and bliss of the palace and the luxury of what being a Siren means. Content to live her life in the shadows of her beautiful mother, Ostila, and the enchanting, dark beauty of her aunt, Morlena, Verona never thought about what life would be like should they be taken from her. At her mother’s coronation, these once impossible thoughts become shockingly real.
Corander has lived his life in the shadows of his father, Kurt. At the head of the Empradar bloodline, Kurt holds no mercy for those who fail him and even less for those he distrusts. When the palace falls to madness, it will be Corander who is tested by his father’s desires and torn by his own.
Together, Corander and Verona must discover who they really are, and who they are truly meant to become, before all is lost to hidden plots and crowns of betrayal.

Superb! Enchanting! Thrilling! This book showcases the lovely talents of Marie F. Crow. This YA fantasy is intriguing and had me on the edge of my seat. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. I loved the uniqueness the author added for the Sirens. It was like a breath of fresh air to read something so different from what’s out there. The story didn’t end up where I thought it would BUT that is a very good thing! Who likes predictable? I can guarantee Miss Crow’s books are anything but predictable. From the characters to the story, I was fully engaged and once done, I was left wanting more. I can’t wait for the next book! I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*


The Sisters Grimm: A Novel – My Review

New Release!

Title: The Sisters Grimm: A Novel

Author: Menna van Praag

Release Date: March 31st 2020

Genre: Dark Fantasy

The critically acclaimed author of The House at the End of Hope Street combines love, mystery, and magic with her first foray into bewitching fantasy with a dark edge evocative of V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman.

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

The Sisters Grimm is a dark fantasy tale with a magical touch.

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

I admit that I had trouble writing my review. I loved the creativity and wonder this story represented. I was excited to read and escape into a magical world just for a little while but I also had issues with it. The story was a little hard to follow at times. There’s multiple POV’s and very little information is given. We also have flashbacks on top of all that. Those I didn’t mind so much. I kept reading because the characters kept me engaged. These young women grew up differently but are tied together since childhood. Magic runs through their veins and they are beginning to come into their powers. I loved how empowering that was! Most of them were likable. Yes, even Bea. Once you read the story, you’ll know what I mean. I also liked the uniqueness of Leo’s story. 

All in all this was an ok read. The idea behind the story is imaginative. It’s creative and the author did some wonderful world building. Magical and a bit urban fantasy. I can appreciate all of that, however the story didn’t wow me. I ended up enjoying it but felt it could have been so much more. I give this 3 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*


✮☆ Free Friday Download ☆✮

✮☆ Free for a limited time ☆✮

Envious

By Katie Keller-Nieman

~Synopsis~

DO YOU BELIEVE IN REINCARNATION? Book 1 of The Envious Series
“May not even death stop my heart from seeking to free my love.”

I have dreams, visions of past lives, that haunt even my waking hours. My past lives are filled with danger, deceit, and fleeting moments of love. And they are beginning to rule every moment of my present life.

Since meeting Eric at college, they have only grown stronger. They are telling me something I cannot ignore: that he belongs with me, not Aurora, my best and only friend. She is everything that I am not: beautiful, popular and kind. But something isn’t right about her.

My visions warn me not to trust her. They show me fantastical, impossible, and terrifying things.

Trusting in my visions could cost me everything, but ignoring them could cost my life.


The Risen: Dawning, Anniversary Edition: A Zombie Apocalypse Story of Survival (Book 1) by Marie F. Crow – My Review

Title: The Risen: Dawning, Anniversary Edition: A Zombie Apocalypse Story of Survival (Book 1)

Author: Marie F. Crow

Release Date: March 20th 2014

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror

Helena Hawthorn has lived her entire life in the dark shadow of her perfect younger siblings, The Hawthorn Angels. Now as the world awakens to a new horror, she will have to risk everything to keep them safe or forever be haunted by the failure to keep them alive. Each day will bring a new victory, or a new scar, as Helena learns that the dawn waits for no one.

With her newly bonded family, the local motorcycle club G.R.I.T., they will discover the world now holds much deeper horrors for them than they could have ever imagined. The Risen not only stalk the earth but stalk their nightmares as well.

This book came to me by way of a friend. It was described as zombies and Walking Dead with  a kick butt female. Let’s do this!

This book was like a breath of fresh air. It’s unique and totally engaging. It also has a Walking Dead vibe to it and I was there for it. Yeah I went there but it’s true. The beginning hooked me. Once you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Thank you Miss Crow! As the book progressed, I was more and more pulled and invested in the story. These characters had become my family. The author was able to make me feel so many things from sadness to anger then had me laughing. Ah good times. 

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and certainly not the last. I’m officially a fangirl and I look forward to reading more! If you’re a fan of the Walking Dead and strong females that kick butt but also want something new and unique to read, this book is for YOU! You won’t be disappointed. I give this 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*